Is Congress recovering a bit of its lost spine? From Eric S. Margolis at lewrockwell.com:
he US Senate, long the lap dog of the man who would be king, President Donald Trump, appears to have finally remembered its proper constitutional role.
Last week, the Senate voted 55/45 for a new bipartisan War Powers Act to constrain military action against Iran. The Congress voted a similar act. Both are designed to start returning the right to make war to Congress, as the Constitution clearly intended. The president is not the Warlord-in-chief in spite of what he thinks.
The Senate has been supine until now, intimidated by an unholy alliance of pro-war Christian evangelists and the Israel lobby, and over $100 million given to the Republican Party by casino mogul Sheldon Adelson. Senators who dare oppose this powerful special interest risk their political futures. The lifting of limits on political contributions has given Adelson enormous power over Trump and his friend, Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu.
If Turkey leaves NATO then it will want the US to abandon its important airbase at Incerlik. From Tom Luongo at tomluongo.me:
After what can only be termed a terrible NATO Not Summit two weeks ago it was clear the alliance has serious fissures forming in its facade.
It opened with French President Emmanuel Macron’s refusal to back down on how ‘brain dead’ NATO’s current mission is. And it ended with an embarrassing hot mic moment with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau which led to President Trump leaving early.
It was Macron’s statements about Turkey reinvigorating ISIS with its invasion of Northern Syria which revealed the depths of European brain death in foreign affairs.
This is a talking point straight out of neocon central to appease the U.S. MIC and Israelis while he asserts the need to decouple European foreign policy from the U.S. and reorient NATO to combat terrorism, which it isn’t designed to do.
But what truly borders on farce today is the U.S. Congress threatening to sanction Turkey over buying Russian S-400 missile defense systems while its President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, is actually threatening NATO member Greece, ignoring the idea that Crete even exists and making territorial claims to the eastern Mediterranean that would make Ataturk himself blush.
As guardians of liberty, both Congress and Trump should be tossed out, and we should just start all over again. From Ron Paul at ronpaulinstitute.org:
Imagine that President Trump spent his phone call with the Ukrainian president threatening to withhold military aid unless the Ukrainian government agreed to use the money to purchase weapons from a US manufacturer. Does anyone seriously think that foreign service professionals and deep state operatives would be so shocked and offended by Trump’s request that they would launch efforts to impeach him? Would Congress view this as “high crimes and misdemeanors” or applaud Trump for carrying out one of modern presidents’ supposedly most important jobs — acting as salesmen for the American military-industrial complex?
This hypothetical shows that impeachment is not about President Trump’s abuse of power. Instead, it is an attempt to make sure President Trump, and all future presidents, confine their abuses of power to items that advance the agenda of the political establishment.
A renewal of the Patriot Act is slipping through while the nation and the media is preoccupied with the impeachment circus. From Mac Slavo at shtfplan.com:
Even in our polarized and right vs. left political paradigm, there is one thing both republicans and democrats can agree on: The federal government should have vast snooping powers and conduct mass surveillance on everyone. They simply disagree over who should be in charge of abusing those excessive powers.
The impeachment circus did one thing successfully. It took attention from the government’s mass surveillance programs that are constantly expanded. As Reasonproposed: If Democrats really feared Donald Trump’s exercise of the powers of the presidency, why would they propose extending the surveillance powers of the controversial Patriot Act?
The permanent bureaucracy makes the top of the list, probably because it’s both permanent and a bureaucracy. From Ryan McMaken at mises.org:
The US federal government is divided up into a variety of institutions, with the three main “branches” of government designed to compete against each other. Theoretically, these three branches were initially thought to place checks on the other branches of government, thus minimizing abuses of power by the federal government overall.
Things haven’t really worked out that way. Thanks to the rise of political parties, coordination between the branches — along party lines — has often replaced competition between the branches. Moreover, as political parties vie for the a controlling majority in the various branches, they are loath to limit the power of these institutions lest these partisans limit their own power in the process. Nor do the different branches represent different socio-economic groups in the manner imagined by John Adams in his Defense of the Constitutions.
Very few people pay attention and for good reason. It’s a flaccid, ineffectual body. From Fred Reed at theburningplatform.com:
It is curious: Though I have for decades worked in journalism, mostly in Washington, I know almost nothing of Congress. I mean this literally. I do not know who Mitch McConnell is, his function, or his politics, though I have the impression that he is a Republican. Who was, or is, Paul (I think it is) Ryan? Is he in the House or the Senate? I don’t know. I have no idea who heads any committee.
You might ask, “What sort of fraud is this Reed guy? Why doesn’t he know stuff that everybody knows?”
Easy. Because Congress doesn’t matter. It really doesn’t. It is a bauble that fascinates the strange ingrown world of DC, but the marionettes are less important than those who pull their strings.
It may seem odd, but the national legislature has nothing to do with anything of importance. Consider the most crucial issues affecting America:
The endless wars. These kill millions who have done nothing to deserve killing, threaten America’s position in the world, and cost trillions. Congress does nothing.
Posted in Government
Bizarre but true. It’s harder now for a president to end a war than to start one. From Ron Paul at ronpaulinstitute.com:
Last week’s bipartisan Senate vote to rebuke President Trump for his decision to remove troops from Syria and Afghanistan unfortunately tells us a lot about what is wrong with Washington, DC. While the two parties loudly bicker about minor issues, when it comes to matters like endless wars overseas they enthusiastically join together. With few exceptions, Republicans and Democrats lined up to admonish the president for even suggesting that it’s time for US troops to come home from Afghanistan and Syria.
The amendment, proposed by the Senate Majority Leader and passed overwhelmingly by both parties, warns that a “precipitous withdrawal of United States forces from the on-going fight…in Syria and Afghanistan, could allow terrorists to regroup.” As one opponent of the amendment correctly pointed out, a withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan is hardly “precipitous” since they’ve been there for nearly 18 years! And with al-Qaeda and ISIS largely defeated in Syria a withdrawal from that country would hardly be “precipitous” after almost five years of unauthorized US military action.
Senators supporting the rebuke claim that US troops cannot leave until every last ISIS fighter is killed or captured. This is obviously a false argument. Al-Qaeda and ISIS did not emerge in Iraq because US troops left the country – they emerged because the US was in the country in the first place. Where was al-Qaeda in Iraq before the 2003 US invasion the neocons lied us into? There weren’t any.
US troops occupying Iraqi territory was, however, a huge incentive for Iraqis to join a resistance movement. Similarly, US intervention in Syria beginning under the Obama Administration contributed to the growth of terrorist groups in that country.