The Front Page Cover
~ Featuring ~
The Missiles of Holy Week and the Rule of Law
by Judge Andrew Napolitano
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 The Authority for Striking Syria 
By Todd Johnson: President Donald Trump's choice last week to launch 59 missiles at the Shayat Airfield in Syria was viewed by many in the world as a measured and proportional response to Bashar al-Assad's contemptible and horrific decision to use chemical weapons on his own people. They saw Trump's swift reaction as presidential and a much-needed defense of international norms and values. Domestically, support for Trump's decision has been widespread on Capitol Hill and around the country, a rare phenomenon considering the fractious nature of American politics in this day and age. Most observers believe that Trump's actions were needed to shore up American credibility around the world, primarily because of Barack liar-nObama's inability to enforce his own self-imposed "red-line" back in 2013.
          In a letter to Congress following the attacks, President Trump justified his actions under the executive powers found in Article II of the Constitution. However, Trump and his national security team, from National Security Advisor LTG H.R. McMaster to Secretary of Defense James Mattis, have not yet articulated a strategic vision on the way ahead for Syria. Due to this lack of clarity, a growing contingent of Congress feels now is the appropriate time to review the executive branch's legal authority for future military action against the Assad government. Specifically, they want to determine whether a new authorization for use of military force (AUMF) needs to be crafted for operations in Syria.
          Before determining that, it's important to understand the concept of its implementation. Per the War Powers Act of 1973, United States military forces cannot operate in a deployed status for more than 60 days and operations lasting longer than that time frame require a congressional declaration of war or an authorized use of military force. Currently, the United States conducts operations around the world under AUMFs that were passed in 2001 and 2002.
          The 2001 AUMF, only 60 words long, was invoked by both the George W. Bush and Barack liar-nObama administrations to justify military actions around the world. Now, the Trump administration has used it to justify troop presence in Syria, where U.S. forces are conducting missions on a daily basis. However, many legislators feel that these pieces of legislation are dated and need to be modified or replaced if the U.S. is to continue operating in Syria, one of the most dangerous places in the world. The question is whether or not the leadership of Congress is willing to underwrite a thoughtful debate about the future of American forces in the region.
          The current situation in Syria is apocalyptic. The humanitarian crisis is epic — between 400,000-500,000 people are dead and up to five million more have fled the war-torn nation. The civil war in Syria has been an ongoing conflict for the last six years and it's an incredibly complicated area of operations. Multiple factions, including the Assad government (actively supported by Russian and Hezbollah troops), Sunni Arabs, Salafi jihadists and Kurdish forces are just a few of the groups fighting for power.
          If Trump plans on continuing actions in Syria, then Congress needs to press him and his team for a strategic plan and goals. Once a plan has been codified by the executive branch, Congress then needs to work with Trump's national security team on developing an AUMF that enables the Defense Department and other executive agencies to address the security concerns of Syria and the surrounding nations, including Jordan and Lebanon. This is Trump's best opportunity to show that he is serious about changing the dysfunctional dynamics of the Levant.
          However, if he chooses to ignore Congress, he will continue the recent pattern of presidents who fail to appreciate the constitutional role of the legislative branch when it comes to putting our nation's men and women in harm's way.
          We'll close with the words of our first commander in chief, George Washington: "The Constitution vests the power of declaring war with Congress," he wrote in 1793, "therefore no offensive expedition of importance can be undertaken until after they shall have deliberated upon the subject, and authorized such a measure."  ~The Patriot Post
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The White House And NSC Is No Place
For On The Job Training For Tots
by Rick Wells
{rickwells.us} ~ The word is out. Jared Kushner is a pain in the neck to those who have to tolerate his incessant micro-managing, interference and intrusions... He’s earned a reputation as a know-nothing who doesn’t realize he’s still just a kid who wasn’t born knowing everything, that having rich parents doesn’t make you a great global intermediary or philosopher. He’s the equivalent of a rich, white liar-nObama without the title. President Trump could tell him to back off, but he doesn’t seem to want to hurt his snowflake son-in-law’s feelings. Unfortunately, while Jared is earning his White House participation award, our country and our President’s agenda are put on hold. But it’s worse than that, Kushner is being given free rein to trample the hopes of Americans by undercutting the populist message that carried President Trump to victory. He doesn’t belong, he’s not one of us, he’s no deplorable. That is, unless you’re among the extremely rare subsets of metrosexual saboteur, liberalizing and globalizing RINO deplorables with perfectly manicured little fingers...  http://rickwells.us/kushner-chaos-the-white-house-and-nsc-is-no-pla...
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House GOP Pushes Trump Administration
to Prosecute Lois Lerner...
by Onan Coca
{lidblog.com} ~ Republican leaders in the House are calling on Attorney General Jeff Sessions to reopen the case into Lois Lerner’s persecution of conservatives while leading the IRS... You no doubt remember just a few years ago when we learned that the government agency was picking out conservatives and conservative organizations for particular scrutiny, while allowing liberal and non-partisan organizations to operate as usual. Documentation discovered through Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests proved that conservatives had a much more difficult time dealing with the IRS than their left-leaning counterparts and that these difficulties were mandated from the highest offices in the IRS and perhaps as high up as the White House. As the IRS scandal was unfolding Congressional  Republicans, and conservatives across the nation, demanded a federal investigation into the obviously immoral and probably illegal behavior at the agency. It was around this time that the Democrats first found a way to rely on the new “dog ate my homework” defense, and Ms. Lerner’s computer suddenly crashed and any evidence of her malfeasance was lost...  http://lidblog.com/house-gop-pushes-trump-administration-prosecute-...
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Judicial Watch Warns 11 States to Clean Voter
Registration Lists or Face Federal Lawsuit

by JUDICIAL WATCH
{familysecuritymatters.org} ~ Judicial Watch today announced it has sent notice-of-violation letters threatening to sue 11 states having counties in which the number of registered voters exceeds the number of voting-age citizens... as calculated by the U.S. Census Bureau's 2011-2015 American Community Survey. According to the letters, this is "strong circumstantial evidence that these ... counties are not conducting reasonable voter registration record maintenance as mandated under the National Voter Registration Act  (NVRA)."  Both the NVRA and the federal Help America Vote Act require states to take reasonable steps to maintain accurate voting rolls. The 11 states are: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina and Tennessee.  The states have 90 days after receiving the letters to address the problem and provide Judicial Watch documentation showing that they have conducted a "statewide effort to conduct a program that reasonably ensures the lists of eligible voters are accurate." Judicial Watch informed the states that should they fail to take action to correct violations of Section 8 of the NVRA, it would file suit... http://www.familysecuritymatters.org/publications/detail/judicial-w...
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Something Major Seems to Be Going Down
in North Korea — Here’s What We Know…
by Jason Howerton
{ijr.com} ~ North Korean officials reportedly told foreign journalists to be ready for a “big and important event” on Thursday amid escalating tensions with the United States... No other details were provided. There was some speculation that the “event” could turn out to be some sort of public showcasing of North Korea’s military capability, The Hill reported. However, that wasn't the only news coming out of North Korea. Another concerning report Wednesday indicated that U.S. intelligence officials believe North Korea has placed a nuclear device inside a tunnel in preparation for a test...
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This State Just SURRENDERED to
Islamic Sharia Law
{angrypatriotmovement.com} ~ Our politicians still do not understand the dangers of Sharia law, and they are scared to speak out against it because of our leftist culture... Montana’s anti-American governor, Steve Bullock, vetoed a bill that would have banned Sharia law. While vetoing this heroic bill, Gov. Bullock commented, “There is absolutely no need for this bill,” adding that there would be a “nationwide surge in hate crime” if it passed. This is just awful. This governor clearly does not understand Sharia law. A rise in hate crime is minor compared to the consequences of allowing Sharia law to be normalized in our culture. Sharia law is applied differently in every Islamic country, but it is essentially an Islamic legal system that regulates public and private behavior, as well as beliefs. Sharia law is extremely dangerous, especially if you are homosexual or a woman. Let’s explore some of the awful punishments tied to Sharia law...  http://www.angrypatriotmovement.com/this-state-just-surrendered/
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The Missiles of Holy Week and the Rule of Law
by Judge Andrew Napolitano
{townhall.com} ~The history of the world is the history of violence. I had planned to write this column about the most critical act of violence in human history and its superhuman aftermath -- the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Easter, which celebrates His resurrection in a few days, is the centerpiece of all Christian belief. Without the risen Christ, we are doomed. Only with Him can we be saved. An old Irish priest told me in my youth that Easter means there is hope for the dead. And if there is hope for the dead, there is hope for the living.

But the living must do more than just hope, because governments continue to crush hope with violence, irrespective of moral and legal norms. Last week, as Holy Week was approaching, the United States launched 59 cruise missiles at a Syrian airfield because President Donald Trump was morally repulsed at the use of poison gas in Syria in the days preceding.

Trump argued that the gas could only have been deployed intentionally by the Syrian government on its own people and that behavior was so repellant, so contrary to civilized moral norms, so disruptive to the world order as to constitute a national security threat to the United States -- hence his use of force. Was his action legal?

Here is the back story.

Syria, along with the United States, is a signatory to the United Nations Charter. The U.N. Charter is a treaty signed by President Harry Truman and ratified by the U.S. Senate. Under the Constitution, treaties are the supreme law of the land, alongside the Constitution, and the federal government has a moral and legal obligation to be bound by them. The U.N. Charter limits member nations' use of military force to defensive responses to actual attacks, pre-emptive strikes prior to nearly certain attacks and correctives pursuant to U.N. consent or pursuant to another treaty obligating military force to help an ally.

These limitations are based on Judeo-Christian just war theory, which has been accepted in the Western world for centuries and is now codified into international law. Under this international law, military force must be a last resort, used only when necessary to fight back or to prevent an imminent attack. It also must be proportional to the harm it seeks to eradicate and be likely to produce the result it seeks. Anything short of this violates international law, to which the U.S. is bound by numerous treaties.

Syria is not a threat to the U.S., nor is it likely to become one. Nor is the argument that we needed to send a message to Syria lest it use poison gas on the U.S. a valid legal argument or a realistic political one. Were this subjective fear a valid legal basis for the use of military force, the president could send missiles anytime and anywhere at anyone or anything with legal impunity.

The president's revulsion at the sight of children suffering horrifically from the effects of poison gas is an emotional reaction -- a very human and utterly normal one. Yet it in no way legally justifies an attack on a sovereign nation.

In addition to various treaties, the president is subject, of course, to the Constitution, which provides that only Congress can declare war. Yet Congress gave the president a small window in which to use military force on his own in the War Powers Resolution of 1973. That law was written in the midst of President Richard Nixon's undeclared war in Cambodia to limit the president's emergency use of military force absent a declaration of war from Congress to defensive strikes, pre-emptive strikes and treaty obligations.

Earlier this week, 21 retired military, intelligence and FBI personnel jointly argued that President Trump was moved to this attack by misguided or incomplete intelligence. Their view -- which is based on eyewitness reports from U.S. military on the ground in Syria and intelligence reports from their former colleagues -- is that Syrian President Bashar Assad did not use poison gas on his own people earlier this month. They note that Assad is clearly winning his long-fought civil war and does not need the international headache of being tarnished as a person who gassed children; nor would there be even the remotest military gain to him if he did so.

These former federal officials point out that the U.S. military is playing a sub-rosa role with Russia and Syria in fighting al-Qaida and the Islamic State group. In this case, Syrian and probably Russian military erroneously thought a warehouse the Syrians attacked stored only conventional Islamic State weapons. It apparently stored an Islamic State chemical arsenal, as well, which, after explosions and exposure, unleashed a plume of poisonous gas that traveled in the atmosphere to a nearby village and slaughtered innocents.

Assad, for all his faults, is vigorously fighting al-Qaida and the Islamic State. The enemy of my enemy is my friend. Why would America harm another sovereign entity that is trying to take out al-Qaida and the Islamic State? Attacking Syrian military assets only aids al-Qaida and the Islamic State, which constitutes providing material assistance to terrorist organizations. Could anyone have imagined our country's ever doing that?

For months, I have been warning about the unchecked power of the intelligence community to manipulate the president by selectively revealing and selectively concealing what it knows about our enemies and our friends. Did Trump have all the intelligence he needed in front of him before he attacked Syria? Apparently not. Did he use proportional force defensively or pre-emptively to prevent harm to the U.S.? Clearly not. Can he legally use military force to punish or to teach a lesson to another sovereign state that poses no threat to the U.S.? Absolutely not, or there will be no end to government violence.

Yet in this time of violent madness, there is the joy of the Resurrection. Happy Easter. 
 

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