Saturday, April 08, 2017

Something Unconstitutional Has Happened But With Gorsuch Confirmed, It Won't Matter One Bit


Many of the nutters usually most enamored of Trump turned on him after the missiles flew Thursday evening, including UKIP whackadoodles Paul Nuttall and  Nigel Farage, plus Milo Yiannopoulos Katie Hopkins, Ann Coulter, Arron Banks and Paul Joseph Watson. Nuttall, who took over the British neo-Nazi party when Farange left, tweeted that "The U.S. bombing of Syria last night was rash, trigger happy, nonsensical and will achieve nothing. I hoped for better." In as much as anyone has ever heard on Watson, it's on the crackpot Trump news InfoWars channel. He said Trump turned out to be "just another deep state/Neo-Con puppet. I'm officially OFF the Trump train. It's been fun lads, but the fun is over. I'll be focusing my efforts on Le Pen, who tried to warn Trump against this disaster." Coulter, brutal, sounds sad: "Those who wanted us meddling in the Middle East voted for other candidates... Trump campaigned on not getting involved in Mideast. Said it always helps our enemies & creates more refugees. Then he saw a picture on TV."

One of the first Members of Congress to respond to Trump's illegal bombing of Syria Thursday night-- amidst all the Trumpanzee-ish fan-fair-- was Kentucky Republican Rand Paul. He tends to almost always give Trump the benefit of the doubt-- but not on something this clear and blatantly unconstitutional. Had you not looked at the dates of these Trump tweets, you might think Trump beat him to the punch. Trump:


Ted Lieu, who also tweeted up a storm, sent this statement to his constituents in the morning:
"President Bashar al-Assad’s latest attack on his own people with chemical weapons was heinous and heartbreaking. The U.S. Constitution, however, does not allow the President to engage in acts of war without authorization from Congress. Having served on active duty as a JAG, I am well aware of the legal authorities for the use of military force. President Trump’s unilateral decision to launch 59 Tomahawk missiles at another country’s military-- which had not attacked the U.S.-- was unconstitutional.

"In 2001, Congress authorized the President to use military force against nations and terrorists that committed or aided 'the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001.' In 2002, Congress authorized the President to use military force to defend the U.S. against the 'threat posed by Iraq' and to enforce U.N. Resolutions 'regarding Iraq.' Neither of those authorizations apply in this case.

"As a Member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, I am also deeply disturbed by the whiplash actions of the Trump Administration and the lack of any coherent strategy in Syria. Last week, the Trump Administration signaled that it was okay with allowing Assad to stay in power, even though Assad had already killed hundreds of thousands of people in Syria and previously used chemical weapons. Yesterday, the Trump Administration attacked the Assad regime.

"In 2013, Assad used chemical weapons in Syria. Donald Trump stated that the President needed 'Congressional approval' in order to bomb Syria. He was right. I urge Trump to follow his own advice, as well as the Constitution, and stop engaging in unilateral acts of war without Congressional approval."
Although Schumer, as usual, wanted it both ways, tweeting a quick something-for-everyonecelebratory statement that began with "Making sure Assad knows that when he commits such despicable atrocities he will pay a price is the right thing to do." Ro Khanna (D-CA) seemed as happy with Schumer's bullshit as we were here at DWT. "Let's be blunt: The problem with process arguments is it's not the substantive question," he said. "The question is: Where do you stand on issues of war and peace? Do you believe it's more unilateral military intervention? Did we learn the lessons of Iraq and Libya and that we should not be engaged? I wish the Democratic Party would speak to the substance of that issue."

Moments after Schumer's stupid tweeted statement Grand Rapids independent-minded Republican congressman Justin Amash had a less wishy-washy statement that Schumer:

This morning, Seattle freshman Justin Pramila could have been speaking for over 100 members of Congress we reminded Trump that presidents aren't allowed to start wars without permission of Congress. "Under the Constitution," she wrote, "only Congress has the power to authorize the use of military force. President Trump has not proposed to Congress a comprehensive strategy to end the violence in Syria and combat the Assad regime. The President owes the American people a plan that ensures we do not become entangled in another war. His unilateral action, without Congressional approval, is a disturbing precedent that we must not allow. A foreign policy of unilateral military action will not bring enduring peace. President Trump must demand Russia come to the table and support a UN investigation of the chemical attack. He must also engage the international community in a multilateral plan to end this humanitarian crisis in Syria and throughout the Middle East. In the meantime, the latest attacks in Syria have resulted in even more deaths and the displacement of thousands of innocent people. President Trump must lift his ban on refugees, and allow those who are fighting for their lives to seek refuge in our country." Also this morning, Paul Krugman tweeted, "Syria strike is to foreign policy as Carrier deal (remember that?) was to trade policy: impresses the rubes, but basically meaningless."

Jerry Nadler (D-NY), one of Congress' foremost constitutional experts went for it as well, pointing out that Trumpanzee's "action in attacking Syria without Congressional authorization was clearly illegal and unconstitutional. Our action against Libya in 2012 without an imminent threat to the United States and without prior Congressional approval was similarly illegal and unconstitutional, as I said at the time. It is essential that the power to decide whether or not to take the country to war rest with the people, through their representatives in Congress, as the framers intended, rather than in any one person. “Furthermore, while it is heartening to know that President Trump was moved by photos of slain Syrian children earlier this week, there have been countless images over the past few years of children laying face down on sandy shores or floating lifeless in the water as they flee the devastations of war at home. Yet the President’s approach to the Syrian refugee crisis flies in the face of the moral decency he cites as the reason to launch a military strike against Assad. I hope President Trump develops the same sense of moral decency when dealing with the Syrian refugees fleeing from Assad’s brutality.”

When I woke up today my first e-mail was from my friend Helen who was dismayed, she said, that one of her favorite columnists, Nick Kristof favored Trump's idiotic move in Syria, a move he admits was of dubious legality, hypocritical, impulsive, politically motivated and risky for the United States: "What the hell has happened to Kristof? Now he is supporting the bombing by Trump. The latter, a knee jerk bellicose bullying response by Trump without any forethought of its implications and no overall strategy or policy, will only lead further to more entanglement and more crap. I kinda prefer reading Brooks these days! Unbelievable."

Kristof wrote that although he's "deeply suspicious of Trump’s policies and competence... this is a case where he is right and Barack Obama was wrong. Indeed, many of us believe that Obama’s worst foreign policy mistake was his passivity in Syria." Of course, others of us think that by taking the constitutional route-- asking Congress to authorize an attack-- Obama did exactly the right thing (as did Congress for turning him down).

Dan Rather agrees with Helen:
There is a tendency to rally around the flag, and a President who takes on a war footing can see a boost of support. It is often transitory. There are arguments to be made that President Assad in Syria has crossed a line that demands U.S. military interference. Whether this should have been a unilateral action is something we all must consider. Whether President Trump has a plan for what comes next must be debated. Whether there is a coherence to this missile strike fitting into a larger foreign policy strategy is a question that should give us all pause.

The role of the press is to ask hard questions. There is ample evidence that this Administration needs to face deep scrutiny. The lies we have heard, the chaos in governance, and the looming questions about ties with Russia-- itself a major player in Syria-- demand that the press treat this latest action with healthy skepticism. Perhaps it was the right thing to do. Perhaps a strong and wise policy will emerge. But that judgement is still definitely hanging in the balance.

The number of members of the press who have lauded the actions last night as "presidential" is concerning. War must never be considered a public relations operation. It is not a way for an Administration to gain a narrative. It is a step into a dangerous unknown and its full impact is impossible to predict, especially in the immediate wake of the first strike.

On his show last night Bill Maher was also more perceptive and on the ball than Kristof. "In America, you’re not really president until you bomb something, you know? Even the liberals were all over this last night. Everybody loves this fucking thing. Cable news loves it when they show footage of destroyers firing cruise missiles at night. It’s America’s money shot."

And, yeah... Bill Maher had Ted Lieu, who the audience seemed to be completely enamored with, on the show last night:

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At 2:07 PM, Blogger Gadfly said...

Unconstitutional like the 16,000 bombs Dear Leader dropped on Syria last year?

Sez who? Some wingnuts?

No. Sez Juan Cole in The Nation:

At 5:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

In agreement. The constitution does STILL say that the senate is who declares war... but no war has been so declared since 1941... some little thing in Europe and the pacific... anyone remember that one?

Yet the prez has, often, too often, conducted wars. Does anyone impeach over it? nope. They kvetch a little. Maybe bitch. Some even protest. But no prez has ever been impeached or even not re-elected over some war he started/escalated (name a prez who ended a war). One even started two in ORDER to be re-elected. Remember that asshole?

So, and again I remind everyone, laws and the constitution only matter if they are enforced.

One more chance. Show of hands. Who thinks our laws and constitution make a rat's turd of difference? I'll wait........

At 12:47 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It seems Herr Hair has taken decisive action, not so much to ensure democracy in a far off land, but, rather, to bolster falling approval ratings. Note automatic support by the obedient scriveners of empire:

The US society's embrace of perpetual war is as sure as Lucy and the football.

Typo note: " ... Seattle freshman Justin Pramila ... "

John Puma


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