Friday, August 30, 2013

Cruising the Web

Ilya Somin ponders whether a U.S. military intervention in Syria would be Constitutional. Jack Goldsmith, who served in the Office of Legal Counsel for George W. Bush, wonders why President Obama doesn't go to Congress since he himself has said he'd never use military force without Congressional authorization except in self-defense. Of course, that was before he became president. And now Obama has publicly stated that he would take only a "limited, tailored" action against Syria and that he just wants to "send a shot across the bows saying, stop doing this." Think about that - he is stating that he wants to take a military action and deliberately miss the target. Or maybe, he is so ignorant that he doesn't know what the expression "shot across the bow" means. But for a president whose own careless speech about a "red line" has gotten us to the point that doing something about Assad has now become a test of the United States resolve and credibility.

As Charles Krauthammer writes, there is nothing to be gained from simply sending a warning.
If Obama is planning a message-sending three-day attack, preceded by leaks telling the Syrians to move their important military assets to safety, better that he do nothing. Why run the considerable risk if nothing important is changed?

....Last year Obama told us repeatedly that the tide of war is receding. This year, he grandly declared that the entire war on terror “must end.” If he wants Tomahawks to fly, he’d better have a good reason, tell it to the American people and get the support of their representatives in Congress, the way George W. Bush did for both the Afghanistan and Iraq wars.

It’s rather shameful that while the British prime minister recalled Parliament to debate possible airstrikes — late Thursday, Parliament actually voted down British participation — Obama has made not a gesture in that direction.

If you are going to do this, Mr. President, do it constitutionally. And seriously. This is not about you and your conscience. It’s about applying American power to do precisely what you now deny this is about — helping Assad go, as you told the world he must.

Otherwise, just send Assad a text message. You might incur a roaming charge, but it’s still cheaper than a three-day, highly telegraphed, perfectly useless demonstration strike.
My question is what challenge, besides impeachment, could Congress make if they wanted to require the President to go to Congress before launching any sort of missiles at Syria. Obama seems to have found the corners in the Constitution that allow him to act without Congressional support for all sorts of executive action. I don't want to limit a president's scope of action and feel that a president can take military action without Congressional authorization. But with this long lead-up to actual action, there is time to seek that authorization or at least consultation. Obama should force the members of Congress to go on the record. Is the only reason not to seek such authorization simply because he thinks it would be voted down?

Kimberley Strassel challenges Congressional Republicans to move to block the White House's unilateral decision to make a special deal for Congress and their staffs to subsidize their purchases in Obamacare exchanges. Force the Democrats to publicly defend the special conditions for themselves and their staff. Or could it be that the Congressional GOP like getting the benefits without having had to ask for them.

James Taranto has a lot of fun with logical fallacies of the Slate columnist who wrote that a parent who doesn't send their kids to public schools is "a bad person."

Here are some quizzes to see how much you understand about the new North Carolina elections law. The first question in this quiz explains the reasoning behind ending pre-registration for 17 and 16-year olds which had been the one element of the new law that had mystified me. I teach students that age and we have had pre-registration drives at our school for the past few years and I'd found it heartening to see how excited kids have gotten about registering to vote.

The IRS is continuing their pursuit of tea party groups.

For all those liberals who have their panties in a knot about supposedly racist sports mascot names that reference Native Americans, shouldn't they also be upset about those mascot names that reinforce derogatory stereotypes about whites.

Who knew that William Faulkner was such a talented artist? Here are some drawings that he did to accompany a poetry collection, The Marble Faun. And check out this drawing. It's a rather telling drawing for the roaring twenties and not at all the William Faulkner one usually thinks of.

This is fun - vexillogy and food together.