Archive for the ‘Government’ Category

Yes, folks, there’s blood in the water, the sharks are circling, and there’s talk of IMPEACHMENT! Don’t ya know. High crimes and misdemeanors. All manner of gross malfeasance and treasonous machinations. A threat to our very Republic he is. So. Let’s take a look at: The Case Against Trump.

1) Trump Said Mean Things About Obama

According to PoliticsUSA, Pres. Trump may have committed an impeachable offense by claiming that Obama wire-tapped him. Apparently this violates some legal precept not actually named in the article, but clearly, making a “false” claim about a previous President is the next best thing to selling secrets to Wikileaks. Except…

As it turns out, Pres Obama didn’t have to order the surveillance of Donald Trump and his election team, because he knew it was already ongoing. So, as President, all the honorable Mr. Obama had to do was request the intercepts of illegal NSA spying on American citizens, and get anything that had “Trump” meta-tagged on it. So, yes, while technically correct that then Pres. Obama did not “order the wire-tapping” of the Trump transition team, it’s a simple, demonstrable fact that he acquired surveillance information on them. So, yes, please, let’s talk about the impeachability of impugning the reputation of a former President, while completely ignoring the fact that the NSA, operating under the Obama administration, conducted illegal surveillance on US citizens, and then “unmasked” said citizens names in violation of both precedent and federal law. NONE of which, but the way, was related to Russia.

Impeachment Score: Weeeeak.

2) Chinese Trademark Keffuffle

And again, our friends from across the pond, with their keen and insightful grasp of US Constitutional law, insist that, after a 10-year legal battle, the Chinese finally granting a contentious trademark decision to Trump, Inc. within days of Trump becoming President is impeachable. Like, totally, dude. As a side note, this same article suggests that being mean to the media is an impeachable offense because it violates the 1st Amendment. Or something. You know what, I’m not even going to talk about this ridiculous smear of yellow journalism anymore. Ptooie.

A slightly more credible source (no, seriously, read this article, it’s incredibly informative and well-balanced) highlights the fact that the this potential conflict of interest could potentially violate the Emoluments Clause which, “prohibits the federal government from granting titles of nobility, and restricts members of the government from receiving gifts, emoluments, offices or titles from foreign states without the consent of the United States Congress.(Wikipedia)”  HOWEVER!

This arguably deals with the practice of naming an US government official as an officer, noble, or other binding title to a foreign nation, thus engendering a conflicting loyalty or claim to a foreign power. The question then becomes, is the granting of a trademark equivalent to the awarding of a Duchy? Or perhaps more germane, was the granting of this trademark intended as a “gift” to the President? Was it intended as a bribe to curry favor? In order to make this an impeachable offense, one would, I suggest, have to provide compelling evidence of both the former and the latter. Neither of which has, to date, been presented.

The other question I would propose, in my role as a woefully uneducated layman, is what would Pres. Trump’s detractors have him do in this situation? Trump Enterprises is an ongoing concern. Management of this enterprise has been transferred to his son. Is it the expectation that if a business man becomes President for four years, he must divest himself of all business-related holdings acquired over a lifetime? Should Pres. Trump have rejected the Chinese government’s approval of the trademark after a ten year legal fight? How do you “not accept” a trademark decision like this in your favor? The simple reality is that while there may be a suggestion of impropriety here, it may also be completely circumstantial. If there was a compelling case to be made, would it not have already BEEN made? More importantly, can it be proven that Donald J. Trump used the influence of his Office to influence the Chinese in order to secure these trademarks? If so, such evidence has yet to surface. The fact that Trump turned right around and played nice with Taiwan thereby stretching and bending China’s long-standing “One China” policy suggests otherwise.

Impeachment Score: Really Weak.

3) President Trump’s “Travel Ban” Was Unconstitutional. Or something.

So, to state the painfully obvious, let’s at least get the terms and conditions straight here. It was not a Muslim ban. It was not a travel ban. It was 120-day moratorium on travel (Click it. No, really. Have you actually read the thing? Didn’t think so.) from seven specific countries that bleed jihadists like a hemophiliac Imam. So, to review: Ban = permanent, i.e. – a revocation. Moratorium = temporary, i.e. – a suspension. Any questions? No? Good.

Just a taste:

“In order to protect Americans, the United States must ensure that those admitted to this country do not bear hostile attitudes toward it and its founding principles.  The United States cannot, and should not, admit those who do not support the Constitution, or those who would place violent ideologies over American law.  In addition, the United States should not admit those who engage in acts of bigotry or hatred (including ‘honor’ killings, other forms of violence against women, or the persecution of those who practice religions different from their own) or those who would oppress Americans of any race, gender, or sexual orientation.”(emphasis mine)

But wait. TRUMP MYSOGONIST RACIST HOMOPHOBE GURGLE CHOKE FROTH!! Right?!  Ooooops.

The chest beaters on this one imply that it was either, a) a violation of the First Amendment, to whit, the free exercise of religion (yes, it hurts my brain, too), or b) Pres. Trump “exceeded his Constitutional Authority (yes, it’s those UK Constitutional scholars again).  Well, for starters, the travel moratorium did not identify a specific religion. Because the restriction dealt with predominantly Muslim countries, it was heralded as a “Muslim Ban!11!!11!” Except that, there are upwards of 50 Muslim-majority countries, and this travel restriction deals with only…seven.

Immigration and travel restrictions are nothing new. And while it can certain be argued that Pres. Trump blocking existing green card holders was both ill-considered and incredibly poorly implemented, is it really outside the power of the President? Is it really a violation of the President’s Constitutional authority? No. While potentially distasteful, it is not illegal.

Newsflash folks: As a sovereign nation, we get to decide who can come in.

Impeachment Score: I can’t even.

4) Comey Over.

And, of course, mean ol’ D.J. fired FBI Director Comey right before he was ready to drop the hammer on the Trump administration with a full-blown investigation into collusion with Russian meddling in the election. So, let ring forth the calls for a Special Prosecutor to…uh…uh…find out some stuff!

The move to fire the sitting FBI Director during a contentious period where investigations into the Trump-Russia connection were actually underway, but had revealed no actual evidence of collusion, is seen as a “Constitutional crisis.” Except, (insert money quote):

But neither thinks that the Comey firing counts, since there’s absolutely no dispute over Trump’s legal authority to remove Comey from his position. “This is not (yet) a constitutional crisis, since there’s no doubt about his authority to fire Comey,” Levinson told Politico.

Oops. Would appear not to be impeachable. Damnit.

But wait! That paragon of objective journalism (trigger warning) Think Progress, lets us know that it can be both legal AND impeachable! Somehow.

“Constitutional law experts say that while President Donald Trump’s decision to fire Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James Comey was legal, it appears to be an abuse of power that could constitute an impeachable offense.”

The problem I have with this approach is two-fold. One, Pres. Trump did not disband the FBI. He did not place a gag-order or any other restrictions on agents within the FBI from conducting or continuing any investigation into any potential “Russian Connection©.” Moreover, less than a year ago the same Democrats who are now calling for Trump’s head over Comey’s firing, were calling for Comey’s head over his release of Hillary Clinton emails just prior to election day. So, Director Comey effectively outed himself as both partisan and politicized. Despite his arguable competence, he had lost the confidence of those both within and without his organization as to his objectivity. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is a Very Bad Thing when it comes to the top law enforcement official in the land.

And, oh by the way, President William Jefferson Clinton fired FBI Director William Sessions in 1993 for what he felt to be “ethical lapses” in his conduct. So this is not “unprecedented.” Strangely, there were no cries for impeachment then.

All that said, the FBI Director is a political appointee, and serves, “at the pleasure of the President.” So, despite the long-standing precedent that the Director serves his 10-year terms, the President, legally, doesn’t need a reason at all to fire him.

Impeachment Score: Close, but no cigar.

In Conclusion:

Every bit of research  I made into this post was rife with hypotheticals and technicalities. A lot of “mights” and “coulds” and “feasiblies.” I searched news sites, blogs, academic analyses, wikis and archives. The simple fact is this: as much as you may want it to be true, as much as you NEED it to be true, President Donald J. Trump, however morally corrupt or bankrupt you find him, however distasteful you find his policies and politics, however much you long to see him strung up from the yardarm or boiled in oil, simply hasn’t done anything (yet) that’s truly impeachable. He’s walking a fine line, and we can only wonder what tomorrow will bring, but from what I can so, so far it’s a lot of reaching and innuendo without any prosecutable evidence.

Buy hey, keep trying. Never know, you might get lucky yet.

So, imagine if you will, the CEO of a top Fortune 500 company.  A long-standing leader in the industry, with satellite branches in other countries and significant influence across the globe. Thousands of employees, hundreds of divisions, involved in everything from pharmaceuticals to oil refineries to high-tech research and development.

Now, imagine that this company is plagued by scandals.  An overseas plant is caught using child labor.  Another facility is shown to have falsified safety reports.  Low-grade medicines being pawned off as premium quality with high prices.  The more the problems that come to light, the more people start digging, and things just keep getting worse.

Now, imagine that time and again the CEO’s response to each new revelation of wrong-doing, oversight, or unethical business practice is, “You can’t blame me, I only found out about this when I read about it in the Wall Street Journal!”  And even as his corporation begins to crumble around him, he continues to go on golf outings with his rich buddies, takes his extended family on numerous overseas vacations on the company dime, and continues to try and divert attention from his problems by pointing fingers at everyone else but himself.

Now imagine millions of customers and consumers of this corporation’s products — who might otherwise hate big business — turning a blind eye to evey misstep and instance of malfeasance on the part of the CEO…because he’s black.  And then attacking his critics as racist for daring to impugn the character of this fine, upstanding member of the community!

In the real world, just how long do you suppose that this CEO would remain the CEO?  How many more instances of incompetence, disconnectedness, and destructive business practices would the clientelle endure before the stockholders got fed up and had him fired?

Hypothetically speaking, of course.

WHAT!?!  HOW CAN YOU SAY SUCH A THING!???!  RACIST!!  HATER!!!1!1!

Wait.  It get’s better.  DON’T ELECT A WHITE MAN EITHER!  Don’t elect a woman.  Don’t elect a hispanic, or a lesbian, or Jew.  Don’t elect a Mormon or a Christian or a Buddhist.

Next time…Elect. A. PRESIDENT.

The criteria used to select the qualifications of those who serve in the highest offices of our lands, of those who will help frame and craft our laws, who we elect to guide the country forward and make the difficult decisions required of leaders in this day and age should have NOTHING to do with their skin color, their gender, their religion or their “cultural heritage.”

ObamaHalo2I propose that we are in the mess we are in right now because we elected a black man. Not because Barack Obama is black, but because we as a voting populace became so enamored of the idea of electing an African-American as President, became soooo fixated on the sense of accomplishment we could collectively feel at breaking through this cultural barrier into a new, undiscovered “enlightenment” that we allowed ourselves to be swayed.  We turned a blind eye to what should have been some very real concerns about this individual’s (lack of) qualifications, experiences, questionable associations and storied background, and allowed ourselves to be swept along on a carefully manipulated wave of euphoric idealism.

And so we elected a black man.  Because it made us feel good to do it.  Not because he was in any way the most qualified, not because he had any demonstrated talent or ability for the position, not because he would best be able to represent the interests of the United States on the global stage…but because he was an icon we wanted.  More than anything, I think voting for Barack Obama became a sort of social statement about our ability to somehow atone for a shameful past. {Cue Music: “We are marching to Pre-torrrria….}

There aren’t enough of any one particular minority demographic in the United States to elect a President.  Whites, Blacks, Hispanics, Amerian Indians, Asians, young, old, rich, poor…we aaaalll had to play a part.  It became part of a collective social consciousness.  For some it was a chance to speak out, to elect someone they hoped would “represent their interests” better than an establishment white guy might.  For some it was, I think, a chance to show how enlightened, how tolerant, how progressive they were in bucking the existing paradigm.  Many perhaps voted for Barack Obama out of some vague sense of racial or social guilt which they felt might be assuaged or expunged if they participated in this great social awakening.  Of course, many just bought into the class warfare schtick he was selling and wanted the free stuff he was offering.

NONE of which is a very solid foundation for picking a candidate for the office of the President of the United States.

Don’t get me wrong.  I’ve got absolutely no problem with either the idea or the practical reality of someone who is black becoming president.  You put a Herman Cain, Clarence Thomas or an Alan West or maybe even a a Condolleza Rice in there and hey, they’ve got my vote.  Why?  Because I like their politics.  Their personal philosophy resonates with me. I can look at a record of accomplishments which suggest to me a level of overall professional competence which grants me a sense of confidence in their ability to handle the demands of the position.

Not because of, or in spite of their skin color.  Or their gender.  Or their religious beliefs.  Because I think they are the most qualified, and so that other stuff SHOULDN’T MATTER. Right?  Isn’t that what true equality is really all about?  Shouldn’t THAT be considered the truly “enlightened” approach?

So, I hope we’ve learned our lesson.  As we sit mired in double digit unemployment, as our national debt continues to skyrocket, after six years with no signed federal budget and a sequestration which imposes daily pain on the infrastructure of this nation while the President golfs and vacations, I hope our euphoria has faded.  I hope our guilt-motivated idealism has moderated a bit.  I hope that when the times comes again, whether on the local or national stage, we don’t elect a black man, or a white man, or a woman, or a {fill in the blank}.

I hope we wise up and elect the people MOST QUALIFIED to lead this country, regardless of how their chormosomes are configured.

White House: When Congress Won’t Cooperate, Obama Will Take ‘Small, Medium and Large’ Executive Actions

Carney said the president wants to work with Congress, but if the House and Senate don’t, Obama will.

“He’s going to take the actions that he can take using his executive authority to help the cause here, to help Americans deal with this challenging economy. And they can be small, medium or large actions and they don’t have to be just executive authority actions,” Carney continued. “They can be things we can do working with the private sector. So he’ll pursue all tracks.”

Carney added the president still would like to work with Congress (emphasis mine).

 “But it is not accurate to suggest that he doesn’t want to engage with Congress and that he won’t engage with Congress,” Carney said. “He wants to continue to work with Congress. He and his advisors believe there will be opportunities to cooperate with Congress this year. We believe, as a purely political matter, that some members of Congress that have pursued an obstructionist path may begin to see it in their political interest to actually demonstrate to their constituents that they can get some things done.”

To me, the two bolded passages reflect a strange perception on the part of our current President that working “with” the Senate and the House of Representatives is somehow optional.  That it’s sort of the preferred method, but by no means the only method of getting legislation passed and implementing national, federal policy in this country.

In other words, Congress has relevance only as long as the Emperor deigns to give it such.  If it gets in his way, gets inconvenient, slows down his agenda, well then it’s time to shoulder the thing aside and get down to the real business of running this country the way HE thinks it oughta.

Folks, anywhere else, that’s called either a monarchy, or a dictatorship.  And for all their talk about George Bush and his “imperial” presidency, I see President Obama showing a much more overt, fundamental, and arrogant disregard for the rule of law and the concept of separation of powers than any previous member of the White House.

Congress is explicity empowered and mandated BY THE CONSTITUTION as the body which make the laws in our country.  NOT THE PRESIDENT.  If the President is only willing to work with the Congress when they are doing what he wants, then they are no longer “of the people, by the people, for the people,” but rather, merely the steno pool for the CEO.

Scary, scary stuff.

via Protein Wisdom.