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.

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.