Wednesday 25th November 2015

Home » Frontpage » Currently Reading:

Why Congress Is Held In Contempt

January 23, 2014 Frontpage No Comments


“I’ve got a pen,” said President Obama recently.
“I can use that pen to sign executive orders and take executive actions . . . that move the ball forward.”
“When I can act on my own without Congress, I’m going to do so,” the president added on January 15 at North Carolina State.
Thus did Obama signal that he will bypass Congress and use his executive powers to advance his agenda of national transformation.
This dismissal of Congress has gone almost unprotested. In an earlier age it might have evoked talk of impeachment. But not now.
For though Congress may be the first branch of government in the Constitution, with the longest list of enumerated powers in Article 1, its eclipse has been extraordinary.
Congressional powers have eroded or been surrendered. The esteem in which Congress is now held calls to mind Emily Dickinson: “It dropped so low in my regard/ I heard it hit the ground.”
Congress boasts a 13 percent approval, a surge from its all-time low of nine percent last fall before the budget deal.
While ex-Secretary of Defense Robert Gates expressed disappointment in Obama and Hillary Clinton in his book, Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War, and was dismissive of Joe Biden, his view of Congress dripped with venom:
“Uncivil, incompetent in fulfilling basic constitutional responsibilities (such as timely appropriations), micromanagerial, parochial, hypocritical, egotistical, thin-skinned, often putting self (and reelection) before country — this was my view of the majority of the United States Congress.”
At congressional hearings, Gates says he was “exceptionally offended by the constant, adversarial, inquisition-like treatment,” and lines of inquiry that were “rude, insulting, belittling, bullying, and all too often personal.”
Admirers of Obama, Hillary, and Biden have all come forward to defend them. Where are the defenders of Congress from this searing indictment by Gates? Almost nowhere.
What happened to Congress? Not so long ago, schoolchildren were taught more about Senators Henry Clay, John C. Calhoun, and Daniel Webster than many of the presidents of that pre-Civil War era.
High among the causes of Congress’ decline has surely been the loss or surrender of its constitutional powers — to presidents, the Supreme Court, and a federal bureaucracy Congress itself created.
Consider this. Under Article 1, Congress is entrusted with the power to “regulate commerce with foreign nations.”
With the exception of slavery, there was not a more divisive issue before the Civil War than the tariff question. In the Jacksonian era, South Carolina almost seceded over the tariff, and Andrew Jackson threatened an invasion.
Today, Congress first surrendered to the executive the authority to negotiate trade deals, and then passed fast track, denying itself the right to amend those treaties. Congress has restricted itself to a yes or no vote on what the executive negotiates.
The transnational corporations that finance campaigns are delighted.
But as a consequence of NAFTA, GATT, and the WTO, a third of U.S. manufacturing jobs and a huge slice of our manufacturing base have been shipped overseas, and we have run $10 trillion in trade deficits since Bush I.
The stunning industrial decline of the United States has been matched in two centuries only by the USSR.
Congress was granted the power to “coin money” and “regulate the value thereof.” But in 1913, Congress transferred that power to the Federal Reserve.
With the Fed as its steward, the dollar’s purchasing power had fallen to that of a couple of pennies in 1913. And the Fed was responsible for the stock market bubble that bought on the Great Crash of 1929 and Great Depression, and the real estate and stock market bubbles that brought on our own Great Recession.
Yet, the Fed is untouchable.
Though Congress was granted exclusive power “to declare war,” our last declared war was in 1941.
Obama today draws “red lines” and tells nations not to cross them or we bomb, and announces to the world that, in dealing with Iran, “all options are on the table,” meaning war.
But when did Congress authorize Obama to wage war on Iran? Never.
Nor did Congress authorize Bill Clinton to bomb Serbia.
While Congress was granted the power in the Constitution to restrict the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court, that court has been on an ideological tear, remaking America without a nod to Congress.
The court has created new rights for criminal suspects out of thin air. It ordered all states to integrate public schools, even if that meant forced busing by race across cities. It declared abortion and homosexual relations to be constitutionally protected rights.
Congress often complained, but almost always did nothing.
Congress has behaved more timidly than the Supreme Court, whose justices serve for life. And unlike the president, Congress cannot act decisively or speak with a single voice. It’s a cacophony.
Sundered by party and ideology, with 535 members, and rules and regulations that inhibit decisions and impede action, Congress appears a 19th-century anachronism at sea in a 21st-century world.
Who looks to Congress today as the bulwark of our liberties?

Share Button

Comment on this Article:

Pope Francis to German Bishops: Your Church is a mess! Fix it and … GO TO CONFESSION!

The German bishops are making their ad limina visit. Every few years diocesan bishops have to go to Rome to meet with offices of the Roman Curia and, usually, the Pope. Pope Francis gave an address to the German bishops…Continue Reading

Germany’s bishops discuss decentralizing the Church in meeting with Pope Francis

ROME, November 23, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) — The German bishops, sixty-seven of them, recently visited Rome together for their obligatory Ad Limina visit with the pope from November 16-20. This Ad Limina visit, which is obligatory for all bishops of the…Continue Reading

In Australia, Catholic Bishops Face Court Action, Huge Fines Over Traditional Views on Marriage

Australians have always viewed America’s litigious culture with suspicion. Our “no worries mate” approach to life means we tend not to rush off to court at the drop of a hat. So last week when a state government commissioner ruled…Continue Reading

Cardinal Wuerl’s Embassy Row Penthouse

Walking through the posh neighborhood of Embassy Row in October, I stumbled across a scoop: that Washington, D.C.’s Cardinal Donald Wuerl lives in a penthouse atop a mansion priced north of $40 million. That Embassy Row mansion is the Our…Continue Reading

Australia investigating archbishop for distributing pamphlet defending true marriage

TASMANIA, Australia, November 13, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) — An Australian Catholic archbishop is facing legal action after recently distributing a pamphlet to local Catholic school children that supported Catholic teaching on marriage being between a man and woman. “Dear Friends, I…Continue Reading

A ‘most powerful woman’ – National Geographic’s major hat tip to the Virgin Mary

Washington D.C., Nov 10, 2015 / 03:45 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Our Lady. Blessed Mother. Virgin Mary. Queen of Peace. Theotokos. Handmaid of the Lord. Mother Mary. These are just some of the titles used to describe the young woman to…Continue Reading

At Al Smith Dinner, Former Mayor Bloomberg Honors Vets

Speaking at the Al Smith Dinner on the eve of Veterans Day, former New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg took time from his humorous political remarks to remind guests “there are a lot of places around the world where…Continue Reading

Bishop Rebukes Catholic College for Allowing Massive Planned Parenthood Display on Campus

A Catholic bishop in Indiana is calling out a Catholic college for promoting Planned Parenthood and abortion this week. As LifeNews previously reported, Saint Mary’s College, a Catholic school in Notre Dame, Indiana, hosted the large pro-Planned Parenthood display in…Continue Reading

Former Planned Parenthood abortion clinic reopens as pro-life pregnancy center

BRYAN, TX, November 12, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – The former Planned Parenthood abortion facility where Abby Johnson once worked as director is now a pro-life haven for women in crisis pregnancy. The facility is now aptly named, “Hope.” It celebrated its…Continue Reading

Supreme Court agrees to rule on birth control insurance mandate

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court agreed Friday to settle a widespread dispute between the Obama administration and religious non-profits over insurance coverage for birth control, which is sure to elevate issues of religious freedom and reproductive rights in next year’s…Continue Reading

Cardinal Pell’s Office: New Books Contain ‘False and Misleading Claims’

The Vatican Secretariat for the Economy has said two new books, each containing leaked Vatican financial information, have “included false and misleading claims” regarding ”management of expenditure” and “expenditure incurred” by Cardinal George Pell, the Secretariat’s prefect. In a statement…Continue Reading

Paul Ryan Doubts Planned Parenthood Can Be Defunded ( Then what is the purpose of an investigative committee?)

Though the national pro-life community says newly elected House Speaker Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) is committed to its cause, Ryan is warning that he doubts Planned Parenthood can be defunded. Observing that President Obama is pro-abortion and the Senate’s process…Continue Reading


Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our new website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for over 145 years in our weekly print edition. Now we are introducing the online daily version of our print journal.

  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to su
bscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 145 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1

A Powerful Weapon: 15 Quotes on the Holy Rosary

We live in evil times. I hardly need elaborate the multitude of crises that fill the globe. Sadly, many are being swept away by this flood of evil and are succumbing to an overwhelming anxiety and discouragement. But no matter how tempting it is, we must not shrink back. We must pray and fast with a living faith and a firm confidence—and there is no better way to…Continue Reading

12 Ways to Become a Committed Catholic Man

There is a Catholic “man-crisis.” Large numbers of men who were baptized Catholic have left the Church and the majority of those who remain are “Casual Catholic Men”, men who do not know the Catholic faith and don’t practice it. This large-scale failure of Catholic men to commit themselves to Jesus Christ and His Church has contributed to the accelerating…Continue Reading

Today . . .

Pope’s Q-and-A on the Challenges of Education

“To rethink the works of mercy, the 14 works of mercy; to rethink how to do them, but in education” Rome, November 23, 2015 ( Staff Reporter On Saturday, the Holy Father received in audience participants in the World Congress “Education Today and Tomorrow: A Passion that Is Renewed” (Rome, November 18-21, 2015), organized by the Congregation for Catholic Education (of the Institutes of Studies) to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Gravissimum Educationis (Declaration of…Continue Reading

“One who looks at the cross cannot help but see the surprising gratuitousness of love”

Here is a translation of the address Pope Francis gave today before and after praying the midday Angelus with those gathered in St. Peter’s Square, on this solemnity of Christ the King and also the feast of St. Cecilia. * * * Dear brothers and sisters, good morning! On this last Sunday of the liturgical year, we celebrate the solemnity of Christ the King. And the Gospel of today brings us to contemplate Jesus as…Continue Reading

U.S. Bishops clash as Pope Francis appointees push to downplay battle for life and family

LifeSiteNews/ Lisa Bourne and Patrick B. Craine  Nov 20, 2015 – BALTIMORE, Maryland, November 20, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) — A group of Pope Francis’ episcopal appointees and other like-minded prelates provoked an open clash at the American Catholic bishops’ fall meeting in Baltimore this week as they pressed the conference to rewrite its election guide for 2016 to downplay the importance of the battle for life and family. Ahead of a vote on a revision to…Continue Reading

Pope Francis: the Church must not worship “holy bribery


(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis said that the Church must not be obsessed by money or power, nor worship “holy bribes”. Instead her strength and joy should come from the words of Christ. He was speaking at the morning mass at Casa Santa Marta on Friday. The Holy Father reflected on the reading from Maccabees, which tells of the people’s joy following the reconsecration of the Holy Temple, which had been destroyed by pagans and those…Continue Reading

Pope Francis at Audience: Door to God’s Mercy never closed

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis held his weekly General Audience on Wednesday, during which he focused his catechetical reflections on the upcoming Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy, which opens on December 8th, the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception. In an impassioned address to the thousands of faithful pilgrims and tourists on hand, in which he departed frequently from his prepared text to emphasize his points, Pope Francis said, “If the door of God’s mercy is always…Continue Reading

Cardinal Burke . . . Marriage Catechesis Should Be Priority For Catholic Schools

By ADAM CASSANDRA (Editor’s Note: This article is reprinted from the November 16 Catholic Education Daily, an online publication of The Cardinal Newman Society. All rights reserved.) + + + Sound catechesis on marriage is “a great, great responsibility” for Catholic schools and colleges, Raymond Cardinal Burke told a representative of The Cardinal Newman Society…Continue Reading

Drug Smugglers Flow Across Our Border, Syrian Christians Don’t

By TERENCE P. JEFFREY (Editor’s Note: Terence P. Jeffrey is the editor-in-chief of Creators Syndicate provided this column. All rights reserved.) + + + Whom should Americans see as worthier candidates for entering our country? Syrian Christians fleeing persecution — and possible beheading by the Islamic State — or smugglers moving drugs across our…Continue Reading

Blessed Are Those Who Mourn: A Forgotten Beatitude

By JAMES MONTI When reflecting upon the sacredness of all human life, a cemetery is probably not the first thing that comes to our mind. And yet a Catholic cemetery is actually one of the Church’s most profound expressions of this truth by affirming in practice that every human life is so sacred that even…Continue Reading

Escape From Cynicism

By DONALD DeMARCO Cynicism results when a person believes that he has conquered hope. Since it is a conquest of sorts, though surely a negative and counterproductive one, it can endow the cynic with a certain amount of pride. In a similar way, a younger brother can take pride in knocking over the tower of…Continue Reading

Paris And Freedom

By ANDREW P. NAPOLITANO The tragedy in Paris on November 13 has regrettably been employed as a catalyst for renewed calls by governments in Western Europe and even in the United States for more curtailment of personal liberties. Those who accept the trade of liberty for safety have argued in favor of less liberty. They…Continue Reading


Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

A Leaven In The World… Defenseless Europe A Lesson For Defending Faith

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK While recently on retreat in New York, you might say I celebrated the Church’s year of consecrated life as I prayed daily Mass for the sisters who kindly hosted me. I invited them to kneel at the Communion rail to receive our Lord as I do at every Mass at my home parish. They all…Continue Reading

An Apologetics Course… “Sola Scriptura” — The End

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA, KM Here is a simple question for those people who believe in sola Scriptura: If every Christian had the ability — a God-given ability, of course — to interpret Scripture on his own, why is it that there are so many contradictory doctrines held by those who espouse it? Bible interpretation is not an easy thing…Continue Reading

Forms Of Consecrated Life Within The Church

By DON FIER Part 3 The majority of last week’s column dealt with the third form of consecrated life outlined by the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC), that of religious life. Generally recognized as the most familiar and visible form of consecrated life in the Church, religious life encompasses many different expressions: from nuns or monks who devote their…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Q. Regarding a recent reply about the steps to be taken by a man who wanted to return to the Catholic Church after having been a Mormon, I have a similar question, and I wonder if your answer would be the same. Someone close to me, who was a practicing Catholic, now denies the existence of God. If this person…Continue Reading

The Parable Of The Talents

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER First Sunday Of Advent (YR C) Readings: Jer. 33:14-16 1 Thess. 3:12-4:2 Luke 21:25-28, 34-36 In the Gospel reading today our Lord instructs us to “be vigilant at all times and to pray that you have the strength to escape the tribulations that are imminent and to stand before the Son of Man.” In the context…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… Blessed Maria Virgo

By CAROLE BRESLIN When I visited my aunt in St. Louis, Mo., we would visit the basilicas, the museums, and other places of interest. She had many sites near her that were particularly special to her, such as her parish, The Little Flower, in Richmond Heights. In addition, she described a place where she frequently went for eucharistic adoration at…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Raphael Kalinowski

By CAROLE BRESLIN There are many terms we use in our language which are clichés. We hear people say that somebody “kicked the bucket,” meaning that he has died, or “I’ll send you to outer Mongolia,” meaning that they will ship you so far away no one will find you. Fr. Kalinowski not only went to a place just north…Continue Reading