Summary: A series of Executive Orders during the past century has slowly expanded the authority of the Executive Branch. Now President Hope and Change takes a large step forward toward a new order, issuing a blueprint for tyranny. Don’t worry, it will be implemented slowly. One cannot boil a frog slowly (it jumps out), but one can bake a Republic.
Today’s reading: Executive Order 12656 (text here), issued on 18 November 1988 by President Reagan: Assignment of Emergency Preparedness Responsibilities. One of a series of ever-broader measures preparing American for severe shockwaves — high-impact, low probability events. Cheap insurance in case of great disaster.
Now Obama making this activity a normal part of government, roadmap to expand the government’s reach and power. Slowly and quietly, so as not to alarm the sheep. That’s been the successfully pattern used to smother our spirit –even awareness — of liberty.
It worked with the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO, 1970, see Wikipedia) — enacted to target the most powerful of organized crime leaders, now routinely used to attack ordinary citizens. It work fantastically well with the post-9/11 legislation. The Patriot Act reshaped the United States overall polity like no other single act since the Civil War, vastly expanding the government’s domestic police powers. The Authorization for Use of Military Force on 18 September 2001 did the same overseas, initiating the Long War against an ever-growing list of enemies (real and imagined).
Now comes the great leap forward as Obama signs a new Executive Order on National Defense Resources Preparedness. It’s a horror show of unconstitutional power; here are a few highlights.
Before we start: This Order gathers together, systematizes, and expands existing powers. Note the open-ended nature of these provisions — broad in scope, with no stated limits in dollars or time. This goes far beyond preparation for war and disaster. It’s everyday tyranny. Like most of our post-9/11 new order, probably operated in secret and beyond effective judicial review.
PART I – PURPOSE, POLICY, AND IMPLEMENTATION
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. The domestic industrial and technological base is the foundation for national defense preparedness. The authorities provided in the Act shall be used to strengthen this base and to ensure it is capable of responding to the national defense needs of the United States.
Sec. 103. General Functions
Executive departments and agencies (agencies) responsible for plans and programs relating to national defense, or for resources and services needed to support such plans and programs, shall: …
(c) be prepared, in the event of a potential threat to the security of the United States, to take actions necessary to ensure the availability of adequate resources and production capability, including services and critical technology, for national defense requirements;
(d) improve the efficiency and responsiveness of the domestic industrial base to support national defense requirements; and …
PART II – PRIORITIES AND ALLOCATIONS
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: …
(b) The Secretary of each agency delegated authority under subsection (a) of this section (resource departments) shall plan for and issue regulations to prioritize and allocate resources and establish standards and procedures by which the authority shall be used to promote the national defense, under both emergency and non-emergency conditions. …
PART III – EXPANSION OF PRODUCTIVE CAPACITY AND SUPPLY
Sec. 301. Loan Guarantees
(a) To reduce current or projected shortfalls of resources, critical technology items, or materials essential for the national defense, the head of each agency engaged in procurement for the national defense, as defined in section 801(h) of this order, is authorized pursuant to section 301 of the Act, 50 U.S.C. App. 2091, to guarantee loans by private institutions. …
Sec. 302. Loans
To reduce current or projected shortfalls of resources, critical technology items, or materials essential for the national defense, the head of each agency engaged in procurement for the national defense is delegated the authority of the President under section 302 of the Act, 50 U.S.C. App. 2092, to make loans thereunder. …
Sec. 304. Subsidy Payments
To ensure the supply of raw or nonprocessed materials from high cost sources, or to ensure maximum production or supply in any area at stable prices of any materials in light of a temporary increase in transportation cost, the head of each agency engaged in procurement for the national defense is delegated the authority of the President under section 303(c) of the Act, 50 U.S.C. App. 2093(c), to make subsidy payments, after consultation with the Secretary of the Treasury and the Director of OMB. …
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. …
There is much more, but these excerpts show the nature of this beast. Expect slow implementation of this (that’s the pattern of the quiet coup). Step by step; inch by inch. Until we have a new political regime, and the Second Republic has died.
For more information
About the President’s emergency powers:
- The President’s big stick (domestic): his National Emergency Powers, 11 June 2010
- President Obama celebrates 9-11 by renewing his Emergency War Powers, 11 September 2011
A few other posts about the Constitution’s slow death:
- Cutting down the tree of liberty, 9 September 2010 — Government secrets trump fair trials.
- War is the health of the state, 18 September 2010
- A great philosopher and statesman comments on the Bush-Obama tweaks to the Constitution, 10 October 2010
- Let’s gaze upon the corpse of the Fourth Amendment, 12 October 2011
- RIP, Constitution. The Second Republic died this week. Of course, we don’t care (that’s why it died)., 5 December 2011