Monday, November 21, 2016

I stayed in your hotel

The progressive blogs (at least the ones I read) are discussing that a bare two weeks after the election and the nasty guy is already violating the Constitution. He refuses to put his assets in a blind trust, instead he is turning management over to his children. It is possible he can’t create a blind trust and should divest everything. The nasty guy and his spokesbots say there are no laws against it. A president can run a side business if he wants to.

Ah, but there is a provision against an important piece. Article 1, Section 9, Clause 8 of the Constitution, reads:
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.
I had to look up the word “emolument.” The important phrase here is “compensation for service.” Synonyms include: honorarium.

A rough translation: the president cannot accept substantial gifts from foreign officials (token gifts are exchanged all the time), cannot perform a service for foreign officials for which he is paid, cannot be given employment by a foreign country, and cannot be granted a Title by a foreign government. Any of these is a conflict of interest, in which the president may choose to do things to benefit his pocket to the detriment of the country.

Would the nasty guy smile broadly and offer preferential treatment to the foreign dignitary starts a conversation by saying, “I stayed in your hotel last night and had a delightful time!” His newest hotel is already touting staying there might give them access. What about when the foreign dignitary says, “I’ve been able to clear away the last legal blocks for the hotel you want to build in our country. We’ve even cut the taxes in half! Will you please do this little thing for us?”

What if one of those foreign dignitaries is from India – how might its long-term rival Pakistan react? Well, Pakistan did react. It thinks India’s nuclear “no 1st use” policy is (now) “ambiguous.”

Likely by January 20 there will be enough evidence that Congress would be able to start an investigation of impeachable offenses. Will they? Or are they just as corrupt?

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