Archive for category Darfur

The War Power, The Sergeant, the Senator: Treason or Heroism

The Sergeant who some years ago left his post in that unnecessary and unwinnable war in
Afghanistan is either a hero, a traitor, or just a terribly young man in the wrong war at the wrong time. He spent terrible years of torture and probably said things he didn’t really mean.

Some years ago in Vietnam, Senator McCain was shot down over Vietnam, another unconstitutional war, and equally unwinnable war, confessed repeatedly to things he later recanted, once safely in the United States, and is, quite rightly regarded, despite his confessions to American war crimes, a hero. The two cases are not quite completely on all fours, as we say in the law. But the similarity is sufficient to compare with each other and with the undergirding of law.

Presidents, from George Washington to Barack Obama, who are visited by war, either their own or, like Obama, inherited from another (in Obama’s case two other) fools who preceded them, have always had this power. While not yet president, and without this act may well not have become president, Ronald Reagan communicated with Iran, telling them, in effect, just to refuse to deal with Carter on releasing our citizens from the U. S. Embassy in Iran, and await his presidency. Their deal (which killed Jimmie Carter’s hope for a second term and by the way was treason, meriting a firing squad.)

The 30, 60, 90 day notification of Congress is also unconstitutional, but not for the reasons the Republicans and Democrats alike, trumpet. Saint Paul, as I recall, said “this trumpet has an uncertain sound.” And I know he said that some leaders have “zeal without knowledge.” This is Republican and Democratic leaders on steroids, just like my former wife.

The reason the War Powers Act is unconstitutional is not what is now said by either Republicans or Democrats, as I told Joe Biden when he was both Minority Senior member of the Foreign Relations Committee of the Senate and when he was chair. I testified before his committee a few times, and he called me at the law school sometimes to chat about this. The reason is simple. Due to both a few but very senior Democrats and almost all Republicans, Congress forced the Demo’s to give the president 30, 60, or 90 days to play with Congress’ army while he picked his nose. War has not been officially declared since FDR did it in WW2. George Bush (the first) and Colin Powell, in my opinion, got it right, constitutionally, by voting 50-50 in the Senate, and then the Dark Lord, Vice President Cheney, broke the tie and we went to war in Iraq the right way by law; and they had the smarts to stop when their limited mission was accomplished. And until this time, the President, as Commander in Chief, has no constitutional power to use the United States armed forces, save self-defense.

In the Framers’ mind that means only when the United States of America, not our allies, are attacked. For Utahns, the reason J. Reuben Clark, my hero and a great patriot, a rock-ribbed Republican who served under many Republican presidents, served variously as chief legal adviser to the Department of State (then, as an deputy Attorney General on loan from Justice to State,,,,,,now called Legal Adviser to the State Department; and Vice Secretary of State, and Ambassador to Mexico; and advised many presidents between world wars one and two, on all arms control treaties between those to dreadful wars) opposed NATO was because it delegated the war power to a generation not yet born and for the defense of people, and nations, not yet born. Neither the United Nations (Korean War) nor NATO (Ukraine?) can declare war for the United States of America. This is the statement of law, the War Clause, that makes this beyond debate. Remember, that it is also the sole right of Congress: not the President of the United States, nor NATO, nor the United Nations, that decides what constitutes International law, as well. So, both Constitutional Law and International Law, save an attack on the United States, inform us that Congress, not the president or these international bodies, who determines for war or peace.

So screw the people and the Congress and president now living. When the president, any president, has this army to use, that army will never return to Congress’ care. This is unconstitutional because it is an illegal attempt to delegate to the President a plenary power, given exclusively, textually, to the Congress. Like the power over interstate commerce (the road by which most civil rights legislation is constitutional), along with the equal protection and due process of law clauses of the 5th and 14th amendments. It’s as if Congress were to say to Obama, “Say, friend, we’re so damned tired of life in Washington, despite the cherry blossoms, we will do what the Supreme Court does, and reconvene when good weather returns. We’re going to go to Balboa Island, California, where it’s nice and sunny, in ocean or on the beach, and pick our nose and scratch our butts. And better yet, we have one in eight chances not to pick both with the same finger. Even though we’ve proven, time out of mind, that we in Congress cannot chew gum and pick our nose, simultaneously (a great blessing). So, pres., you now have the taxing and the spending power, and we’ll sweeten the loaf by throwing into the pot, since you do have to stick around in this shitty weather, and give you the power also to fund and provide for the Army, Air Force, Coast Guard, and Navy. And don’t sweat it about financing things by the provision in the Constitution that spending bills begin in the House. Since you already have the taxing and spending power, do all this in the White House. P.S. please instruct the Treasury Department to deliver our checks, our salaries, and all the REALLY big bucks from the armaments industry and all those other lobbyists. We really have earned this right by selling our souls to the devil. Have a good life.

I say that both Senator and Soldier are bona fide heroes. Ed Firmage xoxox


The World Watches Bejing Olympics as China Continues its Violations of Human Rights

During the time leading up to the Bejing Olympics, the Chinese government assured the world that the development of human rights would be strengthened. However the Chinese government continues to restrict its citizens’ fundamental rights, including freedom of expression, freedom of association, and freedom of religion. Labor rights, Children’s rights, Women’s rights, and access to health care to patients with HIV/AIDS, a very serious health issue in China, all are also compromised by the restrictions on the people living under the Chinese regime.

Yesterday the Olympics opened in Bejing, amongst its visitors diplomats from around the world, but not without protest.

Imagine the situation: The heads of democracies swarmed to Beijing to participate in opening ceremonies which took place under martial law.
– Yang Jianli, Harvard scholar and Chinese Dissident prevented from returning to China for the event

I’ve referenced more articles and videos in a post today at my Live Journal Blog



Thankful There’s Still Something Left to Burn

If you watch enough TV, ingest too many newspapers, and read a lot of blogs, my own and this one included, you get the impression the world is driving a flaming red Hummer in the fast lane to Hell. That may be true- but it depends on what Hell you’re talking about: the actual ones in Iraq, Darfur, and areas ravaged by climate change and environmental disaster, or the figurative, Dantesque inferno that most people think of when you mention the “H” word. If you’re talking about the actual ones, we’re already there, folks. As for the figurative Hell- well, it’s fun to dream.

All the rose-colored Ray-Bans in the world cannot hide the fact that we are wallowing in self-inflicted misery and our leaders have no clue what to do except how to make it worse. But the literary, Satanic, fire-and-brimstone Hell, which is the most powerful marketing device and brand ever invented, is a goal that many fundamentalists-Christians, Muslims, the lot- have embraced since staging the first human sacrifice and realizing “hey, I kind of enjoy this!” Here then is my Thanksgiving message:

As long as religious and ideological fanatics- the George Bushes, Pat Robertsons, and Ahmadinejads control things, the human vision of life on Earth will be Hell. They created and maintain it to make the rest of us suffer while they work for retirement to that big condo complex in the sky. By not living in the real world but in their utopian dreamscapes, religious fanatics and radical ideologues have turned Earth into a holding cell confining and torturing the guilty- themselves- as well as the good guys: the people who really care about the planet and are fighting to save it.

Think global warming, nuclear war or disease will kill us? Wrong. We’re looking at the killers right now: your representatives in Washington and your state capitol. The leaders of your churches, corporations and media. They blame Satan and “evil” for all our trouble: two things no one has ever been able to prove exist except as human excuses for screwing up. Why do they do that? Sure, to divert us from the real culprits. But perhaps it’s just the courteous acknowledgement of worthy adversaries. After all, it takes one to know one.

Today, I give thanks that there’s still something left for our toxic atmosphere and America’s war machine to burn. The only way Earth survives the Hell religious fanatics and the military-industrial criminal culture have made here is by the sane of the world working quickly and quietly to preserve what home we’ve got left, vigorously fighting the cynical, wealthy, powerful and determined forces of fundamentalism and economic dominion, winning and saving our only habitat. And actually, both sides win: Earth lives and our enemies are driven out- straight to Heaven.

The holidays are the perfect time to start these freaks on the Road to Salvation. Happy Thanksgiving!


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