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Poor Performance
Author: TriSec    Date: 01/19/2019 11:06:59

Good Morning.

It's now the fifth week that there's been a partial government shutdown. For some reason, there hasn't been open rebellion in the streets. I'm taking it as a sign that perhaps the patient is too far gone to save and should be placed on palliative care.

We're all familiar with the office of the Presidency. Article II lays out the requirements of the candidates, the duties of the office, and how to elect a President, all in marvelous 18th-Century prose.

But reading through, it makes for a lot of confusion and gray areas. I've looked up on a couple of websites today what the duties of the President might be, if enumerated properly. The White House website itself actually has a fairly nice overview:

The President is both the head of state and head of government of the United States of America, and Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces.
Under Article II of the Constitution, the President is responsible for the execution and enforcement of the laws created by Congress. Fifteen executive departments — each led by an appointed member of the President’s Cabinet — carry out the day-to-day administration of the federal government. They are joined in this by other executive agencies such as the CIA and Environmental Protection Agency, the heads of which are not part of the Cabinet, but who are under the full authority of the President. The President also appoints the heads of more than 50 independent federal commissions, such as the Federal Reserve Board or the Securities and Exchange Commission, as well as federal judges, ambassadors, and other federal offices. The Executive Office of the President (EOP) consists of the immediate staff to the President, along with entities such as the Office of Management and Budget and the Office of the United States Trade Representative.

The President has the power either to sign legislation into law or to veto bills enacted by Congress, although Congress may override a veto with a two-thirds vote of both houses. The Executive Branch conducts diplomacy with other nations, and the President has the power to negotiate and sign treaties, which also must be ratified by two-thirds of the Senate. The President can issue executive orders, which direct executive officers or clarify and further existing laws. The President also has unlimited power to extend pardons and clemencies for federal crimes, except in cases of impeachment.

With these powers come several responsibilities, among them a constitutional requirement to “from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient.” Although the President may fulfill this requirement in any way he or she chooses, Presidents have traditionally given a State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress each January (except in inaugural years) outlining their agenda for the coming year.

The Constitution lists only three qualifications for the Presidency — the President must be 35 years of age, be a natural born citizen, and must have lived in the United States for at least 14 years. And though millions of Americans vote in a presidential election every four years, the President is not, in fact, directly elected by the people. Instead, on the first Tuesday in November of every fourth year, the people elect the members of the Electoral College. Apportioned by population to the 50 states — one for each member of their congressional delegation (with the District of Columbia receiving 3 votes) — these Electors then cast the votes for President. There are currently 538 electors in the Electoral College.

But what does that mean in terms of job performance? I've searched around, and there seem to be about 2 million Federal Employees scattered around these United States. Right now, there's about 800,000 of them are out of work, and specifically 380,000 placed on "unpaid leave", meaning they've been laid off.

That's about 40% of the workforce not getting paid, trickling down to 19% that currently has what's called a hard layoff.

Do the math - think of any business you know of right now, and if 20% of that workforce was suddenly let go, would that business remain open for too much longer? Comparing it to another company that's tanking, Sears' most recent peak was around 90,000 employees. Before Christmas, another 100 stores and 5,500 employees were let go, translating to just 5% of the workforce. Nobody today thinks Sears is in any better shape than a month ago.

But alas, there's no clause in the Constitution to remove a President for poor performance. We've all read it so many times recently, so say it with me.

The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.

I know they're working on the Treason bit right now, but maybe we actually shouldn't be going for that knockout blow. Take a look at that big grey area there. "other High Crimes and Misdemeanors". There's nothing specifying what those crimes might be.

Digging a little further though, I have found an extensive list of Federal Misdemeanors.

Surely one or two of these might stick?


2 comments (Latest Comment: 01/20/2019 13:44:08 by TriSec)
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Comment by Will in Chicago on 01/19/2019 17:00:52
Hello bloggers from the snowy southern shores of Lake Michigan!!

Sometimes it is easier to prove lesser crimes than major crimes. Al Capone was sentenced based on tax law violations.

Comment by TriSec on 01/20/2019 13:44:08
Ok, so a national championship team visited the White House. The "president" made a show of throwing a spread of pre-packaged fast food on fancy White House serving platters, complete with silver candelabras.

He took credit, making him look like an uncouth, savage, prick. (look like?)

Perhaps yesterday, former president George W. Bush pulled his Secret Service detail aside. (they're not getting paid, apparently) He got them all a stack of pizzas and said "thank you".

So why did that not feel malicious?