Closing Thought–13Jun19

These days we hear a lot of back and forth in the media about the Constitution especially the “Emoluments Clause”…..

Are you aware of what the “Emoluments Clause” has to say?

The Constitutional Provisions The Constitution mentions emoluments in three provisions, each sometimes referred to as the “Emoluments Clause”:The Foreign Emoluments Clause(art. I, § 9, cl. 8):“[N]o Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under [the United States], shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.”The Domestic Emoluments Clause(a.k.a.the Presidential Emoluments Clause) (art. II, § 1, cl.7): “The President shall, at stated Times, receive for his Services, a Compensation which shall neither be encreased nor diminished during the Period for which he shall have been elected, and he shall not receive within that Period any other Emolument from the United States, or any of them.”The Ineligibility Clause(art. I, § 6, cl. 2): “No Senator or Representative shall, during the Time for which he was elected, be appointed to any civil Office under the Authority of the United States, which shall have been created, or the Emoluments where of shall have been encreased during such time;and no Person holding any Office under the United States, shall be a Member of either House during his Continuance in Office.

Now what does the term “emolument” mean?

Black’s Law Dictionary defines an “emolument” as an “advantage, profit, or gain received as a result of one’s employment or one’s holding of office.” There is significant debate as to precisely what constitutes an “emolument” within the meaning of the Foreign and Domestic Emoluments Clauses, particularly as to whether it includes private, arm’s-length market transactions.The only two courts to decide this issue adopted a broad definition of “emolument” that includes profits from private transactions not arising from an office or employ.

Have you got all that?

Good!

I asked in an earlier post if we were having a Constitutional Crisis….and this goes along with that question in search of an answer.

Now the news that started this post…..as usual it was something the “Mouth on the Potomac” had to say…..

President Trump made what his opponents called a stunning admission during an ABC interview Wednesday: He said he would consider accepting damaging information on his 2020 rivals from foreign governments. “I think I’d take it,” the president told George Stephanopoulos. “I think you might want to listen, there isn’t anything wrong with listening,” Trump said. “If somebody called from a country, Norway, ‘We have information on your opponent’—oh, I think I’d want to hear it.” He rejected the suggestion that the information would be “interference” and said he would “maybe” go to the FBI if he thought there was “something wrong.” But “when you go and talk, honestly, to congressman, they all do it, they always have, and that’s the way it is,” Trump claimed. “It’s called oppo research.”

When Stephanopoulos told him that FBI Director Chris Wray had said the bureau should be contacted in such a case, Trump said: “The FBI director is wrong, because frankly it doesn’t happen like that in real life.” Trump’s remarks were swiftly condemned by potential 2020 rivals including Joe Biden, the BBC reports. Trump “is once again welcoming foreign interference in our elections,” he tweeted. “This isn’t about politics. It is a threat to our national security.” Former federal prosecutor David Weinstein tells Politico that Americans involved in elections have a “fundamental responsibility” to report contacts with foreign agents.

The FBI director is wrong? Seriously?

Now put any political affiliation aside…is this a violation of the Constitution?  Or should we just ignore the Constitution when it confronts our favorite politician?

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Is This A Constitutional Crisis?

We hear a lot about the Congress and the president and the antics by each. My thought is there is a reason for a Committee called “oversight”…..and any time anyone interferes with the operation of that principle then they should be smacked down….matters not if it is a WH attorney, a child, the AG or the president himself…..we either live by the checks and balances or we start an imperial presidency.

I remember the calls for the impeachment of a president that got his wanker licked and those that called for such are now overlooking their “oversight” duties to massage the ego of a mental midget……

The conservative media is totally ignoring the crisis brewing and even are helping it destroy the democratic scheme we had before…..

As legal experts, historians, and Democratic lawmakers have sounded the alarm over President Donald Trump’s blanket obstruction of congressional oversight of his presidency — suggesting we have reached or are approaching a constitutional crisis — Trump’s conservative media allies are brazenly misrepresenting the arguments and suggesting everything boils down to a fight over the Mueller report, claiming Trump’s obstruction is normal, and ridiculing Democrats for speaking out.

https://www.mediamatters.org/research/2019/05/14/conservative-media-downplay-trump-administrations-unprecedented-stonewalling-congressional-oversight/223698

The media reports, if we may call it that, but it is sensationalism not anything but entertainment…..

So are we in a Constitutional crisis? Yes or No or what?

It is probably safe to say that this is not how we imagined America’s little fling with representative democracy would end. But on Wednesday morning, New York Rep. Jerrold Nadler described the battle unfolding between the Trump White House and Congress thusly: “The ongoing clash between congressional Democrats and President Trump over the Mueller report has turned into a full-blown constitutional crisis.” On Thursday morning, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi used the same turn of phrase, warning that the nation is now in a “constitutional crisis.”

In the totality of Trump scandals, this week’s is rather boring and technical. The problem at hand: The House Judiciary Committee seeks to interview William Barr, the attorney general of the United States, on the subject of the Mueller report. When he refused to show up, they voted to hold him in contempt of Congress for doing so. Meanwhile, the president has opted to assert seemingly boundless executive privilege in an attempt to shield the unredacted Mueller report from congressional scrutiny. The question at hand is basically: What happens in this standoff between Congress and the president? The stalemate, and immovable positioning, is certainly making it feel as though we are hurtling at high speeds toward a new precipice.

https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2019/05/trump-barr-constitutional-crisis-yes-no-or-wrong-question.html

To help you with the question…..there a 4 types of Constitutional crises……

People have been talking about the possibility of a “constitutional crisis” since before President Trump’s election. And in the wake of Trump’s executive order restricting the ability of people from seven predominantly Muslim nations to travel to the U.S., we’re once again hearing that term a lot. Rep. Don Beyer, a Virginia Democrat, used the phrase to describe reports of Customs and Border Protection officials snubbing members of Congress and refusing to abide by a judge’s ruling delaying the enforcement of the order. And the Washington Post’s Aaron Blake investigated whether Trump’s disparaging remarks about a federal judge who ruled against the administration could be considered a constitutional crisis.

So what exactly is a constitutional crisis? We should be clear about what does — and, more importantly, does not — merit this description. It’s possible to have a major political crisis even if the Constitution is crystal clear on the remedy, or to have a constitutional crisis that doesn’t ruffle many feathers.

Political and legal observers generally divide constitutional crises into four categories:

The 4 Types Of Constitutional Crises

Are we in crisis?  Is the Constitution still the law of the land?

As it is today I am not so sure any more.

This simple cartoon can answer the question better than I can…..

Against Bicameralism

We hear all the time about the Congress and how the two houses are dysfunctional……there is an answer to this chaos……

I wrote many years ago that I thought that my state should go to a unicameral system of representation…..it would save money and loosen up the legislative process from the standstill it suffers from every session.

As distinct from bicameral or even tricameral legislatures, unicameral legislatures meet and vote in a single chamber. The traditional justification of unicameralism is that it is cheaper, more efficient, and more responsive than bicameralism. The appeal of a single-chamber legislature increases in periods of legislative gridlock, making unicameralism a relevant alternative to bicameral representation, which excels at representing different social classes or geographic areas. Below, the fit between unicameral representation and responsive government is explored, first, by assessing the use of unicameralism in 2016, and then by outlining the basic merits and demerits of unicameral legislatures. The Anglo-American tradition of unicameralism is then surveyed. The discussion concludes with a brief overview of Nebraska’s single-chamber legislature.

For the lazy……

My regulars know that I am  history buff and that I try to educate my visitors on this country as well as other subjects….and in the beginning during the fight for the Constitution that were people that did not agree with Madison on the need for a bicameral system of representation.

James Madison famously wrote in Federalist 51 that “A dependence on the people is, no doubt, the primary control on the government; but experience has taught mankind the necessity of auxiliary precautions.” Madison discussed the separation of powers between executive, legislative, and judicial branches, the additional division of the legislative branch into two chambers, and how their design can create a political invisible hand by which “the private interest of every individual may be a centinel over the public rights.”

I don’t know whether Madison employed the word “centinel” in this sentence to jab at the Antifederalist writer Centinel, who several months before lambasted the idea that separation-of-power systems can be designed to generate public virtue from the interaction of self-interested politicians. Perhaps. Contrary to Madison’s argument, however, for Centinel, only engaged and attentive citizens can keep politicians in line, not institutional designs that ostensibly create self-enforcing constitutional systems. There is no invisible hand for Centinel, at least not in politics.

https://www.lawliberty.org/2018/12/07/centinels-argument-against-bicameralism/

In my case the attempt that I tried to have a bill on the change from bicameral to unicameral was a non-starter…..I never thought I would be successful but at least I was hoping for some discussion…the “good old boys” shot me down and shot me down hard.

I still believe my state and the country would be better off with a unicameral system….

Thoughts?

Learn Stuff!

Class Dismissed!

DOJ: Don’t Do It!

Closing Thought–15Feb19

New CR is a deal and if Trump signs it he stated that he will also issue an emergency declaration….but DoJ does not think that is such a good Idea…..

President Trump says he will sign an emergency declaration to secure funding for a border wall—but he has been warned that the move is likely to encounter a wall of lawsuits from Democrats, immigration advocates, and environmentalists, among others. Sources tell ABC News that the Justice Department has told Trump that the declaration of a national emergency is extremely likely to be blocked by the courts before it can come into effect. Analysts say legal challenges could delay the project for years, though White House officials say they expect to eventually win on appeal. Trump is expected to declare the emergency Friday morning after signing a budget deal that would avert another government shutdown. More:

  • “There is no national emergency.” California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, who is expected to challenge the move in court, said Thursday that any border crisis is of “Trump’s own making,” the Washington Post reports. “There is no national emergency. If Trump oversteps his authority and abandons negotiations with Congress by declaring a fabricated national emergency, we won’t only call his bluff, we will do what we must to hold him accountable,” he said. “No one is above the law.”

 

  • “No bets are safe.” Analysts say it would be very unusual for courts to block a president’s declaration of an emergency—but Trump is a very unusual president. “Normally, any other time, you’d say it’s a no-brainer that the president wins,” University of Texas law professor Bobby Chesney tells Politico. “But with this particular president, no bets are safe in assuming the courts will completely defer to him.” Some 58 emergencies have been declared since the National Emergencies Act, 31 of which are still in effect.
  • The price tag. Sources tell the AP that Trump will announce he will spend $8 billion on border barriers after sidestepping Congress—including the $1.4 billion the latest spending bill provides. Most of the rest is expected to come from military funds earmarked for construction and antidrug efforts.
  • Stopping the move in Congress. It is possible, but highly unlikely, for the move to be blocked by Congress, the BBC reports. It would require both houses of Congress to pass a resolution against it, which Trump could veto unless opponents can build a supermajority
  • Republicans speak out. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has done a U-turn and announced that he will support an emergency declaration, but several other Republican senators have spoken out against the move, the Hill reports. Sen. Susan Collins said Thursday that she believes the decision is of “dubious constitutionality.” “I don’t believe that the National Emergencies Act contemplated a president repurposing billions of dollars outside of the normal appropriations process,” she said.
  • “A Democratic president can declare emergencies as well.” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called the move a “lawless act” and warned Trump that he was creating a precedent that could lead to a Democratic president declaring a national emergency on guns, CNBC reports. “If the president can declare an emergency on something he has created as an emergency, an illusion that he wants to convey, just think about what a president with different values can present to the American people,” she said.
  • The Cruz solution. Sen. Ted Cruz says he has a way to build the wall without taxpayers paying a dime. The Republican writes in the Washington Post that he has reintroduced the “Ensuring Lawful Collection of Hidden Assets to Provide Order (EL CHAPO) Act” to use funds seized from Joaquin Guzman and other drug lords to build a border wall.

Is he so ignorant that he will not read the Constitution?  The emergency is not real only in his tiny mind from NYC….a made up crisis not an actually crisis like a hurricane……

Did you hear his speech in the Rose Garden today?

OMG!  He relived the 2016 election and talked about the situation on the border that was NOTHING accurate and choked full of LIES…..and the bobble-heads rejoiced!

Please someone take him aside for about a half hour and read the and explain the Constitution to this drooling toad….please!

Its That Darn Pesky Constitution

There has been an uproar toward something Our Dear Supreme Leader has made….14th amendment has been in the news and there has been a wealth of  opinions if he can actually change the Constitution with and Executive Order (EO)…..

My opinion is NO he cannot…..(but that has not stopped those from foaming at the mouth to end some of our protections)….and like always there are those opinions in contrary to the EO thing……

President Trump said this week that he is preparing an executive order to try to take away the citizenship guarantee in the 14th Amendment to the Constitution, which says that people born in the United States are United States citizens. On Tuesday, Sen. Lindsey Graham announced that he would introduce legislation with the same aim.

But the president cannot repeal part of the Constitution by executive order. And Congress cannot repeal it by simply passing a new bill. Amending the Constitution would require a two-thirds vote in both House and Senate, and also ratification by three-quarters of the states. The effort to erase the citizenship guarantee will never clear those hurdles — for very good reasons.

https://www.commondreams.org/views/2018/10/31/no-mr-president-you-cant-change-constitution-executive-order

This below is an open letter sent to our Troops by veterans……

To All Active Duty Soldiers:

Your Commander-in-chief is lying to you. You should refuse his orders to deploy to the southern U.S. border should you be called to do so. Despite what Trump and his administration are saying, the migrants moving North towards the U.S. are not a threat. These small numbers of people are escaping intense violence. In fact, much of the reason these men and women—with families just like yours and ours—are fleeing their homes is because of the US meddling in their country’s elections. Look no further than Honduras, where the Obama administration supported the overthrow of a democratically elected president who was then replaced by a repressive dictator.

https://www.commondreams.org/views/2018/11/01/your-commander-chief-lying-you-veterans-issue-open-letter-active-duty-us-soldiers

Not to worry like always there is more……

“The Trump administration asked, and the Pentagon said no—to using troops on the southern border for law-enforcement purposes, CNN reports. Two defense officials say the Department of Homeland Security wanted US troops to provide “crowd and traffic control” and protect Customs and Border Protection officers from the so-called “caravan” of Central American migrants heading for the US border. But on Oct. 26, the Pentagon denied that request, while agreeing to provide engineers, medical personnel, and air and logistics support. Why the refusal? Because the Department of Defense apparently argued that active-duty troops don’t have the authority.

Indeed, the Posse Comitatus Act prohibits US troops from enforcing domestic law unless authorized by Congress or the US Constitution. “Limiting military involvement in civilian affairs is basic to our system of government and the protection of individual constitutional rights,” the 1878 act reads. A DHS official denied that Trump’s request constituted “law enforcement activities,” while military analysts said Trump could just use US Marshals, ICE, or the National Guard for such activities. Meanwhile, Trump is easing off his remark that US troops can “consider it a rifle” if migrants throw rocks, per Fox 13 Now. If soldiers or agents “are going to be hit in the face with rocks, we’re going to arrest those people,” he said Friday. “That doesn’t mean shoot them.

I realize the hard core Righties do not want to here it and they may soon have a chance to change things…..

But not to worry there are those that are working for a convention to change things….maybe just not the things that you have in mind.

Stay tuned!

“Making America Great Again”–Part 8

I continue the series on the formation of the new country of the United States of America……we have been though the early days….the battles and the war and now the country needs to come together and form a working government……

Part 8 of “American History for Truthdiggers.”

“Some men look at Constitutions with sanctimonious reverence, & deem them, like the Ark of the Covenant, too sacred to be touched. They ascribe to the men of the preceding age a wisdom more than human, and suppose what they did to be beyond amendment. I knew that age well: I belonged to it. …

“But I know also that laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind … we might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him when a boy, as civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors.” —Thomas Jefferson in a letter to Samuel Kercheval, July 12, 1816

The U.S. Constitution stands almost as American scripture, deified and all but worshipped as the holy book for the American civil religion of republicanism. The above painting captures the spirit of modern memories, and mythology, surrounding the Constitutional Convention, which was held in Philadelphia. The sun shines through windows (which are conspicuously open) and delivers a halo of light upon the figure of the tall, erect George Washington. He stands, of course, on what resembles a religious altar, presiding over the delegates as they sign the sacred compact of American governance. Ben Franklin, himself an international celebrity by that time, sits prominently in the center, as the influential, young Alexander Hamilton whispers in his ear; meanwhile, the “father” of the Constitution, James Madison, sits just below the altar, on Franklin’s left.

https://www.truthdig.com/articles/american-history-for-truthdiggers-counterrevolution-of-1787-new-constitution-new-nation/

Interesting that we may be having this discussion once again.

Class Dismissed!

Birthright: An American Idea

Yep we are having one of those political moments that comes around ever so often….we had it when Muslims were coming get us all…then there was that Mexico was gonna pay for a wall…..and now it is the 14th amendment…..all were used for political gain and not one was heard of again….that is they were filed away until needed again.

I read a pretty good piece in the American Conservative that until the era of Trump was considered a pretty mainstream conservative publication…..my my how things change….but I digress…..TAC offers their conservative opinion on the issue of birthright citizenship……

The 14th Amendment became part of the U.S. Constitution 150 years ago in July of 1868. Among other things, it enshrined our traditional common law practice of granting citizenship to those born in the United States who are subject to its laws—specifically it guaranteed that the recently freed slaves and their descendants would be citizens. The 14th Amendment also applied to the children of immigrants, as its authors and opponents understood at the time.

President Trump’s immigration position paper, however, famously endorsed an end to birthright citizenship. Michael Anton, a former national security official in the Trump administration as well as a lecturer and researcher at Hillsdale College, pushed such a move recently in the Washington Post. Anton argued that President Trump should use his pen and his phone to exclude the children born here to noncitizens, with little thought of what would happen were such a policy enacted.

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/birthright-citizenship-an-american-idea-that-works/

I have said the the challenge to the 14th could open up more challenges to some amendments like the 2nd and the 1st…maybe others…and those are not debates we want to have….so all this is probably just posturing for a vote.