The War Powerless Act

Remember what a horrible dictator Bush was, how he arrogantly disregarded any rules that might have constrained his ability to wage endless war wherever and whenever he wanted?  Well, thank goodness we have Team Obama in office now to restore a little humility to the executive branch.  Oh, wait, what’s that?

The White House would forge ahead with military action in Libya even if Congress passed a resolution constraining the mission, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said during a classified briefing to House members Wednesday afternoon.

My favorite part of the article quoted above, though, is this:

The War Powers Act of 1973, passed in the aftermath of the Vietnam War, puts limits on the ability of the President to send American troops into combat areas without congressional approval. Under the act, the President can only send combat troops into battle or into areas where ”imminent” hostilities are likely, for 60 days without either a declaration of war by Congress or a specific congressional mandate.

Seriously, what a fucking joke.  The War Powers Act doesn’t put any limits on the President’s ability to do anything.  Bush was right: the congress is an impotent debating society whose only real function is to sit and roll over at El Presidente’s command.  It exists to give the illusion that the “people’s interests” are represented in Washington, and it’s the same whether there’s a Republican or a Democrat in the white house.  The only difference between Bush and Obama is that Bush was uncouth enough to say it in public.

From the Annals of the Ironically Named

I was at the library last night and I happened to notice, in one of the return carts, a book by Arlen Specter called Passion for Truth.  A book by a politician about how much of a hard on he has for the truth—and a big, thick one at that (the book, not the hard on).  I found this amusing, for obvious reasons, and it got me to thinking that maybe they should do a series along the lines of the for Dummies books.  Here are a few possible titles:

Passion for Freedom, by David Patraeus

Passion for Justice, by Eric Holder

Passion for Losing, by Charlie Sheen

Passion for Education, by Arne Duncan

Passion for Altruism, by Hank Paulson

Passion for Knowledge, Erudition, and a Non-moronic-sounding Nickname, by The Situation

Passion for Women Over the Age of 30, by Donald Trump

Passion for Human Life, by this guy

I think I may have a winner on my hands here.

Door? What door?

I caught a piece on NPR this morning about congressclowns who are concerned that Obama doesn’t have the authority to launch a “humanitarian mission” in Libya without congressional approval.  Nevermind this tired charade about whether this or that is “constitutional.”  Nobody fucking cares about the constitution; it’s a museum piece with no authority over anything.  The thing that got me, though, was when the reporter said that some congressman (from Massachusetts, I think) was worried that this might “open the door” to other foreign interventions in the future.  Open the door?  The door’s wide open.  No, wait, they got rid of that door years ago.  In fact, now that I think about it, the building is gone, too.

Never too young to get them started

Over at The Freeman, Wendy McElroy provides some useful advice about what to do, and—maybe more importantly—what not to do if the police come to question your child. The column was prompted by the recent arrest of an 11-year-old boy for a picture he drew in school. The kid’s parents made the mistake of letting him talk to the police without first contacting a lawyer.

This story reminds me of an encounter I had with the police when I was a kid, maybe 8 or 9 years old. There was a special announcement in school that day warning us about some lick-and-stick tattoos, with pictures of Mickey Mouse or some such image on them, that were allegedly laced with LSD and being peddled to children. I have no idea if this was actually happening or if it was just one of those false rumors that causes a few easily frightened dipshits to make a big stink, but on the way home from school that day, my cousin, who lived across the street, and I went up to every kid we passed and asked them if they wanted some Mickey Mouse tattoos (of course we did; isn’t that what any normal kids would do?). We had a few laughs over our deviousness, no doubt, then parted ways for the night.

Later on, a cop showed up at my house and told me that a kid in the neighborhood said that I tried to sell him drugs. I recall standing on the front porch, with (I think) my dad standing next to me, while the cop asked me if I had any drugs. I told him no, that we had just been told about these Mickey Mouse things at school that day and I had done it as a joke. I don’t recall much else. I’m pretty sure the cop realized he was dealing with nothing more nefarious than a stupid prank and left.

This was in 1979 or so, though, before “zero tolerance” became all the rage. If it had happened today, I probably would have wound up getting cuffed and stuffed and taken down to the local doughnut station and charged with pretending to sell drugs.

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