The Liberty Amendments – Chapter Six

A continuing series of discussions of Mark Levin’s new book,
The Liberty Amendments: Restoring the American Republic

(Discussion #12 – Cutting Back The Bureaucracy)

Last week was a holiday week, so I was buried in code, and skipped the Monday Liberty Amendments article.

Apologies, but my excuse was related to finishing the ArticleFiveProcess website. The entire site is now fully functional. This includes the heat map (which now shows the “heat”), and your updates to the data engine (click on the blue shield to get there), where you can see—and update—the scoreboard. Tell all your friends! Please stop by and update your state legislator’s info (if you know his or her position on the Convention for proposing Amendments). It’s where the action gets posted, and where we can all watch the map heat up over the next year or so.

Now on with this week’s topic, which is Chapter Six of Mark Levin’s book. It’s time to get back to The Liberty Amendments.


Chapter Six

It’s a safe bet that nearly every politician wants his or her name on a “signature” piece of legislation. They want that legislation to live forever, with their name or names as the preferred moniker. For example, you’ve probably heard of (or been affected by) Dodd-Frank, McCain-Feingold and Sarbanes-Oxley. Such Acts of Congress are the Great Monuments to Bureaucracy to which so many of our senior Members of Congress aspire. They are purpose-built to stay in effect long after we’re all safely dead, so our children and grandchildren will be forced to deal with their increasingly useless and stifling effects.



Purpose-built? Most assuredly. For wouldn’t it be a simple thing, attaching a sunset provision to any piece of legislation? Yes, of course it would. Obviously the march of human progress, like time itself, soon renders these eponymous regulatory prescriptions into absurd anachronisms. Which is fair, since most of them are absurd to begin with.

Absurd anachronism or not, these increasingly massive compilations of legislative self-reference each leave behind a corpulent legacy: federal departments, agencies, and facilities. Collectively, these are called the bureaucracy. They are the immortal children of the cross-breeding between campaign cash and the quest for political power. Of course, somewhere, deep down in the gestation process you’ll often find a small kernel of an idea for fixing a problem of some sort; usually one of the big four: poverty, human behavior, the environment, and grievance. Once in a while they address something useful, like commissioning a new ship for the Navy. But most laws are about fixing the unfixable. Nature (AKA “the environment”) pretty much regulates itself, despite our attempts to control it. Poverty will always exist. A shortage of humans behaving badly has yet to attain. And with regard to grievance: bringing historical wrongs to book unfortunately requires time travel.

LincolnBoothIf time travel were possible, someone would have traveled back and made Booth or Oswald miss. Don’t hold your breath on that one.

So the immortal children of Congresses long past are with us still. And they grow larger and more unaccountable to the people with every passing day. They have alphabet names like EPA, TARP, and DHS. They generate their own regulatory environment, and their main purpose always grows to follow the Iron Law of Bureaucracy. The relationship between their budget requirements and their ability to provide more benefit to the people is inverse. With few exceptions, the only way to be rid of them is via the repeal process, which rarely happens (unless a much bigger, far less accountable bureaucratic nightmare is put in its place.)

Clearly, Congress is unable and unwilling to change this state of affairs. Hence the problem.

The solution is to put provisions in place that require Congress to address the unchecked growth in bureaucracy. An Amendment is required to do so, and Mark Levin proposes one in Chapter Six.

Levin’s proposed Amendment includes five sections, where the second through fifth detail how Congress will seat a committee for the purpose of putting all major regulations by the agencies and departments under Congressional approval. However, the first section is what I like to think of as the scythe of time. Levin details an automatic expiration of any department or agency that is not reauthorized every three years. It’s a bad haircut for overgrown bureaucracy, and it’s definitely about time. More importantly, it restores the balance between the Executive and Legislative branches, by placing a check on the agencies’ regulatory powers, which tend to expand geometrically without it.

So every department and every agency are included in the “scythe” clause. No exceptions; not even for the Military. Now, I’m sure some, “Living, breathing document,” clown will decide that this section allows them to simply pass a resolution declaring all agencies and departments to be fully authorized every three years. To prevent this, Levin uses the phrase, stand-alone reauthorization bills. This is important, because it means Congress cannot treat this responsibility as an automatic formality; specifically, a formality that disallows attempts by less senior Members to help squelch the Monumental Aspirations of the entrenched.

Everyone gets a scytheI told you: the guys get scythes!

Another aspect of this “scythe” concept reappears in the other four sections detailing the formation of the Congressional Delegation Oversight Committee. The job of this committee is to oversee major regulations coming from the federal agencies or departments. Levin uses economic impact as a trigger for placing a regulation under this scrutiny, by specifying a threshold of One-Hundred Million dollars of impact. Levin requires rotation in this committee by allowing only one three-year term to any House Member. If the committee does not manage to vote either for or against any proposed major regulation, the regulation falls under the scythe, and dies.

Now, pegging to economic impact the notion of whether a regulation is “major” or not is definitely non-robust. A regulation that kills a growing new industry in its infancy might fall below the $100M impact level, but the loss to the economy in the long term could be staggering. (For example, imagine how the auto industry would look today had the NRLB been in existence, and squelched the idea of assembly line manufacture before Henry Ford used it to mass produce Model T’s.) Also, such numbers can become out of sync with inflation or deflation periods. But unless someone comes up with a better triggering mechanism, economic impact certainly covers a huge range of bureaucracy-mandated reductions in Liberty.

The bottom line is that this amendment addresses a critical deficiency in the boundaries between the Legislative and Executive branches of government, and also restores some measure of accountability (meaning members of Congress could lose their seats) to the regulatory process.

I urge all of you to read this chapter carefully. Levin explains the current way the regulatory process works, and where the problems with it have become intransigent. He also provides the founder’s views on why regulatory power belongs to Congress, and not to some agency overseen by the Executive branch. Further, he provides a historical context showing how Progressives have steadily weakened the Constitution to arrive at this point where armed EPA agents can place you in jail without due process for breaking regulations you could not possibly know exist.

This is an important amendment, folks. The Convention must take up this idea and craft something that addresses the problem as Levin has done. This is why YOU need to be studying this issue with serious focus. (And more than a little prayer, I might add.) One among you may well be inspired by Levin’s work to come up with an even better idea. I promise you Mark Levin won’t mind. You see, you can’t wait and dream it up after the Convention is done. We need all hands on this now while the process is under way, because:


Previously:

Discussion #11: ArticleFiveProcess site news
Discussion #10: The Article Five process is how we go on offense
Discussion #9: the filthy habit of continuing resolutions
Discussion #8: Naysayers
Discussion #7: Tracking Our Progress
Discussion #6: Amendments on Spending and Taxes
Discussion #5: How much power do the states have?
Discussion #4: What If They Hijack the Convention?
Discussion #3: An Invitation to Our Friends on the Left
Discussion #2: Run Away!
Discussion #1: Zombie Doctrine, Tactics, and the Liberty Amendments

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161 thoughts on “The Liberty Amendments – Chapter Six

  1. I only yesterday found your series of articles and I am enjoying them. I have read the Liberty Amendments but you are making it easier for me to wrap my tiny brain around. Thank you.

  2. 34 states are represented at Mt Vernon on Dec 7, to discuss the logistics of making the liberty amendment process occur. This is exciting news and I look forward to any insight regarding that meeting.

  3. K-Bob, FYI, your web resource page has the wrong Convention of States web link= it should be http://www.ConventionofStates.com – not .org 🙂 Thanks for your thoughts on this. I am thinking in terms of how this Amendment idea will need to be thought of in terms of also restoring and repairing the astronomical damage this POTUS will leave us with. There will need to be complete dissolution of several Federal agencies as well. Just some thoughts. Please, keep your discussions coming.

    1. Ahhhh! It’s like a bad penny. A bunch of us tripped over that when we first started these discussions. A few folks put up the “.org” version. We finally got it corrected, but for some reason my typing hand insists on sticking with that. So even though I know good an well it’s .com, I find myself entering .org instead.

      One of those weird things about learning, I guess.

      Thanks for helping me chase away the bugs!

    1. Heh. Good catch. “atricle” is funny. Thanks for the comment on the site.

      Hmm. I need a “contact form” over there. Probably get to it this week.

  4. We need more than rubber stamps, especially if Congress holds the stamp:

    – Regulation by government at all levels shall be recognized as a police power subject to the protections of the Constitution.

    – All regulation of impact on the rights of others, directly, via the environment, or otherwise, shall have the burden of experimental proof before issuance, with disproving experiment as an absolute defense against the regulation, and reasonable doubt taking precedence over precaution. No regulation that disparages or denies any right held by any citizen shall be valid.

    – Outlaw public unions

    – Tort reform

    1. Those are important concepts. I’d have to say that the states are where those really should be enforced (or ignored, like you know they will in California). On the other hand, those are very fundamental concepts that ought to prevail in any sensible nation. (Which of course means nowhere, anymore.)

      I’ve been giving some thought to the public sector union thing. I’ve already identified it as a form of corruption that should have a punishment somewhere between counterfeiting and kidnapping. If not quite life in prison, certainly an absolute minimum of fifteen years. Specifically, anyone who launders taxpayer money through a union to line campaign coffers are who I mean. It creates a de-facto Government Party.

      On the other hand, even government workers ought to be allowed to organize to address legitimate grievances.

      So it might be fine to let them organize as long as:
      * no one is required to join
      * dues are collected by payments made by the members, and never as an automatic withdrawal from their pay
      * No public sector union may contribute any money, time, facility or service to any political campaign, political action committee, or to any agency or person involved in running for office, recruiting people to run for office, or advising anyone running for office, or anyone holding any public office.

      Something along those lines might be okay. But violators must be prosecuted like major criminals.

    2. Oh, and regarding tort reform, I’ve pretty much given up on that happening via legislation, because almost everyone who likes political office or high-level activism is a freaking lawyer. (That will probably include most delegates to an Article Five Convention.) However…

      It seems to me we should be clever enough to find a way to use our crappy tort system to punish the heck out of the ambulance chasers and innovation destroyers. I’m thinking that any group outraged enough over some of the typical malicious lawsuits, patent trolls, and copyright trolls ought to be able to convince some jury that the public has been damaged by this.

      I don’t know how or where we can get our foot in the door, but if lawyers can use the law in weaselly ways to make kids shut down lemonade stands, then by d*mn we ought to be able to find a similarly weaselly way to shove back.

  5. Forget God and you no longer have his salvation.

    Psalms 33:

    Fortunate is the nation that Jehovah is its Lord

    The people he chose as an inheritence for himself

    The king is not delivered with great strength

    The hero is not saved with great power

    The horse is false for deliverance

    And with his great strength he is not rescued

    Actually, the eye of G-D is to those who fear him

    To those who will his grace

    To save their souls from death

  6. I watched this with my middle schooler, who then enthusiastically told me how her class read a speech by Churchill and then opened a discussion with me. I STILL have hope for our nation and liberty❤

  7. Mark Levin also did a great tribute last night. Milestones such as this reveal the character of our leaders.

  8. The best way to destroy the markets is not to have it working right – billions more spent in lost time and money. He’s smug – in fact, this is better than having it work…the Muslim loving Marxist is happy.

  9. Either Obama is a clueless idiot, or he’s a lying sack of excrement. No in between.

    He either had no idea about so many things going on in his own administration, which is inherently dangerous, or he knew full well and is lying.

    Either way, he isn’t suited for the office and never was.

  10. Dare I say that there is a positive aspect to obamacare. This approval rating is likely associated with obmacare. The obamessiah may have a bit of difficulty disassociating himself from obamacare.

  11. Reuters Really? Do they not broadcast from Moscow??? I mean this Commie Network is so far left heck San Fran looks Conservative. Reuters….what a Fing Joke….Journalism…come on….this diatribe of communism would NEVER have a headline to document the Fall of the False Prophet of the Book of Alinsky! They live off the Imperial Twit. With Bush when his poll numbers fell it was headlined on every left wing Kook Center broadcasting from Lucifer Studios, but we all know how Objective Reuters and AP are….LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! with the Imperial Twit.

    But the facts are there….and the Phoenix of False Prophecy is falling to earth like all False Prophets that challenge God!

  12. I would hate for our legacy to be that the first “black” president (notice the quotations) wound up in jail, but if there is any justice in the universe he and his thugs should find themselves behind bars in the near future.

    1. exactly…I can’t believe anybody likes him period…I mean if he still has 37% who like him what else does he have to do to turn them off. He’s lied, killed, spied, hurt, manipulated, antagonized, polarized, whined, etc. and yet there are still over a third of the population who approve of him?

      sheesh…if you can do all of that and still have millions approve of you then anybody could be president. We could get the bum on the street who would just sit in the Oval Office and drink all day and millions of people would still approve…

      1. Yeah, we could also get a foreign, crack smoking, homosexual, commie loving muslim in the White House someday too!…..no wait…..

    2. According to the U.S. Census, The black population is at 13.1% so don’t look for it to drop much below that.

  13. What’s the sample? If this is the same poll mentioned by Rush, they over-sampled Democrats. Even so, it’s still too high, imho.

    1. Nobody told him about Benghazi, Fast and Furious, IRS intimidation, or the fact that you can’t keep your health ins or your doctor. Bullshit. He is lying and they are swearing to it.

  14. A quote from the written decision: “In its 20-page ruling, the panel of appeals court judges acknowledged
    that the law’s provision requiring doctors to have admitting privileges
    at a nearby hospital “may increase the cost of accessing an abortion
    provider and decrease the number of physicians available to perform
    abortions.””

    By that measure we should remove all restrictions and standards in medicine since it drives up cost thereby reducing access. Where in the H-E-Double Hockey Sticks does this country find these judges?!! that is one of the dumber opinions I have ever read by the progressive judges.

        1. It has to do with murdering babies, they have to make things up along the way to justify their vicious beliefs.

    1. I guess they wouldn’t be too upset if “doctors” operated in the back alleys of beyond. Time was, legalizing abortion was supposed to prevent unqualified, unsanitary, unsafe “procedures”.

      1. The seem to regress into raving, frothing, insane maniacs (more than usual) when something doesn’t go their way.

  15. Mr. T says…”I pity the fool” who rushed to this website and gave up all their personal information to criminals…not just the ID thieves…those criminals in DC, too.. Schmucks..

  16. I can’t even make myself press the play button…that douche shouldn’t even be allowed to recite that address over the airwaves. It’s a sad day…when such contempt is uttered about a President of the United States of America, but then, everything about this a$$clown is fake…why not his presidency? Oh, and I didn’t capitalize the p on purpose.

  17. There are in fact five copies of the Gettysburg address all written by President Lincoln. The Hay and the Nicolay copies are the original drafts taken to Gettysburg by the President. Neither has the “under God” phrase. It is widely believed that the Nicolay copy is the one read by President Lincoln as it matches the description of the document Lincoln took out of his coat pocket.

    The first time the “under God” phrase appears in a written copy of the speech is the copy given to Everett some time after the Gettysburg ceremony.

    Contemporary newspaper accounts say that President Lincoln used the phrase “under God” so it might have been added by him spontaneously during the speech.
    Ken Burns says he specifically asked President Obama to read the Nicolay version.

    1. If he uttered the phrase, whether it was written or not…is a permanent part of the speech as it was spoken, ad lib or planned. The address was his words spoken, not written. So if he did, indeed, say “under God” during the original address at Gettysburg, then your point is moot.

  18. That is total and absolute BULL$H!T!!! He is reading from a TELEPROMPTER!!

    Either the teleprompter had the WRONG lines (and he didn’t know ANYTHING about what he was reading – no surprise there!), or he CHOSE to OMIT it!

    Lying liar – and those who cover for his disgusting disrespectful [email protected] are despicable!!

  19. If I and my family were there paying homage to Lincoln and his address at Gettysburg, I would not want Obama to be there. His presence would ruin it for me. It would sully it. Perhaps other attendees feel the same. I do know that I am in a group of steadily increasing numbers who disdain him and the damage he has wrought on our nation.

    The lie after lie after lie he’s told. The manipulation of Federal Agencies. The new Federal Regulation that comes out every 2.5 hours from this administration. The loss of jobs, the staggering debt he’s burdened my progeny with. The industries he has decimated. The federal thumb he seeks to place us all under.

    I despise his proposed ends and loathe the means. Yes, stay away from Gettysburg. Would that you also step down and stay away from any kind of US public office too, and simply run off somewhere else to live in shame and infamy for the rest of your days. Not because of who or what you are. But because of what you’ve done and not done.

    What a chance. What an opportunity you had. 5 years of misery so far. 5 years of pitting group against group. 5 years of your way or no way. As you’ve disdained so many of us, so we return the disdain. Wear it. You’ve earned it.

    To Ted Cruz: Thank you.

  20. Thank you for putting this video up.
    “One Nation under God” – that is what has made America great, and it should come as no surprise that those who want to diminish and destroy that Nation have started to get rid of the most important part of it: “under God”.
    Don’t let the get away with that!

  21. Ted Cruz as more integrity and honor in the tip of his little finger of his right hand, than Obama has in his entire soulless, heartless, empty shell of a body.

  22. http://dailycaller.com/2013/11/19/obama-delivers-gettysburg-address-on-youtube-leaves-out-under-god/ UPDATE: The “Learn the Address” website notes that “We asked President Obama to read … the ‘Nicolay Version’” of the Gettsyburg Address, which omits the words “under God.” That disclosure does not appear alongside Obama’s video on the site.

    Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2013/11/19/obama-delivers-gettysburg-address-on-youtube-leaves-out-under-god/#ixzz2l7TUdiB2

  23. I believe President Obama read the first draft so he would not offend his base. I consider Obama an Atheist, by his actions and words. Of course only God knows for sure what is in his heart.

  24. wrong. There were five versions, two before he gave the speech (neither of which had ‘god’ in it) and three after, which did. Seems to me that one should read the speech as it was drafted, not revised after it was given. The right is so full of crap.

      1. ask Ken Burns why he used the one that was written before the speech instead of one after. Rightwing just hates Obama.

          1. How convenient. So Ken Burns is the bad guy because out of the numerous people reciting the address, all are quoting President Lincoln. The current President is then singled out by Ken to recite a version of the address from some loser no one’s ever even heard . Doesn’t pass the smell test. I notice though that in typical liberal fashion you’re spitting fire pissed off and angry. Why can’t you people chill out for just two friggin’ seconds? Why all the anger?

    1. Eye witnesses and journalists who copied the speech as it was given list the phrase “Under God” as being spoken. This is an absolute, unalterable and historically proven fact. This speech was an dedicatory oration and as such the spoken, not the written word is what matters.It seems that since Lincoln, in his own hand wrote the words :under God” to all later versions of the speech that it was his purpose to have said it at Gettysburg and that in his memory, a memory which matches the memory of other witnesses he did in fact say those important words.

      1. The “Learn the Address” website notes that “We asked President Obama to read … the ‘Nicolay Version'” of the Gettsyburg Address, which omits the words “under God.” That disclosure does not appear alongside Obama’s video on the site.

  25. It’s hard to believe that he’s getting THAT much money from the Atheist lobby, and we know that doing the right thing is at the bottom of his totem pole of motivations. I think it’s purely ideological. Just doing his part to move people from loving God to loving Government.

  26. The website won’t be fixed for a long time. The Obama administration is so incompetent it defies belief. The breach of trust is irreparable.

  27. The impostor could put an end to this notion that the site is unsafe. All he has to do is put all of his dozen or so social security numbers into the system himself to show that he has faith in it’s security.

  28. Why is everyone getting so upset about a few “glitches”?

    I mean, you’re only giving your private information to a felon to type into a computer that hackers will steal the info from to steal your identity and bank account info,etc. I can’t imagine why that should upset anyone! (Do I really need to add the /sarc. to that? 😉 )

    1. If the 0b0BOTS believed he could stop the oceans from rising, surly their faith in the amount of hot air he is blowing out his @$$ will keep a tire inflated.

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