Obama’s Executive Order and Silent Artillery
Last night a friend and I attended a seminar on the Constitution with Shane Krauser, director of the American Academy for Constitutional Education. Least to say we were the only ones under 40, that is to say, a herd of silver heads, us and an energetic 6 foot 6 inch sixteen-year-old named Foster. Tuesday night at a Church in central Phoenix is evidently not a hotbed of youthful activity these days. But if my generation fully understood the dystopian drama that was unfolding in front of us they would realize politics today is the ultimate reality show.
Barack Obama for instance last Friday released his “National Defense Resource Preparedness” executive order. By Saturday the Internet was frenzy with alarm and theories of conspiracy, but it was also chalk full of rationalized denial. While the traditional skeptics, always prepared to launch volleys of scrutiny at any move the federal government makes, were quick to lambast the administration for its unprecedented “power grab” others like World Net Daily, Hot Air and the Daily Caller told us it was “nothing to storm the castle over”
As usual the analysis will fall somewhere in between impending doom and sunshine butterflies. It is true, President Obama’s EO, was merely an update of similar orders passed under presidents Bill Clinton and Dwight Eisenhower empowering the federal government to seize control of literally every sector of the economy including farming, “all forms of energy,” all “water resources”, “all forms of civil transportation”, all health resources, and “all other materials, services, and facilities including construction materials” to ensure our capability of meeting “national defense requirements.”
This type of national defense mandate dates back to Executive Order 8248, which in 1939 set responsibilities of the president and his administration in the event of a national crisis. The decision of when it seizes control “in peacetime and in times of national emergency” hasn’t been changed since Bill Clinton’s EO 12919 contrary to some misinforming reports. This is a poignant reminder however; after all old news is new news. It reminds us that the Executive and its secretaries continue to claim the power to nationalize the economy.
So while this may be merely an update of the EO, a delineation of duties under FEMA and that of its younger uglier sister, the Department of Homeland Security, and not ‘peacetime martial law’ what is the Obama administration preparing for? Nearly all reports on this event have asked “why now?”
While White house spokesman Jay Carney dismissed the news as a “routine piece of business” others don’t see it that way. The order “is either a serious power grip or another sign that inside the deep recesses of the White House, they are preparing for war,” Phil Flynn, an energy analyst at PFGBest, told MarketWatch.
New York Times best-selling author Edwin Back seems to agree: “Obama may have quietly placed the United States on a war preparedness footing, perhaps in anticipation of an outbreak of war between Israel, the West, and Iran.”
Last night Shane Krauser amidst some uneasiness regarding the order reminded everyone that not all executive orders are unconstitutional and he is right, the question is are all wars just or necessary and even if they may be argued to be – are they Constitutional? War powers are vested in Congress therefore not all wars especially if prosecuted soley by the Executive and the Pentagon are constitutional. Which begs the question can an unconstitutional war be used to justify other constitutional action? Our recent experience suggests they can.
The recent EO is but the latest in a long chain of evidence, which suggests we are preparing the nation and its institutions for war. Despite admissions by Meir Dagan, former head of Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency, that the Iranian government is governed by “very rational” people a comment which contrasts sharply with their incendiary and often bizarre rhetoric and despite James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence, who recently reaffirmed “we don’t believe [the Iranians] actually made the decision to go ahead with a nuclear weapon” the United States is decidedly on the path to Persia.
Three aircraft carriers along with numerous anti-mine ships have been dispatched to the Strait of Hormuz and even battle islands have been requested from which special operations, aircraft and other amphibious operations could be launched. Moreover, the U.S. and U.K. are set to release strategic oil reserves suggesting an impending dearth of supply. Domestically, the belt of dissent has been tightened significantly.
Just in the last few months it has been reported protests are now seen as “low-level terrorism” according to the Department of Defense. Provisions under the NDAA suspend due process for those “deemed” by the national security council to be terrorists. If anyone had qualms over suspending habeus corpus to U.S. citizens accused of terrorism Joseph Lieberman’s Enemy Expatriation Act introduced to committee would strip any “terrorists” of that distinction.
For those unfortunate citizens caught in the path of a MQ-9 Reaper forget your lawyer because Eric Holder doesn’t need a search warrant or any due process to erase you. Want to protest Congress or the White House? Think again, Obama’s recent anti-Occupy law prevents U.S. citizens from espousing their political beliefs on federal property. In fact, why would you protest Congress they don’t have any power anymore. Clearly they are irrelevant when the Pentagon evidently doesn’t need or care for their consent to launch wars or take human lives.
Whether economic collapse, war with Iran or both is on the horizon it is clear all is not well in the land of the free. The idea of government as a sentinel of rights versus a distributer of gifts and privleges is under attack at every level and has been for a long time. While some may see Obama’s recent executive order as merely more of the same they unfortunately join a large coalition of the despondent. The threat of incrementalism is greater than that of brash usurpations of power. We have forgotten the times when small taxes amounting to mere pennies on the dollar wrought the fury of our nation. Those times have unfortunately long since past, we have forgotten our heritage and for that we suffer.
From Lincoln’s Lyceum address referring to the generation of the revolution:
“The consequence was, that of those scenes, in the form of a husband, a father, a son or brother, a living history was to be found in every family– a history bearing the indubitable testimonies of its own authenticity, in the limbs mangled, in the scars of wounds received, in the midst of the very scenes related–a history, too, that could be read and understood alike by all, the wise and the ignorant, the learned and the unlearned.–But those histories are gone. They can be read no more forever. They were a fortress of strength; but, what invading foeman could never do, the silent artillery of time has done; the leveling of its walls. They are gone.–They were a forest of giant oaks; but the all-resistless hurricane has swept over them, and left only, here and there, a lonely trunk, despoiled of its verdure, shorn of its foliage; unshading and unshaded, to murmur in a few gentle breezes, and to combat with its mutilated limbs, a few more ruder storms, then to sink, and be no more.
They were the pillars of the temple of liberty; and now, that they have crumbled away, that temple must fall, unless we, their descendants, supply their places with other pillars, hewn from the solid quarry of sober reason. Passion has helped us; but can do so no more. It will in future be our enemy. Reason, cold, calculating, unimpassioned reason, must furnish all the materials for our future support and defence.–Let those materials be moulded into general intelligence, sound morality, and in particular, a reverence for the constitution and laws: and, that we improved to the last; that we remained free to the last; that we revered his name to the last; that, during his long sleep, we permitted no hostile foot to pass over or desecrate his resting place; shall be that which to learn the last trump shall awaken our Washington.”