#ISIS: Rand Paul’s declaration of war

November 24, 2014
"Of course you know, this means war."

“Of course you know, this means war.”

One of the criticisms of President Obama’s conduct of our foreign affairs (and of our domestic affairs, frankly) is that he disregards statutes and the provisions of the Constitution whenever it is convenient for him to do so. This extends to the war powers inherent in the presidency under Article II. Both in Libya and, now, in Syria and Iraq in the fight against ISIS, Obama has been accused of acting without authorization from Congress, either under the specific War Powers Act of 1973 or Article I of the Constitution, the latter of which grants Congress the sole power to declare war. With regard to ISIS, Obama has claimed authorization under the existing Authorization to Use Military Force (AUMF) against al Qaeda, since ISIS is an al Qaeda “spawn.” Not surprisingly, critics call that a stretch.

One of the critics is Senator Rand Paul (R-KY), who has often accused Obama of acting unconstitutionally. At PJM, Bridget Johnson reports that Paul has plans to assert Congress’ authority over the war-power by introducing a bill to declare war on ISIS:

The resolution would kill the 2002 Iraq Authorization for Use of Military Force and put a one-year expiration date on the 2001 Afghanistan AUMF. The administration has been leaning upon those war on terror statutes to conduct current operations against ISIS in Iraq and Syria.

It notes that “the organization referring to itself as the Islamic State has declared war on the United States and its allies” and “presents a clear and present danger to United States diplomatic facilities in the region, including our embassy in Baghdad, Iraq.”

“The state of war between the United States and the organization referring to itself as the Islamic State, also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), which has been thrust upon the United States, is hereby formally declared pursuant to Article I, section 8, clause 11, of the United States Constitution,” the resolution states.

“The President is hereby authorized and directed to use the Armed Forces of the United States to protect the people and facilities of the United States in Iraq and Syria against the threats posed thereto by the organization referring to itself as the Islamic State, also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).”

The bill also contains specific limitations on the authorization to use force, namely action is to be limited to ISIS and its “affiliates,” and specifies that ground troops can only be used to protect Americans and American facilities, and in certain limited offensive operations.

I have my quibbles with this proposal (1), but overall I support the idea. Obama has created a constitutional crisis by pushing the limits of the presidency’s powers past their breaking point. We’re running the risk of passively acquiescing to our transformation from a republic with separate, co-equal branches of government, each with their own powers, to more of a strongman presidential model, such as in France (2).

To prevent that, Congress needs to start acting to jealously guard its prerogatives and assert its status, as Madison described several times in the Federalist Papers. Senator Paul’s bill to declare war may be a good start to redressing the balance.

RELATED: Charles Cooke on why Republicans should not retaliate in kind for Obama’s usurpations. Jay Cost on the proper way to rebuke Obama. Andrew McCarthy on “President Orwell.”

Footnote:
(1) Namely that I believe US “boots on the ground” in offensive operations will be necessary to defeat the new Caliphate; the Arab forces in the area are worthless.
(2) Not that I’m implying that France is a dictatorship — far from it. But the presidency under the Gaullist system is quite a bit more powerful than the legislature.


2016

November 7, 2014

Phineas Fahrquar:

Some food for thought from my friend AGconservative about where to rank the various potential Republican presidential candidates.

Originally posted on agconservative:

Earlier tonight I posted my 1st ranking of the 2016 contenders on Twitter (shown below). There was a lot of disagreement and demands that I explain some choices. While I plan to eventually write full and detailed explanations for each ranking, let me give a brief synopsis for some key choices now.

Screen Shot 2014-11-06 at 4.15.46 PM

Why is Rubio first and the only Senator in the top 5?

Rubio is first for several reasons. First, I believe he is the greatest Republican orator since Ronald Reagan and the Obama era proved this is vital for a good candidate. His speeches are absolutely remarkable. Most importantly, he puts things in a way that people can understand. His focus is on restoring the American Dream, something everyone can comprehend. This message resonates with the conservative Democrats that have been lost to the party. The truth is that voters care about things that affect them. They…

View original 1,208 more words


Election Day +1: about last night

November 5, 2014

That was quite a night last night, wasn’t it?

Pardon me, I know it’s immature, but I’ve waited a long while to do this:

BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!

smiley dance smiley cheering smiley thumbs up smiley loser smiley cool hey babe  smiley devil smiley big grin

 

Whew. There. I feel better now. smiley blush

Anyway, let’s review what happened in the Great Shellacking Part II (1), courtesy of those fine fellows at Real Clear Politics. Click the links for larger, updated versions:

First, the Senate. It was beautiful:

Senate 2014

Not only did the Republicans wrest control of the Senate from that vile wretch Harry Reid, but they added plenty of seats to give themselves a cushion for 2016, when many of their own seats will be up for grabs. Things officially stand at a net gain of 7, but with Alaska all but officially a Sullivan victory and Mary Landrieu an almost certain dead duck in the coming runoff, I fully expect a final number of plus-9. That, my friends, is not just a wave, but a tsunami. And with Senator Angus King of Maine (I) sure to seek the best deal he can get, expect an effect 55-45 Republican majority for the next two years.

I had predicted plus-8, but I am happy to be wrong. I was also wrong about my surprise pick, expecting Scott Brown to win in New Hampshire. While I’m sorry to see he didn’t, I was overjoyed at Thom Tillis beating the corrupt incumbent, Kay Hagan, in North Carolina. Congratulations to my blog buddy Sister Toldjah for pulling it off. She and a lot of Carolina conservatives worked their fannies off for this win, and I couldn’t be more thrilled for them.

I was also happy to see State Senator Joni Ernst beat the laughable Bruce Braley in Iowa and Rep. Cory Gardner defeat the monomaniacal Senator Uterus Udall in Colorado.

The schadenfreude was sweet, my friends.

Then, the House. Biggest Republican majority since at least 1946 (some say 1928):

House 2014

Plus-13 for the majority party in an era when both parties are despised seems amazing to me, but the Republicans pulled it off. And they may pick up a few more, depending on how a few close California (!) races shake out. Well done, Nancy Pelosi! I hope they keep you in the Minority Leader’s job for years to come.

And finally, the gubernatorial races, which held some pleasant shockers:

Governors 2014

Amazingly, the Republicans held Kansas (handily) and Florida when both incumbents had been almost given up for dead, and picked up Arkansas, Massachusetts (!), Maryland (!!), and Illinois (!!!), losing only Pennsylvania. That gives the Republicans 31 governors, which may be the largest in decades.

Now, with all that good news, the question remains, what do the Republicans do?

Naturally, like any good self-important blogger, I have some advice for the respective caucuses.

First, do NOT impeach Barack Obama. Seriously. Unless he ax-murders a convent full of nuns and orphans on national TV or declares himself Emperor, just forget it. The nation did not elect you to overturn the 2012 election, and no national consensus exists for his removal, a political prerequisite for successful impeachment and removal. Democrats may be shell-shocked after what just happened, but, I guarantee you there will be no way to get the needed crossover votes for removal. I agree he richly deserves impeachment, but it would be wasted effort and a self-inflicted wound for our side. If you want to prove to the public that all their worst fears about irresponsible politicians are true, you would find no better way than jumping foaming at the mouth on an impeachment bandwagon.

And it would be just what Obama and his Alinskyite allies would want.

But that does not mean we cannot play hardball with Obama. Republicans should put him on the spot by passing good, sensible measures –such as approving the Keystone XL pipeline– that have real benefits for the average American, and then dare The One to veto them. We may not be able to override those vetoes, but, with his shield-bearer in the Senate, Harry Reid, now in the minority, he won’t be able to hide from tough decisions any longer. Go ahead, repeal Obamacare and replace it with a good free-market solution. Open up drilling off our coasts. Relax coal regulations and thus lower energy prices for the masses. Pass one good measure after another and force Obama to either take an unpopular stand or acquiesce, thus frustrating his core supporters.

Just keep in mind we won’t be able to override most vetoes. That doesn’t mean we don’t fight, but don’t expect much in the way of positive policy results until (we hope) we have control of both Congress and the presidency in 2017.

The same with Obama and executive actions. The presidency is powerful (perhaps too powerful) and Obama can do a lot with his infamous phone and pen. But now, with control of both chambers, Congress can make statist bureaucrats’ lives miserable with hearings and public exposure, as well as educational budget cuts (2). Congress’ investigatory and budget powers are among its most powerful weapons for reining in the Executive. Don’t be afraid to use them.

Just use them judiciously, with wisdom and prudence. Do that, and the people will be ready for real hope and change in the White House in 2016.

But also feel free to bask for a bit in the afterglow of that wonderful night last night.

Footnotes:
(1) For my comments on the Great Shellacking Part I, go here.
(2) Which will much more effective now that we have both chambers of Congress and don’t have to deal with Harry “We’re not votin’ on nuthin'” Reid.

RELATED: Yuval Levin on the right agenda for a Republican congress.


9-11: George W. Bush and his bullhorn

September 11, 2014

Lots of people have written today about that terrible morning: where they were, what they remember, maybe honoring the victims or the many valiant heroes of the battle and its aftermath. I wondered what I would write. I decided that, rather than focus on the day itself, something others have done much more eloquently than I ever could, I wanted to share video of what has become one of my strongest memories from that time: the moment, when, three days later, George W. Bush stood amidst the smoldering ruins from which the dead were still being recovered and rallied a stunned and bloodied nation:

That was the day a man who won a disputed, contentious election truly became President of the United States of America, and I’ll forever be grateful for him.

Note: This is a re-posting, slightly updated, of something I wrote for the tenth anniversary; I think it’s a moment that needs recalling.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


George W. Bush predicted the rise of ISIS in 2007, if we left Iraq

September 5, 2014

Okay, he didn’t mention ISIS/ISIL/the Islamic State specifically, but watch this clip from Megyn Kelly’s show on FOX and tell me this man, often derided as an idiot, wasn’t damn prescient:

So first Romney was proven right about Obama’s feckless foreign policy and the geopolitical threat posed by Russia, and now we see that W saw far better than his predecessor what would happen if we pulled out of Iraq too soon.

Time and again the Right has been… well, right about the state of the world, and the left-liberals and their “foreign policy by wishing it so” dangerously wrong.

There’s a lesson in there, for those willing to learn.

via Donald Douglas


Perry indictment: So, a mere accusation costs you your constitutional rights?

August 27, 2014

Not likely to be bullied.

Unlike our president, I’m not a famed constitutional scholar (1), but it seems to me that this is just plain wrong:

Texas Gov. Rick Perry, a staunch supporter of the Second Amendment, is no longer permitted to carry a concealed handgun after being slapped with a felony indictment for alleged abuse of power, according to state law. Further, federal law also apparently prohibits the governor from purchasing firearms or ammunition.

The Austin American-Statesman brings up the federal law referred to as 18 USC 922(n):

“It shall be unlawful for any person to sell or otherwise dispose of any firearm or ammunition to any person knowing or having reasonable cause to believe that such person (1) is under indictment for, or has been convicted in any court of a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year.”

Perry, who previously claimed he shot a coyote with a concealed firearm while jogging in 2010, is supposed to have his state-issued concealed carry license revoked if he still has one — at least until his case is concluded.

Assuming Perry’s concealed carry permit has been or will be revoked, he can “reapply two years after the date of revocation,” Reuters reports.

Really? An indictment is an accusation, but we operate under the English system, that demands the accused be considered innocent of a crime until proven guilty. You don’t lose your right to vote when indicted, you don’t lose your rights against unlawful search and seizure, you don’t lose your rights of free speech (2) — why on Earth should you lose your natural right to bear arms for self-defense, a right guaranteed in the Second Amendment? (3) There may be a reason for this when dealing with potentially violent suspects, such as a spouse-abuser, but Perry’s “crime” is a nonviolent case of corruption (4). And then he has to wait two years to get his concealed-carry permit back, even if cleared?

Maybe there’s sound legal and constitutional logic behind these rules suspending a citizen’s constitutional rights, but it sure seems unjust to me.

Footnote:
(1) Insert sarcastic tone as needed.
(2) Unless you happen to be in Wisconsin and find yourself subject to a John Doe investigation.
(3) And before anyone starts babbling about “well-regulated militias,” do some reading.
(4) It’s also utter garbage.


Gov. Perry indictment: when even David Axelrod says it looks weak…

August 16, 2014
"A prosecutor can get a grand jury to indict a ham sandwich"

“A prosecutor can get a grand jury to indict even a ham sandwich”

You might have heard yesterday that a Travis County, Texas, grand jury has indicted Governor Rick Perry for allegedly abusing his powers to try to force the Travis County DA, Rosemary Lehmberg, a convicted drunk driver, to resign.

This is the same “lawfare” strategy that’s been used in recent years to try to destroy the political careers of other Republicans: former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, the late Senator Ted Stevens, and Wisconsin Governor Walker. (In Walker’s case, thankfully, it doesn’t seem to have worked.) I’m sure you can think of others.

The idea is to get charges in the media and drag out the “investigation” and court proceedings long enough to do the needed damage. The legal results don’t matter so much as the public traducing of the target. Even if cleared on all counts, the people will have been treated to months of allegations and rumors and denials, all meriting front page treatment, while the exoneration gets mere passing mention. In the mind of a cynical (but perhaps not cynical enough) public, all those charges must indicate the target was doing something wrong, right? We can’t vote for them, now, right?

But it may not work this time. When even one of President Obama’s closest advisers says publicly that the case looks weak, you know they’ve got problems:

“Sketchy” is being nice. It’s an utter BS charge, a perversion of the legal process designed to take down a strong potential 2016 candidate. The Governor was clearly acting within his authority under the Texas constitution, in this case vetoing money for the state’s Public Integrity Unit to force a personnel change: the removal of the convicted drunk driver District Attorney who heads the office.

Let’s keep our fingers crossed that this gets resolved quickly in Governor Perry’s favor.


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 13,787 other followers