Mel Gibson - Paradigm of World Peace?
Sometimes, the foibles of an individual are applicable to societal segments. They explain causation, justification and solution. By examining man as a model, perhaps society can see its own foibles and seek a true resolution, not a temporary bandaid.
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The Emoluments Clause of the Constitution and Mr. Trump
To evaluate the assertions that Mr. Trump is violating the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution (ECC), we should look at what the authors of the Constitution meant the clause to prohibit. Many have heard of the jewel encrusted picture frames and snuff boxes that some dignitaries received (e.g., Benjamin Franklin). We know of these gifts from foreign kings because they our emissaries informed Congress and were given permission to keep the gifts. Hence, a possible transgression of the ECC was cured by Congressional notification and allowance of the emolument. But, what of not just American ambassadors and other dignitaries, but presidents? Fortunately, the FIRST president was similarly situated as Mr. Trump, with extensive business interests and land holdings that could have been seen as conflicting with his presidency and the ECC. That president was George Washington. And, needless to say, Washington knew and conversed with many of the framers of the Constitution.
George Washington and foreign trade:
He exported fish, wheat, and flour and cornmeal to the West Indies, Portugal and England (and perhaps other countries not recorded) where he obtained foreign products (or money with which to buy them) in trade.
He was the largest producer of whiskey in the Americas.
Washington, with John Adams, determined which items would be subject to tariffs. This would have been, prima facie, a conflict of interest for the first president. Yet, Mr. Washington and Mr. Adams undertook the duty without conflagration of his presidency.
George Washington and land speculation.
He had extensive lands in what is now West Virginia which he received as grants from his service in the various wars in which he participated. Additionally, Mr. Washington bought the grants of other soldiers and amassed hundreds of thousands of acres. Washington was in a position to directly influence the expansion of both the country and its populace into the regions where he held land. His land speculation fell into the category of domestic trade and there was no question that Washington was able to profit from his land speculation. Again, without conflagration of his presidency.
As far as Mr. Trump is concerned, there is no transgression of the ECC. All of his trade interests, both foreign and domestic, on the day that the Congress approved the Electoral College results, were implicitly approved by Congress. And such Congressional approval removes any culpability of an action whether or not it would have transgressed against the ECC.
As far as future trade, all domestic trade is exempt as the proceeds do not arise from a 'foreign' power. Any international trade, even with a foreign government, does not transgress the ECC if it can be shown to be profits commiserate with the trade involved, any more than George Washington's trade with the British Isles, Portugal and England, itself, did not transgress the ECC. If there is question of an ECC transgression, that question must be put to Congress for approval. If approval is not granted, then the emolument must be disgorged and, only upon refusal to disgorge does culpability attach.
So, if you have a question about a Trump investment after his election, begin by taking it to Congress.
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The ramblings of an old coot who knows that no one is going to pay any attention to what he says. But, say it he will because when it`s too late, people will say, `why didn`t you tell us, why didn`t you say something` and I can say, `I did, you didn`t listen`
So, these will be the warnings of one too old for you to hear, too resolute for you to heed. It will be easy to ignore me. You`ll say that I`m a racist or a bigot, a redneck or a right wing extremist, just don`t say that I didn`t warn you.