His Majesty, King Obama
Presidents have long used executive orders to promulgate dangerous and sometimes scandalous policies. In his latest executive order President Obama reiterates the notion that the federal government can take control of literally everything in the country.
"Cogito ergo es." I think, therefore you is.
Seriously, without me there would be nothing.
You must refer to me by my complete title: King of Everything. Rei di Tutto.
~Robin Williams as Ray D. Tutto, King of the Moon
A friend of mine called my attention to a document yesterday, and when I saw it, my first impression was that it must be some sort of spoof published by the Onion, the well known source of witty online satire. I was wrong, and in fact was looking at the latest executive order issued by President Obama on March 16, National Defense Resources Preparedness. My friend had begun with the subtitle "New Executive Order signed this morning giving government control of everything whether during peacetime or during a national emergency."
Really....control of everything? Had to be an Onion joke. A hoax. I mean, come on, everything?
Nope, as you see it was indeed issued by the White House Office of the Press Secretary, and unless some incredibly clever hacker's figured out how to spoof the White House' URL, this is the real thing. Now, I spent my professional life driving airplanes around, so legalese isn't my specialty, but when I encounter something of the breadth and scope that my friend had indicated this was, I'm going to do my best to see just how significant it is. Okay, let's start with when and what this order applies to.
Section 102 makes the 'when' abundantly clear:
Sec. 102. Policy. The United States must have an industrial and technological base capable of meeting national defense requirements and capable of contributing to the technological superiority of its national defense equipment in peacetime and in times of national emergency.
So, this applies all the time, according to this elastic section. But there's a lot of talk of 'defense' and 'preparedness,' so maybe we don't need to worry quite as much unless we're actually in a national emergency, right? Think again. The U.S. has been in an ongoing state of emergency since at least September 11, 2001, and there are many who would argue that it goes back a lot further than that. Besides, Sec. 102 explicitly states this applies in peacetime, so all the bases are covered.
What does this executive order apply to? What doesn't this executive order apply to, I found myself wondering when I skipped ahead to Section 201:
Sec. 201. Priorities and Allocations Authorities. (a) The authority of the President conferred by section 101 of the Act, 50 U.S.C. App. 2071, to require acceptance and priority performance of contracts or orders (other than contracts of employment) to promote the national defense over performance of any other contracts or orders, and to allocate materials, services, and facilities as deemed necessary or appropriate to promote the national defense, is delegated to the following agency heads:
(1) the Secretary of Agriculture with respect to food resources, food resource facilities, livestock resources, veterinary resources, plant health resources, and the domestic distribution of farm equipment and commercial fertilizer;
(2) the Secretary of Energy with respect to all forms of energy;
(3) the Secretary of Health and Human Services with respect to health resources;
(4) the Secretary of Transportation with respect to all forms of civil transportation;
(5) the Secretary of Defense with respect to water resources; and
(6) the Secretary of Commerce with respect to all other materials, services, and facilities, including construction materials.
I suppose you could quibble over some of the finer individual factors, but so far it seems like this order does indeed cover everything. Look at that opening paragraph, where it states that all of these agencies are to allocate materials, services, and facilities as deemed necessary or appropriate to promote the national defense. Given the priority emphasized by that section and the scope of all the agencies it list, I'd call that about as comprehensive as it gets.
What about who's affected by this executive order? Section 308, 502 and 601 state:
Sec. 308. Government-Owned Equipment. The head of each agency engaged in procurement for the national defense is delegated the authority of the President under section 303(e) of the Act, 50 U.S.C. App. 2093(e), to:
(a) procure and install additional equipment, facilities, processes, or improvements to plants, factories, and other industrial facilities owned by the Federal Government and to procure and install Government owned equipment in plants, factories, or other industrial facilities owned by private persons;
(b) provide for the modification or expansion of privately owned facilities, including the modification or improvement of production processes, when taking actions under sections 301, 302, or 303 of the Act, 50 U.S.C. App. 2091, 2092, 2093; and
(c) sell or otherwise transfer equipment owned by the Federal Government and installed under section 303(e) of the Act, 50 U.S.C. App. 2093(e), to the owners of such plants, factories, or other industrial facilities.
Sec. 502. Consultants. The head of each agency otherwise delegated functions under this order is delegated the authority of the President under sections 710(b) and (c) of the Act, 50 U.S.C. App. 2160(b), (c), to employ persons of outstanding experience and ability without compensation and to employ experts, consultants, or organizations. The authority delegated by this section may not be redelegated.
Sec. 601. Secretary of Labor. (a) The Secretary of Labor, in coordination with the Secretary of Defense and the heads of other agencies, as deemed appropriate by the Secretary of Labor, shall:
(1) collect and maintain data necessary to make a continuing appraisal of the Nation's workforce needs for purposes of national defense;
(2) upon request by the Director of Selective Service, and in coordination with the Secretary of Defense, assist the Director of Selective Service in development of policies regulating the induction and deferment of persons for duty in the armed services;
(3) upon request from the head of an agency with authority under this order, consult with that agency with respect to: (i) the effect of contemplated actions on labor demand and utilization; (ii) the relation of labor demand to materials and facilities requirements; and (iii) such other matters as will assist in making the exercise of priority and allocations functions consistent with effective utilization and distribution of labor;
(4) upon request from the head of an agency with authority under this order: (i) formulate plans, programs, and policies for meeting the labor requirements of actions to be taken for national defense purposes; and (ii) estimate training needs to help address national defense requirements and promote necessary and appropriate training programs; and
(5) develop and implement an effective labor management relations policy to support the activities and programs under this order, with the cooperation of other agencies as deemed appropriate by the Secretary of Labor, including the National Labor Relations Board, the Federal Labor Relations Authority, the National Mediation Board, and the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service.
Seems to me like we could be talking about not only military conscription at will, but coerced labor drawn from business owners, 'experts,' and 'consultants' whose business facilities...their property...can also be seized, all in the name of 'national defense' and 'preparedness.'
Digging into some writing around the internet since Friday's issuance of this executive order, we see that quite a bit of thought has gone into discussing what it and other laws, executive orders and policy statements really mean for the average person in the final analysis. That's an awful lot of text devoted to these questions, and I found strong opinions for every position, from those sounding the alarm that we could indeed be looking at peacetime martial law, a draft, and the procurement of private property to those claiming that all of this talk is needless speculation, that the president does not actually have the power to use government force to do all of the horrendous things that the first groups are warning about and anyone who's worried is just being silly, letting their imaginations run away with them, and are deserving of derision and scorn from thinking people.
I've seen a lot of similarities with these discussions with others dealing with the PATRIOT Act, NDAA and H.R.347, in fact, and at the end of the day, I've been able to come to an unambiguous conclusion.
All of you people chattering away, dissecting not just this executive order but the other laws I've mentioned, deconstructing and analyzing everything to the nth degree are nuts. Yep, flat out, bughouse crazy.
As Richard Mack, former sheriff and current candidate for Congress put it so simply and succinctly in a recent interview I saw him in said in regards to all of these totalitarian edicts, "We're Americans. We don't do that."
You poor crazed people reading, watching and interpreting all of these laws are missing the forest for the trees. We have no business discussing these fine points of murder, theft and torture as Americans in any official context because they're all simply rotten, evil and most importantly, illegal from the perspective of the philosophers who wrote the Declaration of Independence and later the Constitution.
We've been subjected to so much bloviating, lecturing, scaremongering and arrogance from politicians over many decades that we've reached a point where we're inundated by volumes of intricate laws that serve to restrain, limit and punish us, all supposedly for our own good. I've pointed out more than once that the profusion of parallel, overlapping and even conflicting regulations have only served to empower politicians while assuring that the average human being is constantly in violation of them, while at the same time exempting those same politicians from the sanctions the rest of us are subject to when...not if, but when...the government decides to notice our 'crimes.' This ocean of legalese makes for a frenzied environment of paranoia, suspicion and jingoistic thinking in which all of the ordinary people are perpetually misallocating their resources, energy and time to ensure they're in compliance with as many of these absurd regulation as possible instead of simply living.
You folks assuring us there's nothing to worry about? You're deluding yourselves. If these so-called rulers of ours don't have all of the capabilities to make mischief that you claim they don't, then why are they frantically adding page after page of new legislation to the Federal Register every day? And why are they so incredibly specific and nit-picky about the parameters of each and every one if they can't use these laws as they see fit whenever they please? Those of you who grudgingly acknowledge that these laws are as comprehensive and potentially threatening as many worry about but won't or can't be used are the worst in my view, since you've allowed yourselves to accept them and give them legitimacy. Sure, the guy in office right this minute may not kidnap, torture, or murder anyone, but what about his successors a year or a decade down the line? This situation did not arise by accident, or because legislators had nothing better to do.
And you who are devoting so much of your time and effort to participating in these intricate debates? We know they're dangerous. You're wasting precious time just to prove your point while doing nothing to ameliorate the problem, and meanwhile the new laws codifying tyranny are piling up. I'd suggest instead that you spend that time by devising constructive solutions to the hazards we're drowning in rather than just trying to convince others.
We desperately need to quit trying to make our world perfectly safe, it never has and never will be. It is not only unjust, it's unrealistic to expect people to live their whole lives scrambling to comply with the preponderance of obfuscatory, vague and/or contradictory rules they're surrounded by. The law-n-order types smugly assert that 'ignorance of the law is no excuse,' but that stance loses all validity when it's impossible to know every law on the books. It can't be denied that things have gone horribly wrong when even the director of the F.B.I is incapable of giving a straight answer when questioned about the legality of extrajudicial killing of Americans:
We've gone from being a nation that while admittedly imperfect was nonetheless the best example of the most free, the most innovative, best educated and prosperous country in the world to one filled with impoverished and ill-educated slaves bred to serve their corporate masters, cheering on death, misery and mortification as though these were virtues. They laugh as the last of the freedoms that produced all of those positives are cynically stripped from them by these psychotic 'human farmers' interested only in figuratively strip mining them for whatever short term gains they can grasp.
Okay, so Obama has declared himself Rei di Tutto, King of Everything, who's taken it upon himself to guide us safely through every hazard, every danger in our world.
When you can shed the hysteria, disinformation and hyperbole, I guarantee you'll realize that he and his power-mad ilk are the real danger we face. We have it in our power to depose this self-appointed king, just as Étienne de La Boétie showed us long ago, without violence, without bloodshed or the loss of life, merely by withdrawing our consent to His Majesty's reign:
Resolve to serve no more, and you are at once freed. I do not ask that you place hands upon the tyrant to topple him over, but simply that you support him no longer; then you will behold him, like a great Colossus whose pedestal has been pulled away, fall of his own weight and break into pieces.