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April 21, 2014

Andrew Silow-Carroll: Passoverkill? Suggestions to make next year's seders even more culturally sensitive

Sara Israelsen Hartley: Seeking the Divine: An ancient connection in a new context

Christine M. Flowers: Priest's execution in Syria should be call to action

Courtnie Erickson: How to help kids accept the poor decisions of others

Lizette Borreli: A Glass Of Milk A Day Keeps Knee Arthritis At Bay

Lizette Borreli: 5 Health Conditions Your Breath Knows Before You Do

The Kosher Gourmet by Betty Rosbottom Coconut Walnut Bars' golden brown morsels are a beautifully balanced delectable delight

April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review June 27, 2012/ 7 Tamuz, 5772

Invitation to the dance

By Paul Greenberg




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Executive Privilege. It's a constitutional principle but it might as well be an old dance, the steps are so familiar.

First a congressional committee demands some documents from an administration.

When not enough are produced to please the committee, it moves to hold the federal official in charge of them in contempt. In this case, Attorney General Eric Holder, since his Justice Department was in charge, to use the term loosely, of a highly suspect operation dubbed Fast and Furious. It turned out to be entirely too fast and too furious, and a lot of guns wound up in the wrong hands -- those of a Mexican drug cartel. And a Border Patrol agent wound up dead.

The next step in this practiced minuet is taken by the president, who invokes executive privilege to shield the documents from the committee's eyes.

Other steps await -- maybe action by the full House, maybe a court case, maybe an agreement between committee and administration. Probably nothing of consequence.

But the usual, tinny accompaniment to this dance soon comes forth -- much talk about a Constitutional Crisis and mutual accusations of partisan motives.

It was all to be expected. Like the appearance of the chorus in a classical Greek play.

For those attuned to the repetitive rhythms of American history, this little number is music to the ears. There's nothing as cheering as an old dance tune played with traditional zest, and all the dancers performing on cue, not missing a step.

Allemande left, allemande right, backtrack, balance, bend the line, do-sie-do and circle back. What fun. It's good exercise, and despite all the commotion, nobody gets hurt. Is it over yet? If not, it soon will be.

All constitutional crises should be so well orchestrated. This one is a tribute to the continuity of American political history.

It's rather assuring, since this dance has been going on since the first days of the Republic under our then new Constitution. Here's hoping it goes on for another 236 years.

This isn't just a dance but a tradition, a ceremony, a ritual. A welcome confirmation that the separate, independent branches of our federal government are as zealous of their competing but complementary roles as ever.

The Republic lives. And not just lives, but thrives, feisty as ever. Like old-timers in good health and good spirits doing a traditional reel in high style.

If the music sounds familiar, it should be. Because the use of executive privilege by a president of the United States goes all the way back to the first one. George Washington invoked it in 1796 when a House committee wanted to pry into documents dealing with how an unpopular treaty had been negotiated. (Jay's Treaty with Great Britain, which proved as prudent as it had been unpopular.)

The doctrine of executive privilege may not be spelled out in the Constitution, any more than is the Supreme Court's power to declare an act of Congress unconstitutional, but both follow logically from the separation of powers. Theoretically co-equal, independent branches of government are supposed to check and balance each other, each respecting the others' proper role. It can get as complicated as a fancy dance step, and require the same finesse.

The essence of the dispute remains the same as in 1796, and so does the principle involved: An executive branch that can't keep its confidences confidential would scarcely be independent. Congress has no more business prying into such papers than, well, a president's rifling through some congressman's privileged papers.

But the show must go on. The overheated rhetoric pours forth from both sides of the aisle. Equally fervid partisans offer black-and-white depictions of what's at stake in this debate, omitting any shades of gray. It's a presidential election year and historical perspective can be hard to come by as the quadrennial fever mounts. No issue, however historic and familiar, is immune to the passions of the electoral season.

In the journalistic trade and obsession, and out in the saner world, too, people tend to open conversations with "What's new?" and not "What's old?" Which might be a better question. But in the ever nervous, ever immediate present (Breaking News!) nothing is so rare as a little historical perspective. And nothing might be so useful.

We're not the first generation to engage in debates about executive privilege, the checks and balances of constitutional power, and so philosophically on. Not that you might suspect it from the tenor of this debate. But be assured:

We are not alone. We've got plenty of company from the past, much of it more reliable than these ever excitable separate-but-equally partisan types forever shouting at each other on the tube.

Distinguished company from the past, so useful in the present, stands ready to guide us. The authors of the Federalist Papers, for example, understood the necessity of respecting the executive branch's confidences if it was going to retain its energy, unity and independence. No matter who heads it at the fleeting time. Presidents change, not principles.

In their zest for power and pelf, or just their appetite for party-line ideology without much attention to its practical consequences, politicians tend to forget first principles. Like those of the Founders. But the American people shouldn't.

By all means, let this dance swirl on, but keep in mind that it swirls about unchanging principles anchored in law, precedent, tradition and just common sense. Like the principle of executive privilege.

Paul Greenberg Archives

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JWR contributor Paul Greenberg, editorial page editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, has won the Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing. Send your comments by clicking here.

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