We know where you are. We know where you’ve been. We can more or less know what you’re thinking about.
Ruling The USA
The function of the constitution
Readers who recall this newsletter’s review of Philip Hamburger’s excellent book Is Administrative Law Unlawful? might want to refresh their memories. The reason: that review notes that constitutional governance is mocked by the executive branch of the federal US government, which has illegally subsumed legislative and judicial powers.
Law-making and passing judgment on accused miscreants are absolutely not within the power of the president and his hirelings — according to the founders of the republic. That ensures that the laws are the citizens’, and that justice is blind.
The US system was precedented when it was adopted in the eighteenth century. It was neither radically experimental nor audaciously innovative. If one ignores the role of the royal family, the US federal government is a series of refinements of the British system.
That concept began to be set aside when Wilson’s presidency created the Federal Reserve to control currency — a blatantly unconstitutional measure — and introduced the notion that domestic politics could be thought of as a kind of war. F. D. Roosevelt embraced those innovations, expanded them, and further weakened the constitution’s definitive separation of powers.
The current presidency is an immensely powerful amalgam of executive, quasi-judicial, quasi-legislative authorities that reaches into all aspects of society.
Today’s populist “Leftism/Progressivism” depends on presidential power to impose its Utopian plans on the national economy, “regulating” everyone’s bliss. The angry rhetoric of Chomsky, the shrill, stifling “pay forward” collectivism of “Squaw” Warren, and the quaint mumblings of Bernie Sanders (the poor man’s George Bernard Shaw) all count on a strong federal executive to support their reforms. Today’s voters don’t know the full story because the USA’s educational system is so lame and Zinnful.
The One Leader
Now consider Obama, The Mystery Candidate. To this day, no one outside the tiny Innermost Circle knows whether he wrote all the books attributed to him (Christopher Hitchens made a bad call when he praised The One Leader’s skill as a writer: maybe Barry just had good ghosts, such as Bill “The Bomber” Ayers). Not at all a product of the US black experience, supported, endorsed, and promoted by shadowy patrons who moved him steadily upward, Obama gained his executive experience by getting rid of some asbestos in Chicago and practicing his rhetorical style.
The unconstitutional excesses painstakingly detailed by Prof. Hamburger provide President Obama with a foundation on which to build, and he has been busy. The Wall Street Journal of 01 September 2015 carries commentary by Lanhee J. Chen of the Hoover Institution and Stanford University that you should read. Perhaps it is on line: try this.
Obama’s vision of a better society allows him to make a statement of solidarity with aggrieved citizens whose grasp of issues is emotional, radicalized, and extraordinarily demonstrative (“…if I had a son, he would look like Trayvon…”). At the same time he is willing to lie about the plans he has for citizens who, though law-obeying firearms owners, are dismayed by his scarcely-exposed but firm contempt for the constitution’s second amendment. When the time is ripe, he and his allies will strike, improving society (Obama is still a young man, and he is not finished with his work).
Accordingly, Obama has found innumerable ways to tinker with the governmental system. He has made many adjustments in the laws and their execution; virtually all of that activity is unconstitutional.
In fact the foundational philosophy of the USA is not at all a willingness to turn governance over to (divinely?) inspired reform, but to see to the wishes of the people. That principle is, to authoritarians like Obama, putrid simple-mindedness.
The clash of ideals is monumental, yet it is hardly noted by press and public. The “real” issues at present include the discussion of the candidacy of Donald Trump.
Well. A preponderance of the electorate was stupid enough to elect Obama eight years ago. Therefore, it is rational to believe that many voters today could also be stupid enough to vote for Trump.
Indeed: after electing a collectivist Utopian reformer, the voters just might hand presidential power to a carnival barker of a CEO whose interpersonal skills are somewhat better than those of an inquisitive hyena.
Why? Because the two men are remarkably similar. Each wields power in accord with his conceptions of reality and his definition of progress. Each is proud, ambitious, energetic — and unfortunately charismatic. Neither has a sincere commitment to the philosophy of governance that gave birth to the USA’s constitution. Like all supremely confident leaders, both men are more than willing to abuse power.
Obama and Trump are — to put it kindly — self-promoters whose curricula vitae are unusually thin in relevant qualifications.
In fact these two men, though each portrays himself as unique, are distinguished by superficial differences. Trump wants to get things going, and Obama wants to organize things. Trump is concerned about money, and Obama wants to redistribute it. Obama wants everybody to have health insurance, and Trump wants a healthy system of bridges and highways.
Mistakes and remedies
Obama was wrong because he knew that the executive must act, must shape reality, and must impose better and better solutions to difficulties that were never problems. (If memory serves, it was Richard Weaver who distinguished between difficulties and problems, and showed how that difference occupies a central position in political philosophy.)
If difficulties admit of no solutions, while problems do — there is a terrible price to be paid whenever problems and difficulties are confused.
Fortunately there is a saving general principle to be observed. It is a variation on the love of Liberty, the respect for the individual (see the Bill of Rights), and a commitment to the Rules. And what are the Rules, then?
They are in the constitution.
Every time the government ignores the constitution, it commits a foul. The courts are major offenders (see the Footnote), and the examples are tragically legion.
A wretched silence
Through it all, no one talks about the ethics of government and the separation of powers. Instead, Obama mumbles about “fairness”, which he misinterprets as heavy taxes on the rich. Trump says nothing.
Neither Obama nor Trump talks about Liberty. Why not?
The fell silence is due to the facts that (a) neither man is a deep thinker, and (b) the contrast between Obama and Trump is almost trivial. Fundamentally, the two men represent aspects of the same mindset. Both are blind to the problem…which is the misbegotten but literal irrelevancy of the USA’s constitution.
That is a very grim diagnosis.
This is what US voters should do
Have faith in the constitution, not in leaders.
Consider all human beings imperfect and incapable of being saviors.
Look for candidates with ethics, rationality, and wisdom.
Vote for people who seem to share your preference for constitutional governance.
Hold everyone accountable.
When you can, defend and expand the Liberty of the individual.
From Mark Levin’s The Liberty Amendments, Restoring The American Republic (reviewed here), pages 93-4:
…in the Supreme Court’s 5 to 4 decision on June 28, 2012, in National Federation of Independent Businesses, et al. v Sebelius, Secretary of Health and Human Services, et al. (aka the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare case), the Court issued the most unscrupulous of modern judicial rulings, in which it not only distorted the federal government’s taxing power beyond all recognition, but also used that power to alter fundamentally the relationship between the individual and the federal government. The majority, led by Chief Justice John Roberts, was determined to uphold Obamacare despite the law’s unconstitutional mandate, which compelled individuals to engage in commerce — that is, the purchase of a government-designed private health-care policy. It seized on the Constitution’s original and limited tax provision to rewrite the law.
(A reminder: all copies of NTG are posted on the Internet, and access is free.)
The Tramp Abroad Provides His Rambling Thoughts On The Scandalous Behavior Of HDR
The Secretary of State is Number Four in line (after the Vice President, Speaker of the House and President pro Temp ore of the Senate) to succeed the President in the case he dies or is otherwise incapacitated. The constitutional facts.
In my humble opinion, it should be an absolute requirement that, in this day and age, any and all cabinet members of any administration of the US Government must handle their “business” communications via secure channels. Copying and pasting of classified information to non-secure means of communication should not only be forbidden, but impossible. Even in commercial e-mail systems, there has long existed technology to prevent (or make it very difficult) to forward, copy or print a message. Surely the US Government can put security like this in place.
Out of curiosity, I found a link to the article below that describes the many technological devices that even Obama uses to communicate via secure and non-secure channels. Hell, if the President can have one Blackberry for classified information and another for non-classified messaging, why can’t the other members of his cabinet, like the Secretary of State? (Obama’s “phone“.)
Afterthought: Didn’t Obama use his secure Blackberry to communicate with Hillary when she was his Secretary of State? If the President sent classified information to his Secretary of State, surely it was not to her HDR22 e-mail address. She must have also had a “real” @state.gov e-mail address and/or another one for messages sent through secure channels. Did Hillary never personally use those accounts? Were these e-mails handled by her Chief of Staff and other assistants? I wonder whether those details will ever leak out into the public domain….
Links Courtesy Of The Tramp Abroad
The Armenian diaspora will not like this positive development.
This information might save your life: it’s the safety concerns needed when using li-ion batteries.
Newt is still at it, and it’s fun. Here’s a sample.
Tip: this is a website to watch as the months go by. Check out the section titled “Commentary”.
“Subpoenas in Privacy Act lawsuits against the government can be treacherous for reporters who decline to reveal their sources.” This concerns the Petraeus case, which is heating up. More.
“Obama has always loathed the Clintons. Once you accept that, everything that’s happening to her campaign right now makes perfect sense.” (Source.) Well, now. Who knew? Read it all….
NSA targeted: “Warning that the constitutional rights of tens of millions of Americans are being violated, a federal judge said Wednesday that he’s eager to expedite a lawsuit seeking to shut down the National Security Agency’s controversial program to collect data on large volumes of US telephone calls.” More here.
Here’s a relaxed talk by a stellar proponent of good science, Prof. Emeritus Lindzen. It should have been linked here two years ago, but the NTG’s editor missed it. Don’t make his mistake!
All too common: an instance of partisan self-censorship of the news in the USA. This malpractice is seldom mentioned because virtually everyone agrees there is nothing to be done about it.
Do see this hilarious and informative video of Mark Steyn as he comments on freedom of speech and press, with a final observation on the integrity of science.
The proposed pact stinks.
Firearms restrictions in the USA.
“Why haven’t they announced themselves?” In fact they have. This video answers a lot of big questions people ask about the visitors, and explains why things are not happening more rapidly. It’s highly recommended, but you might want to watch it a little at a time, because it’s over three and a half hours long.
More on Hillary and secret messages. (*Heavy sigh*)