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
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.
obstacle to increasing [organ] donations is the need to get the consent
of surviving family members," said Sunstein and Thaler.
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."
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."
here . . .
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
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," ( )
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
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.
here . . .
Continued Sunstein: "I think this debate was
unhelpful; it is most plausible to see the two sets of rights as
mutually reinforcing, not antagonistic."
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
The right to adequate protection from the economic fears
of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment;
The right to a
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
Later in the book, Sunstein argues that "at a
minimum, the second bill should be seen as part and parcel of America's
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.
that the concept of marriage should become privatized, with the state
only granting civil union contracts to couples wishing to enter into an
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
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
"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."
here . . .
|Obamaís Favorite For Supreme Court Justice
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
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
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."
Obamaís information czar wants to tax or ban outright, as in make
illegal, opinions and ideas that the government doesnít approve of.
here . . .
|Obama's Information Czar Would Strip First
Amendment From Blogs
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.
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.
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
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".
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
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.
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.
|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,
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.
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.
here . . .
Copyright Beckwith 2009 - 2011
All right reserved