Sunday, 03 April 2011

Obama Tries, but Can't Insult the Congress

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Jack KennyThe old cowboy-philosopher Will Rogers was fond of saying he wasn't really telling jokes, he just watched the government and reported the news. At other times, Rogers claimed to be among the nation's largest employers: "There's no trick to being a humorist," he would say, "when you've got the whole government working for you."

We are not all humorists, but alas, the government is still working for us. Time and again, we hear people say about some new government outrage, "You can't make this stuff up!" Consider, for example, the attitude of this administration, headed by a Harvard Law School graduate and a former professor of constitutional law, toward the powers and responsibility of the elected Representatives and Senators of the American people on the issues of war and peace. To hear Barack Obama and his former rival Hillary Clinton explain things, you might get the impression that it's not our government, it's their private club.

As Alex Newman wrote for The New American online on April 1, Secretary of State Clinton has apparently told members of Congress that the administration will ignore any efforts by the legislative branch to rein in the chief executive's military actions in — or more accurately over —  Libya, where the United States and its NATO allies have been enforcing a "no-fly zone" to stop the Libyan government from attacking and killing civilians in areas of the country that are in open revolt against the Gadhafi regime. Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) recounted to Talking Points Memo that, in a closed-door briefing by Clinton, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen, Madame Secretary told legislators the administration would keep them informed of what it is doing in the Libyan crisis, but would not heed any restrictions on its freedom to act

"They are not committed to following the important part of the War Powers Act," Sherman told TPM in a phone interview. "[Secretary Clinton] said they are certainly willing to send reports [to us] and if they issue a press release, they'll send that to us, too." Oh, my. This is apparently what Obama and Clinton mean by "consulting with" Congress about the military action our regime — excuse me, their regime — is taking. They'll "send reports" to Congress about what they're doing. And members of Congress may, of course, read the administration's press releases. By kerosene lamps, perhaps, in that big ol' "Uncle Tom's Cabin" on Capitol Hill.  

"The White House would forge ahead with military action in Libya even if Congress passed a resolution constraining the mission, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said during a classified briefing to House members Wednesday afternoon," Talking Points Memo reported, citing Sherman and an unidentified "senior Republican lawmaker" as sources. Apparently, the administration will not even tell us openly that it is prepared to ignore the will of the American people, if and when the Rip Van Winkles of Congress wake up long enough to assert it. That has to come out of a "classified briefing." I would guess the administration is not too unhappy that word of it did get out. "We the People" need to be reminded once in a while that what, if anything, we think about what the government is doing doesn't matter. It is their job to run the government. Our job, after working and paying taxes of course, is to watch sporting events and Dancing with the Stars. That is why you can almost bet that members of Congress will soon be itching to throw their political weight into the stalled negotiations between the players and the National Football League in order to save this year's professional football season for us. "We the People" need our diversions and members of Congress must act. They can't spend all their time reading administration press releases — or having aides read the releases for them.

A small number of Americans are fortunate enough to be represented by a few thinking, independent members of Congress such as Ron Paul. The rest of us might as well send to Congress men and women who are openly, literally illiterate. Most of them, it seems, don't read the bills they pass or the "intelligence" reports they receive. They obviously don't read and take seriously the Constitution they swear to uphold. Taken as a whole, they are incapable of recognizing a "smoking gun" until it shoots them in the foot, but not, thankfully in the buttocks, where a bullet could cause brain damage. Yes, they sit on their brains — if they have any left after their first few years on the Hill.

Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) and a few others have talked about impeaching the President over his waging war without getting or even seeking authorization from Congress, as the Constitution requires. Obama and his minions and his overlords are probably not losing any sleep over it. Thanks to the laughingstock precedent set by the Republican Congress in the impeachment of William Jefferson Clinton, neither the inane stream media nor the public are likely to see how the President's making war on his own authority "rises to the level" of an impeachable offense. Nope, there isn't even a sex scandal there. 

It is no exaggeration, and might indeed be an understatement, to call the Congress of the United States an "afterthought" for this administration, even more than in previous regimes. As Antiwar.com founder and editor Justin Raimondo noted, Obama got his "double dispensation" from the United Nations and our like-minded allies in the "free world," which includes some unsavory members of the Arab League. "This is the true meaning of 'multi-lateralism,'" Raimondo wrote. "World opinion matters. American opinion — not so much." And aside from a few unhappy "yips" from the congressional kennel, Congress appears prepared to do absolutely nothing about it. Rep. Paul has called it an "outrage," but it's hard to imagine what it would take to outrage Congress as a whole. I'm not sure the majority of them even realize how much the President and his Secretary of State have already done to insult them. It must take a lot to insult this Congress. And it takes a lot, apparently, to awaken the American people.

Related article:

Clinton: Obama Will Ignore Congress on Libya War

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