Short-circuiting Democracy

Published on: 09:55AM Mar 06, 2013

Short-circuiting democracy

All of us know about herding cattle in a pen, right? You need a system. A good set of fences, sideboards to kind of act like the constitution to define where you and cattle can go.
Then, if you handle yourself right, you can control the biggest bull in the world. You just have to stay ahead of him. You watch him. You sense his intentions. If you want him to go north and he wants to go south, you stay ahead of him.

If you move quickly enough, you control him. He turns around. But if you don’t move quickly enough, you get run over.

There. That keeps us from having to talk about slippery slopes in discussing this morning’s New York Times editorial which celebrates the appointments of Gina McCarthy to head the EPA and Ernest Moniz as secretary of energy by suggesting their big challenge is to circumvent congress and impose energy policies despite "strong legal and political challenges from industry." That’s not exactly how they say it, of course. They say: 

"Both will be required to use their regulatory authority creatively and aggressively. There is zero chance that Congress will enact the ‘bipartisan, market-based solution to climate change’ that Mr. Obama called for in his State of the Union address."

This they say without apparently noticing the irony on this day after Hugo Chavez died. That’s pretty much how Mr. Chavez ruined Venezuela. He used his "regulatory authority creatively and aggressively."

One does not have to be a "climate denier" to fret about that way of running the country. One reason this country has prospered through the years is the systematic checks and balances that require consensus to enact sweeping structural changes.

To have a clever lawyer—one, who, by the way has the power to choose the supreme court justices who comprise one third of the checks and balances—actively seeking loopholes in order to ordain his will is not how the system works best.

At the risk of overstatement by degree, Mr. Chavez did just what Mr. Obama has in mind. He took control of the courts and that allowed him the cover to impose his unchecked, unbalanced will.  That let him make the rich pay their "fair share," the fruits of which he redistributed to the poor who, in turn, voted for him every chance they got.

Keeping it all in a context, we shouldn’t compare Obama’s desire to close tax loopholes with nationalization of private enterprise.

But there are folks in the administration’s base who don’t much like animal agriculture. There are administrative actions involving things like dust and meat inspection and nutrition guidelines that could cause considerable damage to the industry. The checks and balances are our friends.

Like I say, you have to stay ahead of the bull or you get run over.

Excellent news on the meat inspector thing

Secretary Vilsack talked to Congress about those inspector furloughs and it sounds like he thinks he won’t be closing plants. He’ll stagger the furloughs if the unions will let him.
the Huffington Post seems reassured, as is the LA Times.

From the cattle-selling angle, that should minimize the damage, even though there are still some folks with suspicions about the motives.

Even better news than the meat inspector thing!
I know you cowboys don’t care about this, but if you had given TSA as many knives as I have over the years, you would deem it important and good news. I’m in the market for the most knife I can legally carry. I’ll be able to open stuff in hotels again.

The National Farmers Union has adopted their policy guidelines. They’d still like the government to guarantee them parity.

Now it’s eagles

It’s a thrill to look out and see eagles where they haven’t been in my lifetime. But, apparently, that moderation in all things is coming into play. It seems they’ve become the top predator of lambs in Wyoming, at least.

Less savings than predicted from farm bill

Here’s a surprise: They overestimated the savings on a bill Congress passed. And they’re usually so accurate.

We’ll probably get blamed for this

Hospital-bred antibiotic resistance is getting worse.

--Steve Cornett