Wednesday, October 31, 2018

The rule of law trumps the rule of a ruler: USA 101

A version of this appeared in the e and print editions of the Sky Hi News November 7, 2018 and on line November 8.

The morning after November 6:  Still sitting in the Oval Office is a president who views laws as a barrier to his power, a challenge  to get around them or  claim he can bend the rule of law to his benefit. He brought with him to the White House this scofflaw attitude,  rooted  in his business experience. His midterm election promise to reverse the 14th Amendment is only one case in point. (added later November 7 A crisis is being engineered by Donald Trump to impede the Mueller investigation by appointing a yes man flunky on record to criticizing Mueller acting in place  of fired Jeff Sessions This is a direct result of Trump holding onto the Senate...By doing so, Trump has insulated himself against impeachment and can operate with all of the arrogance, retribution, and abuse of power he thinks he has...rule of law be damned. This is a third finger raised against Mueller and democracy. It is also one more element in building an obstruction of justice case  against Trump Mueller could use if Trump's appointee takes action to rein in Mueller.  A constitutional crisis is just beginning.  Expect Trump to take advantage of the lame duck session to get away with whatever he can before the newly blue majority  House is sworn in.  )

Throughout his life as an heir to a fortune which he nurtured into a greater fortune with a family run real estate  enterprise, Donald Trump  only needed  his  simple command to rule his business. Any challengers were to be hit back harder than they hurt him. For him, as expressed in interviews , fear is his power.  His reputation was not good  in the real estate field, already filled with con artists and puffing sales people and he shrugged off  a long list of suits and bankruptcies as  just another cost of doing business.  He survived claims of fraud and misdeeds   by  settling  disputes with money, as he did in the Trump University case or his problem with infidelities and abusive  behavior with women.
When he became  president, he tried  to run the White House with the same attitudes and ethics  as he had run his business. His TV reality show and real estate hawker mentality, his frequently uttered lies and exaggerations  continued. He arose to political power by leading causes like birtherism, claiming Obama was an illegitimate president because he was born in Kenya, contrary to overwhelming evidence.  This  appealed to many  who resented that  their preservation of ethnic and racial power was constrained by the rule of  law, political correctness (AKA civility),  and the Constitution. Later he was claiming he was above the law because of his position as president. He asserted  he could not be subpoenaed to testify  in a criminal case and he could pardon himself.
 He  has made promises that would challenge the very supremacy of the Constitution.  In a last minute midterm election promise, Donald Trump said he would sign an executive order to overturn the 14th Amendment. It guaranteed a  person’s  children born  or naturalized in the US  would be  US citizens.  With a stroke of a pen signing an executive order, he proposed to change the constitution. He would destroy this odious  birthright citizenship. It was obviously a promise made to appeal to his white nationalist base. If he had the power to change the Constitution by executive order,  then he could also  take action against his critics, the enemies of the people, the free press,  and  keep on going, until the rule of law, the Constitution, was not worth the parchment on which it was written. To keep some wannabe despot,   king , or dictator from altering that fundamental  document from which all laws flowed, the Constitution made itself very difficult to be amended, fortunately for democracy.    “Amendments must be proposed either by the Congress with a two-thirds majority vote in both the House of Representatives and the Senate or by a constitutional convention called for by two-thirds of the State legislatures.”
Subject to interpretation, the application of some Constitutional provisions are  altered. However, the 14th is one of the most unambiguous amendments ever written.    “Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside” He was trying to pull off another  con, counting on  the ignorance of his devout followers.

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