So Trina's kindly allowed me (Ava) to blog at her site tonight about a hearing we attended. It was the House Foreign Affairs Committee. In the snapshot, C.I. notes Howard Berman, of California, referencing Israel non-stop and how tiring that gets. Let me back that up. When Berman was the Chair (before the 2010 mid-term results), I hated to attend hearings of this Committee. Berman can't shut up about Israel. I have to wonder if he ever realizes how he comes off? No matter what the foreign issue, Berman's first move is to ask how this effects Israel and then to rush to a defense (one in response to a verbal attack or in response to no verbal attack) of Israel.
People talked about Jane Harman when she was in Congress but Jane Harman had nothing on Howard Berman. Jane Harman came off barely interested in -- or even aware of -- Israel when contrasted with Howard Berman.
We arrived as Berman was doing his "I Love Israel" 'questioning.'
US House Rep Ron Paul has declared he's running for the Republican nomination for president. Click here to visit his website. And you're going to see that link in the snapshot. Why? It doesn't pop up on Google's first ten results for "Ron Paul." We're not supporting Ron Paul or against him, but we will note him because he is currently the only candidate who is against the wars. If you are a Ron Paul supporter, please distribute the link to his presidential campaign site so it will go higher in the results.
We caught the last third of the hearing and Ron Paul had spoken once before we were present.
And I was going to type that I can't note that but I do multiple screens as I type (a trick I learned from C.I.) and, at Ron Paul's official Congressional site, just found that Ron Paul's posted the video of his first remarks at today's hearing on YouTube.
US House Rep Ron Paul: The current office of the legal counsel to our president has said that it was necessary, it was okay to go to war to defend the credibility of the United Nations' Security Council. I think that is an outrage. We're supposed to be defending the Constitution, not the United Nations' Security Council. But this is not new. We did it in Korea. We ignore it sometimes. And now we ignore it in Libya. And the War Powers Resolution which was set up in '73 was supposed to curtail this. Technically, it was legally flawed. But it actually legalized war for 60 days which always drifts into 90. And even our presidents ignore that.
That's just the beginning. If, like me, you weren't present for that, you can stream it at YouTube.
In the second part, US House Rep Ron Paul began by noting, "Certainly today the legal opinion that I just read for the president, that we were obligated to maintain the credibility of the United Nations they're using this as an authority, ambiguities I believe, are very strong here." He then noted he had questions about the bills and, "let us say that your bill was the law of the land. How would the president have been obligated to act differently when it came to Libya?"
US House Rep Christopher Gibson: Given that the stipulations, declaration of war, authorization of force or a national emergency war by attack on the United States its possessions or armed forces or imminent threat of attack was not present, the president would have to have come here and received the ascent from the American people by way of their representatives.
US House Rep Ron Paul: But could you not have said that without your phrase "obligations of treaty?" That doesn't give you that information, right?
US House Rep Christopher Gibson: It's possible. The reason why I have put it in the bill is I don't think -- I don't think this has been discussed enough in our discourse. That we have -- the American people, we have given our word, in seven different pacts between 1947 and 1960, even though there shall be a vote consistent with our Constitutional procedures, let's recognize how weighty that vote would be. We would essentially be voting whether or not we were going to stick by what we said we were going to do. So I mean I think you would agree that that would be a difficult vote to vote no on.
US House Rep Ron Paul: Well I have trouble with it because I think there's going to be more ambiguities. You know I stated earlier that I don't even like the War Powers Resolution because I think it undermines the Constitution and Congressional authority and hasn't done well for us but the one part of it that sort of, it was intended to protect the Congress -- and the reason the presidents all consider the War Powers Resolution unconstitutional because they want more power -- and that is the requirement to report back. So I actually am concerned about removing the fact that they are required to come back in. So if we raise the ambiguity level by saying we can go to war under an interpretation of a treaty then all of the sudden we don't have this extra protection probably makes my case for why do we have this War Powers Respolution but I don't think this strengthens the Congressional position by removing the report back requirement.
Ron Paul is the father of Senator Rand Paul and I believe one of his strongest supporters is Adam Kokesh. And because I believe it helps to have a face to put with it, this is Ron Paul's official photo.
So that's a sample of the issues raised by Ron Paul today and also of the issues the hearing was exploring.
Now here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"