Ethics attorneys Richard Painter, Chief Ethics Counsel for George W. Bush, and Norman Eisen, Chief Ethics Counsel for Barack Obama, have both taken the position that if Donald Trump does not sell his businesses and place his assets into a blind trust by December 19, the electors of the electoral college MUST REJECT HIM because he will be in violation of Article 1, Section 9 of the Constitution from Day One of his Presidency.
Harvard Law Professor Larry Tribe, a scholar in constitutional law, agrees with those ethics attorneys and has stated that “Trump’s ongoing business dealings around the world would make him the recipient of constitutionally prohibited ‘Emoluments’ from ‘any King, Prince, or foreign State’ — in the original sense of payments and not necessarily presents or gifts — from the very moment he takes the oath.” One of the main purposes of the electoral college is to assure that a qualified person sits as President. In other words, the electors are not there to simply rubber-stamp a candidate. Tribe stated ““[T]o vote for Trump in the absence of such complete divestment… would represent an abdication of the solemn duties of the 538 Electors.” Read the entire article here:
Up to now, those who are fighting against a Trump Presidency have been asking electors to honor the will of the majority of Americans and vote for Clinton or to vote for what is “right”. This legal conclusion regarding the applicability of Article 1, Sec. 9 of the Constitution, however, changes everything. There is an ENORMOUS difference between a Constitutional provision that requires electors to reject Trump as President and asking them to vote their conscience or with the popular vote.
The Founding Fathers created the Electoral College because “[T]hey feared a tyrant could manipulate public opinion and come to power [and they] believed that the electors would be able to insure that only a qualified person becomes President. They believed that with the Electoral College no one would be able to manipulate the citizenry. It would act as check on an electorate that might be duped.” March Schulman at HistoryCentral (an educational site that has been online for over 20 years) explaining Hamilton’s Federalist papers.
Donald Trump is EXACTLY the kind of person who the Founding Fathers sought to protect us from – a tyrant who manipulated public opinion, possibly in collusion with Russia, to gain power and who is absolutely unqualified to sit as President. If that was not clear to some prior to the election, it is absolutely clear now.
- Russia’s interference with the Presidential election for the purpose of getting Trump elected has been established. Yet, despite the evidence, Trump continues to deny Russian involvement. That, alone, should invalidate Trump’s win.
- His selection of cabinet members and those who will be in charge of some of the most important agencies of the government is frightening and clearly not in the best interests of the people. Steven Bannon, alt-right promoter and supporter, as Chief Strategist, Mike Pompeo, Tea Party Member, for CIA Director, Michael Flynn, who has promoted fake conspiracy theories and has ties to Russia, for National Security Director, – just these three would be disturbing enough but it doesn’t stop there. Mitch McConnell’s wife, Elaine Chao, to head the Department of Transportation, Scott Pruitt, climate change denier, to head the EPA, Jeff Sessions, denied a federal judgeship for racist remarks, as Attorney General, Ben Carson, who admitted that he has no experience in running a federal agency, as head of Housing and Urban Development.
- He has refused to attend daily intelligence hearings but has time for his “thank you” tours where his massive ego is stroked by his supporters.
- He has already caused an international incident with China.
- He has essentially bribed an American company, Carrier, with a $7 Million tax break to keep some jobs in the United States and then lied about the number of jobs that he “saved” which sets a precedent for other companies, including his own, to receive the same sort of monetary incentive, with taxpayers footing the bill.
- The KKK and other white supremacists consider his win a “dream come true”
- He continues to refuse to reveal his tax returns and and will not set up a true blind trust. In light of his hundreds of business interests globally, this presents serious conflicts of interests questions.
Will Trump’s decisions as President be made to benefit America or his own personal interests or the interests of his children? Will our nation end up partnering with anti-democratic governments simply because Trump wants to expand his businesses or because he owes them a debt (such as his Presidential win)? Will our nation end up declaring war if one of his hotels or properties in a foreign land becomes a target of anti-capitalist groups and terrorists? Will the U.S. lose its allies and worldwide credibility which will affect our economy and safety? Is he in collusion with or controlled by Putin or other Russian interests? These are NOT questions that we should have to ask ourselves about the President of the United States.
WHAT MORE WILL IT TAKE TO CONVINCE ELECTORS THAT THEY CANNOT VOTE FOR THIS MAN? AND IF THEY WILL NOT ACT ON THEIR OWN TO HONOR THEIR DUTY AND PROTECT THIS NATION AND ITS CITIZENS, THEN CITIZENS AND APPROPRIATE ORGANIZATIONS SHOULD SUE, ON CONSTITUTIONAL GROUNDS, FOR AN INJUNCTION TO PREVENT THEM FROM CASTING THEIR VOTES FOR DONALD TRUMP.
There are some electors who are willing to be “faithless electors” – a term with a bad connotation. HOWEVER, some of these electors are planning on voting for a third party candidate. THIS WOULD BE A MISTAKE, a waste of their vote, and would most likely result in Trump becoming President. Why? Because if neither Hillary Clinton nor Donald Trump receives the requisite 270 votes to secure the Presidency, the matter goes before the House of Representatives. The House will then cast their vote for one of the top three candidates. Yes, the same House of Representatives filled with Republicans who were not strong enough to fight Trump or who actually support him and would rather the nation be controlled by a corrupt demagogue instead of by Clinton or any other Democrat.
Other people seem willing to wait for Trump to be impeached, believing that it is inevitable. However, an impeachment does not guarantee removal of Trump from office. The House of Representatives, once again, has the power to impeach the President which is tantamount to an indictment. The Senate has the power to place the impeached person on trial. With both the House and Senate under GOP control, it is doubtful that Trump would be removed. Even if he is removed, his despicable and frightening cabinet members and appointees to federal agencies would remain in power.
The other thing to keep in mind is that under Article 1, Section 9 of the Constitution, Congress can vote to approve of any gifts or payments received by the President. A Republican controlled Congress will most likely do just that.
THERE IS NO QUESTION: Trump must be stopped now, before he takes the oath in January.
In 1987, Trump wrote “The Art of the Deal”. Well, he claimed to have written the book, but it was actually written by Tony Schwartz who said just a few months ago during an interview with New Yorker magazine:
“I put lipstick on a pig,” he said. “I feel a deep sense of remorse that I
contributed to presenting Trump in a way that brought him wider attention
and made him more appealing than he is.” He went on, “I genuinely believe
that if Trump wins and gets the nuclear codes there is an excellent possibility.
it will lead to the end of civilization.” If he were writing “The Art of the Deal”
today, Schwartz said, it would be a very different book with a very different title.
Asked what he would call it, he answered, “The Sociopath.”
After this Presidential election is over, the title of Trump’s next book should be “The Art Of Manipulation: Confessions of a Demagogue” because the one sure thing that can be said about Donald Trump is that he is a master manipulator – a true demagogue. The common definition of a demagogue: “a political leader who tries to get support by making false claims and promises and using arguments based on emotion rather than reason.” (Merriam-Webster dictionary). This describes Trump perfectly.
Donald Trump has managed to gain the support that he has by doing three things:
First, he made the people in his base believe that America is dying by lying to them about the unemployment rate, the status of jobs, the poverty rate, the crime rate, immigrants, how their gun ownership was being threatened by Democrats, how ISIS was going to place all Americans under Sharia law. He made them fear and feel like losers. “We don’t win anymore. We never win.”
Second, he gave them things to blame – Mexicans, Chinese outsourcing, Muslims, a rigged system, President Obama, HillaryJ Clinton, the other members of NATO, and many more – and he gave them permission to express their anger, racism, hate and fear towards these targets of blame.
Finally, he offered himself as their savior. During his acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention, he said “Nobody knows the system better than me. Which is why I alone can fix it.”
Granted, many of his followers are and have always been racists. Trump is supported by the KKK, white supremacists, the radical right, and the alt-right, many of whom are former Tea Party supporters who have never gotten over the fact that a black Democrat became President – twice – and actually rescued this country from the Great Depression in spite of the GOP obstructionists who sit in Congress. They just feel freer to express themselves now because Trump has given them his blessings. President Obama’s accomplishments, verifiable by facts, don’t matter to this group because they want to hear that the black Democrat has failed. They welcome the lies that Trump has been spreading.
Many of Trump’s supporters are also misogynists (those who dislike, mistrust, or mistreat women). They don’t believe that a woman should be President simply because she’s a woman. Hillary’s credentials and accomplishments do not matter. She’s still a woman. You hear these people being interviewed from time to time at Trump rallies. “A female has more hormones. She could start a war in ten seconds if she has hot flashes or whatever.” This was a statement by a female made during an interview conducted by Jordan Klepper of the Daily Show at a Trump rally. You can find the entire interview here. Well, news flash – Hillary is 68 years old. Menstrual cycles and menopause are history. But like racists, misogynists don’t embrace facts. Their objections are based on gender and their ingrained stereotypes of men and women. So when Trump starts commenting on Hillary’s lack of stamina, his lies make sense to them, even though HE is the one with the mood swings, the rants on Twitter, and the inability to concentrate so that he often fails to finish sentences, rambles, and goes off on tangents.
However, aside from the racists and misogynists, many Trump supporters are just people who he has manipulated so successfully that they are deaf and blind to the truth.
Trump supporters ignore these facts because their supreme leader has them believing that the media is rigged. “Forget the press, read the internet, study other things,” he has said. “Don’t go for the mainstream media. Most of them, good news, most of them fortunately won’t be around much longer.”
He says this with a straight face even while his own supporters like Sean Hannity promotes him on Fox, Corey Lewandowski promotes him on CNN, and former FOX “News” Chairman and CEO and sexual predator Roger Ailes and Steve Bannon of Breitbart “news” occupy positions in his campaign. Trump himself has said that he doesn’t need to raise much money because he gets so much publicity. The New York Times in March estimated that this free publicity totaled approximately $1.9 Billion. He uses the media constantly to his benefit, but convinces his base that they should not believe any negative statements that appear in the media because the media is liberal and “rigged”. I see it all the time on comments made by Trump supporters on stories reporting about Trump’s lies, even those that are simply fact-checking his statements.
Once he was able to convince his base that they should ignore mainstream media and only listen to him or the media that he approves, he was free to lie with impunity. He can claim that he is “very, very rich” and believes in transparency yet refuse to produce his tax returns. He can claim that he’s a “great businessman” although he has filed 4 company bankruptcies and started numerous businesses which have failed, including Trump “University” over which he’s being sued in 3 states. He can claim that he will be “the greatest jobs President that God ever created” and yet outsource his own manufacturing jobs, use Chinese instead of American steel and aluminum to build his hotels, hire foreign-workers, some of them illegal, and be totally insensitive to the fact that his business failures have cost people jobs and their savings. He can claim, as he did during the third Presidential debate, that “No one respects women more than I do” and yet appear on a video tape admitting to having committed sexual assault because he believes himself to be a star and able to get away with it and multiple women have come forward against him. He can claim that he has a “great memory” and yet, when confronted, cannot remember David Duke, John Miller (his alter-ego), ever having said that he did in fact meet Vladimir Putin, what’s in a lease document that he signed – the list goes on and on.
Many of his lies are intended to instill fear in his supporters and fuel their inherent hatred and bias. Trump makes them believe that their fear and hatred are justified and gives them targets to blame.
**Blame President Obama for the bad economy (even though the economy has steadily improved since President Obama inherited George Bush’s broken economy) and the massive unemployment (even though unemployment rates are at 5-6%).
**Blame Mexicans who are pouring over the border stealing jobs, many of whom are rapists and criminals, and President Obama because he allows it (even though most illegal Mexicans are considered illegal because their visas expired and President Obama has deported more illegal aliens than any other president).
**Blame President Obama and Hillary for ISIS (even though it was Bush’s war on Iraq that began the circumstances that led to the creation of what is now known as ISIS AND according to a Gallup Poll taken in 2003, 73% of Americans – including Trump – were in favor of the Iraq war.)
**Hillary is part of the rigged establishment so she’s a liar (even though he would win hands-down in a contest of who has told more lies).
**Hillary is a crook (although he violated foreign trade embargo laws by doing business in Cuba when it was forbidden, wrongfully used money from his non-profit foundation to settle personal debts and to purchase personal items, scammed hundreds of people with his fake “University” and multi-level vitamin scheme, and refused to pay people who have done business with him in good faith or provided him with financing).
He gives his supporters slogans to chant because chanting makes a group feel united and powerful. “Build that wall!” “Make America Great Again!” “Lock her up!”. Although, if you asked the overwhelming majority for specific facts to support their chants – for example, exactly HOW is Trump going to make America great again – they can’t give you any. They can only regurgitate what Trump has said.
How can Trump ever make America great when he is ridiculed and hated by so many other nations that the United States needs to work with on a global level and yet is praised by Putin and endorsed by Kim Jong Un? (see my post Trump Has Made America An International Joke) How can he fix the economy when his plan has been devised by billionaires, hedge fund managers, and bank CEOs and benefits primarily the rich? How can he be expected to protect the rights of women or the disabled or veterans and their families or people of color or the LGBT when he has insulted all of these groups and more? He can’t. Yet none of these facts matter to his supporters because they are blind to reality and have adopted a mob mentality.
Now Trump has told them that he and only he can fix this broken system.
This is how demagogues gain power and THIS is what happens when they do:
Des Moines, Iowa: Police arrested Terri Lynn Rote, 55, on suspicion of voting twice in the general election. “I wasn’t planning on doing it twice. It was a spur of the moment,” Rote told Iowa Public Radio. “The polls are rigged.” She claims she feared her first vote for Trump would be changed to a vote for Hillary Clinton. Rote has been charged with first-degree election misconduct, a felony that could land her in prison for 5 years.
North Carolina’s Cumberland County: Sheriff’s Office arrested John McGraw who was shown on video sucker-punching a black Trump protestor who was being escorted out of the rally. When asked by Inside Edition whether McGraw believed the protester deserved it, he said “Yes, he deserved it. The next time we see him, we might have to kill him.” He claimed the protestor was not acting “like an American”.
New York City. A security guard took a sign from and struck an immigration activist during a protest outside of Trump Tower. The protestor claimed that they were on a public sidewalk and had the right to protest. The security guard claimed that he was attacked from behind (that was after he wrongfully took away the protestor’s signs)
Janesville, Wisconsin: A 15-year old Trump protestor hit a Trump supporter she claimed had grabbed her breasts and was pepper sprayed by another Trump supporter. “You goddamn communist n***er-lover, get the hell out of here!” a person in the crowd can be heard yelling on an ABC video.
The police decided to charge the girl saying they could find no evidence of an assault on her (even though they arrived after the confrontation took place). They are still looking for the person who used the pepper spray.
Las Vegas, Nevada: Individual heard yelling “light the motherfu**ker on fire” as a black protester was being physically removed by security staffers at a Trump rally. pic.twitter.com/65pXHjsJ3x
Wisconsin – A pair of football fans showed up to a University of Wisconsin game with a Barack Obama mask ― and a noose wrapped around its neck. The other fan who wore a mask of Donald Trump was holding on to the noose. The person in the Obama mask wore a black and white jailhouse suit and later swapped the mask of the president for one of Hillary Clinton.
At the @UWBadgers game and there is a man with a mask of President Obama
and a noose. This is racism, why was this allowed into the stadium?
— ? (@woahohkatie) October 29, 2016
At a Trump rally in September: Observers tweeted about seeing a Trump supporter carrying around a mask of Clinton on a spike.
Watching the horrific image of Trump mob at his speech hoisting a bloodied
mask of Hillary being swung on a stick. What country is this?
— Kathy Savitt (@ksavitt) September 1, 2016
These are just a few examples of the racism, hate, and violence that Trump is responsible for; just a few examples of the kind of country that the United States will regress to under his kind of leadership. History is full of demagogues and the one thing that history has shown us over and over again: Demagogues are dangerous.
In the forward of his book, Trump should give credit where credit is due: to the Tea Party. In 2009, after President Obama won the election, the Tea Party movement gained momentum. Many of them claimed that they weren’t racists and that they were concerned about the economy and the socialism of Obamacare, but the shirts they wore, signs they carried, and messages they distributed told the ugly truth and no one in the GOP did anything to stop them. Here are two of the much milder messages. To see a full array of offensive (and graphic) images and to read the accompanying article by Def Shepherd about this matter, go here. (3rd article on page – “Racism Is Alive And Well: 35 Incredibly Racist Anti-Obama Images”)
And who was there watching and learning how easy it was to incite a crowd with fear and lies?
Donald Trump speaking at a Tea Party rally in 2011. Photo: Larry Marano/Getty Images as it appeared in the article “Trump Proves Republican Obama Hate Was Never About Obama’s Ideas” by Jonathan Chait published in New York magazine.
Now that most people get their news online, it has become imperative that writers get readers to click on their stories. So all we see on the homepage of our search engines are sensationalized headlines designed to entice people to click on stories. Yet, many of those stories are misleading and not newsworthy. .
Take a recent story that appeared in The Hill. The headline read: “Leaked memo shows Clinton was provided questions ahead of interview.” There was absolutely nothing relevant about this story which concerned a television interview of Hillary Clinton by Steve Harvey, a comedian who hosts a variety talk show. The story claimed that Hillary Clinton was given the questions ahead of the interview. However, many talk shows (which are NOT news shows) conduct pre-interviews with their guests and provide them with information as to what topics will be covered. So this particular story had no news value. The ONLY reason that it was written was to imply another scandal so that people would click on the story. It’s as though the reporter of this story wanted to imply that Clinton was favored by the media or perhaps that she received the Presidential debate questions ahead of time or that there was something shady about this practice or all of the foregoing. And the fact that this very unimportant story was picked up and published by several online sites only demonstrates the pathetic willingness of the media to chase innuendos instead of actually reporting news.
Journalism is supposed to be the objective reporting of newsworthy events. There shouldn’t exist “right leaning” or “left leaning” online news sites or publications. If reporting is leaning either way, it’s not news, it’s an opinion. But this is what happens when people like Rupert Murdoch and his News Corp. are allowed to control over 100 media sites and publications (including Fox News, which really should be renamed Fox Entertainment, and the Wall Street Journal, which used to be a respectable publication).
To be fair, not all journalists are guilty of sensationalism or biased reporting. But those who have tried to report facts seem to be completely disconnected from their target audience. They don’t write to the reader; many write as though they are trying to impress someone with their writing skills and vocabulary. They use words like misogynist and flummoxing. Do they really think that the ordinary reader understands such words? People won’t bother reading a story that’s too difficult to read and therefore will never get the message of that story. Perhaps that’s why so many people are tuning in to watch political satirists and comedians like John Oliver and Trevor Noah. These people, in between their jokes and idiotic gifs, actually do convey facts obtained from extensive research and they are able to do it in ways that the ordinary person can understand. The best example of this, so far, is John Oliver’s broadcast on September 25, 2016 which examined the negative claims against both Clinton and Trump and reached a conclusion in a way that viewers could understand. And yes, it was hilarious.
Perhaps we would all be better off if for every piece of bad news that the media reported, they would also publish a story about some of the good people in our country who are doing good things. Perhaps then we who read the “news” wouldn’t feel so hopeless and as though the entire world has gone crazy.