Americans and the Separation from Their Powers – “Order 66”

“Federal agency” or “agency” means the President of the United States, or an executive department, independent board, establishment, bureau, agency, institution, commission or separate office of the administrative branch of the Government of the United States but not the legislative or judicial branches of the government.

 

  • CHAPTER 15; 1501: Definitions

FEDERAL REGISTER AND CODE OF FEDERAL REGULATIONS

 

“Each House may determine the Rules of its Proceedings…” Constitution of the United States, Article 1, Section 5

 

“There was no difference between [Kennedy and me] in ‘caring’ about the problems of less fortunate people.  We had the same ultimate goals…The great gulf of difference between us…was that of a bureaucratic society versus a free society.”  Richard Nixon, 1960

 

The Framers of the Constitution of the United States had initially gathered to write a new Constitution, because the first constitution of the United States – the Articles of Confederation (yes, that was the first Constitution) – did little, if anything, to “unite” the United States.

 

Each state had its own constitution, which often varied in numerous particulars, such as the collection of taxes or the raising of armies, which those of other states.  Fresh from gaining their independence from Great Britain, Parliament, and King George III, Americans were wary of a centralized government or an authoritarian king.

 

Under the Articles of Confederation, there was no president; the President of Congress was a ceremonial position.  As for national defense, each state was responsible for its militia or army.  Some states had standing armies, even during peacetime.  Others could not afford to pay an army and it certainly made no sense to put their militias on duty in peacetime, taking them away from their farms or trades.

So, ten years later, the Framers met to write a sounder Constitution for the United States, providing for a chief executive, a war-time federal tax, and a clause for the separation of powers to provide for checks and balances between the three branches of government.

Unfortunately, the Framers, perhaps inadvertently, placed a self-destruct button in their Constitution within the body of the legislature.  Article 1, Section 5:  “Both House may determine the Rules of its Proceedings.”

Nowhere in either The Federalist Papers or even the Anti-Federalist Papers is this time-bomb addressed.  Perhaps the Framers simply meant that Congress could draw up its own form of Robert’s Rules of Order, by which the British Parliament conducted its business.

By the middle of the last century, Congress had taken full advantage of this oversight on the part of the Framers.

In Star Wars III:  The Revenge of the Sith, Emperor Palpatine (aka known as Darth Sidious) has inflicted upon the Galactic Republic a standing space army, complete with battle cruisers in order to deal with a trade war on one, small planet, from which he happened to rise to power through the Galactic Senate.

Unbeknownst to the Republic, the stormtrooper army comes equipped with a secret code which, at the right time, the Emperor will invoke (“Order 66”) to turn them against the Republic and the Jedi Knights, the guardians of peace and justice in the Old Republic, all but wiping them out and ensuring the Galactic Empire would become the supreme power in the Star Wars universe.

As we continue examining “The Imperial Congress:  Crisis in the Separation of Powers,” Jones, Gordon S. and John A. Marini, editors; Pharos Books, 1988 (The Heritage Foundation and the Claremont Institute), we find ourselves at the beginning of The Great Society.

Already embroiled in the Vietnam War since the Truman Administration, author John Adams Wettergreen writes, “According to Lyndon Johnson’s 1964 presidential campaign, centralization of administration was a chief objective of the Great Society.  And among the intellectuals, the fashionable idea was that the ‘public sector’ (that is, the federal bureaucracy) was ‘starving.’

“The rise of the public sector in the 1960s and early 1970s had three principal features:  1) the assumption of vast new authority by the central government; 2) the establishment of regulation as the typical political activity of the United States government; and 3) the assumption (de facto and de jure) by Congress of administrative functions, with a consequent increase in conflicts with the Presidency.

“When the American government, in principle, assumed responsibility for the socioeconomic well-being of every American, it also had to introduce programs for managing, in detail and from the center, the relations between the races, the sexes, employees and employers, electors and elected, state and local governments and their citizens, consumers and producers, husbands and wives, parents and children, and so on.

“New Deal programs such as Social Security and Aid to Families with Dependent Children, were drastically reformed so that they became enormously burdensome on the taxpayer, rickety, and perhaps even socially corrosive.”

“Equally important,” Wettergreen writes, “was the enormous extension of the federal bureucracy’s regulatory apparatus from 1964 to 1974.  The size of the commercial regulatory apparatus alone more than doubled in that period.  In particular, not only did the number of commercial regulatory agencies increase from 50 to 72, but 35 of the 50 established agencies were substantially ‘reformed.’  For the first time, agencies with economy-wide (in fact, society-wide) purview and vast administrative discretion were established, so that after 1975, government’s primary function was to regulate.”

An unofficial federal civilian workforce between 9 and 13 million was created between 1964 and 1984.  Today, that number is over 23 million.  Thanks to President Trump, the federal bureaucracy is being reduced.

“Such a level of federal employment is dangerous to constitutional government,” Wettergreen wrote, citing Publius [James Madison] in Federalist 45:

The members of the legislative, executive and judiciary departments of the thirteen and more states, the justices of the peace, officers of the militia, ministerial officers of justice, with all the county, corporation, and town officers, for three millions and more people, intermixed, and having acquaintance with every class and circle of people, must exceed, beyond all proportion, both in number and influence, of every description who will be employed in the administration of the federal system’’

Madison was actually addressing objections by anti-Federalists that the sum of all the state, and consequently county and municipal governments, would not be equal to the power of the federal government.  Madison argued that the state sum would outnumber that of the federal government.

What Madison and the Framers did not envision was that the federal government, through the 17th Amendment in the Bill of Rights, would usurp the power of the states to affect federal legislation.  Or that Congress would use the self-destruct button in the Constitution to write themselves even greater federal powers.

By the Seventies, federal employees outnumbered their state and municipal counterparts.

“[B]eginning around 1970,’ Wettergreen wrote,” and increasingly thereafter, the central government has been compelled to reform itself in order to cope with bureaucratization.  The result of these reforms has been characterized by John Marini as ‘decentralization of government.’  Making the central administration more powerful has actually made the central government weaker.”

“Most of this reorganization took place between 1970 and 1975…the executive bureaucracy shrank by a third while the ‘independent’ bureaucracy more than tripled.  The trend toward divided executive power is particularly conspicuous since many of the agencies which are responsible for strictly internal governmental management are independent of the presidency, if not dependent upon Congress.  Indeed, Congress regards the independent agencies not as truly independent, but only as independent of the executive branch, and perhaps as arms of Congress.”

Wettergreen writes, “The political necessity for the legislature to increase attention to administration was already beginning to become obvious to members of Congress as early as 1967, when the Legislative Reorganization Act was introduced and rejected.  However, the need for detailed reorganization that would follow the lines drawn out in the federal bureaucracy and restrict presidential authority over central administration came only after the Democrat Congress experienced a Republican president who was determined to gain and maintain control of domestic and foreign administration.

“Beginning in late 1969 with the Legislative Reorganization Act of 1970, Congress has continuously reorganized itself by committees and subcommittees so that congressmen, individually, can better ‘oversee and intervene’ in the details and day-to-day operations of independent and executive branch agencies.  Thus, ‘closed ex parte [without the presence of both parties] dealings…emerged” as a principal activity of government in those parts of the central administration which were of special concern to representatives and Senators.”

Further, “[I]mportant changes ‘the Administrative Procedures Act of 1946 had to be made in order to make appeals to courts of law against the bureaucracy more difficult and ex parte , relations acceptable under the rubric of ‘public participation in the regulatory process.’  Such relations had formerly been unethical, if not felonious, for congressmen, but they are now the essence of the new bureaucratic politics.

“Beyond this, beginning in 1973, congressmen also began to develop new kinds of formal power over administration.  The so-called ‘legislative veto,’ the best-known of these devices was included in over 295 public laws, the vast majority of which were passed after 1973.”

Eventually the Chadha decision voided “further development of this device for administrative control, which would have allowed even individual members or congressional staff to void agency actions.”

Still Congress invented other devices to allow members to participate directly in day-to-day administration of the country, including “reprogramming agreements between agencies and committees or subcommittees or individual members, and prior notification of agencies’ spending and personnel decisions.  More importantly, ‘any number of informal, non-statutory substitutes for legislative vetoes exist…’ consisting of private (or secret) agreements between congressmen (or their staffs) and bureaucrats, agreements which have no legal status but are the main basis upon which the public business is conducted.”

“In addition to these rather straightforward attempts to gain administrative power, Congress also began in 1973 and increasingly thereafter to attack presidential authority by developing new institutions of criminal and civil procedure, notably the so-called ‘independent prosecutors’ and the Office of Government Ethics.”  The Supreme Court upheld the prosecutors in Morrison, Independent Counsel v. Olson et al in 1988.

“These institutions,” Wettergreen wrote in 1988, “are primarily diversionary.  So far, their operations and investigations, which can be ordered by congressional committees and subcommittees, have seldom resulted in court trials.  But they can throw into confusion any executive office or agency at which they are directed.”

In Chapter 10, “The Criminalization of Politics” author Gordon Cravitz writes, “The modern era of criminalizing of policy differences dates from the 1978 Ethics in Government Act.  Passed as a post-Watergate legislating of ‘good government,’ the law has actually led to a demeaning of politics by transforming what are often entirely innocent events and activities into ‘ethical’ concerns, some of which become legal matters.  The law mandated new financial disclosures that were so complex and burdensome that innocent mistakes became almost inevitable.  These completed forms served as time bombs, primed to go off when an official’s political opponents decide the timing is right.”

“Only executive branch officials are subjects to the law’s most threatening innovation, the institution of the independent counsel, originally given the more accurate title of special prosecutor…Congress made the most of these prosecutors by frequently lobbying for their appointment and, perhaps even more importantly, drafting new laws so that future executive branch officers would inevitably run the risk of accusations that they ‘violate the law’ simply in the natural course of doing their jobs.”

 

“Aggressive prosecutors,” Cravitz wrote, “were indeed the apparent goal of Congress, which chose to take a lesson from the Watergate affair that would justify expanding the legislative reach over executive functions…The most notable characteristics of these prosecutors is that they are the only ones in the federal system not under the control and supervision of the Department of Justice [as Nancy Pelosi ‘giggled’ the other day].  Also, unlike other prosecutors, they are given the names of officials they must investigate, not merely events that might be crimes, committed by suspects unknown.

“Congress wrote the Ethics in Government Act to force the appointment of an independent counsel with a very low threshold of evidence of a crime.  Under the law, ‘whenever the attorney general receives information sufficient to constitute grounds to investigate,’ he has 90 days to consider whether a crime might have been committed.  The law expressly gives a majority of either the minority or majority on the Judiciary Committee of either House of Congress the power to request the appointment of an independent counsel.  In this case, the attorney general then has 30 days to explain in writing the results of his investigation.”

“The only way for the attorney general to avoid naming an independent counsel is ‘if upon completion of the preliminary investigation, [he] finds that there are no reasonable grounds to believe that further investigation is warranted.’  This is well below the standard for asking for an indictment, which is the standard of probable cause.  In addition, unlike the usual procedure in alleged federal crimes, the attorney general is prohibited from using the most important investigatory tools.  The law says that during this preliminary investigation to determine whether an independent counsel must be appointed, the attorney general ‘shall have no authority to convene grand juries, plea bargain, grant immunity, or issue subpoenas.”

Cravitz goes on to explain, “As a practical matter, independent counsel understand that their true supervisors are not the executive branch or even the special division of the court, but members of Congress.  During his investigation, the independent counsel sends to Congress reports on his investigation.  These reports ‘shall set forth fully and completely a description of the work of the independent counsel, including the disposition of all cases brought, and the reasons for not prosecuting any matter.’  Clearly, the incentive is to prosecute.

“This is the unsubtle message of the clause in that that says, “the appropriate committees of the Congress shall have oversight jurisdiction with respect to the official conduct of any independent counsel…and such independent counsel shall have the duty to cooperate with the exercise of such oversight jurisdiction.’  The clear message is that an independent counsel works for Congress, and better be prepared for ‘oversight’ if he chooses not to prosecute an executive branch official.”

From the Framers’ intention to prevent an executive from exerting too much power by diffusing power between three powers of government through a separation of powers, where the three branches shared some portion of that power with the branch that held the main power, to Woodrow Wilson declaring that the Constitution was outmoded to Watergate, a Constitutional crisis that arose from a president suspecting national security leaks within his own branch and suspecting the Democrat party was accepting foreign donations to support its surge in Congress, a Congress that had already passed numerous acts and regulations to undermine the presidency, we’ve come a long way from the Constitutional government we thought we had.

During Watergate, the Saturday Night Massacre was a series of events on the evening of Saturday, Oct. 20, 1973, after a break-in at the Democrat Party’s headquarters at the Watergate Hotel in Washington.  Pres. Nixon ordered Attorney General Eliot Richardson (former Massachusetts Attorney General) to fire independent special prosecutor Archibald Cox (a JFK holdover); Richardson refused and resigned effective immediately. Nixon then ordered Deputy Attorney General William Ruckelshaus (who would later support Barack Obama for president) to fire Cox; Ruckelshaus refused, and also resigned. Nixon then ordered the third-most-senior official at the Justice Department Solicitor General Robert Bork, to fire Cox. Bork considered resigning, but did as Nixon asked. The political and public reaction to Nixon’s actions were negative and highly damaging to the president. A new special counsel was appointed eleven days later on Nov. 1, 1973, and on Nov. 14, 1973 a court ruled that the dismissal had been illegal.

Richardson had appointed Cox in May 1973 after promising the House Judiciary Committee that he would appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the events surrounding the break-in of the Democratic National Committee’s offices at the Watergate Hotel in Washington, D.C., on June 17, 1972. The appointment was created as a career reserved position in the Justice department, meaning it came under the authority of the attorney general who could only remove the special prosecutor “for cause,” e.g., gross improprieties or malfeasance in office. Richardson had, in his confirmation hearings before the U.S. Senate, promised not to use his authority to dismiss the Watergate special prosecutor, unless for cause.

Claiming executive privilege, Nixon refused to turn over tapes from the Oval Office that could have implicated him in a cover-up of the break-in at the Watergate Hotel.   Initially, the Nixon White House claimed to have fired Ruckelshaus, but as an article published the next day by The Washington Post pointed out, “The letter from the President to Bork also said Ruckelshaus resigned”, catching Nixon lying.

 

The night he was fired, Cox’s deputy prosecutor and press aides held an impassioned news briefing and read the following statement from him, “Whether ours shall continue to be a government of laws and not of men is now for Congress and ultimately the American people.”

On Nov. 14, 1973, federal district judge Gerhard Gesell ruled firing Cox was illegal absent a finding of extraordinary impropriety as specified in the regulation establishing the special prosecutor’s office.  Congress was infuriated by what it saw as a gross abuse of presidential power, although Constitutionally is supposed to be within the executive’s purview to fire anyone within the executive branch.

 

The House Judiciary Committee did not approve its first article of impeachment until July 27 the following year – more than nine months after the Saturday Night Massacre – when it charged Nixon with obstruction of justice for refusing to provide the tapes. Two more articles of impeachment quickly followed.

 

Watergate itself had stemmed from activities by a group called “The Plumbers.”  The White House Plumbers, sometimes simply called the Plumbers, was a covert White House Special Investigations Unit, established July 24, 1971, during the presidency of Richard Nixon. Its task was to stop the leaking of classified information, including the Watergate break-in (in search of information on illegal donations to the Democrat Party), resulting in the Watergate scandal.

 

Congress had already declared war on President Nixon early in his administration.  He had vetoed Congress’ War Powers’ Act – which Congress overrode.  The War Powers Act placed severe limitations on the president’s ability to send troops into battle and defend national security, or go to the aid of allied nations.  Although Congress already held the primary authority for declaring war, it went even further.

In Chapter 6, “The Congressional Budget Mess,” author Margaret N. Davis described the Impoundment Battle, that began with Pres. Lyndon Johnson refusing to spend large amounts of funds appropriated for domestic programs, including federal housing programs.

“While the Democrat Congress was not satisfied with Johnson’s impoundment policy, it found the situation intolerable under [Liberal] Republican President Nixon.  Nixon, not interested in continuing the Great Society programs of the Johnson Administration, had very different national policy goals than Congress and those differences were embodied in the budget debate.”

Davis writes, “In implementing his fiscal policies, President Nixon chosen not to release the funds for domestic programs which he felt were ineffective, duplicative, or unnecessary…By 1973, Nixon had impounded funds for over 100 federal programs.  Since these programs served the special-interest constituents of Congress, his actions enraged members who felt their constituencies – and therefore their incumbency – were threatened.  Like President Johnson, Nixon stated that the impoundments were necessary to fight inflation.  But Congress was unwilling to accept that as justification for using the impoundment procedure to terminate such unessential but politically popular programs as low-interest loans made by the Rural Electrification Administration.

“As members of Congress saw the President reducing the amount of federal funds spent on their pet projects, they began to challenge the President’s authority to refuse to spend money appropriated by Congress.  As previously noted, the Constitution gives Congress the right to appropriate funds, but spending the funds is an executive function since the funds are withdrawn from the Treasury [which falls under the Executive branch].  Furthermore, Nixon argued that impounding funds was within his constitutional power since he did it to attain fiscal stability for the nation.”

After Watergate, no president ever again challenged Congress more than was politically expedient to do so.  Making an example of Nixon over an effort to uncover their own dirty dealings, Congress now took full advantage of the carte blanche the Framers had granted them in the Constitution to “make their own rules.”

They executed Order 66 and the president became a figurehead for the next couple of decades, while they would enjoy, in the words of Emperor Palpatine, “Unlimited Power!”

 

Advertisements
Published in: on May 25, 2018 at 4:04 pm  Leave a Comment  

Americans and the Separation from Their Powers – Hatching a Legislative Bureaucracy

“If the representatives of the people betray their constituents, there is then no resource left but in the exercise of that original right of self-defense which is paramount to all positive forms of government…[t]he obstacles to usurpation and the facilities of resistance increase with the increased extent of the state, provided the citizens understand their rights and are disposed to defend them.” Alexander Hamilton, Federalist 28

 

From the very beginning of our Federal Republic, Americans were as suspicious of a centralized legislature – another Parliament – as they were of another tyrannical leader such as King George.

 

Alexis de Tocqueville feared that young America was already on the road to bureaucracy, one that would control and regulate every facet of daily life.  If it was not that obvious in the 19th Century, one only has to read the Table of Contents of the United States Code of Law to see just how far the federal government has intruded into the private lives of citizens.

 

There are chapters, under CFR 16 (The Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) is an annual codification of the general and permanent rules published in the Federal Register by the executive departments and agencies of the Federal Government) that regulate our household appliances, automobiles, watches, jewelry, and of course, “greenhouse gases.”  American citizens are not allowed to view what these regulations say, unless they travel to Washington, D.C. to read them in the National Archives.

 

Having laid the groundwork for a Progressive administrative state, Woodrow Wilson began building up his legislative bureaucracy.  Author John Adams Wettergreen, in Chapter 3 of “The Imperial Congress:  Crisis in the Separation of Powers,” tells us that the initial target of the Progressives was not the American people, but American business, the so-called “Robber Barons” of the early 20th Century.  Titans such as J.P. Morgan (owner of the Titanic), John Jacob Astor and John D. Rockefeller, with their enormous aggregation of wealth were big, fat fish for the socialist Progressives.

 

“When did the bureaucracy become a significant part of American political life?” Wettergeen posits.  “Some believe that it has always been important, but this opinion is based upon an unsophisticated definition of bureaucracy, which it equates it with any large governmental body with executive power.”

 

“There was of course,” he continues, “quite a lot of sentiment in favor of bureaucracy among the Progressives.  Theodore Roosevelt proposed ‘a national industrial commission’ with ‘complete powers to regulate and control all the great industrial concerns engaged in interstate [italics ours] business – which practically means all of them in this country.’  This regulation would have been by bureaucratic fiat, not by law.  ‘Any corporation voluntarily coming under the commission should not be prosecuted under the anti-trust law as long as it obeys sin good faith the orders of the commission.’

 

“And in 1913, the Progressive Democrats under Woodrow Wilson tried to establish such a monstrous bureaucracy, calling it the Federal Trade Commission [FTC].  Senator [Albert] Cummins [a Progressive Republican, who also voted against the arming of merchant ships in 1917], who managed the Federal Trade Commission Act for President Wilson, did not fear bureaucratic indiscretion and arbitrariness.

 

“’The whole policy of our regulation of commerce is based upon our faith and confidence in administrative tribunals,’ he stated.”

 

“This meant that the FTC should be trusted to define its own regulatory objectives, powers, procedures, and limits.

 

“Although it was created with virtually unlimited regulatory authority over all of American commerce, the FTC was, in fact, a regulatory non-entity – even a laughingstock – until it was revived by the great wave of bureaucratization that swept the country after 1964.

 

“Almost immediately after its creation and from the 1920s through the early 1960s, the FTC was frustrated in the courts, by presidential appointments, and in appropriations.  For almost half a century, public opinion of the FTC was summed up by a remark of Federal Trade Commissioner Edward F. Howrey that it was ‘common gossip that the Commission met in solemn session to assign parking spaces in the garage and things like that.”

 

“Before and after the passage of the FTC Act, Congress never deliberately created regulatory agencies with broad, vaguely defined purposes and purview.  Never, that is, until the ate 1960s and early 1970s, when it created society-wide regulatory agencies with intentionally vague purposes after even less deliberation than when it created the FTC.”

 

Wettergreen is loth to blame Franklin Delano Roosevelt for the creation of massive bureaucracies under the New Deal.  FDR did create innumerable agencies which were only supposed to be temporary.

 

“The leading New Dealers,” Wettergreen writes, “and Franklin Roosevelt himself, expressed misgivings about bureaucracy far more than the Progressives, and they did so in a political culture that was far more willing to accept bureaucratization.”

 

Nevertheless, “[W]hen Big Business wanted laws of national incorporation and automatic seats in the highest counsels for the heads of the largest corporations and of the securities markets, Roosevelt and the New Deal gave them the Securities Exchange Commission [the SEC, which still exists today].  When Big Business wanted government-organized and -sponsoed unions (and a Labor Party), a measure which would certainly have compromised the principle of free labor, Roosevelt gave them the National Labor Relations Board to ensure that unions were freely organized.”

 

Roosevelt couldn’t have been too bothered by the compromise of free labor, since organized labor virtually guaranteed Democrat voters for the next 40 years.  At the turn of the century, labor laws were needed to protect workers from child labor abuse, extremely low wages, long hours and unsafe working conditions.  Once those issues were addressed, the only reason for the existence of unions was to vouchsafe votes for socialist candidates for office and to undermine American businesses.

 

“To be sure, the National Industrial Recovery Act was not only unconstitutional, it was the source of the National Recovery Administration, one of the greatest advances for bureaucratization imaginable, even if it had lasted.  It did not last, however, and even the New Dealers themselves did not consider it a permanent measure.”

 

According to Wettergreen, “…the New Dealers certainly did not believe that bureaucratization was desirable.  Perhaps the clearest expression of this view was Roosevelt’s when he stated that:

 

‘We need trained personnel in government.  We need disinterested as well as broad-gauged, public officials.  This part of our problem we have not yet solved, but it can be solved and it can be accomplished without the creation of a national bureaucracy which would dominate the national life of our governmental system.’”

 

While Roosevelt accepted a certain amount of “temporary” bureaucracy as a necessity, even though the FTC and the Social Security Administration – under the guise of being short-term “insurance” – went on to enjoy practically eternal life – he still insisted on presidential administration of these bureaucracies.

 

“Otherwise,” Wettergreen writes, “bureaucracy becomes dominant; it cannot be responsible to the people.  In particular, from his [Roosevelt’s] experience as governor of New York, he knew that “all responsibility shall be lost” when the legislature tries to share in administration.”

 

“Roosevelt did attack the excesses of individualism,” Wettergreen notes, “and he did claim that the constitutional limits on the government’s power, to regulate national commerce for example, had been drawn too narrowly by the Supreme Court.”

 

“Nevertheless, he spoke and acted to sustain the traditional American doctrine of individual [and Executive] rights in the face of the anti-individualism of some of his own supporters.”

 

“Roosevelt understood quite well the connection between free institutions and human rights.   For this reason, he could never be an outright opponent of individualism.  Even as the United States approached something like class war between labor and management in 1935, FDR declared that ‘individualism is the glory of America.’  Thus, he could never be simply a socialist.  He could never be a simple individualist either.  He believed the nation’s economic crisis revealed the limits of individualism.  In a speech devoted to the excesses of individualism, Roosevelt argued that industrial society is fundamentally different from the [agrarian] society of 1787.

 

“Individualism as a social and economic policy had run its course for the nation, but, Roosevelt insisted, the moral principle of individual rights and the economic necessity of relying upon individual initiative could never become obsolete.”

 

Let me emphasize that serious has have been the errors of unrestrained individualism, I do not believe in abandoning the system of individual enterprise.  The freedom and opportunity that have characterized American development in the past can be maintained if we recognize the fact that the individual system of our day calls for the collaboration of all of us to provide, at the least, security for all off us.  Those words “freedom” and “opportunity” do not mean a license to climb upwards by pushing other people down.

 

Hard to believe people swallowed that unbelievably unrealistic line.  No matter how FDR tried to spell out the innocuous and beneficial character of his executive bureaucracy:

 

Our common life under various agencies of Government, our laws and our basic Constitution, exist primarily to protect the individual, to cherish his rights…

 

Elements of Congress, anti-bureaucratic and suspicious of a powerful executive, Wettergreen says, “understood that once administration was centralized, Congress would either have to leave it to the president, which could be politically dangerous, or else spend its whole day ministering to the petty, personal cares of the folks back home [!].  These legislators believed that their duty was the deliberation of the great course of the nation, not just negotiating the partial or parochial interest of their constituents with bureaucrats.”

 

“The party-purging primaries of 1938,” Wettergreen went on to write, “brought home to Congress, especially the House, the political dangers of centralized administration.  In these elections, beneficiaries of unemployment insurance programs and of the Works Progress Administration had helped the president against members of his own party.

 

“Moreover, with the prospect of a third term for Roosevelt [due to the ongoing nature of World War II], Congress believed that, even with a merit system, a nationalized bureaucracy could not help but favor and work for the incumbent president, insofar as it was under his authority.”

 

Enter the Hatch Acts of 1939-40.  They were “an attempt to remedy this situation by strictly curtailing the political activities of federal bureaucrats (including those at the state and

local level who were covered by the Social Security Act’s 1939 amendments).  That is, for the protection of the legislative branch, the federal bureaucracy was removed from its ‘dependency’ upon the executive.  This was done in the name of the morality of civil service reform, as the Hatch Acts were said to guarantee the professionalism, objectivity, and non-partisanship of the bureaucracy.

 

“Through the 1940s and 1950s, Congress continued to cope with the political problem posed by centralized administration by insisting upon the Hatch Acts’ ideal of ‘neutral administration.’  That was the heart of civil service reform.  Of course, it was very much in the congressmen’s interest to check centralized administration, unless they were interested in devoting their whole public lives to ministering to the petty interests of their constituents.  And that attitude on the part of congressmen was actually fairly common right up into the early 1970s.”

 

“The ideal of a politically ‘neutral’ administration proved to be merely a stop-gap measure,” according to Wettergreen, “against a greater danger of bureaucratic dominance.”

 

Or, was it a method of boiling the voter frogs, who needed to be acclimated to an administrative state by small, progressive steps, lest they throw out the entire Congress and its executive?

 

“In fact, the Hatch Acts allowed a propagation of the principles of bureaucracy, which permitted the consolidation of the interest of bureaucracy in the form of a nationally-organized [and decidedly Marxist] public employees’ unions at all levels of politics.  By 1958, on its seventy-fifth anniversary, the Civil Service Commission could proclaim that its principal task was no longer combating the evils of [political] patronage.  Instead, its purpose had become ‘public personnel management.’”

 

“Four years later, President Kennedy formally recognized the national consolidation of bureaucratic interest by issuing Executive Order 11491, which encouraged collective bargaining with public employees’ unions.  When this order was written into law by the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978, the Civil Service Commission was replaced by the Office of Personnel Management and two (soon to be there or more) other independent agencies; none of them is principally charged with combating the evils of patronage.

 

“In the decade since, the Hatch Act has been continuously rewritten to give lower level bureaucrats (GS-15 and below) more and more political rights while protecting them from the wrath of the politicians against whom they may work.”  Or more importantly, the constituents of those politicians.

 

“Thus, civil service reform – the elimination of machine politics [e.g., Tammany Hall] – has been accomplished by the creation of a bureaucratic class, a class which, as shall be shown, is strongly allied with Congress.”

 

 

 

Published in: on May 24, 2018 at 3:25 pm  Leave a Comment  

Americans and the Separation from Their Powers – Tocqueville Versus Weber

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.—That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness… it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.  Thomas Jefferson, The Declaration of Independence, 1776.

 

The Declaration of Independence is listed in Volume 1 of the United States Code under the heading “Organic Laws of the United States.”  “Organic law” is a law, or system of laws, that form the foundation of a government, corporation or any other organization’s body of rules.  A constitution is a particular form of organic law for a sovereign state.  Note the use of the word “law” in the definition.  Many Progressives and Liberals have tried to imply that the Declaration of Independence is not a legal United States document.  However, any suggestion that the Organic Law is not legal by extension implies that the Constitution of the United States is also illegal.  The National Archives holds, however, that “[T]hey have secured the rights of the American people for more than two and a quarter centuries and are considered instrumental to the founding philosophy of the United States.”

 

Further, the Supreme Court has held that the oath that elected officials take to defend the Constitution inherently implies all the Organic Law, which includes the Declaration.  Any reading of the Declaration indicates that it is a legitimate, legal document, beginning with the phrase, “IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.  The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America” of the thirteen united States of America” and closing with “We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled…”

 

Woodrow Wilson held that the U.S. Constitution was outmoded and unsuitable for a modern society and the bureaucracy that had grown up around its government.  He and his Progressive followers found the words Thomas Jefferson used in the Declaration of Independence regarding the abolishment of any form of government destruction of the right to Life, Liberty and the pursuit of happiness useful to their own ends to abolish a constitutional government and erect an administrative state in its place.

 

In the foreword to “The Imperial Congress:  Crisis in the Separation of Powers,” (Jones, Gordon S. and John A. Marini, editors;  Pharos Books, 1988 (The Heritage Foundation and The Claremont Institute), Newt Gingrich, at the time, a ten-year veteran of Congress, wrote:

 

Our founding fathers knew how fragile self-government could be.  They struggled for a generation to create a self-governing republic dedicated to the principles of freedom and representative democracy; a republic carefully balanced and strong enough to ensure that government of the people, by the people, and for the people, would endure.

 

The genius of the Founding Fathers is the separation of powers found in the United States Constitution.  No other constitutional tenet was considered more essential to the preservation of liberty.

 

The 100th Congress is a far different institution from that envisioned by the Founders.  Indeed, the 100th Congress approaches the despotic institution about which James Madison and Thomas Jefferson wrote.  It is an imperial congress reigned over by an imperial Speaker enacting special-interest legislation.  Writing in Federalist 71, Alexander Hamilton warned of such arrogant legislative power:

 

“The representatives of the people, in a popular assembly, seem sometimes to fancy that they are the people themselves, and betray strong symptoms of impatience and disgust at the least sign of opposition from any other quarter; as if the exercise of its rights, by either executive or judiciary, were a breach of their privilege and an outrage to their dignity.

 

Madison, Jefferson, and Hamilton tried to insure against the rise of an imperial Congress.  Yet, as separation of powers continues to erode, the present-day Congress has become the most unrepresentative and corrupt of the modern era [up to that time, at least].  It is a Congress that lusts for power but evades responsibility for its actions.  Increasingly dominated by a corrupt [political] machine that deceives the American public, it exempts itself from the standards of conduct it imposes on the Executive branch and the American people.

 

Every citizen should be concerned about the arrogance and corruption of the present-day Congress.  At stake is the liberty of the American public.

 

Progressive bureaucrats and writers used America’s innate fear of tyranny – the very reason for our “separation” from Great Britain, although the authors suggest that the Colonists’ real problem was Parliament – to attack the Executive branch and wrest from that Executive his singular authority in foreign affairs, in particular, but also in governing the burgeoning bureaucracy.

 

A single target, painted as an authoritarian dictator as opposed to the purportedly divided, “smaller” interests of the Senate and the House of Representatives, is easy prey for machine politicians.  Isolated against a body of 535, it can easily seem as though the Executive is weak and powerless.

 

The Founding Fathers wrote the separation of powers into the Constitution to insure that the Executive would become neither a tyrant nor a figurehead of the government.

The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States; he may require the Opinion, in writing, of the principal Officer in each of the executive Departments, upon any Subject relating to the Duties of their respective Offices, and he shall have Power to Grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offences against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment.

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.

He shall from time to time give to the Congress Information on the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient; he may, on extraordinary Occasions, convene both Houses, or either of them, and in Case of Disagreement between them, with Respect to the Time of Adjournment, he may adjourn them to such Time as he shall think proper; he shall receive Ambassadors and other public Ministers; he shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed, and shall Commission all the Officers of the United States.

The President shall have Power to fill up all Vacancies that may happen during the Recess of the Senate, by granting Commissions which shall expire at the End of their next Session.

The Senate, not the House of Representatives, has the power to check the President in regard to foreign affairs, only.  The House of Representatives’ power was in its plenary (financial) considerations and general laws regarding the entire country.  Originally, Senators were chosen by the individual states.   In 1916, Woodrow Wilson changed all that in 1913 with the 17th Amendment, causing Senators to be elected by the popular vote rather than by the state legislatures.

 

This meant that the states were no longer represented in Congress.  Federal law could now be made to override state laws, even though the Senate’s mandate was to common laws affecting the entire nation, not the states.  Senators were no longer accountable to their state legislatures.  The intermediary between a state’s people and their senator was lost.  The senator had no interest or business in local politics; but the federal government, through “popularly-elected” senators could now interfere in states’ rights.

 

Douglas A. Jeffrey, in Chapter Two of “The Imperial Congress” – “Executive Authority Under the Separation of Powers” writes:

 

“The executive power, by virtue of its apparent similarity to the power of the crown under the English constitution, was an object of suspicion from the outset of our nation.  Thus within the state governments formed in 1776, with the notable exception of New York, executive power was weak by design an ineffective when it existed at all.

 

“And when the Constitutional Convention opened in May 1787 – to reconsider the Articles of Confederation, which constituted a Congress of States incorporating no separation of powers and a national government woefully inadequate to perform its requisite function – the experience gained within the states proved invaluable.

 

“The Framers understood what Publius called ‘parchment barriers’ between the powers of government would not do; that ‘unless these [powers] be so far connected and blended as to give each a constitutional control over the others, the degree of separation…essential

To free government can never in practice be duly maintained.’ (Federalist 49)  The result:  our system of mixed but separated power, mixture being the key to effective separation that had been missing in theoretical models.

 

“The experience in the states also demonstrated that the legislative branch was most problematic in terms of corruption.  Madison expressed this on the floor of the Constitutional Convention, presaging his later arguments in the Federalist:

Experience had proved a tendency in our government to throw all power into the legislative vortex.  The Executives of the States are in general little more than cyphers; the legislatures omnipotent.  If no effective check be devised for restraining the instability and encroachment of the latter, a revolution of some kind would be inevitable.  The preservation of Republican Government therefore required some expedient for the purpose, but required evidently that in devising the genuine principles of that form should be kept in view.

 

“Thus the constitutional checks as addressed in Federalist 51 all aim at weakening Congress:  it is divided into two houses, the weaker of which is designed to share long-term interests with the executive, and the executive is given what amounts to one-sixth of the legislative vote in the qualified presidential veto.”

 

Prof. Jeffrey then cites one of the greater weaknesses of the Executive branch as defined in the Articles of Confederation:  the inability to defend the nation.

 

“Here the lack of an independent executive was key.  Thus, some of the president’s constitutional foreign policy powers, are enumerated, as are those of Congress.  He is to act as commander-in-chief, make treaties with the Senate’s advice and consent, and receive ambassadors.  But these by no means are meant to limit his ability to act as chief of state.

 

 

The authors admit to the Constitution’s ambiguity as to the Executive’s ability to wage war.  Congress is “herein granted” the right to “declare war”.  The president is sworn to an oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States” and to faithfully execute the presidential office.”

 

Here, defenders of the Executive office declare that the Chief Executive has a “prerogative” as president.  Where the law is silent on his powers, he is considered to have some limited license to act on behalf of the nation during a crisis.

 

Founding philosopher John Locke, the authors tell us, described ‘prerogative’ as meaning that the executive may rise above the law, for the sake of the law, in times of crisis.

 

“This is partially a matter of common sense,” Prof. Jeffrey writes.  “Inn order to execute and enforce the law, and thus to preserve the peace, any executive must be free of detailed restrictions and preserve for himself great latitude of action.  Furthermore, in a nation of laws such as ours, the executive could hardly remain independent were he constitutionally bound to obey every jot and tittle of the laws as made and “interpreted” by Congress; he simply would be its puppet.”

 

Alexander Hamilton, writing as “Pacificus,” argued that it is the president’s responsibility to interpret treaties once ratified, bringing to bear an independent ‘right of Judgment in the execution of [his] own functions.”

 

Or as “Publius” [possibly James Madison or John Jay] wrote: “It is one thing to be subordinate to the laws, and another to be dependent [or subordinate] to the legislative body.  The first comports with, the last violates, the fundamental principles of good government.”  (Federalist 71)

Abraham Lincoln used his executive prerogative to suspend the writ of habeas corpus during the Civil War, as well as calling up troops when Congress was not in session and blockaded Southern ports.

 

In the matter of suspending the writ of habeas corpus, Lincoln “refused to accept a write used by the Chief Justice of the United States, defending this in terms of his duty to preserve the Union:  ‘…are all the laws but this one to go unexecuted,” he asked, “and the government itself go to pieces, lest that one be violated?”

 

President Harry Truman ignored Congress in initiating the Korean War.  Before him, Pres.  Roosevelt, knowing that the Congress had declared neutrality in the European War, he still entered into the lend-lease program with Great Britain, loaning Britain the ships and ammunition it needed to stave off an imminent invasion by Germany.

 

“When the Department of Foreign Affairs (soon renamed State) was created by the First Congress in 1789 – as one of the two original executive departments, along with Treasury – it was placed unambiguously at the president’s bidding.  But as recent Congresses have stridently insisted on their right to scrutinize every aspect of executive policy, and to impose limits upon and guidelines for it at will, the executive bureaucracy – now comprising many departments, each bloated in size -has become Congress’ tool.”

 

The authors argue that a body the size of Congress (535 plus innumerable staff and aides) has no business involving itself in foreign affairs.  The problems to national security are practically insurmountable.  Problematic, too, are the policy differences that have arisen since the Wilson “administration” favoring a centralized, bureaucratic government over one that strictly observes the separation of powers.

 

In Chapter 3, “Bureaucratizing the American Government,” author John Adams Wettergreen writes that, “Even the greatest defender of bureaucracy, Max Weber, confessed that this form of rule is inhuman.”  Wettergreen stated that “Conservative Americans, almost as commonly as those on the Left, are included to believe the bureaucracy is a necessity of modern government.  According to this conventional wisdom, the bureaucratization of American has been going on – inevitably for over a century.  This conviction is decidedly pessimistic: bureaucracy being a pejorative term.  No matter how much we might try to use it with the neutral sense, its connotations of vapid formality, mindless routinization, and obtuse impersonality shine through.”

 

The author wasn’t quite correct in saying that American believe bureaucracy is a “necessity” of modern government, but more like a reality.  “You can’t fight city hall,” the 18th Century idiom  goes.  Citizens of the 18th Century understood the implacability and imperviousness of bureaucracy.

 

The authors of this book tend to defend Franklin Delano Roosevelt.  He created as many bureaucracies as he fought.  Roosevelt was responsible for the alphabet of social welfare agencies that still cling to the American taxpayer today.

 

Wettergreen gives us two definitions of bureaucracies:  one, simply a large organization.  Size alone, he says, does not define whether an organization is bureaucratic, but its own organizational structure and lack of accountability.

 

“The second standard definition of bureaucracy is usually associated with a 20th Century ideologue by the name of Max Weber,” he writes.  “In one form or another, this is the definition preferred by today’s intellectuals.  Weber thought of bureaucracy as the modern form of political organization.   Every aspect of modern everyday life is cut to fit the bureaucratic framework.  Bureaucracy is, Weber supposed, always the most rational type of rule, because under the bureaucratic form of rule all must be treated the same, without any preference on account of kinship, friendship, neighborliness, or other forms of personal attachment.  Such ‘neutralization’ is the bureaucratic ideal of ‘fairness.’

 

“Furthermore, bureaucratic administration is professional, both in the sense that being a bureaucrat is a career and in that specialized training, knowledge, and experience, rather than kinship, election, or any other form of subjective preference form the basis for appointment in tenure in office.   To meet the needs of modern society, Weber held, bureaucratic administration is completely indispensable.  To suppose otherwise is to be guilty of ‘dilettantism’ [amateurism].

 

“To Weber, bureaucratization was the ‘most crucial phenomenon of the modern Western state.’  He conceived of bureaucracy as the modern system of rule, not merely a part of government (e.g., a Fourth Branch) or a part of society.  As Webster saw it, bureaucracy is the final or ultimate form of rule [Pluto believed dictatorship was the ultimate form of rule], the expression of the highest Western value, ‘rationality.’  If there are any problems with bureaucratic rule – and Weber thought there were many – they only reveal what are, to Webber, the ultimate, insoluble problems of human existence.”

 

Wettergreen points out that “[C]characteristically, bureaucracy is not rational, but arbitrary; it is neither efficient nor objective, but officious” – what we call today, the Deep State.

 

Wettergreen then introduces Alexis de Tocqueville’s “more adequate understanding of bureaucracy.”

 

Alexis de Tocqueville was a French sociologist and political theorist who traveled to the United States in 1831 to study its prisons and returned with a wealth of broader observations that he codified in “Democracy in America” (1835), one of the most influential books of the 19th century.

 

“Tocqueville could see that all the details of individual citizens’ lives – their vocations and professions, their education, their entertainments, the disposal of their estates, the organization of all professional, civic, and commercial associations – were in danger of being subjected to the uniform, deadening regulation of bureaucracy.  In fact, he wrote, ‘even religion is in danger of falling under government control.’

 

It is not that the rulers are overzealous to fix dogma themselves, but they are getting more and more of a hold over the wills of those who interpret it…and with their help they reach right down into the depths of each man’s soul.

 

“Tocqueville concluded that every aspect of American society – especially industrialization with its vast scale, its novel social relations, its economic instability, and the inherent danger of its work to health and life – might be an occasion for further ‘centralization of administration,’ as he called bureaucratization.  Moreover, Tocqueville already could see that the most corrupt form of industrial society – namely, socialism – would also be the advanced or disciplined form of bureaucracy.

 

“Tocqueville thought that the chances of success,” Wettergreen continues, “in the battle against the universal tendency toward bureaucracy were slim:

 

The only public men…who favor decentralization are, almost invariably, either very disinterested or extremely mediocre; the former are scarce, the latter, powerless.

 

“Yet, unlike Weber and most American intellectuals, he refused to despair, and accordingly devoted his considerable talents to finding ways to keep free politics alive within great modern nations:

 

I am certainly not the one to say that such inclinations [toward bureaucracy] are invincible, for my chief aim in writing this book is to combat them.

 

“Tocqueville trusted that human nature was opposed to bureaucratization.  By nature, all human have some taste for liberty, in the form of ‘an instinctive tendency, irresistible and hardly conscious, born out of the mysterious sources of all great human passions.’  This ‘common source not only of political liberty but all of the high and manly virtues’ is present in the souls of all humans.  Bureaucracy violates this ‘instinct.’  ‘To me, human societies, like individuals, become something worthwhile only through their use of liberty.’

 

“Because of his estimate of human nature, Tocqueville instinctively denied the superiority of bureaucratization.  He had no doubts that, in the absence of sound democratic statesmanship and citizenship, bureaucracy would thrive, but he did not think that administrative centralization was inevitable, much less superior in rationality, in capacity to deal with complexity, or in scientific expertise.”

 

Progressives saw that statesmanship as the threat to their future administrative state.  The statesman had to be frozen, personalized, and polarized.  An army of Lilliputian bureaucrats would be required to take down President Gulliver.  From the time of Wilson on, those armies of agencies grew, with the object of undermining the presidency, even as the United States code defined “federal agency” as meaning “the President of the United States, or an executive department, ‘independent’ board, establishment, bureau, agency, institution, commission, or separate office of the administrative branch of the Government of the United States but not the legislative or judicial branches of Government.”

 

By the middle of the 20th Century, the President of the United States was in the midst of a legislative – and judicial – traffic jam of road rage over who would hold the reins of power.

Published in: on May 23, 2018 at 4:35 pm  Leave a Comment  

Americans and the Separation from Their Powers – The Making of “Progress’

No political truth is certainly of greater intrinsic value, or is stamped with the authority of more enlightened patrons of liberty…The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands, whether of one, a few, or many, and whether hereditary, self-appointed, or elective, may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny.”  James Madison, Federalist 47

 

The concentrating of [power] in the same hands is precisely the definition of despotic government.  It will be no alleviation that these powers will be exercised by a plurality of hands, and not by a single one.”  Thomas Jefferson, 1781

 

The TEA Parties realized, with the ascendancy of Barack Obama and the fecklessness of even members of the Republican Party, their moderation, their aisle-crossing, the backroom deals that had been exposed, that something had gone seriously wrong with our way of government.

 

We naturally blamed the Liberals and the Media.  Not enough of us realized how much to blame Congress – on both sides of the aisle, of which we had become aware – were responsible for the degeneration of our federated republic and the overturning of our Constitution.

 

President Trump has been criticized and mocked for the ferocity of his counter-attacks and his defense of his authority as president, especially in regard to charges that he “colluded” with the Russians to turn the 2016 election in his favor.  After reading “The Imperial Congress:  Crisis in Separation of Powers,”  the president, it turns out, is doing precisely what our chief executive should be doing:  attacking anyone who tries to usurp his Constitutionally-protected powers and authority.

 

With the mid-term Congressional elections closing in, and our current president fighting off unfounded charges of “collusion” and “treason” it is time for the American public to learn what exactly has been going wrong with our government, when it began, why it was allowed to happen, and who allowed it to occur.  The answers are surprising and disconcerting.

 

Americans, indeed, are badly in need of some civic lessons – and the sooner the better.  We’ve never been farther from the spirit of the Constitution and never been more in need of it than today.

 

Written in 1988, “Imperial Congress” is a series of essays by authors who have served in the government in various capacities at the very end of Ronald Reagan’s administration.  Although Reagan was popular, history was still near enough for the editors and authors to be critical of Reagan for not doing a better job of defending his position.

 

The problem, the authors tell us, begins with the word “administration,” a word so ubiquitously equated with the presidency that we don’t even realize what’s wrong with it.  “Administrative” was a Progressive term used by President Woodrow F. Wilson during the Progressive Era.

 

According to the book, Wilson rejected the separation of powers “in favor of the allegedly more fundamental and modern separation between politics and administration.”  “Separation of powers,” in the view of Wilson as well as many “leading American political scientists and reformers in the Progressive Era, “was the product of an ‘out-moded’ theory of politics when Enlightenment Era philosophers believed various departments of government could be held in place by “countervailing forces of power and ambition” – the theory of checks and balances.

 

Wilson believed the government was a “living thing accountable to Darwin not Newton.”

 

“Consequently,” wrote Charles R. Kesler, the author of this particular segment in the book, “government must constantly adjust to changes in its environment; its purposes and structure are no t ordained by ‘the laws of Nature and of Nature’s God’ or limited by a written constitution.  In particular, government has no use for separated powers.”

 

“Wilson’s efforts to overcome the separation of powers occupied his entire life…[H]e favored a series of constitutional amendments designed to make congressman, senators, and the president serve roughly concurrent terms, so as to increase the probability that one political party would gain control of the whole elective part of the government.  In addition, he proposed that the president be required to choose his cabinet from the leaders of the majority party in Congress, who would be authorized to introduce legislation on the Hill, thus obviating the committee system.”

 

But later, Wilson discovered an easier way.  “Stronger presidential leadership combined with a highly-developed and centralized administrative apparatus would succeed in liberating the national government from the straitjacket of separated powers.”

 

“In rejecting separation of powers in favor of the separation of politics and administration, Wilson reformulated the terms of political debate.  ‘Democracy now meant the last and most perfect stage in the evolution of the state, in which the people’s will was directly responsible for setting public policy.  But the immediate expression of their will could be ‘whimsical,’ and so was not to be taken as ‘authentic,’ as conveying their permanent instinct for progress – the Darwinian principle.  Therefore, the people’s will had to be ‘mediated’ by ‘leadership,’ a word that assumed a new prominence and respectability in the vocabulary of American politics.

 

“As compared to  the ‘masses,’ ‘leaders’ were more closely attuned to the spirit of the Age; they were able to distinguish the faint but swelling notes of ‘progress’ from the background ‘noise’ of history.  Their task was to prepare the people for the future, to act as ‘interpreters’ and ‘spokesmen’ for the spirit of the Age; and of course, actually to lead the way.”

 

The Progressives claimed to be only heeding the ‘common thought’ and the ‘common impulse’ with their role as mediators between the people and the future, not “to educate or elevate the people’s will to a rational or trans- historical, much less constitutional, standard.”

 

The president’s role would be no different than his role on the campaign trail; he was to be a figure-head whose personal traits would define his “administration.”

 

“[H]id principal role in office would be…first and foremost a political or party leader, not the country’s chief executive.  The constitutional function of chief executive officer, which in Wilson’s scheme falls under the rubric of administration, would be largely transferred to Congress.

Imagine a busy Manhattan intersection at mid-day.  Traffic is everywhere, horns honking, tempers flaring, pedestrians jaywalking.  Under administrative rule, instead of one police officer directing the traffic at the center, you’d have at least four, one for each street.  They would stop all the traffic and consult on which lane of traffic was to go through the intersection, depending on congestion, and perhaps the type of car and whether they had municipal plates or not.  The four officers, with input from the “staff” officers conducting pedestrian traffic, would put to a vote which lane of traffic was to go through first.

 

Wilson’s excuse for this unconstitutional form of government was that the president “cannot execute laws.”  At that time, the federal bureaucracy was already enormous.

 

“In practice,” the authors tell us, “it now takes a dozen or so departments and millions of executive branch employees to execute laws.  ‘It is therefore becoming more and more true, as the business of the government becomes more and more complex and extended,’ Wilson wrote, ‘that the President is becoming more and more a political and less and less an executive officer.’

 

“His executive powers drain away into the bureaucracy [Trump’s ‘swamp’] while ‘his political powers more and more centre and accumulate upon him and are in their very nature personal and inalienable.’”

 

Rights and the Constitution have nothing to do with it; it’s all about “charisma”, in other words.

 

“Presidential leadership therefore has a hollow ring to it, of which Wilson was well aware.  The president is the only truly national leader, chosen by the whole people [congressional representatives and senators are only chosen by segments of their state populations]; and if he rightly interprets the people’s inchoate [recently ‘discovered’] desire for progress, Wilson claims, ‘he is irresistible,’ for the people’s ‘instinct for unified action, [which] craves a single leader.’

 

“Therefore, in Wilson’s famous phrase, the president’s office ‘is anything he has the sagacity and force to make it.’  But this means that in ordinary times, with ordinary men in the Oval Office, the presidency will not be the center of affairs and the dictator of events.  Largely bereft of constitutional rights and duties, the office will be as small as the men who occupy it.

 

“Even as, in Wilson’s considered view, it is inevitable for society to become more complex and in need of government regulation, so it is inevitable that the president must take more and more of the responsibility for leading the country into the future and less and less for executing the law.”

 

“And even on those occasions when the president is a man of great ‘personal force,’ his leadership will depend absolutely on his connection to the people, on his ability to read their thoughts and stir them to action.  Far from being the energetic and independent executive the Framers sought, the president in the routine operations of his office will be a hostage to popular opinion.”

 

In Wilson’s view, laws in the old-fashioned sense – “general rules and measures directing action toward the common good – would be unnecessary.  Progressives assumed that history would direct human action toward the common good.  Since only the fittest would survive, the outcome of the common good would be guaranteed.  This kind of redistributive, regulatory law would inevitably “administer” justice.

 

The main purpose of law in a Progressive society would not be “to defend the country, punish wrongdoing, and inculcate principles of justice;” it would be to administer progress.  “In short, to create the administrative state.”

 

“’Legislation is but the oil of government,” Wilson declared.  “It is that which lubricates its channels and speeds it wheels; that which lessens friction and so eases the movement.”

 

“What is now important about the law,” the authors instruct, “is not so much its purpose or claim to justice, but its execution or implementation, its effect on the process of government…To regulate or administer progress, not to secure men’s inalienable rights, is therefore the basic function of the modern state.”

 

Since the purpose of progress is to “expose” the ills of society and cure them, through regulations in order to create a better “future,” Progressives decided that “the distinction between “progressive” and “reactionary” ought to replace the distinction between good and evil, because the former distinction was not only the equivalent of the latter but was history demonstrable, hence, unassailable.”

 

“The dichotomy between politics and administration…meant, ostensibly that the ends of ought to change easily with the changing sentiment of the majority, and that the means to those ends ought to be efficiently [and] scientifically determined by a specially trained class of non-partisan civil servants.”  Bureaucrats who would advise Congressman on their specialties and even formulate the legislation for them.

 

No need for committees to debate the merits of a law.  The merits would already be bygone conclusions.   Congress would be freed to service their constituents on local concerns back home.  Except that was not why Congressmen were elected.  They were elected represent their constituents in the national forum, not bring home federal bacon.

 

With Wilson, America saw the beginning of the demise of constitutional government.

 

“The administrative state was born to replace [what was considered by Progressives to be] an outmoded constitution with a new one, organized around a powerful centralized government retaining, at most, only the independent judiciary as a holdover from a principled separation of powers.  The new government would feature closely-integrated executive and legislative, dominated in partisan matters by a president who could influence Congress through his leadership of public opinion, and dominated on the administrative side by a Congress whose committees could control the executive agencies.”

 

Writing in 1988, the authors state that this is the description of government today – or back them.  But also today.

 

They go on to state:  “The Constitution defended in The Federalist presumed that in order to be respectable, republican government had to be good government.  It had, that is, to secure private rights and the public good, rather than simply obey the majority’s will.  Furthermore, it presumed that Man, as a creature of passions as well as reason, would often act rashly and unjustly if he were not habituated to respect the moral law superior to his own will, the law embodied in the Constitution.

 

“But the Progressive architects of the New Order assumed that history itself would guarantee the victory of reason in politics [or so they claimed].  Granted, this victory would not be direct but dialectical, employing men’s passions as the vehicle by which reason would ‘progress.’  Actually, however, the doctrine encouraged the belief that in political life there was no compelling need for self-restraint, for the moderation of political passions, for the accommodation of prejudices to reason.  Practically speaking, no respect was owed to anything except the future – that was the new meaning of idealism, in whose name leaders and experts of all sorts were (in effect) to claim the right to rule ordinary citizens.”

 

Since Man was inherently “bad,” and rejecting the rule of God, he needed the firmer hand of a “wiser” set of rulers to regulate him, even day to day. At any rate, the more “perfect” Man became through a more liberal, kinder, progressive society, the more like God he became (or at least the bureaucrats became) and the less need Man had for the moralistic, “judgmental” God.

 

In the preface to “The Imperial Congress,” Larry P. Arn, president of the Claremon Institute, and Edwin J. Feulner, Jr., president of The Heritage Foundation, cited James Madison who wrote in Federalist 48 that in America, “it is against the enterprising ambition of [the legislative branch] that the people ought to indulge all their jealousy and exhaust all their precautions.”

 

We’ve only just begun to delve into why the elimination of the separation of powers threatens America and her freedom.

 

 

 

 

Published in: on May 22, 2018 at 2:09 pm  Leave a Comment  

Meeting Our Waterloo Villages

The first time I drove out to Waterloo Village in Stanhope, N.J., I got lost.  The exit for the restored 19th Century canal village is a long ride from where the village itself is located.  Even the exit for the exit is quite a long drive.

 

Once the exit lane actually divides from Route 80, and you’re definitely on the way to Route 206, the exit lane turns to the right and dips out of sight.  If you’re following a caravan, and they get even a half-mile ahead of you and you don’t know where you’re going, you’re already lost.

 

As I sailed along Route 80 West in confusion, past the exit, I came across a yellow school bus on the u-turn on the median.  I was appalled not only because these turn-arounds are only for police and emergency vehicles, but because there wasn’t enough room for the bus on the median.  The end of the bus was sticking out into the fast lane of the highway and partially into the next lane.

 

I grew up in a bus driving family.  By the time I got my automobile driver’s license at 17, I already knew, by osmosis, most of the rules of school bus driving.  For instance, never crossing over a set of railroad tracks unless your bus could clear the other side with room to spare.

 

A good bus driver would never, ever cross a median that way.  Yet there was that school bus that day, obviously having missed the real exit for Waterloo Village, doing that very dangerous thing.  At the time I thought the driver (I could see it was a man) was out of his mind.  What if a car, or worse, a truck, came along and couldn’t stop in time?

 

That’s the fate the Paramus school bus met.  Don’t let the Media kid you; it’s a heck of a long drive to the next exit and back again.  But the extra time isn’t worth the dangers of crossing a short median that’s only meant for cop cars.  That’s why it’s against the law.  Cars might get away with it.  But a 35-foot long school bus?

 

We’ve been debating what caused the bus driver a) to miss the turn and b) to take the dangerous short-cut back?  Clearly, he didn’t know where he was going.  Wasn’t the bus equipped with GPS?  As a back-up to GPS errors (which do occur), hadn’t the driver consulted a map before setting off on a trip where he didn’t know where he was going?

 

There are no signs indicating that Exit 25 is the turn-off for Waterloo Village.  If there are, they should come long before the exit divide.  If you’re savvy enough to take the right exit, the road to Waterloo Village is circuitous

 

Our bus driving family is divided about the responsibility of the bus driver and the driver leading the trip.  The lead driver needed only to get a half-mile ahead of the trailing bus and they’d be out of sight, down and around the dip in the road.  Route 80 West continues to the left, quickly curving out of sight of the exit, leaving the trailing driver wondering what to do.

 

The buses are supposed to be equipped with a CB radio system.  Sometimes, though, only the lead bus has the radio, connecting him with the dispatcher, and the buses following him just have to keep up.  As noted, a wise bus driver trusts not to the eccentricities of the lead driver, and checks the map so they won’t get lost, wind up late, and get into trouble.

 

By the time the accident happened, the first two buses had already arrived at Waterloo Village – at least a 10-minute drive from the exit.  That means they were 10 minutes ahead of the third bus.  What were they thinking?  We know nothing about the accident driver:  his driving record, how long he’d been a school bus driver with Paramus, whether he’d been employed by any other bus companies, whether he’d had any accidents or tickets.

 

The authorities are playing things very close to the vest.  If the dump truck driver had been at fault, we’d have known everything about him the next day because, of course, we all know how dangerous dump trucks are.

 

But, oops.  The school bus driver was at fault.  Is my younger brother right, that this particular driver was or had been a cop with a get-out-jail-free card (in N.J., certain people with connections can get these badge-like cards?  If they get pulled over for a traffic infraction, or even an accident, they will get a pass from the authorities.

 

Is that why details on this driver are so slow in forthcoming?  Or did the lead driver play a role in this tragedy, ignoring his or her responsibility as the lead driver?  Maybe the accident driver was arrogant and they didn’t like him and so purposely sped off without him?  Or was he just a newbie thrust upon a possibility incestuous click of drivers (it’s said that it’s very difficult to get a job as a bus driver with a board of education unless you know someone)?

 

He was not the first driver to miss this turn and take the short-cut, although drivers will think twice before using an illegal media u-turn from now on.  How such a tragedy as this hadn’t happened sooner is just the stuff of miracles.  Another miracle is that more passengers weren’t killed.

 

New Jersey is a state notorious for its poor signage.  I once interviewed the guy who made the signs at the DOT’s facility in Trenton.  It’s not like he’s overpaid and it was just him.  Surely, the state could afford to make a few more signs, say for a mile before Exit 25 on Route 80 West for Waterloo Village?  Or for the entrance to Route 287 North on Ringwood Avenue in Haskell?

 

But there’s an unwritten rule here in New Jersey:  at least three people have to be killed at an intersection before the state or county will install a traffic light.

 

Guess a lot more people have to be killed to get a proper road sign installed – many more than three people have been killed driving the wrong way up Exit 52 onto Southbound Route 287 and there’s STILL no sign indicating where to turn for Route 287 North.

 

New bus drivers need to be advised not to trust their fellow bus drivers when travelling to a location unknown to the newbie.  Bus companies need to put more pressure on their experienced drivers not to play dangerous games when leading a convoy of buses – especially school buses.  They need to train them to leave no bus – or kid – behind.

 

This driver, if indeed the lead driver had left him behind, should have gone to the next exit to turn around, even if he did wind up late.  Once back at the school, he should have lodged a complaint against the lead driver, and not let the supervisor get away with some excuse that it was his individual responsibility to find his way to the destination (that is what bus companies tell their drivers).

 

Staying together is not just for the sake of not getting lost, but also for the sake of safety if another bus gets into trouble.  At least, that’s the way it should be.  But even in bus driving, politics intrude and people don’t do the right thing.

 

The accident driver, if the information about his making an illegal u-turn is correct, is (rightly) headed for probable charges of manslaughter and prison (we’d heard about such drivers getting somewhere between 10 and 25 years, depending on how many passengers were killed or injured).

 

The bus company’s insurance company will handle the damages.  But we can be sure that parents and families will sue for more.  At some point, they may try to charge the owner of the dump truck and its driver, depending on what lane he was in (likely the legal, center or right-hand lane).

 

The Paramus Board of Education cancelled all further class trips for the rest of the year.  That was a decision that was likely over-thought, being made directly after the accident, and will only encourage greater fear in the minds of the students.  The school bus is a fact of life, if you expect to get to school.

 

You’ve just got to get back on the bus.

 

Finally, now is the time for the New Jersey Department of Transportation to admit that it’s met its Waterloo Village and start improving its signage.

 

 

 

Published in: on May 21, 2018 at 4:16 pm  Leave a Comment  

Calling All Animals

Earlier this week, the Fake News Media, led by C-Span, misquoted President Trump in a speech about illegal immigrants.

 

According to a report by The Hill:

 

Immediately following a White House roundtable meeting yesterday — where President Donald Trump and a dozen California officials discussed the undocumented immigration challenges facing the most populous state in the nation — C-Span and other media outlets published a select clip of Trump allegedly calling all illegal immigrants “animals.” He referred to violent and vicious MS-13, a gang that was started by illegal immigrants from Central America – members as animals; however, he never referred to the entire illegal immigrant population as such.

 

A review of the C-Span video in its entirety reveals that just moments before he said the word “animals,” Trump said the public ought to be concerned about “illegal immigrant criminals, drug dealers, gang members and violent predators” such as rapists and murderers that are among the “most vicious & violent offenders.” During the meeting, he went on to discuss the violent crimes committed by MS-13 members — the notorious gang which has roots in Satanic worship and often requires rape of young girls for its members’ initiations.

 

“We have people coming into the country, or trying to come in — and we’re stopping a lot of them — but we’re taking people out of the country,” Trump responded. “You wouldn’t believe how bad these people are. These aren’t people. These are animals. And we’re taking them out of the country at a level and at a rate that’s never happened before.”

 

The controversy arose over Trump’s comment at a White House meeting on Wednesday with local officials in California opposed to the state’s “sanctuary” immigration policy. Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims complained about a state law prohibiting her from telling federal immigration authorities about undocumented immigrants, including MS-13 gang members, in her county jail.

 

Trump’s original comment came Wednesday at a White House meeting with local California officials opposed to the state’s “sanctuary” immigration policy. At one point in the meeting, Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims complained about state law that prohibited her from reporting undocumented immigrants, including MS-13 gang members, in her county jail to federal immigration officials.

 

Trump immediately refuted the charges and media reporters were forced to issue a retraction – and apologies.

 

No one should have to apologize for calling MS-13.  Even after the “fake news” report was exposed, politicians tried to make excuses for the “humanity” of MS-13 gang members.  Unfortunately, suburbanites tend to think, although not express out loud, of illegal immigrants as a whole in terms of one certain animal, not all of them.  The streams of garbage littering the streets where they live – and where the drug dealers do their business – will give you an idea of which animal suburbanites think they resemble.

My late companion adopted a dog from a rescue organization.  The one year-old dog came from Puerto Rico.  When he asked them what type of dog she was, the rescue shelter told him she was a “chucho” and that’s what he told people she was – a “chucho” – a mutt, in English.

Actually, my own vet took one look at her, after I’d taken possession of her after my companion passed away and said, “She’s an Australian shepherd – a cattle dog, mixed with border collie and I think some bassett hound.  She’s very cute, but she’s a strange mix.  I’d say definitely cattle dog.” (e

For eleven years, my companion trained her very well.  He chose her because she was quiet, obedient dog – and very smart.  He taught her not to bark excessively (even when warning him that someone was approaching, he stopped her after the first bark), to take table scraps gently, and to play nicely with other dogs.

He thought he had her trained to stay on her own property, but she frequently violated that commandment in order to visit other doggie friends in the neighborhood, especially one poochie pal who was at the end of her leash, so to speak.  She disappeared right off the property as soon as my companion’s back was turned.  When I called her, she came running back from around the corner, skulking under a neighbor’s truck.

If only human immigrants could be as obedient, polite, and well-behaved as my companion’s dog.  We would take her for walks and always cleaned up after her (since she couldn’t do so herself).  We didn’t leave her feces on the street the way illegal aliens in San Francisco do, with the blessing of the municipal authorities.

We kept her on her leash and obeyed all the laws while walking her.  She never threatens anyone she met.  In fact, she loves people.  She doesn’t steal or peddle drugs, although she’s been known to merrily pee on the lawns of dogs who object to her presence in their territory.  Part of this habit includes trying to tear up the lawn, which I don’t allow her to do anymore.  Such disrespectful behavior is not tolerated (my companion allowed it; I’ve told her “no.”).

My companion was of thoroughly English descent (he thought he might have been Dutch; but research indicates that name was English).  The dog is now in a family of German, Irish, and Italian descent.  We’re a much more boisterous family that likes to play and some of the rules have been relaxed inside the house.

On the whole, this Australian cattle dog assimilated perfectly into her American household.  She understood my companion’s English language commands perfectly from the outset.  She didn’t need an English translator.  She didn’t need to go to English-As-Second-Language classes.  She didn’t demand taco-flavored dog food.  She didn’t mind when my companion changed her name from its original Spanish to an English name.

If we must allow animals to immigrate into our country, let’s permit more Australian cattle dogs to come to America, and fewer animals posing as human drug dealers, rapists, and murderers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Published in: on May 18, 2018 at 12:20 pm  Leave a Comment  

How Far Apart Are the Two Koreas, Really?

According to Fox News.com, North  Korea announced Tuesday that it has canceled a high-level summit with South Korea and is threatening to cancel its meeting with the United States over American military drills with South Korea, Yonhap News reported Tuesday, citing KCNA., North Korea’s state media outlet, which claimed that the military drills were a rehearsal for a potential invasion of the country.

 

CNN.com gave the North Korean viewpoint, reporting:

 

North Korea has threatened to cancel the planned summit between President Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un scheduled for June 12 in Singapore, saying the US should carefully consider the fate of the upcoming meeting, in view of what it calls “provocative military disturbances with South Korea.”

 

President Donald Trump tweeted:

 

“The highly anticipated meeting between Kim Jong Un and myself will take place in Singapore on June 12th. We will both try to make it a very special moment for World Peace!”

 

Fox News reported:  “State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert said during a Tuesday briefing that they had not received any ‘formal or even informal notification of anything,’ and are continuing to plan the summit.

 

“’I will say that Kim Jong Un had said previously that he understands the need and the utility of the United States and the Republic of Korea continuing in its joint exercises. They’re exercises that are legal, and they’re planned well, well in advance,’ Nauert said. ‘We have not heard anything from that government or the government of South Korea to indicate that we would not continue conducting these exercises or that we would not continue planning for our meeting between President Trump and Kim Jong Un next month.’

 

“She also added that the exercises are ‘certainly not provocative.’

 

“U.S. B-52 bombers, however, may not participate in a U.S.-based air drill, according to a Yonhap News report.

 

“A statement from Press Secretary Sarah Sanders Tuesday said the White House was ‘aware of the South Korean media report’ and that the U.S. ‘will look at what North Korea has said independently and continue to coordinate closely with our allies.’

 

“A source from the National Security Council told Fox News earlier that the White House didn’t yet know what to make of North Korea’s statements, adding ‘this is the way they operate.’

 

“The U.S. and North Korea have been making good progress toward talks about Kim giving up his nuclear program, according to the source. And while they said it’s possible that North Korea could be thinking about derailing the summit, at the moment, ‘we don’t think so,’ the source said.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in favors a peaceful reunification between the two Koreas.  He met with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un in an historic meeting in the demilitarized zone on April 28.

 

Moon, a progressive liberal, was elected as the leader of New Politics Alliance for Democracy (NPAD) on Feb. 2, 2015 after the Conservative President Park Geun-hye’s administration was formally accused of corruption, bribery, and influence-peddling for the involvement of close friend Choi Soon-sil in state affairs.  A series of massive public demonstrations beginning in November 2016 and she was removed from office.

 

After the fallout of President Park’s impeachment and dismissal, new elections were held and Moon Jae-in of the Democratic party won the presidency, assuming office on the 10th May 2017. His tenure so far has seen an improving political relationship with North Korea, some increasing divergence in the military alliance with the United States, and the successful hosting of the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang.

 

Prior to his election, Moon and NPAD party leader and 2012 presidential candidate rival Ahn Cheol-soo had many public disputes over the direction of the party.  Moon’s official role led Ahn Cheol-soo to quit and form the centrist People’s Party. Ahn’s departure and Moon’s new tenure as party leader led to the newly renaming the liberal, NPAD Party as the new Democratic Party.

 

Similarly, Moon’s foreign policy towards North Korea is considered too closely align with the Sunshine Policy embraced by former liberal presidents Kim Dae-jung and Roh Moo-hyun.

 

In June 2000, as part of President Kim Dae-jung’s “Sunshine Policy” of engagement, a North–South summit took place in Pyongyang, the capital of North Korea. Later that year, Kim received the Nobel Peace Prize “for his work for democracy and human rights in South Korea and in East Asia in general, and for peace and reconciliation with North Korea in particular.”

 

However, because of discontent among the population for fruitless approaches to the North under the previous administrations and, amid North Korean provocations, a conservative government was elected in 2007 led by President Lee Myung-bak, former mayor of Seoul.

 

The Sunshine Policy refers to the theoretical basis for South Korea’s foreign policy towards North Korea. Its official title is “Taebuk hwahae hyŏmnyŏk chŏngch’aek (The Reconciliation and Cooperation Policy vis-à-vis the North),” and is also known as “Taebuk unyŏng chŏngch’aek (The Operational Policy vis-à-vis the North)” and “Pŏ-ong chŏngch’aek (The Embracing Policy).”

 

In 1998  South Korean President, Kim Dae-jung, described a policy that was meant to soften North Korea’s attitude towards South Korea, naming it after one of Aesop’s fables, “The North Wind and the Sun.”   The idea for the name was shared with a Korean diplomat over dinner by Elizabeth Young, Lady Kennet – and built on the traditional Korean ways of dealing with enemies by giving them gifts to prevent them from causing harm.

 

The policy emerged largely in the context of growing economic gap between the two Koreas, where the South was moving in the path of strengthening its nation powered by the economic prosperity achieved from President Park Chung-hee‘s administration in the 1970s throughout the 1990s while the North was falling into severe economic decline.

 

Facing bankruptcy and spending excessive portion of its funds on warfare along with the nuclear program, North Korea faced widespread starvation among its people during the time. Sunshine Policy was aimed at mitigating this gap in economic power and restoring lost communication between two nations.

 

Furthermore, the background to South Korea’s decision to engage North Korea through cooperation rather than maintaining a conservative stance in the past hints to a change in the domestic politics as well. According to Son Key-Young, the Sunshine Policy emerged ultimately as an evidence of evolving South Korean national identity since the Cold War which “ushered in an era of unprecedented confusion in South Korea over whether to define North Korea as friend or foe.”

 

The policy resulted in greater political contact between the two States and some historic moments in inter-Korean relations; the two Korean summit meetings in Pyongyang (June 2000 and October 2007), as well as several high-profile business ventures, and brief meetings of family members separated by the Korean War.

 

In 2000, Kim Dae-jung was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his successful implementation of the Sunshine Policy.

 

Following the election of Moon Jae-in in 2017, South Korea began reconciling with North Korea once more, thus beginning the possible revival of the Sunshine Policy.

 

However, the “sunshine” was soon obscured by storm clouds.

 

North Korea escalated its attacks on South Korea in 2010.  In March 2010, the South Korean warship ROKS Cheonan was sunk with the loss of 46 South Korean sailors by a North Korean submarine. In November 2010, Yeonpyeong Island was attacked by a significant North Korean artillery barrage, with 4 fatalities. The lack of a strong response to these attacks from both South Korea and the international community (the official U.N. report declined to explicitly name North Korea as the perpetrator for the Cheonan sinking) caused significant anger with the South Korean public.

 

Moon’s relatively liberal stance in foreign policy is reflected in his writing in a book: “I’m pro-U.S., but now South Korea should adopt diplomacy in which it can discuss a U.S. request and say no to the Americans.”  He opposes a re-balance of the security alliance with the United States, but has also stated that he favored a peaceful reunification between the two Koreas.  He was both widely criticized and widely praised for his comments stating that his first visit if elected president would be to visit North Korea, a visit that would be not unlike Roh Moo-hyun’s visit to the country in 2007.

 

South Korea wants “to be able to take the lead on matters on the Korean Peninsula.”  At the same time, Moon has stated that he considers America as a “friend” for its role in helping South Korea avoid communism while helping its economic growth.

 

Moon visited the United States to meet with U.S. President Donald Trump in June 2017, discussing U.S.-Korea trade relations as well as North Korea’s missile programs. Moon revealed in a joint news conference that President Trump accepted an invitation to visit South Korea.

 

South Korea’s economic growth has been attributed in large part to chaebols, or family-owned conglomerates, according to liberal critics of South Korea’s economic success.  Prominent examples of conglomerates include Samsung and Hyundai. Following various corruption scandals (Samsung’s Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong serving a suspended jail sentence), concentrated power (what Liberals in Korea call “collusion”), connections with the government including most recently the 2016 Choi Soon-sil scandal which ultimately led to the special election Moon won, one of Moon’s biggest areas of focus during the campaign was reforms at chaebols including greater transparency in the companies’ corporate governance structure. Moon appointed “chaebol sniper” Kim Sang-jo, a well-known shareholder activist, to the role of fair-trade commissioner aimed at reforming chaebols.

 

Outlining his North Korea strategy in a speech in Berlin on July 6, 2017, Moon characterized the process leading to unification as a long-term project, rather than laying out any detailed plans for a unified Korea. He emphasized alliance with the United States and specified the need to assure dismantlement of North Korea’s nuclear weapons program.

 

At the same time, he presented the question of unification in a regional context and signaled his hopes of working in cooperation with the international community. He supported sanctions against North Korea, while leaving open the possibility of their being rescinded, and indicated that it is crucial to establish a peace treaty with North Korea to end the Korean War officially in exchange for denuclearization.

 

Moon opposed the full deployment of THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense) systems during his presidential campaign and called for more peace talks engaging with North Korea.

As of late July, following North Korea’s latest missile launch and increasingly aggressive actions, Moon asked the U.S. permission to build up its domestic defense systems and temporarily set up a full THAAD system.

 

According to reports on Wikipedia, citing articles from various South Korean newspapers, the Washington Times and the RAND Corporation, some critics of the Sunshine Policy contend that rather than increasing the chances of reunification or undermining the regime in North Korea, it has been used instead for political gain in domestic politics in the South. They point to what they say are the continuing provocations and criminal activities committed by the North, such as the 2002 sea battle that left several South Korean sailors dead, the counterfeiting of American money, and what they call the North’s general unwillingness to reciprocate Seoul’’ gestures of goodwill, as evidence that the North is interested only in receiving money and aid to prop up the communist regime.

 

Critics also believe that, in exchange for providing humanitarian aid, the South should demand that the North return detained South Korean citizens and the remains of POWs from the Korean War.  Some anonymous sources see Moon’s deal on the Kaesong Industrial Park as merely a way for large South Korean companies to employ cheaper labor.

 

Many South Korean conservative-leaning observers see the weakening of the U.S.-South Korea alliance as being due in large part to the Sunshine Policy; they say it has led the South to favor the North’s interests over those of its ally, the United States, and that it leads South Korean politicians to unreasonably mute or censor criticism of the North and even to ignore the sacrifices of its own soldiers so as to avoid upsetting the North.

 

They say that this is harmful to the South’s national interest in being allied with the United States and actually damages the chances for a smooth and peaceful reunification. Internationally and at home, the South Korean government has been criticized for repeatedly abstaining from United Nations votes condemning the North’s human rights record. The government defends the abstentions by citing the special character of inter-Korean relations.

 

Conspiracies have been alleged about South Korea’s motivations for this policy. One North Korean defector who worked on weapons systems claimed that South Korean intelligence wanted to suppress his story, because it would shed a bad light on the policy. According to the Wall Street Journal, several U.S. senators believe his story.

 

With yet another Socialist president ruling South Korea, the difference between the South and its more aggressive neighbor to the North becomes mere shades of the same ideology.  Lenin versus Mao; military might versus legislative legerdemain.  Kim Jong-un and his kin have starved their own people in order sustain their military.  North Korea punishes political opponents; South Korea, economic policy adversaries.

 

President Moon fears to rattle Kim Jong-un’s cage (with good reason, since North Korea’s missiles are single-digit minutes, or seconds, from wiping out Seoul or Incheon.  South Korean Conservatives criticize his kid-glove approach as appeasement of a vicious dictator.

 

Recent history bears out their assertions.  North Korea rattles its saber; the West responds in kind and the North attacks the South at any hint of Western collaboration.  Kim Jong-un cites fears of “invasion” of the northern Hermit Kingdom.  Moon’s gentle response is that the North and South are not so very different and he’s perfectly willing, on the part of South Korea, to diffuse those differences in North Korea’s favor, if Kim Jong-un will just step away from the nuclear weapons.

 

Such appeals will only encourage Kim Jong-un to cling harder to his nukes, in the hope that he can shake more humanitarian aid out of his gullible southern counterpart.  When your finger is over the Doomsday button, your victims will agree to just about anything.

 

Appeasement only works for the aggressor, not the negotiator.

 

 

Published in: on May 17, 2018 at 1:23 pm  Leave a Comment  

Haley to Palestinians: Put Or Shut Up

Back in February, when U.S. United Nations ambassador Nikki Haley told the United Nations Security Council that the United States would not be deterred from transferring its embassy to Israel, Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas had already left the chamber prior to Haley’s remarks.

 

Abbas exited the meeting shortly after charging the U.S. with failing to clarify its stance on a two-state solution and keeping the Palestine Liberation Organization on the terror watch list.

 

Yesterday, Nikki Haley slammed the U.N. for blasting measures Israel used to secure its border during violent clashes with Hamas-backed insurgents. After she concluded her speech, she walked out of the chamber when a Palestinian representative began to speak.

 

For months, Palestinians have been protesting along the Gaza-Israeli border in objection to Israel’s 70 years in existence. Protestors have been reportedly burning tires in order to create a thick black cloud of smoke that obfuscates them and enables them to carry out acts of violence.

 

Israel Defense Forces (IDF) say Hamas insurgents used the U.S.’s embassy relocation to Jerusalem as an excuse to storm the border and plant explosives. At least 58 Palestinians were killed yesterday, spurring the U.N. to propose investigating the IDF to determine if their actions violated international law — a proposal Haley slammed as preposterous.

 

“Those who suggest the violence has anything to do with the U.S. location of the embassy are sorely mistaken.’

 

Speaking before the United Nations Security Council, Haley said the deaths of more than 60 Palestinian protesters were the fault of Hamas and accused Israel’s detractors of applying a “double standard” in blaming the state for using force to defend its border.

 

“Let’s remember that the Hamas terrorist organization has been inciting violence for years, long before the United States decided to move our embassy,” Haley said. “This is what is endangering the people of Gaza. Make no mistake, Hamas is pleased with the results from yesterday.”

 

Haley urged the security-council members present to consider whether they would have responded with similar force if a comparable level of violence erupted on their own border. “No country in this chamber would act with more restraint than Israel has,” she said. “In fact, the records of several countries here today suggest they would be much less restrained.”

 

According to a report by CNN, “Haley’s [February] speech was designed to deliver a direct message to Abbas:  “Our negotiators are sitting right behind me, ready to talk.  But we will not chase after you.  The choice, Mr. President, is yours.”

 

“There is the path of absolutist demands, hateful rhetoric, and incitement to violence.  That path,” Haley said, “has led, and will continue to lead, to nothing but hardship for the Palestinian people.

 

“Or,” she continued, “there is the path of negotiation and compromise.  History has show that path to be successful for Egypt and Jordan, including the transfer of territory.  That path remains open to the Palestinian leadership, if only it is courageous enough to take it.”

 

Haley also took the opportunity, according to CNN, “to respond to comments made earlier this month by Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat, who said she should “shut up” with her criticism of Abbas.

 

“I will decline the advice I was recently given by your top negotiator, Saeb Erekat.  I will not shut up.  Rather, I will respectfully speak some hard truths,” Haley said.

 

She added, “The United States knows the Palestinian leadership was very unhappy with the decision to move our embassy to Jerusalem.

 

“You don’t have to like that decision.  You don’t have to praise it.  You don’t even have to accept it.  But know this:  that decision will not change.”

 

Haley is proving to be a refreshing voice after years of craven pandering and amelioration by Moderate and Liberal administrations.  Haley pointed out that the so-called Palestinian “government” is nothing but an extension of the terrorist organization, Hezbollah, backed by Iran and Russia and devoted to the extermination of Israel.

 

For Hamas, there is no solution other than to wipe Israel off the map.  For the United States to carry out its promise to move its official embassy to Israel, in the eyes of Palestine, is to give full recognition to their mortal enemy.

 

The Media has been castigating the United States for the violence on the Gaza Strip yesterday, in which an infant was killed by tear gas.  Why in the world did someone bring a baby to a riot, in which the Palestinians are clearly (as seen in photos and videos) committing the violence, except to deliver it up as a martyr to their ancient and baseless clause?

 

The indigenous peoples claim is not going to work in a Middle East where little girls are murdered and mutilated, homosexuals are thrown from roofs, and Christians have been driven from the same ancient lands.  The Iranians (then Persia, but still Muslim) partnered with Nazi Germany during World War II.  If you’re a Nazi-hating Liberal, then your anti-Semitic ideology doesn’t make much sense.

 

Liberals, being not only anti-Semitic but also anti-Christian, do not recognize Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state.  They never will.  Clearly, they’re willing to go to any lengths to deny Israel that right, right up to nuclear war, with Iran leading the charge.

 

Nikki Haley, on the other hand, will not sit down and shut up when it comes to defending Israel.  Like a modern-day, distaff Winston Churchill, she is determined to stand her ground at the United Nations and treat with any adversary as they treat with her.

 

In 2015, Vogue magazine voted “Caitlyn” Bruce Jenner as their Woman of the Year.  By December, if she keeps up the excellent work, the real Woman of the Year will be Nikki Haley.

 

 

 

Published in: on May 16, 2018 at 12:30 pm  Leave a Comment  

Opening Day for the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem

You can’t please everyone.

 

Yesterday, President Trump kept his promise on his pledge back in December to relocate the U.S. Embassy to Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

 

In a brief, pre-recorded video statement, aired at the official ceremony in Jerusalem, President Trump said, “The United States, under President Harry Truman, became the first nation to recognize the state of Israel. Today, we officially open the United States embassy in Jerusalem. Congratulations. It’s been a long time coming.

 

“Almost immediately after declaring statehood in 1948, Israel designated the city of Jerusalem as its capital. The capital the Jewish people established in ancient times. So important.

 

“Today, Jerusalem is the seat of Israel’s government. It is the home of the Israeli legislature and the Israeli supreme court and Israel’s prime minister and president. Israel is a sovereign nation with the right, like every other sovereign nation, to determine its own capital.

 

“Yet for many years we failed to acknowledge the obvious: the plain reality that Israel’s capital is Jerusalem. On Dec. 6, 2017, at my direction, the United States finally and officially recognized Jerusalem as the true capital of Israel.

 

Today, we follow through on this recognition and open our embassy in the historic and sacred land of Jerusalem. And we’re opening it many, many years ahead of schedule.

 

As I said in December, our greatest hope is for peace. The United States remains fully committed to facilitating a lasting peace agreement, and we continue to support the status quo at Jerusalem’s holy sites, including at the Temple Mount, also known as Haram al-Sharif.”

 

“This city and its entire nation is a testament to the unbreakable spirit of the Jewish people. The United States will always be a great friend of Israel and a partner in the cause of freedom and peace.

 

“We wish Ambassador Friedman good luck as he takes up his office in this beautiful Jerusalem embassy, and we extend a hand in friendship to Israel, the Palestinians and to all of their neighbors. May there be peace.  May God bless this embassy.  May God bless all who serve there.  And may God bless the United States of America. Thank you.”

 

The official opening of the embassy in Jerusalem yesterday coincided with Israel’s 70th anniversary.  The Embassy will initially be located in the Arnona neighborhood, in a modern building that now houses consular operations of U.S. Consulate General Jerusalem. Those consular operations, including American citizen and visa services, will continue at the Arnona facility without interruption, as part of the Embassy.

 

Consulate General Jerusalem will continue to operate as an independent mission with an unchanged mandate, from its historic Agron Road location. Initially, the interim Embassy in Arnona will contain office space for the Ambassador and a small staff. By the end of next year, we intend to open a new Embassy Jerusalem annex on the Arnona compound that will provide the Ambassador and his team with expanded interim office space. In parallel, we have started the search for a site for our permanent Embassy to Israel, the planning and construction of which will be a longer-term undertaking.

 

Since February, the Palestinians have been expressing their unhappiness at this turn of events.  Palestinian protestors fired on Israeli troops along the Gaza border in March.  The army said many rioters attempted to breach the border fence and that approximately 10 explosive devices and several firebombs were thrown at the security fence and Israeli troops.”

 

Israel occupied the West Bank and east Jerusalem in 1967 and later annexed east Jerusalem in a move the international community refused to recognize.  Palestinians were commemorating what they call the “Nakba,” or “catastrophe,” commemorating the more than 700,000 Palestinians who fled or were expelled in the 1948 war surrounding Israel’s creation.

 

Palestinians gathered Tuesday for fresh protests along the Gaza border, once again firing on Israeli troops and attempting to storm the security there as the US embassy opened in Jerusalem.  Sixty Palestinians died in the conflict with the Israeli army.

 

In any conflict, one side or another loses.  You don’t get “participation prizes” for being on the wrong side of history.  The Palestinians have been on the wrong side of history since Biblical times.  A people who practiced human and animal sacrifice and other atrocities don’t get to come back 7,000 years later and claim they were treated “unfairly” because another race with better morals (eventually, they gained better morals, although not perfection, which is impossible for any human being to achieve) overcame them.

 

Of course, according to the Bible, God also kicked the Jews out of Jerusalem and sent them into exile in Babylon because they intermarried with local, heathen tribes and Greek and Roman pagans and began “weeping for Tau.”  They desecrated the Holy Temple and God gave them their eviction notice.

 

That was then, this is now.

 

President Trump has recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital city on behalf of the United States.  The deed was courageous, generous, and perhaps even inspired.  President Trump, though he might seem like an unusual “executive” is taking back the executive power that Constitution originally granted the president that was unconstitutionally taken away by the Congress of the Sixties and Seventies.

 

Congratulations on a job well done, President Trump, on this most recent of presidential victories.

 

 

 

 

Published in: on May 15, 2018 at 11:26 am  Leave a Comment  

Who’s Afraid of Gina Haspel, CIA Nominee? – Belle’s Blog

Terrorist cockroach Khalid Sheikh Mohammed wants to come to Washington, D.C., to testify about Gina Haspel’s waterboarding skills.  Between October and December 2002, Haspel was assigned to oversee a secret CIA prison in Thailand, code-named Cat’s Eye, that housed persons suspected of involvement in Al-Qaeda.

 

The prison was part of the U.S. government’s rendition program after the September 11 attacks, and used “enhanced interrogation techniques” such as waterboarding that Liberals consider to be torture although those methods were legal at the time by agency lawyers. According to a former senior CIA official, Haspel arrived as station chief after the interrogation of interrogation of Abu Zubaydah but was chief during the waterboarding of Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri.

 

KSM claims that Haspel personally waterboarded him, which would have added insult to injury because Haspel is a woman.  Score one for the female air attendants KSM’s thugs murdered on the 9/11 flights.  Hey, if you want to be the boss, you have to take the responsibility.

 

According to reports, after the CIA interrogation, KSM sang but then they determined that what they learned was “probably” false.  Probably?  Since the information is classified, we’ll never know what it was he confessed to doing.  One time, he told them he was going to land an airplane in lower Manhattan, make a propaganda speech and then blow the plane up.

 

Can’t really blame law enforcement for not buying that one.  Those of us who remember KSM’s pre-9/11 appearances and announcements, the monkey was rather given to quoting action-adventure movies.  September 11th was going to be his big action-adventure premiere.

 

Only what if someone upstaged him, without his realizing it?  What if someone else, high up, knew something he didn’t?  What if the “success” of 9/11 didn’t belong to him at all, but that other actor?  Of course, no one was left alive – or would be left alive – to tell the world otherwise.  That would make KSM the “hero” of 9/11.  The real “hero” dies and KSM gets all the glory.

 

No wonder he wants to testify in Washington.  This hearing is his chance to revive his “career” as an “actor.”  Would he be willing to “recreate” the waterboarding scene?  That would be great.  There’d be a line three times around the Capitol with people queuing up, eager to see KSM get it again.

 

Only the political and media elites are “shocked” that KSM and other terrorists were given “enhanced interrogation” (which included being denied access to a Koran or television; they won both rights in the end).  What’s more, he told them everything.  Only law enforcement rolled their eyes.

 

If you’re going to waterboard someone, and an Islamic terrorist makes a fine subject for “torture,” at least take his word for it when he gives you information.  Otherwise, you’ve wasted a tank of water for nothing.

 

No one has ever given a good explanation for why the terrorists in Los Angeles skipped the stopover in New York City on 9/11 and went straight on to London, where they consequently disappeared.  Weren’t they members of KSM’s West Coast team?  If, as law enforcement claims, they were scheduled for a later attack, why were they on a flight bound for New York City on September 11th?

 

 

September 11th is now not just yesterday’s news, but history.  9/11 isn’t just history, either, but an unsolved history mystery for which no one has ever stood trial.

 

Not even KSM.  Why is that?

 

Gina Haspel should not only be appointed Director of the Central Intelligence Agency; she should be given a medal.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Published in: on May 14, 2018 at 10:59 am  Leave a Comment