#PleaseStand, Or Don’t!

An entire season of the “scandal” plagued National Football League has finally come to an end, save for the omega game, Super Bowl LII. As you may recall, the 2017 season was surrounded by controversy that started in the pre-season and blossomed its ugly head for the better part of the rest of the season. Players took a knee, sat, raised fists and/or linked arms during the playing of the Star-Spangled Banner.

President Trump took up the issue on Twitter several times, first condemning the actions, then praising coaches and owners who made policies to support standing during the national anthem.

All the controversy caused NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to respond several times to the issue. Goodell largely stood behind the players and silently supported their protests. He did finally address it with a letter to the NFL owners and teams, but strayed from taking any sort of a stance on the issue.

ESPN obtained following letter that Roger Goodell sent to NFL teams within past 30 minutes: To: Chief Executives/ Club…

Posted by Adam Schefter on Tuesday, October 10, 2017

The media had a hay day with the protests and covered the pre-game festivities more than they covered actual in-game highlights. The hype finally died down and nary a word was heard about it for almost all of the playoffs in January… but that all would soon change.

NBC will be broadcasting Super Bowl LII this year and on January 9th, NBC Super Bowl Executive Fred Gaudelli made it clear that they would be covering any pre-game protests that occur. The NFL has made no official statements regarding any potential protests in the big game, but their actions spoke louder than words with the most recent decision.

The organization “American Veterans” was invited to place an ad in the official Super Bowl LII program, but when the organization submitted their proposal, the NFL took a proverbial knee. See the ad for yourself:

The NFL largely turned their backs to the controversy all season, but now as a veterans organization wants to ask fans to stand up for their country and their veterans, the NFL rings the bell loud and clear. Brian McCarthy, NFL spokesman, said that the Super Bowl program has “never been a place for advertising that could be considered by some as a political statement.”

This statement is interesting because the NFL had a dress code and behavior policy that prohibited players from promoting or advertising one’s own personal views and opinions, but apparently protesting the national anthem isn’t included. These rules prohibited players like Tim Tebow from placing scripture verses on his eye black, but didn’t cover other expressions of speech such as taking a knee. Players are given hefty fines for using the wrong shoes, or writing on their shoes, but sitting during the Star-Spangled Banner is entirely fine.

It is unfortunate that politics and political statements have inserted itself in the middle of a game that so many love, no matter their race, religion, political viewpoints, etc. Football brought people together under one team; democrats joined with republicans to cheer on their teams, but sadly the comradery is at risk of falling apart as more players push a narrative that alienates many of their fans. In fact, over the past 2 years, NFL viewership has declined by several million views when compared to the previous year. Will Super Bowl Sunday bring back the lost viewers?

Because of the NBC statement, players know that they will be given a huge platform on February 4th. What will the players do while Pink sings the national anthem prior to Super Bowl LII? The NFL has already taken away a platform for the Veterans, so only time will tell. NBC stands to lose a good chunk of viewers if they politicize the game on Super Bowl Sunday.

Make Immigration Great

Earlier this week, news hit the airwaves that President Trump had reached a deal with the Democratic leadership in Congress dealing with the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and immigration reform. The President met with leaders from both parties this week and agreed to a plan set out by the Democrats on DACA, much to the chagrin of the Republicans.

As you may recall, President Trump rescinded the executive order from former President Obama, which instituted DACA without the approval of Congress. Many people felt this action to not be inconjunction with the scope of executive orders, but the policy stood until this past month when President Trump rescinded it, with a 6 month waiting period to allow Congress time to pass a bill and do this the right way.

Republican leaders in Congress are outraged that the Republican president would make a deal with Democrats. The problem here is that America has come to a point that compromise and listening to different viewpoints is almost a dirty word. Yes, politics is dirty and messy, but it wasn’t so long ago that you would see this type of compromise all the time between two parties. One party gets one thing that they want, the other party gets something else.

Lately, you haven’t seen compromise in the government. It’s been very one sided to the ruling party. Whether that is a lack of willingness on the ruling party, or a lack of willingness on the minority party, I’ll let you be the judge, but there has not been much compromise as of late.

This is how we make government work… we compromise. The Republicans need to give some concessions to the Democrats on immigration to get their support, but the Democrats need to give concessions to the Republicans as well. This will require some work and some squelching of egos. In the words of the Rolling Stones, “You can’t always get what you want.”

So, what would a bipartisan bill on immigration look like? Well, there have been several bills that have been presented in recent years, most notably in 2013 with the “gang of eight” bill that was drafted by 4 Democrats and 4 Republicans. This bill provided a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants in the US and other safeguards and improvements on the immigration system. It was passed with a supermajority in the Senate, but House Speaker John Boehner refused to take it to the floor of the House and effectively killed the bill at the end of the 113th Congress.

Currently, President Trump wants funding for a wall or fence along the US and Mexico. Democrats want DACA re-instated permanently, along with other policies such as amnesty. Congress and the President must agree to allow some of the Democrats policies into the bill as well as some of the Republicans policies. This is the only way that a good, fair and solid bill would be passed and be able to stand the test of time. The Republicans don’t want to take a page out of the Obama days and force their own immigration reform down everyones throats because as soon as they lose their majority, the Democrats will come knocking to overturn the legislation (think Obamacare).

So, is Trump wrong for meeting with and agreeing to some terms with Democrats? Absolutely not. It’s compromise folks. Jump on board with it and see how this and many other plans can continue to make America great.

The Great Vaccine Debate

As a healthcare professional, the issue of childhood vaccinations is an important issue to me.  In the past decade or so, childhood vaccinations have come under fire from a small group of people, parents, mommy blogs, some alternative healthcare providers, and as of late, by President Trump.

 Today, I want to break down some of the topics involved with vaccines and discuss what exactly is at stake.

What are vaccines, and how do they work?

Vaccines come in several different forms, and each form works in the body differently.  Generally, the vaccines have proteins from a killed, an inactivated, or a weakened live strain of a virus and (sometimes) bacteria, which normally causes significant disease in the general population.  These proteins are suspended in a solution with some preservatives to prevent contamination, stabilizers to keep it potent during transport and storage, and adjuvants to help stimulate a stronger immune response.

When injected into the body, these proteins, or antigens, are recognized by the body’s immune system, which begins to form immunoglobulins against that specific antigen.  It takes the body several days—up to a couple of weeks—to build up a response and create antibodies that recognize the antigens.  The antibodies then signal other cells in the body to begin mounting a response against a certain pathogen.  This is why a flu shot doesn’t immediately provide protection against the flu but, instead, takes a couple weeks to become effective.  If your body has never come in contact with one of the antigens in a bacteria or a virus, there is no way for it to immediately mount up a good fight against that pathogen.

At times, I find it easier to understand by seeing this happen.  TED Ed has made a great 4 minute video explaining this process, so if you are interested, see the link below.

How Do Vaccines Work?

How many pathogens are covered with vaccines?

Currently, there are approximately over 30 different individual viruses and bacteria that are covered by a vaccine with several others currently in research and development.  There is no need to have every single pathogen covered by a vaccine because we have antibiotics to help fight against most of the harmful bacteria, and some viruses are not harmful to the health and wellbeing of humans.

Some of the most common pathogens addressed by vaccines include organisms that cause influenza, meningitis, hepatitis, chickenpox, and pneumonia.  There are many others, but for the sake of time and space, I only chose to mention a few.

Are vaccines effective?

Vaccines have reduced or nearly eliminated many of the bad infectious diseases of the twentieth century.  Individuals with polio are no longer seen on the streets because people were inoculated with the polio vaccine, which enabled their immune system to fight off the virus.  Likewise, except in some rare locations, it is extremely uncommon to find measles.  Such areas of exception are where one might find small sects of people who have chosen not to vaccinate their children, and outbreaks are occurring there currently.  The chart below shows the number of people who suffered from a disease before the vaccine was invented as compared to today.

Source: http://www.immunizeforgood.com/fact-or-fiction/benefits-vs.-risks

Why do I have to get the flu shot every year?

The influenza virus is different than many of the other viruses and bacteria because every year, it undergoes what is called “antigenic drift.”  There are very small mutations, or changes, that occur often in the influenza virus that alter the makeup of the antigens; therefore, the flu shot is not effective from one year to the next.  This mutation process also makes it difficult to predict which strain of the flu will be present each year in the U.S.  Scientists have to analyze the flu seasons from other countries to help them make an educated guess as to which strain might show up here during our flu season, which runs from early fall to spring.  Some years, they guess correctly, and the flu shot is very effective against the virus.  Other years, the strain that is most common in the U.S. is a different strain than what was covered in the flu shot, and it is, therefore, less effective.

Think of the antigenic drift process by envisioning a boat floating in the ocean.  The boat has no sails or motor, but it will slowly drift to a different position over time.  The influenza virus acts like that boat, slowly changing, in no particular direction.  Imagine trying to pinpoint the exact position of that boat on any given day.  This simple analogy provides a better idea of what it is like to match the flu virus strain to the flu shot.

Are vaccines safe?

Vaccines are generally regarded as safe for the majority of Americans.  Typically, vaccines are some of the safest medical products available, but, although small, they do carry some risks.  The most common side effects for most vaccines include soreness around injection site, mild fever, fatigue, muscle/joint pain, and headache.  These side effects are similar to what you would experience at the beginning of an illness, as the body begins to try and fight off the pathogen.

There is a chance that more serious side effects could occur, many of which are related to other pre-existing conditions or illnesses.  For example, many of the vaccinations are grown in a medium with egg proteins to help grown the antigens.  An individual who is allergic to eggs should not receive those particular vaccinations because of the allergy to one of the components.  However, sometimes, a patient might not know he/she is allergic to eggs until after the vaccination is administered, so they could have a more serious reaction than some soreness or fever.

Generally speaking, the more serious side effects are very rare, and most are still manageable with medical interventions.

Do vaccines cause autism?

In a word: no.  There is no scientific proof that vaccines cause autism.  In fact, as the awareness and understanding of autism’s pathological process grows, professionals can see more and more evidence at an earlier time in a child’s growth that signals the development of autism.

The popular belief that the MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) vaccine caused autism was started in the early 90’s by a British doctor, Andrew Wakefield.  He published an article in The Lancet linking the MMR vaccine to the development of autism.  Soon after, it was discovered that his research was highly flawed and fraudulent, so it was retracted.  This article, however, has done irreparable harm to the vaccine reputation that continues to stick with society today.

The most common signs of autism begin to show up around 18-24 months of age and expand rapidly after 24 months.  This was and has been one of the most common rallying cries for the theory that the MMR vaccine causes autism—the first MMR dose is given at 24 months.  Nonetheless, correlation does not equal causation.  Recent studies have shown that autism characteristics and changes can be seen as early as 6 months by professionals using advanced imaging and techniques.  These scientific advances almost completely eliminate the idea that the MMR vaccine given at 24 months would cause autism that is present at or before 6 months of age.

There is much more research and understanding needed concerning the process and pathology of autism, but the scientific evidence is overwhelmingly abundant to proceed with the notion that vaccines do NOT cause autism.

Why do I need to get vaccinated?  I’m OK with taking the risk.

Disease prevention efforts rely on the concept of herd immunity, or community immunity.  The concept is that if a certain percentage of the population is immune to a particular disease, then those who are not immune or cannot be immune will not have to worry about contracting that particular disease.

There are a number of people who, for medical reasons, cannot receive the vaccination.  Some may have an autoimmune disease; some may have an immune system that is incapable of mounting a fight against a pathogen; or some could be allergic to contents of a vaccine.  There are many different reasons that one individual cannot tolerate a vaccine, but herd immunity helps to protect that particular individual from contracting a potentially deadly disease.

While a member of society, in particular, might have a health immune system that could successfully fight off a disease, that person could be a carrier of the pathogen and could be able to transmit it to someone else.  A neighbor’s child might have a disease like leukemia or SCID (Severe Combined Immunodeficiency) and cannot get vaccinations because the child’s immune system will not mount any type of an immune response.  In order to protect people like this, the vaccination rates in the U.S. need to be somewhere between 80-95% of the population.

I got the flu shot, and it gave me the flu.

I have heard this myth often.  The answer is always, no, the vaccine did not cause the flu.  Every flu shot is made up of proteins from the flu virus, but it is not the actual virus.  The virus was killed before it was used to create the antigens contained in the flu shot.  Therefore, when one receives the flu shot and subsequently gets sick with the flu, it is because of two possible reasons:

  1. The flu virus was contracted before or concurrent with the timing of the flu shot, and flu symptom became present before the immunization had time to become effective.
  2. Mild side effects, such a fever, body aches, and fatigue were experienced, but the flu virus itself was never contracted.

Long story short, someone has not and cannot contract the flu virus by receiving the flu shot.

So, what does this all mean?

President Trump has been critical of vaccinations in America.  From what I can tell, it is due to some of the sad stories about children “contracting” autism from the MMR vaccine.  President Trump has spoken out about the terrible effects of autism and that if it is vaccines that are causing it, then he doesn’t think children should be required to be vaccinated.  The problem is, these myths of autism and vaccines have been debunked by the scientific community over and over again.  Scientists and physicians alike need to make their voices heard at the White House so that President Trump is aware of the other side of the argument—the truth.

I do give him credit for planning to establish a counsel at the White House, led by prominent anti-vaxxer Robert J. Kennedy Jr., that is charged with gathering the facts related to the issue at hand.  More than any other president in recent memory, President Trump seems to listen to both sides of the argument and, then, come to a decision based upon the evidence he has seen.  While some may not like the decision he makes, at least he is trying to be well informed on the issues.

I hope that President Trump sees the overwhelming evidence that support routine vaccinations and is able to ignore the mommy blogs and detractors.  This really is a life or death issue.

 

Dr. Jason – Three Patriots

Domestic Terrorism In Washington

Yesterday morning, Republican lawmakers were targeted in an attack while playing softball just outside of Washington, D.C. According to eye witnesses, the assailant (who will remain nameless…more on that below) asked a congressman who was getting in his car, “Is this the Democrats or the Republicans practice?” 3 minutes later, shots rang out. Several members of Congress as well as staff were hurt or wounded, but as of now, all are expected to fully recover.

This man blatantly targeted Republican members of Congress. Interestingly enough, this man also supported and campaigned for Socialist Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primaries until Hillary Clinton won the nomination. He later pushed for Senator Sanders to run on the Green Party ticket because he believed that Hillary was a closet Republican. Review of his social media pages showed that he was an extremely adamant supporter of Bernie Sanders and many of his posts could be read by some as hostile on the verge of violent towards President Trump and the GOP.

Now, obviously Bernie Sanders is not directly implicated in this act of domestic terrorism, but he carries partial blame. Bernie’s rhetoric since election night has been of resisting, taking this to the streets and even going as far as saying that President Trump is “perhaps the worst and most dangerous president in the history of our country.” This kind of rhetoric is dangerous to some of the ears that hear it and interpret it with different intentions. The same went for President Trump, when he was running for the office last year. While the meaning of public official’s words might not intend harm, they need to consider their constituency when choosing their words and phrasing.

In the opening paragraph, I mentioned that I would not use the assailant’s name. I believe this is a good policy that would do well in the mainstream media. While I can’t speak to this individual’s motivation, many people who commit acts of mass terror are in it for their 15 minutes of fame. Whether it is to see their name in the news, or to know they will not quickly be forgotten, many know that it will only be a short while before they become a common household name. For some, this is the ultimate goal because they have been ignored most of their life and feel like they have nothing to contribute anymore. Taking away their inevitable notoriety is a first step towards making them think twice before they commit an act of terror.

Finally, while this wasn’t a known terrorist group like ISIS or the Taliban that committed these acts, this is a case of domestic terrorism. This man committed these acts of violence against his own people of his own country and he directed it to an individual group of people.

The decision makers in the Democratic Party need to tone down their rhetoric because they are inciting way too much violence in this country. Day after day, more and more violence is directed towards the right side of the aisle by those on the left. Groups like Antifa, and other hard left groups are promoting resistance at all costs and this is not being condemned by the Democratic Party. If this trend continues, this will become the new face of the DNC and there will not be any more peace in Washington.

Prayers go out to Congressman Scalise and all those who were injured in the awful attack Wednesday morning.

Jason – Three Patriots

 

 

Trump Was Wrong

  1. In the aftermath of the London Bridge terrorist attack late in the evening on June 3rd, President Trump took to twitter. His tweet at 6:17PM read as:

“We need to be smart, vigilant and tough. We need the courts to give us back our rights. We need the Travel Ban as an extra level of safety!”

While I agree on the content in the text, I believe the President was wrong.

I think that jumping to conclusions immediately after an attack, of any matter is wrong. I have discussed this with people before when a new story about a mass shooting hits the airwaves, many on the left side of the aisle jump as quick as they can to stand on the graves of the dead, to push their own agenda. Trump took a move right out of the liberal left playbook this weekend when he stood on the graves of those killed in London from a terrorist attack to push his executive order agenda.

If you look at a map with the terrorist attacks since 2001 (through 2014), you will see that virtually every country in Europe has had at least 1 terrorist attack in that 14 year period… all but one country. That one country is Poland.

Why does Poland stand out as not having a single terrorist attack? If you pay much attention to world news, you might know that Poland has a very tough policy on immigration and especially on refugee resettlement. After the Brussels attack at the airport, Poland doubled down on their policy and has refused to admit refugees until they can get a system in place to verify them.

Now, obviously, correlation does not necessarily equal causation, but it’s hard to ignore the common denominator here. Poland hasn’t had a terrorist attack in recent memory and Poland has a very limited immigration policy. Those facts can’t be overlooked easily.

All of the immigration and refugee stuff aside, immediately following a tragic event is never the time to use that event to push your own agenda. It was detestable when President Obama stood on the graves of the children at Sandy Hook after a mentally ill man murdered 26 people, all in the name of pushing for more gun control. It is equally detestable for President Trump to stand on the graves of the 7 dead in London after a terrorist attack and use them to push his travel ban or extreme vetting.

There is a time and a place for this type of discussion, but before the dead are even buried is not the time. Maybe the White House would do well to have a personal “Tweeter” for the President who can say… “How about not doing that or saying that right now!” I know there are plenty of lawyers who would appreciate him being a tad more choosey with his tweets.

 

Jason – Three Patriots

Comey Fired

Let’s talk about Comey. If you have been in a box for the last 24 hours or so, you may not have heard that the FBI director, James Comey, has received the loudest “You’re Fired” from President Trump. In a short letter to Director Comey, President Trump stated that he was following the recommendation of the Justice Department to terminate his tenure at the nation’s top law enforcement post.

The announcement was followed with all kinds of reactions from the political world. Some praised the action as a long time coming, while others saw it as a cover up for current FBI investigations.

From what I have seen, the responses from politicians and the media to the ouster, depends largely upon what side of the aisle that your political ideations lay. Most Republicans and the right leaning media have praised the move in the last 24 hours. Most Democrats and the left leaning media have condemned it. The interesting part of all of this is that at one point or another, both groups have been upset with how the FBI has conducted itself over the past year or so.

It was only 6 months ago that the Democrats were up in arms with Director Comey as he sent a letter to Congress announcing that the FBI was reopening it’s investigation into the email scandal that has surrounded Hillary Clinton. Democrats were furious at this announcement because it hurt the candidacy of Secretary Clinton. Mrs. Clinton herself has pointed the finger at the FBI and the Russians as the reason she lost (never mind the fact that she ran the worst presidential campaign in modern history).

Rewind 10 months from today and you will find the Republicans angry with Director Comey as he admitted that Secretary Clinton had mishandled classified information on her private email server, but neglected to recommend charges because he didn’t feel like she intended to violate the law. Republicans argued that the law never allows for intent to be part of the process.

So, over the last year, both Democrat and Republicans have been upset with the FBI Director and many of them have called for his removal from office, at least until the present day, when it actually happened. The Democrats are up in arms now with accusations against the President that he fired Director Comey, because he wants to cover up any connection his campaign had with Russia. The lack of any proof to this allegation notwithstanding, President Trump would have to fire a multitude of FBI agents to have any chance at covering up a collusion or conspiracy.

The FBI Director may have been involved in investigations relating to Russian hacking and election tampering, but he was by no means the only person involved. There would be several layers of agents who would have been leading the investigation, compiling reports and presenting them to the Director. Removing and replacing the Director would not tamper with any ongoing investigations.

What this all boils down to is that a moderately unpopular FBI Director has been relieved from his duties and will be replaced by someone of the Presidents choosing. The next question is “who will that replacement be?” Many have weighed in on the issue with who they think will be the favorite, but a White House spokesperson said today that the replacement will be non-partisan, in hopes to bring back some integrity to the Bureau.

Whoever the new FBI Director ends up being, hopefully they can settle parts of the great divide that continues to separate our nation between the left and right.

 

Jason – Three Patriots

Let’s Get Uncomfortable

The United States (on both sides) has become too complacent with the status quo. You may be saying, “Whoa, wait a minute; where have you been? Don’t you see the changes happening?” Yes, yes I do, and if the American people don’t step up and do something about these changes that challenge our way of life, freedom, and happiness we will lose these liberties. The nation is divided into two factions (I know you feel it too). Half of the nation is actively trying to change the nation while the other half seems to be avoiding confrontation. This has lead us down the wrong road and has caused us to find ourselves in a corner. Due to the lack of confrontation in the past decade, any action taken on the side of freedom is immediately deemed an attack on the new United States. Thus, we are weary of change and more comfortable with maintaining the status quo whether we agree with it or not. I paraphrase Roy T Bennett when I say, “Change begins at the end of your comfort zone.” Our friends on the left have safe spaces and we have comfort zones. Both are detrimental to the American way of life. We must get out of our comfort zones and confront the issues head on. In recent months, I have noticed a push in the right direction (pun intended) and hope to see some continued change or push. Personally, I hope things continue to get more uncomfortable, because that means we’re doing something right! Some of you may not want the nation to change and think that the nation is in a great spot. I beg to differ. We have currently turned our backs on many of the very freedoms and liberties that were given to us by our founding fathers. I can hear it now “No we haven’t!” Yes we have, by letting these changes happen! Trump’s election was accredited to the “silent majority”.  THAT’S US and illustrates my point! We have been silent! We have been comfortable! In the army, I learned to sleep anywhere. I also learned that the best way to avoid falling asleep was to make yourself uncomfortable. It’s time to WAKE UP!

 

Josh –Three Patriots

Powers of Presidents

In my previous post (read it here), we took a journey back to Civics class for a lesson on the powers of the legislative branch of the US government.  Today, I want to continue that series on powers of government, now with focus on the executive branch.  Before I get into all the nuances of the executive branch’s powers, let’s define what the branch actually is.  The head of the executive branch is the President of the United States.  It also includes the Vice President, the Cabinet, and the heads of independent agencies.  In total, this branch employs over 4 million workers (which just shocks me at how large one singe branch of the US government truly is).

Now, moving on to the powers of the executive branch.  Article II of the Constitution sets up the powers given to this branch of government.  It is commonly understood that the executive branch “enforces the laws” made by the legislative branch.  Some of those powers include:

– Commander in Chief of the Army, Navy, and National Guard
– Grant reprieves and pardons
– Make treaties
– Appoint ambassadors, Supreme Court Justices, and others
– Take care that the laws be executed faithfully
– Veto a bill from the legislative branch
– See [3] for a full list

Recently, the term “executive order” has become a common phrase seen in the news media.  This term has been derived from the first section of Article II, where it states: “The executive power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America.”  It is more broadly defined in Section 3 of Article II: “He shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed.”  Neither of these passages explicitly grant executive order power, but it has been widely allowed by the courts and implemented by nearly every President since Abraham Lincoln.

Many argue that almost every president has issued executive orders, but the first numbered executive order came down in 1862 by Abraham Lincoln.  (Side note: the number was assigned in 1907 and did not extend back beyond Lincoln’s presidency.)  The most famous executive order was issued on January 1, 1863, also by President Lincoln – the Emancipation Proclamation, which freed the slaves in every state of the country.

Through almost the end of the 1800s, it was practically unheard of to see a president sign more than 100 executive orders during his tenure.  Theodore Roosevelt changed that precedence when he signed over 1,000 executive orders in the beginning of the 20th century.  Franklin Roosevelt later outnumbered Theodore by signing 3,728 (although this was over 12 years in office).  Since then, no President has signed more than 1,000 executive orders, with all recent presidents signing less than 400.

While the number of executive orders given by presidents has declined in the past several decades, the scope of those orders seems to have increased greatly.  Most of the orders given in the 1700s and 1800s dealt with lowering flags to half-staff or other minor issues.  President Obama’s executive orders have increased the power of his branch of government by enormous margins.  He even went as far as to say,

“We’re not just going to be waiting for legislation, I’ve got a pen and I’ve got a phone… and I can use that pen to sign executive orders and take executive actions and administrative actions.”

He threatened and then followed through with those threats to pass new rules and legislation that, in many people’s eyes, should have been left to the legislative branch of government.

We need to stop here and look at another presidential power—the executive memorandum.  The memorandum carries with it the same power as an executive order, but is not required to be published.  President Obama used a memorandum 644 times, and so far, President Trump has used it 12 times.

A few examples of what many consider to be executive overreach by the Obama administration include: picking which parts of the Affordable Care Act he would implement and enforce, legalizing millions of illegal immigrants (later rejected by the courts), raising minimum wage of federal employees, signing unilateral nuclear treaty with Iran without Senate ratification, unilateral gun control regulations, and many, many more.

In President Trump’s tenure to date, we have seen him sign 23 executive orders (as of April 1, 2017), so he is not shying away from using his pen, as the precedent has been set by his predecessors.  Many of those orders have been used to roll back orders given under President Obama because, unlike laws passed by Congress, executive orders can be repealed with the stroke of the president’s pen.  President Obama did just that with many orders signed by President Bush.  Some have cried foul on President Trump’s orders regarding immigration, travel, the environment, etc., but no one seems to have gotten to the root of the problem here—too much power in one branch of government.  President Obama’s overreach was OK with many in the media and general public because it aligned with their agenda, but President Trump’s overreach is all of a sudden wrong because it does not fit their talking points.

The moral of the story is that government needs to get back to the original process where Congress makes the laws, the president signs the laws, and the courts interpret the laws.  The president should not be making laws and, on the same token, should not be choosing which laws he wants to enforce as part of his constitutional duties.

The problem with putting power back into the appropriate hands is that, once taken, power is hard to regain again.  Congress needs to reclaim their power before the overreach gets more out of hand.  Democrats and Republicans should be worried about the amount of power one individual has taken up himself, no matter the party in office.

Jason – Three Patriots

 

Sources:

[1] https://www.whitehouse.gov/1600/executive-branch

[2] http://study.com/academy/lesson/executive-branch-of-government-definition-responsibilities-power.html

[3] https://www.law.cornell.edu/constitution/articleii

[4] https://archive.org/stream/PresidentialExecutiveOrdersV1#page/n17/mode/1up

[5] https://books.google.com/books?id=wjSieiqLHzoC&pg=PA102#v=onepage&q&f=false

[6] https://www.archives.gov/federal-register/executive-orders

[7] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_United_States_federal_executive_orders

[8] https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2014/12/16/obama-presidential-memoranda-executive-orders/20191805/

[9] http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2017/01/23/obama-executive-orders/

[10] https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/briefing-room/presidential-actions/presidential-memoranda

[11] https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/presidential-actions/presidential-memoranda