Rep. Jones: ‘We Need To Bring the U.S. Constitution Back’
by Harley Schlanger
May 12—We've entered into a most fascinating but dangerous moment in our nation's history. We have in the White House a President who has shown repeatedly his lack of respect for the Constitution he swore in his Oath of Office to uphold. His refusal to be accountable to constitutional principles has been clear in many areas of policy, from economics to health care; his preemptive attack on the Supreme Court, which heard arguments on the so-called "Affordable Care Act"; or his disregard for the role of Congress, with recess appointments, signing statements, etc. But in no area is it more dangerous, than in military policy and defense policy, such that he absolutely refused to go to the Congress before engaging in military action in Libya.
As a UN Special Report recently released showed, it was the U.S. military which bore the brunt of the so-called NATO operation, and which was primarily involved in the regime-change in Libya. While some in Congress did move to assert the constitutional authority of the Congress, President Obama rejected their efforts, and in the Senate, he was supported in this rejection by a bipartisan grouping headed by John McCain (R-Ariz.) and John Kerry (D-Mass.), who ran cover for him on Libya.
In the aftermath of the overthrow and murder of Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi, Lyndon LaRouche warned that an attempt to repeat the Libya process in Syria could lead to a confrontation with Russia and China, risking a blowup into a possible nuclear World War III. Yet the White House has continued to insist that it has the right to act in "humanitarian defense" whenever it determines that an atrocity is about to occur, without having to go to the Congress. Under the doctrine of "responsibility to protect," the Administration has established an "Atrocities Prevention Board," and claims to itself the right to take offensive military action which violates the constitutional requirement that only the Congress may authorize the use of military force. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta even brought up at a congressional hearing, that he would consult with the United Nations and NATO, before going to the Congress.
While most of the Members of the Congress have tolerated or even accepted this unconstitutional behavior, one Member decided it was necessary to act, to preempt yet another destructive war, destructive to our nation, to our men and women in the Armed Forces, as well as to international law, if such a war would be conducted outside of our law. That Member of Congress is U.S. Rep. Walter Jones, a Republican from North Carolina.
His interview on The LaRouche Show today, published here, kicked off a national mobilization of the LaRouche movement to pass House Concurrent Resolution 107, Jones's resolution that threatens the impeachment of any President who violates the exclusive constitutional prerogative power of the Congress to declare war.
The LaRouche Show
Representative Jones was the guest on the LaRouche Show radio at www.larouchepub.com/radio on May 12. The co-hosts were Harley Schlanger and Jeffrey Steinberg.
Jeffrey Steinberg: First of all. Let me thank the Congressman for taking the time, on a Saturday afternoon, to join us.
Congressman Walter Jones has served with distinction as an elected official for more than 28 years. He served for 10 years in the North Carolina General Assembly, and is now completing his ninth term in the U.S. House of Representatives, where he serves both on the House Armed Services Committee and the House Financial Services Committee. Earlier this week, on Tuesday, Congressman Jones won a resounding victory in his Republican primary, and he's obviously up for general election in November.
The Congressman is joining us today from his campaign office in North Carolina. And I want to join Harley in welcoming you to the show, and thanking you profoundly for the efforts that you're making on behalf of this country, and particularly, our men and women in service.
Rep. Walter Jones: Thank you for the kind words in the introduction, Jeff, and I'm delighted to be on the show with you and Harley. I can't think of a more important subject than a country that continues to send our young men and women to fight overseas without a declaration of war. And that is why you have me on the show, today, to talk about H.Con. Resolution 107. I'd like to give you a little bit of history about why this has become more and more of an important issue in my mind for this country.
H.Con. Resolution 107 expresses the sense of Congress, that except in response to an actual or imminent attack against the United States, the use of offensive military force by a President, without prior and clear authorization of an Act of Congress, violates the exclusive power of Congress to declare war, under Article 1 of the Constitution, and therefore, constitutes an impeachable high crime and misdemeanor under Article 2.
I have been in Congress for 18 years, as Jeff just made reference to. I did not serve in the military. This all started in my mind, about the role of Congress, back in 1999, when I joined other Members of Congress and we went to the Federal courts when President Bill Clinton went into Kosovo. In our filing, led by Congressman Tom Campbell [R-Calif.] at the time, we accused Clinton of not reporting to Congress within 48 hours of the status of the action, as required by the 1973 War Powers Resolution, in not first obtaining a declaration of war from Congress as required in the Constitution.
Since that time, Dennis Kucinich [D-Ohio] and I, in June of 2011, along with Jonathan Turley—he's a constitutional lawyer at George Washington University—Mr. Kucinich and I went to the Federal courts in Washington, D.C., about President Obama not seeking authority from Congress, to invade and attack Libya. And this is why I feel so strongly about the fact that we send our young boys and girls, to give their life, their limbs, and we spend billions of dollars that we as a nation don't even have any more, it's all borrowed money!—and I hope your listeners today will join us in asking members of Congress to use the vehicle H.Con. Resolution 107, and let's have a full debate in Congress as to what is our role when it comes to war. Let's stop all these little resolutions here and there, and resolutions that we gave to President Bush in a war that never should have been fought, in Iraq—the misleading lies that were told by the previous administration. And we spent billions of dollars in Iraq, and our kids died and lost their legs—plus the Iraqis who were killed, including children.
I feel very passionate about this. Jeff, you know that. I've just met Harley today, but the American people need to take back the Constitution.
A Bipartisan Effort
Schlanger: And as I understand it, this is not a partisan issue for you. You mentioned Clinton, you mentioned Obama, and you also mentioned that you thought the vote to give Bush power to go into Iraq was a mistake—
Schlanger: But you're pushing this to apply, not just to Obama, but to any future President, is that right?
Jones: Harley, that's exactly right. It says "a President," instead of "the President." "The President" would certainly imply Mr. Obama. No, this says, "a President." I want Congress to get out of the stands and get on the field when we make decisions about war, because the one thing we found from the 1999 Federal court ruling, and also the June 2011 [ruling], is that the Federal courts will always say, "Well, you can do something about going to war. You can cut the budget for war." That never happens. And I want to be fair about it: Many colleagues will say—and I understand this, I've got military bases in eastern North Carolina—they'll say, "You send them over there, now how are you going to cut their budgets so they can't buy bullets to fight with?" So that is why this resolution, I think, is so important.
We need to either amend the War Powers Resolution, or we need to take this Concurrent Resolution and debate it in Washington, and let the experts come and testify before the Judiciary Committee, and say, what is the role of Congress? Is the role of Congress what the Constitution requires us to do? We declare war. Or, are we just supposed to sit by and let any President decide what he or she wants to do?
Congress Has Been 'Neutered'
Schlanger: My next question for you is one that previously would have seemed somewhat obvious: Given that this is clearly stated in the Constitution, that it's the exclusive right of the Congress, why is it necessary to have a resolution now?
Jones: Harley, you're right. It is obvious, but the problem is that Congress has allowed itself to be neutered, if I can use that word, when it comes to the Constitution and the duties of Congress, when it comes to war. We haven't declared war since World War II. And we as a nation have been manipulated from—in my opinion, the Vietnam War probably started the manipulation that I could maybe refer to; maybe even before that—but certainly the Vietnam War was manipulated by Lyndon Baines Johnson and those people surrounding him, McNamara and others, in a war where we lost 55,000 Americans—for what? For what? And now we're trading with Vietnam.
We need to bring the Constitution back, and make some sense out of going to war.
Schlanger: Now, as far as the immediate situation, to situate the urgency of your resolution, we have an almost uncontrolled situation going on in Syria, where you have Republicans and Democrats—again, Senator McCain, Joe Lieberman, John Kerry—all seem intent on a replay of Libya in Syria. Is that part of what you see as the urgency here?
Jones: I'm very concerned about Syria, but also concerned about Iran. I think there are a lot of war games going on right now, and I think there are people within this administration and outside this administration that are putting pressure on the Obama Administration to be prepared to go, whether it be Syria or Iran.
I'm not against having a strong military. In fact, I am for a strong military; I think the Constitution requires that. But to use our men and women as policemen around the world, to go into countries where we do not like the leader of the country—Qaddafi was an evil man, but how many evil people are there around the world? We are a debtor nation; we spend $10 billion a month in Afghanistan right now, and it's all borrowed money!
Schlanger: And has there been any discussion in the Congress about this "Responsibility To Protect" doctrine, which is now being institutionalized with an "Atrocities Prevention Board"?
Jones: The answer is, yes, but not much conversation. The whole issue is that the American people need to take back their government. We, for too long, have been controlled by special interests and political action committees. That's not a real great answer to your statement, but I see it all the time—I've said so many times.
If you want to change Washington, you want to give it back to the people, create national public financing of campaigns. And this does impact on the issue we're talking about today. But the whole thing comes back to the fact that the American people need not to allow Congress to ever send another young man or woman to spend 10 years walking the roads of a foreign country so they can be killed or lose their legs.
And this is a start, by having this discussion on H.Con. Resolution 107. I hope those listening to your show today will contact their Member of Congress, in the House—this bill is not in the Senate, at this time, so we're concentrating on the House. We need to get co-sponsors right now, and we're just starting. That's why I wanted to be on this show.
Rep. Dan Burton [R] from Indiana is a co-sponsor of H.Con. Resolution 107. Mike Coffman [R-Colo.], himself a former Marine, is a is a co-sponsor. John Duncan [R] from Tennessee is a co-sponsor; Tim McClintock [R] from California; and Reid Ribble [R] from Wisconsin—they're the co-sponsors we have at this time. But I want to thank Jeff, and Rochelle [Ascher], and Stu [Rosenblatt], and all the LaRouche people who are out there trying to push all the Members of Congress to join in this effort to defend the Constitution.
Schlanger: I think it's important that you raise this point, because our listeners—certainly we hope that our listeners are not just sitting there, shaking their heads and saying, "Aw, the Congress is no good." Here you have a Congressman who's put himself on the line. In fact, I think the reason that you had an opponent in the Republican primary may well be because of your commitment to these issues.
Jones: That's true.
Schlanger: But I think it's important that we make this a bipartisan fight, because, after all, as one of my friends said the other day, when soldiers are sent to war, they don't go as Republicans or Democrats, but as Americans. And so we have to get some Democratic co-sponsors on this.
Now, you mentioned the Senate. I understand that Sen. Jim Webb [D-Va.] has introduced a bill on this idea of "humanitarian deployments." Are you familiar with the bill?
Jones: Actually, Jeff brought it to my office. We had a meeting Thursday, to map out some strategy, and I've had a chance to bring it home. I've not read it in detail, but, let me say, I have great respect for Senator Webb, and any, any effort to create a discussion of this country going to war without declaring war based on the Constitution is worth it.
Raise the Level of Debate
The problem is, we hardly ever debate the role of Congress when it comes to war! If it wasn't for these lawsuits, where I joined Dennis Kucinich, I joined Tom Campbell in 1999—it's sad for me to say it this way, but it would just keep going on and on and on! Ten years, and now the President is trying to sign a security agreement with Afghanistan to stay there 12 more years? Where are we going to get the money from?
Steinberg: It's $44 billion.
Jones: I'm worried about fixing the veterans, who've lost arms and legs and body parts. They've earned the right to be paid! And yet, I worry about how we're going to keep their benefits moving forward.
Schlanger: On the constitutional question, I think the most important thing—I'm sure you're familiar with the statement attributed to Benjamin Franklin, after the Constitutional Convention, when he was asked, "What kind of government did you give us?" And he said, "A republic, if you can keep it."
And if you look at what we had, the kind of idiotic debates in the last couple of Presidential elections, the use of "social issue hot buttons" as opposed to serious discussions about what is the future of this nation: Where should we be investing money? What are we doing to our young men and women? What's happening to our education system? These are issues that affect every family! And these are issues which actually are addressed in our Constitution! So, I think this is a crucial matter, of getting this kind of discussion going.
The People Must Lean on Congress
Jones: Harley, if I could divert for just one moment, but it does tie in: A couple years ago, we had the Democrats in the majority—and again, I am a Republican, and proud to be one. I introduced a bill [in 2007], working with [constitutional lawyer] Bruce Fein, and it would be part of the public law, and it basically said that if any President had intentionally misled the American people to go to war, and it could be proven after the fact, then that individual could be indicted, and brought to trial.
Well, I was able, thanks to Rep. John Conyers [D-Mich.] who at that time was the chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, to get a subcommittee hearing, and it was pretty good. We had a couple of experts—and I'm not an expert by the way—but we had a couple of panels of experts.
Then I went back to Mr. Conyers and asked him if he would hold a full committee hearing and vote, in the committee. There was some opposition from Republicans, and I'll explain that in a minute. Mr. Conyers said, "If you could get Lamar Smith [R-Tex.] to agree to bring it to the full committee, I will bring it up for a debate and a vote." And that's all I was trying to get, even if it could not pass: Somebody has to be held responsible when we send our kids to war and it's not necessary. Mr. Conyers is very close to the new chairman, now, Lamar Smith, who's a fine, fine person, let me make that clear, from Texas.
So, Bruce Fein and I went to see Lamar Smith, who I'm very fond of, to see if he would agree. And Lamar was very honest. He said, "Walt, the problem is, I think this might be something that we really need to talk about. But I know what'll happen in that committee: The Democrats will demagogue, and talk about George Bush." And so, it died; it never got anywhere.
So, that's why in working again [now] with Bruce Fein, I've been to meet with Lamar Smith; he's now the chairman, he's going to consider entertaining a hearing. That's why we need your people to get behind talking to Members of Congress and say, "Get behind H.Con. Resolution 107, HCR 107." Because, I think that Lamar, even though he would not tell Mr. Conyers to move the bill I just explained, about holding someone responsible after they leave office, still, he will entertain H.Con. Resolution 107, because he does know that we need to have this debate.
Dancing and Dodging
Steinberg: I want to go back to the earlier discussion when, Harley, you raised the issue of why would it be necessary to state something that is already explicit in the Constitution.
Congressman, I was very struck, about two weeks ago, when there was a hearing of the House Armed Services Committee, at which Defense Secretary Panetta was testifying, I believe also with General Dempsey, and you and Rep. Randy Forbes [R-Va.] really backed him into a corner. And from my reading of what Panetta said, he reiterated what the policy was in Libya, and would not commit that the President would go to Congress for authorization, before going to war.
Jones: You're right. He was really very clear that the President would not commit, in my opinion. I mean, he was not quite that plain, but he said that we have to go to the foreign countries and get the foreign countries to agree that we're doing the right thing, before we come to Congress. And that's the point you were making: Where in the world is the Constitution? It says nothing about Congress having to get the approval from foreign countries, before it debates and declares war! That's how far away from the Constitution America has gone.
Steinberg: Really a frightening situation. And I thought that the sort of back-to-back questioning by you and Representative Forbes was crucial in drawing that out. If I remember correctly, the very last thing that Secretary Panetta said, was exactly the issue that Congress always has the option to cut off funding. But that's only one of the responsibilities that the Constitution gives to Congress. The overriding one, as you say in HCR 107, is Article I, Section 8, paragraph 11, that gives Congress the exclusive authority to declare war.
Jones: Randy Forbes is a very, very fine member of the House Armed Services Committees, from Virginia; and let me go back just a year or so, to make another point that involves Randy, and also the issue we're talking about.
Shortly after President Obama went into Libya, we held hearings on the Armed Services Committee, and the Secretary of Defense at that time was Bob Gates, a very fine gentleman, just like Panetta.
And Randy asked Gates a question that I will never forget. He said, "Mr. Secretary, since [the Administration] did not even notify Congress that we were going to bomb Libya, let me ask you a question. In your opinion, if Libya sent missiles and struck New York City, in your mind, would that be a declaration of war?"
You know, Randy never got a straight answer.
They just dance and dodge around this thing, because nobody has ever put them in the spotlight. And H.Con. Resolution 107, in a very small way, will put them in the spotlight! Because Congress—I blame Congress as much as I do an administration. If we're not willing to buck an administration, whether it be Democrat or Republican, and say, "Listen, you might be the President of the United States, but by God, we have a Constitution. And if you want to go to war, you need to come to Congress and ask for a declaration of war!" I don't want to oversimplify it. There are certain situations; I realize that. But when you really look at it, the Congress, since the Vietnam War, has just been in the stands, not on the playing field.
An Imperial Presidency
Schlanger: This actually brings up a bigger issue as well, which is this idea of an imperial Presidency: that the President has, President Obama now, I'm talking about; President Bush and Vice President Cheney were moving already in this direction, with signing statements and recess appointments. But it's almost as though—and I think President Obama has stated this—the Congress is in his way, and he's going to act for the people above the Congress.
Is this something that troubles you?
Jones: Harley, it concerns many Members in Congress on both sides, when a President makes a public statement similar to what you just said, or takes action. And yet, there's no outrage by the Congress, and the people say, "Well, I voted for you to go up there and speak for me." It gets very depressing, truthfully, that we can have any President—you made that clear—that feels that he is—. You know, we're supposed to be equal branches, the Legislative, Judicial, and the Executive. And for goodness sakes, the Executive—as you have said—too many times, they do not see particularly the Legislative branch, as equal.
Schlanger: I think you see, in the population, one of the things they're using [to claim Executive privilege] is the low poll ratings for Congress. But I personally think, from the work that I do in organizing—and I'm involved in running five campaigns of LaRouche candidates for Congress—is that part of the anger at Congress, is that they're not standing up! It's not that they're doing so many bad things, but they're not fighting on principle!
Jones: That, again, is why I'm grateful to the LaRouche radio show, that you allow me to be on. That's why I believe sincerely—not because I introduced this, let me make it clear—that H.Con. Resolution 107 is an opportunity for the American people; I don't think there's anything as important as making a decision to send a young man or woman to a foreign country to get killed, or have their legs blown off. And yet, there is no outrage in this country. I've been raising Cain! I had the Tea Party people—I've said, I can understand you being upset and concerned, but why aren't you upset about going to war, without declaring war, and kids dying?
I said, to the [Occupy] Wall Street group—they came in my office, and I met with some of them. I didn't meet with all of them—my staff did—but I met with a few of them. And I told them, "You know, you've got some valid points, I agree with you. Glass-Steagall needs to be reinstated in this country. I'm sorry I ever voted to repeal it. But let me get to another point: Where is the outrage on the streets about spending $10 billion a month, sending kids to die for a corrupt leader named Karzai [President of Afghanistan—ed.], in a country that you're never going to change—no matter what you do! You're never going to change Afghanistan!"
Schlanger: There are some in Congress who have questioned the Memo of Understanding that was signed last week with Karzai, committing us to another 12 years there. Are you involved in some of the action on that?
Jones: I will shortly be dropping a bill that, if it should become law, says that nothing will happen unless Congress approves it. I hope to have that bill either next week or the first week in June. I might just go and drop it next week, like I did H.Con. Resolution 107.
How To Get Congressmen To Listen
And I want your listeners to understand, that even though I've named only five members of Congress, the way the Congress works, is if you get a bill in, then you get a bill number, like we have "107," on this issue. Then you get shows like this, to encourage membership throughout this country to get behind H.Con. Resolution 107.
So, when I drop the bill, I hope we're going to be able to do the same thing, and get a lot of American people behind that legislation, just like I hope to get behind this resolution. Because there is no way—if the people don't speak, Congress will just do what Congress wants, actions they take without the will of the people.
Schlanger: For the listeners who may want to do something: What's the best way to approach a congressional office? If you have a Congressman who you think should be supporting this, or even if they won't support it, but you want to put some pressure on them, how do you go about organizing people to move the Congress?
Jones: The way to really get a congressional office to respond, is either telephone calls, or letters, or asking for meetings. We will be breaking in about two weeks, I think. We'll be all going home (except those that take overseas trips, but that's another issue for another time); we will all be going home and the citizens that want to go meet with that member of Congress and say, "Come on and get behind H.Con Resolution 107, it's time that you take action as the Constitution requires and not just pass resolutions." But yes, telephone calls will do it. If a member gets 10 or 15 phone calls, I guarantee you, that young man or young woman at the front desk taking those calls is going to bring it to somebody's attention, saying, "Look, we just got 15 or 20 phone calls a day about H.Con. Resolution 107." Then that Member of Congress is going to take some interest in it.
Schlanger: I hope our listeners heard that, because a lot of them say to me, "Well, I made a phone call and nothing happened." But you are saying that in congressional offices, people pay attention to that, and also especially visits.
Jones: Absolutely. To me, the Internet is fine, but e-mails, you get thousands of them per day from your Congressional District, and that's when it's really hard for a Member. But when you start getting phone calls, and you get 5, 10, 15 phone calls—. Anybody listening that agrees with us on H.Con. Resolution 107, why not ask your friends, get them the telephone number of the district office of Congressman Walter Jones—and, I'm just using myself as the example, obviously—but get them the telephone number, and say, "All you got to do is call, and all you've got to say, is 'HCR 107, HCR 107. Support HCR 107.' "
And then that Member of Congress or his staff, if they get 10 or 15 phone calls, they're going to say, "Well, what is HCR 107?" And then it'll come back: "This is the resolution, that if a President bypasses Congress and bombs another country, he can be impeached!"
Getting Democratic Support
Schlanger: Now, let me take this one step further, because I'm very happy that you laid this out, so that people are hearing that people in the Congress do respond, or they will have to respond. We're also seeing a bit of an upsurge again, of anti-incumbency. We saw Sen. Richard Lugar [R-Ind.] defeated, and I think it's unfortunate, because he was someone who was speaking out on these questions, along with Sen. Bob Corker [R-Tenn.].
But, the next question I have for you, if HCR 107 is passed, is there the guts in the Congress, if the President does this, to move for impeachment?
Jones: That's a good point. I would put it this way, that if the House of Representatives passed H.Con. Resolution 107, I promise you—and very seldom do I promise anything, because I learn I can't keep them in Congress much; but I can just about promise you, that it will get the attention of the Administration. Because it will send a signal, if you make some decision bypassing Congress, and you go and bomb another country that is not an imminent threat to America, then we will proceed with impeachment. It will have that kind of effect, truthfully. If we could just get it passed in the House.
Schlanger: Now, my other question is that to pass it in the House, you would need some Democratic support, I would think?
Schlanger: Are there Democrats you've talked to and Democrats who recognize that this is a problem? Certainly with the budget crisis, with the financial crisis, with the imperial Presidency, the precedents that are being set, both by Bush and Obama, if you end up with a Republican President, they could do the same thing. So aren't some of the Democrats getting a little nervous about this? And do you think you can get some Democrats on board?
Jones: Well, Harley, with the LaRouche team that works Washington, I think we can get some Democrats on it. But it does take your listeners back home; if they have a Democratic Congressman or a Republican Congressman, it doesn't really matter, just call them and remind them that this is not about Mr. Obama, this is about the weakness of Congress. And that's really what it's about, it's about the weakness of Congress, when it comes to declaring war. Congress gets stronger: Meet your constitutional responsibility, back HCR 107!
That's what this is about. It's not a Democratic or Republican effort. This is an effort by a Congressman, and now five Congressmen, who believe that Congress has a role, that's based on the Constitution. That's what it's really all about. That's really what it's about.
Schlanger: I want to come to the question of Glass-Steagall in a moment, but Jeff, I wanted to see if you had anything else from the strategic standpoint that you wanted to ask the Congressman.
Steinberg: I think that it's really appropriate at this point, to just point to the fact, since we're talking about the need for Congress as an institution to act in a bipartisan fashion, that Congressman Jones was one of the initiating co-sponsors of a critical piece of legislation, introduced by a Democratic colleague, Marcy Kaptur [Ohio], which is a bill that now has over 50 sponsors in the House, that would reinstate the original Glass-Steagall separation of commercial banks from the investment and insurance sectors. And I think this is exemplary of where the interests of the country as a whole trumped any partisan considerations.
And I hope that Democratic Members of Congress, who know that Congressman Jones is absolutely right on HCR 107, will have the same courage that the Congressman showed in helping to get the ball rolling on the reinstatement of Glass-Steagall.
These issues of war and peace, and the issue of the bankruptcy of our country, are, I think, two of the gravest threats to the survival of our constitutional republic. We've talked about the Glass-Steagall issue; you were enthusiastic about the importance of reinstating it. Maybe you could say some things about that, as well.
Jones: Sure. Jeff, as I've mentioned so many times in the nine terms I've been in office, there are two votes that I regret the very most, the first being the Iraq War, a very unnecessary war. I didn't vote my conscience, and I wish I had.
On the second vote, that I feel that I've let the people down, was the repeal of Glass-Steagall. At the time, some people back in my district, which was very important, said, "Do not expand the opportunity of the banks to get into real estate, and to get into insurance, into stocks." And I wish that I had, on both issues, the strength I have now—and I give God credit for that—to do what I think is right, and not do what some political action committee or special interest says needs to be done.
And you know—I'm going to be bipartisan now—President Clinton was the President at the time of the repeal of Glass-Steagall. And his Administration and my Republican Party (we were the majority in the House and Senate at the time) [both pushed for repeal], and I was part of the problem, because I voted to repeal it.
But thank you for mentioning it, I'm also on Marcy Kaptur's bill. It needs to be reinstated, because if not, then we're going to continue to see these failures on Wall Street! They're just going to continue.
Schlanger: We saw this last week another shock delivered, with JPMorgan Chase acknowledging a $2 billion loss, which could have been more than that, from the same involvement in collateralized debt obligations, and credit default swaps, that was behind the 2008 collapse of Lehman Brothers and others.
Now, the Congress passed a bill, the Dodd-Frank Bill, which we identified as a bill that the bankers would love. It did nothing to really install new regulations, and there was an effort to get Glass-Steagall that was specifically crushed by President Obama and Tim Geithner. Now, given that there are 58 co-sponsors [for the Kaptur bill], including some Republicans, what are the chances that we can get the Glass-Steagall bill, now that it's become clear, with the euro crisis and with the recent JPMorgan scandal, that we've done nothing] to prevent this from happening again?
Jones: Harley, as we're saying about H.Con. Resolution 107, the American people have more power than they realize. The Congress and the special interest people realize that we've got a difficult economy, people are losing jobs, people are afraid they're going to lose jobs, so they take advantage of this. I want the American people to do what those people in [Occupy] Wall Street did—I mean, I'm not saying they got to go put up a tent somewhere, but for godsakes! Pick up the phone and make a call! As you or Jeff said a while ago, Harley, our approval rating is around 12 or 14%! If you can't pick up the phone, now, and say to a member of Congress, "There are two issues that I'm very concerned about: One is fighting wars without a constitutional approval. The second is, the repeal of Glass-Steagall that allowed banks to create a Sodom and Gomorrah on Wall Street!"
Schlanger: Yes, the concept of "too big to fail," which is something which we should never have! There's nothing too big to fail, except the U.S. government, which we can't allow to fail. And our lack of interest in these issues is precisely allowing that to happen.
'Pick Up the Phone!'
Jones: Well, I know Mr. LaRouche, and the LaRouche team that I work with in Washington, one of them being Jeff, and yourself, but the point is, I don't want to oversimplify it, but when I was in Washington during the bailout of Wall Street, we were there two days; and my chief of staff Glen Downs and myself were the only two in the office. I didn't ask the staff to come in on Saturday and Sunday, and we ended up voting on Sunday. I couldn't watch enough football, quite frankly. What I would do, is every four or fifth call—I didn't really time it, you understand—I would go answer the phone. And people would say, "I want to leave a message for Congressman Jones." And I'd say, "Well, you got him. That's me." "Really? You're kidding me, it's you?" "Yes, it is."
And then I would take the question. And I'm not exaggerating!—it was running nine to one not to bail out Wall Street. I didn't vote to bail out Wall Street.
But I would tell the listeners to your show today: Pick up the phone on these two issues, and call, and you know what? Hold the people to the fire. The time for the American people to take back their government is now. It won't be tomorrow. Tomorrow will be too late. It's now.
Schlanger: And we do have an election this year, and it's not too late to make these issues central issues in the election, which I think are probably more important for the future of this nation, than the issues in the Republican debates, or the ones the President seems to want to take up, with gay marriage and things of that sort.
This is our whole raison d'être: to move the American people back into politics! And I think the point that's come through repeatedly in this discussion, is that you believe that principles, ultimately, are more important than party; that patriotism and love of country, and the future of the nation, trump partisanship any time.
Jones: Absolutely, Harley. I can honestly say that many, many people say, "Walter, you know, I vote for you because I know that you'll take a stand against your own party, if you think it's the right thing to do for the people." And there are more than just me; I'm not saying I'm the only one, and Jeff knows them, and probably you know them, too. But the problem is, that people get into Washington, and it's all about fundraising, it's all about, "We got to raise money; we got to hold the power; we got do this; we got to do that." Well, look and see where the majority of the money comes from: opensecrets.com, any of your listeners can go on that and look and see where the money's coming from.
And I take PAC money, too, I want to be fair about it. But I'm also on a couple of bills, one by John Larson [D-Conn.], to have voluntary public financing of the campaigns. I'm part of the problem on this issue, but I'm also trying to be part of the solution.
The BMD Deployment in Europe
Steinberg: Speaking of political activism and getting the American people behind the right policies, I just want to interrupt with a question that's been sent in. There's a group of about 20 organizers gathered in New Jersey, basically volunteers for Diane Sare's campaign in New Jersey—she's one of the five members of the [National] LaRouche Democratic Slate.
Clark King from Philadelphia has sent in a question for you. He says: "It appears that perpetual war is expanding with the European anti-ballistic-missile expansion set to be ratified on May 20 at the Chicago NATO meeting, where there'll be new elements installed in Poland and other parts of Europe, potentially aimed at Russia. Will the Congress challenge this deployment, and make other efforts to curb this potential expansion of war?"
Jones: My answer would be that—of course, this is a treaty that goes to the Senate, not to the House—but I believe sincerely, that there are those of us in both parties, that are saying, it's time—. John Garamendi from California, during the Armed Services markup last week, had an amendment that would delay the creation of a missile defense system on the East Coast. I was among the one or two Republicans that voted with him. It'll come back on the floor; it failed.
But I think the gentleman from Philadelphia is exactly right: The voices of the people have got to be heard. And this lady [Diane Sare] in New Jersey that's running, I hope she'll start—I'm sure she will—speaking out, and telling people. There are those in all parties, I'll be fair about it, that are trying to do what's right for this country. But if you're not going to follow the Constitution, you'll never get this country straight, it will never happen.
'I'm Going To Fight for It'
Schlanger: Well, I hope people are getting the sense, here, that this is something that you actually believe could be done. And even if it couldn't be done, you know it's the right thing to do and you're going to fight for it.
Jones: Harley, I'm going to fight for it, for this reason. I'm 69; I'm healthy at this point; I'm going to do everything I can, because there's not a whole lot of time left for this country to be a great nation. A great nation is great because it rebuilds itself when it's hurting; and when I look at the fact that we're borrowing money from the Chinese, and spending it all over the world—$10 billion in Afghanistan!—I think America is on a 12-hour clock, and we're in the 11th hour. There's no 1 a.m.!
We either get it fixed now—we're not going to fix it overnight. I won't live long enough to see it fixed, but maybe your son or your daughter ... maybe that child that you and your wife have brought into this world, maybe when he or she gets to be 30 years of age, she'll be able to say to you and your wife, "Mom and Dad, you know what? This is the greatest nation in the world."
But it's only going to be great, because we come back to the Constitution.
Schlanger: We have a couple of minutes left, if you want to make one final statement to our listeners. And I'm really insisting that our listeners not be listeners today, but be turned into activists. Because I think your passion for this resonates with people who are supporters of Mr. LaRouche, but we need to make sure there's no cynicism that gets in the way.
So, do you have some final comments you'd like to make?
Jones: Yes. Harley and Jeff, thank you for this opportunity, I've really enjoyed it. I've learned a lot by listening to both of you. Please, just take one issue, that deals with the Constitution, and that is the role of the Executive branch and Congress, and make the calls, tell Congress to get a backbone! And to meet its constitutional responsibilities when it comes to declaring war.
I've seen four kids at Walter Reed, who have no body parts below their waist—nothing, nothing, nothing! below their waist! Don't we owe it to them, who gave half their body, for the war to be based on the Constitution, based on the fact that Congress declared war? Please pick up the phone, call that Member of Congress, and just say, "Please join in the effort on HCR 107. Congress, return to your constitutional powers in declaring war."
Schlanger: I thank you for your time today, and I thank you for your commitment to this fight. And hopefully we'll be able to bring you on again, to get an update on this.
Jones: Well, thank you both, and God bless America. Thank you so much.
 For details, see "Panetta Testimony Reaffirms Need for Rep. Walter Jones' Impeachment Bill," EIR, April 27, 2012.