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  1. 26 Aug '10 21:10 / 5 edits
    I was listening to Glenn Beck today and I heard Glenn say that Cass Sustein in the most "dangerous" man in Washington at this time. Cass was the object of discussion because Glenn charges that Sustein is in the process of banning lead based ammo in the name of saving the environment via the EPA. The accusation is that if the EPA makes such a ban nationwide, ammo will become so expensive that most will forgo owning any. In effect, it would be a back door process of limiting the right to bear arms without ever addressing the issue of banning weapons. This would be preferable to attacking the Constitutional right to bear arms which is protected by the Second Amendment. In short, you would still be able to own a gun, but probably not afford to use it. The great part is that neither Congress of the President would get fingered so as to be blamed, rather, it would be a group of unelected bureaucrats who will be blamed who work for the EPA. At least, that is the spin those on the right are giving the issue.

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    That aside, I decided to do a little digging into the man named Cass Sunstein.


    He is an American legal scholar, particularly in the fields of constitutional law, administrative law, environmental law, and behavioral economics. He currently is the Administrator of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs in the Obama Administration. He is currently on leave as a professor of law.

    In 2008 Cass joined the faculty of Harvard Law School and began serving as the director of its program on Risk Regulation. He writes, "The Program on Risk Regulation will focus on how law and policy deal with the central hazards of the 21rst century. Anticipated areas of study include terrorism, climate change, occupational safety, infectious disseases, natural disasters, and other low-probability, hight consequence events. Sustein plans to rely on significant student involvement in the work of this new program."

    In his research on risk regulation, Cass is known for developing the concept of availability cascades, wherein popular discussion of an idea is self-feeding and causes individuals to overweight its importance. In addition, he has written about 20 some books from his research, so to get a better look at the man Cass Sustein it would behoove us to study these works.

    Sunstein's 2004 book, "The Second Bill of Rights: FDR's Unfinished Revolution and Why We Need It More than Ever", advocates the Second Bill of Rights proposed by FDR. Among these rights are a right to an education, a right to a home, a right to health care, and a right to protection against monopolies. In his book, "Republic", Cass argues that the Internet may weaken democracy because it allows citizens to isolate themselves within groups that share their own views and experiences, and thus cut themselves off from any information that might challenge their beliefs, a phenomenon known as cyberbalkanization. He is a known advocate of the "Fairness Doctrine".

    Sunstein's confirmation had been long blocked because of controversy over allegations about his political and adademic views. On 9/29/09, the Senate voted for cloture of Sunstein's nomination as Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Office of Managemnt and Budget. The motion passed in a 63-35 vote and he was confirmed.

    In terms of his legal philosophy, Sunstein is a proponent of judicial minimalism, arguing that judges should focus primarily on deciding the case at hand, and avoid making sweeping changes to the law or decisions that have broad-reaching efects. Some veiw Cass as a liberal, however, others despute this because he supported "W"'s judicial nominations McConnell and Roberts. Also he provided strong theoretical support for the death penalty. He also believes that the interpretation of federal law should be made not by judges but by the beliefs and commitments of the US president and those around him. According to Cass, "There is no reason to believe that in the face of statutory ambiguity, the meaning of federal law be settled by the inclinations and predispositions of federal judges. The outcomes should instead depend on the commitments and beliefs of the President and those who operate under him," argued Sunstein.

    In 2002, at the height of controversy over "W"'s creation of military commissions without Congressional approval, Sunstein stepped forward to insist that under existing law, President Bush has the legal authority to use military commission and that President Bush's choice stands on firm legal ground. Sustein scorned as ludicrous the argument from Law Professor George Fletcher that the Supreme Court would find Bush's military commissions without any legal basis. However, four years later--in its Hamdan ruling-- the Supreme Court held that Bush lacked the legal authority to create militray commissions without approval from Congress. So adding to Susteins controversy, what he had been proported to be ludricrous the Supreme Court upheld.

    As for the First Amendment, he wrote the book, "Democracy and the Problem of Free Speech." In it, Cass says there is a need to "reformulate" First Amendment law. He thinks that the current formulation, based on Justice Holmes' conception of free speech as a marketplace "disserves the aspirations of those who wrote America's founding document." The purpose of this reformulation would be to "reinvigorate processes of democratic deliberation, by ensuring greater attention to public issues and greater diversity of views." He is concerned by the present "situation in which like-minded people speak or listen mostly to one another." and thinks in "light of astonishing economic and technological changes, we must doubt whether, as interpreted, the constitutional guarantee of free speech is adequately serving domestic goals" He proposes a "New Deal for speech that would draw on Justice Brandeis' insistence on the role of free speech in promoting political deliberation and citizenship."

    Free speech in terms of conspiracy theories and such may not be adequatly stopped by the new "reformulation" of the First Amendment. So Sustein has proposed a solution in his book, "Conspiracy Theories". He writes, "The existence of both domestic and foreign conspiracy theories, we suggest, is no trivial matter, posing real risks to the government's antiterrorism policies, whatever the latter may be." He then says, 'the best response consists in cognitive infiltration of extremist groups." Also, "Government agents (and their allies) might enter chat rooms, online social networks, or even real-space groups and attempt to undermine percolating conspiracy theories by raising doubts about their factual premises, causal logic or implications for political action." Sustein also analyzed the practice of secret government payments to outside commentators, who are then held out as independent experts; they suggest that "government can supply these independent experts with information and perhaps prod them into action from behind the scenes," further warning that "too close a connection will be self-defeating if it is exposed." Sunstein aruges that the practice of enlisting non-governmental officials, "might ensure that credible independent experts offer the rebuttal, rather than government officials themselves. The price of credibility is that government cannot be seen to control the independent experts." This position has been criticized by some experts." This position has been criticized by some commentators, who agrue that it would violate prohibitions on government propoganda aimed at domestic citizens."


    In regard to taxation, Sustein argues that, "We should celebrate tax day". He argues that without taxes, there would be no liberty. Without taxes there would be no property. Without taxes, few of us would have any assets worth defending adding that there is no liberty without dependency. Sustein goes on to say, "If government could not intervene effectively, none of the individual rights to which Americans have become accustomed could be reliably protected. This is why the overused distinction between "negative" and "positive" rights makes little sense. Rights to private property, freedom of speech, immunity from police abuse, contractual liberty and free exercise of religion -- just as much as rights to Social Security, Medicare and food stamps -- are taxpayer-funded and government-managed social services designed to improve collective and individual well-being.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cass_Sunstein

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    As for my own views, the most troubling aspect to this mans philosophy is his blatant disregard to the checks and balances within the Republic. He consistantly sides with the power of the Executive Branch whether there be a Republican or Democrat in the Oval Office over both the Legislative Branch and/or Judicial Branch. In addtion, he is now in the position of effecting legislative policy without the Constitutional process of passing laws via regulation. He also seems to view the Constitution as more of an obstacle that needs to be "revised" than he does a road block to government power.

    Ok, now all of you Cass Sustein payed (under the table) government propogandists are free to engage and try to discredit Whodey once again!!


  2. 26 Aug '10 21:31
    Originally posted by whodey
    I was listening to Glenn Beck today and I heard Glenn say that Cass Sustein in the most "dangerous" man in Washington at this time. Cass was the object of discussion because Glenn charges that Sustein is in the process of banning lead based ammo in the name of saving the environment via the EPA. The accusation is that if the EPA makes such a ban nationwide, ...[text shortened]... odey once again!!


    Ok, now all of you Cass Sustein payed (under the table) government propogandists are free to engage and try to discredit Whodey once again!!

    every time you post something like this that you heard from Glenn Beck, FMF or No1 or someone else quickly debunks the OP, and usually does so rather effectively.

    just for fun -- why not pretend to be FMF or No1 and predict what their response will be, and beat them to the punch?
  3. Donation bbarr
    Chief Justice
    26 Aug '10 21:36 / 1 edit
    According to Cass, "There is no reason to believe that in the face of statutory ambiguity, the meaning of federal law be settled by the inclinations and predispositions of federal judges. The outcomes should instead depend on the commitments and beliefs of the President and those who operate under him," argued Sunstein.

    This is from a piece in the Yale Law Journal (though, bizarrely, it is not cited in the Wikipedia page). Have you read the piece? I'm interested in hearing what you think of Sunstein's argument for his claim above. You can find it on the bottom of page 2583.
  4. 26 Aug '10 21:55 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by Melanerpes
    [b]Ok, now all of you Cass Sustein payed (under the table) government propogandists are free to engage and try to discredit Whodey once again!!

    every time you post something like this that you heard from Glenn Beck, FMF or No1 or someone else quickly debunks the OP, and usually does so rather effectively.

    just for fun -- why not pretend to be FMF or No1 and predict what their response will be, and beat them to the punch?[/b]
    Whodey is a known liar. He has repeatidly posted untruths and is no longer worth wating my time discussing anything with him.

    How's that?
  5. 26 Aug '10 21:58
    Originally posted by bbarr
    [b]According to Cass, "There is no reason to believe that in the face of statutory ambiguity, the meaning of federal law be settled by the inclinations and predispositions of federal judges. The outcomes should instead depend on the commitments and beliefs of the President and those who operate under him," argued Sunstein.

    This is from a piece in the Y ...[text shortened]... ink of Sunstein's argument for his claim above. You can find it on the bottom of page 2583.[/b]
    I quoted it from Wiki. I do realize that nothing on wiki is gospel so free to refute anything in the article.

    As for its meaning, I interpret this as an attempt to limit the courts role in interpreting the constitutionality of federal law and instead defer to the Executive branch on the matter.
  6. 26 Aug '10 22:06
    "Cass Sunstein wrote a paper in 2008 advocating thought and speech control titled Conspiracy Theories: Causes and Cures. In it, Sunstein recommends a number of bizarre ways in which the government could "ban conspiracy theories.

    Some "conspiracy theories" recommended for ban by Sunstein include:

    "The theory of global warming is a deliberate fraud."
    "The view that the Central Intelligence Agency was responsible for the assassination of President John F. Kennedy."
    "The 1996 crash of TWA flight 800 was caused by a U.S. military missile."
    "The Trilateral Commission is responsible for important movements of the international economy."
    "That Martin Luther King Jr. was killed by federal agents."
    "The moon landing was staged and never actually occurred."
    Sunstein allowed that "some conspiracy theories, under our definition, have turned out to be true."

    "Sunstein cited as a primary example of "absurd" and "hateful" remarks, reports by "right-wing websites" alleging an association between President Obama and Weatherman terrorist William Ayers."



    Sunstein's article, published in the Journal of Political Philosphy in 2008 and recently uncovered by blogger Marc Estrin, states that "our primary claim is that conspiracy theories typically stem not from irrationality or mental illness of any kind but from a 'crippled epistemology,' in the form of a sharply limited number of (relevant) informational sources."

    Sunstein "wants to hold blogs and web hosting services accountable for the remarks of commenters on websites while altering libel laws to make it easier to sue for spreading 'rumors,'" wrote Ed Lasky at American Thinker.

    http://the-classic-liberal.com/cass-sunstein-conspiracy-theory-introduction/
  7. Donation bbarr
    Chief Justice
    26 Aug '10 22:08
    Originally posted by whodey
    I quoted it from Wiki. I do realize that nothing on wiki is gospel so free to refute anything in the article.

    As for its meaning, I interpret this as an attempt to limit the courts role in interpreting the constitutionality of federal law and instead defer to the Executive branch on the matter.
    Yes, you understand English. But I am not asking you to regurgitate what Sunstein said in the quote. I am asking you about the arguments he gives for this claim in the Yale Law Review. I am assuming that the fact you've posted about Sunstein indicates you're actually interested in understanding his views. You can't understand his views without understanding why he holds them. So, go and read the article here...

    http://www.yalelawjournal.org/pdf/115-9/Sunstein.pdf

    ... and then assess Sunstein's reasoning. Or, alternatively, you can admit you really don't know a damn thing about Sunstein (despite your exhaustive digging), and that your post is just a naive attempt at a hit job on a well-respected legal scholar.
  8. 26 Aug '10 22:23 / 2 edits
    Originally posted by whodey
    Whodey is a known liar. He has repeatidly posted untruths and is no longer worth wating my time discussing anything with him.

    How's that?
    yes - FMF and No1 have made these types of statements.

    But I'm thinking about when they make specific arguments that effectively debunk the OP.

    The OP features Beck's claim that Cass Sunnstein is deliberately plotting to make it practically impossible for anyone to be able to own ammo. My challenge to you is to debunk this claim yourself before No1 or someone else does it first.
  9. Donation bbarr
    Chief Justice
    26 Aug '10 22:35
    Originally posted by utherpendragon
    "Cass Sunstein wrote a paper in 2008 advocating thought and speech control titled [b]Conspiracy Theories: Causes and Cures. In it, Sunstein recommends a number of bizarre ways in which the government could "ban conspiracy theories.

    Some "conspiracy theories" recommended for ban by Sunstein include:

    "The theory of global warming is a delibera ...[text shortened]... sic-liberal.com/cass-sunstein-conspiracy-theory-introduction/[/b]
    I read the article in JPP, and Sunstein did not advocate either thought control, speech control, or banning of conspiracy theories or the groups that advocate those theories. Have you read the article?
  10. Subscriber no1marauder
    It's Nice to Be Nice
    26 Aug '10 22:55 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by bbarr
    Yes, you understand English. But I am not asking you to regurgitate what Sunstein said in the quote. I am asking you about the arguments he gives for this claim in the Yale Law Review. I am assuming that the fact you've posted about Sunstein indicates you're actually interested in understanding his views. You can't understand his views without understandin and that your post is just a naive attempt at a hit job on a well-respected legal scholar.
    I've quickly looked over the relevant passages though I don't have time right now to finish (out and about).

    Sunstein's analysis seems like something conservatives would embrace as it severely limits the scope of judicial oversight of executive interpretations of statutory language (aren't they always complaining about judges' "making law"?). Of course, presently the Executive Department is in the hands of "liberals", so right wingers have turned on a dime on this philosophy.

    Personally, I'm dubious of the idea that statutory interpretation of laws passed by Congress should be deferential to political decision-makers so that it is openly admitted that the law is A) Under the "liberals" and B) Under the "conservatives" despite the language of the statute remaining the same. I much prefer the judiciary branch to definitively say what the law is and don't find Sunstein's reasons for extreme deference to Executive branch determinations of statutory meaning as persuasive.
  11. 26 Aug '10 23:11
    Originally posted by bbarr
    I read the article in JPP, and Sunstein did not advocate either thought control, speech control, or banning of conspiracy theories or the groups that advocate those theories. Have you read the article?
    Yes I have.
    Section 2 Governmental responses. Maybe you missed that part.
  12. 26 Aug '10 23:20
    Originally posted by Melanerpes
    yes - FMF and No1 have made these types of statements.

    But I'm thinking about when they make specific arguments that effectively debunk the OP.

    The OP features Beck's claim that Cass Sunnstein is deliberately plotting to make it practically impossible for anyone to be able to own ammo. My challenge to you is to debunk this claim yourself before No1 or someone else does it first.
    The EPA is trying to ban lead bullets. Bullets other than that are called armor piercing as far as I know. You do the math from there.
    Cass is the "regulatory czar" does he control regulations by the EPA?
    Thats a serious question for anyone who knows the answer.
    I don't know for sure.
  13. Donation bbarr
    Chief Justice
    26 Aug '10 23:28
    Originally posted by no1marauder
    I've quickly looked over the relevant passages though I don't have time right now to finish (out and about).

    Sunstein's analysis seems like something conservatives would embrace as it severely limits the scope of judicial oversight of executive interpretations of statutory language (aren't they always complaining about judges' "making la ...[text shortened]... deference to Executive branch determinations of statutory meaning as persuasive.
    I agree. I just prefer an actual discussion of these issues to an uninformed broadside. Sunstein claims in the article that the best solution to issues of legal interpretation is for legislators to pass less ambiguous laws. But, Sunstein claims, when issues of legal interpretation arise, they often seem to be interpreted by judges who split on ideological lines. So, if it is a fact that legal interpretation is often ideological, and does not generally proceed via the dispassionate and impartial application of clearly understood norms and precedents, then what are we to do? He argues that it is more democratic for laws to be interpreted by those who are most accountable to citizens. The judiciary tends to be insulated from the citizenry, in order to allow them to interpret the law as best they can without fear of reprisal. The executive branch, however, faces the judgment of the electorate.
  14. Subscriber AThousandYoung
    Poor Filipov :,(
    26 Aug '10 23:34
    Originally posted by whodey
    Ok, now all of you Cass Sustein payed (under the table) government propogandists are free to engage and try to discredit Whodey once again!!


    Curses, foiled again!
  15. Subscriber AThousandYoung
    Poor Filipov :,(
    26 Aug '10 23:38
    Originally posted by utherpendragon
    The EPA is trying to ban lead bullets. Bullets other than that are called armor piercing as far as I know. You do the math from there.
    Cass is the "regulatory czar" does he control regulations by the EPA?
    Thats a serious question for anyone who knows the answer.
    I don't know for sure.
    Hasn't pretty much everyone abandoned lead bullets by now? Except US civilians.