Gallup Says Only 28 Percent of Voters Are Satisfied With The Election . . . Who Are These People?

495px-Donald_Trump_by_Gage_SkidmoreHillary_Clinton_Testimony_to_House_Select_Committee_on_BenghaziThe release of the latest Gallup poll was hardly surprising in finding that most Americans are deeply upset about this election and the state of our political system. After all, the two major parties that control this nation have given voters the two most unpopular candidates in the history of presidential politics to choose between. In speaking around the country, I have been struck with how angry people are in both liberal and conservative areas. Yet, what really surprised me is that there are 28 percent of Americans who are actually satisfied with our political system and this election. Who are these people?

One answer is that they are more like to be Democrats. Some 49 percent of Democrats are actually satisfied with this political morass. Only 8 percent of Republicans say that they are satisfied.

The historical average for Gallup has been 37 percent, which itself is chilling evidence that our political system has not been embraced by even a bare majority in the entire time (since 1979) that Gallup has been polling on the question.

What is also surprising is that this satisfaction figure is up. In August, it was only 17 percent.

I cannot imagine a citizen looking at this process and feeling satisfied, even if you support one of the candidates. This election has reaffirmed to many that the duopoly of power in this country has reached a truly absurd and disconnected state with the electorate. On the Democratic side, Wikileaks has confirmed an effort by DNC officials and various media figures to guarantee Clinton’s nomination. Over half of voters view the entire system as rigged. On the Republican side, the opposition to Trump is now so great that the Democrats could win the Senate and the Supreme Court as well as the White House by simple default. Both candidates are viewed as thoroughly dishonest by the vast majority of voters.

Yet, over one in four of us are sitting at home and saying “I like this. This is good.”

220px-George_WashingtonOne would be tempted to declare democracy a failed experiment but this is not what the framers envisioned. It is however what George Washington envisioned when he warned against political parties:

“However [political parties] may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion.”

We are the nation that produced Washington, Madison, and other great leaders. Yet, over a quarter of us think this selection is just fine. Washington was wrong about his hope for a system without parties. It was inevitable. However, we control our political system and we can change it. I have written previously about such reforms (here and here). Hopefully, the other three-quarters of disgusted voters may finally be sufficiently disgusted to take action.

160 thoughts on “Gallup Says Only 28 Percent of Voters Are Satisfied With The Election . . . Who Are These People?

  1. Who came up with the idea to measure the American People’s trust in government? More importantly, who determined the higher the number the better? If we the people were an enlightened bunch, we would be aware of the risks all governments pose to the unalienable rights of the people and the greater the enlightenment the lower the trust. Today, the trust numbers are low. So does that reflect an enlightened electorate ready to remove from office anyone threatening their natural rights? Nope, quite the opposite. It reflects an ignorant bunch that is concerned about the risks to the rights they receive from government. This government no longer serves its original purpose. It has become a weapon for the majority.

    We have many problems with many causes; but is there one root cause? Think of your answer and ask yourself if that problem was fixed, would all the other problems go away? I can’t think of only one but I can think of three: Voter Ignorance, Voter Apathy and a Dependent Culture.

  2. In time, all voters will be Democrats and 100% will be satisfied with the way the system works because there will be consequences for expressing opinions otherwise. That is indeed where the US is heading as we speak. Years ago, the Democrats embarked on their “Great Society” plan of seeming “freebees” and “giveaways” Of course these programs were really scams designed to hook the hoi polloi into accepting an ever larger, more powerful, and more intrusive government bent on total control of the population. These programs also had their intended effect of increasing the number of Democrats and a gradual dumbing-down of the population to make them more passive and obedient, and to actually demand the government become larger and larger, and to begin the process of taking their rights away from them.

    The latest ploy of the Democrats (and the Republicans who are really working hand-in-hand with the Democrats to achieve the same objectives) is to expand immigration even more. Although the Republicans like to posture as though they are against illegal immigration, that is just a cover story. More illegal immigrants that are “legitimized” as lawful immigrants become future Democrats, thereby even further expanding the Democratic base, dumbing down the population, increasing crime, pacifying the public, and making them demand that the government take more of their rights away from them.

    As this process continues to play out, eventually you will have an incredibly large, but stupid population of Democrats and RINOs run by a relatively small group of oligarchs, who will believe whatever propaganda is set forth by the Media Presstitutes operating in the service of the Elite Establishment.

    This latest election will be a critical one. If the Elite Establishment succeeds in getting their candidate Hillary Clinton elected, the illegal immigrant spigot will be turned on full blast. Islamic terrorists will be imported en masse. And the population will respond as expected. They will demand that the government take their rights away from them and that they be taxed into oblivion.

    Should Trump succeed, the Elite Establishment members will be greatly disappointed because this would mean that the American public is not as passive, dumbed-down, and obedient as they had hoped. And (assuming Trump does win the election) should Trump actually take action to stop the Elite Establishment’s plan to flood the USA with illegal immigrants and Islamic terrorists, they may have to take Executive Action. Fortunately for the Elite Establishment, Executive Action has rarely been necessary as all presidents in recent years have followed orders to a “T.” In fact, the last time they needed to apply Executive Action was when JFK refused to expand the Vietnam War. Johnson and Nixon and every president since then has gotten the message.

    But so far, the Elite Establishment won’t have to worry about Trump and a potential Executive Action plan. The Elite Establishment’s long and hard efforts to produce a passive, dumbed-down, and obedient population seems to have paid off, as they seem to have successfully persuaded the hoi polloi to vote for Hillary Clinton, one of the most corrupt and criminal puppets that the Elite Establishment has ever employed.

    • What is more concerning in the near term is why neither candidate has explained why we’re in Syria without the consent of the Syrian government. Is it too hush-hush for the virgin ears of the public? If it’s because, as Ashton Carter states, “Assad needs to go,” then why does he need to go and why is it our place to do it?

      Why it doesn’t offend people here that we’ve invaded yet another country like we’re the Roman Empire on it’s last leg, and both candidates are 100% behind it, is more worrying to me than anything else. It’s a sickness, a lust for power and wealth at the expense of others.

      • Excellent post about the most important policy issue facing the US. We will probably never agree about capitalism – but I am always happy to find an ally in the fight against wars of choice.

      • Steve
        -I haven’t heard anyone from the Obama administration say “Assad must go” for a long time.
        Do you know when Aston Carter said that?
        After the results of the “Gaddafi must go”, “Mubarek must go”, “Saddam must go” ( previous administration) mentality, I thought the Obama administration dropped its earlier demands that Assad must go.

        • Carter said it in April with the words, “Assad cannot be part of the future,” and he referenced it later as the “political transition” (which Kerry’s working on with the Russians who aren’t having any of it because they’ve got a natural-gas pipeline to build that will prevent our leasehold on the neighborhood).

          Start at 00:40:00 – 00:41:00 and then again at 1:00:20 – 1:03:00.

            • My guess is Assad will keep it all. ISIS will recede at some point, leaving no excuse for Special Forces in country. Kerry won’t get it done if Russia’s bombing campaign is a telltale, And Clinton won’t gamble her legacy on a stare down with Putin or continued support to the Syrian opposition once Russia turns on them.

              Our presence in Syria is untenable. We’re there illegally.

              • Steve,

                A great concern I have that if Clinton is elected, her ambition and ego will not stop having attained only the highest political office in the United States. With regard to President Putin, he will go toe to toe with a president that contests him and we will face a test of wills that turns out badly, and the peoples of both nations unnecessarily suffer the greatest consequence. Whether this occurs in the Syrian question is perhaps less likely but the future might hold another contention somewhere eventually.

                One of the best destroyers of ISIS seems to be the various Kurdish forces and people: ones that we help in limited degree then abandon whenever it suits us.

                The centennial of the Sykes–Picot Agreement happened this year and still the Kurds are used and attacked by various international states. When the Syrian Civil War ends, if the victors grant Syrian Kurdistan effective self-governance or the longshot goal of their own state, more than a century of exploitation might in part be remedied. Turkey threatened to attack if this happened, but they will not enjoy Article V support when the Kurds fight back.

                • Darren, good post. I agree wholeheartedly with the first and second paragraphs. The Kurds’ problem I’d guess is Erdogan and US operations from Turkish airspace and bases. Erdogan won’t allow arming the Kurds while he’s fighting them, will he?

                  I would be very surprised if the US-backed civil war in Syria ends in redrawing Syria’s borders. Like you, I don’t think Putin will back down.

                  What’s amazing to me is how we’ve so easily remade Bashar al-Assad into a monster. The guy and his English wife are relative pacifists. He hasn’t done anything we wouldn’t have done to respond to insurrectionists supported financially and militarily by the world’s top superpower.

              • Steve and Darren,
                Any potential dufficulties between Hillary and Putin might be resolved if Bill Clinton gives another $500,000 speech in Moscow.
                Assad seems to have control over maybe a third of Syrian territory.
                I don’t see him regaining the “old Syria” that once existed.

                  • Excellent map! Thanks, Darren.

                    Assuming its information is accurate, Ashton Carter met with Recep Erdogan today and it appears the rogue state formerly known as the United States of America (and without any legal basis for its presence whatsoever) is using the Turks (along with Army Special Forces) to do its bidding in Aleppo and using drones elsewhere. Great going, Obama. You’re a credit to the democratically-enacted rule of law.

                    • Thanks, Jill.

                      It’s not surprising . . . in a Mad Max world, that we’re now offering a path of retreat to ISIS, so that it can tie up Syrian government forces. My only thought at this point is that bullies always get what they deserve, and, as Gorbachev observed, the US has been the bully on the block since the Berlin Wall came down.

                      As soon as we enter a war with Russia, China will chime in by taking back Taiwan and perhaps ally all of SE Asia and elsewhere. It’s an absolutely disgraceful foreign policy – and won’t be forgotten for many, many decades – all because we’ve subordinated humanity and health for financial wealth.

            • Here’s recent confirmation of the Administration’s intention with regard to the Syrian government, and Lindsay Graham trying to put words in the mouth of both Carter and Dunford:

              Note that neither Carter nor Dunford will state that the intention of the Syrian public is to fight both their government and ISIS. It’s ISIS they want gone. They support Assad.

                • Who knows what Carter and Dunsford personally support, but they were both unwilling to acquiesce one iota to Graham’s claim that the Syrian people want Assad gone. That’s because:

                  There’s no credible evidence that the majority of the Syrian people don’t support Assad, nor is there any credible evidence that Assad wouldn’t be in control of the entire country or that there would have been a diaspora had the good ol’ United States of America not proactively aided and abetted an insurrection as is our historical pattern of destabilization and control across the globe.

                  I’m reminded of Russia’s response when we did the same in Ukraine.

                  • No matter how bad the conditions in Syria prior to the civil war, the aftermath of this war without doubt is certainly worse than the environment prior.

                    It should be said that allowing the populous a means to voice and address their grievance is absolutely better than ignoring their grievances and sowing the seeds of such animosity and discord that a civil war is inevitable. Unfortunately, most governments suppress the people to such a degree when the opportunity presents itself violent means are then exacted upon the government and other groups of individuals. It is better to provide a voice for dissidents rather than to wait until the problem becomes so mortal, it seeds the potential for terrible uprisings.

                    • Darren writes, “No matter how bad the conditions in Syria prior to the civil war, the aftermath of this war without doubt is certainly worse than the environment prior.” I certainly can’t argue with this statement. My concern is how – with whose financial and logistic support – the insurrection flourished, which I doubt would have been the case without US aid. And now Russia has an old coal-burner flat top on station, a bone Russia dares us (or the maniacal regimes of Turkey and Israel) to bite. Israel, according to the United Nations, is a worse human-rights violator than Iran, North Korea, or Syria.

                      http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2015/03/29/un-says-israel-not-iran-north-korea-or-syria-worst-violator-human-rights.html

                      “[A]llowing the populous a means to voice and address their grievance is absolutely better than ignoring their grievances and sowing the seeds of such animosity and discord that a civil war is inevitable.” True, but why is the focus on Syria? Why is the focus not Saudi Arabia to which we’re selling armaments, or Iran which we’re now aiding financially, North Korea, Sudan, Somalia, Uzbekistan (according to a Wikipedia cite, “maintains the world’s second highest rate of modern slavery with 3.97%[53] of the country’s population working as modern slaves. . . . there are currently 1.2 million modern slaves[53] in Uzbekistan. . . .”) and the other stans’ repressive regimes, or even China for that matter, among many others?

                      Even if the President has constitutional authority to intervene, which I don’t think he has, why has the focus become human rights in Syria?

                    • Israel, according to the United Nations, is a worse human-rights violator than Iran,

                      Which is absurd. That you take that seriously is self-indicting.

                    • No, I was not. Gaza is a welfare dump run jointly by Hamas and the UNRWA. Hamas uses it as a staging area for attacks on Israeli residential centers. Periodically, Israel knocks out their artillery and destroys their infiltration tunnels. None of that constitutes a ‘human rights violation’ except in the minds of frauds.

  3. Also, wikileaks is reporting that the Swedish prime minister will go, accompanied by a top Swedish arms dealer to Suadi Arabia to discuss ???

  4. Steve,
    I’ve found it difficult to get a fix on the amount of support Assad has from the Syrian people.
    There are plenty of guessimates in the thousands of articles about this conflict.
    Assad’s support almost certainly crosses sectarian lines, well beyond the c.15% Shia Alawite minority.
    But it may be a stretch to say that the majority of Syrians back Assad.

    • tnash, you may be right regarding Assad’s popularity, but the bottom line is that it makes no difference if we’re a country living under the rule of law. The President has no constitutional authority permitting him to place our armed forces there. He has usurped his authority – again – by meddling there and in Yemen, and that fact is met with a shrugging of the shoulders from the red-blooded best of us. I ask you: why?

    • Why are you denying that our objective is against the law?! I get what the pretext is, ISIS, but both it and the objective, regime change, are against the law. The President has no authority for placing combat troops, drones, or aircraft there. Under what congressional resolution has he acted?

      • Steve,
        Obama did not get a specific authorization from Congress for military action against ISIS.
        He has instead relied on previous authorizations for use of military force in the wake of 9-11.
        Congress has continued to fund military action against ISIS, and has not attempted to restrain the air strikes, or restrict the use of special op forces.
        As I have mentioned before, I recognize that some will object to any use of miltary force against any terrorist group, at least without a formal declaration if war.
        Pre-Sept.11, 2001 handwringing about what could legally be done to attack Al Queda and Bin Laden resulted in non-action, or minimal ineffective action, against them.
        Any action beyond that might have resulted in the same kind of complaints you’ve repeatedly made against American use of military force against ISIS.
        Leaving aside the constitutional arguments about what specific Congressional authorization is (or is not) needed to attack a group like ISIS, there’s a basic question of whether the U.S. should take military action against terrorist groups.
        Absent U.S. air power, ISIS would likely be maintaining or expanding its control over large areas of Syria and Iraq.
        Those who believe that ISIS poses no threat to the U.S. or its allies would probably be fine with that.

        • tnash: you wrrote, “He [Obama] has instead relied on previous authorizations for use of military force in the wake of 9-11.”

          “The Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF), Pub. L. 107-40, codified at 115 Stat. 224 and passed as S.J.Res. 23 by the United States Congress on September 14, 2001, authorizes the use of United States Armed Forces against those responsible for the attacks on September 11, 2001. The authorization granted the President the authority to use all ‘necessary and appropriate force’ against those whom he determined ‘planned, authorized, committed or aided’ the September 11th attacks, or who harbored said persons or groups.” ISIS wasn’t responsible for 9/11 unless you’re Dick Cheney, so that AUMF doesn’t work.

          “[The AUMF Against Iraq Resolution of 2002,[1] Pub.L. 107–243] authorized President Bush to use the Armed Forces of the United States ‘as he determines to be necessary and appropriate’ in order to ‘defend the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq; and enforce all relevant United Nations Security Council Resolutions regarding Iraq.'” Iraq is no longer a threat, let alone that Syria is not in Iraq, so that AUMF doesn’t work.

          There’s no formal NATO resolution, so there’s no wiggle room there.
          The EU hasn’t formally declared war nor are the United States a member nation of the EU.

          What about the United Nations? Any authority there? Security Council Resolution 2170 (2014) imposed economic “sanctions,” “targeted funding streams,” and “demanded that ISIL, Al-Nusra Front and all other entities associated with Al-Qaida cease all violence and terrorist acts, and immediately disarm and disband.”

          There’s been no police action authorized by the Security Council, and there’s nothing else that I’ve found resolved by the UN.

          What about Obama’s Article II authority? According to historian Thomas Woods, “Ever since the Korean War, Article II, Section 2 […] has been interpreted ‘The president has the power to initiate hostilities without consulting Congress’ [….]But what the framers actually meant by that clause was that once war has been declared, it was the President’s responsibility as commander-in-chief to direct the war. Alexander Hamilton spoke in such terms when he said that the president, although lacking the power to declare war, would have “the direction of war when authorized or begun.” No war has been declared that I know of.

          So what authority am I missing here, tnash, other than usurpation of the Executive Power?

          Enquiring minds.

          • Steve,
            Time and bandwith allowance permitting, I’ll read the entire text of the 2001 and 2002 AUMF legislation.
            I mentioned that Obama did not get legislation that specifically authorized the war against ISIS, and relied upon the 2001 and 2002 AUMFs.
            He did seek legislation for his re-entry into the “war ge ended” when he pulled out of Iraq c. 5 years ago.
            I think he would be on stronger legal ground had ge and Congress resolved their differences on the proposed language of the ISIS-related legislation that he sought.
            Failing that, his “fallback position” was the AUMF resolutions.
            Without reading the legislation in its entirety at this point, a broad interpretation of those resolutions gives authorization not only against Al Qaeda, but also offshoots of Al Qaeda that have morphed into other terrorist groups.
            That’s stretching a point, but nowhere near
            to the degree of the war against Gaddafi’s military in Libya.
            That “no fly zone to protect Benghazi civilians” U.N. Resolution was used to demolish the Gaddafi regime’s military throughout Libya, and ensure victory for the anti-Gaddafi rebels in a civil war.
            I don’t consider the current use of AUMF to justify military action against ISIS nearly as egrigous of executive overreach as the “no fly zone” justification for entering tge civil war in Libya.
            Even in that case, Congress did not attempt to defund, or otherwise block, U.S. military action to dislodge Gaddafi.
            Rep. Kucininch, and maybe a few other members if Congress, initiated legal action to block further military action in Libya.
            I think the courts refused to even consider the case.
            Without “spending all of my remaining bandwith allowance, I’ll review at some future point the War Powers Act of 1973, the 2001 and 2002 AUMF legislation, and any other material relevant to “defining” the scope of executive authority to order military operations.
            IF Obama had received Congressional approval for the resolution
            he requested in 2014 re ISIS, would that satisfy your standard for “legal” military operations, in the absence of a formal declaration of war?

            • tnash: Reading the AUMFs would be a valiant effort, and I really would be interested to see what you find, but I suspect what that will be is language that has been stretched to an unreasonable extent similar to that of other laws which have permitted Hillary Clinton to avoid prosecution. In other words, our President operates outside the rule of law he swore to uphold.

              Ultimately, what that means is that if one agrees with such an unreasonable interpretation – one that allows us to invade Syria on a pretext of impunity to chase ISIS to the far ends of the Earth – then one cannot complain when the Hillary Clintons of the world use the law subjectively and without regard to the increasing degradation it will cause. That wouldn’t be valiant at all.

              It’s unreasonable for our government to do as it pleases and expect the rest of us to fall in line watching the bloodshed and cover-ups, unless we’re sheep.

              But, hey, no matter all of that, everything will be right with the world if the Cubbies win tomorrow.

              • Steve,
                I think the Cubs just appeared in the World Series in 1945, and they won a World Series just c.108 years ago.
                The 1945 WS was the Cub v.the Tigers, I think.
                Warren Brown?, a sportswriter covering the 1945 WS, was asked who he thought would win.
                He said “I don’t think either team can win”.

            • tnash writes, “Without reading the legislation in its entirety at this point, a broad interpretation of those resolutions gives authorization not only against Al Qaeda, but also offshoots of Al Qaeda that have morphed into other terrorist groups. . . . That’s stretching a point, but nowhere near to the degree of the war against Gaddafi’s military in Libya. That “no fly zone to protect Benghazi civilians” U.N. Resolution was used to demolish the Gaddafi regime’s military throughout Libya, and ensure victory for the anti-Gaddafi rebels in a civil war.”

              How is it “nowhere near to the degree of the war against Gaddafi’s military in Libya”? Take Russia out of the Syrian calculus and it’s essentially the same thing. We’d have a no-fly zone over all of Syria as I write if Russia hadn’t wagged it’s index finger. And with the Russian Navy now based permanently in the Med for the first time since 1992, it’s clear Russia will not permit Syria to be another Libya.

              https://www.rt.com/news/fleet-mediterranean-russia-ships-390/

              My understanding of your argument here and in the other post below is that, even if there’s not congressional authority, the President’s authority derives from precedent (e.g., from the Marine assault on Barbary pirates proudly memorialized in the Marine Corps Hymn as the “shores of Tripoli,” to the modern era of Johnson in Vietnam, Nixon in Laos and Cambodia, Regain in Grenada, Bush 41 in Panama, Bush 43’s regime change in Iraq, to Obama’s regime change in Honduras, Ukraine, and Libya, and now the current interventions in Syria and Yemen) as the basis for invasion without congressional consent. The argument is a red herring. The real issue here is the RULE OF LAW, meaning the laws we all ready have, not the law that we’d like to have because it’s more convenient to an end.

              One cannot have it both ways. For example, Hillary Clinton avoided a host of criminal charges vis-a-vis classified information after illegally using a private email server, perjuring herself and obstructing justice by lying about it and deleting the classified material flowing through the server, and therefore she should be prosecuted, the rationale being otherwise such precedent somehow creates new law permitting any future Secretary of State or other high-level Executive cabinet member or officer a de facto exemption from our laws.

              Fortunately, however, that kind of precedent is political; IT DOES NOT CREATE LEGAL PRECEDENT, and only legal precedent of the Judiciary must be followed by the other branches of government. POLITICAL PRECEDENT HAS NO LEGAL EFFECT.

              What’s more, such precedent would equally apply to the laundry list of abuses of Executive authority by not just Secretaries of State but by many Presidents. Similarly, that is POLITICAL PRECEDENT THAT HAS NO LEGAL EFFECT. Just because a President creates political precedent does not mean it’s the law.

              Precedent may be fine to allow a Bible to be used at a swearing-in ceremony for a federal representative (according to the Supreme Court, which articulated it as “tradition” in its opinion and not violative of the First Amendment), but in doing so the Supreme Court only interpreted the First Amendment. It did not create the First Amendment nor did it create any new law by doing so, and it certainly did not enhance the authority given the President in Article II.

              It’s time we acknowledged this by requiring the Executive to COMPLY WITH and ENFORCE the laws of the United States, including our federal Constitution, and PUNISH Executive attempts to fashion its own, including the President’s attacks on Article II. The Executive drains more power from the federal Legislature and Judiciary with each abuse.

              .

              • If WordPress allows me to post this, I’ll try to respond to a couple of Steve’s posts.
                I cited the attack against Gaddafi’s military as a particularly blatant example of a “baseless war” for a couple of reasons.
                A.after years of sponsoring international terrorism, Gaddafi did an about face in 2003.
                He actually became an ally in the war on terror, as well as ceasings his WMD programs.
                Gaddafi posed no threat to the U.S. to justify an all out U.S. air assault on his military.
                If you think that ISIS in Iraq and Syria pose no threat, jeep on dreaming.
                B. The “humantarian no-fly zone/ protect Benghazi civilians” was the intial stated reason for intervention in the Libyan civil war.
                That proved to be a smojescreen for an all out bombing campaign against Gaddafi forces.
                So those are the two,primary reasons why I singled out the Libyan intervention as a particularly unwarranted and unjustified intervention.
                I asked you previosly, Steve, if you felt that a formal declaration of war by Congress was necessary to satisfy your “Constitutional Law requirements.”
                Since you ducked that question, your position remains unclear.

                    • If you feel that the U.S. should be bound by himan rigjts “standards” set by the farcical U.N. Human Rights Council, that’s fine.

                      I happen to disagree that our membership on the U.N. binds us to standards set by countries like Saudi Arabia, Cuba, Venezeula, China and others who lead and direct that council’s agendas.

                    • tnash – I think we should quit the UN and give them 48 hours to move out of NYC. Plus, make them pay their parking tickets.

                    • Here ya go:

                      So, you trust US propaganda more than Russian propaganda and I assume what you believe is UN propaganda?

                      Why? You’re a smart guy with a good head on his shoulders. Isn’t our government the one which is hiding every move and not supplying answers for otherwise inexplicable policy decisions?

                • tnash: I thought I already gave an answer as to whether a declaration of war is needed. I’ll express it better terms:

                  The President cannot engage in hostility without a declaration of war by Congress (which can be expressed in a resolution) or in conformity with the War Powers Act. There’s no implied power to do squat militarily, which were that the case would give the President the leeway of an emperor which they all seem to attempt and much of the time succeed in doing. Put another way, the President’s the CEO, not the Board which is the Legislature, and the Judiciary is supposed to mete out justice between the two, between the People themselves, between the People and either or both of them, and between the States.

                  As for Gaddafi, I agree that he was a relative ally in the region in his later years. However, there’s evidence that the reason for the invasion of Libya was similar to at least one of the primary reasons for the invasion of Iraq: moving from the US Dollar to the Libyan Dinar (or the Euro in the case of Saddam Hussein) as the petrocurrency. We came; we saw; and Gaddafi was filleted for it.

                  http://www.thenewamerican.com/economy/markets/item/4630-gadhafi-s-gold-money-plan-would-have-devastated-dollar

                  It would have weakened the Fed Reserve’s ability to print money at will if creditors were willing to deal in dinars. Without the ability to print money, there’s no way the US could pay its creditors. So, rather than creditors seeking to use paper backed by Libyan gold stores, we use our armed forces to back our money. It seems a simple enough racket to me.

                  Have you found anything in the Authorizations to Use Military Force yet which leads you to believe the President has authority to invade Syria? I’m sure you’ll find something in them that Alberto Gonzales or James Yoo could make Dick Cheney believe there’s authorization, but the question really is ‘would such an interpretation be outside the realm of the reasonable person?’

                  Please forgive me if the tone is a bit offensive, but it pisses me off to no end when people die at the hands of others who hold themselves out as civilized.

                  • Steve,
                    Thanks for the clarification.
                    By the standards you laid out, both Gulf Wars were legal under the 1973 War Powers Act.
                    I previously drew a couple of key distictions between the military action to take out the Gadaffi regime, and the current targeting of ISIS in Iraq and Syria.
                    People either “get” those distinctions, or they don’t.
                    Another key distinction is the Congressional action _ SEE HR 292 and related resolutions) in response to the Obama administrations actions tp overthrow Gaddafi.
                    It’s one thing to argue that a president is conducting an illegal war without relyinng on an updated, specific Congressional resolutlion.
                    It’s another thing to continue a war afterbspecifoc congressional resolutions that prohibit and defund continuing miltary action.g

                    • “I previously drew a couple of key distictions between the military action to take out the Gadaffi regime, and the current targeting of ISIS in Iraq and Syria. People either “get” those distinctions, or they don’t.”

                      I agree that Congress authorized the war in Iraq, but I also believe one of the primary objectives was the petrocurrency issue.

                      I understand you distinguished the alleged authority to invade Libya from that justifying the invasion of Iraq, and I distinguish them too. Congress authorized the war in Iraq, but I also believe one of the primary objectives in both countries was the petrocurrency issue.

                      They’re both, however, certainly distinguishable from the rationale used to invade Syria. There’s been no declaration of war, no treaty obligation, and no petrocurrency issue. It’s ISIS, being used as a pretext to regime change to prevent a tentative Russian natural-gas pipeline, and allowing ISIS to escape Mosul into Syria certainly fits the hypothesis. The pretext that this is humanitarian in nature is bunk. Needless to say, targeting ISIS by intervention in Syria does not comply with the 2002 WUAF unless you’ve found language that I haven’t.

                      The only HR292 that I find relates to the new State of Columbia effort. Can you post whatever you’ve found supporting the invasion of Syria?

                  • In the interest of clarity, I’ll amend a sentence in my response immediately above: “The President cannot engage in hostility without a declaration of war by Congress (which can be expressed in a resolution) or in conformity with the War Powers Act or in compliance with a Senate-ratified treaty.”

                  • Steve – there has been plenty of historic reason to attack Gaddiffi, however since he seemed to have turned a corner, then I would say no. There was no reason to get involved in Libya and every reason not too.

                    • As far as a legal basis for the action against Lybia, the extraneous “factors” like the gold based dinat don’t have any relevance.

                      I understand the argument that Congress must issue a formal declaration of war before a president can deploy troops into combat.
                      I don’t agree with it, but I understand it as a well-defined position.
                      The “shifting sands” type of arguments are more difficult to deal with.
                      Like “a deckaration of war, or a Congressional resolution, or a treaty.
                      But if those are the standards one choeses to set, then that fortifies the position that both Gulf Wars were legal.
                      The Seato treaty and the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, by those same standards, are “two pliiars” which make the Vietnam War legal

  5. Steve,
    You mentioned Alexander Hamilton’s position on the need for a declaration of war.
    He was still around when the Barbary Coast Pirates wars began, and did not call for a declaration of war in support of American military action(s).
    He wrote that a declaration of war would be “nugatory” under the circumstances.
    Hamilton, of course, was not the only framer of the Constitution around when military actions were taken by against Indian tribes, against the French in the XYZ Affair, or the Barbary Coast pirates.
    Whatever debate there may have been re executive power to take military action , I don’t think there was a serious effort on the part of Congress to take a “Constitutional stand” against military action on the part if the president(s).
    That pattern seems to have existed since the earliest days of the post-1787 American republic.
    There may have been a sweeping court decision that tried to resolve this c. 230 year debate with some specifity, but if there is, I’m not aware of it.
    Based on my understanding of the court(s) lack of action on the question of executive v. legislative authority in issues involving use of military force, I think the court(s) general position has been “hands off, you ( executive and legislative branches) decide”.
    Given a c. 230 year history of Congressional acquiessence re presidential military action absent a dirmal declaration of war, I don’t see the Court jumping in at this point in our history
    to referee the interactions of the other two branches in matters of military action.
    That’s why I mentioned Kucinich’s legal challenge to the Obama administration’
    war against Gaddafi; if the courts were inclined to get involved in this issue, the expansion of the “no fly zone to protect civilians” into an intensive, extended bombing campaign against Gaddafi presented the court with an ideal opportunity to weigh in.
    Refusing to consider that case speaks volumes about the Court’s willingness (lack of willingness) to get involved.

    • tnash – Washington went to war against the Whiskey Insurrection. Of course, the insurrection was over by the time the troops got there, but they arrested 20 men.

      • Paul Schulte-
        I thought about the Whiskey Rebellion, but didn’t include it in the examples above since it involved military action against a domestic “uprising”.
        The Jim Beam uprising (striking workers) has evidentally just been settled.😊
        I was prepared to “stock up” on JB if the strike had continued.

    • Thanks for your comment. I can’t spend time this morning to respond, but I will later in the day. Meanwhile, the aircraft-carrier group Admiral Kuznetsov has headed down the English Channel and may already be passed Gibraltar on it’s way to exercises in the Mediterranean.

      You’ll have to use your translation tool: https://news.mail.ru/politics/27523292/?from=newsapp

      Great going, Obama. Will you be the fool who dares to overthrow Syria or can you admit your mistake and move on? Stick with guessing the NCAA men’s basketball brackets. Please.

    • Jill: Thanks for this. It really is good news, and if torture is not a political question because we have laws expressly prohibiting it, then so too the President’s authority to act (as in invading every country on this rock) is not a political question and ripe for judicial review because we have a written Constitution which limits his shenanigans.

      Go Cubs, and more importantly go Jill Stein!

  6. Steve and Paul Schulte,
    (My “reply” spot has been disappearing, so this may be out of sequence.
    I’m disinclined to accept propaganda from any government.
    I’m equally wary of propaganda spouted by individuals.
    When Bin Laden exhorted “good Muslims” to kill Americans in 1998, then followed that up with the Nigerian and Tanzanian bombings of the U.S. embassy, I thought there was ample justification AT THAT POINT to attack the Taliban and Al Qeuda.
    Not because of propaganda, but because of common sense.
    Assuming that one accepts that the World Trade Center buildings were not demolished as part of a planned internal explosion, a Zionist plot, or that it was all smoke and mirrors because they were never build( maybe they were just holograms), then it isn’t propaganda, mid Eastern oil, etc.that leads one to conclude that maybe we’d better take the threat of terrorism seriously.
    For a while, the U.S. did. There were some at the extreme fringes who were wringing there hands about
    what we did to provoke this attack, but for the most part, the country backed the invasion of Afghanistan.
    Prior action against the attacks by Al Queda were never met with an effective U.S. military response.
    Part of the reason for that was the uncertainty about the legal ramifications and restrictions involved, so we essentially sat around with our thumbs up our noses and watched it happen.
    The same type of mentality prevented a search of the 20th hijacker’s computer, after he was arrested prior to 9-11.
    What I’m seeing now is a growing reversion to the pre-9-11 mentality.
    “ISIS maybe isn’t that big of a threat, it is a threat but do we really have proper legal justification for being there”, “ISIS is an offspring of Al Queda but it really wasn’t mentioned in the 2001 AUMF because it didn’t exist, so we can’t attack them, etc. ”
    When I refer to the pre 9-11 mentality, I’m thinking particularly about the short memory of many Americans, as well as the tendency and desire on the part of some Americans to
    block effective military responses with self-imposed and artificial restrictions.
    I’m not crazy about using the 2001 AUMF as the primary basis for going after ISIS, and I’ve noted that it’s a stretch.
    It would be preferable to have crafted another resolution to specifically mention ISIS.
    But there is a consensus in Congress that backs the air strikes against ISIS, and as debatable as the 2001AUMF
    Resolution may be as a stand alone legal justification for military action against ISIS, there is also continued Congressional funding and support for the air campaign against ISIS.
    I also contrasted the Lybian farce with the current action against ISIS; when Congress does not even implicitly support a commander-in-chief’s military action, passes resolutions to stop that action, cuts off appropriations for the military operations, and the President ignores all of this, THAT is a clear cut violation of the Constitution.
    The fact that the courts refused to even consider the overreach in the attacks against Gaddafi’s military is a real concern.
    But I view attempts to equate the clear violation of the Constitution in the case of Libya with the strikes against ISIS is a huge mistake.
    In one case, there is congressional opposition and a clear violation of the War Powers Act.
    In the case of ISIS, there is strong congressional support, albeit no updated resolution.
    The question to me is, in the absence of an updated resolution, should we stop all military action against ISIS, and sit around with our heads in the sand pondering and debating the specific acceptable language of an update resolution.

    • tnash: you write, “‘ISIS maybe isn’t that big of a threat, it is a threat but do we really have proper legal justification for being there,’ ‘ISIS is an offspring of Al Queda but it really wasn’t mentioned in the 2001 AUMF because it didn’t exist, so we can’t attack them, etc.'”

      That’s right. We can’t attack them IN SYRIA under the 2002 AUMF, let alone attack the Syrian government forces, unless you can find some language to that effect in that AUMF or other law. Have you had any luck finding such language?

      What’s more, the allegation that our government transferred a Libyan warfare-grade chem-bio stockpile to the Syrian opposition, if true, doesn’t seem to me to be legal, either under US law or international law. Do you believe this kind of gift-giving is legal under current law?

    • That is, fortunately, a minority position.
      It is out of step with the policy of both the executive and legislative branches, as well as counter to the public support for those air strikes.
      But I’ll concede that you may be in a growing minority of Americans reverting to what I called the pre 9-11 mindset.
      I personally would hate to see a return to that kind of passivity, incompetence, and paralysis.
      But with a proper, rigidly legalistic viewpoint, the country will have people like you to show them the way.

      • “It is out of step with the policy of both the executive and legislative branches, as well as counter to the public support for those air strikes.” You believe what you want, but our presence in Syria is illegal.

        Have you found any language yet in any of the AUMFs, any other law, or treaty resolutions that permits our presence there?

        In the meantime, you, Obama and the Clintons have one thing in common: the dismissal of inconvenient technicalities in the law. The pretextual humanitarian card is losing its fan base in the information age.

        • I might waste a bit of time and bandwith quoting the 2001 AUMF resolution.
          I’m not trying to convince you of anything, but you act as if the issues of legality re actions against ISIS
          are somehow settled law, when in fact they are far from it.
          Groups like ISIS, BOKO HARAM, AL SHABAAB, AL NUSRA, etc. were not in the lexicon, or even in existence, when the 2001 AUMF Resolution was past.
          “Wheraeas, in light of the threat to national security, and foreign policy of the United States posed by these grave acts of violence, and whereas such acts continue to pose an usual an extraordinary threat to the security of the United States, the President has the authority under the Constitution to take action to deter and prevent acts of international terrorism against the United States.”
          I realize that that language is not specific enough for some, and I’m not going to pretend that the debate over the authorization for action against ISIS is settled law.
          That’s one difference that we have, Steve. You are willing to hold the war on terror in abeyance pending updated resolution(s) that SPECIFICALLY NAME ISIS, etc.
          I consider that to be the height of foolishness that was exihibited in the pre 9-11 mindset.
          There is virtually no indication that Congress feels that Obama is overstepping Constitutional limits in ordering air strikes against ISIS.
          I doubt if you could find many current members of Congress, or those not currently there who past the 2001 resolution, who felt that the language precluded action against Al Qaeuda affiliates, successors, or offsets.
          Ideally, there would be an updated version of the 2001 AUMF Resolution, but that may or may not happen.
          In the meantime, I don’t think it is realistic to suspend the war on terror pending updated legislation.
          That is a fundamental, THE fundamental, disagreement that we have.
          IF there is to be an update AUMF resolution that specifically mentions ISIS, then you might accept that.
          Or, just as likely, you’d pivot again and find another reason to object to air strikes against ISIS.

          • “That’s one difference that we have, Steve. You are willing to hold the war on terror in abeyance pending updated resolution(s) that SPECIFICALLY NAME ISIS, etc.”

            That’s not what my position is.

            The 2001 AUMF limits the President’s authority to the following (from Sec. 2, subs. (a)): “The President is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States bu such nations, organizations or persons. . . .”

            Not much bandwidth here. Did ISIS or did ISIS not have any connection to the 9/11? If that organization didn’t have anything to do with 9/11/, that AUMF doesn’t apply.

            The 2002 AUMF limits the President’s authority to the following (from Sec. 3, subs. (a)): “The President is authorized to use the Armed Forces of the United States as he determines to be necessary and appropriate in order to (1) defend the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq; and (2) enforce all relevant United Nations Security Council Resolutions regarding Iraq. . . .”

            Not much bandwidth here either. Three questions arise from the 2002 AUMF: 1) is there a continuing threat to our national security posed by nation of Iraq? And, 2) are there any relevant Security Council Resolutions which must be enforced?

            Preliminarily, notice how the 2002 AUMF’s general authorization differs significantly from that in 2001 with regard to whom the force will be focused. The 2001 AUMF speaks of “nations, organizations, or persons.” The 2002 AUMF identifies Iraq only, and its focus is not the so-called war on terror (that frankly the US is just as much guilty of as any other nation at this point).

            As for the first question, Congress found [thanks to people like Hillary Clinton (who has now called it a mistake) and Donald Trump (who thought it a mistake at the start but who now has decided – I love their timing] that Iraq was a threat to our national security, but is the threat continuing? Apparently, it isn’t because the President has withdrawn ground troops and tentatively the bug out was to be nearly completed in December. There’s certainly no threat to the United States at this point from Iraq, and frankly there never was one unless you believed it when Iraq’s Fred Flintstone said something about “the mother of all battles.”

            ISIS is a rogue criminal (terrorist if you like) organization all over the Levant and elsewhere, but it is not Iraq. Just ask anyone in Iraq’s government, Syria’s government, Jordan’s government, Lebanon’s government, and in essence every other Arab nation’s government except that of Saudi Arabia and Israel.

            Because the 2002 AUMF focused on Iraq, it’s an unreasonable leap of logic that it would permit intervention against an organization which is in Syria and which the Syrian government opposes militarily with help from its Russian ally. We invaded Iraq to stop a threat to our national security from Iraq, which we’ve done. Our intervention in Syria would reasonably require Syria’s permission to do so.

            Even if ISIS in Iraq were interpreted as Iraq and a current national security threat for purposes of the 2002 AUMF, the force used must be restricted to Iraq. Under this interpretation, we would need a new authorization. Admittedly, the current Administration is resolute that we don’t need one (but that’s the problem in a nutshell with an out of control Executive), and that’s why they frame the issue in terms of ISIS as an Iraqi problem even though ISIS is in Syria.

            You seem to think enough of us feel that US intervention against ISIS in Syria is needed. I think it’s clear that Congress hasn’t amended the 2002 AUMF because there aren’t enough votes while maintaining the argument that ISIS is largely an Iraqi organization akin to the former Taliban government in Afghanistan. ISIS is not Iraq nor an Iraqi organization.

            One would think NATO would have a more glaring security concern about ISIS, but there’s no will there either. The rest of the West has had enough of our coalition of the willing (otherwise known as the bribed).

            As for the second question, are there any UN Security Council resolutions which apply and need to be enforced? The only one I know of is economic in nature, i.e., it does not involve the use of force. Security Council Resolution 2170 (2014) imposed economic “sanctions,” “targeted funding streams,” and “demanded that ISIL, Al-Nusra Front and all other entities associated with Al-Qaida cease all violence and terrorist acts, and immediately disarm and disband.”

            In any event, the President has overstepped his bounds by crossing into Syria.

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