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Dogs mark their territory to establish their “turf.” Politicians
routinely and arrogantly mark their constituents in much the same
manner.

When the framers founded the Republic, they very judiciously
established three branches of government: Executive, Legislative, and
Judicial. Each branch was invested with various duties and
responsibilities. The job descriptions were very precise. The primary
reason the framers in their wisdom divided power, was to provide a
system of checks and balances, and sufficient oversight. They
understood that when any one entity acquired excessive power, the
potential for abuse of that power was almost axiomatic. A teacher once
told me “…the best form of government is an enlightened despot.”
Failing such enlightenment, a constitutional republic has proven to be
the best form available … when it works as designed.

Time, inertia, and incrementalism, however, has slowly but inexorably
eroded the form and substance of what the framers gave us. Abraham
Lincoln created the precedent, F.D.R. became the master of the
benevolent bastardization of the Constitution, and virtually every
President since has exacerbated the corruption of both the form and the
substance.

Much (but not enough) has been written about executive orders. Abuse
of power under the color of authority and executive orders are
synonymous. An executive order is a decree by fiat (just because). The
fact that “every president does it” does not make it right. Frankly,
executive orders consistently usurp the constitutional authority of the
legislative branch. The fascinating thing is that Congress permits the
executive branch to continue to employ such a devastating abuse of
power.

When President Clinton proposed the Mexican bailout to Congress,
Congress rejected it. What happened? No biggie. “We don’t need no
stinking congressional approval!” was the response, as the president
gifted $60 billion to the monumentally corrupt ‘families’ of Mexico by
executive order. And Congress didn’t do anything.

When President Clinton signed his so called “Federalism” executive
order (13083) from England, and effectively abrogated the 10th Amendment
to the United States Constitution (to which he swore an oath) what
happened? At first, nothing … then, largely because of the attention
and focus of the Internet, talk radio, and the resultant pressure
brought to bare by p.o.-ed constituents, there is a “time out” to
rethink the matter.

Notwithstanding the questionable, and arguable authority for
executive orders, Congress can (and should) act on every single one.
Routinely they don’t. Congress still (for the time being) has the
authority to reject any executive order with a vote in Congress.
Procedurally, if they do nothing … that lack of action is assumed to
provide assent.

I submit that the executive order mechanism should be abolished. No
one branch of government, and certainly no one man (or woman) should
have the authority to rule by decree. Such a concept is, in and of
itself, anathema to what the framers intended. If an issue is important
enough to require an executive order, it should be important enough to
compel Congress to act.

We have allowed far too much to “slip through the cracks.” Rules and
regulations (created by and managed by non-elected bureaucrats) have the
effect of law. Congress is supposed to have the sole authority to make
law. A reasonable person would expect Congress, as well as the
executive and judicial branches, to jealously protect their turf.
Congress should be waging war over executive orders if only to protect
their constitutional mandate and protect their job descriptions.
Likewise the abuse of power by judicial activists to “make law” rather
than interrupt and implement it, should spark congressional disdain, and
outrage.

I recently received an interesting note which I share with you here:

I am an employee of the postal service and on Friday 7/24/98 my
supervisor gave a stand-up talk to the employees in our office. The
announcement made was from a memo stating a new postage stamp will be
released at the end of July honoring breast cancer research. The stamp
shows no denomination but acts as a first class postage stamp worth
$0.32. The stamp will be sold for $0.40 and the eight cent profit will
be split between the Department of Defense Medical Research Program and
the National Institute for Health. My question is “What type of breast
cancer research is the DOD involved in and why?” My supervisor could
not understand why I would care because it is such a pretty stamp and
for a good cause.

Several things struck me about the above: First, a $0.32 stamp
should sell for $0.32. By what act of Congress is the U.S. Postal
Service now collecting taxes for vertically targeted government
agencies? How is the Department of Defense involved in breast cancer
research, and HELL-O!, w h y? This is yet another example of what
apparently has become institutionalized: abuse of power under the color
of authority. But hey, the stamp is pretty, and for such a good cause
– so what?

When Patrick Henry was confronted with an outrageous abuse of power
he asked, “What is it that Gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is
life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of
chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course
others may take, but as for me, GIVE ME LIBERTY OR GIVE ME DEATH!” When
the above-mentioned postal supervisor was queried about an outrageous
abuse of power, his response was “why care? it is such a pretty stamp
and for such a good cause.”

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