Daily Archives: November 8, 2011

Ron Paul says Obama is practically a dictator

Ron Paul says Obama is practically a dictator — RT

Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul says that these times are frustrating ones for the commander-in-chief, but that doesn’t give Barack Obama an excuse to deviate from the Constitution. According to Paul, President Obama’s role in office is approaching that of a dictatorship. In an open letter issued by Texas Congressman Ron Paul dated November 7, the GOP hopeful calls out the current US president for time and time again misusing his ability to implement executive orders to bypass the system of checks and balances that America’s forefathers inscribed to keep the country in order. Given Obama’s familiarity with the US Constitution — he lectured in it at the University of Chicago Law School for 12 years — Rep. Paul says that the president should know a thing or two about what the document says.

“Getting something done is proving to be a monumental task,” writes Paul. “This may be news to the supposed constitutional scholar who is now our president, but if the political process seems inconvenient to the implementation of his agenda, that is not a flaw in the system. It was designed that way. The drafters of the Constitution intended the default action of government to be inaction. Hopefully, this means actions taken by the government are necessary and proper. If federal laws or executive actions can’t be agreed upon constitutionally- which is to say legally- such laws or actions should be rejected.”

Paul goes on to state the Obama’s handling of constitutional law might be a misstep, but falls in line with the policies implemented by other administrations throughout history. That, however, does not necessitate a precedent that allows the president to ignore the law of the land. Specifically, says Paul, President Obama has increasingly relied on executive orders to enact policies that congressional lawmakers might not agree with the commander-in-chief on.

“The current administration has unabashedly stated that Congress’s unwillingness to pass the president’s jobs bill means that the president will act unilaterally to enact provisions of it piecemeal through Executive Order. Obama explicitly threatens to bypass Congress, thus aggregating the power to make and enforce laws in the executive. This clearly erodes the principles of separation of powers and checks and balances. It brings the modern presidency dangerously close to an elective dictatorship.”

Perhaps most obvious of Obama’s constitutional go arounds is the president-approved US Military operation in Libya in conjunction with NATO forces. The president personally ordered the delivery of thousands of American troops to oust former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi without seeking congressional approval and continued to avoid asking permission to keep the battles waging for months after the fact. As the days of American involvement overseas added up, many lawmakers — Paul included — attacked Obama for being in violation of the War Powers Resolution Act, which specifies that the president must seek approval for long-lasting military involvement. Obama, however, insisted that the Libyan skirmish — in which American drone aircraft launched around 145 missile strikes — did not equate to an actual war.

“If the President cannot present to Congress and the people a convincingly strong case for going to war, then perhaps we should keep the nation at peace, rather than risk our men and women’s lives for ill-defined reasons,” writes Paul.

Paul has repeatedly made the issue of America’s many wars a focal point of his bid for the Republican nomination in 2012. At a GOP debate in September, Paul lectured the crowd on how the ongoing operations that America was involving itself in were driving the country deeper into debt during a time when the deficit was in the trillions.

“We’re in 130 countries. We have 900 bases around the world. We’re going broke,” said Paul.

He added at the time that those very missions — including the one in Libya which the president did not get the okay from Congress for — was detrimental to the future of America.

“If we think that we can do that and not have retaliation, we’re kidding ourselves. We have to be honest with ourselves. What would we do if another country, say, China, did to us what we do to all those countries over there?” he asked.

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Occupy Wall Street plans march to Washington

Occupy Wall Street plans march to Washington — RT

The Occupy Wall Street protests may have already spread to cities across the world, but the movement’s next major migration will be easy to see if you’re on the East Coast anytime soon. Protesters are taking the movement on the road — literally. Starting Wednesday, November 8, protesters in New York City’s Zuccotti Park, the central hub and starting point of the ongoing Occupy Wall Street movement, will be marching hundreds of miles from Lower Manhattan into Washington DC, stopping at smaller occupation-style demonstrations along the way. Organizers on the OccupyWallStreet.org website have revealed plans for Occupy the Highway: The 99 Percent March to Washington. Protesters will be playing in safe, however, and will ditch the major roadways in exchange for more pedestrian-friendly thoroughfares. They intend on leaving New York City Wednesday at noon and plan to march roughly 20 miles a day, stopping along the way in Trenton, Philadelphia, Baltimore and elsewhere before arriving in Washington two weeks later. On November 23, demonstrators intend on arriving in the nation’s capitol in time to march to the White House in protest of that day’s meeting of the Congressional Deficit Reduction Super-Committee, the bipartisan panel that will decide on whether or not to keep Obama’s extension to the Bush-era tax cuts. On their website, organizers write that keeping the cuts on the books will only benefit the richest one percent of Americans in any kind of significant way, so they are hoping that their march will “let the committee know what the 99 percent think about these cuts.” “Join the march to make sure these tax cuts for the richest one percent of Americans are allowed to die!” reads the website. After leaving New York’s Zuccotti Park, marchers will head to Elizabeth, New Jersey before heading south towards DC. Along the way they will stop in New Brunswick, NJ, Wilmington, DE and seven other towns before arriving in Washington. In Philadelphia, PA and Baltimore, MD the group hopes to take a day off of marching to join the Occupy protests happening in those towns. Along the way, organizers hope that others in small towns like Andalusia, PA and Laurel, MD will join them. “A major draw for this march is to encourage more people in rural communities to get involved as well as bring spreading the word along the highway. We are hoping people will join the march along the way; whether for an hour, a day, or the full two weeks, we feel its imperative for OWS to be involved in the historical significance of long distance marches to support, promote, and encourage economic and social equality,” reads the website. Protesters plan on arriving in DC’s McPherson Square, which has served as Washington’s Occupy-hub for over a month now. In recent days, however, tensions have grown beween the DC Police Department and the protesters. On Friday, two demonstrators were ran over following a protest outside a conservative-funded event at the DC Convention Center. Yesterday Police Chief Cathy Lanier would not meet with reporters to discuss the incident but issued a statement saying, “demonstrators have become increasingly confrontational and violent toward uninvolved bystanders and motorists.” OccupyDC organizers, however, insist that it is just the contrary. “The injuries cited by police were perpetrated by others against peaceful Occupy DC protesters – making today’s police statement all the more dishonest,” reads a response from the group.

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Berlusconi to resign after new budget law approved

Berlusconi to resign after new budget law approved — RT

Italian President Giorgio Napolitano has announced the country’s long-ruling Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi will step down from his position after austerity measures are implemented. Earlier in the day, the Prime Minister – who had been in power for two decades – failed to muster an absolute majority in a parliamentary ballot focused on budget reforms. Italy agreed to implement structural reforms during a European Union meeting in Brussels last month. President Napolitano said the reforms must be put in place or risk Italy’s credibility in the international community. Berlusconi’s failure to secure an absolute majority during voting fuelled further calls for him to resign, amid Italy’s struggles to convince investors it can fund itself. Berlusconi won 308 votes in the 630-seat Chamber of Deputies. The lower house had failed to pass the measure in an initial ballot last month, prompting a confidence motion that the premier won on Oct. 14th. Since then, Berlusconi has faced defections that threatened to bring down his government. Even Umberto Bossi, his closest political ally and leader of the party that has kept him in power, urged him to step aside before today’s vote. Opposition lawmakers – and even some of Berlusconi’s supporters – chose to abstain as they did not want to prevent the budget being approved, since it is necessary for the government to function, but equally, they did not want to lend Berlusconi any support.

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Israel: To serve or not to serve?

Israel: To serve or not to serve? — RT

As the Middle East heats up, Israel is at risk of being left short of troops as its increasingly tough talk drives away the very people it needs in order to mount an effective defense. For years, conscription has been the cornerstone of the country’s security policy. But these days, there is a real risk that the Israeli Defense Forces could be left defenseless as recruitment hits an all-time low. “Between the ages of 18 and 40, about 50 per cent of Israeli Jewish males don’t serve in the military,” Professor Yagil Levy, an expert on Israeli military affairs, told RT. Instead of choosing to serve their country, people are choosing to serve themselves. Ronnie Barkan spent most of the year and a half he was in the army trying to convince his superiors to release him on medical grounds. They eventually did – but only after he had wasted months sitting around, he says – doing nothing while in uniform. “I did get drafted for the feeling that I would be a parasite if I wouldn’t. And a couple of months later, I actually realized that my sole responsibility is to humanity. I am first and foremost a human being. I just couldn’t take part any longer in what is called the Israeli Defense Forces, which has nothing to do with defense other than by name,” he said. And a growing number of Israelis agree with him. Neta Friedman, who refused to serve in the IDF, made sure she scored low on her army entrance tests. So instead of serving as a soldier, she is now doing civil service work as an art instructor in a center for the mentally disabled. “I have a lot of friends in the army and I saw how they were when they first came to the army and how they are now. And it’s a lot of brainwashing actually, and they just strip you down from of your identity and make you a soldier,” Friedman explained. Ten years ago, the “Refusenik” movement started in Israel – youngsters refusing to serve in the army on political grounds. Add to that the nearly 15 per cent of potential draftees who do not serve for religious reasons, and a recent series of scandals, including photos of a soldier posing with blindfolded Palestinians, saw public trust in the military decline. One video posted on YouTube declares that a true Israeli does not evade the truth – in other words, a true Israeli avoids conscription. Fifteen or 20 years ago, seeing an advert like this would have been unthinkable. In those days, avoiding military service was something shameful. Now, however, youngsters have role models like actor Leonardo DiCaprio’s former girlfriend, model Bar Rafaeli, who evaded military service and gave conscientious objection legitimacy. “The violation of human rights carried out by Israel, the absolute disrespect of international law – it’s crystal clear. There is no question about it. As far as moral decisions go, it’s not a big dilemma. The only thing to overcome is actually the social pressure,” says Ronnie Barkan. But that social pressure is loosening up, which is why volunteers like Zahava Alon from Shivyon (‘Equality’) organization are trying to stop draft-dodgers by lobbying the government and speaking at schools.She says part of the problem is with the army itself. “It’s very easy to be exempt. If you go to the mental health officer with a letter that you paid for, he doesn’t have the facilities, the money, the time to check if you lied to him or not. He doesn’t want to take the risk,” she says. Studies show that by 2020, the number of military-age Jewish Israelis not serving will be the highest ever – with untold consequences for Israel’s security.

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