It is time to play Dumb Looks Still Free with the two political parties on the #1 favorite topic of all Congresscritters: Dictators! Included are the Dictator-wannabes and Terrorists for fun and frivolity.
And this week we have a bevy of Congresscritters going overseas to kowtow to dictators, terrorists and their sympathizers. Let us start with the top of the League and Nancy Pelosi going to visit one of the ace Three Card Monte men, Bashar Assad! But she wasn't alone in that... oh, heavens no!
There was also Bill Richardson running for President on the Democratic side doing a drop in visit to the Magic Kingdom of Mr. Kim in North Korea. Perhaps Mr. Richardson was 'ronery'. He makes a pretty regular visit of despots around the globe, probably hankering for bringing some of that outlook of those regimes back to the US with him. But running for President seems to drain good sense of those doing so, and he does have the excuse of being a sympathizer with despots the world over. So that would be big news if it weren't for the *other* news from the Congress spring break.
This was the big week of Congresscritter Appeasementship in Statescraft for Syria that saw delegations from BOTH Parties there. Lets take a look at the Dictator du jour parade line-up for Syria. Representing the Republican wing of the Zero Party State are the following in Syria:
Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA)
Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-AL)
Rep. Joe Pitts (R-OH)
Rep. David L. Hobson (R-OH) as part of the two-wing Zero Party delegation!
Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA)
And for the Democratic side of the Zero Party State comes that very same two-winged Zero Party delegation:
Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) Speaker of the House of Representatives
Rep. Tom Lantos (D-CA) and ersatz Secretary of State for Ms. Pelosi
Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) and #1 Muslim in the House!
Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA)
Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY)
Rep. Nick Rahall (D-WV)
And this week to start with the knowns, let us bring in the US SCOTUS ruling on US v. Curtiss-Wright Export Corp.! This lovely ruling was handed down on 21 DEC 1936 and puts down the Law of the Land when addressing who can and cannot do Foreign Policy for the United States:
[..]Now this is very interesting as this does limit what Congress can do in the field of SETTING Foreign Policy. In point of fact they CANNOT set Foreign Policy, which is the sole reserve of the President of the United States. And as Congress is to 'accord to him a degree of discretion and freedom which would not be admissible were domestic affairs involved' the actual ability of Congress or, indeed, anyone not appointed by the President to promulgate ANY Foreign Policy outside the confines of the Union is NIL. We can talk about it all we please inside those confines, but outside of that the Sovereignty of the United States speaks with one voice categorically as upheld by the Supreme Court of the United States.
(2) The powers of the Federal Government over foreign or external affairs differ in nature and origin from those over domestic or internal affairs. P. 315.
(3) The broad statement that the Federal Government can exercise no powers except those specifically enumerated in the Constitution, and such implied powers as are necessary and proper to carry into effect the enumerated powers, is categorically true only in respect of our internal affairs. In that field, the primary purpose of the Constitution was to carve from the general mass of legislative powers then possessed by the States such portions as it was thought desirable to vest in the Federal Government, leaving those not included in the enumeration still in the States. Id.
(4) The States severally never possessed international powers. P. 316.
(5) As a result of the separation from Great Britain by the Colonies, acting as a unit, the powers of external sovereignty passed from the Crown not to the Colonies severally, but to the Colonies in their collective and corporate capacity as the United States of America. Id.
(6) The Constitution was ordained and established, among other things, to form "a more perfect Union." Prior to that event, the Union, declared by the Articles of Confederation to be "perpetual," was the sole possessor of external sovereignty, and in the Union it remained without change save insofar as the Constitution, in express terms, qualified its exercise. Though the States were several, their people, in respect of foreign affairs, were one. P. 317.
(7) The investment of the Federal Government with the powers of external sovereignty did not depend upon the affirmative grants of the Constitution. P. 318.
(8) In the international field, the sovereignty of the United States is complete. Id.
(9) In international relations, the President is the sole organ of the Federal Government. P. 319.
(10) In view of the delicacy of foreign relations and of the power peculiar to the President in this regard, Congressional legislation which is to be made effective in the international field must [p306] often accord to him a degree of discretion and freedom which would not be admissible were domestic affairs alone involved. P. 319.
(11) The marked difference between foreign and domestic affairs in this respect is recognized in the dealings of the houses of Congress with executive departments. P. 321.
So what does one think when we hear the following from Rep. Lantos:
"We have an alternative Democratic foreign policy." (from a Washington Times Commentary by Thomas Sowell on 05 APR 2007)Very nice, Rep. Lantos! Would you, perhaps, care to tell the rest of the Republic what it IS? For we have certainly not heard it from you nor any other Democrat. We would like to know exactly what it *is* that you are looking to do out there, you Congresscritters that cannot promulgate Foreign Policy without the President's 'ok'.
In point of fact the President asked for this trip and ALL other high level trips by Congress to end with regards to Syria, Democratic and Republican *both*. You may want to think about this idea of actually asking if you can talk to a Foreign Leader as a part of Congress before you go traipsing around with a brandy new Foreign Policy that you will not show anyone. Otherwise it starts to sound like a 'secret agenda' to be hidden from the People of the United States. It has more than just a whiff of bad smell to it.
But don't worry, Rep. Lantos, you are apparently not alone in the boat of cluelessness in Congress! Indeed, Rep. Louise Slaughter has this poor thought lost in the wilderness of her mind:
"This notion that nobody can speak except for the White House is un-American if you ask me. It's never been that way, and we don't want it to be that way now," said Slaughter. (10nbc.com 06 APR 2007)It is, apparently, very hard for a Congresscritter to recognize that they do have limitations upon their freedoms outside the confines of the United States. That is what it means when the Supreme Court ruled that there is only ONE organ of the Federal Government that may speak on behalf of the United States. And that organ does not have lots of Congresscritters sitting in it. Rep. Slaughter has obviously not *read* the US Constitution! To help give some clues to the clueless I will now reproduce the entirety of the Congressional Foreign Powers given to them by the Constitution:
Article I, Section 8There are the Congressional Powers that deal with all things Foreign, with all the intermediate verbiage removed. I have some news for Rep. Slaughter: Not only is it NOT un-American to vest the Foreign Policy power in the President and give huge leeway to him, but it has ALWAYS been that way in the United States. And as a Representative you do not even have SAY in the Treaty and Ambassador confirmation power business. You get some bit on the regularization of Treaty language, but ZERO in creating Treaties or promulgating Foreign Policy that is not that of the President and only *then* if he appoints you to do so.
To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes;
To establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization,
To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offences against the Law of Nations;
To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;
The Migration or Importation of such Persons as any of the States now existing shall think proper to admit, shall not be prohibited by the Congress prior to the Year one thousand eight hundred and eight, but a Tax or duty may be imposed on such Importation, not exceeding ten dollars for each Person.
No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States: And no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.
No State shall, without the Consent of the Congress, lay any Imposts or Duties on Imports or Exports, except what may be absolutely necessary for executing it's inspection Laws: and the net Produce of all Duties and Imposts, laid by any State on Imports or Exports, shall be for the Use of the Treasury of the United States; and all such Laws shall be subject to the Revision and Controul of the Congress.
No State shall, without the Consent of Congress, lay any Duty of Tonnage, keep Troops, or Ships of War in time of Peace, enter into any Agreement or Compact with another State, or with a foreign Power, or engage in War, unless actually invaded, or in such imminent Danger as will not admit of delay.
Article II, Section 2
He shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors,
Now with all of these fine Democrats and Republicans of the Zero Party State wandering around in Syria just what sort of message are they sending? Well lets take a look at some of that lovely verbiage they have spewn to find out. Let us start with Rep. Joe Pitts on this and see what the R side of things is looking at:
"Dialogue is not a sign of weakness," Pitts said after returning home Wednesday. "It's a sign of strength."So good of you to find that out, Rep.Pitts. "They were interested in diplomacy"! Why, who isn't these days? Certainly there are lots of Congresscrittters interested in it! But this concept that we should treat a regime that sponsors terrorism, murder, and such with 'respect'.... well, that is a bit beyond the pale now, isn't it? They aren't acting civilized at all in that regards. Perhaps they have deserved to be 'talked down' to? But so nice of you to say that you wanted to dialogue from strength and the very FIRST thing you do is *appeal* to them to stop doing what they are doing.
"The first thing we said was … to appeal to the Syrian government to stop the flow of foreign fighters into Iraq with (explosives) and killing our soldiers in Iraq," Pitts said. The Republicans also talked about stopping Syrian support of Hamas and Hezbollah and Syrian involvement in Lebanon, he said.
"He denied that there were terrorists that they knew about going through their country," Pitts said. "(The Syrians) said if you have evidence, give it to us, and we'll act on it.
"They were interested in diplomacy. They want respect. Basically, they feel we have talked down to them, and we don't treat them with civility and as an equal." (Thank you to the Lancaster Online for this 05 APR 2007 report!)
That is not, Rep. Pitts, 'dealing from strength' but demonstrating weakness. So did you bring up anything beyond those things at length? Did you, perhaps, bring up the fact that Syria has never signed the Chemical Weapons Convention, Rep. Pitts? How about the Kurdish minority that is being repressed there? Or the journalists sitting and rotting in Syrian jails? Any peep on that? No? Well you were a busy Congresscritter, I am sure someone else propounded on those things entirely and at-length and made them the point of their little visits.
Now lets continue on with the R side of things for just a bit more. From Rep. David L. Hobson we get this:
Hobson described Assad as "a very educated person who lived in Great Britain for a number of years. We had a long meeting with him in which we reinforced the policies of the administration that he needed to not let himself get isolated and he needed to join the other people in the region in opposition to the Iranians." (from the Columbus Dispatch, on 05 APR 2007)I am sure that he has a tremendous singing voice, too. Mind you it was his father that helped Iran start up Hezbollah and some of the first things it did was to attack the United States: the Embassy in Beirut, TWICE, and blowing up the USMC Barracks. So forgive me if I see this self-isolation as self-imposed and highly desired by Syria. Luckily the R side had Rep. Issa on hand to help scope out the Lebanon portion of things and he had his own idea of what needs be done:
Assad and Issa discussed "the mechanisms and means that must be available to build a solid U.S.-Syrian relationship," the official Syrian Arab News Agency reported. (from the IHT, untrustworthy paper on America, but sure to coddle tyrants).Oh, my! Mechanisms to build a solid relationship! My guess is that they are not torture implements which would tend to be more of what the Ba'athist dictator, Assad, would prefer. And, speaking with a tyrannical dictator from a family of same that represents a party of same, just what sort of solid relationship do you expect to get? In this world of nasty and fascistic dictators, especially those solo kind that have virtually all power wrapped up in themselves, you are stuck trying to decide if you can make it expedient for same to have an agreement with you. Which usually means that they will *not* put things like human rights on the table unless you are offering to give up your own, first. Pretty hard to build a 'solid relationship' when one side just has very little incentive to keep its end of the bargain.
One last bit on the R side of the House, and that is from Rep. Frank Wolf:
"I don't care what the administration says on this. You've got to do what you think is in the best interest of your country," said Rep. Frank Wolf, a Virginia Republican. (from Kansas City dot com 05 APR 2007)Ah, the old - 'its for the good of the country that I seek to appease dictators' sort of deal. And even better it is a 'Me Generation' oriented thing so that as long as YOU think it is a good idea, then you just 'do it'. And one hopes you do it as a private Citizen and do not bring your good Offices with you and that you speak only for yourself and for no one else and attempt to promulgate no Foreign Policy unless you were duly designated by the President to do so, Mr. Wolf. Did you get that sign-off, first? No?
Then what, exactly, are you doing there? And what are you talking about behind closed doors with a tyrant?
Well, time to switch over to the D side of the House and see what the love-in with dictator was there. Yes, the exact same criticisms directed at the R side now come upon the D side as they appear to be very much the same thing and excusing themselves for butting their noses in where they were told it does NOT belong. Kind of hard to uphold the Constitution by breaking your Oath to it.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi leading up the two-winged ZP delegation had this:
NANCY PELOSI, HOUSE SPEAKER: We expressed our concerns about Syria's connection to Hezbollah and Hamas. We were very pleased with the reassurances we received from the president that he was ready to resume the peace process. He was ready to engage in negotiations with peace with Israel. (from FNC via RCP)Just so you know it is Amal that is keeping things bottled up in Lebanon, and not allowing progress to be made in getting things done. Then she winds up with this, from the Iranian PressTV 05 APR 2007:
"We came in friendship, hope, and determined that the road to Damascus is a road to peace," said Ms. Pelosi, who met for three hours with Syrian President Bashar Assad.
"He's ready to engage in negotiations for peace with Israel," Ms. Pelosi said of the Syrian leader. (Dallas Morning News 05 APR 2007)
"The road to solving Lebanon's problems passes through Damascus," Pelosi told reporters after meeting with Lebanese parliamentary leader Saad Hariri at Qoreitem. "Our trip to Syria is one that is important to us, it is also important to the Iraq Study Group which encourages such diplomacy and engagement," she said, referring to a bipartisan US panel that last year recommended engaging US foes Syria and Iran in order to calm war-torn Iraq. "The purpose of this trip is a part of our responsibility for the national security of the United States," Pelosi said.
"The meeting was excellent and the outcome was highly positive," Amal MP Ali Bazzi told The Daily Star. (The Daily Star of Lebanon 03 APR 2007)
Since full details of the topics covered remain unclear, it has become evident that both Ms. Pelosi and Mr. Issa have taken their own initiative in improving U.S. foreign policy in areas where President Bush and the White House have failed.So here we have Speaker Pelosi, getting lovely reassurances from a dictator that he is, indeed, willing to resume peace talks, but not saying a single, solitary word about abandoning terrorism. Somehow this 'road to peace' looks to be another cul de sac in which folks end up getting stuck at night. Because this is the exact same thing both Bashar and Hafez Assad have been saying for over a decade.
Ms. Pelosi and Mr. Issa have both iterated that Congress will continue to have dialogue with Syria and its officials, stating that they are first on a fact-finding mission which they hope will lead to bilateral relations with Syria.
There is absolutely, positively nothing new in this.
And you give the impression that you do NOT support the current Foreign Policy as the folks in Iran point out in their view of it. Further you are giving hope to terrorist regimes that the Democratic Party will cave in if it wins a few more elections. You are NOT holding those responsible for terrorism accountable for their actions, Speaker Pelosi.
You actually *are* breaking with the Constitution and NOT allowing the President to speak with the only voice in that realm as is the agreement that this Nation has via the Constitution.
You have just stepped up to the Three Card Monte Table of Syria and decided to play a *losing* game in which you somehow think you are making progress, all the while the regime continues making more chemical weapons, more long range missiles, bottling up its ethnic minorities and repressing freedom of speech. By giving the Assad regime a hope that you will end their isolation you are making the day in which these things can be achieved recede further than they are now. This does not *improve* National Security but *weakens* it.
And like Speaker Pelosi, Rep. Slaughter is just as clueless on this:
Slaughter, like Pelosi, said the trip is a way to spark dialogue.There is so much wrong-headedness in what her views are that it is difficult to know where to start. I will not repeat myself overmuch on this, but it is quite simple, Rep. Slaughter. You have NO Foreign Policy ability as a Congresscritter. As a Representative your only Foreign Policy DUTY is the regularization of Treaties via laws implemented in the US. 'Sparking dialog' is not in your job description. You have no place there as a Congresscritter. You do not approve Ambassadors nor Treaties as a Representative. Is that clear?
"Everywhere we go, the message is the same," the Fairport Democrat and chairwoman of the House Rules Committee told the Democrat and Chronicle by telephone from Saudi Arabia.
"We're here because we want peace," she said. "We're here because we want to stop terrorism. And we're here because we think to do that, we have to talk to the people who are involved in terrorism."
Slaughter said the trip follows the Iraq Study Group that recommended Washington open talks with Iran and Syria to resolve the Iraq war and stabilize the region. She said Congress has a duty to engage in foreign affairs.
"Even generals in Iraq on the battlefield say that we can't win this militarily," she said. "It has got to be done diplomatically, and we're not going to be able to do that if we can't talk."
Slaughter said the delegation pressed Assad to halt support for insurgent groups in the Middle East and to close off the country's borders to militants leaving to fight in Iraq.
"Where do you want to be 10 years from now?" Slaughter said they told Assad. "Don't think about now. But 10 years from now, would you rather be a friend of the remaining super power or of (Iran President Mahmoud) Ahmadinejad? So straighten up." (Rochester Democrat and Chronicle 06 APR 2007)
Now back to Rep. Lantos who had more to say about what he sees in his job and talking about his support for this trip:
"I strongly supported it; I strongly urged her to do so," Lantos said. "We have a long agenda to discuss with him. I believe you talk to people. We are not doing him a favor. "Rep. Lantos, what collapsed the Soviet System *was* the Soviet System which offered not much in the way of freedom to its people. And for all the lovely gabfests that went on, nothing stopped them from repressing Hungary or Czechoslovakia, nor from invading Afghanistan, nor supporting insurgencies in Nicaragua and El Salvador, nor from turning the heat up on the Ogaden War or the wars in Angola and Mozambique.
"We talked to the Soviet Union for over half a century, and there is no doubt in my mind that the tremendous amount of interchange had something to do with the collapse of the system."
"We have an alternative Democratic foreign policy," Lantos said. "I view my job as beginning with restoring overseas credibility and respect for the United States." (SFGate 02 APR 2007)
Do you know what brought down the USSR, Rep. Lantos? It was not the restrictions from the outside, but the Polish People from the *inside* casting the first hammer blows by workers that showed 'The Worker's Paradise' to be the sham it was. All that talking got us some very nice arms limitation treaties and even an arms reduction treaty.
Do you know that Syria has NOT signed the Chemical Weapons Convention and appears to be flouting the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and skirting around the Bioweapons Conventions? These are directed by this regime along with ruthless suppression of minorities and opposition groups and individuals including the press.
Did you bring up the fact that these ALL need to be addressed, Rep. Lantos? That having a regime that not only sponsors terrorism but that pursues and creates WMDs at the same time is a dangerous thing? Did you speak up for the Kurds in Syria, that are its largest ethnic minority? You did Bashar Assad and the entire Ba'athist regime a *huge* favor by legitimizing them.
And to let the entire assemblage of Congresscritters be reminded of how long this insanity of trying to find a way to appease a tyrant has been going on, you need do nothing else than contact one of the members on your trip. That is Rep. Rahall.
And Mr. Rahall has had his own views on what is and is not right in the Middle East. This taken from the old and probably defunct kimwolfeforcongress.com site:
According to USA Today's Campaign 2004 candidate profile, in February of 2003 Rahall was one of only two House members to vote against a resolution commending Israel for its recent election, and in June of 2003 he was one of five opposing another House resolution supporting Israel's right to strike back at terrorist attacks.And it goes a bit further than that, as there is some large level of acrimony in Congressional races. That said Rep. Rahall appears to know his way around the terrorist circles in the Middle East and has been on 'fact finding' trips to Syria more than once. More than twice. His trips to Syria date back to the other time there was a Democratic Foreign Policy. That is correct, he went there when Syria was under restrictions from the Clinton Administration.
Rahall traces his ancestry to Lebanon, and is the most active lawmaker of Arab descent in Middle Eastern affairs. Rahall and another congressman of Arab descent have gone against State Department policy on travels to Syria, and Rahall has met with Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat whom "he has known for years" according to a USA Today Campaign 2004 candidate profile.
He visited Syria as far back as 1998 (From the US Embassy in Tel Aviv a transcript of a press briefing on that trip 08 JAN 1998):
Damascus, Syria -- The Middle East peace process "is a process that must succeed, and that is our position, that we want to see that process succeed," Congressman Nick J. Rahall (Democrat, West Virginia) said at an on-the-record press briefing here January 7.This was under the lovely, happy days of the Clinton Administration. What have all these Congressional trips achieved since then?
Rahall, who is leading a congressional delegation to the Middle East that includes Representatives Dana Rohrabacher (Republican, California) and Maurice Hinchey (Democrat, New York), said "Our mission is to build upon the strong relationships we have with the Syrian people, both on a personal basis and the bilateral relationships that exist between the Syrian and the American government. We hope to use our dialogue while in the country to open up the peace process once again."
Noting that this was his first visit to the region, Congressman Rohrabacher said he believes the people of the region are "heartsick for peace" and that "there is an opportunity today to further the cause of peace and to come, at last, to an understanding among the parties here in the region that will lead to a lasting peace."
"There have been a number of examples recently of a ... new fresh wind blowing across this part of the world," Congressman Hinchey said. "There are opportunities to sweep away some of the mistakes of the past, particularly the last two decades. And we hope that this opportunity will be taken advantage of and that we can move forward in a more positive way, both my country, your country, the other countries of this region...."
Not one budge by Syria *away* from terrorism, away from destabilizing its neighbors, away from producing and researching WMDs, away from building long range ballistic missiles. No, things have actually gotten *worse* there as more terrorists are being funded via Syria, Hezbollah is getting more and deadlier weapons, the entire chemical weapons industry has *expanded* and the range of the missiles being tested are increasing. That is what the *last* Foreign Policy of the Democrats got the Nation as espoused by the lovely Congresscritters THEN. That was with a Democrat as PRESIDENT. And nothing was achieved with Syria. All of this talk of how 'Syria is a player' actually *makes* Syria a player and then leads to minimal concessions to try and 'entice' Syria to reform. It seems that Syria takes each concession as a weakness and just grabs it for all that it is worth and does *nothing* in return.
Would it be possible to get some clarity from this current batch of useless Congresscritters on what, exactly, they are going to be doing different than they did in the past? Because the exact same and fine verbiage being spewed by the D and the R side today, is almost exactly, word for word, what was said nearly a decade ago in the exact same Nation. It seems this 'Congressional Initiatives' at Foreign Policy are not helping a damned thing no matter WHO is in the Oval Office.
I think it is well past time to bring the old Logan Act to bear on these things so that BOTH PARTIES can be disabused of this notion that Congress has a role to play in Foreign Policy. Some few prosecutions and a conviction or two might shake things up a bit and get the attention of some Congresscritters. Because doing these things during War Time is far beyond the pale. Extremely pallid, like the victim of a vampire, in fact. Save that this is draining the National Sovereignty of the United States down the drain in an attempt to get 535 Presidents, CinCs and Heads of State.
It does not *work*.
These folks have a real job to do, like ensuring the Armed Forces are properly sized and outfitted for a long war. Instead they are trying to appease tyrants and dictators and encourage them by legitimizing them. And that will be the death of Liberty faster than any other means devised.
More Dumb Looks than you can shake a stick at for Congress this week.
All of them free for the intellectually and ethically bankrupt Congress.