Who is he: On January 9, 2009 President Barack Obama nominated Cass Sunstein Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), Office of Management and Budget. This appointment was approved in the Senate by a vote of 57-40 on September 10, 2009 after significant opposition and only upon passage of a cloture motion requiring the vote.
Cass Sunstein has authored more than 15 books, including Infotopia: How Many Minds Produce Knowledge (2006), Nudge: Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth, and Happiness (2008) and a 2004 book, The Second Bill of Rights: FDR's Unfinished Revolution and Why We Need It More than Ever, which argues for institution of FDR's call for rights to a home, education, healthcare, and protection against monopolies as additions to the Bill of Rights.
In 2008, Sunstein coauthored a now widely disseminated and criticized paper titled "Conspiracy Theories," in which he proposes "cognitive infiltration of extremist groups" in response to "false conspiracy theories" and enumerates a list of suggestions for use in the age of the Internet very similar to those used by the FBI in its nefarious COINTELPRO program. "Extremist groups" are vaguely defined as, essentially, those who question "official" explanations of events such as those of September 11th, which Sunstein argues pose "real risks to the government's antiterrorism policies."
Also in 2008 Sunstein joined Harvard Law School faulty as director of its new Program on Risk Regulation, addressing law and policy as related to "central hazards of the 21st century," terrorism, climate change ... infectious diseases, natural disasters..." to assist policymakers to "find ways to protect people from risks without creating unanticipated side-effects." In announcing Sunstein's appointment at Harvard, Elena Kagan -- then dean of Harvard Law School, now Associate Justice of the US Supreme Court -- said of him, "Cass Sunstein is the preeminent legal scholar of our time -- the most wide-ranging, the most prolific, the most cited, and the most influential. His work in any one of the fields he pursues ... would put him in the very front ranks of legal scholars; the combination is singular and breathtaking. He has a gift for framing and discussing issues in ways that invariably gain traction and make progress. And perhaps best of all, this individual superstar is also the consummate team player -- a person whose passion for reasoned intellectual inquiry is contagious and who raises the level of everyone around him ... " Sunstein is also widely touted as a "leading public intellectual" who offers "expert testimony to congressional committees, including the Senate Judiciary Committee during its consideration of Supreme Court nominees."
Given Sunstein's ability to "gain traction" and present himself as an expert, apparently on behalf of the Anglosphere elite creating many of these very risks, it is understandable that Sunstein was appointed to head up the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs for the Obama Administration, involved with, among other things, "overseeing policies relating to privacy," including personal and computer security. This controversial appointment was only approved by the Senate after a cloture vote, in 2009.
Cass Sunstein is obviously opinionated and thinks highly of his own views. More than that, he is a governmental activist in a profound sense, defending the unilateral right of the US President to act as he wishes. Sunstein has also been a big defender of tax schemes and generalize of government activism. The idea that legislation and taxes have unexpected consequences escapes him.
Sunstein likely would not recognize the concept of free-market "human action" – the idea that individuals respond to government intervention and even anticipate government action. In numerous ways, Sunstein's perspectives mimic classical economics, the idea that trends are predictable and human action is never changing. This perspective was debunked a hundred years ago but those of Sunstein's persuasion seem unaware of the evolution of economics.
Background: Cass R. Sunstein was born September 21, 1954, and graduated high school in Concord, Massachusetts. Sunstein then attended Harvard College where he worked on the Harvard Lampoon and received an A.B. in 1975. Sunstein earned a J.D. magna cum laude from Harvard Law School in 1978, and edited Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review while in attendance. Upon graduation, Sunstein clerked for Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Justice Benjamin Kaplan from 1978-79 and for United States Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall during 1979-80.
Cass Sunstein's career began in the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel where he worked for a year before accepting a position with the University of Chicago as assistant professor in Law and later with the Department of Political Science, as well, teaching courses on constitutional, administrative and environmental law, attaining full professor status with both departments in 1985.
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