In a Representative Democracy such as the United States, most people are familiar with what a law is, many people know how a bill differs from a law, but most probably do not understand what an Executive Order is.  Surely a week does not pass that it is not reported someplace that the President of the United States either signed an Executive Order to put into place a new policy or to rescind a previous one.  The situation can be confusing because the President of the United States is generally not understood to be someone who makes law.

The President of the United States is the head of the Executive Branch and he or she has some explicit powers and some gray ones.  The president can, for example, lead the country in making decisions regarding foreign affairs, nominate individuals for the Supreme Court, or in the role as “commander-in-chief ” lead the military.  But the president’s authority is not absolute as any treaty he or she negotiates with a foreign power must still be approved by Congress, nominees to the Supreme Court must be confirmed by the Senate, and any troop deployments over 60 days must be authorized by Congress due to the War Powers Resolution.  So, while the power of the president seems great it is, like virtually every other area of the U.S. government, subject to checks and balances.  One area in which the president can have a great deal of power is in the area of the Executive Order.

Click to continue reading “Executive Orders and the Law”

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Well, on the surface this post may not really appear to be related to this blog. However, this is very much a non-partisan issue that will affect most of us regardless of what your politics are. What I’m talking about is the revision to the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act that will be in effect February 10, 2009.

The CPSIA has been revised, submitted to Congress for approval, and signed off by President Bush that now states that any and all products intended for use by children under the age of 12 will now need to be tested for lead, not only by the manufacturers, but also by the retailers.  In order for any retailer to sell any products to be used by children under the age of 12 the retailers are now required to get a certificate stating the product is safe and contains no lead.  Here’s the FAQS.

Click to continue reading “Unintended consequences?”

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Our Elected Leaders at the 2008 State of the Union Address

Our Elected Leaders at the 2008 State of the Union Address

From my little window on the world I see a new President-elect, Barack Obama waiting to be sworn in in the USA in January 2009.

What do people expect from Obama and his team who are being assembled as we read?

The answer is probably: too much. Some members of the population have been anticipating the result of the election with baited breath hoping this change will make a radical difference in their lives. The reality is that at the end of 4 years not much will change unless the people stand up and demand that the government recognises and defers to those who put them in power: the people.

Unfortunately, far too much time, money and energy has been invested to divert and misinform the public about the role of government and what it is there for.

Click to continue reading “Politicians We Deserve”

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Spirit - American Revolution

Spirit - American Revolution

This was the question posed to me at my own blog by Monica from Oh Fer Cryin’ Out Loud. She had stated that at one time she had a teacher who told her that as a country, we had the option at any time to change our government any time we wanted.

Well, I would say that her teacher oversimplified the process.  The short answer is – yes, we can change our government.  However, it is not as simple as that.  Short of another revolution to overthrow the government – there are many necessary steps in “changing the government.”

I believe what your teacher was referring to was our country’s ability to change our elected officials when we are not pleased with their performance or the direction they are taking us.

This applies to all levels of government; local, county, state, and federal.  At a local level, every city and county has laws written that gives the citizens the ability to remove elected officials.  In some cases there impeachment process, in others, there are recall processes that citizens can institute.  However, in order for impeachment and recalls to occur – there needs to be proof of wrong doing and there has to be a majority of citizens (usually by petition) to institute the recall.

Click to continue reading “Can we change our government when we want?”

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