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Memories of the 28th Century

Rule of Law

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It has come to my attention that some people are proposing that Trump not be prosecuted for his criminal acts in the name of unity. While it is preferable that citizens of all opinions should support the government, but it is even more important that people realize that laws are serious, and they exist for everyone, and that means that no one is above the law. It is very important that no one be “above the law”, but in the past presidents have gotten a pass; that has been especially true for presidents.
The willingness to give presidents a pass has led to the balance of power in the federal government leaning toward the president. This a new effect; it goes back at least as far as Lincoln, who attacked states that had left the federation, and that led to some people thinking that the states were not sovereign members of the federal republic. Lincoln also started the tradition of ruling by edict. There are still people who think that Lincoln freed slaves by his executive order, even after more than 150 years. Lincoln was not impeached for his criminal activity, and his early death ensured that there would be not post-presidency prosecution.

Rather than itemizing every act that should have led to prosecution, I will just mention what has happened since Nixon (who got a pass for his crimes in office). Ronnie Reagan got away with the Iran-Contra affair. It was an interesting and clever way to fund a questionable thing, but more importantly it showed that a president can get away with crime.

A few terms later, Bill Clinton was in the Oval Office busily ignoring the Constitution. He was only impeached for perjury, even though there were other major crimes that he had committed, and there is some evidence that he was involved with a criminal gang for a few decades.

But Bill was nothing compared with George W. Bush, who went to war simply because he wanted to. He put the U.S. Military into wars in Afghanistan and Iraq for no reason except his desire for war. The asserted reason for the invasion of Afghanistan was to catch Osama bin Laden, but the government of Afghanistan had been trying to get rid of him for years and offered to hold him in place for the U.S. to get. Eventually, Osama was assassinated, but that wasn't a good enough excuse to pull out the U.S. Troops, who had been inserted in violation of international law. Then there was W's Iraq adventure. W had been an oil executive before he became a politician, and there are many people who claim that the Iraq war was intended to steal oil. There are others who claim that he was trying to “one-up” his father, who didn't invade Iraq when the U.S. led the UN coalition that wrested Kuwait from Iraq. Regardless of the reason, The wars of G. W. Bush were illegal under U.S. and international law. W was not impeached and handed over to an international tribunal for action, not even after he left office. This made it clear that the U.S.A. was not interested I \n the rule of law anymore.

Obama followed, and he continued some of the crimes that W had begun be leaving U.S. Forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, and by continuing to have to prison at Guantanamo Bay, which W had established to avoid U.S. laws that required that prisoners be brought to court and include a set of procedures for people arrested overseas. But continuing criminal acts wasn't enough, so he started trying to rule by edict. The article from the Cato Institute details some of Obama's crimes. The summary is that Obama should have known that the president's powers are strictly limited, but they weren't broad enough for him.

Trump, in contrast, wasn't interested in ruling the country as much as he was interested in making money from it. His greatest crimes while in office have been self-serving, violating the “emoluments clause”, nepotism, and lying as often as possible. While Trump's crimes have not been as big, they have been too blatant, as is he were thumbing his nose at the rest of the world. And that was after decades of fraud, tax fraud, and other crimes that he has gotten away with. It isn't that Trump's crimes have been so heinous, as much as he made a line in the sand and crossed it. We have to take our government and our country back from the oligarchs. If we fail to take the country back, then some general will finagal his way into being an appointed chief executive, and we will be in worse shape than if I were acclaimed Emperor.

The question is whether we will have plutocracy or a federal republic. We should take back the federal republic, but if the country doesn't want that, then I am available as a benevolent despot.

But Trump should be prosecuted for his offenses. Just because someone got away with similar crimes does not excuse anyone.
Obama crimes
Tags: trump, tyranny


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