What This Blog Is About

This blog is here to, as much as possible, keep the mores of the Trump administration from being the new normal in American presidential politics.
Not since the Civil War has a president sought to abridge freedom of speech or of the press. No president has ever sought to keep extensive wealth in this country and all around the world while being the number one agent for the American peoples' business. Nobody with a decades' long sexual attraction to his own daughter has ever been president. No other president has been elected with the strong help of the illegal acts of a foreign country. No other president has neither held prior office nor has been a military general. No other president has ever claimed that he sacrificed more than a Gold Star family. No prior president has ever claimed a book to be his favorite, and then not be able to say anything about it immediately afterwards. No prior president has had speeches of Adolf Hitler as bedside reading for an extensive period of time. No prior president has been recorded describing an attempt to seduce another man's wife. No prior president has ever been recorded saying that he could just pick women up by their genitals. No prior president's comments about women have focused so much on their physical appearance. No president with a 4-F draft status has ever claimed at age 70 to be the healthiest presidential candidate ever. No prior presidential candidate has spent more than one minute of his debate time sniffing, as if something was coming out of his nose. Since the creation of the Geneva Convention, no president has ever formally disavowed any part of it. No prior president has been divorced twice, each time afterwards marrying the mistress with whom he has committed adultery.
If these things become the new normal, then the American experiment in free republicanism is over. There is some tiny chance that remembering the mores of a free republic can help heal the damage from this savage, brutal, political and military nightmare.

Monday, September 18, 2017

The Barriers to a U.S.--Mexican Border Wall Illustrated

This blog is intended to document how unrespecting of the often-unwritten mores of the Presidency of the United States the current president is. Now recent presidents have put forth policies based on based on impossible technologies (Reagan's Star Wars) or by manifest denial of a clear fact of a military or diplomatic situation (Nixon's Vietnamization, which ignored that South Vietnamese draftees were disinclined to die for the corrupt figures who had always run their government-- perhaps even Obama's denial that the political base for moderate Afghanis and Iraqis barely existed), but nothing compares to the current president's southern border wall-- a central promise and theme of his campaign, but which a casual knowledge of the territory shows to be impossible. Now--Surprise!-- he's backing off the wall.
The border between the United States and Mexico is defined by a river-- the Rio Grande (the Big River), also known as the Rio Bravo del Norte-- the Wild River of the North-- and runs for almost 2,000 miles.
One of my pet peeves is when English speakers call this body of water the Rio Grande River-- they nearly always pronounce it the Rio Grand River, which is to call it the Big River River
Here are some photos of the Rio Grande.



These sites are plainly unsuitable for the installation of a border wall.

Even worse, the river moves, which could easily have the effect of the wall not matching the border.

In the past, I submit, a presidential candidate who was considering advocating a wall between the U.S. and Mexico )would have had a staffer do a little research (like what I've done here), looked at the photos and would have not advocated that project. Such statements don't bother the President; the truth is not in him.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

For a Presidential Candidate to Work with a Thug to Ally a Hostile Government to Illegally Support the Candidate's Campaign's Not Normal

I want to contrast the president with other presidential candidates who have spent substantial amounts of their lives, just being business people without having a short-term focus on running for office. Neither of the Clintons apply-- lawyers, officeholders, or professors nearly their whole careers. Johnson's business interests grew out of his political power, as did generally, Humphrey's, Nixon's, Wallace's, McGovern's, Carter's, Mondale's, Anderson's, Dole's, McCain's, Obama's and Dukakis's. Reagan is an unusual case; he made his money not so much as a businessperson as that term is normally understood but as an actor.
Perot is an unusual case, too, in that huge business success and the military adventurism that made him more well known, were, I suggest, grand speculations, and at least in the employee rescue operations, his team members were not people of probity.
For conventional business people, we have left, the Bushes and Mitt Romney. I shall tell the story of one business person's venture, but I will use the name of another business person.

A business associate of Mitt Romney's, a former F.B.I. informant who is famous for having once smashed a martini glass stem into another man’s face, promised in 2015 to engineer a real estate deal with the aid of the president of RussiaVladimir V. Putin, that he said would help Romney win the presidency. Emails related to this show that, from the earliest months of Romney’s campaign, some of his associates viewed close ties with Moscow as a political advantage.

Now, of course, it wasn't Romney, it was the current president. but when you read the story with Romney's name-- isn't it clear that neither Romney (nor the Bushes) would associate with a business person like the current president's, and that if they got such an offer they would report everything to the F.B.I. right then?

Romney or the Bushes should be the norm, not our current president. Who continues to lie, as you see below.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

The President Keeps a Court from Protecting Minorities, Weakens All Federal Courts, and Corruptly Signals Witnesses against Him.

At first, I thought that the President's pardon of Sheriff Joe Arpaio was bad, but wasn't unusually bad. This is not true. The closest I could find was George W. Bush's commutation of the sentences of former Border Patrol agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean who shot a Mexican drug dealer and tried to cover it up, but that offence had its roots in the challenge of peace officers' having to make split-second decisions-- I don't agree with W.'s choice, but I understand that that is a matter about which reasonable people might disagree.
Joe Arpaio had been fighting a racial-profiling case that has been going against his Maricopa County Sheriff's Office on for years. Before the case went to trial, U.S. District Court Judge G. Murray Snow, a George W. Bush appointee, ordered the agency in 2011 to stop detaining people solely on suspicion they were in the country illegally. They were either to arrest individuals for a state crime or let them be on their way. In 2013, Snow found deputies had used race as a factor in their policing, and ordered sweeping reforms of the office’s policies. But Arpaio’s deputies continued business as usual for at least 17 more months. According to trial testimony, 171 people were illegally detained by MCSO deputies and turned over to federal immigration authorities. Snow found Arpaio in civil contempt for violating his order, and forwarded the case for criminal contempt. Prosecutors from the U.S Department of Justice’s Public Integrity Unit prosecuted the case in a bench trial this summer before U.S. District Court Judge Susan Bolton, a senior district judge appointed by Bill Clinton. Arpaio’s attorneys argued the violations were unintentional, and that Arpaio delegated the court’s order to subordinates. Bolton flatly rejected that argument. In her ruling, she said evidence showed Arpaio’s “flagrant disregard” for Snow’s order. Arpaio was scheduled to be sentenced for the contempt-of-court charge on October 5th, and he could have served up to six months in prison.
The President disagreed with Judge Bolton's ruling. There is no reason to think that he thought her ruling inaccurate.
First, it appears that the President doesn't think that violating racial discrimination laws is harmful, notwithstanding his oath of office. The President used his pardon power to remove legal sanctions for a person who violated the rights of a racial minority.
Second, pardoning contempt of court is particularly sensitive; the contempt power is a vital tool for keeping order in courts, and the President's action encourages other popular bad actors not to obey federal judges, magistrates, and marshals e.g. Roy Moore. The executive branch disempowers the judicial branch.
Third, the President is being investigated. By this action, he signals the other targets of investigation that he can use the pardon power to offer better deals to them than Robert Mueller, among other people, can. 
Texas has faced similar problems in the past, and we have changed our laws such that the governor doesn't have pardon powers. They have been delegated to a Board of Pardons and Paroles-- now the Board is chosen by the Governor with the advice and consent of the Senate, but it means that if there is an abuse of the clemency powers it would need to be authorized by a majority of the Board and the Governor, which can either be sanctioned by criminal laws, or, in the Governor's case, by impeachment.
It may be easy to impeach a president for corrupt use of the pardon power or hard, but the president's pardon of Arpaio is a dereliction of duty, an attack on the separation of powers, and a corrupt signal to criminal suspects that they need not obey the law.

Monday, July 10, 2017

He's Done Bad Things, But He's Not Going to Burn Me Out.

The current president has done terrible things, but he's not going to take away my vacation. Got to keep finding joy in the struggle, and I need to rest. See you all on or about July 31, 2017. Keep the candles burning for Robert Mueller.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

The President Can Barely Read.

Up until now, you could reasonably expect that a President of the United States or a candidate for that office was an accomplished and capable reader in the English language. But no more, Videoblogger David Pakman first posted a video demonstrating his suspicion that the President cannot read. I will not summarize the video-- it speaks for itself. Then later he used a checklist prepared for Canadian police to identify low-literacy suspects-- the President meets the criteria perfectly.  Samantha Bee's marshaling of evidence is funnier, but it's all backed up with video evidence usually from the President himself.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

The President's Violations of the Emoluments Clause Make Us Less Safe.

The 9/11 attackers generally came from Saudi Arabia with lawfully obtained visas, but Saudi Arabia was not subjected to the visa ban-- Trump has business interests there. Turkey has had terrorist attacks recently, but Turkey was not subjected to the visa ban-- Trump has business interests there. The Washington Post describes America's relations with the United Arab Emirates as "complicated," but the UAE was not subjected to the visa ban-- Trump has business interests there. The Boston Marathon bombers were Chechens (an ethnic group fighting for independence from Russia) from Kyrgyzstan-- a nation subject to recurring civil violence that has close ties to both Russia and the U.S. No ban from Kyrgyzstan or Chechnya or Russia- Trump has been working to develop business interests in Russia for 30 years.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Diplomats,Federal Agencies, and State Governments Seek to Give Money to Donald Trump to Get Him to Look Better on Their Requests

This afternoon I looked up Washington D.C. hotels on Bing. There are hundreds. One of those hotels is a Trump hotel. An important class of customers for these hotels are foreign governments. These foreign governments seek to influence the U.S. government. They would rather buy services from the Trump hotel. President Trump profits when they do-- their money gets to him. The President has suffered occasions for bribery to exist. I was going to say legalized bribery, but it is contrary to volume 18 of the United States Code sec. 201 subsecs. (a) and (b). A president can only be criminally punished after conviction on impeachment or after the president has left office.

To the extent that federal entities or state governments seek to use the Trump hotels, President Trump is almost certainly violating the emoluments clause of article two, section one, paragraph six of the United States Constitution.

This is unprecedented.

Monday, January 16, 2017

President-Elect Shares Stage with Mobster at New Year's Eve Fundraiser

Presidents-elect don't generally have mob-connected business associates who they have worked with for years on the stage of public fundraisers But Donald Trump does: Joseph "Joey No Socks" Cinque appeared on stage with him at a New Year's Eve fundraiser. Mr. Cinque runs the American Academy of Hospitality Sciences. Mr. Trump was an "Ambassador Extraordinaire" on the Academy's webThe site up until May 2015.  Mr. Trump appeared in a 2009 tribute video to Mr. Cinque, saying of him, "There's nobody like him. He's a special guy." At one time, Trump's adult sons, his chief operating officer, and his longtime butler were all members of the Academy's board.Two of the judges of the 2008 Miss Universe pageant were Cinque and Donald Trump, Jr. Cinque and the Academy lost a judgment to Stewart Rahr, a friend of Trump's, for failing to publish a "man of the year" article for him despite Rahr's paying a $25,000 fee. 
Cinque served as a judge with Donald Trump Jr. in the 2008 Miss Universe pageant.Trump friend Stewart Rahr, a billionaire pharmaceutical wholesaler, sued Cinque and his organization, saying that they failed to publish a "man of the year" profile of his philanthropic efforts despite being paid a $25,000 fee. A judge ruled Rahr was owed the $25,000. 
In May 2016, Mr. Trump said that he didn't know Mr. Cinque well and did not know of Mr. Cinque's criminal history. A 1995 New York magazine profile of Mr. Cinque said that police broke down his door to find a cache of stolen art including Mark Chagall prints. In 1985, according to court records, Mr. Cinque pleaded guilty to possession of stolen property.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Presidential Conflicts of Interest?-- Punish the Ethics Chief!

In the past, Presidents of the United States have put their assets into blind trusts. They have generally sold their assets, appointed trustees that are neither current or former investment advisors, partners, accountants, attorneys, or relatives, and then turned the proceeds to their trustees, who reinvest them. The trustees and the trustors do not communicate anything to each other during the existence of the trusts. In that way, Presidents avoid self-dealing as they run the government-- they don't know what they own. These are not the only way to avoid conflicts of interest. Presidents can hold their investments in such ways as to avoid conflicts of interest if what they have are not directly tied to specific businesses-- if they are in bank accounts, treasury notes, or index mutual funds.

Donald Trump is not doing any of those things. He proposes to transfer his assets to his adult sons, but he would still know what he owned. Foreign governments could grant his businesses favors, and U.S. actions against certain other foreign governments could destroy the value of some of his business assets.

Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R,-UT, chairman of the House Oversight Committee, is accusing Walter Shaub Jr., the director of the Office of Government Ethics of abusing his position for challenging President-elect Donald Trump’s refusal to use a blind trust for his assets on taking office.
What is happening now is that instead of Trump's being pressured to avoid conflicts of interest, the ethics chief is being pressured to ignore Trump's inactions such that Trump can use the federal government to enrich himself further and that foreign governments can hold his assets hostage to prevent him from taking needed government action.
Here's a list of committee members-- it includes Rep. Blake Farenthold, (R.) congressman for my old home Bay City, Texas, and libertarian darling Rep. Justin Amash (R.-MI). If you are a constituent of one of these folk, please object to them for the committee's punishing the ethics chief for doing his job. 

Friday, January 6, 2017

An Unprecedented Trump Campaign Strategy

During the campaign, Trump had openly pined for “the old days,” when, he says, noisy demonstrators would be carried out of a political rally on stretchers. Trump openly endorsed violence as a legitimate domestic political tactic in an American presidential race. 

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Trump Announces His Desire to Weaken Freedom of the Press

Donald Trump opposes the present strong freedom of the press in America by making it easier for the rich and powerful to sue reporters and news outlets for libel. Making libel suits easy has been a  traditional way to weaken freedom of the press in America. Many supporters of freedom of the press at the time of the First Amendment had in mind the case of John Peter Zenger, a New York publisher jailed for "criminal libel," that is, for spreading the word that the acts of the government were bad. Zenger was acquitted. This case demonstrated the principle that truth is a defense to libel.
The other great attack on freedom of the press in America was settled by the Supreme Court of the United States in New York Times v. Sullivan, 376 U.S. 254 (1964) Opponents of Jim Crow laws and practices ran an ad in the Times which had some errors in them. E.g., Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., had only been arrested four times in Montgomery protests instead of seven. Sullivan-- one of the three Montgomery Alabama city commissioners, the municipal elected officials-- Sullivan won a $500,000 judgment that was affirmed by the Alabama Supreme Court ($3,827,265.37 in 2016 dollars). Had Sullivan won, it is likely that this defamation tactic would have broken King and the civil rights movement. The rule that Sullivan established was that public figures could only win libel damages if they could prove that the defendants were wrong and had an intent to hurt them.
I'm not aware of a president who has seriously objected to preexisting libel law since the second president, John Adams, signer of the Sedition Act which made false criticism of the government illegal, and which was allowed to expire in 1800.