Czars In The Shadow of Executive Privilege

2009 September 7

“Whatever their other duties and roles, each of these individuals, as White House personnel, held a high degree of political immunity from accounting their activities before Congressional Committees.  The shadow of executive privilege beclouded normal accountability arrangements.”

The above statement was made by a House of Representatives subcommittee after they studied presidential appointees in the aftermath of President Nixon’s resignation in 1974. Senator Robert Byrd quoted this statement in a letter (2 page pdf) he wrote to Obama on February 23, 2009, expressing his concern about the creation of new White House offices and the appointment of various White House staff. He opened his letter by saying:

I am pleased to know about your commitment to an open and transparent government, and to increasing the flow of information to the American public.  As you have rightly noted in a recent memorandum to the executive department and agencies, “A democracy requires accountability, and accountability requires transparency.”

Aside from the odd fact that Obama appears to believe the United States of America has a democracy rather than a constitutional republic, please note his words about accountability and transparency.

Senator Byrd also wrote:

The rapid and easy accumulation of power by the White House staff can threaten the Constitutional system of checks and balances. At the worst, White House staff have taken direction and control of programmatic areas that are the statutory responsibility of Senate-confirmed officials. They have even limited access to the president by his own cabinet members. As presidential assistants and advisers, these White House staffers are not accountable for their actions to the Congress, to cabinet officials, and to virtually anyone but the president. They rarely testify before congressional committees, and often shield the information and decision-making process behind the assertion of executive privilege. In too many instances, White House staff have been allowed to inhibit openness and transparency, and reduce accountability.

The word Czar traces its etymology from Caesar, as does the word Kaiser.

The history of “Caesar” as an imperial title is reflected by the following monarchic titles, usually reserved for “Emperor” and “Empress” in many languages…

While the meaning of the word has become muddied and watered down in current usage, it is again taking on shades of imperialism as Obama has appointed over thirty czars to date.  There are people in power with authority over billions of dollars who have not been through any Congressional confirmation hearings. I thought Obama was a constitutional law professor who respected the Constitution, but perhaps he hasn’t read the document recently (which would certainly begin to explain certain policies and activities).

In …While the Gettin’s Good: Van Jones Resigns , the FrontPage Magazine Editor wrote:

Jones is not a distraction but a clarification of Obama’s deepest-held beliefs about this country and where it should be heading.

At Digital Journal, Patrick McMahon writes in Opinion: A look at President Obama’s czars and their role in America:

The Van Jones case begs a few questions that people should ask to themselves: Who are these czars? Are they being properly screened before getting their job? How much power do they have? Can the public do anything about it? Going along with those question should be concerns over why are certain czars needed, when a Cabinet position exists to oversee that given area already.

He also has a list of Obama’s czars (31).  Here is Politico’s list: President Obama’s ‘Czars’ (31).   Here is Glenn Beck’s list:  List of Obama’s Czars (32).

The czars do clarify and focus for us who Obama is and what he wants to do with our country. They were known to the White House and when the Obama administration suggest otherwise, it is merely political spin.  I think much of the country is beginning to realize this as well.  We owe much to the work of Glenn Beck in highlighting the czars nationally and to the work of bloggers such as Jim Hoft, the Gateway Pundit, and other bloggers and commenters who scoured the internet for truth.

Remember the Virginian who told Congressman Tom Perriello,

I think you need to tell President Obama…that there are no czars in America!

bc3b will be posting later today on specific czars.  We thought the two posts would work well in tandem.

__________

H/T:  New York Times:  Senator Byrd letter; Wikipedia, Politico, Digital Journal, Glenn Beck, YouTube.

77 Responses leave one →
  1. 2009 September 7 11:01 am
    [1]
    bc3b permalink

    One of the worst trhings about these Czars is that they control a great deal of power, yet no one outside of Obama and a few close confidents (Valarie Jarrett and maybe Emanual and Axelrod) had any voice in the matter.

  2. 2009 September 7 11:10 am
    [2]
    MDefl permalink

    INC,

    We need to go after the FCC Diversity Chairman next. He is a great danger to our first amendment rights.

  3. 2009 September 7 11:10 am
    [3]
    rightwingyahoo permalink

    Agreed. Lloyd is the next clear threat. He is actually more dangerous than Van Jones was, in the short term.

  4. 2009 September 7 11:13 am
    [4]
    MDefl permalink

    He is enamored with the Venezuelan model. That is on video.

  5. 2009 September 7 11:15 am
    [5]
    INC permalink

    Yes, Lloyd is a threat.

    bc3b is going to post regarding the specific czars a little later.

    This post outlining the overall problems with the czars and their unconstitutionality (which, of course, is the reason Obama has appointed so many) is the setup for him!

  6. 2009 September 7 11:17 am
    [6]
    INC permalink

    Obama’s statement several years ago at the embedded link in the post about his “respect” for the Constitution is both ludicrous and an insult.

  7. 2009 September 7 11:21 am
    [7]
    fedupartist permalink

    Kneecap Lloyd.

  8. 2009 September 7 11:36 am
    [8]
    INC permalink

    O/T: except that it is more Obama! From Ed at Hot Air on his “educational” speech to kids tomorrow:

    Update II: I’ve run the speech through a word frequency counter and found the following results:

    * 56 iterations of “I”
    * 19 iterations of “school”
    * 10 iterations of “education”
    * 8 iterations of “responsibility”
    * 7 iterations of “country”
    * 5 iterations each of “parents”, “teachers”
    * 3 iterations of “nation”

    In other words, Barack Obama referenced himself more than school, education, responsibility, country/nation, parents, and teachers combined. And to think that people accused Obama of self-promotion!

  9. 2009 September 7 11:38 am
    [9]
    MDefl permalink

    That is why my kids will have a half day tomorrow.

  10. 2009 September 7 11:54 am
    [10]
    justrand permalink

    INC, how many iterations of “Schoo”?? 🙂

  11. 2009 September 7 11:59 am
    [11]
    JustMary permalink

    Here is another good post on the subject.

  12. 2009 September 7 12:00 pm
    [12]
    janzam permalink

    Nice observation of word usuage in Obama’s upcoming speech, INC!

    Again, I just don’t think our President is self-aware as to how arrogant and self-centered he is coming across to people.

    He seems to think that everytime he talks, it is a golden opportunity, a privilege, for those given the chance to just listen!

  13. 2009 September 7 12:01 pm
    [13]
    janzam permalink

    BTW — due to my slow computer, just caught the avatar changes of ip and RP — good choices, guys!

  14. 2009 September 7 12:01 pm
    [14]

    Kneecap Lloyd.

    Exactly. 😉

  15. 2009 September 7 12:02 pm
    [15]
    INC permalink

    Justrand, 🙂 !

    Jan, I just copied it from Ed! It was interesting to see Obama again make himself the center of attention!

  16. 2009 September 7 12:08 pm
    [16]
    MDefl permalink

    HD,

    You can expect your post to be the lead story for Olby.

  17. 2009 September 7 12:10 pm
    [17]
    bc3b permalink

    Again, I just don’t think our President is self-aware as to how arrogant and self-centered he is coming across to people.

    He seems to think that everytime he talks, it is a golden opportunity, a privilege, for those given the chance to just listen!

    Janzam – Unfortunately a number of voters (primarily in the under-30 age group) thought the arrogance was part of Obama’s persona as “the cool black dude,”

  18. 2009 September 7 12:21 pm
    [18]
    MDefl permalink

    OT – your readership is up dramatically in the last few months. That is awesome considering you have not been around for that long. Congrats. I hit the tip jar today btw. This is a fantastic site.

    http://alexa.com/siteinfo/bejohngalt.com

  19. 2009 September 7 12:25 pm
    [19]

    So which Czar does eck take down next?

    You know if it weren’t for Beck that Jones would still hold his ex-title.

  20. 2009 September 7 12:25 pm
    [20]

  21. 2009 September 7 12:26 pm
    [21]

    Correction, So which Czar does Beck take down next?

  22. 2009 September 7 12:29 pm
    [22]
    MDefl permalink

    EPH – I think we agree that it should and needs to be Lloyd. HD wants to knee cap him.

  23. 2009 September 7 12:29 pm
    [23]
    drdog09 permalink

    Janzam – Unfortunately a number of voters (primarily in the under-30 age group) thought the arrogance was part of Obama’s persona as “the cool black dude,”

    Aaaah the ignorance of youth. There’s been cool, then there is being responsible. Those on the short end of cool backed without responsibility matriculate at UoHN.

  24. 2009 September 7 12:31 pm
    [24]
    JustMary permalink

    #21

    Beck said this on Twitter:

    Watch Dogs: FIND EVERYTHING YOU CAN ON CASS SUNSTEIN, MARK LLOYD AND CAROL BROWNER. Do not link before burning to disc.

  25. 2009 September 7 12:33 pm
    [25]
    INC permalink

  26. 2009 September 7 12:36 pm
    [26]
    drdog09 permalink

    INC,

    Sounds like it is time to start applying rule #4. Beck ought to ask the white house which of the czars have filled out the questionnaire and when.

  27. 2009 September 7 12:37 pm
    [27]
    MDefl permalink

    Beck is awesome!

  28. 2009 September 7 12:37 pm
    [28]
    janzam permalink

    Something to be mindful of…..

    As for what comes next, remember that it’s the health care debate that must come first. It’s also what matters more to us and all of America in the end. So, don’t get lost in what one Fox personality is picking up on that’s going to boost his ratings. And don’t get so giddy over one in the win column that you take your eyes off the ball.

    Be careful Conservatives Riehl World View

  29. 2009 September 7 12:39 pm
    [29]
    janzam permalink

    Aaaah the ignorance of youth.

    drdog, that phrase describes my son to the T!

  30. 2009 September 7 12:45 pm
    [30]

    “Beck is awesome!”

    FOX needs to move his show up to prime time. This is rediculous.

  31. 2009 September 7 12:46 pm
    [31]
    drdog09 permalink

    Janzam,

    Thankfully it is not a chargable crime for we have all been there. When he’s writing his own checks reality returns generally.

  32. 2009 September 7 12:48 pm
    [32]
    janzam permalink

    drdog — I’m waiting for that time when indeed he will be self-supportive and “writing his own checks.” However, at the moment he prefers the tortured life of a starving artist/musician. LOL 🙂

  33. 2009 September 7 12:50 pm
    [33]
    drdog09 permalink

    The HA column INC linked to I could agree almost 100% with. I don’t agree with his close though. It is not that MSM must bodily go digging. It only takes one to do the damage to other Obama functionaries. Beck just happen to be it this time. Rush, Levin or the Wash Examiner could do it next. It only takes one.

  34. 2009 September 7 12:53 pm
    [34]
    judyt2009 permalink

    So who else did not fill out the questionnaire … Van Jones is still the low hanging fruit of what is wrong with this administration.. however.. all the fruit is still growing on the evil tree… I suggest that we continue to work on eliminating this poison from our society and then chop down that tree… burn the brush and dig up the roots and pulverize them….

  35. 2009 September 7 12:54 pm
    [35]
    drdog09 permalink

    Jan,

    It happens.

    Next door neighbor son wants to be a ‘famous game developer’. Spent two years trying. Finally realized he wasn’t making it fast enough so went into TV graphics.

    But better to get the bug young and sink or swim than the other way around.

  36. 2009 September 7 12:56 pm
    [36]
    aureliusx permalink

    OT– here is a fun paragraph from the prepared text of Obama’s speech to our children tomorrow. He lists what is important to do in life:

    “You’ll need the knowledge and problem-solving skills you learn in science and math to cure diseases like cancer and AIDS, and to develop new energy technologies and protect our environment. You’ll need the insights and critical thinking skills you gain in history and social studies to fight poverty and homelessness, crime and discrimination, and make our nation more fair and more free. You’ll need the creativity and ingenuity you develop in all your classes to build new companies that will create new jobs and boost our economy.”

    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/n/a/2009/09/07/national/w113610D12.DTL#ixzz0QS6lFFTC

    I see, build new companies? make our nation more fair and free? So you want the children to oppose you with every breath they take and every fiber of their being as long as they live?

    OK works for me.

  37. 2009 September 7 1:01 pm
    [37]
    drdog09 permalink

    aureliusx, I think he left the line “So we can tax the hell out of you for your success.” on purpose. 🙂

  38. 2009 September 7 1:04 pm
    [38]
    fedupartist permalink

    FOX needs to move his show up to prime time. This is rediculous.

    Eph, I bet BOR works behind the scenes to keep Beck where he is.

    If he gets moved to primetime, he knocks BOR out of 1st place.

  39. 2009 September 7 1:06 pm
    [39]
    Sharp2edgedsword permalink

    good one Dr. 🙂

  40. 2009 September 7 1:08 pm
    [40]
    drdog09 permalink

    OT. They don’t make’m like they use to. Oh and she ‘carries’ as you will see.

  41. 2009 September 7 1:08 pm
    [41]
    Sharp2edgedsword permalink

    I’m not all that familiar anymore with Fox’s programming but someone should be moved to give Beck a 6pm, 7pm, or 8pm slot.

  42. 2009 September 7 1:16 pm
    [42]
    aureliusx permalink

    DrD– yes, right.. he has to encourage productivity among the capable so the parasites have something to feed on…

    Like an ant farmer tending his aphids…

  43. 2009 September 7 1:17 pm
    [43]
    mpthompson permalink

    Sounds like it is time to start applying rule #4. Beck ought to ask the white house which of the czars have filled out the questionnaire and when.

    Ouch! Damn, you learn quick doc.

  44. 2009 September 7 1:20 pm
    [44]
    bc3b permalink

    If you want to brighten your day, check out hedgehogreport.com. judyt just punched Chekote into the middle of next week. This is great; I can go ever there and watch “She Who Will Not Be Named” getting bashed left and right without getting personally involved or polluting this site. It’s like watching a trainwreck in slow motion.

    Thanks Dave.

  45. 2009 September 7 1:22 pm
    [45]
    fedupartist permalink

    bcb, Just saw that.

    Judy demolished Chek.

    She really is mentally disturbed.

  46. 2009 September 7 1:22 pm
    [46]
    MDefl permalink

    A full court press on Lloyd, now. Maybe Rush or Hannity should handle this one. Let’s give Beck a rest.

    Oh and we need to start going after Olby and expose him for the hypocrit that he is.

    Also, don’t buy any garbage from GE. I won’t even let my wife buy lightbulbs made by them. That is sad for me since my family has a 60 year history of working for GE.

  47. 2009 September 7 1:23 pm
    [47]
    justrand permalink

    the media is closing ranks today to make a martyr of Van Jones. Barely, if ever, even alluding to what he said and did…focusing on his color, and hinting (or outright stating) that right-wing hatred and bigotry has deprived us of Van Jones’ “service”.

    [barf]

  48. 2009 September 7 1:24 pm
    [48]
    mpthompson permalink

    Aaaah the ignorance of youth. There’s been cool, then there is being responsible.

    Don’t fret. We’ll catch the good ones that manage to get a job when they start looking at their pay checks and asking “Who is FICA and why is he taking so much money from me?”.

  49. 2009 September 7 1:24 pm
    [49]
    MDefl permalink

    I understand that it is all my fault somehow? Whatever…still it is great to see 3 women totally destroy her within 24 hours.

  50. 2009 September 7 1:24 pm
    [50]
    justrand permalink

    I don’t and won’t buy ANYTHING from GE! As long as Immelt is CEO, and NBC is Obama’s lap dog

  51. 2009 September 7 1:27 pm
    [51]
    mpthompson permalink

    Maybe Rush or Hannity should handle this one.

    The more directions it comes from the better. Keep ’em disoriented.

  52. 2009 September 7 1:28 pm
    [52]
    MDefl permalink

    You know an “I am sorry” would work wonders. I had to do that when I got out of line and said something about Wissy that was over the top. I sent him an email with a direct apology. There could be peace but it won’t happen. She is destroying that place.

  53. 2009 September 7 1:32 pm
    [53]
    mpthompson permalink

    Can we please stop talking about her? For those of us who could care less it really sounds like high school drama queens going after each other.

  54. 2009 September 7 1:33 pm
    [54]
    justrand permalink

    I went over to hedgehog and checked (no pun intended) it out. (a) the “woman” is even MORE insane than ever and (b) I’m glad Judy indicated she is pullnig the plug there!! We love ya, Judy…hang with us (or we’ll all hang seperately, as the saying goes).

    I expect “she who must not be named” will wind up turning State’s Evidence on all of us someday. 🙂

  55. 2009 September 7 1:35 pm
    [55]
    MDefl permalink

    MP,

    Exactly – even Laura Ingraham could take the ball next. We need to mix it up and remember that the squishy R’s in office are too afraid to do any of this on their own. We have to lead them.

  56. 2009 September 7 1:36 pm
    [56]
    fedupartist permalink

  57. 2009 September 7 1:37 pm
    [57]
    fedupartist permalink

    Byron York deserves credit on that too.

  58. 2009 September 7 1:39 pm
    [58]
    MDefl permalink

    How about John McCain taking the ball?

    HAHAHAHAHA!

  59. 2009 September 7 1:49 pm
    [59]

    “pullnig”~~~jarhead post 54

    freud where are you???~~~ 🙂

  60. 2009 September 7 1:51 pm
    [60]
    drdog09 permalink

    Chek = Life is too short.

  61. 2009 September 7 2:06 pm
    [61]
    drdog09 permalink

    Dang, Beck is a repeat today. 🙁

  62. 2009 September 7 2:10 pm
    [62]
    justrand permalink

    IP727…ok, so my fingers get a bit crossways now and again. It would be awfully niggardly of you to deny me those occaisional lapses! 🙂

  63. 2009 September 7 2:12 pm
    [63]
    janzam permalink

    How the media created obama’s Cult of Personality.

    Cult of Personality Obama Music Video

    H/T Newsbusters

  64. 2009 September 7 2:16 pm
    [64]

    “occaisional” 🙂

  65. 2009 September 7 2:32 pm
    [65]
    janzam permalink

    While I exhort the public eviction of Van Jones, I continue to think the most pressing issue/problem today is soundly defeating the HC Bill, followed by cap and trade.

    With these two pieces of legislature snuffed, Obama’s socialistic agenda will be defused and his minions will be in emotional disarray. Then, people can more leisurely go after the worst of the Czars.

    Just like Van Jones stated, any political upheaval is a process, marked by steps and stages. We need to focus on the more immediate ones, instead of getting too giddy by the Van Jones “resignation,” satisfying people’s immediate urge to “fumigate” the WH, immediately.

  66. 2009 September 7 2:32 pm
    [66]
    MFG permalink

    You can’t let lunatics post on your site; look what happened at Polipundit; your whole site turns into a train wreck

    Bottom line: certain people HAVE to be run up the street and that’s that

  67. 2009 September 7 2:34 pm
    [67]
    judyt2009 permalink

    Fear not… I am staying here at BJG and I usually don’t post anywhere else. I understood that the foaming at the mouth hatred for Palin would get ___’s panties in a knot and fixed about 18 inches north of the the sphinter. My analogy of slowing down to look at the car wreck and then telling others about it is a normal human emotion and applies here.. So to EpH, Knove, et al… I apologize for possibly overreaching on claiming you are obsessed.,as I too slow down and look at car wrecks, but my normal reaction to look does not evolve into playing bumber cars on I-95.

    But, when I saw that ___ had tried to use my posts here to attack others at HHG — I can’t let crazy people misuse my words. The sad irony of all of this is that ___ still doesn’t understand that today’s exchange demonstrates just how detached from reason and emotional health ___ is. …

    So now I will sadly shake my head that there is some mental illness that is incurable., and while I don’t like beating up on the mentally ill when they continue to profess they are healthy then they leave us with really no alternative.

  68. 2009 September 7 2:36 pm
    [68]
    knova permalink

    “I too slow down and look at car wrecks”

    Where abouts on 95? I am near that corridor in VA.

  69. 2009 September 7 3:06 pm
    [69]
    judyt2009 permalink

    I am near Occoquan

  70. 2009 September 7 3:24 pm
    [70]
    bc3b permalink

    Good video Janzam. Most of the Obama persona was created by MSM, which not only refused to “vet” Obama from the primary campaign against Hillary Clinton through the general election. MSM never asked the most basic questions – “How are you going to give everyone free beer and pizza and cut taxes for 95% of taxpayers?”

    It also did everything in its power to destroy anyone who stood in Obama’s path (primarily Sarah Palin).

    MSM is losing power. The question is “How much power will it have left to influence the 2010 and 2012 elections?”

  71. 2009 September 7 3:29 pm
    [71]
    conservativetony permalink

    One would think ? would create her own blog. Something like OgleMyWreckage.com (in remberance of Judy’s smack down) would be a good name.

  72. 2009 September 7 3:30 pm
    [72]
    MDefl permalink

    BC3,

    I hzve given that question a lot of thought. What we have witnessed this summer is the genesis of the msm’s downfall as an entity that can affect the nation. However, the death will not be quick or easy. I think they will still have impact in 12. Combined with ACORN, the msm will probably be able to bring him over to the finish line. I know no one wants to hear that but a fully gov funded ACORN will fraudulently swing 4 or 5 states to skippy. They won’t have an effect on 10 nearly as much because there are too many races.

    By 16 they will be finished. The public will be outraged by ACORN Then we can inaugurate our next President, Sarah Palin. By then, Beck and O’Reiily’s ratings will triple that of the evening news. OK, maybe just Beck.

  73. 2009 September 7 3:33 pm
    [73]
    knova permalink

    I used to work in Lorton (not the jail)

  74. 2009 September 7 3:38 pm
    [74]
    janzam permalink

    I know a new thread has just been started above, and that most of today’s coverage is on “Czars,” due mainly to the exposure and consequental elimination of one brazen czar —> Van Jones.

    But, I am continuing to plod along the path that our most immediate adversary is HC. Obama’s Hail Mary speech is coming up this Wednesday, Sept 9th, followed by unknown numbers of people descending on DC, 9/12. It is health care that is in the balance, because as soon as Congress reconvenes this is going to be the topic of the hour, following a hot summer recess of public dissent.

    What is Obama and his people going to do?

    I am linking an excellent article from No Left Turns Blog discussing this very question.

    The debate over health care has illuminated important questions about the nature of representation—how much of a duty do representatives have to reflect the views and concerns of their constituents? What of their own convictions and judgment do the representatives owe their constituents in turn? However, there is little question that callous contempt for constituents does not fit inside even the Burkean “trustee” model, and we have seen too much of that this summer for the impression to be wiped away very easily.

    What does Obama do next? Andrew E. Busch

  75. 2009 September 7 3:54 pm
    [75]
    Sharp2edgedsword permalink

    A long as something passes on health care that has government mandates, the program can grow and expand over the years. I believe Obama will get something passed. The far left may be disappointed but he can hand them a bone in some other areas. Where are they going to go anyway.

  76. 2009 September 7 5:02 pm
    [76]
    MDefl permalink

    Jan,

    Who was the NY congressman who said he would vote against the wishes of his constituents?

  77. 2009 September 7 5:39 pm
    [77]
    rightwingyahoo permalink

    Eric Massa. D, NY-29

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