Good Or Bad?–That Trump Does Not Know We Are Not Yet Ruled By Personal Dictatorship

“How low has President Obama gone to tapp {sic} my phones during the very sacred election process,” tweeted the President today.  “Bad…sick…McCarthyism…is it legal” and so forth.

President Trump does not seem afraid to up the ante.  Is he ready for a discovery process involving an independent counsel with subpoena power?  (Yes the independent counsel law expired, but all things are possible–including presidential declassification of anything or everything involving Russian interference in the 2016 election.)

President Trump appears to think that presidents act by fiat, via personal dictatorship, not constrained by other independent and coequal branches of government.  Presidents do not themselves order wiretaps.  We have executive branch lawyers who seek warrants via judges–last I heard.

Does President Trump have a problem with McCarthyism?  If so, how exactly does he object to Senator Joe McCarthy’s playbook, which included guilt-by-association tactics and anonymously-sourced smears?  Does President Trump accuses President Obama of acting like “Nixon/Watergate” but does not elaborate or provide any evidence.  What exactly about Richard Nixon or Watergate does President Trump condemn?

Could President Trump have a point, in the midst of his unsupported allegations, that the United States has a problem with “deep state” subversion of our “very sacred election process”?  Maybe so–all the more reason to get going on a truly independent investigation.  A partisan, politicized, ostrich-like, paralyzed Congress does not seem up to the task.  Jeff Sessions’ deputy is unlikely to be credible and authoritative.  That leaves an independent counsel (possible downside that non-criminal but horrible actions could end up being bypassed) or an independent commission (typically very slow-moving).  Maybe there are other, better options.

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Eager-To-Please Warlord Trump Abolishes Limited Liability Laws

How long will President-elect Donald J. Trump last before he breaks down and admits he was all about the hunt and the chase, but that actually becoming the president is his worst nightmare? Some advice to Mr. Trump: announce that on day one, before you even eat your inaugural lunch, your first executive order will, in honor of  risk-loving entrepreneurial capitalists everywhere, nullify all of our limited liability laws. All these anti-competitive, soul-killing limited liability regulations do anyway is protect weak, corrupt corporations from the forgotten men and women they rip off day in and day out. The forgotten men and women sure don’t have much “limited liability” any more, do they?

And then watch and see how long this new president lasts.

Is Chief Justice Roberts Wiser Than Ben (“It’s All About The Benjamins”) Franklin?

Chief Justice John Roberts, just the other day (McCutcheon v. FEC): “We have said that government regulation may not target the general gratitude a candidate may feel toward those who support him or his allies, or the political access such support may afford.  ‘Ingratiation and access…are not corruption’ [quoting the 2010 Citizens United opinion].”

Benjamin Franklin, Speech at the Constitutional Convention on the Subject of Salaries, June 2, 1787: “Sir, there are two Passions which have a powerful Influence in the Affairs of Men.  These are Ambition and Avarice; the Love of Power and the Love of Money.  Separately, each of these has great Force in prompting Men to Action; but when united in View of the same Object, they have in many Minds the most violent Effects.  Place before the Eyes of such Men a Post of Honour, that shall at the same time be a Place of Profit, and they will move Heaven and Earth to obtain it….And of what kind are the men that will strive for this profitable Preeminence, thro’ all the Bustle of Cabal, the Heat of Contention, the infinite mutual abuse of Parties, tearing to Pieces the best of Characters?  It will not be the wise and moderate, the Lovers of Peace and good Order… It will be the Bold and the Violent, the men of strong Passions and indefatigable Activity in their selfish Pursuits. These will thrust themselves into your Government, and be your Rulers.  And these, too, will be mistaken in the expected Happiness of their Situation; for their vanquish’d competitors, of the same Spirit, and from the same Motives, will perpetually be endeavouring to distress their Administration, thwart their Measures, and render them odious to the People.”