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Posts tagged ‘Governance’
We established in the previous blog Do we really need the Politician? that the politician as an institution needs to change and together with it, the institutions of the political party and public administration.
Where can we start the change?
Inevitably, we need to evaluate the probable “futures” we can see, compare these with today’s reality and plan a phased transition from today to the future vision, with the minimum of “allergic” reactions, ideally. Equally important is to agree on the fact that no one solution can fit all, as different nations will start from different systems and institutional forms that support them currently so probably localisation of the principals will be needed.
So, “back to the future” and let us see how our vision of post-Democracy could be defined.
Based on current trends and having excluded several incompatible scenarios we can see it as:
- A framework allowing the country’s and the global interests to coexists at least as equal partners
- An environment whereby political parties are groups of thinkers or citizens-members, an evolution of a think tank in combination with an evolved political party, that will never get into power
- Whereby politics and public administration are two distinctly different things
- An environment where policy making is a process of careful impact analysis on the socioeconomic level within a globalised framework
- A socioeconomic environment whereby election circles do not exist but instead
- A process where legislation and policies are approved by the means of a fully electronic process driven by common grounds between the interested non political parties (instead of a majority) and based on impact analysis on both the environmental and social aspects
- An environment where public administration is run in the background funded by a central independent body that is responsible for the country’s fiscal policies, the socioeconomic analysis needed for decision-making and the allocation of funds
- A framework where the citizen rules
- A framework where the economy and the social coexist as equal partners
- An environment whereby public services/resources are distributed equally to all
- An environment that rewards the citizens according to their contribution to society
- A framework within which taxation forms are related to social and environmental contributions
- A system where the politician is used only as a representative of the state in global institutions, as foreign policy leaders, diplomats, ambassadors, institutional entrepreneur, and social lobbyists for new policies and maybe as political philosophers if they are up to it
So, how Democracy 1.1 can look like, what the first step can be to start the journey, from where we are, to where we would like to be?
We believe that societies are currently mature enough to:
- Break the connection between a political party and the country’s governance
- Eliminate party vote in favour of the elected individual
- Separate the politician from the party during elections and vote him on his political manifesto, personal integrity and capability with all of them graded in the vote. When elected they can group into political fractions if they wish
- Reduce the amount of elected politicians
- Progress with (or start if not in place yet) the separation between Politics and Public Administration by assigning Undersecretaries and restructure the Public Administration Structure according to real needs
- Enhance the public consultation principal, by presenting the recommendations of all parties in it as the baseline, for all legislations
- Give gradually-increased gravity to public consultation into regulations affecting the majority of the citizens and national policies
- Transfer to an independent body, away from political groups, the country’s fiscal policy, the socioeconomic analysis needed for decision-making and the allocation of public funds.
- Reduce the central governance and move responsibility to the periphery
- Plan for the transition away from Parliaments
- Change taxation of individuals and enterprises to reflect social and environmental impact
- Eliminate corruption and crime by introducing the electronic only currency (see relevant articles on the subject)
Then sit back and enjoy!
The Gaianomy think-tank
A very interesting and innovative new blog about a brand new socio-economic theory called “Gaianomy” is at this link HERE. I strongly recommend reading and contributing to the articles and visions of this promising think-tank. Please bookmark that blog and print their articles.
Here I shall re-post some of their articles. I am supposed to start with their page About Gaianomy which gives a brief introduction about the theory and the blog; but let me start with another equally interesting but rather sticking article as a prelude, and invite readers to visit their About page.
Do we really need the Politician?
A politician, political leader, or political figure (from Greek “polis“) is an individual who is involved in influencing public policy and decision-making you will read in Wikipedia.
He is, according to online dictionaries, also:
- An expert in politics or political government
- A person who is active in party politics
- A person who holds a political office
- A person skilled in political government or administration; a statesman or stateswoman.
- As well as a seeker or holder of public office, who is more concerned about winning favour or retaining power than about maintaining principles and if I may add
- A professional
As a “species”, they exist in all social environments and all type of government “models”. They exist in organisations, formal institutions, unions and other social forms.
They are a part of the reality we created for ourselves, the people we pay as societies to give us hope, to transform history into fiction, to deceive us in believing in the art of the impossible.
Almost certainly at the end of each “episode”, we call election cycle, they will be those that will receive our anger and hatred, become our excuse, our little trick to evade personal responsibility the “actors” we can blame for all things wrong in the society.
Seeing it from this perspective, one may even sympathise with them and question why they do it. Well, all research in the field suggest that they enter politics for a mixture of reasons but mainly ideological in combination with power seeking, family tradition, vanity, personal indulgence and of course money with the degree varying for each one of them.
It is a tough job we have to admit, a 24/7 one. Do you want to be doing it? I doubt it. Neither do I.
This however is only part of the story, because if you stop perceiving the Politician as person but as a notion, a societal necessity, then the Politician is transformed into a social behavioural pattern and as such an institution!
Mainstream Institutional analysis suggests that every institution (every behavioural pattern) evolved or emerged from something else and according to the Gaianomy Theory is an assembly of other more fundamental and inevitably more ancient institutions.
So what exactly gave “birth” to the Politician?
It is not so hard after all to imagine. If we start from the first tribe settlement in Africa, to a the villages in Mesopotamia, To Egypt, to the kingdoms of East and middle East, to the city states in ancient Greece, to middle age states to today countries and unions we can draw a functional path that this institution had to follow. Add to that, elements from the newly developed Hierarchy of Societal Needs pyramid and …presto.
Leadership, kingship, the elders council…taxation, polis, state, economy, tradition, religion, army…law, legislation… aristocracy, public servant, public administration, democracy, representative, union leader…diplomacy… trade… to name the major ones all contributed.
Now, stop and contemplate. If I was giving you all of the above institutions and was asking you to synthesise them in all possible ways you may probably in between all others found one with the characteristics a Politician as well, the question is though would you keep it as a viable model?
Is this institution really, what we expect of the politician today? What is the ideal model you have in mind? Of course, different countries have different approaches and possibly different requirements but let us take the average democratic state.
What the people expect our politician to be doing?
- Have a political philosophy
- Be knowledgeable and educated
- Know in depth public administration
- Know how the real economy really works
- Being able to legislate
- Be moral enough to care and defend the interests of the citizens in his constituency
- Be a good negotiator
- Be a good diplomat
- Understand the basics in economics and resource management
Probably you expect all of the above to a degree.
Does he necessary have to be?
- A CEO
- An Organisational Analyst
- An expert in HRM
- An expert in Resource Optimisation
- An expert in Process Optimisation
- An expert in Economic Design
- An expert in Organisational Modelling
- An expert in Public Health Management
- A Strategy Consultant
- A Management Senior Consultant
- An expert in Risk Management
- An expert in Constitutional Law
- An expert in Globalisation
- An expert in Commerce & Trade
- An expert in Finance & Banking
- An Investment Senior Consultant maybe
- A Supply Chain Senior Consultant
- An Institutional Analyst
I bet, that your answer will be no and you will be right.
However, this is exactly what a modern democracy operating under capitalism or capitalism bounded socioeconomic models, is demanding /expecting of them and we close our eyes in the obvious fact that they just cannot do it. They may hire consultants and analysts to advise them, but themselves very rarely understand even remotely the basics and based on their nature end up with the wrong decisions most of the times.
Look around, with all countries in debt, several countries and Unions desperately trying to save their economies from collapse, the global fiscal policies in total disarray, decisions that ought to take hours taking months instead, unemployment in its highest in all Western economies…..
What we ask from our politicians, they cannot deliver. (Full stop)
Having someone to blame is always a good thing but, we are in a very gray area currently and we jeopardise the future of the next generation not to mention the planet. You cannot have an omelette without breaking eggs. Is it not time to see things for what they are and grow up?
If you see a country as a Business, the way The Markets do, I wonder, is there a place for the Politician, the Political Party, the Public Administration of the 20th century pre- Markets world or we need to alter these institution and with them the Democracy framework that supports them into something different, something more 21st century?
The source: Gaianomy A new socioeconomic theory & a think-tank.
The Independent published on 18 November 2011 this revealing article written by Stephen Foley.
While ordinary people fret about austerity and jobs, the eurozone’s corridors of power have been undergoing a remarkable transformation
The ascension of Mario Monti to the Italian prime ministership is remarkable for more reasons than it is possible to count. By replacing the scandal-surfing Silvio Berlusconi, Italy has dislodged the undislodgeable. By imposing rule by unelected technocrats, it has suspended the normal rules of democracy, and maybe democracy itself. And by putting a senior adviser at Goldman Sachs in charge of a Western nation, it has taken to new heights the political power of an investment bank that you might have thought was prohibitively politically toxic.
This is the most remarkable thing of all: a giant leap forward for, or perhaps even the successful culmination of, the Goldman Sachs Project.
It is not just Mr Monti. The European Central Bank, another crucial player in the sovereign debt drama, is under ex-Goldman management, and the investment bank’s alumni hold sway in the corridors of power in almost every European nation, as they have done in the US throughout the financial crisis. Until Wednesday, the International Monetary Fund’s European division was also run by a Goldman man, Antonio Borges, who just resigned for personal reasons.
Even before the upheaval in Italy, there was no sign of Goldman Sachs living down its nickname as “the Vampire Squid”, and now that its tentacles reach to the top of the eurozone, sceptical voices are raising questions over its influence. The political decisions taken in the coming weeks will determine if the eurozone can and will pay its debts – and Goldman’s interests are intricately tied up with the answer to that question.
Simon Johnson, the former International Monetary Fund economist, in his book 13 Bankers, argued that Goldman Sachs and the other large banks had become so close to government in the run-up to the financial crisis that the US was effectively an oligarchy. At least European politicians aren’t “bought and paid for” by corporations, as in the US, he says. “Instead what you have in Europe is a shared world-view among the policy elite and the bankers, a shared set of goals and mutual reinforcement of illusions.”
This is The Goldman Sachs Project. Put simply, it is to hug governments close. Every business wants to advance its interests with the regulators that can stymie them and the politicians who can give them a tax break, but this is no mere lobbying effort. Goldman is there to provide advice for governments and to provide financing, to send its people into public service and to dangle lucrative jobs in front of people coming out of government. The Project is to create such a deep exchange of people and ideas and money that it is impossible to tell the difference between the public interest and the Goldman Sachs interest.
Mr Monti is one of Italy’s most eminent economists, and he spent most of his career in academia and thinktankery, but it was when Mr Berlusconi appointed him to the European Commission in 1995 that Goldman Sachs started to get interested in him. First as commissioner for the internal market, and then especially as commissioner for competition, he has made decisions that could make or break the takeover and merger deals that Goldman’s bankers were working on or providing the funding for. Mr Monti also later chaired the Italian Treasury’s committee on the banking and financial system, which set the country’s financial policies.
With these connections, it was natural for Goldman to invite him to join its board of international advisers. The bank’s two dozen-strong international advisers act as informal lobbyists for its interests with the politicians that regulate its work. Other advisers include Otmar Issing who, as a board member of the German Bundesbank and then the European Central Bank, was one of the architects of the euro.
Perhaps the most prominent ex-politician inside the bank is Peter Sutherland, Attorney General of Ireland in the 1980s and another former EU Competition Commissioner. He is now non-executive chairman of Goldman’s UK-based broker-dealer arm, Goldman Sachs International, and until its collapse and nationalisation he was also a non-executive director of Royal Bank of Scotland. He has been a prominent voice within Ireland on its bailout by the EU, arguing that the terms of emergency loans should be eased, so as not to exacerbate the country’s financial woes. The EU agreed to cut Ireland’s interest rate this summer.
Picking up well-connected policymakers on their way out of government is only one half of the Project, sending Goldman alumni into government is the other half. Like Mr Monti, Mario Draghi, who took over as President of the ECB on 1 November, has been in and out of government and in and out of Goldman. He was a member of the World Bank and managing director of the Italian Treasury before spending three years as managing director of Goldman Sachs International between 2002 and 2005 – only to return to government as president of the Italian central bank.
Mr Draghi has been dogged by controversy over the accounting tricks conducted by Italy and other nations on the eurozone periphery as they tried to squeeze into the single currency a decade ago. By using complex derivatives, Italy and Greece were able to slim down the apparent size of their government debt, which euro rules mandated shouldn’t be above 60 per cent of the size of the economy. And the brains behind several of those derivatives were the men and women of Goldman Sachs.
The bank’s traders created a number of financial deals that allowed Greece to raise money to cut its budget deficit immediately, in return for repayments over time. In one deal, Goldman channelled $1bn of funding to the Greek government in 2002 in a transaction called a cross-currency swap. On the other side of the deal, working in the National Bank of Greece, was Petros Christodoulou, who had begun his career at Goldman, and who has been promoted now to head the office managing government Greek debt. Lucas Papademos, now installed as Prime Minister in Greece’s unity government, was a technocrat running the Central Bank of Greece at the time.
Goldman says that the debt reduction achieved by the swaps was negligible in relation to euro rules, but it expressed some regrets over the deals. Gerald Corrigan, a Goldman partner who came to the bank after running the New York branch of the US Federal Reserve, told a UK parliamentary hearing last year: “It is clear with hindsight that the standards of transparency could have been and probably should have been higher.”
When the issue was raised at confirmation hearings in the European Parliament for his job at the ECB, Mr Draghi says he wasn’t involved in the swaps deals either at the Treasury or at Goldman.
It has proved impossible to hold the line on Greece, which under the latest EU proposals is effectively going to default on its debt by asking creditors to take a “voluntary” haircut of 50 per cent on its bonds, but the current consensus in the eurozone is that the creditors of bigger nations like Italy and Spain must be paid in full. These creditors, of course, are the continent’s big banks, and it is their health that is the primary concern of policymakers. The combination of austerity measures imposed by the new technocratic governments in Athens and Rome and the leaders of other eurozone countries, such as Ireland, and rescue funds from the IMF and the largely German-backed European Financial Stability Facility, can all be traced to this consensus.
“My former colleagues at the IMF are running around trying to justify bailouts of €1.5trn-€4trn, but what does that mean?” says Simon Johnson. “It means bailing out the creditors 100 per cent. It is another bank bailout, like in 2008: The mechanism is different, in that this is happening at the sovereign level not the bank level, but the rationale is the same.”
So certain is the financial elite that the banks will be bailed out, that some are placing bet-the-company wagers on just such an outcome. Jon Corzine, a former chief executive of Goldman Sachs, returned to Wall Street last year after almost a decade in politics and took control of a historic firm called MF Global. He placed a $6bn bet with the firm’s money that Italian government bonds will not default.
When the bet was revealed last month, clients and trading partners decided it was too risky to do business with MF Global and the firm collapsed within days. It was one of the ten biggest bankruptcies in US history.
The grave danger is that, if Italy stops paying its debts, creditor banks could be made insolvent. Goldman Sachs, which has written over $2trn of insurance, including an undisclosed amount on eurozone countries’ debt, would not escape unharmed, especially if some of the $2trn of insurance it has purchased on that insurance turns out to be with a bank that has gone under. No bank – and especially not the Vampire Squid – can easily untangle its tentacles from the tentacles of its peers. This is the rationale for the bailouts and the austerity, the reason we are getting more Goldman, not less. The alternative is a second financial crisis, a second economic collapse.
Shared illusions, perhaps? Who would dare test it?
The National Liberal Party (UK) is a political party supporting the principle of National Liberalism.
National Liberals believe that the personal liberty of a nation’s citizens is vitally important and that this freedom is best preserved within the framework of a democratic nation state. A National Liberal will therefore support measures protecting and promoting personal liberty, greater democracy and national independence (see our Three pillars of National liberalism on this site).
The two main achievements of the 19th century were the proliferation of Nation States and the development of Civil Liberties and Individual Rights. Today these achievements are under threat.
Establishment politicians are happy to work towards an unreformed ‘ever closer (European) Union’ or slavishly follow US foreign policy. We now, more than ever, need an independent (and ethical) British foreign policy that follows the dictates of national interest and achieves peace by respecting others interests. Questions of national identity, vital in an era of global migration and globalization, are being ignored. Civil and communal strife in many parts of the world, including the U.K. seem all but inevitable. Yet there is an alternative – the creation of unifying and inclusive national sentiments.
Loss of Liberty
Establishment politicians are using the ‘War on Terror’ to facilitate a growth in a ‘surveillance society’ whilst restricting civil liberties such as freedom of speech and association and the right to privacy. A heavily regulated society does not fit well with our traditions, where the protection of our liberty is often taken for granted and where an Englishman’s home was considered ‘his castle’.
National and Liberal
We must reverse these dangerous trends by helping to protect our treasured freedoms and liberties within the framework of a preserved nation state. We need a fresh and commonsense third alternative to the forces of Conservative and Labour.
Liberty: Independence: Democracy
National Liberals believe that individual liberty and the right to organise social change is essential for human progress – but we believe a Liberal society can only be attained by people sharing an inclusive culture within the framework of an independent national state.
National Liberals believe that national sentiment is intrinsic to mankind and that an independent nation state is a natural building block of human society. As nationalists we believe in the right to self-determination for all nations and reject imperialism.
National Liberals believe that the principal enemy of liberty are Big Brother Governments who are ever ready to abuse their power for selfish ends or lead us to war. They enslave the people in ‘the name of the people’.
National Liberals believe that the antidote to Big Brother Government attacks on liberty and national feeling is by introducing forms of Direct Democracy. By building democratic institutions and voting systems we can ensure the ‘sovereignty of the people’.
National Liberals believe “individuals require a national identity in order to live meaningful autonomous lives” and believe liberal societies need the “stability of national identity in order to function properly”. Both liberty and independent nations need strong democratic institutions to defend them from the corruption of Government.
Spot the Difference!
Both the National Liberals and Liberal Democrats believe in protecting personal liberties. These are important and trying times however for those who wish to preserve that liberty.
A Big Brother state is looming with ID cards imminent, public order restrictions and a growing surveillance culture. Once we have discarded our personal protections, that thousands have fought and died for over the centuries, it will be hard to get them back.
But………….the National Liberals and Liberal Democrats are not the same as we differ on some other fundamental issues. Here are just a few examples:
Liberal Democrats believe in surrendering national sovereignty to bodies such as the EU to the benefit of Big Business and Bureaucrats.
National Liberals however believe that national sentiment is intrinsic to mankind and support the preservation of independent nation states.
Free Trade & Globalisation
Liberal Democrats believe in International Free Trade regardless of the impact on jobs and our Balance of Trade.
National Liberals believe that the resulting ‘Globalisation’ i.e. the mass movement of people and Capital has gone too far and is undermining wages, threatening jobs and exacerbating social tensions.
State Role in Society
Liberal Democrats are ambivalent towards the role of the state in society.
National Liberals oppose too much state control but do believe the state can still play a role in supporting vital sectors of the economy such as the self-employed and small trader as well as helping poorer sections of our people.
Liberal Democrats believe, as with other ‘establishment’ parties, in the primacy of Representative Democracy, in particular the will of Parliament.
National Liberals accept the need for democratic Parliaments and Assemblies but are skeptical of their independence from ‘Big Brother’ Governments and members understanding of the needs of ‘real’ people. We would like to see much greater use of referenda to introduce legislation.
In short the National Liberals re-unite patriotism and popular democracy with liberalism!
See also their stand on the very important issue of:
The normal reactions of most people to Obama’s NATO war against Libya and the subsequent savage and humiliating assassination of Colonel Gaddafi ranged from support to indignation. But let us look at the whole globalist episode from purely African objective perspective. The common mistake made is to be emotional or biased right from the outset which definitely will result in subjective conclusion.
The purpose here is to make Africans answer essential questions. Was the war in Libya between the good against the evil? Or was it between bigger and lesser villains? What are the consequences of regime change in Libya to Africa and Africans? Is it better for Africa and Africans to reverse the course of events in Libya, as Obama’s NATO and the Arabs did?
Africans must seek and defend their interests first and not to react to such war as if they were spectators in a boxing arena. This is practical politics not a TV show.
Who was Gaddafi? And What were his Opinions About Africa?
The biggest problem and contradiction with Gaddafi and his Green Book, and also equally with all states of the so-called New World, like the USA and all similar states, is the atrocities committed against the indigenous people and their issues. The imbalances and injustices created in recent modern history of Libya should have been corrected by Gaddafi 42 years rule.
These serious issues are concerning the non-integration of invaders, colonizers, and immigrants into the fabric of the old states. Gaddafi knew history and calling Libya an Arab state and giving Arab identity state official bias was totally unfair and discriminatory. Why the Tamazight (Berber); the Tubu (Teda); and all other African tribes must accept that their ancient land is called Arab while they are definitely not Arabs. No people can talk about human rights, justice, and other values if they are enjoying bloody loots.
I strongly believe that all North Africa belongs to Africa and not to the Middle East, the Mediterranean, and the so-called Arab World. North Africa must be returned back to Africa. Libya’s oil wealth is African oil, but oil revenues are spent mainly on the coastal parts of Libya. The so-called black Libyans are simply the true Libyans. The atrocities committed by the militias of the NTC in Libya against black Libyans; African workers, and the African Union brought into the surface the deeply seated and imbedded wrong orientation of the inhabitants of coastal Libya, and also Jamahiriya regime.
After a long time of being Nasserist Pan-Arabist, Colonel Gaddafi started the beginning of course correction. That was only after the Arabs regimes targeted him openly and covertly supported his isolation and embargo. He apologized to Africans for Arab involvement in slavery and he supported African development and institutions.
Greater actions were and are still needed in this direction from any government in Libya. These include among many policies the following in particular: recognition of native languages; purging the educational system and the media from racist and anti-African sentiments and inclinations; political and economic empowerment of indigenous Libyans especially in the vast inland; affirmative actions to level the socio-economic and political fields; and the gradual assimilation of Arab tribes’ members into original Libyan identity.
Was Gaddafi Genuine Africanist or was He Tactical Player?
For many political analysts and nationalists the ideology of Pan-Africanism might not offer enough sovereignty to states and it is too ahead of time. They argue that Africans cannot just leap from the current deformed colonial inheritance to a United State of Africa which must be far advanced and healthier than the infamous US model.
The Vision of Muammar Gaddafi is not sacred or ideal to most Africans. You may look at it this way, each state must first establish a stable system and national solidarity then moves to African economic cooperation, integration, or union. Only after these prerequisites are met they can move forward and work on African federation, confederation, or total unity; otherwise it is unrealistic. Imagine that after establishing US of Africa something like what is happening in Bahrain occurred; shall we act like the Arab GSC and suppress our fellow Africans by sending troops, or topple a regime.
Genuine Africanism is a bottom-up approach not the other way around. Gaddafi tested and discovered the dangers of Islamism and Arabism to his system; but sadly he stopped short from Africanism, and instead he tried to make a domination at regional level and on the African Union.
The history of Federalism, as well as Democracy, is dirty but this is not the system itself. Correct Federalism is the unity of the welling. The amount of delegation of sovereignty is based on a negotiable constitution. The USA, Russia, India, Nigeria, and Sudan are very bad examples of totalitarianism disguised in Federalism. Very loose federation might be considered as a confederation, also a valid option. All depends on the negotiated constitution. The point is to reach a good balanced contractual relationship between strength in unity and freedom in sovereignty.
Colonial Arab and Western Abuses of Nationality and Nationalism:
Nationalism is a political ideology that involves a strong identification of a group of individuals with a political entity defined in national terms, i.e. a nation. Africanist identification of “nation” is based on the mind; the heart and the interests of individuals but not on ethnic, racial, or tribal basis. Nationality and nationalism are acquired and not inherited; they are dynamic and not static; they are individual choices and not a group right; this means you have to prove you allegiance every day whatever your origin is. Once you keep sharing your heart; mind; and interests with any indigenous group then you are entitled to nationality and you may politically be a nationalist. You cannot be an Africanist just because you are from African origin or with African genes.
To emancipate from Arab and European colonial eras free African governments are supposed to be considered as public servants only and with very specific delegation of authorities from the people. Governments and peoples too own nothing in this God created universe; but only the indigenous people are the custodians of their territories. Based on this definition, free African governments must not give nationality to anybody by birth, residence, marriage, or anyway else. It is only the indigenous institutions who have the right to instruct the public servants to issue documents upon current and accepted allegiances.
Gaddafi must have known very well that the inhabitants of the coastal parts of North Africa must realize that they are also Africans and their brethren in the inland are not getting their fair share in power and wealth.
Neither the Jamahiriya of Gaddafi nor the Obama’s NATO and AFRICOM and his masters the corporate globalists can bring peace and development to Africa. It is up to Africans, Libyans, and North Africans to make their future in Africa. The Arab League and the UN must not be allowed to act in any part of Africa without the leadership of the African Union.
TheDailyCaller.com published on 16 June 2011 this article written by Dr. Ron Paul, the American physician, author and US Congressman, who is running for Republican Party candidacy for 2012 US presidential elections:
Why I’m suing the Obama administration over Libya
There is no issue more serious than war. Wars result in the loss of life and property. Wars are also expensive and an enormous economic burden.
Our Founders understood that waging war is not something that should be taken lightly, which is why Article 1, Section 8 of the United States Constitution gives Congress — not the president — the authority to declare war. This was meant to be an important check on presidential power. The last thing the Founders wanted was an out-of-control executive branch engaging in unnecessary and unpopular wars without so much as a Congressional debate.
Unfortunately, that’s exactly the situation we have today in Libya.
That’s why I’ve joined several other members of Congress in a lawsuit against President Obama for engaging in military action in Libya without seeking the approval of Congress.
Of course, in 2007, then-Senator Obama spoke passionately about the need to go after the Bush administration for violating the War Powers Act — the very same thing he’s doing now. In fact, while speaking at DePaul University in October of 2007, then-Senator Barack Obama said the following:
“After Vietnam, Congress swore it would never again be duped into war, and even wrote a new law — the War Powers Act — to ensure it would not repeat its mistakes. But no law can force a Congress to stand up to the president. No law can make senators read the intelligence that showed the president was overstating the case for war. No law can give Congress a backbone if it refuses to stand up as the co-equal branch the Constitution made it.”
We are now taking Barack Obama’s past advice and standing up to the executive branch.
Of course, the War Powers Act is hardly an improvement on the U.S. Constitution because it does allow the president to go to war without the approval of Congress. But President Obama refuses to follow this law.
If a president does go to war unilaterally, the War Powers Act requires him to seek Congressional approval within 60 days. The president can get an extension of up to 90 days if he asks for more time — but President Obama did not do this.
His time is up.
The Obama administration recently issued a 38-page paper stating that Obama is not in violation of the War Powers Act because “U.S. operations do not involve sustained fighting or active exchanges of fire with hostile forces, nor do they involve U.S. ground troops.” Under this argument, President Obama could preemptively launch nuclear weapons against any country in the world without Congressional approval. Obviously, this is not what the Founders intended!
But even aside from violating the Constitution, it makes no economic sense for us to be engaged in yet another war overseas — especially during such tough economic times. For years now, we’ve been sending foreign aid to the very same Libyan government we’re now spending $10 million a day to fight. And it has been recently discovered that the Federal Reserve’s bank bailouts even benefited the Libyan National Bank. Now, we’re taxing the American people to bomb the very nation that we taxed them to prop up.
This makes no sense at all.
The Founding Fathers did not intend for the president to have the power to take our nation to war unilaterally without the approval of Congress.
It’s time for the president to obey the Constitution and put the American people’s national interest first.