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Friday, March 25, 2011

Who May Throw the First Stone?

At this location I blogged about Representative Dennis Kucinich and the question of if President Obama has done something impeachable re conducting military operations in Libya.

In the Comments our fellow Lowellian, Kad Barma, takes me to task for being just another partisan, and thus without standing to comment on this.
And, to be clear, righties pointing fingers at Kucinich right now are the exact thought behind my use of the word "hypocrisy" in the preceding comment. We heard none of them even questioning Dubya's debacles, let alone doing anything about them, and that is far worse than Kucinich merely failing to follow throug
Kad seems to be recommending the John 8:7 approach to picking who can comment on this issue of if the President is pushing the edge of the envelope by ordering military operations over Libya without serious consulatation with the US Congress.
But when they continued asking him, he straightened up and said to them, "Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her."
And that is the situation.  None of us is without sin when it comes to politics.

But, in fact, after we shifted—quite early in the history of our Republic—to parties we still managed to accomplish a lot.  Here in Massachusetts we managed to give Catholics the right to hold office.  We fought a great Civil War over the issue of Slavery and managed to free the Slaves, although there was some backsliding on that issue, into segregation.  We freed Cuba from Spain, but then changed Spanish for US control in the Philippines.  We went against the trusts and brought in regulation of activities like the slaughter of cattle.  We joined Britain and France, and others, and fought a war against an ideology that threatened the liberal thoughts of the day, and then we dealt with a Red Scare.  A decade later we dealt with a Great Depression and then went on to fight that same German ideology one more time.  We got around to giving the Philippines their independence, finally.  Recognizing the terrible things done to Jews, we supported the creation of Israel.  We created the nuclear weapon and managed to keep it under control after using two to end our war with Japan.  Then we dealt with a new Red Scare.  We took humans to the moon.  And we have come a long way in ending segregation, giving more rights to women and taking homosexuality out of the closet.

We have been far from perfect, but we also have not descended into chaos.  When one side or the other takes a move that stands behind the Constitution that action comes back to impact them as well as those it was originally meant for.  The War Powers Act was not just against President Nixon, but goes back to President Johnson and President Kennedy and perhaps even Presidents Eisenhower, Truman and Roosevelt.  All had their fingers in what evolved in Viet-nam.

Since I left the Service, after almost 30 years (plus four years as an Air Force Academy Cadet), I moved to Lowell and eventually registered as a Republican.  By that act I didn't defile my name or lose my right to have an opinion.

I believe that our Founding Fathers put the power to declare war with the US Congress for a reason and a good one.  I also realize that from time to time the "Commander-in-Chief" must act before he can get permission from the US Congress.  But, because that power is so terrible it is vital to our democracy that the President, whenever possible, seek approval from the US Congress before sending our troops into action or into a position from which action may be required.

In this instance the President says that he didn't have time to consult to the US Congress:
Muammar Qadhafi was provided a very clear message that a cease-fire must be implemented immediately. The international community made clear that all attacks against civilians had to stop; Qadhafi had to stop his forces from advancing on Benghazi; pull them back from Ajdabiya, Misrata, and Zawiya; and establish water, electricity, and gas supplies to all areas. Finally, humanitarian assistance had to be allowed to reach the people of Libya.
The President makes a strong case, and he is following the rules of the War Powers Act, although not admitting to its constitutionality.
For these purposes, I have directed these actions, which are in the national security and foreign policy interests of the United States, pursuant to my constitutional authority to conduct U.S. foreign relations and as Commander in Chief and Chief Executive.

I am providing this report as part of my efforts to keep the Congress fully informed, consistent with the War Powers Resolution. I appreciate the support of the Congress in this action.
And, like the President, I assert my right to complain about this issue pursuant to my constitutional authority to exercise free speech and as a Citizen and a free man.

And, with some sense of humor.

Regards  —  Cliff

  Let us be quite clear here.  The President made the deadline for a formal notification to the US Congress, which he did with this letter.
  Which leads to this punchline...Silence -- then a stone came flying from the crowd, and Jesus turned around saying "C'mon, Mom, I'm trying to make a point here...".  The reason that actually doesn't float is because the first stone throwers are supposed to be the witnesses to the act.  (Deut 17:7)


Craig H said...

I make no distinction between "worse" and "far worse"--only the observation that both are bad. My pique on this Kucinich thing is that he, alone among sitting Congresspeople, has advanced a discussion of impeachment in even the slightest way against the President of his own party. Can you not see how unique this is, and how undeserving of partisan criticism ahead of what needs to be said about the other 400+ smug say-and-do-nothings?

Rather than a "first stone" situation, I would suggest this is an opportunity to reflect on why criticisms are so remarkably predictable along party lines and no others. D's should call out other D's to insist on better behavior of their party. It's more effective that way. (No D ever listens to an R--you know that). R's the same.

Until then, every time an R gets up to lob pot shots at a D, it only distracts from the actual possibility of discourse. If the R's were insisting on talking about the real point at hand, which is the War Powers Act, that might be appropriate. That they're flapping gums at a D who is suggesting we talk about the War Powers Act, it's actually lessening the possibility that something better might be decided, not increasing it.

And that's a shame, and a shame on everyone who has jumped on that bandwagon at the expense of better discussions.

C R Krieger said...

Rep Dennis Kucinich shows the great degree of elasticity in our political parties.  I didn't write to pick on Rep Kucinich (If it was all about fun I would have picked someone with an easier name to spell).  I wrote to bring up the issue of the separation of powers and the deference of the President to the Enumerated Powers of the Congress.  The fact that The Honorable Mr Kucinich was the only one to break the horizon on this issue made him useful.

But, he is not alone in raising questions, as this Politico paragraph shows:

"Reps. Jerrold Nadler (N.Y.), Donna Edwards (Md.), Mike Capuano (Mass.), Dennis Kucinich (Ohio), Maxine Waters (Calif.), Rob Andrews (N.J.), Sheila Jackson Lee (Texas), Barbara Lee (Calif.) and Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D.C.) “all strongly raised objections to the constitutionality of the president’s actions” during that call, said two Democratic lawmakers who took part."

Any hypocrisy is from those who would have gone after "W" but are ducking this one.  But, it is with a little "h" and not a big "H".

At the end of the day this issue is NOT about Ds and Rs, but about the US Constitution.

Regards  —  Cliff

Craig H said...

So you would suggest no hypocrisy on the part of those complicit-via-silence in Dubya's follies, but now complaining about the same acts by Obama? Only hypocrisy by those who jeered at Bush but now fine with Obama's homage-by-imitation?

Your headline was "Dennis Wimps Out", and if that's not picking on Mr. Kucinich, then I'd be interested to here you explain what actual picking might look like.