It Can Only Get Worse


Call me ‘negative.’  Call me ‘gloom and doom.’  I believe the handwriting in plainly on the wall.

It started in the 1970s.  Reagan was the first embodiment of it.  It has picked up speed like a snow ball going downhill.

Last January was the Citizens United case.  Now we have The Decline and Fall of the American Republic by Bruce Ackerman.  Here are six questions asked him by Scott Horton.

I thought this response to Question 3 was particularly telling:

Once again, politicized presidential lawyering has only developed during the past 40 years. John Dean was the first White House Counsel who hired a small, but highly politicized, staff during the Watergate years. Until then, the president got his advice from the Office of Legal Counsel in the Justice Department—which was dominated by long-term government lawyers. But now the White House Counsel’s office is as large as the Office of Legal Counsel and both are dominated by super-loyalists. The “torture memos” are merely symptoms of this institutional pathology. Future presidents will rely on their high-powered legal staffs to rubber-stamp their actions even when they defy congressional statutes.

And a potential solution:

We need a fundamental institutional reform—which requires the president’s lawyers to defend their legal positions before a new Supreme Executive Tribunal, containing nine judges and appointed with the consent of the Senate. Each judge should serve for twelve years, and each president should have the power to appoint three of them during each term in office, so long as the Senate gives its advice and consent.

This isn’t the place to get into further details—the key point is to create an institution with the integrity necessary to say “No” when the president is violating Congress’ commands.

As usual Scott Horton’s questions are probing and to the point.

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3 Comments on “It Can Only Get Worse”

  1. jonolan Says:

    You’re as bad or worse than those you rail against. You want to fix governmental excess by adding more government.

    Like me, you’re ex-Navy; How can you have forgotten the bullshit and corruption inherent in adding extra layers of authority / bureaucracy so completely that you’d advocate it for a body not governed by UCMJ?

    We have a government institution constitutionally charged with policing such excesses – by the Executive and the Legislative. It’s the Judicial Branch headed by the US Supreme Court.

  2. Chief Says:

    Zo-o-o-m ! !

    You are so totally missing the point. I am not talking about the Constitution.

    I am talking about how the extremely wealthy have got the whole country by the short and curlies and it is much too late to do anything about it.

    Trade unions and the Bretton Woods agreement made us a strong country. Both are gone, history.

  3. jonolan Says:

    You lost you way sometime ago then and there’s little or no chance that I can help you find it again if you believe that the Unions are anything but plague upon America.

    True, at one point long ago, they were needed. Now, however, they ARE the the extremely wealthy who are pulling the politicians strings.

    Fair Winds and Following Seas, Chief. I hope you find the star to guide you home someday.


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