Framing the Dialogue

Czar (zar)

Czar us defined as:

“One having great power or authority.”

Synonyms:  autocrat, despot, leader, ruler

Can you use it in a sentance?

“So in effect we have NON-ELECTED officials, who are backed by The White House, who are given the tools and resources to do the bidding of the President and they are accountable to NO ONE! These czar’s don’t have to undergo Senate Confirmation Hearings, they just get appointed.”

What does Charles Krauthammer think?

“More czars than you find at a Romanov wedding.  What I don’t understand is why you want to call anybody a “czar.” The czars had a sorry history of success and achievement.”

The use of the title of “czar” in a presidential administration seems to be traced back to Ronaldus Maximus (Ronald Reagan) and the “drug czar.”  As often happens in Washington politics, a good idea “tips” and becomes the norm whether it remains a good idea or not.  The Obama Administration has put the “czar” position on steroids.  It is actually very hard to count how many “czars” are operating withing our government.

The position seems to be extra-Constitutional as these folks seem to have vast powers, yet have not undergone serious Senate Hearings on their positions.  I wonder why Congress has not questioned this seeming usurpation of power by the Executive Branch.  Within each “czar’s” domain, they seem to have even more power than cabinet members. 

It would also be interested to know how much the “czars” (and their staff) are costing the U.S. taxpayers.  These “czars” cannot be cheap as they are experts in their fields…or are they?  Here is the best list of our beloved “czars” (with music if you prefer):

Carole Browner – Energy Czar:  Ms. Browner was the US Environmental Protection Agency administrator in the Clinton Administration so she certainly has a background in environmental regulation and control.  What you may not have known is that just prior to her appointment as a “czar” she was a “leader” of a group aligned with Socialist International.  One of the goals of this organization is to create global governance and for rich countries to shrink their economies to stem climate change.  You know that global warming stuff that has given us a decade of cooling and the 2009 summer that wasn’t.

Herb Allison – Bank Bailout Czar (TARP):  Mr. Allison spent much of his career with Merrill Lynch and has recently been at the helm of troubled Fannie Mae.  Allison took over Fannie Mae after the bottom fell out of the housing market (thank you Barney Frank).  The White House had a difficult time finding someone to take this position after the first candidate (Frank Brosens) withdrew his name for personal reasons.  No word on whether Mr. Allison will be able to find the billions of dollars that seemed to disappear from the TARP program.   I would also like to know the story behind the U.S. government forcing banks to take TARP money even though they did not need it.  In all fairness, this was reported to have happened under the Bush Administration.

Cass Sunstein – Regulatory Czar:  Mr. Sunstein has been described as a “thinker” (translation – smarter than you or me) who will probably anger both the left and the right with his even-handed control of regulations.  He shares a trait with his boss as he also wrote and autobiography and he wrote his when he was still in his twenties.  The trouble with Cass is that he seems to be in favor of increased regulation on many issues.  Some of the most disturbing are his views on increasing regulations on the Internet and blogging in particular.  He is for holding hosting sites responsible for content on blogs and wants to make it easier for libel lawsuits to be files.  As if excessive litigation is not a problem in this country he is also credited for wanting animals to be able to sue.

Daniel Fried – Guantanamo Czar:  This position puts Mr. Fried in the driver’s seat to bring all of those nice jihadists to the United States (excluding those who have already been sent on a Carribean vacation).  Fried is a career diplomat and will have the pleasure of “persuading” our allies to take back some of the estimated 240 detainees currently housed at Guantanamo.  I would presume that he has to get assurances from these countries that they will treat the prisoners fairly and we will probably have to give them a boat load of money for their trouble.  He probably could get this task done fairly quickly if he would just contact the Iranians.  A word to Daniel; the clock is ticking as your boss committed to closing Guantanamo within the first year and seven months are almost gone.  See Dan run!

Ed Montgomery – Car Czar:  Mr. Montgomery replaced Steve Rattner who resigned suddenly and appears to be facing some hints that he used questionable tactics to get pension fund money for his firm to manage.  That is enough about Steve.  As I read Mr. Montgomery’s biography I was impressed that he was the dean of the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences at the University of Maryland.  Montgomery is described as an economist and has worked for President Clinton.  There was no mention of any experience regarding the auto industry.  His only qualification may be that he worked at the University of Michigan.  The word on the street is that he bought a car once.  Maybe he came up with the whole Cash For Cars program although as an economist he surely would see the problems with that program.

Todd Stern – Climate Czar:  Here is more of that Hope and Change as we have another Clinton person.  Mr. Stern has been credited with negotiating the Kyoto Protocol for the United States.  You know that treaty that Bill Clinton would not even sign.  That treaty that would severely restrict our ability to manufacture, but skillfully allowed the worst polluters (China and India) to continue unimpeded.  That treaty that other nations are abandoning.  That treatey where none of the milestones have been met.  Mr. Stern was a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress.  Progressive in the sense of socialist, spreading the wealth progressive, not America the world leader progressive.  Progressive is the new “PC” term for socialist…allegedly (I don’t want Cass on my %&*).

Vivek Kundra – Information Czar:  Mr. Kundra will work for the President in a newly created position.  He will oversee all technology purchases for the federal government and is tasked to make government use of technology more efficient.  I love this part of the job description, “He also will be responsible for making sure agencies’ networks and systems work together and share information while maintaining security and privacy standards.”  Oh and do not forget this, “Kundra will have budgetary authority to launch entirely new systems within government departments, or kill existing multimillion-dollar IT projects.”  If you have ever been involved with a company or organization that embarks on a program to improve its IT systems you will probably cringe at the thought of trying to integrate the federal government.  In all fairness, Mr. Kundra seems to be a good fit.  No word on whether he has “souped up” Obama’s Blackberry yet.

Van Jones – Green Jobs Czar:  My first concern about Mr. Jones is that he was named by Time Magazine as one of the 2008 Environmental Heroes.  I didn’t know that Time was still published and “hero” is a lot to live up to.  Jones admitted that he was a communist, but somehow became “reformed.”  Maybe he reformed like when Tim Geithner paid his taxes right before getting the Treasury position?  A recent quote contained this little gem proving that he has reformed, “We want an equal share, an equitable share, of the work wealth and the benefits of the transition to a green economy.”   That sounds a lot like wealth spreading not work spreading to me.   An article laughed at the thought of putting a self-described Communist in charge of creating jobs.  I beg to differ, Communists created jobs, they just forgot about the wealth part.  Hopefully he will read the report released by Spain where they tried the Green Job thing and found that for every Green Job created over two regular jobs were lost.  I guess his title is Green Jobs Czar and as long as he creates green jobs, the regular jobs be damned!

John Holdren – Science Czar:  It is wonderful to be finally out from under the suppression of George W. Bush and the GOP who, we all know, suppressed science in favor of religion.  America under Obama’s minions promises to be an age of enlightenment as embodied by his pick for science czar.  Mr. Holdren has been involved in the environmental movement for many years starting with a teaching stint at the University of California at Berkeley.  Holdren wrote a book, Ecoscience – Population, Resources, Environment that contained the following gems:

“Indeed, it has been concluded that compulsory population-control laws, even including laws requiring compulsory abortion, could be sustained under the existing Constitution if the population crisis became sufficiently severe to endanger the society.”

 “One way to carry out this disapproval might be to insist that all illegitimate babies be put up for adoption—especially those born to minors, who generally are not capable of caring properly for a child alone. If a single mother really wished to keep her baby, she might be obliged to go through adoption proceedings and demonstrate her ability to support and care for it. Adoption proceedings probably should remain more difficult for single people than for married couples, in recognition of the relative difficulty of raising children alone. It would even be possible to require pregnant single women to marry or have abortions”  and finally…

“If some individuals contribute to general social deterioration by overproducing children, and if the need is compelling, they can be required by law to exercise reproductive responsibility—just as they can be required to exercise responsibility in their resource-consumption patterns.”

 I am sure that this is all just an intellectual exercise and are not really his views.

Kenneth Feinberg – Pay Czar:  This position should SCARE the heck out of you!  Playing on a natural jealosy of those who have more than us, the left (Obama) demonize the “rich” and promise fairness.  The slippery slope starts with a pay czar who will oversee the compensation of executives of companies that took federal bailout money.  How long do you think it will take to expand to the lower level employees of that company to determine what is their proper compensation?  How long do you think it will take to expand that role to companies that do business with the federal government?  How long do you think it will take to expand to determining what you should be paid?  No these folks are not socialists!

Earl Devaney – Stimulus Accountability Czar:  I guess since the government is throwing so much of our money around we need a separate czar for TARP and STIMULUS.  The appointment of Earl Devaney is puzzling as he seems to be perfect for the job.  Experience in policing government, no links to Ivy League education, a real gem.  Devaney is focused on “crime prevention, not crime detection.”  I guess if we cannot stop the Obama Administration from spending us into oblivion, we may as well have someone like Earl Devaney watching our back.  He seems like a good fit.  Good Luck Mr. Devaney.

Nance-Ann DeParle – Health Czar:  Another Clinton insider, Nancy-Ann DeParle has a long resume in the health fields.  Most recently, she was the managing director of CCMP Capital, an investment firm that invests in “healthcare infrastructure” according to their website.  She also sits on boards of several corporations such as Medco Health, Boston Scientific, and Cerner.  It is reported that she earned around $5.8 million over the last three years working for these companies.  Doesn’t that make her one of the “rich?”  Some might question her affiliations with these institutions as a potential conflict of interest.  It is interesting that with the minute-by-minute news cycle that has been all health care reform all of the time, we have not seen Ms. DeParle out in the public pushing Obamacare?  Isn’t this her fight?  I have to ask myself “What is she working on that is more important than saving health care?

Aneesh Chopra – Technology Czar:  I am somewhat confused about the difference between the Information (technology) Czar and the Technology Czar.  The selection of Mr. Chopra seems to be another home run for the Obama Administration as the nation’s first chief technology officer.  He essentially filled hte same position recently for the state of Virginia.  A concern about Mr. Chopra is that he is not an engineer by training and has been described as a “policy wonk.”  I have a basic, primal distrust of policy wonks.  There is the Ivy League link as he received a master’s degree in Public Policy from Harvard.   He also has been involved in health care issues.  He looks like a nice fit, but may be one to watch!

Adolfo Carrion, Jr. – Urban Affairs Czar:  In the interest of what is really important, we need look past the questions about some of the construction at his home and let the authorities probe possible crimes.  Maybe Tony Rezko “bought” the land next to Mr. Carrion’s home also or maybe he got a good mortgage rate like Senator Dodd.  Nothing was mentioned in his bio about being a community organizer or any Ivy League connection.  I have not been able to find what exactly an Urban Affairs Czar will do, but I can guess what some of the terms that will require frequent use by his office; justice, fair share, affordable, entitlement (oops, they won’t use that one), reform,  and my favorite…environmental justice.  I live in the suburbs and am still waiting for a Suburban Czar as I am sure that my rural neighbors are anxiously awaiting the appointment of their Rural Czar.  I think that we will wait a long time as rural and suburban folks tend to be capitalists and do not vote the right way to secure their own czar.

Alan Bersin – Border Czar:  Mr. Bersin is another Clinton insider as he worked for then Attorney General Janet Reno.  Once again, I have to grudgingly acknowledge what seems to be a good choice.  As a federal prosecutor who led the fight against illegal immigration along the California (San Diego) and Mexican border.  He is credited with participating in the very successful “Operation Gatekeeper” to squash illegal entry into the United States.  I found a humorous criticism of this program; “At the time, Hispanic groups decried the appointment and said Operation Gatekeeper caused a steep increase in deaths by forcing immigrants to attempt treacherous mountain and desert crossings into the United States.”  We know that Americans overwhelmingly favor increase border control and security, all Mr. Bersin has to do is to get our elected officials to follow through on promises.  We have been waiting for many many years.  Let’s wish him success.

Whew.  That is by far my longest post…sorry.  I have a lot more czars to highlight, but at a later time.  As always, Thanks for reading, tell your friends about the site.

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