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Congress Reminds Us How Titanically Stupid Bureaucracy ‘Comment Periods’ Are
It Is Oh-So-Much-Better When We Adhere
The Left loathes those who lobby Congress. Well, those who lobby Congress for less government. The others - not so much.
The Left loathes these Congressional lobbyists…almost certainly because they are expressly defended in the Constitution - and we know the Left isn’t at all fond of the Constitution.
For the government school victims in our midst, here’s the Constitution’s First Amendment:
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
For the benefit of the government school victims in our midst - we bolded the pertinent parts.
The Founding Fathers who wrote the Constitution - were creating a limited government with very finite, expressed government powers. Their idea was maximum freedom for individual citizens.
They Founders wanted everything the government did - to be directly responsible and accountable to We the People.
The Founders would have found utterly obnoxious any attempts by Congress to limit We the People’s ability to tell Congress what we’re thinking.
See: Any and all campaign finance “reform” laws. There’s a reason those of us who understand these laws - call them Incumbency Protection Acts.
Campaign finance “reform” - is The Swamp insulating itself from We the People. Which is antithetical to the Founders vision - and the Constitution they crafted.
Speaking of The Swamp insulating itself from accountability: Behold the unofficial, unaccountable, unconstitutional Fourth Branch of the government - the administrative state.
The Legislative (Congress) and Executive (the President) Branches have for decades conspired to grow this massive, unelected, unaccountable regulatory Leviathan. To which Congress has continuously ceded more and more of its Constitutional power and authority.
Taking more and more of the government’s lording over us away from the Congress - whom We the People elect…and can un-elect. And handing it over to career statist hive-mind bureaucrats - whom We the People do not elect…and can not un-elect.
Now when the government does something obnoxious, stupid and unconstitutional - and we avail ourselves of our First Amendment right and lobby Congress - they can lamely point at the Fourth Branch bureaucracy and say “It wasn’t us - it was them.”
Lame. So very lame. And tyrannical. And unconstitutional.
In a very lame attempt to ameliorate this obnoxiousness - and in a lamely transparent attempt to make unaccountable bureaucrats appear accountable - the Fourth Branch bureaucracies started having “Comment Periods” before imposing their power grabs.
The process and outcome is nigh always as predictable - as it is stupid.
We don’t pay nearly as much attention to faceless Fourth Branch bureaucracies - as we do the Congress we elect. So their Comment Periods - almost always transpire in vacuum silence.
And no matter how the Comment Period goes - government nigh always grows.
If We the People weigh in and agree with the power grab - the bureaucracy hails the results…and grows the government.
If We the People weigh in and disagree with the power grab - the bureaucracy ignores the results…and grows the government.
The exception to this government growth-Comment Period rule? Enter the deregulatory Donald Trump Administration.
Last week the Congress’ upper chamber - the Senate - held a hearing. In which they alleged to provide oversight to an arm of the Fourth Branch Leviathan - the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
The irony of the Legislative Branch spending decades outsourcing its job to the Fourth Branch - and then the former pretending to check in from time to time on the latter with “oversight” - is lost entirely upon everyone in The Swamp.
The average DC denizen has way too much self-esteem. The average DC denizen has way too little self-awareness.
In said “oversight” hearing, Senate Democrats were very angry about a May 2017 FCC Comment Period - held in advance of the Trump FCC rolling back a massive Barack Obama FCC power grab over the entirety of the Internet. Call that power grab “Net Neutrality - Plus.”
During that Comment Period - the FCC’s website crashed. (Certainly an excellent omen for an agency looking to over-regulate every single website on the planet.)
At the time, an Obama holdover staffer blamed the site crash on a hack.
“‘Beginning on Sunday night at midnight, our analysis reveals that the FCC was subject to multiple distributed denial-of-service attacks,’ read a statement from the FCC’s CIO, David Bray. ‘These were deliberate attempts by external actors to bombard the FCC’s comment system with a high amount of traffic to our commercial cloud host. These actors were not attempting to file comments themselves; rather they made it difficult for legitimate commenters to access and file with the FCC.’”
Again, Bray - was an Obama holdover. Trump FCC Chairman Ajit Pai - fired Bray a month later:
"Bray left the FCC the month after the comments server outage, in June 2017. It’s likely he was fired in connection with the comments debacle.”
So at that point, Pai did all he could to clean up the Obama mess he inherited. You could argue he should have had his own guy in Bray’s place prior to the outage. But once this problem arose - Pai dealt deftly and swiftly with it.
Fifteen months later, Senate Democrats bizarrely tried to turn this Obama mess - into a Trump-Pai mess.
“(Democrat) Senator Ron Wyden recalls that what was coming from the Commission back in May as the cause simply didn’t make sense and he reminded FCC Chairman Ajit Pai of that yesterday. ‘The tech community said that doesn’t make any sense. I said it didn’t make sense.’
“Democratic Senator Brian Schatz from Hawaii also hit Pai hard. ‘You told Congress a federal crime was committed. Why didn’t you entertain any of those quite reasonable doubts that were out there?’
On and on went the Democrats’ public flogging of Pai. Because of course - Democrats never allow facts to get in the way of a good beating:
“Pai stood his ground, telling the Committee his hands were tied. He was told by the Inspector General not to say anything. ‘Once we knew the conclusion, it was hard to stay quiet.’ Pai said he and his staff had to consider whether to ignore the IG’s request for confidentiality and instead honor requests from Congress and the public for more information.”
The Obama holdover lied. Pai found out and fired him.
And then the FCC IG - began his investigation into the Obama holdover’s lie. And the IG asked Pai not to say anything - lest it mess up the IG’s investigation.
And for the fraudulent Senate Democrats - all of this is bizarrely a scandal for…the Trump Administration.
Because Democrats never allow facts to get in the way of a good beating.
And all of this utter nonsense is - in addition to being totally stupid - totally unnecessary.
Because it is all unconstituional.
The Obama Administration’s unelected-Fourth Branch Internet power grab was a power grab - precisely because it was jammed down upon us by the Obama Administration’s unelected-Fourth Branch.
If you want massive government impositions like this imposed upon us, you are supposed to have our elected Congress pass a bill - and our elected President sign it into law.
And our Constitutional Comment Period - is the entirety of the legislative process.
Because, again: Unlike with the bureaucrat Fourth Estate, if we don’t like what Congress and the President do - we can un-elect them.
All of this - and more - is why the bureaucracy Comment Period is so titanically stupid.
This first appeared in Red State.