Saturday, May 4, 2019

Donald Trump is a Bully and Should be Impeached

Neutral Evil:"..neither groups nor individuals have great meaning. This ethos holds that seeking to promote weal for all actually brings woe to the truly deserving. Natural forces which are meant to cull out the weak and stupid are artificially suppressed by the so-called good, and the fittest are wrongfully held back, so whatever means are expedient can be used by the powerful to gain and maintain their dominance, without concern for anything. neither groups nor individuals have great meaning. 

A neutral evil character is typically selfish and has no qualms about turning on allies-of-the-moment, and usually makes allies primarily to further their own goals. A neutral evil character has no compunctions about harming others to get what they want, but neither will they go out of their way to cause carnage or mayhem when they see no direct benefit for themselves."

The above is the definition of the neutral evil" alignment philosophy and ethos from the Player's Handbook of Dungeons and Dragons, a role playing game I used to love when I was younger. It also happens to be an almost perfect description of President Trump. He has no real interest in law or freedom. He could care less about conflicts between law and order or freedom and individual rights. The only thing he cares about is his own interest above all. You may have seen that President Trump is refusing to turn over his tax returns to the House Ways and Means Committee despite the fact that the law is crystal clear that the Committee--that is to say Congress can review anyone's tax returns for any reason they like--including those of the President. If Trump asks why Congress can say "Because we said so!"

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin must enjoy irony. He penned a letter to Democrats on the House Ways & Means Committee threatening to refuse their request to see the President’s tax returns. The letter asserts that the Committee’s stated reasons for viewing the returns — among other things, verifying that the President wasn’t using his leadership of the executive branch for his own benefit — were mere pretext for their true, purely partisan motive. This, he said, was a reason he could refuse the request. At almost the same hour, the administration’s lawyers were arguing before the Supreme Court that possible partisan motivations were no reason to set aside a proposed citizenship question in the upcoming U.S. census.

Although the contradictory positions were typical of the ways in which this Administration has twisted law to suit its momentary preferences, it turns out that it doesn’t matter who was right, Mnuchin or the administration lawyers. Congress’ reasons for requesting the President’s returns don’t matter one bit, no matter how partisan they might be. So Mnuchin has his history wrong, but he also is confused about the source of Congress’ authority to request IRS records. Congress needs no “investigative” power to obtain tax records. All it needs is the authority — which everyone agrees it has and must have — to decide whether government documents are secret or public.

You may recall that when the President decided on a ban on entry to the US from certain, predominantly Muslim countries, I argued that the relevant law was clear-he had the authority, for good reasons, bad reasons or no reason at all to do that. And the Supreme Court ultimately agreed. If Congress doesn't like that it is free to change the law and revoke the authority.

Well now the shoe is on the other foot. Congress can get the President's tax returns. They don't have to justify anything to the President or show the Courts a really really good reason. If the President doesn't like that he can ask his friends in Congress to change the law. Otherwise bend and spread em Donnie boy. Similarly the President is ordering the AG and others to refuse Congressional subpoenas

In short the President is giving the middle finger to the law. Democrats shouldn't wuss out on either of these Trump confrontations. Trump is a bully. The only way you deal with a bully is punch him in the mouth. The Courts may or may not order Trump to follow the law. But they also may take their sweet time in doing so. And there's no guarantee Trump would follow a court order. And courts have no real enforcement mechanism other than people accepting their legitimacy. As one President may have stated "..The Chief Justice has made his ruling. Now let him enforce it!".

In other words "I said F*** You! Now what are you going to do about it punk? Nothing? I thought so!" Congress has two critically impotant tools when dealing with a recalcitrant President. The first is impeachment. The second, which in this case may be even more powerful, is the budget. 

Find out what Trump is interested in or more precisely what his donors and handlers are interested in and zero those items out. For example, what if military aid to Israel was eliminated in the next budget? What if aid to farmers or pay raises to military personnel were tossed. It would be difficult since so much of the nonsense that is in our budgets is bi-partisan but where there is a will there is a way. You have to make Trump feel pain. It is the only way to deal with a bully. It always has been. It always will be.

If Congress allows the President to make war without authorization, spend money without authorization, and ignore legal requests we may as well get rid of Congress altogether and just elect autocrats. It seems as if more and more people prefer that anyway.
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