Our Constitution, most state constitutions, judicial procedures and corporation bylaws, all contain checks and balances. All aspects of our republic purposely contain a system of checks and balances. The premise behind the need for such restraints is that people can be corrupt and power breeds corruption. Corruption in government and unchecked power can and will destroy individual liberty. It doesn’t matter which political party is in power, the motivation to use the full and unchecked power of government for ideological supremacy is always there. Our system of checks and balances relies on another principle for its effectiveness. The protector of viability of checks and balances is Congressional and Judicial oversight and an aggressive questioning press, which is the third, very important leg of oversight.
In our federal government structure, the Congress and the Courts provide the arms of oversight of the Executive. It is the Executive branch of our government whose management of the nation’s business contains the power to encroach on individual freedom in the name of security or in misguided attempts to destroy opposition to changing or transforming the American nation. Up until the last ten years the check and balance process has worked well with effective oversight.
In the 1980s and ’90s, the Executive often struggled to maintain its position of prominence in running the affairs of government. At times it seemed to those of us working in the Executive branch that Congress believed oversight meant management. Congressional staff members and reporters made their bones by ferreting out real and imagined overreaches and inefficiencies of the Executive. There was a constant stream of officers from various agencies marching up to testify in front of various committees. One Director of the CIA often commented, “That while CIA is an executive agency under the command of the President, CIA works equally for the Congress.” (This is not an exact quote but it is very close and was accurate at the time.)
The power and effectiveness of the oversight process has been steadily degraded. Four things are primarily responsible for the weakening of the oversight process.
Secondly: The media has become politically one-sided and ignores covering events that might be critical of President Obama. In doing so they have abrogated their historical position as a key element of the oversight process.
Thirdly: Only the Executive Branch has keep up with the technology necessary to improve the management and control of their branch of government.
Lastly: No one in the Legislative or Judicial Branches anticipated that a political party would so openly and ruthlessly use the power of the executive to destroy political opposition groups. There is scarcely a piece of the executive that has not stepped over traditional lines to seize and expand political power. A few examples of the most egregious are the IRS, EPA, the State Department, the Justice Department, ranking military officers, DEA, Immigrations, HHS, Department of Labor and others that will emerge if oversight regains its footing. How can we expect Congress to oversee the collection and use of information on U.S. Citizens if it cannot even provide oversight of the the IRS, one of the most bureaucratic and pervasive of all agencies? This is not over. Watch the Congressional hearing.
By the author of the Jack Brandon novels. http://www.factsandfictions.com
- Checks, balances, and the National Security Agency (tv.msnbc.com)
- Constitutional Standoff: Obama Syndicate vs. the People… “It’s no secret to anyone who watches any newscast – even once a week – that the Obama syndicate (aka Executive Branch of the US government) has been flexing its muscles, in order to take over all gov (gunnygblog.wordpress.com)
- James Clapper Hails Checks and Balances, Evades Oversight (crooksandliars.com)