Archive for the ‘Federalism’ Category

The headline to this article isn’t surprising to anyone with a brain. Before going into Stelter’s stupidity, it’s important to lay the groundwork for what federalism is. It’s defined in the Preamble to the Constitution. Specifically, it’s defined in the first 9 words of the Preamble, where it says “We the people of the United States of America.”

The federal government didn’t exist until the “several states” agreed to create the federal government. The people, the cities and the states were in charge of most decisions. In fact, they preferred keeping decisions close to home so much that they created a weak federal gov’t in the articles of confederacy. Let’s now dive into Stelter’s stupidity. Here’s what he said:

There’s a lot of revisionist history being written right now. Lots of digging of the so-called memory hole. Pro-Trump media outlets are trying to bury the Trump White House’s failures to fully protect the country from this pandemic. They’re trying with all their might to shift the blame to mayors and governors.

Brian, the primary decision-makers on public health are mayors and governors. Brian, if this was the annual flu, which is fairly routine, would you want the federal government involved? Would the federal government need to be involved? The answer to both questions is ‘NO’.

The reason why you wouldn’t want the federal government involved is because it’s already got a lengthy list of responsibilities. Giving it more responsibilities isn’t wise, especially when the people on the ground know what they need and are in position to help their fellow citizens. How much would people 1,000+ miles away know about conditions on the ground? What position would bureaucrats be in to help citizens who need help the most?

Look: There were shortcomings on the local and state levels. But the federal government wields far more power and influence. The president has far more influence and far more responsibility than any governor. So it should be said loudly and clearly and repeatedly: This was a 9/11-level failure of the federal government.

There’s no disputing that the federal government made some mistakes. There’s no disputing that mistakes were made at the state and city level, too. What matters is whose responsibility it is to help people on the ground. It isn’t President Trump’s primary responsibility to make sure that the family of 5 in the bad neighborhood of Detroit gets treated for COVID-19. That’s the mayor’s job, though he might need assistance from Gov. Whitmer and President Trump. Primarily, it’s the mayor’s job to prepare for Detroit’s needs. It’s Gov. Whitmer’s responsibility to prepare for Michigan’s needs. Only after they’ve exhausted all of their resources does the President enter the picture.

Stelter is complaining because NYC didn’t prepare for this crisis. You don’t hear Seattle or Atlanta complaining because they prepared properly. Further, I’d argue that the “9/11-level failure of the federal government” characterization. The Bush administration certainly helped but it was mostly local people digging out at Ground Zero. It was local first responders that helped people out of the World Trade Center. It was mostly Rudy Giuliani who put in place a plan to rebuild NYC.

It wasn’t until after clean-up operations were well underway that President Bush got involved in this historic moment:

Instead of getting a degree in mass communication, Stelter should’ve gotten his degree in history.

As I argued on Sunday’s “Reliable Sources” telecast, the government’s failures need to be covered and scrutinized accordingly. To ignore what went wrong — or to cover it up or to memory-hole it — does a disservice to the dead.

Blaming the wrong people for not preparing doesn’t do justice to those who needlessly died either. Getting responsibilities right is a journalist’s responsibility. Thus far, Mr. Stelter didn’t get many of these things right.

Apparently, Democrats think that the federal government is responsible for everything. That’s what you’d think if you just listened to Rep. Katharine Clark, a Democrat from Massachusetts. According to the article, Rep. Clark is quoted as saying “This is not how it is supposed to work. What we need is a coordinated federal system.”

The text of the Tenth Amendment states “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” Nowhere in the US Constitution does it talk about the executive branch to do the governors’ job. Each governor is expected to prepare for health crises. That includes stockpiling medical supplies like personal protection equipment, aka PPEs, ventilators, N95 masks, etc.

That also requires them to put in place plans on who does what when a crisis overwhelms the system. This is done in conjunction with the legislature so the best ideas become the official plan. After a crisis overwhelms a state, having a plan intact eliminates the confusion and speeds up the response because everything is laid out on an organizational chart.

Part of Sen. Schumer’s criticism of President Trump should actually be directed at Gov. Cuomo. Gov. Cuomo should’ve stockpiled ventilators after the H1N1 crisis. A wise administrator would’ve gotten out ahead of the situation. Nowhere in this article does Sen. Schumer talk about what Gov. Cuomo should do, though he spent plenty of time talking about what the federal government should be doing.

Sen. Schumer sent a letter to President Trump telling President Trump to put a senior military person in charge of supply chains. Here’s how President Trump responded to Sen. Schumer’s cheap shot:

Rear Admiral John Polowczyk is a professional by anyone’s estimation. Here’s just a smattering of information from his website:

Rear Adm. John Polowczyk is a native of Manhasset, Long Island, New York. He graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1987 with a Bachelor of Science in engineering. He holds a Master of Science in Contract and Acquisition Management from the Naval Postgraduate School and a Master of Science in National Resource Strategy from the National Defense University Industrial College of the Armed Forces. He also completed an executive education program at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth.

I mean, he just has an advanced degree from an Ivy League school. He doesn’t sound qualified to me. (I’m just kidding.)

It’s best to think of this as asking which level of government handles which part of the crisis best. Once that’s figured out, federalism becomes simple.

Anyone who doesn’t think that we’re living in transformative times hasn’t read this post on Glenn Reynolds’ Instapundit blog. If you’re depressed after a difficult day, read this post. If the coronavirus has you feeling the blues, read this post. After it revives you, which it will, pay it forward. Here’s just a little portion of the post:

Restaurants and schools have said, “we’ve got kitchens and staff; we can feed the poor kids who used have school lunch.”
NBA basketball players have said, “Hold our basketballs while we write checks to pay the arena staff.”
Construction companies are saying, “Here are some high-end masks for medical staff and doctors”.
Distilleries are making sanitizer out of distilling “heads and tails” which are normally discarded. Nasty shit to drink, but effective sanitizer.
People are tipping grocery check-out clerks and thanking them for taking the risk.
Local, state, and county governments are taking control of everything the feds cannot do. Some are doing it wrong, but for the first time in decades … they’re doing it. Federalism is re-emerging, and the smallest unit of government is the individual and the family. This, too, is re-emerging after decades of dormancy.

Have we defeated COVID-19? Nope. Am I confident we will? Yup. Should we still listen to Dr. Fauci and Dr. Birx? If you know what’s wise, we will.

Back when I worked at Fingerhut, a friend of mine had a great sign in his office. It read “The difficult, we do immediately. The impossible takes a little longer.” Exactly right. We’re Americans. We won the ‘War to end All Wars.’ Then we won the war after that. We conquered the moon. We built the interstate highway system. Before that, we built the Transcontinental Railroad without GPS. I’m not certain that they had maps back then.

This is part of what I call the American DNA. It starts with my friend’s sign in his office. If we can dream it, we can build it. If we can build it, we can perfect it. President Obama didn’t understand the underlying principle behind American exceptionalism. President Trump does. He came from the generation that was taught by the greatest generation. Thank God for that minor miracle.

Something that I always admire for its wisdom is truly shining through in this coronavirus crisis. That something is federalism. Picture the end of last week. While markets were turbulent, Vice President Pence worked with Gov. Cuomo. Separately, President Trump and Gov. Gavin Newsom had a lengthy phone call. Both calls focused on working out things to make life better despite the virus.

Specifically, Gov. Newsom was put on the record:

The far-left governor, who has previously clashed with President Trump on such issues as sanctuary states, said in a press conference Monday that “every single thing he said, they followed through on,” referring to the President’s promised assistance in dealing with the quarantined Grand Princess cruise ship. Twenty-one passengers on the ship have been confirmed to have contracted the virus.

At the press conference, Newsom also said that President Trump promised him, in a private meeting, that California would “have my support, all of our support, logistically and otherwise.” Newsom added that the President said “everything that I could have hoped for.”

The federal government has a hefty bag of tools that the states and municipalities don’t have. The NIAID, the NIH and the CDC are major parts of that toolbox.

What the federal government doesn’t have is the on-the-ground information required to deploy those tools efficiently. They require boots-on-the-ground to pinpoint the hotspots where those tools are best deployed. That’s where governors, working in conjunction with municipalities, especially health agencies and community partners, can direct resources to the right locations.

When operations get really high grades, government mixes in the private sector where their expertise is most needed and their assets are most helpful. About 15 minutes into this video, President Trump started calling CEOs and corporate presidents to the microphone:

This is how the Founders envisioned the system working. That’s what we should expect, too. The key is to keep government limited enough to do things well. We don’t want government to do more than it’s capable of doing. Asking corporate partners to assist at the right times helps, too.

Thus far, President Trump has made lots of great decisions. Shutting down travel with China and Europe have been the best decisions because they greatly slowed the spread of the virus. That can’t be overemphasized. Some of his communications could’ve been better. That being said, making great decisions are infinitely more important than great communications.

Joe Biden’s accusations of xenophobia were highly partisan. He looked small as a result of them. President Trump hasn’t engaged in partisan sniping, which has helped him grade out highly during this crisis.

The other person who’s grading out highly is Vice President Pence. He’s been a pillar since being given the responsibility of running the task force. He’s answered all questions while making great decision and while interacting with 50 governors and multiple agencies. Frankly, he’s set a high standard for 2024.

Shortly after Nikolas Cruz’s deadly rampage at the Marjory Stoneman-Douglas HS, the Broward County School Board decided it was going to tell the rest of the nation how to run their schools. In its arrogance, the Broward County School Board got together to lecture America. It isn’t because they’re smarter than us. It isn’t that they’re wiser than the rest of us. It’s because they think they’re entitled to tell us what’s best.

That’s what progressives do.

Something that progressives don’t do is accept responsibility. (See Sheriff Scott Israel.) Days after the slaughter of 17 innocents, Sheriff Israel told CNN’s Jake Tapper that he’d provided “amazing leadership.” Unfortunately, 14 students and 3 teachers were unavailable to respond. It isn’t just that “dead men tell no tales.” It’s that they don’t issue responses to crackpot sheriffs either. But I digress. Let’s return to the geniuses of the Broward County School Board.

After losing 17 students and teachers in a barrage of gunfire, the Broward County school board is livid and demanding an array of nationwide changes. Board members passed a 24-point resolution Tuesday, calling for Congress to ban assault weapons, require universal background checks and broaden the perimeters of school gun-free zones.

How dare these people lecture us on how to protect children in our schools. They don’t know our neighborhoods or students. How would they know what’s best for people half a nation away?

Let’s be straight about something. Let individual school districts determine what’s best for their students. They’re the local experts. It’s time to ignore blowhards like Sen. Bill Nelson:

If pandering was political gold, Sen. Nelson would be a senator for life. Let’s be clear. Sen. Nelson knows that anti-gun rights organizations are paying for the Parkland protests. Why would I listen to Michael Bloomberg or Moms Demand Action?

Rather, I’ll choose to contribute to a local conversation on what’s needed here in St. Cloud.

To: Larry Jacobs, Walter F. Mondale Chair for Political Studies at the University of Minnesota
From: Gary Gross, Uppity Peasant
Subject: The US Constitution

Dr. Jacobs, during your appearance on Almanac this past Friday night, you said that conservatives should be “on high alert” because President Trump didn’t mention the Constitution in President Trump’s Inaugural Speech. While that’s technically true in a narrowly defined way, it isn’t reality.

Early in President Trump’s Inaugural Speech, he stated “Today’s ceremony, however, has very special meaning because today, we are not merely transferring power from one administration to another or from one party to another, but we are transferring power from Washington, D.C. and giving it back to you, the people.” Perhaps you didn’t recognize this constitutional principle but I definitely noticed it. I wasn’t alone, either, because that constitutional principle is called federalism.

The Tenth Amendment says “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” In other words, the things that aren’t affirmative responsibilities of the federal government are sent to the states or the people by the Tenth Amendment of the US Constitution.

Dr. Jacobs, it’s time you started reading the US Constitution so you don’t miss obvious constitutional principles like federalism.

Frankly, Dr. Jacobs, I’ll be thrilled if President Trump moves power out of Washington, DC. Based on the articles I’ve read, I think that’s quite possible.

Over the past few days, liberals have repeatedly quoted the phrase “that the office of President will never fall to the lot of any man who is not in an eminent degree endowed with the requisite qualifications.” Early in John Conyers’ op-ed, the aging Democrat, cites that quote, too.

What hasn’t gotten discussed is who determines what defines those “requisite qualifications” are. In this instance, Democrats insist that Donald Trump is lacking in those amorphous qualifications. That’s a rather risky proposition. Democrats literally insisted that Hillary was the most overqualified presidential candidate in history. Forgive me if I don’t trust their opinion, especially after watching Mrs. Clinton get a US ambassador killed by reducing the security forces in the country.

Forgive me if I think that Mrs. Clinton was the ultimate corrupt politician. As Secretary of State, Mrs. Clinton operated a pay-for-play scheme with her family’s foundation. I’m fairly certain that Alexander Hamilton didn’t think being corrupt was a “requisite qualification” for being commander-in-chief.

Since his election victory, President-Elect Trump has put together one of the most impressive cabinets in US history:

That suggests that he’s more than qualified to be this nation’s chief executive.

What’s interesting is that Democrats have only proposed eliminating the Electoral College. They haven’t talked about reforming the way states award their delegates. It isn’t surprising why. If electoral votes were awarded proportionally instead of on a winner-take-all basis, Trump would’ve won decisively.

Wouldn’t you love hearing Democrats explain why they’re opposed to such a reform? Recently and temporarily, Democrats have praised the principles of federalism. Those appeals are dishonest. Democrats’ love of federalism is as authentic as an atheist’s appreciation of Jesus.

It’s time for Democrats to stop whining and accept the fact that their nominee was a corrupt, cold woman who ran one of the worst campaigns in history. That’s why she got trounced in the vast majority of battleground states.

In Part I of this series, I wrote about the virtues of federalism. Now it’s time to talk about the negative things that happened when the Obama administration ignored the Constitution and the rule of law. Specifically, I’ll quote from Kim Strassel’s article about Scott Pruitt.

Picking up where I left off, let’s rejoin Strassel’s article where she wrote “Under the Clean Air Act, states are allowed to craft their own implementation plans. If the EPA disapproves of a state plan, it is empowered to impose a federal one—one of the most aggressive actions the agency can take against a state, since it is the equivalent of a seizure of authority. In the entirety of the presidencies of George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, the EPA imposed five federal implementation plans on states. By last count, the Obama administration has imposed at least 56.” That’s where Pruitt comes in.

According to Strassel, much “of Mr. Pruitt’s tenure as Oklahoma’s AG was about trying to stuff federal agencies back into their legal boxes. Most of the press either never understood this, or never wanted to. When the media wrote about state lawsuits against ObamaCare or the Clean Power Plan or the Water of the United States rule, the suggestion usually was that this litigation was ideologically motivated, and a naked attempt to do what a Republican Congress could not—tank the president’s agenda.”

The next paragraph, Ms. Strassel wrote this:

The basis of nearly every one of these lawsuits was in fact violations of states’ constitutional and statutory rights— and it is why so many of the cases were successful. It was all a valiant attempt to force the federal government to follow the law. And it has been a singular Pruitt pursuit.

On issues of executive overreach, President Obama had a terrible record in the Supreme Court, at one point losing 13 straight 9-0 decisions. It will take time to tame the EPA. You can’t change the entire Agency culture with the blink of an eye. Here’s the good news:

In announcing his nomination, the president-elect took care to note that Mr. Pruitt was an “expert in constitutional law” and that his job would be to restore the “EPA’s essential mission.”

Which is exactly the reform the EPA needs. The agency doesn’t need a technically trained environmentalist at its head, since it is already bubbling over with green regulations. It doesn’t need a climate warrior, as Congress has never passed a climate law, and so the EPA has no mandate to meddle there. What it needs is a lawyer, one with the knowledge of how to cut the agency back to its proper role—restoring not just an appropriate legal partnership with the states, but also with other federal bodies. One who reminds agency staff that the EPA was not created to oppose growth and development.

Getting the EPA to live within its statutory and constitutional boundaries is a monumental responsibility. If Pruitt accomplishes a culture change before he leaves, he’ll have my vote for the greatest EPA administrator in history.

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With tomorrow being Independence Day, it’s worthwhile to see which people care about our founding documents. The comments in this editorial indicate that the DFL either don’t understand the Constitution or they’re dismissive of it.

About 2 weeks ago, a district court ruled that the Next Generation Energy Act, aka the NGEA, violated the Interstate Commerce Clause of the US Constitution. Despite the unanimous ruling, Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton is appealing the ruling. In his statement, Gov. Dayton said “I will continue to do everything in my power to defend the State of Minnesota’s right to protect the quality of the air our citizens breathe.”

The thing is that telling other states what they can’t do is something that’s beyond Gov. Dayton’s authority. That principle escaped one commenter who said “Of course, these same people oppose any clean energy preferring the spewing of pollution into our environment…even to the point of ignoring how some of our waters are polluted. I don’t want lead in my water. I don’t want my health endangered by pollution.”

First, the statement is BS. Conservatives love nuclear power, which is exceptionally clean:

The low-carbon electricity produced by such reactors provides 20 percent of the nation’s power and, by the estimates of climate scientist James Hansen of Columbia University, avoided 64 billion metric tons of greenhouse gas pollution. They also avoided spewing soot and other air pollution like coal-fired power plants do and thus have saved some 1.8 million lives.

And that’s why Hansen, among others, such as former Secretary of Energy Steven Chu, thinks that nuclear power is a key energy technology to fend off catastrophic climate change. “We can’t burn all these fossil fuels,” Hansen told a group of reporters on December 3, noting that as long as fossil fuels are the cheapest energy source they will continue to be burned. “Coal is almost half the [global] emissions. If you replace these power plants with modern, safe nuclear reactors you could do a lot of [pollution reduction] quickly.”

Indeed, he has evidence: the speediest drop in greenhouse gas pollution on record occurred in France in the 1970s and ‘80s, when that country transitioned from burning fossil fuels to nuclear fission for electricity, lowering its greenhouse emissions by roughly 2 percent per year.

Another commenter who is an attorney said “Congress has no authority to determine whether any state attorney general abused their discretion.” In most cases, that’s true. When a state AG is dealing with an issue of state law that affects only their state, the federal government should keep its nose out of that state’s business. The minute that AG’s decision affects multiple states or the AG potentially violates part of the US Constitution, Congress certainly has oversight authority.

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Donald Trump isn’t an idiot but he’s definitely ignorant. Yesterday, Trump criticized RNC Chairman Reince Priebus and the RNC for Colorado’s caucus system.

What’s apparent is that Donald Trump doesn’t pay attention to details. It’s apparent because he said “It’s a disgrace for the party. And Reince Priebus should be ashamed of himself. He should be ashamed of himself because he knows what’s going on.” That statement is exceptionally telling.

First, it’s telling because it’s clear that he doesn’t understand the concept of federalism. Having attended Minnesota’s precinct caucuses, their county conventions and other conventions, I’ve yet to hear of a time when the RNC dictated how we ran our conventions. It’s blindingly apparent that Trump doesn’t understand that each state has its own rules.

Perhaps more importantly, it’s clear that Trump wouldn’t know a strict constructionist judge if he met one. It’s apparent that Trump thinks that the federal government should make most of the decisions. Limited government conservatives cringe when they hear a politician who thinks that Washington needs more authority. Trump also said this:

It should go to a vote in Colorado like other places. … The best way to do it would be just a vote, should be a vote of the people. That’s the way it should be done. The delegate situation is a very unjust way of doing things.

Spoken like a man who prefers mob rule. Truer words were never spoken than these:

Asked if he would call for Priebus to step down should he become the nominee, Trump responded, “I haven’t given that any thought.”

The notion that Mr. Trump gives anything a thought is laughable. He’s the quintessential non-thinker. He’s the poster child of what happens when people don’t think things through.