Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

July 31, 2009

A Council of Governors: Reclaiming balance in a mixed government

Filed under: General Homeland Security,Homeland Defense,State and Local HLS,Strategy — by Philip J. Palin on July 31, 2009

Lingering mostly unnoticed within  Title XVIII, Subtitle B, Section 1882 of the 2008 National Defense Authorization Act is a single paragraph:

The President shall establish a bipartisan Council of Governors to advise the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of Homeland Security, and the White House Homeland Security Council on matters related to the National Guard and civil support missions.

The instruction comes early in a seeming hodgepodge of measures to achieve “additional reserve component enhancement.”  As far as I can find, President Bush did not establish the Council and President Obama has not yet undertaken to do so.

On Tuesday in prepared testimony for the House Armed Services Committee,  Subcommittee on Terrorism, Unconventional Threats and Capabilities,  Paul Stockton offered the following:

State and local expertise and perspectives are essential to success. It is also important to be mindful of the fact that, in our nation’s Federalist system, the Governors are sovereign, independently elected chief executives of their States. As the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense and Americas’ Security Affairs, I hope to contribute to a more inclusive effort, one that involves State and local partners as partners aforethought and not as an afterthought. (Note: emphasis in original testimony.) Congress, in section 1822 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008 (Public Law 110-181), has provided a valuable vehicle through which to accomplish this goal: the “Council of Governors,” which would provide a forum for Governors, the Secretary of Defense, and the Secretary of Homeland Security to exchange advice, views, and recommendations on the National Guard, DSCA, and other matters of mutual interest. I will make it a top priority to implement this congressional objective.

The legislation is silent on how the Council of Governors might be established.  It could have fifty — or even more — members (the legislation does not reference “states,”  evidently terroritories might also be included).  The Governors themselves might participate.  But it could also consist of powerless appointees gathered as yet another feeble federal advisory body.

In his testimony Mr. Stockton gives primary attention to the practical benefits of involving Governors and acknowledging local capability in preventing, responding to, and recovering from catastrophic events.  The practicalities of risk-readiness innately push for State and local leadership.  As Secretary Napolitano said on Wednesday, “So how do we secure our homeland and stay true to our values?…It starts with the American people. From there, it extends to local law enforcement, and from there up to the federal government…”

Acknowledging and affirming the authority of the States in disaster preparedness and counter-terrorism is also consistent with Constitutional  protections of  State  sovereignty that – along with separation of powers, bicameralism, and the Bill of Rights — is another firewall to tyranny. 

In Federalist Paper No. 9 James Madison wrote, “The proposed Constitution, so far from implying an abolition of the State governments, makes them constituent parts of the national sovereignty, by allowing them a direct representation in the Senate, and leaves in their possession certain exclusive and very important portions of sovereign power.”

Today most Americans — unlike our Founders — do not give much thought to the threat of tyranny.  Our benign neglect is a privilege produced by an intricate, sometimes unwieldy, yet resilient constitutional architecture.  It is worth considerable concern when any aspect of the structure is weakened.

For the last half-century the authority of the States in many domains — and especially in regard to security — has been more honored in the breach than in the observance.  If you wonder about the Founders’ intent, take some time to read — and perhaps to tremble at — Madison’s comparison of the federal and state governments in Federalist Paper No. 46.  Since the close of the Civil War such language has been largely limited to the political fringe.

A Council of Governors — especially one embraced with enthusiasm and discipline by the Governors — could restore balance where the central government has grown far beyond its intended proportion. 

Q. Why would you have your government so mixed?

A. Because the experience of the ages has proved that mixed governments are best.

Q. Simplicity is amiable and convenient in most things, why not in government?

A. Human nature is such, that it renders simple government destructive, and makes it necessary to place one power over against another to balance its weight.

Pennsylvania Evening Post

March 16, 1776

(Editorial Note:  The above is related to the July 29 posting entitled CCMRF: Constitutional Consequence Management Response Force)

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Comment by William R. Cumming

July 31, 2009 @ 12:59 pm

Well Paul Stockton is a very smart person. Question though his use of the term “Soverign” as applying to the STATES under the Constitution. The drafters left quite muddy the federal system and the context in which the STATES and Federal Government were to work out their relationships was deliberately left vague. Of course the Civil War/War Between the STATES/War to Restore the UNION whatever was a calibration point for this convoluted relationship. The Commerce Clause and the Supremacy Clause have certainly also been calibration points in the relationship. Part of the problem is the SCOTUS cannot finally decide on the relationship nor the significace of Article 10 of the Bill of Rights. National League of Cities v. Usrey caused mischief for a while until the SCOTUS backed off from that 10th Amendment decision. Right now the Federal system is brilliantly designed for buck passing on tough issues between various governmental levels. And of course SCOTUS ruled in the past that the Indian Tribes were sovereign. Well at least in the CASINO world they seem to be for federally recognized tribes (one of the main reasons for seeking federal recognition). Native Hawaiians do NOT want recognition as an Indian Tribe on the basis that it would undercut their argumenst that the basis of Hawaii’s affiliation with the US is theft. So how about just having some of the STATES become Indian Tribes or some of the Indian Tribes becoming STATES? Hey let’s expand this dysfunctional union! Cuba Libre? Heck no, make it a state when Fidel moves on.Congress senses something is wrong but probably not sure what? Well, federalize unemployment system totatlly and Medicaid and get those two problems that truly are federal off of the STATES agendas and budgets.And heck why not just give the STATEs all the mineral rights and mining rights on federal land within state boundries? And the STATEs can give up pretenses of HOMELAND SECURITY to the FEDS. Does any of this make sense? Probably not but then neither does the current system. Here’s to a new Constitutional Convention and allowing the STATES to subdivide themselves.

Comment by christopher tingus

August 1, 2009 @ 9:28 am

Unfortunately all the supposedly bright minds of the good ‘ol boy network “entrusted” by precious vote to serve the people, their master, not they the master for the Pelosi-Frank perspective and you Mr. President who travels to Cairo University in a key-note foreign-policy speach to define “your” not America’s relationship wiht the Muslim world which from my perspective has failed miserably in demanding civility and transparency from its leadership and Arab League…

I have to remark that while it is obvious that the backroom meetings take place, you, Mr. President made not mention of the word terrorism in your speech and it is in fact Iran and the “Brutes of Tehran” that I call them (Nada) and their newly forged alliance with the “KGB Putinites” as I refer to them that cause great alarm to the German-led EU who will soon be on the scene to change the course of history and who will Mr. President, NOT for get to mention the willingness of Tehran’s willingness to spill precious Persian blood on the streets of Tehran, choosing to muder in cold blood in own people. A people rich in education and rich in history and in contribution to humanity in past generations certainly shameful of the treachery promulgated today by these self-serving fools…

I believe Gerald Flurry terms its best when he says, “We are witnessing a reenactment of the 1930’s between Chamberlain and Hitler. Chamberlain tried to “negotiate” his way to peace, as Hitler gobbled up Europe. World War II was almost lost before the west mustered the will to fight”

For me as a proud American like so many always acknowledging those that have sacrificed to afford us opportunity and this grand Republic, while those that seek our demise surely see our weakness, it is quite disconcerting to see the imporverishment of fellow man and the diminuation United States of America, a beacon of hope for the oppresssed who have no one esle to turn to other than the most charitable Mr. & Mrs. Citizen Joe….

A Constitutional Convention to allow the States to subdivide themselves…

Mr. Cumming is by far one of the most astute, enlightened gentleman we read here on this all important blog. While I, too choose to share my perspections as a result of the obvious void in leadership here in America on both sides of the aisle, again more of you please share your perspective here for together we can alter the course of what Jeffrey Kuhner, President of the Edmund Burke Institute recently wrote regarding your comments Mr. President and the future of our beloved nation in the Washington Times on 13th June, “Sapped of its self-confidence and sense of grandiose destiny, America chose the policy of appeasement over confrontation, lies over truth, illusion over reality.”

Herein we continue talk of leadership within the beltway and the leadership of States. What leadership?

We have a President who cannot seem to place his Chicago urban community mentality nor the pigment of his skin aside as he promised the American voter unity versus divide.

A President and his Democractic Party that would reach out to both sides of the aisle and mend our ways reminding all of our obligation and commitment to country!

We have a Governor who tells know one including DHS HQ that he will be taking a romantic stroll on the streets of Argentina, rather than on the beach with family in Charleston betraying his oath to serve the people. And guess what, when he returned he told the staff that it is time for all to get back to work….What about you Mr. Governor, when will you truly represent the interests and concerns of South Carolina whose unemployment is causing so much despair and unhappiness among the children in the house!

We have the illustrious Governor Duval Patrick here in Taxachusetts that like you Mr. President and the good Harvard Professor portraying “elitist demeanor” speaking foolhearty without “fact” of first responders, not “cops” but Police Officers who must often encounter such challenging folks when arriving on scene having to make quick assessment and expecting immediate responses to inquiry, not ranting and ravings especially when two men are reported in the 911 call to be breaking into home in this instance and with most men who can show by id that it is their residence and commit domestic violence in their living room…Com’on folks….enough is enough!

You talk about States and really whether they can do better than the good ol’ beltway boys and I say “nah” giving the for instance that our very own Duval Patrick with his $10million+ net worth, surely nothing like Nanci Pelosi who jet sets back and forth from home as our previous Governor who took a State Police helicopter back and forth to work, a Nanci Pelosi whose assets are said to exceed $65 million and who with her Braney Frank mentality of truly believeing that they know best…A Governor who campaigned on the theme “Change” and all he has done and the wonderful representatives of the people in the State Legislature is to raise the sales tax, fees and like the Governor’s theme, assure Mr. & Mrs. Citizen Joe here in good ‘ol Taxachusetts that whatever “change” we had in our pocket, our pockets have ben emptied further enlightening us that the “States” have no more an idea of how to act dmanding accountability of themselves first and then school districts and other agenecies and of course lack the transparency they demand of the constituency….

Our destiny because no man-made government since Babylon no matter Socialist, Democratic, Communist or other can survive for man’s dissension in religious, political and economic matters pwertaining to everyda Life and man’s dysfunction and inability to put others before themselves and obvious lust for power in every way of greed in behavior spells ruination with repentance.

In fact, it will not be a Constitutional Convention to allow the states to subdivide the states themselves, but it will be the hand of God, “And I will raise up his ruins, and I will build it as in the days of old.” – Amos 9:11

Corruption is rampant. The lack in willingness to demand accountability and transparency promises further despair for the good people aka Mr. & Mrs. Citizen Joe.

The elitist demeanor of you Mr. President and your pal who has said much when referencing the pigment of skin. He, like you, seems to prefer dwelling on the past which we all acknowledge for our history books have not been amended, however it is this narrow perspective that truly concerns us all as we clasp hands and have moved on tomapplaud and acknowledge the daily contributions of fellow man, awed by the inspiration of all men and women who act kindly and with respect to one another and strive to make a difference sometimes winning a Nobel prize and sometimes as I saw, a White American man helping a blind Black American woman, two human beings, two individuals, witness to this here in Boston at a busy intersection, a simple act of kindness for that is who we are as Amricans, however vigilant and most of us prepared to fight the fight to assure that our flag still waves!

Unless we get over ourselves and begin to address the evil ways of humanity, stand tall for Israel not as the President has failed as portrayed for he has already flown twice around the world, however not yet placing his foot on the Blesed soil of Israel, a nation next door to Palestine where I have walked the streets of Hebton and Jericho and I have seen Palestinian and Hebrew smiling and working together despite all the politicians and the Arab League with all its “fiat” oil dollars who prefer to see the good Palestinians and its precious youth unemployed and jobless throwing stones at the Jews when in fact these rightuous human beings should be throwing stones to the east where fellow Arab is seen building marble cities and the “hopeless” and good Mr. & Mrs. Citizen Joe in Palestine are used a mere pawns in nothing less than a campaign of hatred for Jews.

It is the Jew, the Hebrew though, Blessed by covenant and Jerusalem, a city which will be besieged shortly by the Germans and Arabs, it is the Jew who has actually made more attempts to show compassion with constraint of course to Palestinians than their own.

Unless we demand to know where Hank Paulson et al did with the initial $750 Billion which had no transparency to it and to date no one has raised arms in a million man march on Washinghton demanding a dollar for dollar accountability in transparency for this initial money which no one knows where it was soent…give us a break…then we will see the government here at the federal and state level as well as in Latvia and throughout all economies brought to their knees even the Norwegians who have been somewhat unscathed by the perlious ways of an intertwined global financial network so corrupt that it will be far worse than the 1930’s despite what even my mentor, the great Roubini contends….

God Bless America!

Whether the federal government or state government, we must enjoin all citizenry to demand transparency by all or the road ahead is destined for darkness and despair for the majority…It is what it is and while we not necessarily embrace, we must clasp hand for the ways of the world today are not what our children deserve and despite your dysfunctional manner, Mr. President, we seem to know better that to unite rather than divide is good policy. I reiterate to you Mr. President, the good ol Harvard Professor and the good Governor duval Patrick, your “elitist demeanor” as you are pervaded with personal riches does not impress us…What does impress us is genuiness, ethical behavior, personal integrity and compassion and understanding towards fellow human being….

We are for the most part beyond the pigment of skin, though hopefully retaining our own inheritance and respective genetics with pride.

Mr. & Mrs. Citizen Joe would like to remind you Mr. President that (WE) voted for you and the same for you Governor of Taxachusetts with its new rise in sales tax today and soon to be the highest per gallon state tax imposed on the good people and to you Harvard Professor with your 50 Honorary degrees, the Board of Harvard who turned down my idea of placing the “Harvard Logo” on the shaft of a condom to be sold ony through the Harvard Student Health Center to raise enlightenmeent and monies desperately needed to help fight global Aids, a majority of White pigmented
– often elitist themselves – who hired you to share your Blessed knowledge and supposedly possess an openeness towards all folks without such obvious prejudice despite your early years draming of being the “Prince” in a nearly all White elementary school!

Let’s get on with the 21st Century!

The “KGB Putinites” and the “Brutes of Tehran” are to be contended with and it is DHS, NSA and so many others who understand the reality of those that seek our demise that it is essential that we repent and address our own home for you Mr. President in your narrow perspective and unfactual and foolheardy readiness to comment on a subject so inherent to you, that those that should never be underestimated are still seeking oil from the Middle East and waging war on behalf if religious tyrrany when the Chinese have stockpiled not only precious metals, building a railroad from one coast of Africa to the other for the purpose of extracting resources…

The enlightened and astute Asian with long history and family-orientation looking yonder and sees this ongoing plight of skin pigmentation and religious strife while China has put 208,000 of its brightest minds to work to not only making car batteries in preparation for its new environmentally-friendly auto innovations, but striving to create tevhnological and scientific innovations to help its citizens.

This past week, I was asked in my business to help in offering 30,000 affordable houses for folks in desperate need of housing in Sri Lanka as well as water treatment facilities. I was also asked last week to help India with cold storage for I was advised that many fruits and vegetables decay and never get to the mouths of children who desperately need food and quality water…Imagine…

and we, Mr. President have only to talk about a the necssity of introducing a new national health care plan which 91% of Americans are satisfied with what they have, however do expect the government not to take over daily operations, but rather help in assuring that accountability and transparency in the industry are the rule rather than….

and we, Mr. President choose to call the actions of folks who respond to our 911 local calls of desperate plea for help as foolish…Get on with the 21st Century gents for there are many lurking about who seek to kill massive numbers of human beings without hesitation with box cutters in hand!

Christopher Tingus
aka Mr. & Mrs. Citizen Joe
64 Whudah Drive
Harwich (Cape Cod), Ma 02645 USA

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