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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"In the wake of Congressional inaction and Republican stall tactics, unfortunately, we will continue to be hamstrung by outdated and inadequate statutory authorities that the legislation would have fixed."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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Executive orders
By FITCamaro on 8/7/2012 11:31:09 PM , Rating: 2
Are not a bad thing by themselves. Presidents have some authority that they can use executive orders for. However Obama is using them to defacto pass and change legislation without Congress.

RE: Executive orders
By Ryrod on 8/8/2012 10:34:29 PM , Rating: 2
Kinda like how Bush tried to circumvent the Presidential Records Act with E.O. 12667? Oh wait, Obama used a Executive Order 13233 to repeal the Bush E.O., thereby reinstating the full effect of the law.

Can you even tell me what executive order, that has been signed, that he has used to "defacto pass and change legislation without Congress"? Oh, and don't bother mentioning the immigration thing, because it doesn't exist, just like the boogeyman.

By the way, executive orders have been around since Washington was president, but they weren't called executive orders until the early 1900s. All of the executive orders are required to have a Constitutional or statutory basis for the order. They are meant as a tool for the executive department, i.e. agencies, to enforce laws or policies when Congress has left parts of a law intentionally vague, or lacks authority to make the determination itself. So for the most part, all of the E.O.s that have been signed, have a legal basis, including those of Barrack Obama.

Furthermore, I grow increasingly tired of seeing all this Obama bashing, without any kind of factual backing because once someone gets the stupid statement in their head, there is no way of removing it. With the way people pass off conjecture and lies around this site as truth, it is impossible to actually have a real conversation with individuals because they are so impassioned about the ridiculous belief that an Islamic Kenyan holds the position of POTUS and wants to take everyone's guns away. I don't want to single out people, but I really wish people would start posting facts on the site. So if you could encourage your fellow posters to do that, it would be much appreciated.

RE: Executive orders
By KoS on 8/9/2012 2:35:26 PM , Rating: 2
All the laws or executive orders in the world won't mean a hill of beans if they are not followed or enforced.

A potential example... or even....

So what if Obama reinstated the EO. If it's not followed, then what?

Ya people are making all kinds of things up about Obama. Really? The man can't even get his own story correct. Case in point...

According to Obama's ex-press agent Robert Gibbs over the weekend. Granted he wasn't talking about Obama. He said
"Have you ever seen anybody go to such great lengths to not put something out? And when you generally don't put something out, isn't it because you're generally hiding something?"
That fits our current president pretty well!

I'm really tired of people who can't look at both sides of the coin and come to their own conculsions.

RE: Executive orders
By Ryrod on 8/9/2012 11:37:46 PM , Rating: 2
Your two links have nothing to do with what I posted. The executive order that Bush implemented prevented individuals from accessing presidential documents during the Reagan and Bush I eras on the grounds of "national security". Obama's EO required the documents to be released and most of them have since been released.

As for your articles, of course they try to get around the presidential records act because companies don't like the American public to know their back room dealings with the White House. Bush did the same thing with Halliburton, defense contractors, and the banking industry. Everyone cried foul then like a lot of people did a couple years ago. I already know the administration is going to sell out the American people to corporate interests because they have it in their head that whatv is good for business is good for America. Case in point is the individual mandate that was part of the patient affordable care act.

As for your breitbart link, I don't see what you're getting at. So what they screwed up his info in a writer's bio. I can't tell you how many times my information has been screwed ultimately on documents before. For instance, ny hospital birth certificate lists the wrong state of birth that had to be fixed in the long form twice. All the breitbart like states is that he may have approve the text. Tons of people approve text in documents without looking at them, especially if they have no significance at the time.

I can look at both sides of the coin, but I really grow tired of people who make false statements without even attempting to check their validity. And if laws and EOs don't matter if they aren't followed, then why are people complaining about a possible information sharing EO if people aren't going to follow it? He hasn't even published the EO and everyone is up in arms over the conjecture people are spouting about the order. If the EO is so horrendous congress can pass a law to neuter the EO, or they can be challenged in federal court.

RE: Executive orders
By KoS on 8/10/2012 9:03:10 AM , Rating: 2
Really, that is a lame excuse. If someone was putting out false info on me. I would want it corrected, regardless of how insignificant it's deemed to be.

Frankly, if someone doesn't have the time to review a document. Then they shouldn't sign off on it, period. If they do sign it without reading, they reap the consequences, good or bad.

But that isn't the only place that "mistake" has been made. It was a false narrative he wanted out there. Doesn't it make one more interesting if they were foreign born vs. the lame domestic one?

I'll have to relook at the links. I thought it was the same EO#.

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