A Question of Power: The Imperial Presidency

President_Barack_ObamaBelow is my column this week in American Legion Magazine which juxtaposed my view of the Obama presidency with the opposing view of William Howell, the Sydney Stein Professor in American Politics at the University of Chicago. Notably, a ranking member of the Administration this week wrote that more executive actions are being planned by the White House. These opposing articles capture the two very different perspectives of the evolving use of executive power in our tripartite system.

A Question of Power: The Imperial Presidency

When James Madison shaped a new constitutional system for the United States, he and his fellow framers had one overriding fear: tyranny.

They wanted to divide power between three branches and create lines of separation that prevented the concentration of power in any single branch. The framers based their ideas on an understanding of human nature – and human weakness. They tried to create a system in which ambition would check ambition. However, they knew that citizens can be distracted or deceived into giving up their very freedom. Madison warned future generations that “if Tyranny and Oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy.” The framers knew how effective fear can be to induce citizens to give up their liberties. Recent years have proven them once again prophetic in their warnings.

To this day, many Americans misunderstand the separation of powers as simply a division of authority between three branches of government. In fact, it was intended as a protection not of institutional but of individual rights, by preventing any branch from assuming enough power to become tyrannical. No branch is supposed to have enough power to govern alone. Once power becomes concentrated in the hands of a president, citizens are left only with the assurance that such unchecked power will be used wisely – a Faustian bargain the framers repeatedly warned us never to accept. Benjamin Franklin said it best when he warned that “they who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”

Despite these warnings, many people have embraced largely unchecked presidential powers under the assurance that the rising security state will keep them safe. The shift of power to the presidency certainly did not start with President Barack Obama. To the contrary, this trend has been gaining ground for decades. But it has accelerated under Obama, who has succeeded to a degree that would have made Richard Nixon blush. Indeed, Obama may be the president Nixon always wanted to be.

I do not believe that Obama is (or wants to be) a tyrant. However, his unilateral actions are redrawing the lines of separation in our system in a way that I believe could prove destabilizing and even dangerous in the future.

While the “imperial presidency” has been discussed as a danger in our country since its founding, it is a term most associated with Nixon. Presidents such as Andrew Jackson and Franklin Delano Roosevelt showed similar tendencies. Often, war is cited as the reason for extraconstitutional action, such as Abraham Lincoln’s suspension of habeas corpus. “Imperial presidency” is not a term that reflects an actual royal ambition or the suspension of term limits. Rather, it refers to a model of the presidency that allows for a wide array of unilateral actions and largely unchecked powers.

What is fascinating is that Nixon was largely unsuccessful in accomplishing this dream of a presidency with robust and largely unlimited powers. Indeed, many of the unchecked powers claimed by Nixon became the basis for articles in his impeachment and led to his resignation on Aug. 9, 1974.

Four decades ago, Nixon was halted in his determined effort to create an imperial presidency with unilateral powers and privileges. But in 2013, Obama wields those very same powers openly and without serious opposition.

Surveillance. Nixon’s use of warrantless surveillance was cited as one of his greatest abuses and led to the creation of the special Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. Obama, however, has expanded warrantless surveillance programs to a degree that dwarfs anything Nixon imagined, including initiating a program that captured communications of virtually every U.S. citizen.

War. Nixon’s impeachment included the charge that he evaded Congress’ sole authority to declare war by invading Cambodia. Obama went even further in the Libyan war, declaring that he alone defines what is a “war” for the purposes of triggering the constitutional provisions on declarations of Congress. That position effectively converts the entire provision in Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution (“Congress shall have power to … declare War”) into a discretionary power of the president.

Kill lists. Nixon ordered a burglary to find evidence to use against Daniel Ellsberg, who leaked the Pentagon Papers, and was accused of a secret plot to have the White House “plumbers” “incapacitate” him in a physical attack. People were outraged. Yet Obama has asserted the right to kill any U.S. citizen without a charge, let alone conviction, based on his sole authority. Internal documents state that he has a right to kill a citizen even when he lacks “clear evidence (of) a specific attack” being planned.

Reporters/whistle-blowers. Nixon was known for his attacks on whistleblowers, using the Espionage Act of 1917 to bring a rare criminal case against Ellsberg. He was vilified for this abuse of the law, but Obama has brought twice as many such prosecutions as all prior presidents combined. Nixon was accused of putting a few reporters under surveillance. The Obama administration has admitted to putting Associated Press reporters, as well as a Fox reporter, under surveillance.

Obstruction of Congress. Nixon was cited for various efforts to obstruct or mislead congressional investigators. The Obama administration has repeatedly refused to give evidence sought by oversight committees in a variety of scandals. In one case, Congress voted to move forward with criminal contempt charges against Attorney General Eric Holder, which Holder’s own Justice Department blocked. In another case, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper lied before Congress on the surveillance programs, and later said that he offered the least untruthful statement he could think of. The Obama administration, however, refuses to investigate Clapper for perjury, let alone fire him. Recently, the administration was accused of searching Senate computers in an investigation of the CIA and trying to intimidate congressional investigators.

These examples are simply those connected with the growing internal security state. Other characteristics of an imperial presidency are equally evident, particularly in the repeated circumvention of Congress in ordering unilateral changes to federal law or suspending federal laws.

While many hail Obama for not taking “no” for an answer from Congress in areas such as health care and immigration reform, they may rue the day another president uses the same powers to negate environmental or anti-discrimination laws.

It has long been said that one of the scariest statements is, “Trust us, we’re from the government.” The deep American distrust for such a claim was shared by the framers, who rejected a government based on assurances of the best intentions. Madison famously warned, “If men were angels, no government would be necessary.” In other words, we have a government that refuses to accept promises of good behavior or motivations from politicians.

Time and time again, Obama has returned to the theme that there is nothing to worry about in surveillance or wars or even the killing of citizens because he promises to use the powers wisely. The administration has been particularly adept in creating internal “committees” to suggest some form of due process before citizens are vaporized or other unchecked powers are used by the president. Since the president creates these committees and appoints their members out of his own authority, he can simply ignore their recommendations. It is little more than the promise of best intentions – the very promise the framers warned us never to accept from our government.

In the end, we have accepted the lure of personality over principle in allowing the expansion of these powers. Obama will not be our last president, but these powers are unlikely to be voluntarily surrendered by his successors. There is a radical change occurring in our system, and we may be at a critical constitutional tipping point in the establishment of an imperial presidency in the coming years.

The danger of this concentration of authority is made more acute by the failure of federal courts to perform their vital function in confining the branches to their constitutional spaces. Federal courts in the past few decades have maintained an increasing position of avoidance in separation-of-powers cases, leaving it to the political branches to fight over turf. Courts now routinely block litigants, including members of Congress, from even being heard on constitutional violations. Years ago, I represented Democratic and Republican members (both conservative and liberal) challenging the Libyan war. They were denied even a hearing.
Congress has proved equally passive, if not inert. Democrats have remained silent in the face of policies that challenge core values of privacy and war, as did Republicans under George W. Bush. That interbranch tension envisioned by Madison has gradually dissipated. Individual ambition of politicians has replaced institutional ambition, leaving many to curry favor with the White House as legislative powers are drained away by an increasingly powerful president. As that power increases, there is more pressure on politicians to yield in new areas.

This downward spiral may have reached its ultimate expression this year. Framers such as Madison would have been mortified by the scene from the most recent State of the Union address. Obama appeared before a joint session of Congress (and members of the Supreme Court) to announce that he intended to go it alone in achieving his policy goals, refusing to yield to the actions of Congress. One would have expected an outcry, or at least stony silence, from a branch that was being told it would be circumvented. Instead, there was rapturous applause that bordered on a collective expression of institutional self-loathing.

Obama has made it clear that he simply will not take “no” for an answer. When Congress recently refused to pass the DREAM Act to change immigration laws to protect potentially millions of deportable individuals, he simply ordered the very same measures on his own authority. The same unilateral measures were ordered in health care, drug enforcement, online gambling and other areas. The failure of Congress to consent to executive demands was followed by the same measures being ordered on the basis of Obama’s inherent authority. Under this approach, Congress is being reduced to an almost decorative element in governance – free to approve but not to block presidential demands.

While Congress clearly retains powers, its members are increasingly finding that discretionary funds and powers blunt efforts to change government programs. Even Congress’ power of the purse has become discretionary with the president. When Congress resisted demands of the president on health care, Obama simply shifted $454 million in funds from the purpose mandated by Congress to his own purpose. When he decided not to consult with Congress on the Libyan war, he simply spent roughly a billion dollars on a war neither declared nor funded by Congress.

Such circumvention – and the new presidential powers – create a perfect storm within the Madisonian system. It raises the very prospect the framers thought they blocked through the separation of powers: a president who can effectively rule alone.
We often refer to ourselves as the “land of the free,” as if that status were self-evident. We rarely ask ourselves what those freedoms are and how they have been abridged. Our self-image can border on self-delusion when we take stock of the status of many rights.

We have learned of a massive surveillance program in which every citizen has had telephonic and email data captured by the government. Every citizen has been warned that the president may kill them on his own authority without a charge, let alone a conviction. We have a secret court that approves thousands of secret searches every year and a federal court system that increasingly allows the use of secret evidence. We have a new Obama-era law, the National Defense Authorization Act, that allows for the indefinite detention of people by the government and, while exempted from mandatory detention, allows for such detention of citizens. We still have a detention center at Guantanamo Bay, established by George W. Bush, just over our border to avoid the jurisdiction of U.S. courts. It allows the president to choose who gets a real trial, who gets a legally dubious military tribunal, or who gets no trial at all. While seeking to close the facility, Obama has continued to assert the right to send people to military tribunals on his sole authority – thereby stripping them of core legal protections.

While the erosion of freedoms in the United States has occurred with nary a whimper of regret in this country, it has not gone unnoticed abroad. The United States is now widely viewed as a hypocrite on the subject of human rights and civil liberties. This year, our nation fell to 46th in the world on press freedoms (behind the former Soviet republics of Lithuania and Latvia as well as Romania, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Ghana, South Africa and El Salvador), according to a recent study by Reporters Without Borders. Another study this year counts the United States as an “enemy of Internet freedom” with countries such as Iran, China and North Korea.

When the full mosaic of new governmental powers is considered, and the full array of rights curtailed in the United States, we are left with a disturbing question of self-identity. We more often seem to define ourselves by what we are not than by what we are.
In the summer of 1787, a telling moment occurred after a crowd gathered around Independence Hall to learn what type of government had been created for the new nation. When Benjamin Franklin walked out of the Constitutional Convention, Elizabeth Powel could wait no longer. Franklin was one of the best known of the framers working on the new U.S. Constitution. Powel ran up to Franklin and asked, “Well, Doctor, what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?” Franklin turned to her and said what are perhaps the most chilling words uttered by any framer: “A republic, Madam, if you can keep it.”

It may be that it is not the presidency that has changed. We have changed. As a nation, we seem to have grown almost bored with rights like privacy and due process. We have been passive and pedestrian in watching the rise of an uber-presidency. We no longer view ourselves as directing our government, but as merely bystanders watching matters outside our control.
Worse yet, we seem to have lost not just our identity but even our interest in governance. It was a republic when Franklin was stopped by Powel.

I am not sure that most citizens today would even have stopped him to ask. “Democracy … soon wastes, exhausts and murders itself,” John Adams once said. “There was never a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.”
What is truly sad is that if one of the greatest republics in history did die, it is not clear if anyone would even notice its passing.

Jonathan Turley is the Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington University and frequently appears before Congress as a witness on constitutional issues. He is the host of http://www.jonathanturley.org, an award-winning legal and policy blog.

May 20, 2014 American Legion Magazine

245 thoughts on “A Question of Power: The Imperial Presidency

  1. As brilliant (and chilling) as any writing I have seen on this topic. This should be mandatory reading for … Oh, I don’t know. Everyone. I really appreciate Turley’s level-headed analysis of these matters.

  2. And it should be noted that the left wing, indeed much of the Democratic Party, enthusiastically applauds Obama’s use of executive orders to implement policies which Congress has declined to authorize, and cheers wildly when he boldly says that he will act on his own when Congress refuses to do so.

  3. I will say something about “Rights” and “Powers”. Those are two words which can be found in our Constitution and the Amendments thereto. But in the American dialogue these words get bandied about and are not cited correctly. Those in the South who complain about the abrogation of States Rights miss an important part of the Constitutional framework. The states and the federal government have Powers. The only entity accorded Rights in the Constitution are The People. Citizens and sometimes non citizens, have Rights. The best example of the phony StatesRights! diatribe occurs when the Federal government through the Justice Department and sometimes in our history the military is required, and does, intervene in some place where an individual or a group of individuals are being killed, mobbed, arrested, jailed, by either state government or local government and/or in conjunction with or soley by the Klan.

    As someone who saw this activity occur in the South and who tried to oppose it in the courts, I must attest that a clear view of our Constitution is important. The Reconstruction Era is the most important time in our history after the initial Framers Era, and the 1964 Civil Rights Act is the third era in our history which made our legal system a viable one. I give kudos to LBJ.

  4. I wonder what year the USofA peaked because we are clearly on the downward slide.
    What made this country great? Our Constitutional bedrock of course. Now that exists in name only.

  5. There is a very evil time in our history which is ignored. The FBI had a program known as The COINTEL Program. Anyone out there on the blog know anything about this? How about MKULTRA?

  6. What continues to befuddle me, Professor, about intelligent liberals like yourself is your statement that you don’t think Obama wants to be a tyrant. What evidence do you have of that? Doesn’t the consistent, and continuous expansion of his power, and his dismissive attitude toward not just Congress, but the Courts, and anyone that disagrees with him, demonstrate exactly the opposite? That in fact, the centralization of power is the ONE consistent theme of his time in office?

  7. If you want the NSA to review your comments on the web, the internet, or whatever we call yakking on blogs, then make the following statement:
    Ich Mochter ein double zimmer fur ein nach.

    Now, that is essentially a request for a double room for one night. And my German may be off a bit. But, those words were used in the past as an entre to discussion, in code, of things further in the telegram, internet email or phone call. So. Do not use those words together if you do not want your email or phone call to be not only ‘saved’ but examined.

  8. Mr. Turley,
    You’ve driven a nail with one swing. Great job.

    I’ve been asking of my Congressman, Jim McDermott, about his position on these matters for several months now. As I can only reach his staff, they never have any statements from the Congressman about his position. I’ve asked them to let him know that one of the constituents he meet with in 2007 to back impeachment of George W. Bush over many of the same issues, some not as extreme as they have become under president Obama, is asking for it, again. And can he explain why these crimes don’t reach to the level they did under president Bush?

    I think we need to press Congress to act.

  9. Do tyrants know they are tyrants?
    Do tyrants always rule with an iron fist or do tyrants try to convince you that their decisions are for your own good no matter your objections?

  10. Why a Democrat, particularly a President, does not want to be a tyrant. Or, why they seem to do things which make them appear to be a tyrant?

    Since the McCarthy era the Democrats have been gun shy, no pun intended, by the incessant diatribe that they are soft on: Communism, and now Terrorism. To be weak, or lame, or Soft, was a sure way to get voted out of office. So: the reflective response to such criticism is to be Tough.

    This is what has been happening since Ike left office. Kennedy had to be tough on Communism in Vietnam. Johnson too. Bush the RepubliCon proved he would be tough on Terrorists after 9/11 and the Democrats did not want to be Soft on Terrorism so they all voted for the Patriot Act and those Acts which followed. It goes on and on. Thanks to Joe McCarthy. And now Fox News.

  11. Obama to Release OLC Memo after Only 24 Congressional Requests from 31 Members of Congress
    Published May 20, 2014 | By emptywheel

    Congratulations to Rand Paul, who, having made request number 24, has finally gotten the Administration to agree to publicly release the OLC memo authorizing the drone killing of Anwar al-Awlaki.

    Here, for posterity, is a record of the at least 24 requests from at least 31 members of Congress for this memo.
    (continued at link)

  12. Is Obama truly in control of this agenda, or is he a mere figurehead or puppet of the dark forces of the military-industrial-intelligence complex? Al Zheimers speaks of COINTELPRO and MKULTRA as things of the past. In fact, I fear they live on under other names–or no names at all.

  13. Al Zheimers
    People don’t amass power without intending to use it someday…
    … So, why does Congress lay down like cheap carpeting to be walked over?

    Democrats did not want to be Soft on Terrorism

    It was a bully mantra… think back to grade school. Just how did you get your friend to taste that poop? “Come on, you sissy. Sissy, Sissy, sissy! You not a sissy are you?” It was just the same, adult style. Fearmonger style. So much so…
    R E M E M B E R:
    They hate us for our Freedoms…”
    … So Congress legislated them away.

    Now, Congress is having to “Restore America” by legislating a “USA Freedom Act” so that the Patriot Act can be extended, the wars can continue, the economic espionage and social police state can be ratcheted up a few more notches, more white collar crime bought off, etc. This way, Congress can at least pretend to play along.

  14. Oh, we’re definitely noticing! I cancelled my citizenship process for these same reasons, that you have compiled so well.

  15. And yet, with all the obvious abuse ignored by most media – but not here THANKS – he still will not issue a simple order eliminating discrimination, ENDA, what passes for reasoning sampled here: http://www.advocate.com/business/2012/04/13/transcript-what-prsesident-obama-excuse-not-issuing-executive-order

    Evidence shows he clearly wants to keep and use extrajudiciary unconstitutional extreme powers abroad and at home, and he clearly doesn’t give a rat’s ass about more minor issues of equality (lesser than life and liberty) even when it’s popular and caters to an (electoral) interest group and acknowledged aggrieved Class of Citizens.

    World Gone Mad.

  16. Max-1

    Jim McDermott has a lot of crow to eat. But getting him to the dinner table is another matter.

  17. Traveling Limey wrote:
    “Oh, we’re definitely noticing! I cancelled my citizenship process for these same reasons, that you have compiled so well.”
    I hear you. It makes me glad I am a citizen of Ireland.

  18. Darren Smith,
    I was part of a small but very vocal group calling for accountability for many of the same things we’re saddled with under Obama. The spying, the torture, the Due Process issues, GITMO, illegal war, etc. and he was willing to listen then. Perhaps it’s because Democrats aren’t in control of the House gavel? I take the no excuses route. I call both of his offices once a week. Monday, the local office had no answer as to his position on the USA Freedom Act due to be voted on this Thursday. So, with that I’ll say, call your House Rep.:)

  19. I really don’t care what you call him or what he wants. What President Obama has created by his own hand is a United States that my father who fought in the WWII would not recognize as the US. He might recognize it as one of the countries on the other side but not his beloved America.

    President Obama has presided over a wholesale stripping of our rights as citizens of the US that is both unprecedented and unconstitutional. Of course he didn’t do it alone. SCOTUS was right there and the perfidious Congress has been happily doing its best to help him. GWB started the process by screaming 9/11 at everyone but Obama could have stopped it. It would have taken a lot of courage but he chose to double down. He didn’t do it by accident. He knew EXACTLY what he was doing. And most of the DEMOCRATS stayed silent while some pushed the obnoxious legislation and supported his specious claims. The GOP hasn’t exactly been a champion of our rights either. Under Bush they did everything he demanded and under Obama the dismantling of our civil rights and our Constitutional rights to privacy and trials has unfortunately has been the only bipartisan thing they have done.

    Corporations and billionaires, on the other hand are, doing all right and they have amassed a bundle of rights and the power to enforce those rights that makes it clear that the average human does not matter.

    Sad, very sad.

  20. I saw part two of an interesting article on Frontline. (PBS) It was The United States of Secrecy and it spent most of its time on the NSA spying on citizens, how it started and where it is now. Plus, the cooperation with Corporate American Internet companies.

    In an interview on the show, Glen Greenwald said he believed the straw that broke the camel’s back with Edward Snowden was when Clapper lied to Congress. Edward decided then to go public with his information.

  21. Max-1

    The comment you posted at 5:17 got snagged into moderation because it had more than two links. I de-referenced several of the links so that it would work and reposted your article. If you want to provide more than two links, you can do so in an additional comment.

  22. If Boehner, Cantor and the GOP were opposed to torture, assassinations, domestic spying and other violations of the U.S. Constitution – so would Obama and the Democrats.

    In a healthy two-party system the Republicans should be competing for votes by filling that void. The GOP will use it against the Democrats, that’s why they don’t lead.

    Right or wrong, that’s the game being played here!

  23. I have to laugh at the forum for this column since the American Legion is about the last place I would give any credence to and they were the biggest cheerleaders for Nixon being an imperial President. They will endorse any measure that kills off our freedom as long as they are done by the GOP.

    I also agree that there are troubling trends and measures that Obama has taken, but they are not of a fundamental nature and the charges are way overblown to say the least. The best example is the so called Libyan WAR in which not one US military person died or was injured. I hope ALL of our future wars are so bloodless. Such actions have been done by our founders too I might add. They had no problem with the Barbary wars in which Congress did not declare war. Prof Turley will have to explain how this happened. Then there were plenty of other armed conflicts that did not have Congressional approval with Jackson waging war on our borders.

    The things Prof. Turley objects to were ALL done and in greater measure by ALL US Presidents, only they were done in secret and we only learned about them after the fact. Now such things are open to debate and knowledge. It is easy to blast Obama for such things now that we know of them. I object to the idea that Obama is now killing innocent Americans abroad for no good reason. As I have said earlier, I will object when the US kills American Muslim students on Spring Break in Afghanistan while they are enjoying themselves on the beaches there. Of course, the American Legion loved Nixon’s invasion of Cambodia too, and had no problem when Reagan’s CIA murdered American citizens in Latin America when they were NOT engaged in armed conflict with anybody. They were simply inconvenient witnesses who they wished to kill off. The Legion had no problem with those murders either.

    Then we have the fact that we are FAR more free than we were when I was growing up during the McCarthy era. So yes there are trends which have to be looked at and checked, but it is a FAR cry from the dictatorship we had during our past when the US government put hundreds of people in prison for their political views and not in time of war. We also banned books from the US and the press was far more restricted than it is now. Take a look at our own recent history for some real perspective.

  24. “The executive offices, in a country the extent the United-States will someday become, will be various and multiplied. The command of all the troops and navy of the republic, the appointment of officers, the power of pardoning offences, the collecting of all the public revenues, and the power of expending them, with a number of other powers, will become expanded in the federal government.

    When these are attended with great honor and prestige, as they always will be in large states, so as greatly to interest men to pursue them, and to be proper objects for ambitious and designing men, such men will be ever restless in their pursuit after them. They will use the power, when they have acquired it, to the purposes of gratifying their own interest and ambition, and it is scarcely possible, in a very large republic, to call them to account for their misconduct, or to prevent their abuse of power”

    Brutus circa 1789

    Hamilton’s response?

    The powers granted to the federal government in the Constitution are few and defined. Those that remain in the states are many and indefinite. Further, what limited powers granted to the federal government are for foreign commerce, war—No need to fear–the powers are broken up.

    Since we began to interpret the 14th (mid twentieth century to the present) as incorporating all in an effort to further civil rights we have undermined the federalist system consolidating federal power in general and the executive in particular.

    Pandora’s Box was opened by the legal wise ones years ago and the demons are proving difficult to return to the box.

  25. Actually, leaving such things to the states resulted in a political dictatorship in the states. Citizens were denied ALL of their rights and the Federal government could not do anything to restore freedom there. The tyranny came from the states not the Feds. There was no freedom of speech, the press, religion, nor even the right to own firearms for black Americans. They had no right to vote and no property was secure since a white man could take anything he wished from a black citizen with no recourse in court.

    During the McCarthy era this dictatorship was nationwide. Thus we have FAR more freedom today than in the past. It is good to keep a good watch on these measures and to know about them and if needed to take measures against encroaching powers that might lead to a return to the bad old days.

  26. Very well written and documented.

    The shift of power to the presidency certainly did not start with President Barack Obama. To the contrary, this trend has been gaining ground for decades.” – JT

    Indeed, and some surges have been open enough for some former government officials to call this decades-long event a “slow coup,” a “policy coup” (A Tale of Coup Cities – 3).

  27. One would think, given the uncertainty of the “here after,” one would at least conduct his life by the cardinal rule. Death, itself, is nature’s own check and balance. And term limits, like death, check the individual. Obviously, the individual is not the problem amongst institutions, then or now. The system is. Had the Framers included a sunset law for every institution, we would not be in this mess today.

    In Arizona, the Child Protective Services agency was corrupt beyond repair and redemption. The agency had transformed itself from caring for the most precious and vulnerable among us, to caring only for itself, its employees, benefits and pensions. Some five or six thousand abuse complaints had been deep sixed by clockwatchers. Abused children no longer had been a factor in the agency’s mission. Rather than try to repair or reform the agency, the governor simply disbanded it. A new agency was created to protect Arizona’s vulnerable children.

    The destiny of every institution is corruption, its mission always transforming into a guise only for self perpetuation, and then those on the inside will always fight harder to protect it than those on the outside who want to tear it down.

    Apparently in Arizona the CPS was no match for the governor.

  28. I refuse to give Obama or Bush or Nixon or Reagan or any other president who has abused the Consitution and the people by saying its the system. The people use the system and decide how it is going to be used. They also abuse and manipulate the system to get what they want. No the system didn’t make him do it, he decided to do it himself!

  29. Mr. Turley: Your comparisons to Nixon notwithstanding, Obama is far worse.
    Just in the last five years:

    The ObamaCare trainwreck has resulted in millions of Americans losing their affordable health care plans and millions more are shocked to realize that their premiums will be doubled or even tripled.

    Government takeover of private sector businesses.

    His crime spree and violation of Constitutional rights: Indiscriminate NSA surveillance. IRS targeting of Tea Party groups. The DOJ’s hacking into reporters’ emails and phones. Fast and Furious gunrunning. Abuse of executive powers.
    His foreign policies make Jimmy Carter look like a tough guy. Obama’s ass-kissing of muzzie despots is an art form. He has totally failed with Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Iran, and Benghazi. He was owned by Vladimir Putin over the START treaty, and he screwed our Eastern European allies; making agreements that forbid the United States to improve defenses against ballistic missile attacks. Vlad bitch-slaps Barky so often, he’s punch drunk.
    And just think, the SCOAMF still has two and a half years to finish destroying America.
    The rest here:

    Nixon resigned for much less.

  30. http://news.msn.com/in-depth/obama-reshapes-immigration-policy-through-executive-order “In the absence of any immigration action from Congress to fix our broken immigration system, what we’ve tried to do is focus our immigration enforcement resources in the right places,” Obama said in 2012.

    The president’s opponents and those who want stricter enforcement say the tool was created to review individual cases, not entire categories of people, though it’s been used occasionally for groups, including Cubans and Haitians.
    Kevin Johnson, an immigration policy expert who serves as the dean of the University of California, Davis, School of Law, said the president could halt all deportations much the same way a governor could ban executions but that it would be a mistake because angry Republicans would refuse to consider an immigration overhaul.

    “Could he put a moratorium on removals? Yes,” Johnson said. “But politically it would be a disaster. It would end the possibilities for comprehensive immigration reform.”

    Obama has said repeatedly that he doesn’t believe that he has the authority to stop all deportations.

    Krikorian accuses Obama of trying to have it both ways. “He is telling supporters he can’t do it unilaterally, but he’s doing a lot of it unilaterally,” he said.

    Obama was initially skeptical of using his executive powers the way his Republican predecessor George W. Bush did.

    In his first two years in the White House, when fellow Democrats controlled Capitol Hill, Obama largely worked through the regular legislative process to try to achieve his immigration agenda. But Republicans took control of the House in 2010, making that task more difficult.

    The next year, after an intense lobbying effort from advocates, he began to use his own power to move his immigration agenda forward.

  31. FRONTLINE: “United States of Secrets”

    “How did the government come to spy on millions of Americans?”

    “In “United States of Secrets,” a two-part series airing May 13 & 20, FRONTLINE reveals the dramatic inside story of how the U.S. government came to monitor and collect the communications of millions of people around the world—and the lengths they went to trying to hide the massive surveillance program from the public.”


    Part One – “The Program”

    Part Two – “Privacy Lost”; “How Silicon Valley Feeds the NSA’s Global Dragnet”

    With Part Two, “FRONTLINE continues…with…an investigation into the hidden relationship between Silicon Valley and the National Security Agency.”

    And most Americans still don’t know what’s transpiring domestically. Furthermore, many don’t seem to care.

    We need oversight, accountability, Church Committee-style hearings (with teeth), and more.

    The U.S. government is still sitting on a whopper of a secret. It would seem that we need more Edward Snowdens.

  32. For a person to have allegedly taught con law, I suppose he believes he’s a sum of all consequences. And can do as he wishes as it’s a zero sum game at the end.

  33. The Court’s has expanded not just civil rights through a reinterpretation of the Constitution but also other parts such as the commerce clause, necessary and proper clause etc.

    This has allowed for greater freedom, a national government better able to deal with our modern world and our place in it–and a consolidation of federal power.

    However, in doing so in my opinion they made a deal with the devil. As he calls in his loans I believe we will see over time a reduction in civil rights and exactly what the founders feared.


  34. I want to gently point out that the use of phrases like “our government” or “we elected Obama” or “we bomb other countries” …… reinforces the notion that “we” belong to America and to the statist slavelords. Actually , the intention of the Bill of Rights and the Constitution was to emphasize and protect individual rights. …. So ….. Why emphasize individual rights ??? Because #1 it is the moral thing to do and #2 it works … see #IPPParadigm

  35. At least SWM has the guts to comment here and defend her guy. Where are the others?? Great piece. The American Legion Magazine has been important in pointing out how Obama IGNORED the crooked bookkeeping hiding that fact that Veterans are dying waiting for treatment. They are the PERFECT venue for this great column.

  36. Couple of issues – Obama supposedly was adjunct faculty teaching Con Law II. What did his students learn if he seems to know nothing of the Constitution? Or, does he know it and is just disregarding it?

    Why are more and more department of the US government arming themselves with heavy weapons? Are they expecting martial law? Or are they planning a take-over. The USDA does not need sub-machine guns.

  37. nick, Not really defending Obama. Trying to put the use of executive order in perspective. Did you know Franklin Roosevelt used it 3000 times? Paul, I first became of Prof. Turley on Olbermann’s show. He was a regular.

  38. The danger of this concentration of authority is made more acute by the failure of federal courts to perform their vital function in confining the branches to their constitutional spaces.” – JT

    One way they do that is to allow the government to keep things secret that they have no business keeping secret.

    In National Security Archive v CIA(PDF) the Federal Appeals Court for D.C. held for the CIA on some Bay of Pigs documents.

    Dissent of Judge Rogers (PDF).

  39. A king is a person that imposes his will on the people. A president is a president is a person that does the will of the people. So what do we have in Obama?

  40. SWM; Our immigration system isn’t broken, it’s uninforced. The congress isn’t broken, Harry Reid won’t let bills written in the House reach the Senate floor. Ever notice that Senators that are up for election almost never comment on up coming bills but the ones just reelected are thinking their constituents will forget the stance they took

  41. Is Our Government Broken?

    It seems that we have come to the point where we simply acknowledge and accept the “robust power” of the executive branch of the government held by Present Barack Obama. While he is not the first president to expand the power of this branch of government, the expansion that has taken place under his administration has far exceeded the expansion in power towards an Imperial Presidency made by former President Nixon, for which he found himself impeached. But unlike Nixon’s drive, we the people were the enabling force for President Obama. As Jonathan Turley, the Professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington University put it, “We have changed. As a nation, we seem to have grown almost bored with rights like privacy and due process. We have been passive and pedestrian in watching the rise of an uber-presidency. We no longer view ourselves as directing our government, but as merely bystanders watching matters outside our control. He goes on to talk about the death of our republic and to quote first Franklin, stating, “Democracy… soon wastes, exhausts and murders itself,” and then John Adams, “There was never a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.”
    How could we have allowed the greatest republic in history to transform itself into a democracy so that it could kill itself while standing idly by? And will we continue as a people to stand in our zombie-like clusters while we continue with our infatuation with all things of the sixties and seventies whose culture stood up for their rights and beliefs. Perhaps we are the shallow-minded hypocrites the world believes us to be. It is said that history repeats itself, and that every great country falls. And just as the center of power fell from Great Britain, and shifted to the United States, with the subsequent great devastation in government sponsored programs from garbage pick-up to water in England in the seventies, it may be time for us to face our own future without financial responsibility or participation in the transformation of our government from our old way of life.

    For more on this, see Professor Turley’s post:

  42. SWM, FDR was the consummate Imperial Prez. He tried to stack SCOTUS for chrissake. I am fairly certain, the most despicable act done by our govt. in modern times was the internment of Japanese, German and Italian citizens was done by Executive Order.

    SWM, I’m genuinely applauding you for entering the fray. The absence of others who don’t like JT making comments like this in The American Legion Magazine and Fox News have, to date, have shied away. Just sayin’

  43. SWM, I think some of these damn conservative here of late were first introduced to JT via Megan Kelly. Ironic and karma. JT had a message MSNBC didn’t want to air, I suppose.

  44. Nick, you have to be kidding me. I was once a member of the American Legion, but I got tired of their extreme right wing politics and trashing our freedoms. They have historically been ALL in favor of police state measures throughout their history. it is like Stalin criticizing the US for some lack of freedoms.

  45. nick, Have never read the American Legion Magazine nor do I plan to subscribe and Fox News is only fun to watch when Dick Morris and Karl Rove are making their political prognostications. At one time Rove was a pretty knowlegable political operative but he seems to have lost his way.

  46. When the MSM is complicit in covering up these Constitutional abused JT has to go to venues that will publish the truth. Whatever you think of the Legion politics, they support vets and have been leading the exposure of Obama’s cover up of Vet hospital abuses.

  47. Miller, You forget that the American people stood idly by during the McCarthy era when the government put hundreds of people in prison for their political opinions. You forget that black and Latino Americans had NO rights at all. So all in all, we are FAR more free today than we were back then. Try remembering and learning from our history, and while the concerns are valid, we do not need to be chicken littles at every turn.

  48. SWM, I know your views and I know you don’t want to contaminate yourself w/ opposing views. I watch and read ALL sorts of views. I’m funny that way. I blast Tom Delay on one thread today and blast Obama here. Coincidence, I think not. When you’re independent you see horseshit for what it is, no matter who is saying or doing it.

  49. randyjet – I thought the purpose of the American Legion was to supply a place for veterans to drink themselves silly.

  50. SWM – Rove did get Bill to admit it took Hillary 6 months to recover from her head injury. And with all the news about football head injuries, shouldn’t we be concerned about Hillary’s?

  51. Nick, I think I max out for the day on right wing thought if I read this blog. Don’t need to turn Fox on or read the American Legion Magazine.

  52. SWM, I know, this blog has turned into a right wing, knuckle dragger, Fox News watchin’ cesspool. Hell, I just read JT’s Twitter post that he’s speaking @ the Cato Institute today. “What happened to our nice left wing echo chamber??”

  53. randyjet – I am thinking you are exaggerating about blacks and Latinos. And I do not remember hundreds going to jail during the McCarthy era. I do remember some film makers going to prison but they were before the Dies Committee and it was for contempt of Congress.

  54. nick, I had that realization a few years ago. I am involved in politics in my community and don’t really need a blog to support my views.

  55. I agree on the concern about Imperial Presidents. I also don’t like the idea of political dynasties; such as the Kennedys, the Bushs or the Adams’. In some incidences it almost becomes a birthright entry into office. It is not just on the national level but also in local communities, where it is perhaps more pervasive.

  56. One thing for certain is the TeaParty is self destructing. Which is kinda of funny. It’s taking out actual winnable races for the GOP.

  57. Darren – I think that having a relative in office should not be an impediment to office. Still, I do not think it is a divine right.

  58. Thank you for this article. A tyrant so often rises at the will of the people.

    Watergate seems so tame in comparison to the IRS targeting conservative organizations and their donors, NSA spying, drone kill lists, refusing repeated requests for military security by our ambassador in Benghazi, and then lying about the attack that killed him, blaming a video and throwing the maker in jail for a minor parole violation, Pigford, Fast and Furious, claiming there was not a smidgeon of corruption in the IRS while Lois Lerner pleads the 5th. . . the list just keeps going.

    The President refused to negotiate with the House, as mandated by the separation of powers, and shut down the entire government to force Congress to do his bidding. He put up barricades to keep wheelchair-bound WWII vets out of their own open-air, free memorial. The image of those elderly vets shoving over the fences he erected is haunting. And yet the people applauded him.

    Executive actions were intended to facilitate executing the law, and yet President Obama routinely uses them to circumvent or even change the law. And the people applaud him.

    This has happened throughout history, with the same, inevitable conclusion. But we think we can hail a Cesar today and not have a Nero tomorrow.

  59. Grand juries. Possibly many concurrent seatings are needed now. It’s the only doorway that leads legitimately out of America’s despotic oligarchy.

    And now let us count the number of powers and assertions thereof that will be handed back to Congress by whomever is sworn in as President in 2017?

    I come up with a negative number myself.

    Seat grand juries to empower an emasculated Congress to do its job, and erase the mistakes it was lied and terrorized into making, told by both current and past criminal enterprises posing as presidencies.

  60. SWM, ? This blog turned into a right wing, Fox watching, knuckle dragging one “a few years ago?” When I got here in 2012 it was basically me and Byron. And, neither of us are conservative, we are right leaning libertarians. Now, there are a few more. But, a conservative accounting of the ratio would be 12-1 liberal to conservative. Someone said a few days ago the ratio was a few more liberals. But, she backed off when challenged.

  61. We do have too many political monarch family’s. I do see Chelsea’s mother-in-law took it on the chin in Philly last night. Bill and Chelsea campaigned hard for her. Maybe that “Ol’ Black Magic” has faded away?

  62. Karen

    I retrieved your message from the WordPress Vortex of Doom

    Folks, Karen’s comment is above at 12:21

  63. Watch it via the following link:

    Koch Brothers Exposed: 2014 Edition

    Posted by Brave New Films on May 20, 2014


    “We’ve reissued Koch Brothers Exposed: 2014 Edition to shine a light on the Koch Brothers. We’re now delving even deeper into where their money is going, who their money is hurting, and how much they are making during this whole process leading up to the 2014 Elections. Click here to watch this investigative documentary for FREE”

    Here’s the trailer:

  64. Complain about Fox news, at least they report the news and not omit reports that don’t favor Obama

  65. Anonymous – Brave New World are the ones who went after Fox and also tried to defend ACORN. Aren’t they getting some funding from SEIU?

  66. Actually, I get a lot my US news from British papers. The MSM doesn’t carry it because they are carrying water for the Obama administration.

  67. If you want to shut down the government as Ted Cruz demanded, you shut down the government – including the National Park Service. The Republican critter that screamed at the park ranger was a disgusting hypocrite playing for the cameras If you shut down the government by not raising the debt ceiling you do not get to pick and chose which part continues to be open. Obama did not shut down the government. It will help to keep the ideology straight. Republicans want to reduce debt. They want to spend less. The do not like big government. They do not want to raise the debt ceiling. Democrats on the other hand, believe in government. They believe government programs promote the general welfare. They wanted the debt ceiling raised.

    Don’t make stuff up.

  68. The MSM does not carry water for Obama. Has anyone heard of Benghazi? IRS? VA? Lois Lerner? Lybia? Ukraine? Syria? ACA rollout? Kathleen Sebelius? Fast and Furious? NSA? Snowdon? Birth certificate? Rev. Wright? Ayres?

    Do not make stuff up.

  69. Do you know how little time MSM has spent on any of those important issues rather than talking about the latest fad in face lifts?

  70. I was watching MSNBC on Monday I think. It was midday and the host had a NYT reporter on who had done an extensive piece on the Koch Brothers. It was hilarious. The host thought the NYT guy had drunk the Kool-Aid, but he hadn’t. The host kept trying to put words in his mouth. But, the reporter would not have it. The reporter was adamant that the Koch’s are libertarians, who walk the libertarian walk, not the right wing walk. When’s the next time this NYT guy gets invited back? When’s the next time MSNBC invites JT back? “You can’t handle the truth.”

  71. If I remember correctly that one where the screaming took place is open to the public 24/7 and was suddenly cordoned off by the park service. Odd, don’t ya think?

  72. The VA story broke from CNN and a local TV station in Phoenix who had been working on the story for quite a while. Now it is blowing up. It is so bad that Obama was on TV today saying he wasn’t going to stand for it. However, reports note that he was aware of the wait times at the VA since 2008.

  73. The Kochs are right wing greedy blood sucking self serving libertarians who don’t want regulations or Social Security and Medicare. Figure out the rest of the stuff they don’t want.. They do love Citizens United. I don’t care what MSNBC said. I don’t watch it.

  74. National Parks are funded by the federal government – including open air parks National Parks. Perhaps you have heard of the Grand Canyon?. Cruz wanted the government shut down and succeeded in doing that by blocking the raising of the debt ceiling. If you shut down the government, EVERYTHING is shut down. You are shutting down the National Parks. Even those that are in the open air. Republicans were hypocrites. Plain and simple. Unless they were just incredibly dumb. Probably both.

    Everyone at Cato was cheering.

  75. SWM – we have lots of room here in the desert. Relatively low crime rate, low tax rate, nice people, good schools, great shopping, culture. Wait until winter to move though. You want to ease your way into the first summer.

  76. Obama wanted things to hurt the public the most. Even the park rangers were embarrassed. Arizona has several national parks and a few national monuments. The rangers were apologizing to the people for the problems caused by the administration.

  77. David Koch, founder of Cato Institute, where Prof Turley is speaking this afternoon, ran for Vice President in 1980 on the Libertarian ticket. Their platform:

    Koch was the Libertarian Party’s vice-presidential candidate in the 1980 presidential election, sharing the party ticket with presidential candidate Ed Clark. The Clark–Koch ticket promising to abolish Social Security, the Federal Reserve Board, welfare, minimum-wage laws, corporate taxes, all price supports and subsidies for agriculture and business, and U.S. Federal agencies including the SEC, EPA, ICC, FTC, OSHA, FBI, CIA, and DOE

    Cato is right at home with that platform today. Along with supporting the purchasing of our elected officials with Citizens United.

  78. SWM – we are two hours from skiing and 6 hours from surfing, 4 hours if you drive really really fast.

  79. The problem was caused by the Republicans for not wanting to raise the debt ceiling.

    Don’t make stuff up.

  80. I’m fussy about sources. Breitbart, Daily Caller, Daily Mail, Malkin and Washington Times and their ilk make stuff up.

  81. AZ with low crime rate? Jan Brewer swore there were headless bodies all over the desert.

    Low taxes? Yes. And they had to sell the capital.

    And if your plan to leave your home to your children, they may have a slight problem with the rationing of water and wildfires.

    And Joe Arpaio.

  82. However, I will need some proof that all the sources you site ‘make stuff up.’
    You asked me to source it. I did. I fulfilled my obligation.

  83. The left-wing liberal democratic state senate of California voted 29-1 to make it illegal to supply the military NSA with electricity, water, sewer, or garbage collection:

    The bill would ban the state from providing “material support, participation or assistance” to any federal agency “attempting the illegal and unconstitutional collection of electronic data or metadata, without consent, of any person not based on a valid warrant that particularly describes the person, place, and thing to be searched or seized or a court order, or in accordance with judicially recognized exceptions to warrant requirements.”


  84. We have plenty of water, we know how to deal with droughts. It is a desert you know. And we know about wildfires. They are part of God’s plan. Heavy winter rains, beautiful spring flowers, turn to dried brush, lighting from summer rains, wild fires. It is all part of the cycle of life. Here we embrace it. The fires are not fun, but those wild flowers in the spring are worth it.

  85. BTW, there were headless bodies in the desert. Sadly we have a lot of bodies in the desert. Some die of dehydration some are killed.

  86. Dredd – much as I think their hearts are in the right place, I think the government will just take what it needs by eminent domain.

  87. ST. PAUL, Min., – May 14, 2014. A bipartisan bill which bans Minnesota law enforcement from obtaining cellphone location tracking information without a warrant passed final hurdles in the state House and Senate today. The House vote was 130-0 and the Senate vote was 63-1.

  88. Paul Schulte

    Dredd – much as I think their hearts are in the right place, I think the government will just take what it needs by eminent domain.
    The military NSA will stand down if the states continue to stand up.

  89. JEFFERSON CITY, Mo., May 16, 2014 – Legislation to protect electronic communications and data was given final approval by the Missouri state House today. Because it is a proposal for a state constitutional amendment, it will now bypass the Governor’s desk, instead going directly to the People on the ballot this November.

  90. It is wondrous to behold Arizonians embrace the cycle of life when it is 135 degrees in the parking lot of the Scottsdale mall. See them fall down in a joyous dance of celebration. Of course nothing compares to the spontaneous athletic footrace to out run a raging wildfire while cradling your pets in your arms and praying your children’s schoolbus was able to evacuate.

  91. Dredd – regardless of what the states do, the feds are not going to change. Too many jobs are on the line.

  92. Revolt slaves! Revolt!

    “There is a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that you can’t take part; you can’t even passively take part, and you’ve got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you’ve got to make it stop. And you’ve got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it, that unless you’re free, the machine will be prevented from working at all!”
    ~ Mario Savio, Sproul Hall, University of Califronia, Berkeley, December 2, 1964

  93. There are many malls in Scottsdale, which one are you referring to? Wildfires do not usually occur in Maricopa County. Is there any difference between racing from a wildfire and racing from a tornado or hurricane? How about a tsunami? And I have a hard time believing that you did any praying even if you were in that situation.

  94. True. No wildfires in Maricopa. That is a lot of comfort to the people in Payson and Prescott.

    All the rest is silly.

  95. Well, we choose to live where we choose to live. Payson and Prescott get cooler weather, but chances of wildfires. BTW, did you see that part of Whiskey Row burned down? No wildfire, electrical short.

  96. Holy geez! It looks like the truth just smacked America right across the head with a 2 x 4. What took so long? Here, have a little more.

    Why the omission of the fact that, as we unequivocally and definitively find the source** of the definition of “natural born citizen” to require two parents as citizens and that, as a corollary, the father may not be a citizen of a foreign country, the current occupant of the White House is inarguably not eligible to hold the office?

    “Natural Born Citizen – The meaning of this term is not set forth in The Constitution or in The Federalist Papers; and there was found no discussion of the meaning in Madison’s Journal of the Federal Convention or in Alexander Hamilton’s notes of the same.

    What does this tell us? That they all knew what it meant. We don’t go around defining “pizza,” because every American over the age of four knows what a pizza is.

    Our Framers had no need to define “natural born Citizen” in the Constitution, because by the time of the Federal Convention of 1787, a formal definition of the term consistent with the new republican principles already existed in Emer Vattel’s classic, Law of Nations.

    And we know that our Framers carefully studied and relied upon Vattel’s work. and that many, if not all, spoke French.

    How Vattel’s Law of Nations got to the Colonies, and its Influence Here:

    During 1775, Charles Dumas, an ardent republican [as opposed to a monarchist] living in Europe sent three copies of Vattel’s Law of Nations to Benjamin Franklin. Here is a portion of Franklin’s letter of Dec. 9, 1775 thanking Dumas for the books:

    “… I am much obliged by the kind present you have made us of your edition of Vattel. It came to us in good season, when the circumstances of a rising state make it necessary frequently to consult the law of nations. Accordingly that copy, which I kept, (after depositing one in our own public library here, and sending the other to the College of Massachusetts Bay, as you directed,) has been continually in the hands of the members of our Congress, now sitting, who are much pleased with your notes and preface, and have entertained a high and just esteem for their author…” (2nd para) [boldface added]

    Vattel’s Law of Nations was thereafter “pounced upon by studious members of Congress, groping their way without the light of precedents.”

    Not to mention the fact that every President, save one who lied to hide the fact, has had two parents that were citizens.

  97. Feynman:

    What do you think about the US Park Service ranger whistleblowers who were told to make the government shutdown as painful as possible for the American people?

    Obama said that if Congress did not do his bidding, he would shut down the government. Republicans said go ahead. But then they crumbled.

    The separation of powers means that Congress is NOT SUPPOSED to do the President’s bidding. It is supposed to act independently. And when they disagree, the President and Congress are required to negotiate. The House funded everything except Obamacare, expecting there to be the legal negotiations. Obama shut down the government. The House proposed a bill that would fund the National Institute of Health so that desperately sick children would get care during the shut down. Obama threatened to veto it. There is no excuse on this Earth for that behavior.

  98. Feynman: The MSM belatedly briefly discusses stories long after Fox News has covered them, and they become impossible to ignore. They spent more time on fluff like Solange Knowles than they do on Lois Lerner pleading the 5th. There are systems that track air time given to different stories.

  99. Feynman:

    Do you also despise North Dakota because it has extremely low temperatures? And all states within tornado, earthquake, tsunami, hurricane, mudslide, and lava flows? Because if you rule out all extreme weather and natural disasters, you’d have a very limited area of the US that satisfies.

  100. Karen – I think he dislikes any state I live in. However, according to him, he did live is lovely Sedona, AZ for awhile. Now Sedona has had major floods when Oak Creek overflows its banks.

  101. Republicans didn’t raise the debt ceiling. They wanted the government shut down. They thought they could blackmail Obama again. He, and we, learned a hard lesson that the Republicans are not fit to govern. The country cannot be held hostage by a bunch of crazed idiotic congresscritters who have no idea of what they are doing by not raising the debt ceiling. If we can find a Republican legislator who is still capable of telling the truth, perhaps we can ask them what they thought of such antics by the Republicans.

    There is no excuse on Earth that the Republicans would act so irresponsibly and risk the financial stability of the US in yet another ridiculous attempt to kill ACA.

    Any Republican story bemoaning the closing of a National Park or NIH is pure propaganda. The Republicans wanted the shutdown. They were nothing but miserable hypocrites when they then began to shed their crocodile tears because actual Americans were hurt by their political moronic blackmailing idiocy.

  102. You can only blackmail someone if you have someone embarrassing on them to expose. Obamacare deserves a horrible horrible death. The Republicans wanted Obama and the Democrats to live within a budget that they refused to pass.

  103. Feynman:

    “They (Republicans) wanted the government shut down.”

    Um . . . no . . . they wanted to reign in spending. They offered to fund the entire government except for Obamacare. By the Separation of Powers, Obama was required to negotiate, but he made a power grab and shut down the government instead. They offered to fund the entire government, they offered to fund sections of government, and they made a desperate plea to fund parts like the NIH to benefit sick kids, and Obama threatened to veto them all. Were you aware that we have a $17 trillion debt, and the scale of that debt? What do you think will happen when we can no longer cover the interest on our debt? Will we fail to pay on bonds sold, or will be fail to pay our international investors? And if our debt is still unceasing at that point, what will the consequences be?

    How would you like it if a Republican President shut down the government because he didn’t like what came out of a Democratic House? Because if it’s OK when Obama does it, it has to be OK when the “other parties” do it.

  104. Feynman:

    Could you please provide sources to prove that the park ranger whistleblowers’ stories were untrue?

    What about the photographs and video of wheelchair bound WWII vets pushing over barricades to get to their free open air WWII memorial that takes absolutely zero money to “run” because it’s just a monument sitting there? And what about shutting down privately owned businesses on federal land?

    The “making it hurt” abuses were very well documented. Sorry the MSM failed to cover it. Because if that’s the only place where you get your news, you would have absolutely no idea. Many people are in the same boat. Conservatives have not found enough avenues to get information out that the MSM refuse to cover.

  105. Park rangers were not given instructions to make the shutdown as painful as possible. They were told the same thing that all the other federal government workers were told – the government has been shut down. If you work in an office – it is closed. If you work in a lab – it is closed. If you work in a National Park it is closed. You may not be paid for this ‘leave’. The park service had a tougher job thanks to the idiotic Republicans. They had to protect the parks – without being paid. If some ‘whistleblower’ said they were told to make it as painful as possible – the ‘whistleblower’ was another idiotic Republican.

    Fox News makes stuff up. They are a propaganda outlet.

    I’m not interested in discussing the desirability of 50 states. I know AZ. It is not desirable for a host of reasons – like 130 degree heat and wildfires. Others are free to ’embrace’ it.

  106. “Blackmail” means threatening to release damning or embarrassing information unless the victim provides payment or services.

    It does not apply to the House. The House was using it’s legal leverage, as by law, all funding bills must originate in the House. Throughout our history, it has been common for the House and Senate and Executive Office to have opposing political parties. Obama is the only one who seems to find it unfair and can’t seem to manage following the rules. Nixon tried a power grab, but was run out in disgrace, having gotten away with far less than the current Nero.

  107. Feynman:

    Please provide a source other than “you don’t think it’s true” that the whistleblowers’ stories were fabricated.

  108. You can denigrate Arizona. We are happy to not have you live here. Please, it is a relatively free country. Find a state or territory that suits your needs. Please.

  109. Fox News is not hard to find.

    The Storming of the Barricades was led by idiotic Republican legislators. They saw and exploited the political propaganda advantage.

    Open air national monuments are not without expenses. On the mall the Lincoln Memorial got splattered with paint. Who cleaned that up? Who cleans up the litter? Who maintains the trails? Who cleans the washrooms? Who watches for vandals? Who maintains the grounds? Who provides security? Who answers questions?

    Private businesses located in National Parks should vote for Democrats the next time. Democrats do not shut down the government. Democrats raise the debt ceiling. Democrats think National Parks are a wonderful thing. Many Republicans do not. A bunch of them are libertarians. And they belong to the Cato Institute.

  110. Feynman:

    “The Storming of the Barricades was led by idiotic Republican legislators.” Again, that it incorrect. Elderly vets travelled a long way to get to the memorial, which they found closed.

    Do you honestly think that closing a WWII memorial would NOT piss off WWII vets? Or anyone who saw a WWII vet kept away from what is essentially an open air statue?

  111. Back to questions…of a curious nature. I’m not being rhetorical when I ask: when state legislatures vote to withhold material support from agencies such as the NSA for what they consider to be unconstitutional, is this similar to state governments or local sheriffs refusing to follow federal laws THEY deem unconstitutional? It’s exasperating, in a way, to read so many comments flung back and forth trying to protect a particular political stance rather than a measured discussion about what citizens can do. What I’m reading here just amounts to a part of the problem. Each side is SO sure it is the other guy causing the problem, we don’t seem capable of agreeing that there is a problem or what to do about it.

  112. The WWII memorial takes no funds to run. It was not “splattered with paint.” It was just sitting there. In the open air. It does not have security guards.

  113. Iconoclast:

    One of the problems is that Democrats feel that Obama’s abuse of power is OK, because it benefits their party. If this was Bush doing the exact same thing, there would be riots in the street. “One way for thee, another for me” does not benefit this country. I feel that political affiliation has no bearing on wrong doing. Wrong is wrong, and should be pointed out by the media. But they remain silent. (Compare air times on various scandals.)

    The second problem is that there is disagreement about Obamacare. We have analysis showing that premiums and deductibles doubled, on average, under Obamacare for the individual market. (My own deducible increased 1100% and my premiums more than doubled.) And 75% of doctors, at least in CA, do not accept Exchange plans because they amount to a 30% pay cut.

    But since there is disagreement that this is a problem, there can be no agreement on how to proceed. And one of the problems is that the Main Stream Media has become partisan, and are reluctant to cover stories that damage Democrats. So we have a largely uninformed population going to the voting booth.

    Democrats and Republicans keep brawling in the Beltway, meanwhile the rest of us get ignored. Big Business and Big Unions buy favors, while grass roots organizations get targeted by the IRS. And, so far, any other party acts as a vote splitter, without enough support to actually take the White House.

    The solution is to obey the law, and do NOT allow the President to abuse the Separation of Powers, EVER. Each and every time the President uses an executive order to circumvent the law instead of implement it, he should be held accountable. When he lies to the American people about “if you like your health plan and your doctor, you can keep them” he should be held accountable. When he claims “there is not a smidgeon of corruption in the IRS” and then has one of his political donors head the investigation, while Lois Lerner pleads the 5th, he should be held accountable. When he states that the attack on the Benghazi Embassy was caused by a demonstration about a video, contrary to all CIA reports and boots on the ground, he should be held accountable.

    It really is that simple. If you don’t like lying, special interests, and power grabs in Washington, then do not allow it to happen. And that is true regardless of the political affiliation of the perpetrators.

  114. Feynman:

    If you do not like any non-Liberal sources, then please do your own research and provide sources that disprove my statement. Otherwise, “I just don’t believe it” or “I don’t like who wrote it” does not hold up in a debate.

  115. iconoclast – you ask a good question. However, it does not have an easy answer. Police and prosecutors have historically refused to enforce laws they did not agree with. What would be interesting is if you could cut the power to an NSA facility for any length of time. Is that legal and if you did it, would it work? For instance, power to federal facilities in Phoenix are supplied by Salt River Project, a quasi-governmental agency of its own. Does it have the power, through the Arizona Corporation Commission, to deny power to federal facilities?

  116. The Republicans wanted the government shut down.

    When it did not work and brought disgust and loathing upon them because it did not work, their brilliant retort was na na na na na “we knew it would not work.”

    To which John Boehner said in a public news conference: “ARE YOU KIDDING ME!!!!!”

  117. Paul and iconoclast:

    That is an interesting idea. If the American people dislike the activities of the NSA, can we just unfund it?

    The people at the NSA used to be above reproach, nonpolitical. It is sad how times have changed.

  118. iconoclast

    Back to questions…of a curious nature. I’m not being rhetorical when I ask: when state legislatures vote to withhold material support from agencies such as the NSA for what they consider to be unconstitutional, is this similar to state governments or local sheriffs refusing to follow federal laws THEY deem unconstitutional? It’s exasperating, in a way, to read so many comments flung back and forth trying to protect a particular political stance rather than a measured discussion about what citizens can do. What I’m reading here just amounts to a part of the problem. Each side is SO sure it is the other guy causing the problem, we don’t seem capable of agreeing that there is a problem or what to do about it.
    When the states stand up as they are with regard to the military NSA, by telling state workers not to support the stalinist tactics of the military NSA, and when state employees and officials carry it out.

    They get the attention of the military NSA.

    Which does not want any more attention.

    So then they can talk.

    One has to ante up first before playing the hand.

    The military NSA has anted up with we are watching everything you do.

    The states are ante up to with “not any longer.”

  119. Karen, You must be one of the few people on Earth who don’t know that FAUX news is the propaganda arm of the GOP. I know that you have no memory or capacity for thought, so I will list a few lies FAUX perpetrated. They put out as one of their reporting stories, a GOP Senatorial talking points memo and got caught at it because the memo had a date one year in the FUTURE, and the so called reporters at FAUX were too stupid to catch the error before they put the story on air. Then there is their inability to know where Egypt or Iraq is on their maps. Then they did the story on the Tea Party rally that was a bust, so they put in the story the pictures of the bigger demo earlier that year, but they forgot that trees were barren in the reported demo, while the clip they used had all the leaves on the trees. They figured FAUX news viewers and people like you were too stupid to notice. Then you think that a MOONIE newspaper has real news in it. Incredible. Join the Moonies if you believe that, you will feel right at home since they will swallow anything they are ordered to believe.

  120. The anger of the vets and the general public is not at all surprising. The vets were well aware of the risk of closure due to the idiotic Republicans well before they got on the bus. However, the vets’ anger was misdirected. The idiotic Republicans were responsible for closing the offices, the labs, the National Parks. Fortunately for the idiotic Republicans, Americans are uninformed and easily persuaded by propaganda and the likes of Fox News and the Washington Times. American anger is easily deflected towards Obama. This happens frequently – especially by old white men. One would probably find the same type of receptive audience by those who subscribe to ‘The American Legion Magazine’.

    The Lincoln Memorial was not vandalized during the Storming of the Barricades. And my home was not burglarized nor my home set on fire in 2013. I’ll immediately petition my city to fire all the cops and firemen and to get a refund of my insurance. It’s obvious I don’t need them. We need only hire a cop or fireman once there is an incident.

  121. randyjet – we can all through the horror stories of each of the networks for stupid or careless things they have done. Dan Rather ran a stories with faked papers. Somebody the other day used the wrong pictures for the missing girls, the used pictures taken by a photographer from some time ago and copyrighted. MSNBC is an arm of the Democratic Party and is proud of it. At least Fox has some variety in its casting. CNN started with a good reputation but went down hill.
    Strangely for you, Fox News wins its time spots against all its cable competitors.

  122. I used to love watching Professor Turley on Olberman’s show. He would come on with that perky “Hi Keith!”

  123. You know I was 14 before I found out that thatgoddamnroosevelt was not a single word. Now you have seemed to add a racist tinge to your idiot Republican mantra.
    Just for your personal information, the courts have held that even though you consistently pay your taxes, you are not guaranteed police protection or that you will not be robbed.

  124. The liberal icon, Keith Olberman is a condescending, angry, crazy, disgrace to journalism. He has been fired from every place he works. EVERYONE who works w/ him HATES him. But, there are a select few red meat eaters who thinks he’s Edward R Murrow and Howard Beale rolled into one man w/ an enormous head, literally and figuratively. They need to check TV Guide every few months to see where the hell this idiot is currently employed.

  125. There was a website dedicated to Oblie’s many many mistakes and over the top and useless rants.

  126. Most of you posting here are posting items that have nothing to do with the article topic. While those comments and arguments are important, they do not advance the debate on the topic of the article and the designated debate.

    The slide to an “Uber POTUS” may be the most dangerous threat to our republic since inception. If ANY POTUS is allowed to create laws via regulations or executive orders, then the POTUS is violating the constitution’s separation of powers clauses, and thus creating a dictatorship.

    Executive Orders were designed for a President to make “Temporary” decision on a situation until congress reconvened. The current POTUS has turned them into “Instant De-Facto” laws that he could not get passed congress.

    By doing this, he is essentially making up his own laws, without any check or balance. Only two (2) potential checks stand In his way one he executes his Executive order.

    (1) The first is the Justice Dept. But since the Justice Dept. has not bothered to try and stop, or even question the POTUS on the legalities of ANY of his actions. This option has become worthless.

    (2) The last option is for Congress to sue in Federal court for a ruling of Constitutionality. Depending on which district the suit is filed in, it can take from months to years to reach a decision, based on how political the leanings are for the Judges in that district.

    This situation has led to an ever increasing, and recently, dramatic increase in the shear number of Executive Orders, resulting in new, instant, de-facto laws.

    Most of these new “De-Facto” laws are being justified by “re-interpreting” existing laws and regulations to achieve the desired political outcome, with little regard to legality.

    A clear example of this is the EPA claiming jurisdiction over a Montana farmer building a pond on his farm. The Federal Government has jurisdiction only in the “Navigable Waterways” of our Nation. Obama’s EPA just arbitrarily re-interpreted that meaning to now include ALL WATER feeding into the “Navigable Waterways” thus claiming jurisdiction of ALL waterways in the country.

    Now add to this thousands of new regulations just created by Obama’s EPA, not voted on by Congress, and are now trying to apply them to waterways our constitution clearly say they have no jurisdiction what so ever.

    The second part of the POTUS becoming a dictator “Uber President” is the selective decision to only enforce the laws they like and refuse to enforce the laws they don’t like. If our President can do this at will, then why should the rest of us obey the laws we don’t like?

    Our founding fathers worried about this very “concentration of power” in a president and if you read through all of the writings of the time, they would consider our current POTUS a tyrannical leader because of the huge numbers of “De-Facto” laws being created by the thousands of Executive Orders being issued by this President because he does not want to make any concessions on his agenda.


    There are very, very few Democrats sounding the alarm on this. This is also truly frightening. If Democrats are willing to stand by and let the POTUS do whatever he wants via Executive Order, then they had better not utter a word when the next Republican President erases all of the Obama Admins Executive orders with the stroke of a pen.

    Another topic would be the legality of the Federal Gov to maintain a large military equipped agency’s to force adherence to these new “De-Facto” laws. Showing up with 200 Military equipped “agents” to evict a cattle rancher, only serves to re-enforce the opinion of a dictator. The guilt or innocence of the rancher is not the issue. Using large, military forces to selectively implement laws has all the appearance of breaking the “Posse Comitatus” Act.

    Now the USDA has just announced that they are going to equip their agents with 30 round clip Sub-Machine guns is making the waters even murkier. What reason could they possibly have to need 30 round clip sub-machine guns?

    Mr. Turley’s suggestion that Congress have access to the Supreme Court, not the district court, by the ultimate gang of 9, for a quick and decisive decision. Either that, or passing a law that ALL Executive Orders must be voted on by Congress within 90 days of execution to remain in effect. The latter solution is what our founding fathers had intended all along.


    Jim Rose

  127. Jim Rose, Good comment. I just finished watching the forum @ Cato where JT spoke this afternoon. Very informative. As JT points out in his opening remarks, the abuse of Presidential power has been ongoing for many years. Both Republicans and Democrats have been guilty. But, the libertarian Cato Institute is one of the few organizations who calls out both parties in their abuse of power. Cato was one of the first to call out Bush on his abuses. It’s about 80 minutes long.

  128. Well, well, well. Look is is standing behind George W. Bush in Annie’s Olberman link. James Clapper. Must have been the good old days when the NSA was above reproach, nonpolitical, and doing only good works.

    Olberman is an angry, crazy disgrace to journalism and very old news. The Washington Times is a right wing propaganda rag founded by a crazy cult leader of the Moonies.

  129. Jim – there is several of us that agree you completely, some in part and some think Obama should get whatever he wants. However, these threads tend to wander about.:)

  130. So Olbermann is old news but Rev. Moon owning the Times is not? Got a little double standard going here?

  131. If executive orders can be overturned with a single stroke of a pen of the next president, it diminishes the ‘fear factor’.

    Executive orders have been in use since Washington. Abe invoked habeas corpus and we survived.

    Last I read, Obama was behind GWB and the use of executive orders.

    I’d like to learn more about that pond in Montana.

  132. As a candidate, Obama railed against former President Bush’s expansion of presidential powers, particularly his push to invade Iraq.

    “These last few years we’ve seen an unacceptable abuse of power at home,” then-candidate Obama said in Chicago in October of 2007. “We’ve paid a heavy price for having a president whose priority is expanding his own power.”

  133. Obama sure was right about Iraq.

    And Obama is obviously all powerful. Just look at the way his first executive order was implemented…the closing of Gitmo. Also…the overturning of Citizen’s United…Immigration Reform….nominees sailing through confirmation (DOJ Civil Rights Head most recent fail)…passage of a jobs bill…extension of unemployment benefits…Head Start expanded…Medicaid expanded in all states.

  134. Paul:

    Thanks for the article about the DOJ Election Crimes rep refusing to answer questions in front of the committee investigating the IRS targeting of conservatives. But, hey, there wasn’t a smidgeon of corruption, right? And after the DOJ stonewalls this committee, then politicians will claim that any further efforts are unnecessary because it’s been looked into already. You really do need a sense of humor to follow politics.

    And, randyjet, “I know that you have no memory or capacity for thought”, you sweet talker. You win the curmudgeon award today!

    Fox News blows the competition out of the water in the ratings, and I do enjoy several of its shows. Especially Megyn Kelly, who has interviewed Professor Turley multiple times. I am surprised you follow this blog, and do not find it tainted by his appearing on Fox.:)

  135. Feynman:

    ‘The idiotic Republicans were responsible for closing the offices, the labs, the National Parks.” Oh, no, that is not actually how the government works. The House cannot shut down the government. It funded the entire government, except for Obamacare. By law, the President was required to negotiate, but instead he made a power grab, and shut down the government in an effort to make Congress do his bidding.

    Just to clarify, you agree that the President should shut down the government to force Congress to do his bidding, in a direct violation of the separation of powers? I am curious why you feel this is permissible. Professor Turley has outlined in detail above the problems with presidential overreach. Do you disagree with his position?

  136. Feynman:

    Just to clarify, are you saying it was permissible to pay federal employees during the shutdown to erect barricades to keep elderly vets from their own, open-air memorial, because if someone splattered it with paint, there would be no janitorial staff to clean it up?

    It is curious how much effort you are going to in defense of closing open air memorials, shutting down Mt Vernon when it is in fact owned privately, etc. Why can’t you just say Obama made a mistake?

  137. Nick

    I retrieved your comment for the WordPress Vortex of Doom.

    Folks, Nick’s comment can be read above at 7:15

  138. Obama did not make a mistake. The idiotic Republicans shut down the government. That included the National Parks. The Conservative Clown Car exploited the propaganda opportunity. My position is clear.

    I’ve said nothing about Mt. Vernon. I am unaware of this further ‘transgression’. Fire away.

  139. Karen, It is obvious that you have no idea of what Prof Turley’s political orientation is. I have respect for his opinions since he stands on principles, not politics, unlike you and all conservatives whose outrage at Obama is only there because he is a Democrat. You have no principles other than Democrats are bad, GOP good. That is called being a true believer and not being rational. You think that if he disagrees with Obama on some things, that he is one of you.

    I disagree with Prof Turley because I think that he is a bit too pure on some political issues. I am sure that had he lived during Lincolns time, he would have been blasting him as a dictator, or an incipient one. I on the other hand would support Lincolns measures he had to use during the Civil insurrection. We did not become a dictatorship at that time. So while there were draconian measures taken to abridge civil liberties, I think that they were needed, and we did not fall into a permanent loss of liberty.That is why I disagree with some of his points now. Bush and his predecessors were far worse, since they did EVERYTHING Obama has done and is doing. The big difference is that we have now heard about these things, while before all of the illegal actions were secret before.

    The other fact is that during the McCarthy era, hundreds of people were put into prison for their political beliefs. Books were routinely banned, destroyed, people put in prison for simply possessing them. I have personally read a banned book, The Hidden History of the Korean War which was smuggled into the US. To let you know how to read such a book, you have to read it sideways since it was photocopied and bound. We had very little liberty back then, and free speech, free press, the right to assemble, etc.. were all dead letters. That was under Truman and Eisenhower, and was the norm and the American people were so afraid that they stood by and let the dictatorship measures flourish. Black and Latino Americans had no rights whatsoever, even the right to vote. They had no rights to property in the south since they could not go to court for the redress of theft or even murder.

    It was the GOP types who were pushing this state of affairs along with the Dixiecrats. So it is the height of hypocrisy for any of those folks to complain about any small thing Obama has done compared with the crimes that your people have committed.

  140. Ted Cruz is the poster boy for the GOP. He was outspoken in shutting down the government and was PROUD of it. Then when folks got upset,THEN he said he was NOT in favor of doing that! Only a braindead fool could buy this.

  141. Prof Turley is advocating for a political position. I do disagree with him. I am not a libertarian and I think Citizens United, which Prof. Turley supports, is an abomination.

  142. randyjet – can we get a link to the “hundreds of people [who] were put into prison for their political beliefs” during the McCarthy era?

  143. Let me see if I have this straight. The House passes a budget, as required and the Senate refuses to pass it. The Senate is controlled by Democrats. When Republicans tried to compromise on partial things that would keep some things operating Obama said he would veto them.

    So, the idiot Republicans are responsible for the government shutting down? Just not getting the logic. Personally, I am putting the blame on the Democratic Senate and Obama.

  144. All of the important issue in JT’s column and the obsession is the shutdown?? CNN has done a great job covering this VA tragedy. They reported this afternoon that 10 people who work @ the Phoenix VA wrote and asked the VA 2 weeks ago for protection for coming forward. NO REPLY. As JT pointed out, this Administration has gone after whistleblowers ruthlessly. That’s the Chicago Way!

  145. Paul S said:

    When Republicans tried to compromise on partial things that would keep some things operating Obama said he would veto them.

    If the Republicans had been able to keep just the parts of government open with which they approved, we’d still be in a shutdown.

  146. They tried to keep negotiations open with the Senate, but Reid shut them out. This is on Obama and Reid.

  147. The NYT link @ 8:59 is a good accounting of the shutdown. It is important to read the entire article. Unless of course, you believe that history can be written in two sentences.

  148. Jim:

    It is true that Executive Orders are subject to judicial review, and must comply with the Constitution. But we have a Congress unwilling to act. The Republicans crumble, are losing the communication battle to inform the public, and too many Democrats seem to approve of Presidential overreach as long as it benefits their party. But it sets a precedent for all future Presidents.

    It’s not the number of the Executive Orders that is troubling; Teddy Roosevelt and FDR signed many more. It is their nature. Obama is using Executive Orders to circumvent Congress, as you have noted, when they were intended to be used to facilitate the enacting of our laws, or be used in times of war.

    The relevance of the government shutdown is that it can be seen as another abuse of the separation of powers.

  149. Jim: I did hear about that homeowner sued for building his own pond. Over-regulating at its finest.

  150. This is why Republicans are reprehensible…

    “I’m not sure why this isn’t a bigger deal. I hadn’t heard about it other than in this brief passage tucked away in a Politico article about the House GOP agriculture bill. But it takes a small program intended provide meals to children in the school lunch program during the summer months and says it can now only be used to benefit kids in “rural areas”.”

    In other words, “urban” kids are now out of luck.


    You want to know what I think these a$$holes are doing? They are making sure that black kids don’t get fed.

    And these people are ready to govern our country?

    You’re worried about two ponds built by farmers and you let THIS STAND? This attack on CHILDREN stand?

  151. Childhood obesity is a huge problem in the inner city. That’s why FLOTUS has her Play 60 and lower fat/calorie lunch programs. She’s trying to slim them down. Republicans want to roll back the lunch program because kids aren’t eating the healthy food. So..Dems are trying to “starve” black kids to get them slimmer and Rep are trying to keep them obese. You can’t make this shit up!

  152. Feynman:

    “This is why Republicans are reprehensible…You want to know what I think these a$$holes are doing? They are making sure that black kids don’t get fed.”

    Well, Feynman, this is why lazy bloggers are so reprehensible. The pilot rural food program is IN ADDITION to the summer food program, which also feeds urban kids. The pilot was to help under served rural kids. Because, you know, Republicans care about kids being able to eat. If the result of current programs is that rural kids go hungry, then they want to fix that.

    But some lazy blogger didn’t do his homework, and people like you spread it all over the Internet that Republicans are racists who want black kids to starve. And it’s all because they wanted to create a program to fill a gap where rural kids were going hungry.


  153. To clarify in case there is some confusion:

    Democrats want to continue summer school lunch program for urban kids.

    Republicans want to eliminate the summer school lunch program for urban kids.

    “Urban” is code for black.

  154. Feynman:

    It is irresponsible to spread misinformation. Prejudiced people refuse to research the facts. And then they excuse their prejudice as a virtue.

    But prejudice does not lend itself to mature discussion about the issues.

  155. I am so curious. Can you please explain to me why addressing a gap that allowed rural kids to go hungry in a pilot program, in ADDITION to a summer lunch program that also feeds city kids is somehow racist?

    Because I would really like to know how fixing a gap in policy that was letting kids go hungry is racist.

    Don’t you care about childhood hunger?

  156. The original 2010 mandate read, “Section 749(g) directed that the Secretary of Agriculture shall carry out demonstration projects to develop and test methods of providing access to food for children in urban and rural areas during the summer months when schools are not in regular session to reduce or eliminate the food insecurity and hunger of children; and to improve the nutritional status of children.”

    “Democrats were surprised to see urban children were excluded,” wrote Politico’s David Rogers. “And the GOP had some trouble explaining the history itself. But a spokeswoman confirmed that the intent of the bill is a pilot project in ‘rural areas’ only.”

    “I guess that is surprising,” said Kevin Drum at Mother Jones. “Usually they’re a little more subtle in their contempt for poor people in urban areas.”

    “Poor white kids will get extra money for meals when school is out of session,” Drum said. “Poor black kids won’t.”


    The administration asked for $30 million to continue the effort to reach nutritionally vulnerable children. The House replied by declining to fund the White House program, but offering $27 million for a pilot program intended to provide nutritional assistance to the children of the rural poor.

    That’s some bad legislation.

  157. feynman,
    it is apparent that the GOP has some explaining to do by excluding the urban poor in the this so-called “pilot” program.
    The Chicago way Nick?? Really?

  158. I see that Karen has the bad habit of not telling the whole truth. She said the Washington Times was sold in 2010. She seems to give the impression that the sale meant that it is not a Moonie paper. In FACT, it was sold to bring the paper closer to the church’s views, NOT to make it a real newspaper. It is now owned by officials of the church and it will reflect its views in reporting, if that is what one can call it.

  159. Feynman:

    I have very clearly addressed how Politico completely missed that the rural program was a pilot aimed at addressing a gap IN ADDITION to the summer lunch program that also fed city kids.

    I have asked you to comment on the fact that it is IN ADDITION to instead of INSTEAD of, which obviously makes a big difference.

    But you just keep reposting the blog to which you have already referred.

    The House did not INCREASE funding.

    Are you actually telling me that only city and suburban kids get fed, and rural kids that are spread out are just out of luck? Because this pilot program addressed a need.

  160. Rafflaw:

    The pilot program for rural kids was in ADDITION to the summer lunch program, not INSTEAD of it.

    The reason why all other kids were excluded is that the summer lunch program was already for them.

    But rural kids have a unique problem where they are spread out, and they were not getting enough nutrition.

    It figures that Republicans try to help feed hungry kids and get labelled racists.

    But how many will hear about the crucial “in addition to” phrase, versus the good ‘ole “Republicans are racists and want urban (i.e. black) kids to starve” because of the viral spread of misinformation?

  161. No Karen, I am not telling you that only city and suburban kids get fed, and rural kids that are spread out are just out of luck. I am telling you that the House purposely eliminated urban children from the pilot program. Further, the administration asked for $30M to fund the pilot program for all children. The House cut the request by 10% and sliced away all the urban kids.

    Somewhere Paul Ryan is smiling. Doesn’t he believe that all these programs are worse than slavery?

    I’m uncertain about your position, however. Not too long ago, you took the position that the school lunch program was fatally flawed and should be ended – not fixed, ended. The lunches had too few calories and there was no adequate monitoring of children who could afford to buy their lunch but got a free one.

  162. Nick – But, but, but … Obama is upset about the reports he heard on TV about the VA, even though they were reported to him in 2008.

  163. Urban is code for city it is not code for black. Feynman, you supposedly lived in Arizona. What is the racial mixture of urban Phoenix? How about urban Sedona?

  164. Oddly enough a lot of people are ‘eliminated’ from pilot programs. Think of it as an alpha test, before the beta test. The Dept of Educ ran some pilot projects a couple years back, only select schools in selected states could apply. They were testing the program out. That is why you pilot it.

  165. Have you ever thought about publishing an ebook or guest authoring on other blogs?

    I have a blog centered on the same subjects you discuss and would really like to have you share some stories/information.
    I know my subscribers would value your work. If you are even remotely interested, feel
    free to send me an e-mail.

  166. Feynman: I don’t the point has gotten across that this pilot program is IN ADDITION to the current summer lunch program. The pilot was specifically designed for rural kids, because that is where the gap is. So . . . obviously, it would not include urban kids. We are specifically supposed to avoid overlap in programs.

  167. Paul – “pilot programs”, “in addition”, “addressing current gaps”, “reducing overlap” it all gets lost. We’ve explained it ad nauseum, but you know that there will be some who will come out with, “So, what you’re saying is that Republicans don’t want to feed black kids?” Words fail me.

  168. Where do you find all this redistribution mandated in the Constitution? It does not exist. The Founders NEVER wrote of or mandated redistribution of wealth. The Founders understood self-reliance. General Welfare (not individual) and the right to private property preclude all redistribution. Sorry but you’re more than welcome to pursue your charitable interests in the private sector. Go start a charity. Stop taxing other people so you can “feel good” about yourselves. Nowhere does the Constitution say “take money from one man to give it to another.” Are you sure you didn’t espouse the Manifesto?

    From welfare and food stamps, HHS and HUD to social services, Social Security, Medicare, affirmative action and public school, etc., it’s all unconstitutional redistribution of wealth.

    You denigrate Republicans, how about understanding the “blessings of liberty” and the Constitution, including the right to private property.

    Is taxation for redistribution a “blessing of liberty?”

    That dudn’t make any sense!

  169. “This downward spiral may have reached its ultimate expression this year. Framers such as Madison would have been mortified by the scene from the most recent State of the Union address. Obama appeared before a joint session of Congress (and members of the Supreme Court) to announce that he intended to go it alone in achieving his policy goals, refusing to yield to the actions of Congress. One would have expected an outcry, or at least stony silence, from a branch that was being told it would be circumvented. Instead, there was rapturous applause that bordered on a collective expression of institutional self-loathing.”


  170. @Bob Esq.

    In his own words at the State of Union Speech, Obama declaring that he was going to circumvent congress(and the Constitution) amounts to outright treason.

    The POTUS took an oath to obey and defend the Constitution and laws of the US, yet in his own words he declared that he planned to “go around” the legal constitutional process of passing and implementing laws.

    Somewhere further up someone complained that JT wanted a “completely political” solution.

    THAT IS EXACTLY what our founding fathers and the Constitution intended. You may not like it because it does not pass in Congress, i.e. the will of “We the People”, but using new and re-interpreted regulations and Executive orders to change existing laws, created new laws, or declare that the Executive Branch will not enforce a particular law because they do not like it, amounts to nothing short of a dictatorship.

    If you desire the outcome, no matter how un-constitutional the methods used by the President to achieve it, then you too are guilty of treason. Plain and simple.

    The fact that Obama has had the Pentagon drawn up plans to use the military against civil unrest or revolt. Don’t believe me?

    Directive No. 3025.18, “Defense Support of Civil Authorities,” was issued Dec. 29, 2010, and states that U.S. commanders “are provided emergency authority under this directive.”


    Is this why all the Federal Agencies, such as the recent announcement by the USDA, are arming up with 30 Shot Clip Sub Machine?

    What the hell do US Government Meat inspectors need with 30 shot Sub Machine guns?

    Jim Rose

  171. Interesting there is no mention of the Bush/Cheney imperialism. The Patriot Act was/is the slickest piece of tryanny to come down the pike in ages. Fodder, fodder everywhere and not a thought to think.

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