Planned Workouts and scheduled races

Every Wednesday: Bigfoot Cycle Workout (Dali) 5:15 am
Every Saturday: Bigfoot Swim Workout (Dali) 6:00 am

8/28 Vision Bigfoot Duathlon (Qingshui) 8:00 am
9/4 Taiwan P.E. University Cup 5000m 4:00 pm
10/1 Beauty of Taidong Triathlon (Olympic Distance) 8:00 am
10/30 Gaomei Wetland Marathon (Qingshui) - (Marathon distance) 6:00 am
11/5 NeverStop West Coast Bike Race (200km) 5:00 am *
11/13 Taoyuan National Marathon (Marathon distance) - TBA 11/20 Mizono Marathon Relay
12/18 Fubon Taipei Marathon (Marathon distance) 7:00 am (Boston Marathon qualifying attempt)

* reconsidering the NeverStop race due to the date change to November, which would result in four race weekends (perhaps five if the Supau Cup is on 11/27) in a row.


Monday, June 27, 2011

Why Obama Should Be Impeached, but Won't Be

In President Barack Obama's more than three years in office, he has had his own share of controversial decisions. From the to handling the border; IMF funding with a controversial signing statement to missile defense, Obama has made decisions that has caused many on the other side of the aisle to wince. However, find a president who has not made such decisions and I will show you a president who is not doing his job. One of the Founding Fathers himself, Thomas Jefferson, made a very controversial stretch of the Constitution and his own core beliefs when he signed a treaty with France by which a vast territory known as Louisiana came into American possession. Looking back at that, we all know now that it turned out pretty well for the United States.

However, now we have what is arguably the most controversial decision of the Obama presidency; that being the current involvement in Libya. The Constitution of the United States clearly gives the power to declare war to the Congress. Article 1 Section 8 Clause 11 gives Congress the power, "To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water." Well, Letters of Marque are clearly antiquated today, but it makes it clear that Congress and only Congress may commit the United States to any form of military hostilities. At the same time, the Constitution also grants the President the responsibility to be the Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces. Article 2 Section 2 Clause 1 reads, 'The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States; he may require the Opinion, in writing, of the principal Officer in each of the executive Departments, upon any subject relating to the Duties of their respective Offices, and he shall have Power to Grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offenses against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment." The Constitution by design gives Congress the power to authorize the use of the military while it gives the President the responsibility to lead it once its use has been authorized.

The War Powers Act

The Congress of the United States, in meeting its responsibilities under the Constitution while also recognizing the changing nature of the world, passed the War Powers Act during the Viet Nam Conflict in 1973. This Act was vetoed by President Nixon, but the veto was overridden by supermajorities in each House of Congress. This outlined the authority the president has to use the military in times of emergency for a short period of time. This Act, which while every president since Nixon has denied its Constitutionality, is a law that the president is obligated to enforce, gives the President sixty days to gain the approval of Congress for a military action and a further thirty days to withdraw if it is not granted. As Senator, Obama endorsed the provisions of the Act by stating that the President has no authority to use the military unilaterally unless the security of the nation under imminent threat. Libya poses no imminent threat to the United States. Furthermore, there has been no Congressional approval for the Libya action and the ninety-day deadline has now expired.

Hostilities?

While not denying the validity and Constitutionality of the Act, President Obama is now saying that it does not apply to Libya as the United States is merely acting in a support role through refueling, reconnaissance and the like. As such, according to the President, this does not amount to hostilities and thus the act is inapplicable. However, one has to wonder if such an argument actually rings true to Americans. After all, the United States invaded and overthrew the Taliban government of Afghanistan in the aftermath of 9/11. Afghanistan did not attack the United States; al Qaeda did. Afghanistan was merely aiding and harboring them. So, to use Obama's logic, the Taliban was not engaged in hostilities against the U.S. and there was no legitimate reason to attack them.

Were Iran to attack the United States homeland with logistical support from, say, Cuba and Venezuela, do you think Americans would accept the argument that Cuba and Venezuela were not engaged in hostilities against the United States even though it merely supported Iranian actions rather than actually engaged in direct attacks? Of course not. Americans would, quite justifiably, call for the heads of Castro and Chavez to be on the same platter as Ahmadinejad's.

With this in mind, do you think for one minute that the government of Libya, as reprehensible and illegitimate as it is, does not consider U.S. logistical support as engaging in hostilities against that country?

Anyone who takes a look at this situation with an open mind must come to the conclusion that the President is in violation of the War Powers Act. This is a violation of his Oath of Office where he swore to, "preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States." That Constitution gives the Congress the right to pass laws, including the law that President Obama is currently violating. This is clearly an impeachable offense.

While I personally agree in principle with the policy the President is engaged in presently in Libya -- and in fact, the U.S. should have been doing something like this in the 1980s -- this must be done in accordance with the rule of law. Following the rule of law supersedes any desired policy goals. How can we call on other governments to adhere to the rule of law when the president of the United States is unable to? Given that he is in violation of the law respecting the use of military force and to put forward an example to the rest of the world the commitment of the United States to the rule of law, President Barack Hussein Obama, Jr. must be impeached.

Obama Won't Be Impeached

But he won't be. Congress is likely to use every weapon at its disposal to curtail the actions of the President, but they will all fall short of impeachment. There is still an ugly taste among both politicians and the American public following the Clinton impeachment in the 1998. There was only one other impeachment in the history of the U.S. presidency; that in 1868 when President Andrew Johnson was impeached and fell only one vote short of conviction in the Senate. Both prior incidents of impeachment were clearly partisan in nature and though there is strong legal justification for impeachment in this case, the abuse of the procedure in the past has given it partisan feel that just won't sit well in the current political climate.

It is also a reality that this situation is causing a split in both major political parties. While some Republicans support the policy while many others believe it is misguided and lacks direction. Similarly, many Democrats have long supported the use of the military for humanitarian purposes and of course they wish to protect their president, however there are others who are upset at this executive usurpation of what is clearly a legislative power.

For his part, President Obama does have some political capital to risk in the aftermath of the successful operation to kill Osama bin Laden. He is clearly putting that on the line here in a gamble that, if successful, can be carried into the election cycle next year.

Republican leaders are watching closely. They clearly feel that this is an overreach by the President with no clear goals and this can work in their favor next year in the election cycle. Even if Qadhafi is ousted from Libya, there is no guarantee that he will be replaced by a democratic regime. If Libya turns out to be a mess, this can be used against the President for not having a clear plan.

Similarly, Democrats who support the action are convinced that a successful resolution in Libya will bolster their course two years after the history-making shellacking they took at the mid-term elections last year.

Both sides are taking a political gamble. The result of the action in Libya has the capability to shake up both the Presidential race as well as the Congressional numbers depending on how it turns out. The Republicans feel that they can gain further momentum while the Democrats feel that they can regain the initiative. Either way, this suits political pundits and commentators just fine.

note: This was originally prepared for the Yahoo! Contributors Network, but after six days of no response, I didn't want to let this languish any longer.

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