The U.S. President As Despot


Here is an article we featured on Bulldog Fetch from The Economist which carries the provocative headline: “America’s system of checks and balances might struggle to contain a despot.”

That’s very alarming talk, particularly for a publication as reserved as The Economist:

The most troubling interpretation of the executive order that Donald Trump signed on January 27th, temporarily banning visitors from seven mainly Muslim countries, is not that the president means to honour his campaign promises. It is that he will find ways to do so even where what he promised—in this case, to keep Muslims out of America—is illegal. “When he first announced it, he said ‘Muslim ban’,” explained Rudy Giuliani, a former would-be Trump attorney-general. “He called me up, he said, ‘Put a commission together, show me the right way to do it legally’.”

Even if Mr Trump can resist the urge to lock up Hillary Clinton and reinstitute torture, which he also promised to do on the trail, he is already testing the boundaries of presidential propriety and power. The potential conflicts of interests in his administration are an obvious example: Mr. Trump is the first president since Richard Nixon not to sell or place in blind trust his business, including a hotel division that has announced plans to triple its American properties since his inauguration.

To read the full story in The Economist, click here.

Photo above: How do you control a U.S. president determined to break the rules?


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4 thoughts on “The U.S. President As Despot

  1. When one party with a majority is able to remove checks and balances on abuse of power, such as the filibuster, I would suggest those checks and balances never had much solidity. Such measures should either be entrenched beyond the reach of Congress or they should require a significant majority vote, perhaps 75 per cent, to change.
    Until recent years, the civility of the operation of politics and the belief in the sanctity of the ‘system’ kept that system afloat. That’s all gone by the boards and conventions, traditions and gentlemen’s agreements no longer hold the importance they once did. Truly a shame.


  2. If one is interested in economics, but perhaps thinks the topic is too dry, then here are two guys who always make me think, scratch my head and yes – even chuckle.

    Paul Craig Roberts (an American)
    Michel Chossudovsky (a Canadian -one might recognize his name re: uOttawa)

    One leans left and one leans right and sometimes they kinda seem to meet in the middle.

    One of Roberts’ recent headlines, that can be read on the Internet, was – Can Trump Deliver?

    They each have their own websites, and each of them have written some interesting books over the past many years.


      1. Ken,

        Understanding economics gives the same chuckles as understanding statistics.

        These are quasi-sciences that are about as accurate as reading a crystal ball.

        Up until the crash who ever heard of packaging together junk derivatives and then insuring them against losses? Who would have guessed that the current way of doing business and measuring results would be done on a quarterly basis or trading stocks would be done by computer in millisecond intervals? Who would have thought the world banking system would become a legalized Ponzi Scheme?



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