Thursday, August 13, 2009

Concentrating Concentrating Power in The White House: The CZARS of America

From what I could gather there are NOW 45 CZARS in America with more in the planning stage (see below).

1. Afghanistan-Pakistan (Af-Pak) czar, Richard Holbrooke
2. AIDS czar, Jeffrey Crowley [openly gay white man]
3. Auto recovery czar, Ed Montgomery
4. Behavioral science czar, position not yet filled
5. Bailout czar, Herbert Allison Jr., [replaced Bush bailout czar Neel Kashkari, Assistant
6. Secretary of the Treasury for Financial Stability confirmed by Senate]
7. Border czar, Alan Bersin
8. Car czar, Ron Bloom [Counselor to the Secretary of the Treasury , under Senate oversight]
9. Climate change czar, Todd Stern
10. Copyright czar, not appointed yet
11. Counterterrorism czar, John Brennan
12.Cybersecurity czar, position will be vacant on August 21st [upon the departure of Melissa Hathaway]
13. Disinformation czar, Linda Douglass [This is a new media buzz since our earlier list, a response by pundits to the White House request for informants: see Glenn Beck and Lew Rockwell]
14. Domestic violence czar, Lynn Rosenthal
15. Drug czar, Gil Kerlikowske
16. Economic czar, Larry Summers
17. Economic czar number two, Paul Volcker
18. Education czar, Arne Duncan
19. Energy czar, Carol Browner
20. Food czar, Michael Taylor [a former Monsanto executive, or, the fox in charge of the henhouse]
21. Government performance czar, Jeffrey Zients
22. Great Lakes czar, Cameron Davis
23. Green jobs czar, Van Jones [who has a communist background]
24. Guantanamo closure czar, Daniel Fried
25. Health czar, Nancy-Ann DeParle
26. Infotech czar, Vivek Kundra [Shoplifted four shirts, worth $33.50 each, from J.C. Penney in 1996 (source). His last day in DC government was March 4 but on March 12 the FBI raided his office and arrested two staffers.]
27. Intelligence czar, Dennis Blair [Director of National Intelligence, a Senate confirmed position. He is a retired United States Navy four-star admiral]
28. Latin-American czar, Arturo Valenzuela (nominee) [although this post is referred to as a czar, he is nominatied to be Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs and so is subject to Senate confirmation. Voting on his confirmation was delayed to clarify his position on Honduras. Watch WaPo’s Head Count to track status of confirmation.]
29. Mideast peace czar, George Mitchell
30. Mideast policy czar, Dennis Ross
31. Pay czar, Kenneth Feinberg
32. Regulatory czar, Cass Sunstein
33. Religion czar, aka God czar Joshua DuBois
34. Safe schools czar, Kevin Jennings [appointed to be Assistant Deputy Secretary of the Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools, a newly created post (that does not require Senate confirmation); openly gay founder of an organization dedicated to promoting pro-homosexual clubs and curricula in public schools]
35. Science czar, John Holdren
36. Stimulus oversight czar, Earl Devaney
37. Sudan czar, J. Scott Gration
38. TARP czar, Elizabeth Warren [chair of the [Congressional Oversight Panel for the Trouble Assets Relief Program; note that Herb Allison is frequently called the TARP czar]
39. Technology czar, Aneesh Chopra
40. Trade czar, Ron Kirk
41. Urban affairs czar, Adolfo Carrion
42. War czar, Douglas Lute [retained from Bush administration, married to Jane Holl Lute, currently a Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security]
43. Water czar, David J. Hayes [a Deputy Interior Secretary and therefore subject to Senate oversight]
44. Weapons czar, Ashton Carter [actually Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics and so subject to Senate confirmation]
45. Weapons of mass destruction czar, Gary Samore

Positions being planned:
Income redistribution czar
Land-use czar
Mortgage czar, formally “consumer financial protection czar” (source)
Radio-internet fairness czar
Student loan czar, to oversee a program of mandatory service in return for college money (source)
Voter list czar
Zoning czar

Obama has moved swiftly to concentrate power in the White House, bypassing the review of our elected representatives in Congress in most of the posts listed above. Even though cabinet positions are part of the executive branch, the cabinet secretaries must be approved by Congress, they are funded by Congress, and they can be called before Congress to testify. Most of these czars, on the other hand, are appointed by Obama at his sole discretion, and are answerable only to him. If subpoenaed by Congress, they can claim executive privilege. (Frontpage.American

Even Senator Byrd is worried about this concentration of power in the person of Obama.

Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.), who for decades has battled White House power and championed congressional clout, is questioning President Obama's appointment of "czars" to oversee key policy areas, including energy and climate.

"The rapid and easy accumulation of power by White House staff can threaten the Constitutional system of checks and balances," Byrd wrote in a letter to Obama. "At the worst, White House staff have taken direction and control of programmatic areas that are the statutory responsibility of Senate-confirmed officials."

Byrd specifically cited the creation of a new White House Office of Energy and Climate Change, which is headed by Carol Browner. He also noted new offices for health reform and urban affairs policy and the appointment of White House staff to coordinate on technology and management performance policies.

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