A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from November 08, 2009
Imperial Congress

"The Imperial Presidency” was dubbed on the U.S. presidency of Richard Nixon by 1972, when some believed that the president was acting like an emperor. “The Imperial Congress” was used by 1975. An article titled “The Imperial Congress” by Robert Shrum was published in the March 18, 1977 New Times and widely reprinted. Shrum pointed out that members of Congress received perks and enjoyed a lifestyle far above that of the average American. A book titled The Imperial Congress: Crisis in the separation of powers (1988) further popularized the term.

In 2009, conservative columnist Michelle Malkin used the term “Imperial Congress” to describe a Congress attempting to pass massive health care legislation against the wishes of most Americans.


Wikipedia: United States Congress
The United States Congress is the bicameral legislature of the federal government of the United States of America, consisting of two houses, the Senate and the House of Representatives. Both senators and representatives are chosen through direct election.

Each of the 435 members of the House of Representatives represents a district and serves a two-year term. House seats are apportioned among the states by population. The 100 Senators serve staggered six-year terms. Each state has two senators, regardless of population. Every two years, approximately one-third of the Senate is elected at a time. Reelection rates for incumbents often exceed 90%.

Article I of the Constitution vests all legislative power in the Congress. The House and Senate are equal partners in the legislative process (legislation cannot be enacted without the consent of both chambers); however, the Constitution grants each chamber some unique powers. The Senate is uniquely empowered to ratify treaties and to approve top presidential appointments. Revenue-raising bills must originate in the House of Representatives, which also has the sole power of impeachment, while the Senate has the sole power to try impeachment cases.

The Congress meets in the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C.

Merriam-Webster’s Online Dictionary
Main Entry: im·pe·ri·al
Pronunciation: \im-ˈpir-ē-əl\
Function: adjective
Etymology: Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Late Latin imperialis, from Latin imperium command, empire
Date: 14th century
1 a : of, relating to, befitting, or suggestive of an empire or an emperor b (1) : of or relating to the United Kingdom as distinguished from the constituent parts (2) : of or relating to the Commonwealth of Nations and British Empire
2 a : sovereign b : regal, imperious
3 : of superior or unusual size or excellence

Google News Archive
5 January 1972, St. Peterburg (FL) Times, “Government Secrecy Is Beginning To Backfire” by Tom Wicker, pg. 16A, col. 3:
And they demonstrate publication is one of the few remaining checks on the foreign policy powers of the Imperial presidency.

Google News Archive
24 January 1975, The Ledger (Lakeland, FL), “Too Big A Majority Brings On Trouble” by William Safire, pg. 6A, col. 7:
Also good is the lessening of the danger of a do-anything Congress. A spirit of hubris and dominance is something no branch of government needs; if the three Democratic minorities were actually to fuse together, obeying the crack of the party whip, we would soon find ourselves in an unhealthy standoff between an unelected White House and an imperial Congress.

13 February 1975, New York (NY) Times, “A Destiny Not So Manifest” by William Safire, pg. 25:
Readers whose emotions are easily stirred by demogogic essayists are demanding to know, “Why wasn’t I told about this?” You were; this latest conquest was engineered with the full participation of our Imperial Congress, especially Sen. Scoop Jackson’s and Rep. Phil Burton.

Google News Archive
5 October 1975, St. Petersburg (FL) Times, “Washington Report” by Charles Stafford, pg. B1, col. 1 headline:
The Republic is no place for an imperial Congress

26 March 1977, Emporia (KS) Gazette, “Lit’ry Life” by Bruce McCabe, pg. 7, col. 1:
The source of this—and much, much more—information on the lifestyle you subsidize for your senator and congressman is Robert Shrum’s “The Imperial Congress” in the March 18 New Times, an article that ought to be avoided if your blood pressure is too high already.

Shrum details the amenities of life in the Congress of the United States and makes you appreciate how underreported the scandalous situation really is.

5 June 1977, Chicago (IL) Tribune, pg. A1:
THE IMPERIAL CONGRESS
Supporting the Congress in a very regal style
By Bob Shrum
From spacious office and gilded hearing rooms they come, carried as if on a breeze--a swift, one-tenth-mile ride by private subway to the great alabaster Capitol itself.

6 June 1977, Chicago (IL) Tribune, pg. C4:
The Imperial Congress
Cost of a legislator: $1.5 million

By Bob Shrum
THE CONGRESSIONAL lifestyle is irresistibly seductive, steadily entrapping. “It feeds on itself,” says Sen. Jim Abourezk [D., S.D.]. “Pretty soon people want to stay forever. A lot of them are afraid they can’t find anything as comfortable and ego-gratifying anywhere else.

Google Books
The Imperial Congress:
Crisis in the separation of powers

Edited by Gordon S. Jones and John A. Marini
New York, NY: Pharos Books
1988
Book overview
Two presidents in recent history, Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan, were elected with a mandate to reduce the scale of government, but met resistance from an increasingly dominant Congress and its allied agencies. In The Imperial Congress (The Heritage Foundation/The Claremont Institute), Washington experts take a revealing look at the constitutional crisis posed by Congress as it is today, explain why this has happened, and offer workable solutions to prevent it in the future.

In three parts the authors:

* Explore the origins and growth of the bureaucratic state in this century
* Explain how Congress works today, and how long incumbencies, huge staffs, and connections to special interest groups enable individual members to augment and maintain their power
* Discuss the effects of such power in domestic and foreign policies
* Focus on strategies for restoring the vital separation of powers, the cornerstone of our constitution.

Michelle Malkin
The death of deliberative democracy
by Michelle Malkin
Creators Syndicate
Copyright 2009
In 2006, the minority party in Congress issued a dire report on the “unprecedented erosion of the Democratic process.” Democrat Rep. Louise Slaughter, then the ranking member of the House Rules Committee, authored the scathing document. She blasted the majority Republicans’ violations of “procedural fairness,” short-circuiting of debate, and late-night meetings “to discourage Members and the press from participating” in legislative deliberations. My, how history repeats itself.

Fast-forward to 2009. The Imperial Congress has returned. The oppressed have become the oppressors. Democrats have met the enemies of deliberative democracy and it is them.

Michelle Malkin
Liveblogging: The new Imperial Congress votes on Pelosicare; Update: Female Democrats turn House resolution process into circus; GOP responds; Obama rallies weakened Dems; will Stupak amendment stick?
By Michelle Malkin • November 7, 2009 09:09 AM
The House is now in a rare Saturday session for the government health care takeover ram down.

Welcome to the new Imperial Congress.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityGovernment/Law/Politics/Military • (0) Comments • Sunday, November 08, 2009 • Permalink