America you’ve be duped, again
Three things you might not know
- Richard M. Nixon said, “When the President does it that means it is not illegal.”
- Donald Trump will be in violation of the Constitution on the day he is sworn in.
- Regardless of Trump’s efforts to dodge the conflict of interest issue, he can’t dodge the US Constitution. Unless the representatives of the American people let him – then it’s “shame on America.”
(5 minute read, excluding ABC video of 4:53)
The ghost of narcissism past
A history lesson in 04 seconds and a harbinger of the future.
Nixon’s statement is perhaps the most frightening declaration of narcissistic, pretention since Mussolini said, “We do not argue with those who disagree with us, we destroy them. Or as Trump has said, “My motto is: Always get even … I love getting even when I get screwed by someone – yes, it’s true … always get even. You need to screw them back fifteen times harder.”
We have met the enemy, and he is us – Pogo
America has “met the enemy and he is us” … well, one of us, the President-elect.
Donald J. Trump, as the 45the President of the United States, will render a “screwing” on America that will make Richard Nixon look like a a choir boy. We can already see the groundwork for our date with destiny being laid as a bevy of lawyers prepare the flunitrazepam (Rohypnol). In fact, this week they had to delay presenting the ersatz prescription, apparently they’re having trouble concocting it. It’s tough creating fantasy because, in this case, it has to sound real and be complex enough to disarm the people. It’s like feeding cod liver oil to unsuspecting kids while making sure they don’t choke on it. It’s particularly difficult because there is no real prescription. You can’t unprescribe or rewrite the US Constitution.
“He will be in violation of the Constitution from day one.” – Norman Eisen, Special Counsel for Ethics and Government Reform in the White House (2009-2011).
Emoluments Clause: No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States: And no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, 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.
This clause is from the founding fathers and it was established in 1787 at the United States Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia for the purpose of preventing corrupt practices and “to shield the republican character of the United States against corrupting foreign influences.”
Today, in 2016, with the emergence of Trump, the 229 year old question is: Will the “republican character” of America stand strong and disallow the legal gobbledygook about to be spewed by Trump lawyers or will “we the people” abdicate the Constitution and allow the nation to be shamed again?
Trump’s denials of conflict of interest do not pass the smell test in reference to the Constitution. And his tweeted announcement that his business will make “no new deals” demonstrates his lack of understanding or regard, or both, for the Constitution and the depth of his conflicts of interest. His tweet is as hollow as his promise to reveal his tax returns and as empty as the Trump Foundation. According to a Washington Post analysis, Trump has 111 businesses in 18 countries spanning Asia, South America, the Middle East (see a complete list of Trump’s known conflicts of interest). And then there’s Russia, a whole other can of worms, including five million barrels of oil a day, a lot of money in Putin’s pocket from the state owned oil company Roseneft, and potentially an oil tanker full of rubles for President Trump.
Does America get it?
I hesitate to again cite the pop-culture meme, “Smarter than a fifth grader,” but it’s applicable. My granddaughter, albeit an eighth-grader, gets it. All of America needs to get it – get the never-to-be-violated constitutional truth.
Donald Trump, as President of the United States, will, unequivocally:
- Place the Office of the President in violation of the Constitution and create serious conflicts of interest on many fronts.
- Compromise the power of the United States in dealing with foreign nations, global corporations and domestic policy.
- Increase, significantly, his personal wealth simply by being a President who owns assets and businesses around the world.
Of course, there won’t always be a quid-pro-quo and a Trump Administration will be careful and Donald will constantly sing the refrain, “trust-me.” But it’s not simply about trusting him, although that’s critical, it’s about all the others. All those who see the opportunity to curry favor and take advantage of the slightest possibility that their actions will have a small positive impact, at some point in time. It’s human nature to act in this way. And it’s guaranteed. It’s what politicians, diplomats and corporate executives do. Always. Trump’s ownership of just one major asset, let alone billions of dollars of assets and revenue streams, will create a web of international conspiring that will exceed the mythology of the Illuminati – except the Trump conspiracies will be real.
There’s no art of the deal here
For perhaps the first time in his life, Donald faces a choice that is outside his belief system of, “I can have it all.” I do not think he expected to win the election and this is now a much bigger problem than he ever anticipated. It’s “yuuge.” And there’s no “art of the deal” here, this is black and white. He can’t have his cake and eat it too; he can’t have two empires, and screw one while benefiting the other. Unless America allows it.
Here are three options:
- He completely divests himself of all ownership of his assets (not just operational control) and becomes an honest, uncompromised President (not likely to happen).
- He steps down from the Presidency, Mike Pence becomes president and Trump retains ownership of his private empire, leaving the US empire uncompromised.
- He gets impeached for violation of the Constitution for any number of reasons: i) A foreign government favors one of his businesses with a speedy construction approval; ii) The General Services Administration, which manages the Old Post Office, home of the Trump International Hotel, has said the lease violates federal conflict-of-interest rules once Trump is sworn in on Jan. 20, 2016; and iii) the Department of Justice will be in conflict when negotiating a multi-billion dollar settlement with Trump creditor Deutsche Bank, to whom he is indebted for a $100 million or more. Not to mention a myriad of other more clandestine activities (Russia comes to mind).
- There is an interesting fourth option proffered by Keith Olbermann on his TV show, The Resistance: The Surprisingly Easy Way to Get Rid of Donald Trump (it’s a 10 minute video)
What more do we need to know? He’s in conflict. Period. The question is: What will the stewards of America do – the politicians, media, and legal leaders to whom the country is entrusted? Will America rationalize and capitulate? Or will they put the nation’s integrity, trust and well-being before any one person, even the president?
ABC, This Week with George Stephanopoulos interviewed two experts and ethics counsel for two past presidents on the looming conflict.
(Sunday, December 11, 2016 – 4:53)
Some quotes from the video: There is no wiggle room
“It doesn’t matter who’s running these companies … these firewalls aren’t going to work.“ – Richard Painter, Professor of University of Minnesota Law School and Counsel to George W. Bush.
“If he retains ownership of the businesses and those businesses take money from foreign governments … or corporations controlled by foreign governments, he will be in violation of the Constitution, regardless of who is managing the businesses. It’s about who owns them.” – Richard Painter
“He’s also subject to other conflict laws. The bribery laws are intended to prevent conflicts, for example. He’s subject to criminal law. He’s subject to civil law. He’s going to be subject to litigation, he’s already in a lot of cases, this is going to come up in existing litigation.” – Norman Eisen
“There’s the broader conflict of interests. He owes hundreds of millions of dollars to banks. How do we expect a Trump Admin to [objectively] regulate the financial services sector?” – Richard Painter
“And there’s a Russian angle to all this. Because remember, we don’t have Donald Trump’s tax return … including perhaps his Russian interests. That may be the reason he doesn’t want to turn over his taxes … We’ve got to have those taxes to evaluate whether these conflicts go to the heart of our most pressing national security issues.” – Norman Eisen
It’s clear. It’s unequivocal. It’s reality.
No firewall can be created, no legal claptrap crafted that will protect the American people, as intended by the Constitution. None. So will any other leaders stand up and do what must be done, defend the Constitution? Time will tell. But don’t hold your breath. But do hold hope. Because with or without true leadership, America will survive Donald Trump.
To conquer a nation, first disarm its people. – Aldolf Hitler
Think about it.
- The Lazio Speeches (1936), as quoted in The Book of Italian Wisdom by Antonio Santi, Citadel Press, 2003. p. 88.
- The Making of Donald Trump, Chapter 6, “Revenge.”
- Emoluments Clause, The Heritage Guide to the Constitution.