Anything But Quiet

This is day six since the last posting of any presidential action on the White House website. In some respects, it was inevitable the orders, memoranda, etc. were going to appear less frequently, but this is a precipitous drop for this president. Could it be the president is otherwise occupied (distracted)?

I don’t intend to write about every sordid detail of this administrations’ bungling activities, so will simply mention the firing of Michael Flynn, now former National Security Advisor, and today’s news of the nominee for Secretary of Labor, Andrew Puzder, withdrawing his name from consideration under fire from an increasing number of Republicans, as examples of the incompetence, corruption, and floundering of this administration. These are just two very recent examples of the chaos that has ensued. Today’s Non Sequitur comic by Wiley Miller seems particularly appropriate. Funny, but not funny.

Because the past few weeks have been such a disaster and it promises to get worse not better, I’ve decided to expand the topics of focus for this blog, at least for a while. In addition to writing about presidential executive actions (and in some cases consequences of them such as court cases) and a few of my own comments/observations/opinions, I intend to follow two threads of media attention that appear to be growing public concerns, or at least increasing in news coverage by many media outlets. One is the mental health or mental competence of the president. The other is the numerous calls for accountability of the president or calls for outright impeachment. Neither of these are new. In fact, both have been present in the press at least since the election, but there does seem to be greater frequency of stories being written or produced on these two topics.

While at this point much of this is speculation, ultimately either situation could lead to removal from office. The Constitution does allow for removal for incompetence, presumably including mental incompetence. The Constitution also has two Emoluments clauses that could be used to impeach the president.

In a future post, I will address some of what I have read and am following regarding the president’s mental health. It is an active topic with a number of mental health professionals taking public positions in spite of the long followed “Goldwater Rule” that basically prohibits such professionals from diagnosing anyone, particularly a public figure, without actually interviewing them personally.

Today, on the emoluments issue, I will point to an interesting article by Judd Legum of Think Progress on how POTUS 45 can be held accountable for violating the Constitution without the help of the Republican Congress that is currently a major road block. The gist of the article is a report on potential legal actions that could be taken by a state’s Attorney General. What the article points out is that public official has a much better case for proving “standing” as required by law than a private individual or corporation would. Legum also suggests the state of New York might be the ideal place for this to get done. Washington, D. C. might also be a likely success location.

I do not expect the Congress to do anything about this president’s myriad conflicts of interest anytime soon, so will be watching to see if any Attorney General decides to act on behalf of the people.

 

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More Actions, More Time Needed

On January 28, 2017 POTUS 45 signed three executive actions, one of them highly controversial receiving significant media coverage. More have been signed since then.

In an effort to pace myself, I am going to review them one at a time and not worry about getting my reactions developed and posted here as soon after the actions are available for review as I was doing previously.

I have found reviewing even large numbers of non-controversial, routine, or positive actions was not as mentally taxing as doing the difficult, controversial ones. I’m going to take the liberty of conserving some mental energy, and being more methodical and deliberate in hopes of producing better reviews and comments.

As it turns out, at least for now, the news media are reporting virtually every executive action anyway. In fact, I may find myself not only reviewing and commenting on the executive actions themselves, but also doing some vetting of news reports of them. Not surprisingly, at least to me, some of those reports are not very accurate – even the ones that do not appear to be intentionally misleading or simply catering to their base of readers/viewers.

Finally, because I am a lone blogger editing my own work, I need to take time away from early drafts to catch typos, awkward phrasing, etc. Any readers here who find an item that should be corrected will help improve this blog by leaving a comment to that effect. I thank you in advance.

 

Welcome

The recent election was a shocking event for me. Although in many respects, it was not completely surprising, the enormity of the change in our political culture set me to thinking seriously about what I am going to do about it. As a result of my disappointment in the outcome of so many races – local, state, and national – I have decided to create this blog. Doing so is an act of a responsible citizen using this medium to voice questions, concerns, and opinions about our current political climate.

Because one of my primary concerns is authoritarianism, I have chosen monitoring of presidential executive actions as a central element to this site. Along with that, I plan to raise questions for contemplation and to express my own opinions on various topics. I expect the site to evolve over time depending on circumstances and events, so intend to remain flexible on its role and scope.