Not all presidential orders are created equal (Part 1)
In his typical duck-’n’-dodge fashion, President Barack Obama spewed his 115th executive order upon the American public on a late Friday afternoon, March 16. Cloaked in one of Obama’s candy-coated, grandiloquent titles, the “National Defense Resources Preparedness” executive order set the blogosphere ablaze this past week.
Canada Free Press ran an article titled “Obama Executive Order: Peacetime Martial Law!” An Examiner.com article similarly declared that the order would “nationalize everything” and “allow for a civilian draft.” And the Drudge Report ran a story headlined “Martial Law? Obama issues Executive Order: the National Defense Resources Preparedness.”
On the other hand, mainstream media minions and others were quick to quell the hysteria as rumor. William A. Jacobson, associate clinical professor at Cornell Law School, warned: “If someone wants to make the argument that this is an expansion of presidential powers, then do so based on actual language. There is enough that Obama actually does wrong without creating claims which do not hold up to scrutiny.” (Still, Jacobson offers this disclaimer: “I’m not ruling out the possibility that this is more than it seems, but unless and until someone does more than merely state that martial law is coming, I’ll consider this to be routine.”)
WorldNetDaily’s Drew Zahn defended the president by noting that “Obama’s executive order is nearly identical to EO 12919, issued by President Clinton on June 7, 1994, which itself was an amendment to EO 10789, issued in 1958 by President Eisenhower, and which in fact, was later amended by EO 13286, issued in 2003 by George W. Bush.”
HotAir even conducted a side-by-side analysis of Obama’s order and Clinton’s and added that Obama’s EO is, in Zahn’s words, “essentially just an update to deal with changes in government agency structure.”
So, case closed?
Not so fast.
First, I don’t care how many presidents have issued EOs; if they are flagrant violations of the Constitution, they are wrong in any number or any form. “My predecessor did it, too” is no excuse for reckless unconstitutional conduct.
As you will read for yourself in a moment, the National Defense Resources Preparedness EO is a blatant desecration of our Constitution. It is a direct attack on the rule of law, our liberties and private property rights.
The astounding audacity in the document itself is that it never limits its execution to a time of war. In fact, it grants the president total command and control of most industries and consumer supplies, even in times of peace. As Alex Jones’ Prison Planet explained, “a key addition to the language made by Obama is that all these industries and means of production can be seized ‘under both emergency and non-emergency conditions.’”
Even Edwin Black, writing for the liberal Huffington Post, couldn’t defend the president in this awry executive course of action, confessing the EO’s various constituents:
“Part III of the Executive Order empowers the President and his advisers to effect ‘the expansion of productive capacity and supply.’ This includes, ‘Loan Guarantees to reduce current or projected shortfalls of resources, critical technology items, or materials essential for the national defense.’ Any Federal Reserve Bank is directed to ‘assist the agency in serving as fiscal agent.’
“Section 303 allows the government to ‘enable rapid transition of emerging technologies.’ …
“In the event of an emergency, the Order would empower, ‘the head of each agency engaged in procurement for the national defense’ to ‘procure and install … Government-owned equipment in plants, factories, or other industrial facilities owned by private persons.
“Stockpiling or prioritizing will not require a state of war. In Section 310 entitled, ‘Critical Items,’ the government is empowered ‘to take appropriate action to ensure that critical components, critical technology items, essential materials, and industrial resources are available from reliable sources when needed to meet defense requirements during peacetime, graduated mobilization, and national emergency. Appropriate action may include restricting contract solicitations to reliable sources, restricting contract solicitations to domestic sources (pursuant to statutory authority), stockpiling critical components, and developing substitutes for critical components or critical technology items.’ …
“In defining the civil transportation, the Order covers any possible gasoline rationing and vehicle restriction for vehicles that guzzle too much gasoline. The Order specifies ‘Civil transportation includes movement of persons and property by all modes of transportation in interstate, intrastate, or foreign commerce within the United States, its territories and possessions, and the District of Columbia, and related public storage and warehousing, ports, services, equipment and facilities. It adds, ‘Civil transportation’ also shall include direction, control, and coordination of civil transportation capacity regardless of ownership.’ …
“To avoid any doubt, the Order covers ‘all forms of energy including petroleum, gas (both natural and manufactured), electricity, solid fuels (including all forms of coal, coke, coal chemicals, coal liquification, and coal gasification), solar, wind, other types of renewable energy, atomic energy, and the production, conservation, use, control, and distribution (including pipelines) of all of these forms of energy.’
“Because any oil interruption would have an immediate impact on the distribution of food, the Order also covers ‘the production or preparation for market use of food resources.’ The Order asserts that ‘food resources’ means all commodities and products … capable of being ingested by either human beings or animals.”
This EO is no simple update of previous presidential orders. Do you think the administration would have slid it under the public and press’s radar on a late Friday if it were?
Whether in preparation for war (for example, with Iran) or any other national emergency, the federal government does not have the authority to take over our food and water supply, energy supplies (including oil and natural gas), technology, industry, manufacturing, transportation, health care facilities, etc. And taking the additional preliminary steps for enacting this martial law even during a time of peace is an unprecedented and out-of-control abuse of executive power.
This presidential order is another sweeping power grab in a long and dangerous legacy of government overreaches. Our Founding Fathers never would have allowed it, and we shouldn’t, either.
Executive orders become law 30 days after being published in the Federal Register if they go unchallenged by Congress. So write or call your congressmen and the president today to voice your opinion about this assault on your rights and liberties. You can call the White House at 202-456-1111 or contact the president by going to http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/submit-questions-and-comments.