A Weekly View from the Foothills of Appalachia
July 12, 1998 #93
by: Doug Fiedor
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Copyright © 1998 by Doug Fiedor, all rights reserved
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CLINTON SAYS PAY AND OBEY
Today, the executive branch legislates more than the legislative branch. The number of rules, regulations and executive orders promulgated annually far exceeds the number of bills passed by Congress. No matter that rules, regulations and executive orders that impact the lives of citizens are not Constitutional, they are the law.
The administrative branch even has its own courts to adjudicate these executive branch rules, regulations and executive orders. We call them Administrative Law Courts.
That's an interesting arrangement. The executive branch makes the rules, regulations and executive orders. The executive branch enforces the rules, regulations and executive orders through its many police agencies. And the executive branch tries violators in its own administrative law courts. Neither Congress nor the federal court system (as 90% of the American people think of them) are necessary.
James Madison warned about that type of situation in The Federalist Papers (No. 47): "The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands, whether on one, a few, or many, and whether hereditary, self appointed, or elective, may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny."
Tyranny seems to fit nicely when a president generates an executive order designed to change the Constitutionally established relationship between the federal government and the States. Tyranny is also a good word for the actions of an administration that usurps control over just about everything from the States, and sets up dozens of administrative agencies designed to control the lives of the people.
Franklin D. Roosevelt did all that. FDR issued over 200 presidential proclamations and over 1,500 executive orders, and these were all before the Second World War started. There were a few thousand rules and regulations issued, too.
Since then, Clinton holds the record. And, like FDR, Clinton means to change the whole relationship between the federal and State governments. The craven Congress let every piece of Clinton's unilateral law pass so far, so Clinton now plans a whole flurry of unilateral legislation in the form of executive orders.
This is all quite unconstitutional, of course. Most of these powers came about not by Constitutional Amendment, but as a result of a few "emergency powers" acts pushed through Congress in the 1930s by FDR. And we also know for certain that both Congress and the Courts are well aware that this whole shebang is very unconstitutional.
For instance, there's Senate Report 93-549 of 1973: As we said, Roosevelt had Congress pass special laws, making a whole series of new "emergency" powers available to him, or any succeeding president. All that is necessary is for the President to declare a national emergency, which all presidents since FDR have done, continuously.
Anyway, back in 1973, a Senate committee asked the Attorney General for a report on what the consequences would be if all national emergencies were terminated and the emergency powers laws repealed. The Attorney General replied:
. . . a 'national emergency' is now a practical necessity in order to carry out what has become the regular and normal method of governmental actions. What were intended by Congress as delegations of power to be used only in the most extreme situations, and for the most limited durations, have become everyday powers, and a state of 'emergency' has become a permanent condition.
The Senate Committee's report admits that:
"A majority of the people of the United States have lived all their lives under emergency rule. For 40 years, freedoms and governmental procedures guaranteed by the Constitution have, in varying degrees, been abridged by laws brought into force by states of national emergency." But, Congress likes the federal government to have these extra powers, so it does nothing.
In 1997, the U.S. Supreme Court commented on the issue, too. In Printz et al v. U.S. (95-1478, 1997) the court writes:
Much of the Constitution is concerned with setting forth the form of our government, and the courts have traditionally invalidated measures deviating from that form. The result may appear 'formalistic' in a given case to partisans of the measure at issue, because such measures are typically the product of the era's perceived necessity. But the Constitution protects us from our own best intentions: It divides power among sovereigns and among branches of government precisely so that we may resist the temptation to concentrate power in one location as an expedient solution to the crisis of the day.
Clinton will continue playing king, ruling by decree, because Congress is negligent. The bureaucracy will continue churning out regulations because we do not have an honest president. If we do not institute change, all we taxpayers can do is pay and obey.
Let's call it Operation PLAD (Political Lies, Arrogance and Disinformation). In no particular order, we find Sidney Blumenthal, Ann Lewis, James Carville, Paul Begala, Lanny Davis, Marsha Scott, John Podesta, and Rahm Emanuel -- the male voice of Ann Lewis -- heading up operation PLAD. They are supported by a cast of characters which includes at least two opposition research teams, two or more private detective agencies and at least two dozen attorneys.
None of these people have much of anything to do with turning the wheels of government, but they all work in or for the White House and most are paid with taxpayer funds. Their only function is to keep Clinton's poll ratings high.
From Operation PLAD, White House propaganda moves down to the useful idiots in the national media. CNN and the network news talking heads seem to accept anything the White House offers as being fact. Then there's a second line of so called journalists, who are active White House propagandists. This group includes Al Hunt, Margaret Carlson, Eleanor Clift, Geraldo Rivera and others.
So who can we trust in the mass media? Peter Arnett, Jack Smith and April Oliver at CNN got caught editing facts to make the story they wanted. Even Larry King stuck his foot in his mouth last week.
While being interview by radio host Ron Owens on KABC in Los Angeles and KGO in San Francisco, King stated that anyone who reads and quotes Matt Drudge "is stupid." "He's like a psychic," King said. "He makes thousands of predictions and when one accidentally comes true, everyone says he broke a story." And, on his own July 8 show, King said that Drudge is 98% wrong.
However, Matt Drudge was paying attention.
Drudge reported: "First Larry King declares on talk radio that anyone who reads and quotes the DRUDGE REPORT 'is stupid.' Then on his own show he pretends that he doesn't know who I am. Moments later, he declares that my reports are '98 percent wrong.' But said he doesn't know who I am."
Mark R. Levin, President of the Landmark Legal Foundation, caught the far-left Internet tabloid Salon trashing the facts last week, too. Levin said in a press release:
You conspiracy nitwits at Salon have it wrong, again. Bruce Shapiro, one of your frequent contributors (who hails from the extreme left-wing magazine The Nation), writes in his article 'True Believer' (July 3, 1998) that "When [Ken Starr] returned to private practice after his stint as solicitor general, Starr became a director of the Scaife-funded ... Landmark Legal Foundation ..."
While we'd be honored if this were true, the fact is that Ken Starr has never been a member of Landmark's Board.
Patricia Smith, a columnist at the Boston Globe had to resign when editors found that she had fabricated quotes and characters in several columns. Stephen Glass, writer and associate editor at the New Republic was also fired for making up news -- 27 out of 41 articles, they said.
Then came the media surprise of the year. The Cincinnati Enquirer admitted some of the misdeeds of Mike Gallagher, an errant reporter, and voluntarily paid out an unasked-for $10-million to Chiquita Brands International Inc. The reporter in question not only used dishonest tactics, he actually tapped into Chiquita's voice mail system for information. Therefore, along with getting fired, he may also be looking at a little prison time.
Bruce Shapiro, who teaches investigative journalism at Yale University, and writes the column Law and Order for The Nation, wrote in Salon that Gallagher's actions were only a "comparatively modest legal transgression.
"Yet if Gallagher goes to jail for theft," Shapiro writes, "or Chiquita wins its trespass-defamation-conspiracy suit, corporations all over the country will be emboldened to use notions of intellectual property as a club against aggressive investigative reporting. What's the practical difference between one reporter's convincing an executive to provide voice mail and another to provide a ream of documents? Both involve what the Enquirer's apology called 'privileged, confidential and proprietary information.' Both involve reporters' treading a very blurry line between leak and theft."
Apparently Shapiro thinks stealing confidential and proprietary information is justified when done for the cause of journalism. Stealing for personal gain -- in this case, a story -- is still thievery. And, like everyone else, reporters should go to prison for such actions.
The First Amendment allows publication of almost anything, and that's just about what we get: almost anything. Few of Washington's reporters check their facts when these "facts" come from Democrats. Nor do any of the Washington media cadre ever consider that the political "facts" they parrot are often quite unconstitutional.
It won't be long before "journalist" becomes a synonym for "propagandist."
The words 'interesting,' 'true,' and 'government report' do not normally appear in the same sentence on these pages, but there are exceptions.
For instance, when a report states that if government had stayed at its 1960 size the average yearly income for a family of four would have hit nearly $75,000 in 1996, we tend to believe that. And when it reports that if government spending as a share of GDP had stayed at its 1960 level, every man, woman and child in American would have had an extra $5,860 in the bank in 1996 -- or $23,440 for a family of four -- we can believe that, too. Or, when they report that when the researchers took into account the impact of the decline in defense spending, the family's 1996 earnings were boosted by $46,000, that even sounds feasible on this end.
The report was not actually written by federal government employees, of course. The report was prepared for the Joint Economic Committee of Congress by economists James Gwartney, Robert Lawson and Randall Holcombe, all college professors.
They report that, as government grew over the years, its spending swelled from 28.4 percent of GDP in 1960 to 34.6 percent in 1996. So, what could have been a $9.16 trillion economy in 1996 was, instead, only $7.64 trillion due to the growth of government. "As governments move beyond their core functions, they will adversely affect economic growth," the report points out.
The study's authors define "core functions" as the protection of persons and property, national defense, education, monetary stability and infrastructure. Those functions, they contend, typically cost 15 percent of a country's GDP.
They report that any spending above the 15 percent threshold results in economic slowdown or even decline. They say that happens because higher taxes discourage growth. Also, because government is not as efficient as the private sector in allocating resources, labor becomes less productive and investment is stifled.
Interestingly enough, they estimate that, in 1996, spending on core government responsibilities stood at about 13.8 percent of GDP, but that all the transfer payments and subsidies consumed nearly 14 percent more of GDP.
The bottom line -- their recommendation to Congress -- is simple: "This paper shows that excessively large government has reduced economic growth. These findings present a compelling case that rather than devising new programs to spend any surplus that may emerge from the current economic expansion, Congress should develop a long-range strategy to reduce the size of government so we will be able to achieve a more rapid rate of economic growth in the future."
Just as a aside here, we seem to remember economist and pundit Walter Williams pointing out this very same information a few months ago. Williams reported that, were the federal government limited to only those functions delegated to it by the Constitution, our tax rate would need be about one-third of what it is now.
The full report: "The Size and Functions of Government And Economic Growth," by James Gwartney, Professor of Economics and Policy Sciences at Florida State University; Robert Lawson, Assistant Professor of Economics at Capital University in Columbus, Ohio; and Randall Holcombe, DeVoe Moore Professor of Economics at Florida State University, can be found on the Joint Committee Study web page at:
"A man needs his gun," an old judge told me during my first visit to Kentucky a decade ago. He even had his wife drive me to the gun store to purchase the handgun of my choice.
In many areas of Kentucky, carrying a gun is more or less a cultural thing. Gentlemen do not shoot at each other much anymore, but many seem to feel more secure knowing that extra hunk of steel is with them. So, when some men put a hat on, they also put a gun in their belt.
The laws in Kentucky are rather straightforward on guns. Any adult may carry an unconcealed weapon anywhere. Carrying concealed supposedly requires a license. But that's a relatively new law that has not quite caught on completely in rural areas yet. Many people also keep handguns in their vehicle glove compartments, which is legal in Kentucky.
And truly, sometimes a man does need his gun. For instance, a Louisville man nearly walked into a bank while a robbery was in progress last week. Just before opening the door, he noticed that there was a man wearing a bandanna tied around his face behind the teller's counter, and the bank employees were "acting strangely."
So, the man walked back to his car, got his small caliber pistol, and waited outside the bank. According to witnesses, when the robber exited the bank the man yelled for him to stop. The robber turned to the armed citizen and made the mistake of pointing his gun at the man. The armed citizen began firing, and the robber hit the deck, shot in the neck.
The robber got off a shot too, but didn't hit anything, and the armed citizen fired twice more.
By then, the bank robber had dropped his bag of cash all over the sidewalk, so he did the best he could at getting himself up and out of there -- empty handed. Witnesses saw the getaway car, and the police were able to apprehend the robber an hour later.
So the robber got a bullet, the bank got its cash back, the police got their man, and the armed citizen got his errands completed. All because that good citizen had the forethought to bring along his handgun.
When an arrant newspaper reporter asked the police what charges would be filed against the armed citizen, he first got a dirty look. No charges will be filed, the police said. He is considered a victim, the reporter was told.
By: Craig M. Brown -- for Heads Up
It was almost two months ago when we discovered, almost by accident, that President Clinton had issued Executive Order 13083, transferring the power of the sovereign states to the federal government, namely the President. Cyberspace came alive over this diabolical order while the media remained strangely silent. "Congress will never stand for this," we said to ourselves and we waited for them to stand up in outrage and strike it down. Now two months have gone by, and our Congress has sat by in befuddled silence.
It's not that we haven't tried to bring it to their attention. I myself spoke directly to my Congressman about EO 13083 and faxed him countless pages of background. His aides promised over and over again that they would get back to me on this matter and after weeks, still an embarrassing silence. This experience has been repeated with our Congressional representatives across the country, including, sadly, Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich.
For the past few weeks, many of us have been talking among ourselves, wondering why our Congress has deserted us. These are men and women we believed in, perspired for and gave our money to in order to send them to Congress to represent us. And now they seem to have turned their backs on us. Why?
Why, indeed. There seems to be a pattern of so many of our most conservative representatives tacitly supporting the attacks by this administration on our Constitution and our freedoms. The Clinton Executive Orders are coming fast and furious as the administration becomes ever more bold in assuming dictatorial powers, in the process making Congress irrelevant. Why has Congress stood by and allowed President Clinton to create any kind of law, let alone laws that destroy the powers of the states?
The answer, or at least a theory, came to me when I was considering the sudden appearance of 900-plus FBI files in White House computer banks on Republicans or others who might oppose the administration agenda. Is it just a coincidence that so soon after the breaking of filegate that so many of our members of Congress were struck with spasms of blindness when it came to abuses of power by our President? Are we to believe that possession of these files by Hillary Clinton are only for such things as helping her out with her Christmas card list? I am just paranoid enough to believe that those files in the possession of the Clinton administration are there for a more mischievous purpose.
Our Congress is made up of people just like you and me. I will confess that in my youth I committed a number of less than saintly deeds, many of which I wouldn't want everyone to know about. I assume that the same is true of the members of Congress. It is possible, even likely, that some Congress people have something in their past so egregious that exposure might threaten not only their careers, but their family life. In these cases, here then comes the measure of courage. The question is, shall the fear of the uncovering of past misdeeds lead us into the paths of dishonor? Does the protection of our reputations outweigh the love for our country?
Shall we change the lyrics to one of the stanzas in, "America The Beautiful" to read as follows?
- Oh beautiful, for patriots dream
- Of liberating strife
- Who more than country themselves they loved
- And freedom less than life.
If our Congress is being blackmailed into abandoning all the principles they swore to uphold, and I have no proof that it is, then the members of Congress are overlooking something very basic about the American people. We are a very forgiving people. We will forgive almost anything our leaders have done in the past and, in fact, we exalt those who have the courage to deal publicly with their past and we condemn those who are using it to take away whatever honor they have left. What we will never forgive is the selling out of our country.
I repeat, this is only a theory. But I wonder how close it is to the truth. And if it is true, I wonder what honorable men will do about it.
-- End --