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Checks and balances? What checks and balances?

America's government is a carefully crafted system of checks and balances, as laid out by the Constitution -- well, in theory at least.  However, in recent decades, the executive branch has tended to do what it wants while the grumbling legislation is placated by piles of tax loopholes for their campaign donors and special interest handouts for key local constituents.

I. Cybersecurity Bill - Down, But Not Out

Take the "Cybersecurity Act", bill, S.2105 [PDF], for example.  A redraft of earlier House bill H.R. 3523, the Act gained the support of the President by modifying its proposed implementation to include funneling more of Americans' private data through the increasingly Big Brother-esque U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

While the President was delighted by the promise of the DHS gaining more access in the name of fighting a shadowy, vague Chinese threat, privacy advocates and fiscal conservatives were horrified by the bill.  Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) called the bill "Big Brother writ large."

The bill also stalled in the Senate thanks to growing concern from the corporate community, who urged their affiliated Republican Senators to move to block the bill.  Business leaders supported some of the provisions that would tear down legal barriers between government and private sector information sharing.  But they balked at the proposal of mandatory security guidelines -- another key part of the bill.

Well, bill or no bill the Obama administration is confident they can put the policies in place.  The key to subverting the stubborn legislature, argues administration officials is to substitute executive orders in the place of Senate votes.

Homeland Security
President Obama hopes to use executive orders to expand the DHS's cybersecurity role.
[Image Source: CyTalk]

White House press secretary Jay Carney says that executive orders have not been ruled out, assuming the Senate continues its freeze on the bill.  He comments, "In the wake of Congressional inaction and Republican stall tactics, unfortunately, we will continue to be hamstrung by outdated and inadequate statutory authorities that the legislation would have fixed."

Obama's slogan on this and other issues is "we can't wait."

II. Continuing the FDR Legacy

Indeed the White House will likely move aggressively to put in place executive orders with agencies such as the U.S. Federal Communications Commission, the U.S. Department of Defense, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to put in place systems forcing businesses to meet security screening.

Even the prohibition on sharing consumer information with the DHS may be able to be torn down by executive order.  By making the program "voluntary" with incentives, the White House could circumvent laws prohibiting the executive branch from forcing unwanted, unlegislated regulation on businesses.

If President Obama does choose to bypass Congress, the approach may draw criticism.  Senator Susan Collins (R- Maine) -- one of the co-sponsors of the bill -- said she would not be comfortable with that approach, despite her support for the provisions.  She comments, "I'm not for doing by executive order what should be done by legislation."

One of the Democratic co-sponsors -- Senator Diane Feinstein (D-Calif.) -- seemed okay with the idea, though.  Asked if she would approve of executive orders as a substitute, she said, "I suppose if we can't [pass the bill], the answer would be yes."

Here's a quick rundown on recent President's use of the executive order [source]:

Executive orders per year
[Image Source: Jason Mick/DailyTech]

Of course these recent numbers pale in comparison to President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who put in place 3,467 orders during his twelve years in office.  He may have propelled the nation out of a depression, but he set a costly precedent with those orders, one that his successors have followed -- to a lesser extent -- to this day.

Source: The Hill

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RE: I fear for the future...
By Schadenfroh on 8/7/2012 10:43:28 PM , Rating: 5
How is a voluntary, reversible vasectomy equivalent to the forced, permanent sterilization of western Eugenics programs of old?

Free vasectomies is no different than providing free contraception, except far more effective as it removes reliance on personal responsibility.

RE: I fear for the future...
By FITCamaro on 8/7/2012 11:34:12 PM , Rating: 2
Yes....less personal responsibility.....that's what we need.

How about we stop taking care of people who choose to be irresponsible. Then if they have a kid and don't take care of it, we take the kid away and put it in a home that will. Giving them more free things to be even less responsible just breeds even more irresponsibility.

RE: I fear for the future...
By quiksilvr on 8/8/2012 8:37:28 AM , Rating: 2
You speak as if we don't do this already. There are nearly 200,000 children in this country waiting for this "home that will".

RE: I fear for the future...
By vortmax2 on 8/8/2012 4:00:45 PM , Rating: 2
...and do you know how much money it costs to adopt a child in this country? Up to $40,000!

For many, many parents that want to adopt, they just can't afford it. The adoption system that's in place in the US is ridiculous.

RE: I fear for the future...
By Reclaimer77 on 8/8/2012 4:14:35 PM , Rating: 2
Kids aren't exactly cheap though. If you can't handle 40k, what about the 500k or whatever it costs to raise a child these days?

RE: I fear for the future...
By FITCamaro on 8/8/2012 10:47:26 PM , Rating: 2
I think $500,000 is a bit high unless you're talking about putting them through an ivy leauge school.

Having $40,000 in cash is still hard for even people doing well. Add on top of it the fact that many American parents who want to adopt, don't do so from the US because of laws here. In many states, judges give priority to the birth parents if they decide later they want to make contact, regardless of whether they signed away their rights to. Was the reason why a guy and his wife I worked with adopted from Russia. They didn't want to run the risk of having the children they raised from babies being torn away from them by a liberal judge.

By polishvendetta on 8/8/2012 9:22:17 AM , Rating: 4
yes lets take away the kid and put them in foster care.

"hey I dont have a kid to take care of any more, lets make another"

Rinse. Repeat.

RE: I fear for the future...
By Denigrate on 8/8/2012 10:10:50 AM , Rating: 5
Sorry man, but you just can't fix stupid. That's what we are really up against here. Stupid people doing stupid things and not facing any consequences for their actions because the nanny state bails them out over and over.

RE: I fear for the future...
By FITCamaro on 8/8/2012 11:23:46 AM , Rating: 3
Trust me I'm aware. So you stop giving them the handouts. And then ensure any kids don't suffer.

RE: I fear for the future...
By Ringold on 8/8/2012 1:09:36 PM , Rating: 2
Call it what it is on top of it; child abuse. Child abuse, because these people create kids they can't take care of.

If we take the kids away, then at least send the culprits to jail or something similar.

RE: I fear for the future...
By vortmax2 on 8/8/2012 4:07:13 PM , Rating: 2
The problem is that many illegal aliens are having as many children as possible to get them US citizenship. Big families are also a part of some cultures, but there's the whole citizenship motivation at play as well. This isn't helping the problem.

RE: I fear for the future...
By Zaralath on 8/8/2012 6:37:19 PM , Rating: 2
Plus a majority of those illegals are catholic.
And you know they aren't 'allowed' to sue contraceptive, cause they must go forth and multiply :)

I think the bible should have been a bit more clear. Go forth and multiply, until there is about a billion or so. Then we're good. K?

RE: I fear for the future...
By Reclaimer77 on 8/8/2012 6:42:44 PM , Rating: 1
I never really understood why Catholics choose some parts to take super literally, and on other parts sorta just wing it lol.

Purgatory for example. Catholics have made it a big part of their faith and view it as a literal and real thing, when there's not actually anything but a VERY vague off-context reference to such a thing in the Bible.

And don't get me started on the Communion being the LITERAL "body the blood" of Christ lol. God the endless arguments with my mother over that one...

So yeah, go forth and multiply doesn't have to literally be taken as "have tons of chidlins".

RE: I fear for the future...
By espaghetti on 8/8/2012 7:02:41 PM , Rating: 3
If that's the worst thing a religion teaches, then the world is a better place than I thought.
Growing up as a lower middle class Catholic, I've never met a Catholic on welfare.

RE: I fear for the future...
By thurston2 on 8/8/2012 6:53:10 PM , Rating: 2
Are you going to provide a "home that will"? I didn't think so. Talk is cheap.

By ShaolinSoccer on 8/8/2012 8:05:34 PM , Rating: 2

"How about we stop taking care of people who choose to be irresponsible. Then if they have a kid and don't take care of it, we take the kid away and put it in a home that will."

Be the exact same thing as:

"Giving them more free things to be even less responsible"?

Think about it. You just gave them an excuse to have as many kids as they want because they will just be taken away "for free"...

RE: I fear for the future...
By dark matter on 8/8/12, Rating: -1
RE: I fear for the future...
By jRaskell on 8/8/2012 11:25:57 AM , Rating: 1
In my mind, EVERYONE is accountable. Yes, the rich should pay more taxes. No, I don't care about their whining about why that would be a bad idea. Guards should be in place to keep them from utilizing their wealth in abusive ways. Our system of justice in particular needs a serious revamp to minimize the huge benefit wealth provides in a court.

On the flip side, welfare should only ever be a temporary thing, to help people get on their feet (or back on their feet). Permanent welfare means you are a permanent leech on society. I don't really care about leeches, or what happens to them. Cut 'em off, and let them deal with the consequences.

And frankly, NOBODY should be having 30 children. Sorry, but that's just ridiculous. If you aren't responsible enough to see and understand that, you aren't responsible enough to have control over your own life. I don't even really care if you are a billionaire that can afford 30 children with zero aid from the government. There's no way two parents can give 30 children all the attention each of them deserve from their parents. Farming them out to hired nannies is just another form of irresponsible parenting.

In summary, neither the Democrats nor the Republicans are what's needed to fix this country. What's truly needed is a sane, rational leader that doesn't care about party lines and agendas or campaign contributors agendas. The sad part is, our political system essentially makes it impossible for such a person to get elected. In other words, we're fucked.

RE: I fear for the future...
By TSS on 8/8/2012 8:58:49 AM , Rating: 4
It isn't any different. Voluntary isn't going to do jack, do you think such a man who fathered 30 kids even cares enough to get one?

The only way he'll get one is if you force him. Which the policy makers will realise after the voluntary has been instituted for a while and proven to be uneffective.

How do you think eugenics ever came into play? Because suddenly, everybody was like "yeah, sterilize those idiots!"? no it was a gradual transition, starting with volunteering, then making the decision for people who can't make it themselves (the mentally handicapped) and then, it moves to "undesirables", who ever might be catagorised among them. As a reminder, in nazi germany that included teachers, philosophers, basically everybody who showed just a hint of "free thinking".

except far more effective as it removes reliance on personal responsibility.

And here is the most dangerous sentance in the comment section. It doesn't. As you need to be a responsible person to even GET a vasectomy. Somebody who's fathered 30 children on minimum wage, isn't a responsible person. The only course of action then is to make it an in-voluntary sterilization. And that is eugenics.

Are you sure you're a responsible person? Maybe you'll wanna get that vasectomy? It's free, yknow.

RE: I fear for the future...
By Reclaimer77 on 8/8/2012 9:01:22 AM , Rating: 3
Great post, I agree. I think it's really scary that people are stupid enough to actually think that's a great idea.

"If you mod me down, I will become more insightful than you can possibly imagine." -- Slashdot

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