Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach
From an interview with Lester Brown, founder of the Earth Policy Institute, a man of whom Bill Clinton said “We should all heed his advice”:
You’ve talked before about the civilizational challenge that climate change poses, how confident are you that the human race is up to meeting that challenge?
We don’t know and there is no guarantee that we will. But we do know that change can come very quickly. Look how quickly the US restructured its whole economy in 1942. At beginning of 1942, the automobile companies were producing automobiles. By the middle of 1942 they were all producing tanks and planes. It didn’t take decades or years, just a few months and they totally converted. If they could do that then, certainly we can restructure the world energy economy today. What Roosevelt did was ban the sale of cars. He didn’t say they couldn’t produce cars. He just banned the sale of cars.
Would you like to see President Obama do that?
I’d like to see him ban the sale of coal and oil.
Dear heavens, the Imperial President should “ban the sale of coal and oil”? Oh, yeah, that’s the ticket. Some 40% of US electricity, lots of our industrial energy, and ~ 100% of our transportation fuel comes from coal and oil, so I’m sure that other than the small matter of impoverishment, suffering, death, and economic ruin, banning them wouldn’t cause any disruption at all … while I want to ask “is this Imperious Idiot for real?”, the sad truth is that Lester Brown is totally serious.
But even more frightening than the horrendous economic disruption and human suffering from such a suicidal course of action is that Lester Brown is advocating tyranny, and given his history, our Imperial President Obama would likely be more than happy to accommodate him.
As a candidate, Obama spoke out strongly against expanded executive power, saying in October of 2007:
These last few years we’ve seen an unacceptable abuse of power at home. We’ve paid a heavy price for having a president whose priority is expanding his own power.
I taught constitutional law for ten years. I take the Constitution very seriously. The biggest problems that were facing right now have to do with George Bush trying to bring more and more power into the executive branch and not go through Congress at all, and that’s what I intend to reverse when I’m President of the United States of America.
After watching George Bush, Obama’s position on limiting executive power was one of the reasons I voted for him in 2008 … back before I realized that if Obama’s lips were moving, there were non-zero odds that he was lying, as in this case. Which is one of the reasons why I voted against him in 2012.
Now that he’s in power, and particularly now that he’s in his second term, he’s decided that he gets the last say on everything under the sun, and has presided over a huge increase in executive power, viz:
Whenever this Congress refuses to act in a way that hurts our economy and puts our people at risk, I’ve got an obligation as president to do what we can without them.
Despite being a “constitutional scholar”, he seems to misunderstand the separation of powers. He has no such obligation. It’s not his job to decide what “hurts the economy and puts the people at risk”, and more importantly, he has no such power. If the Congress decides not to pass a law, that’s their choice. The President’s job is to be the “Chief Executive”, and as such, the Constitution says he is to “take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed”. Nowhere is he given the power to make or interpret the laws. That is the job of Congress on the one hand and the Courts on the other … and if Congress won’t act, well, tough. If you don’t like the Congress, vote them out of office.
However, obviously, neither President Obama nor Lester Brown see it that way. As we just saw with the new regulations involving coal plants, President Obama is more than happy to make new “environmental” laws by presidential edict. And I’m sure that both the Imperial President and the Imperious Idiot firmly believe that Obama has the power to ban the sale gas and oil.
The Founding Fathers were very concerned that the President should NOT have this kind of imperial powers, and for good reason. They’d seen the damage that strong-men had done in a variety of monarchies and tyrannies. So they devised a system of “separation of powers”—Congress makes the laws, the President enforces the laws, and the Supreme Court interprets the laws.
Sadly, we have fallen very far from that, and President Obama has done immense damage to that system by “solving” every problem, from glitches with Obamacare to interim appointments to immigration reform to destroying coal plants, by imperial proclamation. At this point, all I can do is fervently hope he doesn’t listen to Lester Brown …
Gotta say … 2016 can’t come fast enough for me.
End Note: Please do not use this as a springboard for general political attacks on either side. There are lots of web pages for doing that. The issue here is the Imperious Idiot’s asinine proposal to ban the sale of coal and oil, and the Imperial President’s claim that he has the executive power to do just about anything, presumably including Lester’s proposed ban.
The Usual: If you disagree with something that I or anyone has said, please QUOTE THE EXACT WORDS YOU DISAGREE WITH. This avoids many misunderstandings.
The Interview: The full interview is here.