jump to navigation

Where’s the Outrage? May 26, 2011

Posted by Dr. Robert Owens in Uncategorized.
Tags: , , , , ,
3 comments

In the best line of a lackluster campaign Bob Dole challenged the voters who were swallowing the liberal line of the Corporations Once Known as the Mainstream Media.  At the time they were carrying the water for Bill Clinton in the 1996 election.  By that time Mr. Clinton’s Bimbo Eruptions and complete lack of ethics had become common knowledge but the unengaged in fly-over country were lapping up the Clinton mantra “Character Doesn’t Matter” and preparing to not vote in droves.

Today we face a crisis that is more pertinent to the beating heart of American liberty than whether or not the President is or is not a morally challenged serial abuser of women or what “is” means.  Today we again face a challenge that was also presented to us by Mr. Clinton twelve years ago when he waged in an unconstitutional wag-the-dog air war against Yugoslavia that even some of his supporters speculated was more about diverting attention from his Oval Office escapades than anything else.

This re-run of Clinton’s war by decree prompts this writer to ask: Who has the right to commit America to war?  Who has the right to send our soldiers into harm’s way?  Does America go to war by the act of Congress or by the whim of the Executive?

In this matter, which strikes at the heart of the American Experiment no one in Congress, except Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich, two polar opposites from the right and the left, had the integrity to ask these questions.  The media totally abdicated its watchdog role.  This is a matter that should be at the forefront of the consciousness of the American people.  We should have risen up and demanded an explanation.  But instead, since our Congressional leaders ignored it and the media treated the only two elected officials who did speak out as if they wore aluminum hats, our fellow citizens hit the mental snooze button, and rolled over to watch a reality show so they could ignore reality.

On March 19, 2011 President Obama’s administration declared war on Libya by launching 112 Tomahawk missiles at targets within the country.  I say the administration declared war because the United States Congress was not consulted.  Congressional leaders weren’t even advised of these acts of war until 90 minutes before the bombs started falling.  And this was not really consultation. Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI), the chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, said “I wouldn’t call it consultation as much as laying it out.”  He [President Obama]had spent time consulting with the U.N. and the Arab League but he couldn’t be bothered with consulting the United States Congress?  Which brings me back to the quote from Bob Dole, “Where’s the outrage?”

The Constitution in Article One Section Eight ever wary of giving the executive too much power gave Congress the exclusive power to declare war.  Ever since Harry Truman decided for domestic political reasons to call a war in Korea that cost 54,229 American lives a Police Action our Presidents have followed the guns and butter policies of peace at home and war abroad.  However; Johnson, Bush I, and Bush II  sought and received Congressional approval before committing America to war in all but name.  Only “Where is the Outrage” Clinton presumed to have the power to wage war by Executive Order.

Today we are faced with an out of control administration that believes it can involve America in a war on the whim of the executive instead of the act of Congress.  They pointed towards the War Powers Act as a fig leaf to cover their actions.  This administration is headed by a lawyer and filled with lawyers, and yet they presumably did not know that the War Powers Act specifically says, “The constitutional powers of the President as Commander-in-Chief to introduce United States Armed Forces into hostilities, or into situations where imminent involvement in hostilities is clearly indicated by the circumstances, are exercised only pursuant to (1) a declaration of war, (2) specific statutory authorization, or (3) a national emergency created by attack upon the United States, its territories or possessions, or its armed forces.”  And it is clear that not one of the three circumstance explicitly named by the Act applied to the situation of our attack upon Libya.

The President has said he doesn’t need Congressional Approval, Corporations Once Known as the Mainstream Media repeats that the President has the authority, and the Justice Department says the president has all the authority he needs for the war in Libya.

However, due to President Obama’s clear circumvention of Congressional approval and his egregious and erroneous appeal to the War Powers Act, I am stating categorically that his attack upon Libya is an abuse of executive power and an unconstitutional action.  This is not my opinion alone.  Many Americans from constitutional law experts to his own liberal Democrats are beginning to say the same thing, which brings me back to the quote from Bob Dole, “Where’s the outrage?”

If this is a blatant abuse of power and an unconstitutional act leading to war I also say this rises to the level of an impeachable offense.  In this I find myself standing for the first time with the most liberal Democrats.  And in another departure from tradition I am also in agreement with Vice President Joe Biden when he said, “launching an attack without congressional approval is an impeachable offense.”   No matter what the administration says, no matter what the media says, we the people need to hold those who would violate the constitutional limitations of our government to account or they will continue to transgress the limits and do whatever they want.

In another quote that seems as relevant today as it was fifteen years ago Senator Dole asked, ”When do the American people rise up and say, ‘Forget the media in America! We’re going to make up our minds! You’re not going to make up our minds!’ This is about saving our country!”

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion for Southside Virginia Community College.  He is the author of the History of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com View the trailer for Dr. Owens’ latest book @ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ypkoS0gGn8 © 2011 Robert R. Owens dr.owens@comcast.net  Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook.

The Constitution Failed May 19, 2011

Posted by Dr. Robert Owens in Uncategorized.
Tags: , , , , ,
3 comments

People often ask me, “How could you write a book entitled The Constitution Failed?”  If the Constitution was written to ensure a limited government and if today we have an unlimited central government my question is, “How can anyone contend that the Constitution hasn’t failed?”

We know that for the last 100 years the Progressives have sought progress by changing the Constitution, which was written to establish unbreakable boundaries for government, without recourse to the amendment process.  The Framers knew that without these boundaries government would grow into a millstone around the neck of the American people.  Instead of a document establishing solid limits the Progressives say it is a living document that can be re-interpreted with each passing year evolving into whatever the current leaders may desire.

Our twin headed Progressive party of power expands and twists the General Welfare, the Commerce, and the Supremacy clauses to sanction any executive, legislative, judicial, or regulatory action they wish to impose whether it’s a welfare state, energy policies, or the mandatory purchase of insurance.  However, nothing is more symbolic of the current irrelevance of the Constitution to our leaders than the utter contempt they hold for the 9th and 10th Amendments.

Back during the original debate to ratify the Constitution these two sentinels of limited government were forced upon the proponents of a strong central government by those much maligned patriots the Anti-Federalists.  The Constitution never would have been ratified without an assurance that the first order of business for the new government would be the ratification of the Bill of Rights.  The capstone of these sacred rights is the 9th and the 10th Amendments which state:

The 9th Amendment, “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”

The 10th Amendment, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

I present the following examples of how our Progressive central government infringes upon the rights of the States and the people:

Term limits:

While in almost every instance that voters have had an opportunity to voice their opinion they have overwhelmingly approved term limits, and the courts have just as consistently overturned the will of the people.  Through ballot initiatives and Constitutional amendments to State Constitutions the people have spoken, but instead of the voice of the people we hear the commands of the elites.

The Supreme Court in a classic five-to-four decision in U.S. Term Limits v. Thornton (1995) said the states don’t have the authority to limit the terms of their own congressional delegations.  They further ruled that unless the Constitution is amended neither the states nor Congress has the power to limit the number of terms members of Congress can serve. Dissenting Justice Clarence Thomas pointed out that the majority ignored the clear meaning of the Tenth Amendment.  Since there is no explicit denial of the power to limit terms to the States in the Constitution the 10th Amendment clearly states this power is reserved to the States.

Immigration:

When the Governor and legislators of Arizona attempted to address the hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants who are pouring over their borders with Mexico each year they first had to admit that the Federal Government was not enforcing their own laws.   After the central government ignored their petitions and pleas for help for years the government of Arizona acted to protect their citizens.

Immediately, the Justice Department sued to block the law, contending it violates the U.S. Constitution.  The Arizona law was subsequently struck down by the Federal Courts using the Supremacy Clause for their justification.  Judge Richard Paez, said, “By imposing mandatory obligations on state and local officers, Arizona interferes with the federal government’s authority to implement its priorities and strategies in law enforcement, turning Arizona officers into state-directed [Homeland Security] agents.”  When it reached the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals a three judge panel said, “Congress has given the federal government sole authority to enforce immigration laws, and that Arizona’s law violates the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution”  The Federal Government has abdicated its responsibility to protect Arizona from invasion and in their opinion a law that requires law enforcement officials to enforce the law goes too far.

The intrusive actions of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA):

Legislators in Texas decided to take action to protect their citizens from what many considered to be overly aggressive pat-downs.  The reaction of the TSA to Texas attempting to protect their citizens from the molestation the Federal l Agency calls a pat-down is indicative of the attitude our central government has towards any infringement of their absolute power.  On their website The TSA Blog the gatekeepers of the air said, “What’s our take on the Texas House of Representatives voting to ban the current TSA pat-down? Well, the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution (Article. VI. Clause 2) prevents states from regulating the federal government.”  This says it all.  As far as our Federal masters are concerned there is no limit to their power.

Obamacare: Mandating action and penalizing inaction:

The Federal Government is attempting to enforce the mandatory purchase provisions of Obamacare alternately as authorized by the Commerce Clause and as a tax, depending on which argument they think a judge will uphold.  This massive invasion of personal liberty is currently being challenged by 28 States as being beyond the bounds of the Constitution.  Currently two judges have ruled it unconstitutional and three have ruled it constitutional.  If this is provision wherein not taking an action is considered either engaging in commerce and thereby subject to regulation or if a non-action is taxable what is left of our precious freedom?  What other non-actions will now be under the power of the government.  If a government can control our non-actions what does that say about their power over our actions?

By ignoring the unambiguous meaning of the 9th and 10th Amendments and by stretching and twisting the meanings of a few vague clauses the Progressive leaders of our Federal government have interpreted our Constitution to mean anything needed to do anything desired.  Once the words lose their meanings, once the sentences can mean anything the Progressives want, what power does the Constitution have to limit government?

Ultimately this is a message of hope because I trust in the ability of the American people to solve any problem they confront.  However, we have to admit there is a problem before we can solve it, and if we refuse to admit there is a problem we have no chance of solving it. The problem is our limited government has become unlimited and does whatever it wants.  How can I say, “The Constitution Failed”?  What I am saying is our system is broken, it is no longer functioning as designed, and we need a re-set button.

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion for Southside Virginia Community College.  He is the author of the History of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com View the trailer for Dr. Owens’ latest book @ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ypkoS0gGn8 © 2011 Robert R. Owens dr.owens@comcast.net  Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook.

A Declaration of Energy Independence May 13, 2011

Posted by Dr. Robert Owens in Uncategorized.
Tags: , , , , ,
add a comment

The rising price of oil has a negative impact on our economy and threatens to stifle our anemic recovery from the government produced and bureaucratically fostered Great Recession.  How did we get here?  Has anyone ever pinpointed the problem beyond blaming speculators and rising demand?  Has anyone shown us how our energy independence could be achieved?

Remember the 1973 oil embargo?  This was our first oil shock.  How did it come about and what did we do about it?  Did these policies solve the problem?

In 1973, the U.S. and the Western world were experiencing an accelerating inflationary spiral. Twenty years of prosperity and accelerating population growth created heavy need for raw materials that were not being produced internally which made them highly vulnerable to commodity cartels. Due to the fall in domestic production mainly because of the powerful man-made global warming lobby the demand for Middle Eastern oil increased. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), formed in 1960, determined to increase its profits at the expense of the West grew stronger.

President Nixon, in an attempt to control inflation imposed price controls on oil in March 1973. The U.S. which has the world’s largest reserves of oil had been self-sufficient in energy up until the late 1950s was by the 1970s importing over 35% of its energy needs.  Through the lack of planning U.S. petroleum reserves were depleted and the pride that goes before a fall led our government, corporations, and individuals to be entirely unprepared for the radical change about to take place.

On the Jewish high holy day of Yom Kippur October 6, 1973,, Egyptian forces attacked Israel across the Suez Canal, while at the same time Syrian troops attacked the Golan Heights. With help from the U.S., Israeli forces succeeded in pushing into both Syria and Egypt until a cease fire saved both Arab regimes.  On October 17, OPEC struck back imposing a total oil embargo on the U.S. and increasing prices by 70% on Western Europe, and overnight the price of a barrel of oil to these nations more than triples going from $3 to $5.11.

This led to a series of presidential statements and actions all aimed at rallying the American people in the face of growing dependency and international impotence in the energy sector.

Richard Nixon said, “Let us set as our national goal, in the spirit of Apollo, with the determination of the Manhattan Project, that by the end of this decade we will have developed the potential to meet our own energy needs without depending on any foreign energy source.”

President Gerald Ford said, “I am recommending a plan to make us invulnerable to cutoffs of foreign oil. … new stand-by emergency programs to achieve the independence we want…”

President Jimmy Carter said, achieving energy independence was the “moral equivalent of war.”

Ronald Reagan, always looking for the free market approach said we should look to, “native American genius, not arbitrary federal policy, to be free to provide for our energy future.”

In 1991, in the prelude to the First Gulf War, President George H.W. Bush announced, “There is no security for the United States in further dependence on foreign oil.”

In 2000, President Clinton said, “The nation’s growing reliance on imports threatens the nation’s security because it increases U.S. vulnerability to oil supply interruptions.”

George W. Bush repeated recent presidential history by insisting, in his 2003 State of the Union address, that one of his administration’s goals was “to promote energy independence for our country.”

Mr. Obama continued the chorus saying, “America’s dependence on oil is one of the most serious threats that our nation has faced.”

Did any President ever have an energy policy which effectively dealt with the problems of oil production and supply?

Reagan said, “The best answer, while conservation is worthy in itself, is to try to make us independent of outside sources to the greatest extent possible for our energy.”

Ronald Reagan also said, “Our national energy plan should not be a rigid set of production and conservation goals dictated by Government. Our primary objective is simply for our citizens to have enough energy, and it is up to them to decide how much energy that is, and in what form and manner it will reach them. When the free market is permitted to work the way it should, millions of individual choices and judgments will produce the proper balance of supply and demand our economy needs. ”

As soon as he became president, Ronald Reagan ended the price controls on domestic oil first imposed by Richard Nixon; these controls had contributed to both the 1973 Oil Crisis and the 1979 Energy Crisis. Almost immediately the price of oil fell, and during the 1980s America didn’t experience the gasoline lines and fuel shortages of the 1970s.  In addition, the removal of price controls ignited a boom in domestic drilling which arrested America’s slide into energy dependence.

As to the energy questions:  How do we end our dependence on foreign oil?  How can we achieve the energy independence which every President since Nixon has said is a matter of national security?  Stop wringing our hands and moaning about our situation, stand up like our ancestors have and boldly declare our Energy Independence!  In practical terms we should: take the shackles off our domestic oil industry, build new refineries, develop better distribution of natural gas, expand the use of nuclear, wind, solar and every conceivable form of energy, and drill baby drill!

Then in this new situation with America reaping the benefits, the jobs, the growth of a renewed sense of freedom and security let’s barter.  One barrel of oil = one bushel of wheat.

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion for Southside Virginia Community College.  He is the author of the History of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com View the trailer for Dr. Owens’ latest book @ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ypkoS0gGn8 © 2011 Robert R. Owens dr.owens@comcast.net  Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook.

It’s Not Over Till It’s Over May 6, 2011

Posted by Dr. Robert Owens in Uncategorized.
Tags: , , , ,
add a comment

The Civil War didn’t end at the First Battle of Bull Run or at the Second for that matter. World War I didn’t end at the First Battle of the Marne or at the Second.  World War II didn’t end at Midway.

After what we now knowingly call Gulf War I we celebrated with ticker-tape parades and fireworks as if we had defeated Hitler, Tojo, and Stalin all wrapped up in one.  Yet a little more than ten years later we had to go back into Iraq to finish the job, and we’re still trying to finish it today.  What should have been an incursion into Afghanistan has lingered on for more than a decade. The sad result of our nation-building in Iraq and Afghanistan will end with Iraq as Iran’s most powerful ally and the Taliban back in power in Kabul.

One persistent question after politically directed wars is, “How do you win every battle and lose a war?”  After sending the brave into Harm’s Way the generalissimos of the home front drag the fighting out by hamstringing the warriors than when war is no longer a vote getter they throw the victory away through peace-at-any-price diplomacy.

I deeply appreciate the heroic scarifies of our troops, and I’m thankful they’ve provided a life of peace and safety for myself and my family.  I celebrate the victories just as I mourn the losses in this long war.  The death of an enemy leader can have momentous impact upon a war.  The death of Attila ended his empire; the death of Hitler would have ended World War II earlier and did end it when it came.  But the death of FDR did not end the war or change the strategy, and the death of Osama Bin Laden will not bring the end to this undeclared war.

The history of irregular warfare didn’t begin with Al-Qaeda.  It didn’t begin with the Viet Cong.  Irregular warfare has existed as long as there has been ill-equipped resistance to far-flung empires.  The United States has battled irregular forces at home and in the far corners of the world since the Indian Wars. We fought irregular forces the first time we faced Islamic terrorists on the shores of Tripoli.  After we conquered the Philippines from Spain we fought irregulars for years finally winning a war the Spanish never could.  We’ve faced irregular forces in Lebanon, Somalia, Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq, and Afghanistan.  In some places we’ve prevailed in others we’ve withdrawn.  At times we’ve even used irregular tactics ourselves such as the 3000 volunteers of Merrill’s Marauders who fought behind Japanese lines in Burma during World War II.

A traditional military organization fighting irregular forces is more like trying to herd snakes than nail Jell-o to the wall, it may be hard but it isn’t impossible.  However, the initiative is on the side of the irregulars because they can strike here, there, and everywhere while the regular forces must protect important components of the infrastructure.  Revolutionaries and other disaffected groups using irregular tactics have instinctively followed the advice  of Sun Tzu, “The enemy advances, we retreat; the enemy camps, we harass; the enemy tires, we attack; the enemy retreats, we pursue.”  As the regular forces move into an area the irregulars melt into the population.  The disruptions in the lives of civilians create recruits for the irregulars.  This is the force multiplier of the irregulars.  Every action at suppression brings fresh resources to circumvent future actions.

This will be the inevitable result of the death of Osama Bin Laden.  The immediate aftermath was wild jubilation on the part of a segment of our population, electioneering on the part of the administration, and a gross overestimation of the military significance.  One man does not make a movement and one leader does not encompass the enemy in an irregular war.

This is especially true in the case of Bin Laden and his brain child Al-Qaeda.   This organization is post-modern or perhaps pre-modern in style.  It doesn’t have a pyramid shaped flow-chart.  It doesn’t have a top-down command structure.  In many ways it’s more like a pyramid scheme where every franchise spins off new franchises and they spread out subdividing like amoebas into multiple places and shapes. These autonomous groups and rogue individuals are tied together by beliefs and ideology, united by tactics and strategy but each independent, separated and, anonymous.  No leader knows all the followers and few followers are connected directly to any leader.  These international conspirators are not united by personal contacts or unified by strategic planning; instead they’re forged into an inter-active whole by solidarity of purpose and continuity of world-view.  In such a structure the death of any one person no matter how highly placed or inspirational will not have more than a marginal impact.

As omnipresent and as faceless as the internet and as private and personal as family relations the tenuous filaments of the interlocking terror networks will prove more resilient than expected and more tenuous than imagined.  One man’s life can make a difference in the world, one man’s death rarely does.  Grave yards are filled with indispensable people.

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion for Southside Virginia Community College.  He is the author of the History of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com View the trailer for Dr. Owens’ latest book @ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ypkoS0gGn8 © 2011 Robert R. Owens dr.owens@comcast.net  Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 479 other followers

%d bloggers like this: