Tag: U.S. Constitution

How an anti-abortion, pro-TPP candidate can win the White House with only six electoral votes

AUTHOR’S NOTE: The author of this blog post is not an attorney and does not claim to be one.


In normal circumstances, a presidential candidate needs at least 270 electoral votes to win the office of President of the United States for a four-year term. However, in an election that is not normal, it is possible, although, based on recent opinion polling, highly unlikely, that one presidential candidate could end up winning the White House with only six electoral votes.

Any scenario of a presidential candidate winning the White House with less than 270 electoral votes would, per the provisions of the United States Constitution that govern the Electoral College process (mainly the 12th Amendment, although provisions in the 20th Amendment and the 23rd Amendment also govern the Electoral College process), involve no presidential candidate receiving 270 or more electoral votes. The 20th Amendment, among other things, sets the inauguration date for the President, and the 23rd Amendment gives the District of Columbia electoral votes, so the 12th Amendment is the most significant for the scenario that I’m about to describe. Here is the full text of the 12th Amendment:

The Electors shall meet in their respective states and vote by ballot for President and Vice-President, one of whom, at least, shall not be an inhabitant of the same state with themselves; they shall name in their ballots the person voted for as President, and in distinct ballots the person voted for as Vice-President, and they shall make distinct lists of all persons voted for as President, and of all persons voted for as Vice-President, and of the number of votes for each, which lists they shall sign and certify, and transmit sealed to the seat of the government of the United States, directed to the President of the Senate; — the President of the Senate shall, in the presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the certificates and the votes shall then be counted; — The person having the greatest number of votes for President, shall be the President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of Electors appointed; and if no person have such majority, then from the persons having the highest numbers not exceeding three on the list of those voted for as President, the House of Representatives shall choose immediately, by ballot, the President. But in choosing the President, the votes shall be taken by states, the representation from each state having one vote; a quorum for this purpose shall consist of a member or members from two-thirds of the states, and a majority of all the states shall be necessary to a choice. And if the House of Representatives shall not choose a President whenever the right of choice shall devolve upon them, before the fourth day of March next following, then the Vice-President shall act as President, as in case of the death or other constitutional disability of the President. — The person having the greatest number of votes as Vice-President, shall be the Vice-President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of Electors appointed, and if no person have a majority, then from the two highest numbers on the list, the Senate shall choose the Vice-President; a quorum for the purpose shall consist of two-thirds of the whole number of Senators, and a majority of the whole number shall be necessary to a choice. But no person constitutionally ineligible to the office of President shall be eligible to that of Vice-President of the United States.

NOTE: A portion of the 12th Amendment that was superseded by Section 3 of the 20th Amendment is depicted with strikethrough text.

Should no candidate receive an electoral college majority with at least three candidates receiving at least one electoral vote (either by being a candidate and/or through faithless electors), the U.S. House of Representatives, selecting from the three candidates with the highest number of electoral votes with each state delegation to the House counting as one vote, elects the President. In that scenario, the support of 26 U.S. House state delegations to the upcoming 115th U.S. Congress would be required for a presidential candidate to win the White House.

It would be possible for a presidential candidate to win the White House with only one electoral vote, although the most likely scenario (which I would give a less than 1% chance of actually occurring) of a candidate winning the White House with fewer than 10% of the available electoral votes (538) in this year’s presidential election would involve a presidential candidate winning only six electoral votes.

That candidate is Evan McMullin, a former policy director for the Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives who is now running an independent campaign for president. McMullin’s name is not on the ballot nationwide; in fact, his name only appears on ballots in eleven states, including Utah, McMullin’s state of birth. McMullin is only four points behind a two-way tie between Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton and Republican candidate Donald Trump in Utah, per a recent poll by a firm called Y2 Strategies. Although most nationwide projections show that Hillary is likely to get at least 270 electoral votes, and, therefore, win the White House outright, if certain states fall a certain way, it would be possible for the presidential election to be thrown into the House, with McMullin being one of the three candidates that House state delegations can choose from. Here’s one possible, although unlikely, scenario (map created here):


 

Under the scenario above, Trump is denied an electoral college majority due to McMullin (who, for the purposes of the map above, is the “other” candidate) winning Utah and Clinton winning one of Nebraska’s five electoral votes (Nebraska and Maine allocate two votes to the statewide popular vote winner and one electoral vote to the popular vote winner in each congressional district within the state in question). This means that the House would have to choose between Clinton, Trump, and McMullin. Given McMullin’s connections with Republicans in the House, allegations that Trump sexually assaulted numerous women over a period of multiple decades, and Republicans, despite their party being in total disarray, being likely to control a majority of U.S. House state delegations after the November 2016 elections, there is a extremely slim chance that McMullin could end up being elected President of the United States despite not running a national campaign for president.

Evan McMullin would be an awful president. For starters, he’s opposed to the idea of women being able to make their own health care decisions, and he supports President Obama’s would-be-disastrous TPP trade deal, which would allow large corporations to have greater influence on American economic policy. Those are just two reasons why McMullin should not be elected to the highest office in this great nation.

While Illinois lacks a state budget, Bruce Rauner holds a religious event on state property

Showing complete disrespect for the separation of church and state that is mandated by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, Republican Governor Bruce Rauner held a prayer breakfast at the Illinois Executive Mansion in Springfield earlier today.

It’s bad enough that Rauner chose to hold a religious event on state government property. It’s even worse that Rauner chose to do so while Illinois lacks a state budget due to Rauner’s right-wing hostage politics of demanding anti-worker policies designed to drive down the wages of working Illinoisans in exchange for a state budget.

I hope that Illinois’s next governor decides to end the unconstitutional tradition of holding a state prayer breakfast.

Joni Ernst sends virtually blank response to constituent’s request not to block SCOTUS appointment

Sometime in the immediate future, President Barack Obama will appoint someone to fill the vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS) created by the death of Antonin Scalia.

One of the many Republican U.S. Senators who support obstructing anyone that the president appoints to the Supreme Court is Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA). Many of Ernst’s constituents in Iowa are not happy at all that Ernst wants the U.S. Senate to neglect its duty to either confirm or reject whoever the president appoints to SCOTUS, and one of them is Maggie White, who is a civil rights attorney from Iowa’s largest city, Des Moines. When White emailed Ernst’s office about Ernst and her fellow Senate Republicans wanting to do absolutely nothing in regards to the president’s SCOTUS pick, White did a very important civic duty by contacting Ernst’s office about the matter. Here’s how Ernst responded to White:

Joni Ernst sent one of her constituents a virtually blank response to a message that one of her constituents sent to her! By “virtually blank response”, I mean that Ernst’s response to Maggie White’s message contained a letterhead, a salutation, and a closing, not a body. The body of the email, which there is none in this particular email, is where Ernst’s response to White’s message would have been.

The U.S. Constitution is clear. The president must appoint a new SCOTUS justice, the Senate must either confirm or reject that appointment. For the Senate to not even conduct a confirmation process amounts to the Senate neglecting its Constitutional duty of advice and consent. It doesn’t take a lawyer to figure that out.

Donald Trump launches an attack against this blog, blogging in general, and freedom of the press

This is an actual quote from Donald John Trump, the likely Republican Party nominee for President of the United States:

I’m going to open up our libel laws so when they write purposely negative and horrible and false articles, we can sue them and win lots of money. We’re going to open up those libel laws. So that when The New York Times writes a hit piece which is a total disgrace or when the Washington Post, which is there for other reasons, writes a hit piece, we can sue them and win money instead of having no chance of winning because they’re totally protected. You see, with me they’re not protected, because I’m not like other people, but I’m not taking money — I’m not taking their money. So we’re going to open up those libel laws, folks, and we’re going to have people sue you like you never got sued before.

What Donald Trump is saying goes against everything that this country stands for. Many of the people who helped build this country in its earliest years fought for, and won, freedom of the press, which is enshrined in our nation’s Constitution as part of the First Amendment. What Trump is proposing is an idea straight out of a fascist society…the idea that, if one merely criticizes someone, even if that criticism is factual in nature, the person or entity being criticized can file a defamation lawsuit and get money out of it. That is absurd, frightening, undemocratic, and likely unconstitutional.

I will assure you, that, in the coming days, weeks, and months, I will be writing a ton of blog posts criticizing Donald Trump, and I will assure you that every one of my criticisms of Trump will be absolutely 100% factual in nature.

Senate Republicans evade their constitutional duty

Earlier today, U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonin Scalia died. Even though I strongly disagreed with the vast majority of Scalia’s opinions, I offer my condolences to Justice Scalia’s family.

However, Republicans who hold the majority in the U.S. Senate, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and presidential candidates Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Ted Cruz (R-TX), couldn’t wait for Scalia to be cremated before showing that they are more than willing to evade their constitutional duty, with McConnell flatly saying that the Senate should wait until a new president is in the White House before confirming a new Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.

This stands in sharp contrast with President Barack Obama, who intends to fulfill his constitutional duty by appointing a new associate justice to this country’s highest bench, even if Republicans obstruct his nomination.

By fulfilling one’s constitutional duty, I’m referring to, in this specific instance, Article II, Section 2, Clause 2 of the U.S. Constitution:

He shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by Law: but the Congress may by Law vest the Appointment of such inferior Officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the Courts of Law, or in the Heads of Departments.

(emphasis mine; in Article II of the Constitution, “he” refers to the president, regardless of the president’s gender)

The President has the power and constitutional duty to nominate an individual to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court, however, the Senate has the power and constitutional duty to either affirm or reject the president’s appointment. It’s clear to me that one party to the process to appoint Supreme Court justices intends to do his constitutional duty (the President), whereas the other party does not (the Republicans who control the U.S. Senate).

The Senate is not required to approve of the president’s pick for the Supreme Court vacancy. The Senate can, if they wish to, establish a process to determine whether or not to approve or reject the president’s pick, and can opt to vote the president’s pick down, either in committee or in the full Senate. However, for the Senate to not establish any kind of process for accepting or rejecting the president’s pick amounts to completely evading the constitutional duty of the Senate.

From an electoral standpoint, it would be absolutely foolish for Republicans to obstruct the president’s pick to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court. If the Republicans go through with their threat to obstruct the president’s pick until, at the earliest, a new president is sworn into office, that would, in effect, put control of both the White House and the Supreme Court on the line in the 2016 presidential and senatorial elections. That is the poker equivalent of going all in with a likely losing hand. This strategy could very easily backfire on Republicans, and they would not like the nominees that either Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders (I’m a Bernie supporter) would pick. Hillary would likely nominate Obama to the Supreme Court, and Bernie would probably appoint someone who is ideologically similar to Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the most progressive of the current Supreme Court justices, if not even more progressive than Ginsburg. If Democrats were to retain control of the White House and regain control of the Senate, stalling on filling the Scalia vacancy on the Supreme Court could end up resulting in a more progressive justice than someone that Obama will pick being seated on our nation’s highest bench (I’m guessing that Obama will pick someone to his ideological right for Supreme Court). Furthermore, U.S. Senate races where Republicans are thought to be safe or favored, such as Indiana, Iowa, and Missouri, would become more competitive for Democrats, and U.S. Senate races that are either competitive or where Democrats are favored, such as Illinois and Wisconsin, would become even more favorable for Democrats.

An Arkansas pastor speaks the truth about conservatives and their un-Christian ways

Melanie Tubbs, a college professor and Christian pastor from rural Arkansas, wrote this piece a little more than a month ago on the progressive website Liberal America about how conservatives in this country, while promoting their Christian faith at every opportunity, act in a very un-Christian manner. The piece is certainly a must-read, even if you’re not of any kind of Christian faith (I’m an atheist, and I’ve read the piece).

Here’s a couple of points that Pastor Tubbs made in her piece:

I live my life for God, but I do not think God belongs in our Constitution. Separation of church and state; It’s a thing. Look it up.

[…]

Consenting adults have a constitutional right to get a government document certifying their legal marriage. The 14th amendment guarantees it. Not only that, marriage is love, what this country is needing to combat the hate and violence we are infected with. Love and marriage are not what we should be focusing on. Starving children, mass shootings, immoral lobbying, planet destroying, violence, and hate, those are our problems.

I strongly encourage other progressive-minded people in Republican strongholds to speak out about their values. There are many progressive-minded people in this country, even in the strongest of right-wing strongholds.

Hillary Clinton’s claim on the rationale behind Bill Clinton’s support for DoMA is total bull

In case you missed it, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton was caught red-handed trying to rewrite history. Specifically, Hillary tried to claim that the unconstitutional Defense of Marriage Act (DoMA), signed into law by Bill Clinton in 1996, was a defensive measure designed to appease religious conservatives, who were pushing for an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would have banned same-sex couples from getting married anywhere in the country.

A 1996 memo, written by Clinton Administration officials Jack Quinn, George Stephanopoulos, and Marsha Scott, gives some insight as to the rationale behind what prompted Bill Clinton to sign DoMA, which was passed by a Republican-controlled Congress with all but one Republican and many Democrats voting for it, into law. While the memo mentioned efforts to enact marriage equality at the state level in Hawaii in the mid-1990’s, nowhere in the memo does it reference any kind of movement to enact a federal constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. In fact, the memo clearly referenced the fact that Bill opposed marriage equality in 1996.

Chris Geidner has done a ton of research on Bill Clinton’s role in regards to DoMA, and he has found zero evidence to back up Hillary’s claim that Bill supported DoMA as any kind of defensive measure to prevent religious conservatives from enacting a federal constitutional amendment enshrining anti-LGBT bigotry in the U.S. Constitution. To put that another way, Hillary’s claim on Bill’s rationale for supporting discriminatory legislation that was struck down by a conservative-leaning U.S. Supreme Court long after Bill was out of office is a bunch of bull.

I’m from an area of Illinois that is full of Religious Right extremists, and I’m very familiar with the Religious Right’s political modus operandi. If they had enough support to amend the U.S. Constitution to enshrine their bigotry in the Constitution at any point in modern American history, they would have done so as quickly as possible. Their whole political modus operandi is to do everything possible to shove their religious beliefs down everybody else’s throats. For the Clintons to try to rewrite history by claiming that DoMA was some kind of defensive measure designed to ward off the Religious Right’s attempt to enshrine their bigotry in the Constitution is flatly absurd.

Hillary Clinton suggests going too far on gun safety

Hillary Clinton, whether she knew the fact that Australia instituted a mandatory confiscation of assault weapons in the mid-1990’s or not, stated that “Australia is a good example” to model a federal gun buyback program after, and that a federal gun buyback program is “something worth considering”.

I want to make two points about this.

First, the gun proliferation lobby is, not surprisingly, attacking Hillary over her remarks right away. However, they’ve distorted Hillary’s words to make it look like she fully supports a mass confiscation of guns in this country. In reality, she’s not yet outright supported a mass confiscation of guns, but she did say that she would be open to the idea of supporting a federal gun buyback program of some kind. If the NRA starts running ridiculous spoofs of the “How to Speak Australian” Foster’s beer commercials, you’ll know that the NRA has no fucking clue as to what the fuck they’re doing.

Second, if Hillary does decide to fully support an Australian-style mandatory assault weapon confiscation, she would be running head-first into opposition from virtually the entire Republican Party and a large chunk of the Democratic Party. There’s two reasons for this. First, supporting taking legally-obtained firearms from law-abiding Americans is extremely unpopular in this country, even among Democrats and with gun safety being a major political issue in this country. Second, unlike the Australian Constitution, which has no provision banning the Australian Parliament from enacting a mandatory gun buyback program, the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution would be interpreted by most judges, even many liberal judges, as banning the enactment of a mandatory gun buyback program in this country.

Make no mistake about it, I am not a gun nut or a puppet for the gun lobby. I support universal background checks, closing the gun show loophole, banning the sale of assault weapons, requiring gun owners to report lost or stolen guns to law enforcement, and enacting a gun registry. These are my views, and they do not necessarily line up with those of any presidential candidate.

While my political views may not line up 100% with those of Bernie Sanders on every single issue, he’s the only reasonable person running for president when it comes to gun safety, and his views on guns are the closest to mine. He supports background checks, ending the gun show loophole, and banning the sale of assault weapons. Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, has suggested the idea of taking legally-obtained firearms away from law-abiding Americans, something that I think goes too far.

Time to abolish the United States Embassy to the Holy See – Tempus soluere Iunctus Civitas Legationem ad Sanctam Sedem transmittat – È ora di abolire la ambasciata degli Stati Uniti presso la Santa Sede – Tiempo para abolir la Embajada de los Estados Unidos ante la Santa Sede

AUTHOR’S NOTE #1: This article, originally written by the administrator, was originally published to DailyKos.

AUTHOR’S NOTE #2: This article is provided in four languages: English (the author’s language), Latin (the official language of the Vatican), Italian (the official language of Italy, which completely surrounds the Vatican), and Spanish (the de facto national language of Argentina, the birth country of Pope Francis). English is the primary language of this article, whereas the other three versions of the article are translations of the English-language article, courtesy of Google Translate.


With Pope Francis visiting the United States tomorrow, I’d figure that I’d take this opportunity to call for the Embassy of the United States to the Holy See, also called the United States Embassy to the Vatican (although the embassy is physically located in Italy) to be eliminated by the federal government.

The Vatican is a sovereign country, but it’s not your typical sovereign country. The country is a tiny country, measuring only 110 acres in area, that serves only one purpose: serve as the world headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church, which the Pope is the head of.

The fact that the United States is spending taxpayer money on an Ambassador and an embassy to a country that serves exclusively as the headquarters of an organized religion blatantly violates, in my interpretation, the First Amendment of the United States Constitution:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

(Establishment Clause shown in bold print)

While I’m not an attorney, I find it sickening that American taxpayers’ money is being spent on an ambassador and an embassy to the headquarters of the Catholic Church, which has repeatedly tried to shove its anti-abortion, anti-equality, and anti-science political agenda down the throats of everyone in this country, especially under previous popes. Furthermore, the Establishment Clause in our constitution could easily be interpreted as prohibiting the United States from engaging with diplomatic relations with a country that serves exclusively as the headquarters of an organized religion.

It’s time for President Obama and Congress to do the right thing and abolish the United States Embassy to the Vatican.


In Iunctus Civitas visitare Franciscus Pontifex cras hac occasione ego vellem dicere, quod instar pro Iunctus Civitas Legationem Sanctae Sedis in Iunctus Civitas Legationem etiam Vat (quamvis corporaliter Legationis sita in Italia) tolli per foederati imperium.

Vat potitus est, sed ne eam patriam summi ordinis. Depopulata est regio exiguo metientes solis CX acres in area, nisi in ordine ad finem mundi, ut sit principium, quo sancta Romana Ecclesia, quae caput est papa.

Quod an legatus Civitatum Foederatarum exigens pecuniam et legatos Arpinis purgantibus servit unice patriam et effrenate violat religionis praetorio ordinat in interpretatum Primo Emendatione Constitutionis Civitatum Foederatarum:

Congress faciet an nihil de instauratione religio, aut prohibendo liberum exercitium eius libertatem vel minuere vel typis vel ius convenire pacem populo, et orare pro publica censerent querellis.

(Ostensum est in instauratione Clause audax litteris)

Sed non sum Advocatus, invenio quod sensus American coeperat pecunia consumpta est legatione fungor in praetorium et Ecclesiae catholicae, quod saepe conatus rutila rerum agendarum ordinem politicae contra abortum, consilia cogitationesque contra aequalitatem quandoque deveniunt, inter obstantis et scientia per medium iugulumque in patria praecipue universum Orbem. Praeterea facile intelligi materiam Establishment clausulam in prohibendo confligendi publicas rationes cum Civitatum Foederatarum a patria religione ordinat praetorio exclusive sicut ministrator.

Praesent tempus Praesidis Obama Civitatum Foederatarum Congressus facere rectum abrogandi Legationem Vaticano agro.


Con Papa Francesco visitare domani negli Stati Uniti, mi piacerebbe capire che mi piacerebbe prendere l’occasione per chiedere l’Ambasciata degli Stati Uniti presso la Santa Sede, chiamata anche la ambasciata degli Stati Uniti presso il Vaticano (anche se l’ambasciata si trova fisicamente in Italia) ad essere eliminati dal governo federale.

Il Vaticano è un paese sovrano, ma non è il vostro paese tipico sovrano. Il paese è un piccolo paese, che misura solo 110 acri nella zona, che serve un solo scopo: servire come sede mondiale della Chiesa cattolica romana, che il Papa è il capo.

Il fatto che gli Stati Uniti stanno spendendo i soldi dei contribuenti in un Ambasciatore e un’ambasciata di un paese che serve esclusivamente come la sede di una religione organizzata palesemente viola, nella mia interpretazione, il Primo Emendamento della Costituzione degli Stati Uniti:

Il Congresso non potrà fare alcuna legge per il riconoscimento della religione, o per proibirne il libero esercizio; o per limitare la libertà di parola, o di stampa; o il diritto del popolo a riunirsi pacificamente, e di presentare petizioni al governo per la riparazione di ingiustizie.

(Clausola Istituzione indicato in grassetto)

Mentre io non sono un avvocato, lo trovo disgustoso che i soldi dei contribuenti americani viene speso un ambasciatore e un’ambasciata alla sede della Chiesa cattolica, che ha ripetutamente cercato di spingere la sua opposizione all’aborto, l’opposizione alla parità, e opposizione alla scienza agenda politica giù per la gola di tutti in questo paese, in particolare sotto papi precedenti. Inoltre, la clausola stabilimento nella nostra Costituzione potrebbe essere facilmente interpretato nel senso che vieta agli Stati Uniti di impegnarsi con relazioni diplomatiche con un paese che serve esclusivamente come la sede di una religione organizzata.

E ‘il momento per il presidente Obama e il Congresso per fare la cosa giusta e abolire l’Ambasciata degli Stati Uniti in Vaticano.


Con Francisco de visita en Estados Unidos mañana, me imagino que me gustaría aprovechar esta oportunidad para llamar a la Embajada de los Estados Unidos ante la Santa Sede, también llamada la Embajada de Estados Unidos en el Vaticano (aunque la embajada se encuentra físicamente en Italia) para ser eliminados por el gobierno federal.

El Vaticano es un país soberano, pero no es el típico país soberano. El país es un pequeño país, que mide sólo 110 acres de superficie, que sirve sólo un propósito: servir como la sede mundial de la Iglesia Católica Romana, que el Papa es la cabeza de.

El hecho de que Estados Unidos está gastando el dinero de los contribuyentes en un embajador y una embajada a un país que sirve exclusivamente como sede de una religión organizada flagrantemente viola, en mi interpretación, la Primera Enmienda de la Constitución de Estados Unidos:

El Congreso no hará ninguna ley respecto al establecimiento de religión, o prohibiendo el ejercicio libre de la misma; o que coarte la libertad de expresión o de la prensa; o el derecho del pueblo para reunirse pacíficamente y para pedir al gobierno la reparación de agravios.

(Cláusula de Establecimiento muestra en negrita)

Aunque no soy un abogado, me resulta repugnante que el dinero de los contribuyentes estadounidenses se gasta en un embajador y una embajada a la sede de la Iglesia Católica, que ha intentado varias veces para empujar su oposición al aborto, la oposición a la igualdad, y la oposición a la ciencia agenda política en las gargantas de todos en este país, sobre todo bajo los papas anteriores. Por otra parte, la Cláusula de Establecimiento en nuestra constitución fácilmente podría interpretarse como una prohibición de los Estados Unidos de participar con las relaciones diplomáticas con un país que sirve exclusivamente como sede de una religión organizada.

Es hora de que el presidente Obama y al Congreso a hacer lo correcto y abolir la Embajada de Estados Unidos en el Vaticano.

If there’s anyone who doesn’t know what he’s talking about when it comes to trade, it’s President Obama

After over six years of, outside of a few issues like Social Security and domestic spying where he’s sided with the far-right Republicans, largely relying on progressives as a base of support, President Barack Obama has launched a full-on War on Progressives by openly antagonizing opponents of proposed free-trade agreements, including the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), that would destroy most of what little sovereignty America still has.

This is what President Obama said at an Organizing for Action (OFA) summit in our nation’s capital:

When people say this trade deal is bad for working families, they don’t know what they’re talking about…I take that personally. My entire presidency has been about helping working families.

If there’s anyone who doesn’t know what he’s talking about when it comes to international trade, it’s President Obama and his corporate allies in both major parties in this country. In fact, the fact that the TPP and other free trade deals and policies

For many decades, tariffs and other trade protections made America great by building a strong economy and manufacturing sector that provided middle-class jobs and American-made goods that Americans could actually purchase. Now, because of NAFTA, CAFTA, Most Favored Nation status for China, and other agreements and laws that have loosened American trade policies, most goods sold in the United States are made in foreign countries

Over the last three and a half decades, we’ve seen the effects of current free-trade agreements and other free trade policies between the U.S. and foreign countries, and they’re almost entirely negative. For several very brief periods in the early 1980’s, the U.S. actually had a very small trade surplus. Since then, because of free-trade policies that have been pushed by every president from Ronald Reagan onward and a bipartisan corporate coalition in Congress, wages in this country have been driven downward, the manufacturing sector of our economy has been annihilated, our trade deficit with foreign nations has exploded, the vast majority of goods sold in this country are foreign-made, and the American economy has become an economy full of low-wage jobs. Here’s a graph showing how our nation’s trade deficit has exploded since 1980:

U.S. Balance of Trade 1980-2015 (Graph Courtesy of Trade Economics)

For someone who professes to be a constitutional scholar, President Obama clearly doesn’t understand that the TPP itself and the fast-track authority for it are both blatantly unconstitutional.

The TPP itself is in blatant violation of Article III, Section 1 of the U.S. Constitution, which establishes the structure of our nation’s court system. Article III, Section 1 reads as follows:

The judicial Power of the United States, shall be vested in one supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish. The Judges, both of the supreme and inferior Courts, shall hold their Offices during good Behaviour, and shall, at stated Times, receive for their Services, a Compensation, which shall not be diminished during their Continuance in Office.

(emphasis mine)

While I’m not an attorney, I interpret Article III, Section 1 as allowing for the creation of a single Supreme Court of the United States and any number of federal courts that are below the single Supreme Court. Since the TPP would create the Investor-State Dispute System (ISDS), a de facto court system that is effectively above the U.S. Supreme Court, this means that the TPP is blatantly unconstitutional.

The fast-track authority for free trade agreements blatantly violates a different part of the Constitution, specifically, Article II, Section 2, Clause 2, which reads as follows:

He shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by Law: but the Congress may by Law vest the Appointment of such inferior Officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the Courts of Law, or in the Heads of Departments.

(emphasis mine)

Again, I’m not an attorney, but I interpret Article II, Section 2, Clause 2 as requiring approval by two-thirds of U.S. Senators who are present for such a vote, for ratification of any treaty negotiated and signed by the President on behalf of the United States. However, since fast-track authority, among other things, allows for free trade agreements, which I consider to be a type of treaty, to be ratified by a simple majority of members of both houses of Congress who are present for votes on such agreements, fast-track is blatantly unconstitutional.

I know I’m going to say something controversial, but I’m willing to say it: President Obama and his corporate allies in both parties in Congress have a deep-seeded hatred of the concept of American economic sovereignty, and they are pushing to enact a corporate globalization agenda in order to drive down wages, pollute our environment, and destroy the American economy without any regard for the U.S. Constitution or the American people. While some international trade is necessary due to consumer demand, globalization and weak trade protections are destroying America and our economy, and we certainly don’t need more of the same.

For President Obama to effectively claim that the overwhelming majority of those who twice elected him President of the United States are stupid is absolutely disgusting and traitorous.