Sunday, June 11, 2017
Saturday, June 10, 2017
All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.
Constitution of the United States. Article One, Section One
I recommend “The Tyranny of the Administrative State” by John Tierney in the Wall Street Journal http://www.economicpolicyjournal.com/2017/06/the-tyranny-of-administrative-state.html which is based on the work of Phillip Hamburger, author of “Is Administrative Law Unlawful?” The book is scholarly.
Why the return of the royal prerogative? “The answer rests ultimately on human nature,” Mr. Hamburger writes in The Administrative Threat, a new short book aimed at a general readership. “Ever tempted to exert more power with less effort, rulers are rarely content to govern merely through the law.”
Instead, presidents govern by interpreting statutes in ways lawmakers never imagined. Barack Obama openly boasted of his intention to bypass Congress: “I’ve got a pen and I’ve got a phone.” Unable to persuade a Congress controlled by his own party to regulate carbon dioxide, Mr. Obama did it himself in 2009 by having the EPA declare it a pollutant covered by a decades-old law. (In 2007 the Supreme Court had affirmed the EPA’s authority to do so.)
Similarly, the Title IX legislation passed in 1972 was intended mainly to protect women in higher education from employment discrimination. Under Mr. Obama, Education Department bureaucrats used it to issue orders about bathrooms for transgender students at public schools and to mandate campus tribunals to adjudicate sexual misconduct—including “verbal misconduct,” or speech—that are in many ways less fair to the accused than the Star Chamber.
The article does well in summarizing English history from James 1, absolute power by divine right, his son Charles I (King Charles, martyr, in the Anglican Church) who continued that policy until the Parliamentary army (Roundheads) overthrew him in the Civil War and Oliver Cromwell had him executed; Cromwell’s Commonwealth, under which Puritans abolished Christmas; the Restoration which brought back the Stuarts; and the Glorious Revolution of 1688 which established William and Mary and the Constitutional Monarchy with its Bill of Rights, but which left much authority to the Crown.
The Philadelphia Convention of 1787 which framed the Constitution was well aware of the history of England and the English Civil War; and they were well aware of the tendency of government to assume authority when it feels a need to do so. The States had such residual authority; the Framers were determined that the federal government of the United States would not. After the Preamble, the first words in the Constitution are:
All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.
Constitution of the United States. Article One, Section One
The President was given no such powers. Instead, the President is enjoined to “take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed”. Only Congress can make law; the President has no such power, This was not enough: the Constitution was not accepted until it contained a Bill of Rights which explicitly stated that “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”
This was an explicit command: the Congress could not delegate its authority to the executive. Restrictions and duties , commands and prohibitions on the people of the United States could only come from Congress. The President was to enforce the laws. This was understood through most of our history until Franklin Delano Roosevelt conceived of the New Deal and insisted on Federal Authority to regulated the economy. This was conceived as a necessity because of the Great Depression, and then as a war power; most Americans have forgotten that delegation of power by Congress to regulation agencies is a relatively new thing, not yet 100 years old, it is disputed to this day.
We are all aware of the regulation authority. In addition, Presidents have asserted authority not granted by law; faced with a recalcitrant Congress, President Obama famously stated “I’ve got a pen, and I’ve got a phone.” We also know that President Trump campaigned on a platform of eliminating much of the administrative swamp. This article does a good job of explaining why that is necessary for the restoration of constitutional government.
Kipling: The Old Issue which is very relevant to this issue of Deep government and the administrative state. Suffer not this king!
I have long been an admirer of Peggy Noonan, but she seems lately to have been converted to the obligatory Trump bashing of the neo-cons and the editorial authorities of the Wall Street Journal. The paper’s policies are curiously contradictory, in that they seem to believe some reform of the Washington Establishment is needed, but they are so much a part of the Establishment that they can’t resist whacking Mr. Trump whenever possible; and Peggy Noonan has now joined that crowd,
What Comey Told Us About Trump
She opens with this subtitle:
“The president has no understanding of the norms, rules and traditions of his job.”
And while her analysis is well written – she’s a very good writer – she – but you will have to read it for yourself.
I do note that she carefully points out that none of Mr. Trump’s objectionable actions were criminal or illegal; that no laws were broken. Yet they cannot resist talking about Mr. Trump’s defects.
The worst part of the testimony is when the president pressed Mr. Comey for his personal loyalty. Presidents don’t lean on FBI chiefs in this way. It is at odds with traditional boundaries, understandings and protocols. It was embarrassing to read. It was the move of a naïf who’s a cynic—I know how the big boys play. Actually it’s not how the big boys play, it’s how someone who learns about government by binge-watching “House of Cards” would play. It was bumptious with the special bumptiousness of those who think themselves savvy.
I’m not sure what this means. Mr. Trump is the elected president of the United States. It is no secret that many holdover officials were explicitly not loyal to the President, and some were proud of dragging their feet or even sabotaging Mr. Trump‘s action. Why should the President not expect loyalty from the Director of the FBI? Is the top investigating agency not subject to control by elected officials? This insistence of Administrative Independence is the very essence of the deep state, of the experts who have a right to rule not subject to the elected officials; it is a resurrection of the old divine rights, only the deep state is superior to everyone else: they and only they have a right to rule.
Mr. Comey had spent months “investigating” the Russian question without finding anything to prosecute. It consumed time, distracted from proper government, and to what purpose? Was the President improper for asking when this very expensive and distracting investigation would end? Do we want the FBI “investigating” whomever it wants to, subject to no elected authority?
As to the President not being subject to the norms, rules, and traditions of the Presidency, is there a person in America who thought this president would be? Was it not clear from the moment of his announcing his candidacy on the escalator in Trump Tower that he was not going to be subject to the rules, norms, and traditions of the Establishment? He made all that very clear throughout his campaign, and only a ninny could believe otherwise; indeed, he was denounced for it right up to the election. Yet he was elected.
A Republic’s government must be responsible to SOMEONE. There is no Monarch to be the fountain of justice. The President must take care that the laws are faithfully enforced. And the Establishment may insist on norms, rules and traditions all it likes, but they are not laws, and elections count.
Mr. Obama had a pen and he had a phone, and guess what, he won.
Mrs. Clinton was his designated successor. She did not win.
One story about “professionalism” in government. George H. W, Bush, Bush I, was the essence of the establishment, and believed in government professionalism and competence. The Foreign Service is the professional diplomatic establishment. When Saddam Hussein became a problem and threatened Kuwait, our Ambassador, Ms. April Glaspie, a professional, went to him and formally delivered a message, which I have read many times over – and for the life of me I can’t see that she says don’t invade Kuwait or we’ll do something about it.
Her message is diplomatic and polite, professional, and traditional. It is also ambiguous about the US position on Saddam taking Kuwait.
Would we not be better off today had we had a traditional ambassador, an old chum of the President who could speak for him and say “Saddam, old boy, you’ve been kind of our favorite over here because you resist Iran. We know Iraq was glued together out of provinces of the Turkish Empire, and maybe you have some claim to Kuwait from that, but we don’t agree. We can’t allow you to invade Kuwait, and if you do, we won’t like doing it, but we’ll come over here and throw you out. Now, let’s talk about what we can let you do, or even do for you.”
In which case, there would not have been the two Iraqi Wars costing a $Trillion or more.
Dershowitz: Comey confirms that I’m right – and all the Democratic commentators are wrong
In his testimony former FBI director James Comey echoed a view that I alone have been expressing for several weeks, and that has been attacked by nearly every Democratic pundit.
Comey confirmed that under our Constitution, the president has the authority to direct the FBI to stop investigating any individual. I paraphrase, because the transcript is not yet available: the president can, in theory, decide who to investigate, who to stop investigating, who to prosecute and who not to prosecute. The president is the head of the unified executive branch of government, and the Justice Department and the FBI work under him and he may order them to do what he wishes.
As a matter of law, Comey is 100 percent correct. As I have long argued, and as Comey confirmed in his written statement, our history shows that many presidents—from Adams to Jefferson, to Lincoln, to Roosevelt, to Kennedy, to Bush 1, and to Obama – have directed the Justice Department with regard to ongoing investigations. The history is clear, the precedents are clear, the constitutional structure is clear, and common sense is clear.
Yet virtually every Democratic pundit, in their haste to “get” President Trump, has willfully ignored these realities. In doing so they have endangered our civil liberties and constitutional rights. [snip]
It’s the upkeep
As predicted in the article I linked for you a couple months ago, A10 has been neglected long enough that shortfalls in the supply and maintenance chain will cause a degradation in the fielded force: https://www.dodbuzz.com/2017/06/09/air-force-mulls-cutting-three-a-10-squadrons/
Even though the aircraft may have been saved from retirement, it may have been killed off by fiscal attrition, and managed into its grave through neglect. This linked article refers to the wing structural repair/upgrade program, but even not being involved with the program I’m aware of at least two other maintenance issues that are affecting the program.
And, of course, the F35 is having teething problems, similar to problems encountered with other aircraft: http://www.military.com/daily-news/2017/06/09/air-force-grounds-f35-operations-luke-afb.html
The cases just illustrate that it isn’t the purchase price, but maintenance costs that drives operational capability. Perhaps if we could take care of our toys better, we’d deserve new ones?
With hopes for yours and Roberta’s continuing recovery,
But the A-10 is the most effective ground support aircraft ever made, and an important part of our ability to project military power.
This link leads to a large number of charts and graphs, with sources, that indicate there is no consensus among qualified climate scientists: there is legitimate evidence for doubt everywhere. The subject is complex, and emotions run high; but there is a vast quantity of data that contradicts the theory of a sudden rise in annual Earth temperature, and considerable debate cover how one would calculate such a number, particularly over centuries.
Climate Change “Consensus”
There is also:
Subj: Tweet from Joe Bastardi (@BigJoeBastardi)
Joe Bastardi (@BigJoeBastardi) tweeted at 7:25 AM on Sat, Jun 10, 2017:
Greenland, for example, has been losing one cubic kilometer of ice every single day
Another flat out lie from AL Gore,Check reality below https://t.co/pBuv75POgq
by Larry Niven
He’s been at this for some time. Like a good many of his colleagues, Jerry was sucked into the space sciences by science fiction. He was building rockets for the government back when they had to steal the parts from other projects, and get the work done by sneaking back into the plant after clocking out. He’s been building the future since I was in grade school, and he’s still at it.
His ambitions are impressive. In this book you’ll find laid out for you several routes to a future in which the entire world is as wealthy as the United States is today . . . and that is as wealthy as any nation has been in human history. He does not intend that we should confine ourselves to Only One Earth.
Do you feel that your soul and body will benefit if you eat nothing but organically grown fruits and vegetables? You may well be right; but there’s a reason why those scrawny carrots are so expensive. Without fertilizers and bug sprays the tomatoes, etc., might not come out of the ground. (Ours didn’t!) Wealth lets you pay someone else to grow it. If you go the whole route, forming a commune, living as your ancestors did, eating only food you grow yourself without technological help . . . then wealth lets you go on eating after the crop fails.
More generally, the right to live as if you were poor is inalienable. What you stand to lose is the right to live otherwise. Through your laziness or your inattention or through listening to the wrong saviors, you may condemn all future generations to involuntary poverty.
Nobody can be forced to spend wealth. That applies to you as thoroughly as it applies to the Indian rice farmer or Brahmin mendicant. Either can simply ignore the wealth that Dr. Pournelle proposes to drop on his head.
Remember when people could sell themselves into slavery in order to eat? There was a ready market, because machines did not yet compete with muscle power. Those halcyon days are gone. With no good reason to fear for their jobs, servants have already become arrogant enough that most people would rather let a machine do it.
Well, why not? In the past few decades we’ve developed ultra-dependable ovens, vacuum cleaners, dishwashers, washer-dryers, soaps and detergents and other specialized chemicals for tasks each of which was once served by elbow grease (and somebody else’s elbows, with any luck). The controls on my microwave oven have a better memory than my mother’s cook, and my mother’s cook quits more often.
In an age of inflation, the price of computer capability is going down. Ten years from now, your chauffeur may well be a computer; and why not? It would take up less room in the car and far less room in the house.
Consider backpacking. Over the decades, what was once a test of survival has become comfortable. Roads carry you into the wilderness. There you carry freeze-dried food and a lightweight mummy bag and air mattress on a contoured pack with a hip belt. Naturally the trails grow crowded. The population increases, the wilderness decreases. Already people propose to put glittering solar power collectors all over perfectly good deserts, instead of in orbit, as God intended.
If four billion people could afford to buy Kelty packs and sleeping bags, a certain minute percentage would go backpacking. And the world’s wilderness areas would be jammed! What happens to the original backpacker, the man who needs the solitude of an empty trail?
No sweat. If we follow Jerry’s route, we’ll be moving a lot of our industries into Earth orbit and beyond. We’ll be mining the Moon and the asteroids, and using free fall to keep heart patients alive and to manufacture ball bearings and single-crystal whiskers and strange new alloys. Let’s continue that process. Move all of Earth’s industries into Earth orbit. Turn the Earth into one gigantic park. There’ll be room for the backpackers.
The last time I spoke on this subject, someone in the audience called me a “bourgeois” for the first time in my life. Do we bourgeoisie tend to overemphasize wealth? Maybe. Someone else pointed out that, if we were all to spend most of our time in meditation, in seeking out the strengths and weaknesses of our own souls, we would use very little of the world’s resources.
She was right, of course. I did have to point out that one would get the same benefits from being dead; but even that isn’t the point. Choice is what matters. You have the right to choose your profession or lack thereof, your friends, when and whether you get married, what clothes you wear, how and whether to- cut your hair and shave your face or legs, and whether you spend twenty-four hours a day meditating. But that right depends absolutely on your ability to walk out! If the pressure from your parents or neighbors is too much, hop on a bus and go. Change cities, if necessary. You don’t have to resist the pressure to conform. There are people living exactly as you would like to. Find them!
What does it take to maintain these freedoms? Not much. Classified ads in newspapers, a nationwide telephone network, your car and a network of highways and gas stations, several competing airlines, a public police force—actually a fairly recent invention, that one.
Fred Pohl’s biography speaks of another freedom—a freedom you will hopefully never need. Fred grew up during the Depression, in a society that could not yet afford Welfare. There was no bottom to failure in those days. You could starve in the street, just like in India. Far and few were those willing to claim it was good for their own souls.
Oh, there’s one more freedom worth considering, for those of the female persuasion. Laws tend to pragmatism. Your legal right to be considered the equal of a man depends on physical strength being irrelevant; and that depends on machines. Women have been slaves in most societies throughout most of human history. Sophisticated contraceptives help too; they allow you to avoid compulsory pregnancy. Peasants don’t manufacture contraceptives.
If you’re my age (forty) or younger, you’ve been living in a wealthy world for all of your life. Perhaps you haven’t noticed. It’s time. The sources of our wealth are running out. Dr. Pournelle will show you where to go for more.
by Judith Bergman • June 10, 2017 at 5:00 am
- “We need urgent, wholesale reform of human rights laws in this country to make sure they cannot be twisted to serve the interests of those who would harm our society.” — UK Justice Secretary, Chris Grayling, January 2015.
- Swedish intelligence deemed him too dangerous to stay in Sweden, so the immigration authorities sought to have him deported to Syria. They did not succeed: the law does not permit his deportation to Syria, as he risks being arrested or executed there. Instead, he was released and is freely walking around in Malmö.
- “It would simply never in a million years have occurred to the authors of the original Convention on Human Rights that it would one day end up in some form being used as a justification to stay here by individuals who are a danger to our country and our way of life…” — UK Justice Secretary, Chris Grayling, January 2015.
As UK Justice Secretary in 2015, Chris Grayling said: “We need urgent, wholesale reform of human rights laws in this country to make sure they cannot be twisted to serve the interests of those who would harm our society.” (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
After the Manchester terrorist attack, it was revealed that there are not “just” 3,000 jihadists on the loose in the UK, as the public had previously been informed, but rather a dismaying 23,000 jihadists. According to The Times:
“About 3,000 people from the total group are judged to pose a threat and are under investigation or active monitoring in 500 operations being run by police and intelligence services. The 20,000 others have featured in previous inquiries and are categorised as posing a ‘residual risk”‘.
Why was the public informed of this only now?
Notably, among those who apparently posed only “a residual risk” and were therefore no longer under surveillance, were Salman Abedi, the Manchester bomber, and Khalid Masood, the Westminster killer.
You might enjoy:
Obama Admin Not Exactly Clean on Clinton Email
Surprise, surprise. It looks like the Obama administration tried to pressure the FBI into down-playing the Clinton email server mess. “Comey ‘confused’ by order to refer to Clinton email probe as a ‘matter'” (http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-40206255).
On another front, Comey admitted to the Senate that he purposely gave his transcripts of his closed-door meetings with Trump to a friend with explicit instructions to give them to the press. He said the purpose of this action was to encourage the appointment of a special counsel — “Comey: Trump White House ‘lied’ about the FBI” (http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-40205461). It is disheartening that a man who is claiming honesty and integrity did not take his problems to the Senate, but instead went to the press to get what he wanted. While these meetings were not classified, there is a presumption of privilege, unless the President waived it.
We have governance by popular opinion and justice by embarrassment. How little is left of theses Unite States!
After investigation Mr. Comey decided that there was no indictable crime, because Mrs. Clinton didn’t mean to break the law. I doubt I could have pleaded that if I had carelessly released classified materials, but he was Director of the FBI
Leadership: Secrets Are Not What They Used To Be,
This is fascinating:
An excerpt: “Other revelations from the Moscow archives revealed that the Soviets had already created schemes that were indeed stranger than fiction. These included a plan to move saboteurs from Nicaragua across the Mexican border and into the U.S. disguised as illegal aliens. Radar stations, pipelines and power towers were all targeted in great detail as were port facilities in places like New York City. Other archive documents, available to researchers for a few years in the early 1990s (when a fistful of hundred dollar bills could work wonders) delivered all manner of disturbing and now well documented proofs. The Rosenbergs were indeed Russian spies, Alger Hiss was mixed up in Russian espionage efforts and the American Communist Party was in the pay of the Soviet Union and served as a tool for espionage, subversion and propaganda. Many left wing writers and politicians were either on the Soviet payroll, or eager to assist Soviet espionage activities.” <snip>
Freedom is not free. Free men are not equal. Equal men are not free.