Constitution-Thrashing, Don’t Bank on the Bomb and Update on Bundling

Thrashing the Constitution

President Barack Obama issued an executive order on February 28, 2012, establishing the Interagency Trade Enforcement Center. The power to regulate commerce is exclusive to Congress. The president’s power to see the “Laws be faithfully executed” does not give him the power to regulate commerce. Creating a bureau to do so is a legislative function.

Frustration with getting any desired legislation through a Republican-controlled House of Representatives and a grid-locked Senate, has induced Obama to try to get things done with executive orders in a “We Can’t Wait” campaign; however, a president can’t play fast and loose with executive orders. He has already tried to restrict the scope of legislation with signing statements, in emulation of Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush, and the danger is that he will try to usurp the legislative function with executive orders.

Don’t Bank on Bombs

On March 5, 2012, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) identified 300 banks, pension funds, insurance companies and asset managers in 30 countries with substantial investments in nuclear arms producers. The 180-page study, Don’t Bank on the Bomb: The Global Financing of Nuclear Weapons Producers, provides details of financial transactions with 20 companies that are heavily involved in the manufacture, maintenance and modernization of U.S., British, French and Indian nuclear forces.

Desmond Tutu has called for financial institutions to “do the right thing and assist, rather than impede efforts to eliminate the threat of radioactive incineration.”

Nuclear-armed nations spend in excess of US $100 billion each year maintaining and modernizing their nuclear forces, according to the report. Of the 322 institutions identified in the report, roughly half are based in the United States.

Obama Bundlers Get High Positions

Barack Obama campaigned on “the most sweeping ethics reform in history,” yet more than half of Obama’s biggest fundraisers have been given Obama administration jobs. At least 24 of Obama’s bundlers* have been given posts as foreign ambassadors, including postings to Finland, Australia and Portugal. A prior blog identified fundraiser postings to Japan, France and the United Kingdom.

The Foreign Service Act of 1980 states that “contributions to political campaigns should not be a factor in the appointment of an individual as a chief of mission.” Fifty-nine of Obama’s ambassadors are not Foreign Service officers and 40 percent of the ambassadorial appointees are bundlers. (The source for this information is an article titled “The Influence Industry” in the March 7, 2012 Washington Post.)

* Bundlers are fundraisers who gather up large contributions from very wealthy contributors.





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