Archive for February, 2014

History stands … before US !

Friday, February 21st, 2014

Thanks to: TEAParty.org

Obama Nation

February 19, 2014

Holder can’t justify


Obama’s executive actions


(Breitbart) – Attorney General Eric Holder flubbed a question from Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) that is of vital importance to the rule of law.

While the Constitution allows – and sometimes requires – executive action on many matters, President Barack Obama has asserted executive authority in unprecedented ways. When Lee asked why one of Obama’s orders does not violate the Constitution, Holder – the chief legal officer of the nation – had no answer.

During a Senate oversight hearing, Lee asked Holder by what legal authority Obama suspended Obamacare’s employer mandate, which covers all companies with 50 or more employees. Holder admitted that he had no ready answer, that there were legal memos on this subject, but that he could not recall what they said. Lee sharply criticized this lack of an answer and requested that Holder provide to the committee copies of the legal memos making the case for Obama to be able to do this.

Video shows the details of the exchange, in which Holder said the President was on the strongest footing of taking action that changes the law governing the country.

Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution specifies the oath a person must take before he can exercise the powers of the presidency. As Obama has said twice, “I, Barack Hussein Obama, do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

There are two elements: faithful execution and upholding the Constitution. Article II, Section 3 then explains what faithfully executing the office means, specifically imposing upon each president the duty that “he shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.” This means the president will adhere to each provision of the Constitution, enforce and administer all federal statutes and treaties, and defend those laws if they are challenged in court.

As I explore in my academic work “Take Care, Now,” forthcoming this spring in theHarvard Journal of Law & Public Policy, the Framers of the Constitution included the Take Care Clause to address a profound threat to a nation under the rule of law. The British king would sometimes exercise what was called the Royal Prerogative, whereby he would simply decline to uphold certain provisions of an Act of Parliament when he decided enforcement was unwarranted, or when it became politically inconvenient.

That is what Obama is doing. As my previous reporting explains in greater detail, the employer mandate is essential to the entire Affordable Care Act’s running as it is designed, and it does not permit anyone – including the president – to alter its requirements or waive its penalties.

The Take Care Clause requires the American head of state to carry out every Act of Congress adopted by the American people’s elected legislators. It also requires the president to obey every provision in the Constitution, giving full force to all of its powers and never stepping beyond any of its limitations.

Executive orders are more than just allowed by the Constitution; they are required by it. That’s because they are the means whereby presidents instruct their department heads and agencies specifically how to carry out certain programs and administer provisions in certain laws. They are part of faithfully executing laws made by Congress.

However, they are not presidential lawmaking, because that would be illegal. Article I, Section 1 of the Constitution provides that all legislative power is vested in Congress alone. Congress makes the laws, and the president enforces those laws. He can never make those laws.

It is even worse here, as Obama is lawmaking by negative. As I’ve previously written, you completely rewrite – or completely nullify – a law if you decline to enforce certain provisions in that law.

Similarly, executive agencies have always issued regulations to implement federal laws. In fact, many executive orders are nothing more than a president’s ordering an agency to develop new regulations to do a more effective job of carrying out a federal law. Those regulations carry the force of law.

Ever since FDR’s New Deal, new agencies have promulgated regulations that are substantive rather than just procedural. They look like mini-laws, instead of a play-by-play manual of how-to steps for carrying out Congress’s laws. For the past 80 years, the Supreme Court has struck down regulations that cross the line into lawmaking, and courts will regularly interpret regulations however narrowly is necessary to keep them within the boundaries of what Congress has authorized.

Obama has taken the problem of executive overreach to a new level, however. At least, even with federal regulations, an agency must go through a long process of public notice and receiving public comment before issuing regulations, and those rules can be taken to court under the Administrative Procedure Act, and “set aside” by the court if those regulations are “arbitrary or capricious,” “in excess of statutory jurisdiction, authority, or limitations,” or “otherwise not in accordance with law.”

By contrast, Obama is simply declaring things to be laws through executive orders that are not authorized by any Act of Congress. It fits a larger pattern, such as his agencies’ claiming the power to tell churches whom their ministers and leaders will be, proclaiming the U.S. Senate to be in recess when the Senate is in session so that Obama can make top-level appointments without Senate approval, and ordering Christian companies and Catholic charities to offer healthcare related to abortion. It is lawmaking through executive fiat.

Yet Holder cannot explain why the Constitution does not forbid what Obama is doing, or instead if Obama has actually created an imperial presidency. By not even having an answer ready, one has to wonder if he even considered this critically important question.

Then again, Holder serves under a president who at Monticello on Feb. 10 gave as a one-line summary of what being president means, “I can do whatever I want.” So is anyone surprised anymore?

http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2014/02/19/Holder-Can-t-Explain-If-Constitution-Allows-Obama-s-Executive-Actions

Will … We … be next ?

Thursday, February 13th, 2014

Washington Orchestrated Protests

Are Destabilizing Ukraine


By: pcr3| February 12, 2014 | Categories: Articles & Columns | Tags: Nuland, Russia, Ukraine, | Print This Article Print This Article

Paul Craig Roberts

The protests in the western Ukraine are organized by the CIA, the US State Department, and by Washington- and EU-financed Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) that work in conjunction with the CIA and State Department. The purpose of the protests is to overturn the decision by the independent government of Ukraine not to join the EU.

The US and EU were initially cooperating in the effort to destroy the independence of Ukraine and make it a subservient entity to the EU government in Brussels. For the EU government, the goal is to expand the EU. For Washington the purposes are to make Ukraine available for looting by US banks and corporations and to bring Ukraine into NATO so that Washington can gain more military bases on Russia’s frontier. There are three countries in the world that are in the way of Washington’s hegemony over the world–Russia, China, and Iran. Each of these countries is targeted by Washington for overthrow or for their sovereignty to be degraded by propaganda and US military bases that leave the countries vulnerable to attack, thus coercing them into accepting Washington’s will.

The problem that has arisen between the US and EU with regard to Ukraine is that Europeans have realized that the takeover of Ukraine is a direct threat to Russia, which can cut Europe off from oil and natural gas, and if there is war completely destroy Europe. Consequently, the EU became willing to stop provoking the Ukraine protests.

The response of the neoconservative, Victoria Nuland, appointed Assistant Secretary of State by the duplicitous Obama, was “fuck the EU,” as she proceeded to describe the members of the Ukraine government that Washington tended to impose on a people so unaware as to believe that they are achieving independence by rushing into Washington’s arms. I once thought that no population could be as unaware as the US population. But I was wrong. Western Ukrainians are more unaware than Americans.

The orchestration of the “crisis” in Ukraine is easy. The neoconservative Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland told the National Press Club in Washington on December 13, 2013, that the US has “invested” $5 billion in agitation in Ukraine. http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article37599.htm

The crisis essentially resides in western Ukraine where romantic ideas about Russian oppression are strong and the population is less Russian than in the eastern Ukraine.

The hatred of Russia in western Ukraine is so dysfunctional that the duped protesters are unaware that joining the EU means the end of Ukraine independence and rule by the EU bureaucrats in Brussels, the European Central Bank, and US corporations. Perhaps Ukraine is two countries. The western half could be given to the EU and US corporations, and the eastern half could be reincorporated as part of Russia, where the entire Ukraine resided for as long as the US has existed.

The disaffection from Russia that exists in western Ukraine makes it easy for the EU and US to cause trouble. Those in Washington and Europe who wish to destroy Ukraine’s independence portray an independent Ukraine as a hostage of Russia, while a Ukraine in the EU is allegedly under the protection of the US and Europe. The large sums of money that Washington funnels into NGOs in Ukraine propagate this idea and work the population into a mindless frenzy. I have never in my life witnessed people as mindless as the Ukrainian protesters who are destroying the independence of their country.

The US- and EU-financed NGOs are fifth columns designed to destroy the independence of the countries in which they operate. Some pretend to be “human rights organizations.” Others indoctrinate people under cover of “education programs” and “building democracy.” Others, especially those run by the CIA, specialize in provocations such as “Pussy Riot.” Few if any of these NGOs are legitimate. But they are arrogant. The head of one of the NGOs announced prior to the Iranian elections in which Mousavi was Washington’s and the CIA’s candidate that the election would result in a Green Revolution. He knew this in advance, because he had helped to finance it with US taxpayer dollars. I wrote about it at the time. It can be found on my website, www.paulcraigroberts.org and in my just published book, How America Was Lost.

The Ukrainian “protesters” have been violent, but the police have been restrained. Washington has a vested interest in keeping the protests going in the hopes of turning the protests into revolt so that Washington can grab Ukraine. This week the US House of Representatives passed a resolution threatening sanctions should the violent protests be put down by the police.

In other words, if the Ukrainian police behave toward violent protesters in the way that US police behave toward peaceful protesters, it is reason for Washington to interfere in the internal affairs of Ukraine. Washington is using the protests to destroy the independence of Ukraine and has ready the list of puppets that Washington intends to install as Ukraine’s next government.

The truth about … America’s Lies !

Wednesday, February 5th, 2014

William Blum


Official website of the author, historian, and U.S. foreign policy critic.

The Anti-Empire Report #125

By William Blum – Published February 4th, 2014

http://williamblum.org/aer/read/12526

“Bias in favor of the orthodox is frequently mistaken for ‘objectivity’. Departures from this ideological orthodoxy are themselves dismissed as ideological.” – Michael Parenti

An exchange in January with Paul Farhi, Washington Post columnist, about coverage of US foreign policy:

Dear Mr. Farhi,

Now that you’ve done a study of al-Jazeera’s political bias in supporting Mohamed Morsi in Egypt, is it perhaps now time for a study of the US mass media’s bias on US foreign policy? And if you doubt the extent and depth of this bias, consider this:

There are more than 1,400 daily newspapers in the United States. Can you name a single paper, or a single TV network, that was unequivocally opposed to the American wars carried out against Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan, Yugoslavia, Panama, Grenada, and Vietnam? Or even opposed to any two of these wars? How about one? In 1968, six years into the Vietnam war, the Boston Globe http://williamblum.org/aer/read/125surveyed the editorial positions of 39 leading US papers concerning the war and found that “none advocated a pull-out”.

Now, can you name an American daily newspaper or TV network that more or less gives any support to any US government ODE (Officially Designated Enemy)? Like Hugo Chávez of Venezuela or his successor, Nicolás Maduro; Fidel or Raúl Castro of Cuba; Bashar al-Assad of Syria; Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran; Rafael Correa of Ecuador; or Evo Morales of Bolivia? I mean that presents the ODE’s point of view in a reasonably fair manner most of the time? Or any ODE of the recent past like Slobodan Milosevic of Serbia, Moammar Gaddafi of Libya, Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, or Jean-Bertrand Aristide of Haiti?

Who in the mainstream media supports Hamas of Gaza? Or Hezbollah of Lebanon? Who in the mainstream media is outspokenly critical of Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians? And keeps his or her job?

Who in the mainstream media treats Julian Assange or Chelsea Manning as the heroes they are?

And this same mainstream media tell us that Cuba, Venezuela, Ecuador, et al. do not have a real opposition media.

The ideology of the American mainstream media is the belief that they don’t have any ideology; that they are instead what they call “objective”. I submit that there is something more important in journalism than objectivity. It is capturing the essence, or the truth, if you will, with the proper context and history. This can, as well, serve as “enlightenment”.

It’s been said that the political spectrum concerning US foreign policy in the America mainstream media “runs the gamut from A to B”.

Sincerely, William Blum, Washington, DC

(followed by some of my writing credentials)

Reply from Paul Farhi:

I think you’re conflating news coverage with editorial policy. They are not the same. What a newspaper advocates on its editorial page (the Vietnam example you cite) isn’t the same as what or how the story is covered in the news columns. News MAY have some advocacy in it, but it’s not supposed to, and not nearly as overt or blatant as an editorial or opinion column. Go back over all of your ODE examples and ask yourself if the news coverage was the same as the opinions about those ODEs. In most cases. I doubt it was.

Dear Mr. Farhi,

Thank you for your remarkably prompt answer.

Your point about the difference between news coverage and editorial policy is important, but the fact is, as a daily, and careful, reader of the Post for the past 20 years I can attest to the extensive bias in its foreign policy coverage in the areas I listed. Juan Ferrero in Latin America and Kathy Lally in the Mideast are but two prime examples. The bias, most commonly, is one of omission more than commission; which is to say it’s what they leave out that distorts the news more than any factual errors or out-and-out lies. My Anti-Empire Report contains many examples of these omissions, as well as some errors of commission.

Incidentally, since 1995 I have written dozens of letters to the Post pointing out errors in foreign-policy coverage. Not one has been printed.

Happy New Year

I present here an extreme example of bias by omission, in the entire American mainstream media: In my last report I wrote of the committee appointed by the president to study NSA abuses – Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies – which actually came up with a few unexpected recommendations in its report presented December 13, the most interesting of which perhaps are these two:

“Governments should not use surveillance to steal industry secrets to advantage their domestic industry.”

“Governments should not use their offensive cyber capabilities to change the amounts held in financial accounts or otherwise manipulate the financial systems.”

So what do we have here? The NSA being used to steal industrial secrets; nothing to do with fighting terrorism. And the NSA stealing money and otherwise sabotaging unnamed financial systems, which may also represent gaining industrial advantage for the United States.

Long-time readers of this report may have come to the realization that I’m not an ecstatic admirer of US foreign policy. But this stuff shocks even me. It’s the gross pettiness of “The World’s Only Superpower”.

A careful search of the extensive Lexis-Nexis database failed to turn up a single American mainstream media source, print or broadcast, that mentioned this revelation. I found it only on those websites which carried my report, plus three other sites: Techdirt, Lawfare, and Crikey (First Digital Media).

For another very interesting and extreme example of bias by omission, as well as commission, very typical of US foreign policy coverage in the mainstream media: First read the January 31, page one, Washington Post article making fun of socialism in Venezuela and Cuba.

Then read the response from two Americans who have spent a lot of time in Venezuela, are fluent in Spanish, and whose opinions about the article I solicited.

I lived in Chile during the 1972-73 period under Salvadore Allende and his Socialist Party. The conservative Chilean media’s sarcastic claims at the time about shortages and socialist incompetence were identical to what we’ve been seeing for years in the United States concerning Venezuela and Cuba. The Washington Post article on Venezuela referred to above could have been lifted out of Chile’s El Mercurio, 1973.

[Note to readers: Please do not send me the usual complaints about my using the name “America(n)” to refer to “The United States”. I find it to be a meaningless issue, if not plain silly.]

JFK, RFK, and some myths about US foreign policy

On April 30, 1964, five months after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, his brother, Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, was interviewed by John B. Martin in one of a series of oral history sessions with RFK. Part of the interview appears in the book “JFK Conservative” by Ira Stoll, published three months ago. (pages 192-3)

RFK: The president … had a strong, overwhelming reason for being in Vietnam and that we should win the war in Vietnam.

MARTIN: What was the overwhelming reason?

RFK: Just the loss of all of Southeast Asia if you lost Vietnam. I think everybody was quite clear that the rest of Southeast Asia would fall.

MARTIN: What if it did?

RFK: Just have profound effects as far as our position throughout the world, and our position in a rather vital part of the world. Also it would affect what happened in India, of course, which in turn has an effect on the Middle East. Just as it would have, everybody felt, a very adverse effect. It would have an effect on Indonesia, hundred million population. All of those countries would be affected by the fall of Vietnam to the Communists.

MARTIN: There was never any consideration given to pulling out?

RFK: No.

MARTIN: … The president was convinced that we had to keep, had to stay in there …

RFK: Yes.

MARTIN: … And couldn’t lose it.

RFK: Yes.

These remarks are rather instructive from several points of view:

  1. Robert Kennedy contradicts the many people who are convinced that, had he lived, JFK would have brought the US involvement in Vietnam to a fairly prompt end, instead of it continuing for ten more terrible years. The author, Stoll, quotes a few of these people. And these other statements are just as convincing as RFK’s statements presented here. And if that is not confusing enough, Stoll then quotes RFK himself in 1967 speaking unmistakably in support of the war.

It appears that we’ll never know with any kind of certainty what would have happened if JFK had not been assassinated, but I still go by his Cold War record in concluding that US foreign policy would have continued along its imperial, anti-communist path. In Kennedy’s short time in office the United States unleashed many different types of hostility, from attempts to overthrow governments and suppress political movements to assassination attempts against leaders and actual military combat; with one or more of these occurring in Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, British Guiana, Iraq, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Cuba and Brazil.

  1. “Just have profound effects as far as our position throughout the world, and our position in a rather vital part of the world.”

Ah yes, a vital part of the world. Has there ever been any part of the world, or any country, that the US has intervened in that was not vital? Vital to American interests? Vital to our national security? Of great strategic importance? Here’s President Carter in his 1980 State of the Union Address: “An attempt by any outside force to gain control of the Persian Gulf region will be regarded as an assault on the vital interests of the United States of America”.

“What a country calls its vital economic interests are not the things which enable its citizens to live, but the things which enable it to make war.” – Simone Weil (1909-1943), French philosopher

  1. If the US lost Vietnam “everybody was quite clear that the rest of Southeast Asia would fall.”

As I once wrote:

Thus it was that the worst of Washington’s fears had come to pass: All of Indochina – Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos – had fallen to the Communists. During the initial period of US involvement in Indochina in the 1950s, John Foster Dulles, Dwight Eisenhower and other American officials regularly issued doomsday pronouncements of the type known as the “Domino Theory”, warning that if Indochina should fall, other nations in Asia would topple over as well. In one instance, President Eisenhower listed no less than Taiwan, Australia, New Zealand, the Philippines and Indonesia amongst the anticipated “falling dominos”. http://williamblum.org/aer/read/125

Such warnings were repeated periodically over the next decade by succeeding administrations and other supporters of US policy in Indochina as a key argument in defense of such policy. The fact that these ominous predictions turned out to have no basis in reality did not deter Washington officialdom from promulgating the same dogma up until the 1990s about almost each new world “trouble-spot”, testimony to their unshakable faith in the existence and inter-workings of the International Communist Conspiracy.

Killing suicide

Suicide bombers have become an international tragedy. One can not sit in a restaurant or wait for a bus or go for a walk downtown, in Afghanistan or Pakistan or Iraq or Russia or Syria and elsewhere without fearing for one’s life from a person walking innocently by or a car that just quietly parked nearby. The Pentagon has been working for years to devise a means of countering this powerful weapon.

As far as we know, they haven’t come up with anything. So I’d like to suggest a possible solution. Go to the very source. Flood selected Islamic societies with this message: “There is no heavenly reward for dying a martyr. There are no 72 beautiful virgins waiting to reward you for giving your life for jihad. No virgins at all. No sex at all.”

Using every means of communication, from Facebook to skywriting, from billboards to television, plant the seed of doubt, perhaps the very first such seed the young men have ever experienced. As some wise anonymous soul once wrote:

A person is unambivalent only with regard to those few beliefs, attitudes and characteristics which are truly universal in his experience. Thus a man might believe that the world is flat without really being aware that he did so – if everyone in his society shared the assumption. The flatness of the world would be simply a “self-evident” fact. But if he once became conscious of thinking that the world is flat, he would be capable of conceiving that it might be otherwise. He might then be spurred to invent elaborate proofs of its flatness, but he would have lost the innocence of absolute and unambivalent belief.

We have to capture the minds of these suicide bombers. At the same time we can work on our own soldiers. Making them fully conscious of their belief, their precious belief, that their government means well, that they’re fighting for freedom and democracy, and for that thing called “American exceptionalism”. It could save them from committing their own form of suicide.

http://williamblum.org/aer/read/12526

Notes

  1. Boston Globe, February 18, 1968, p.2-A
  2. New York Times, April 8, 1954

Any part of this report may be disseminated without permission, provided attribution to William Blum as author and a link to this website are given.

Issue #124

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William Blum is an author, historian, and renowned critic of U.S. foreign policy. He is the author of Killing Hope: U.S. Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II and Rogue State: A Guide to the World’s Only Superpower, among others. Read more

To rescue an old man from the clutches of the capitalist imperialist meanies …

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Books by William Blum

America’s Deadliest Export: Democracy

America’s Deadliest Export: Democracy

The Truth About US Foreign Policy and Everything Else

Rogue State

Rogue State

A Guide to the World’s Only Superpower

Killing Hope

Killing Hope

U.S. Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II

Freeing the World to Death

Freeing the World to Death

Essays on the American Empire

West-Bloc Dissident

West-Bloc Dissident

A Cold War Memoir

Send comments, typos found, money, love notes, hate mail, death threats, letter bombs, and anthrax to bblum6@aol.com
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