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Cass Sunstein -- Regulatory Czar

Obamaís pick for "regulatory czar," Harvard Law School Professor Cass Sunstein, may be the incoming presidentís most popular appointment so far.  Judging from his resume -- best-selling author, "pre-eminent legal scholar of our time," and an endorsement from The Wall Street Journal -- we can almost understand why.  However, thereís one troubling portion of the new Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) Administratorís C.V. that has seems to have flown under everyoneís radar: Cass Sunstein is a radical animal rights activist.

Sunstein has made no secret of his devotion to the cause of establishing legal "rights" for livestock, wildlife, and pets.

Sunstein, has also advocated a policy under which the government would "presume" someone has consented to having his or her organs removed for transplantation into someone else when they die unless that person has explicitly indicated that his or her organs should not be taken.

Under such a policy, hospitals would harvest organs from people who never gave permission for this to be done.

Outlined in the 2008 book "Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness," Sunstein and co-author Richard H. Thaler argued that the main reason that more people do not donate their organs is because they are required to choose donation.

Sunstein and Thaler pointed out that doctors often must ask the deceasedís family members whether or not their dead relative would have wanted to donate his organs.  These family members usually err on the side of caution and refuse to donate their loved oneís organs.

"The major obstacle to increasing [organ] donations is the need to get the consent of surviving family members," said Sunstein and Thaler.

This problem could be remedied if governments changed the laws for organ donation, they said.  Currently, unless a patient has explicitly chosen to be an organ donor, either on his driverís license or with a donor card, the doctors assume that the person did not want to donate and therefore do not harvest his organs.  Thaler and Sunstein called this "explicit consent."

They argued that this could be remedied if government turned the law around and assumed that, unless people explicitly choose not to, then they want to donate their organs -- a doctrine they call "presumed consent."

Continue reading here . . .
On Spreading America's Wealth
Obama's newly confirmed regulatory czar, Cass Sunstein, echoing Van Jones on "environmental justice," argues it is "desirable" to redistribute America's wealth to poorer nations.  According to Sunstein, global climate change is primarily the fault of U.S. environmental behavior and should, therefore, be used as a mechanism to redistribute the country's wealth.

The Obama czar penned a 2007 University of Chicago Law School paper in which he argued America should pay "justice" to the world by entering into a compensation agreement that would be a net financial loss for the U.S.  Sunstein heavily leans on the side of such an agreement, particularly a worldwide carbon tax that would heavily tariff the U.S.

A prominent theme throughout Sunstein's 39-page paper, entitled "Climate Change Justice," maintains U.S. wealth should be redistributed to poorer nations.  He uses terms such as "distributive justice" several times.  The paper was written with fellow attorney Eric A. Posner

"It is even possible that desirable redistribution is more likely to occur through climate change policy than otherwise, or to be accomplished more effectively through climate policy than through direct foreign aid," wrote Sunstein.

He posited: "We agree that if the United States does spend a great deal on emissions reductions as part of an international agreement, and if the agreement does give particular help to disadvantaged people, considerations of distributive justice support its action, even if better redistributive mechanisms are imaginable.

"If the United States agrees to participate in a climate change agreement on terms that are not in the nation's interest, but that help the world as a whole, there would be no reason for complaint, certainly if such participation is more helpful to poor nations than conventional foreign-aid alternatives," he wrote.

Sunstein maintains: "If we care about social welfare, we should approve of a situation in which a wealthy nation is willing to engage in a degree of self-sacrifice when the world benefits more than that nation loses."

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Obama Should Interpret Law, Not Courts

Federal law should not be interpreted by judges but by the U.S. president, according to Obama's newly confirmed regulatory czar, Cass Sunstein.

The central thesis of Sunstein's 2006 Yale Law School paper, "Beyond Marbury: The Executive's Power to Say What the Law Is," is his argument that the president and his advisers should be the ones to interpret federal laws.  Sunstein argues, "There is no reason to believe that in the face of statutory ambiguity, the meaning of federal law should be settled by the inclinations and predispositions of federal judges.  The outcome should instead depend on the commitments and beliefs of the president and those who operate under him," (like Sunstein) argued Sunstein.

Sunstein debated the precedent-setting 1803 case, Marbury v. Madison, that determined it is "emphatically the province and duty of the judicial department to say what the law is."

He lamented multiple recent examples of U.S. presidents interpreting law only to have their interpretations overturned by the Supreme Court.  "Why is the executive not permitted to construe constitutional ambiguities as it sees fit?"  Says Sunstein,  "The simplest answer is that foxes are not permitted to guard henhouses ... but who is the fox?"

He concludes "the executive should usually be permitted to interpret (law) as it reasonably sees fit."

"The allocation of law-interpreting power to the executive fits admirably well with the twentieth-century shift from common law courts to regulatory administration if the governing statute is ambiguous," he writes.

Sunstein wants to establish "legal rights" for livestock, wildlife and pets, which would enable animals to file lawsuits against humans in American courts, is not shy about expressing his radical beliefs in papers and books, although many of his controversial arguments have received little to no news media attention or public scrutiny.

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This crap is what passes for scholarship at Harvard these days.

 

Continued Sunstein: "I think this debate was unhelpful; it is most plausible to see the two sets of rights as mutually reinforcing, not antagonistic."

 

Get Glenn Beck's 'Common Sense' ... The case against an out-of-control government: Inspired by Thomas Paine

 

Sunstein claims the "socialist movement" did not take hold in the U.S. in part because of a "smaller and weaker political left or lack of enthusiasm for redistributive programs."

 

He laments, "In a variety of ways, subtle and less subtle, public and private actions have made it most difficult for socialism to have any traction in the United States."

Sunstein Proposed Socialist Bill Of Rights

In "The Second Bill of Rights," Sunstein proposed a new "bill of rights" in which he advanced the radical notion that welfare rights, including some controversial inceptions, be granted by the state. Among his mandates:

 

The right to a useful and remunerative job in the industries or shops or farms or mines of the nation;

The right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation;

The right of every farmer to raise and sell his products at a return which will give him and his family a decent living;

The right of every businessman, large and small, to trade in an atmosphere of freedom from unfair competition and domination by monopolies at home or abroad;

The right of every family to a decent home;

The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health;

The right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment;

The right to a good education.

 

On one page in his book, Sunstein claims he is "not seriously arguing" his bill of rights be "encompassed by anything in the Constitution," but on the next page he states that "if the nation becomes committed to certain rights, they may migrate into the Constitution itself."

 

Later in the book, Sunstein argues that "at a minimum, the second bill should be seen as part and parcel of America's constitutive commitments." 

In April, 2005, Sunstein opened up a conference at Yale Law School entitled "The Constitution in 2020," which sought to change the nature and interpretation of the Constitution by that year.

 

Sunstein has been a main participant in the movement, which openly seeks to create a "progressive" consensus as to what the U.S. Constitution should provide for by the year 2020.  It also suggests strategy for how liberal lawyers and judges might bring such a constitutional regime into being.

 

Just before his appearance at the conference, Sunstein wrote a blog entry in which he explained he "will be urging that it is important to resist, on democratic grounds, the idea that the document should be interpreted to reflect the view of the extreme right-wing of the Republican Party."

Sunstein Wants To Abolish Marriage
The U.S. government should abolish its sanctioning of marriage, argued Cass Sunstein, Obama's regulatory czar.

Sunstein proposed that the concept of marriage should become privatized, with the state only granting civil union contracts to couples wishing to enter into an agreement.

Sunstein explained marriage licensing is unnecessary, pointing out people stay committed to organizations like country clubs and homeowner associations without any government interference.

"Under our proposal, the word marriage would no longer appear in any laws, and marriage licenses would no longer be offered or recognized by any level of government," wrote Sunstein and co-author Richard Thaler in their 2008 book, "Nudge: Improving decisions about health, wealth and happiness."

In the book, Sunstein explains his approach would ensure that "the only legal status states would confer on couples would be a civil union, which would be a domestic partnership agreement between any two people."

He proposed marriage not be recognized by the government.  Marriages would instead be "strictly private matters, performed by religious and other private organizations," he wrote.

"Governments would not be asked to endorse any particular relationships by conferring on them the term marriage," added Sunstein.

Sunstein slammed current government recognition of marriage as "an official license scheme."

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Obamaís Favorite For Supreme Court Justice
Steve Watson says Cass Sunstein, Obamaís appointee to head the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, and the man who outlined a plan for the government to infiltrate "conspiracy groups" in order to undermine them, is in direct line for a promotion to Supreme Court Justice.

Sunstein, already in an advanced position of power in the White House as Regulatory czar, has already called for strict restrictions on gun ownership, an internet "Fairness Doctrine," and an effective ban on free speech where dissenting opinions to those of the government are expressed.

Sunteinís name was on various shortlists to replace Justice David Souter last year following his retirement, and prior to the appointment of Sonia Sotomayor.  Sunsteinís name was also touted for the Supreme Court before Obama even took office in November 2008.

His close personal relationship with Obama should set alarm bells ringing for anyone who values the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, particularly as Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, now aged 75, is likely to take retirement soon following illness, and with Justice John Paul Stevens now aged 90.

Sunstein and Obama go way back from their faculty days at the University of Chicago law school and are firm friends.  Sunstein worked as an advisor to Obama during his presidential campaign and was drafted into the White House soon after Obama won the election.

As Obamaís "Information Czar", Sunstein effectively interprets the law for the Executive, and as we highlighted in our article yesterday, Sunstein has outlined plans for the government to infiltrate "conspiracy groups" in order to undermine them via postings on chat rooms and social networks, as well as real meetings.

Sunstein has effectively penned the blueprint for a Cointelpro "provocateur" style program to silence what have become the governmentís most vociferous and influential critics.

The specifics of the plans must be read in full in order to gauge their extreme nature and the threat Sunstein poses to the freedom in America.

On page 14 of Sunsteinís January 2008 white paper entitled "Conspiracy Theories," he proposed that "under imaginable conditions" the government "might ban conspiracy theorizing" and could "impose some kind of tax, financial or otherwise, on those who disseminate such theories."

In effect, Obamaís information czar wants to tax or ban outright, as in make illegal, opinions and ideas that the government doesnít approve of.

Continue reading here . . .
Obama's Information Czar Would Strip First Amendment From Blogs
Prorev.com is reporting that disturbing audio has emerged of White House information czar Cass Sunstein, who in a previous white paper called for banning "conspiracy theories," demanding that websites be mandated by law to link to opposing information or that pop ups containing government propaganda be forcibly included on political blogs.

In an audio excerpt of an interview which was posted on the Breitbart.tv website today, Sunstein discusses how conservative websites should provide links to liberal websites and vice versa or even how political blogs should be made to include pop ups that show "a quick argument for a competing view".

Sunstein said that if this system couldn't be implemented voluntarily, "Congress should hold hearings about mandates," which would legally force people to dilute their own free speech.  The Harvard Professor also said that blogs should be forced to list a random draw of 25 popular websites, such as CNN.com.

"The best would be for this to be done voluntarily," said Sunstein, "But the word voluntary is a little complicated and people sometimes don't do what's best for our society," he added.

"The idea would be to have a legal mandate as the last resort. . . an ultimate weapon designed to encourage people to do better," Sunstein concluded.

In a January 2008 white paper entitled "Conspiracy Theories," the Harvard Professor who is currently Obama's head of information technology in the White House called for "conspiracy theories," that is any political opinion which didn't concur with the establishment view, to be taxed or even banned outright.

In a set of proposals designed to counter "dangerous" ideas, Sunstein suggested that the government could, "ban conspiracy theorizing," or "impose some kind of tax, financial or otherwise, on those who disseminate such theories".

So-called conspiracy theories that Sunstein said could be subject to government censorship included beliefs held by the vast majority of Americans, such as the notion that the JFK assassination occurred as part of a wider plot.

In his white paper, Sunstein also cited the belief that "global warming is a deliberate fraud" as another marginal conspiracy theory to be countered by government censorship.

Ludicrously, the Harvard Professor even characterized as "false and dangerous" the idea that exposure to sunlight is healthy.

Essentially, Sunstein wants it to be written into law that the government can dictate the very nature of reality to Americans and that their opinions can only be voiced at best when accompanied by mandatory federal propaganda or at worst that Americans can be silenced entirely by federal decree.

And this is from a "progressive" blog.
Obama Confidant's Spine-Chilling Proposal
Glenn Greenwald says Cass Sunstein has long been one of Barack Obama's closest confidants. Often mentioned as a likely Obama nominee to the Supreme Court, Sunstein is currently Obama's head of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs where, among other things, he is responsible for "overseeing policies relating to privacy, information quality, and statistical programs."  In 2008, while at Harvard Law School, Sunstein co-wrote a truly pernicious paper proposing that the U.S. Government employ teams of covert agents and pseudo-"independent" advocates to "cognitively infiltrate" online groups and websites -- as well as other activist groups -- which advocate views that Sunstein deems "false conspiracy theories" about the Government.  This would be designed to increase citizens' faith in government officials and undermine the credibility of conspiracists.  The paper's abstract can be read, and the full paper downloaded, here.

Sunstein advocates that the Government's stealth infiltration should be accomplished by sending covert agents into "chat rooms, online social networks, and even real-space groups."  He also proposes that the Government make secret payments to so-called "independent" credible voices to bolster the Government's messaging (on the ground that those who don't believe government sources will be more inclined to listen to those who appear independent while secretly acting on behalf of the Government).  This program would target those advocating false "conspiracy theories," which they define to mean: "an attempt to explain an event or practice by reference to the machinations of powerful people, who have also managed to conceal their role."  Sunstein's 2008 paper was flagged by this blogger, and then amplified in an excellent report by Raw Story's Daniel Tencer.

There's no evidence that the Obama administration has actually implemented a program exactly of the type advocated by Sunstein, though in light of this paper and the fact that Sunstein's position would include exactly such policies, that question certainly ought to be asked.  Regardless, Sunstein's closeness to Obama, as well as the highly influential position he occupies, merits an examination of the mentality behind what he wrote.  This isn't an instance where some government official wrote a bizarre paper in college 30 years ago about matters unrelated to his official powers; this was written 18 months ago, at a time when the ascendancy of Sunstein's close friend to the Oval Office looked likely, in exactly the area he now oversees.  Additionally, the government-controlled messaging that Sunstein desires has been a prominent feature of U.S. Government actions over the last decade, including in some recently revealed practices of the current administration, and the mindset in which it is grounded explains a great deal about our political class.  All of that makes Sunstein's paper worth examining in greater detail.

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