Kate Dalley is a news commentator and co-host of the Perspectives morning show on Fox News 1450 AM 93.1 FM. The opinions stated in this article are hers and not those of St. George News.
OPINION – On March 16, 2012, President Obama signed his newest Executive Order. The new National Defense Resources Preparedness Order contains some interesting and frightening stipulations that we, the American people, need to be prepared for ourselves.
Pursuant to this order, the government has the power to:
• Give the president power to institute martial law in the United States in times of peace or during a national threat.
• Give the president practically unlimited power over U.S. citizens and their private property.
• Assume the authority to have someone with “outstanding ability” to be forced to work for the government “without compensation.”
• Identify requirements for the full spectrum of emergencies, including essential military and civilian demands.
• Guarantee loans by private institutions for the purchase of said goods or supplies.
• Evaluate, assess and seize all private and non-private energy production, health resources, transportation, water, resources, livestock, farms, farm equipment, guns, ammunition and food.
Read the entire Executive Order here.
This new Executive Order is actually an amended preparedness order, revising an earlier 1950 EO regarding National Defense Resources and the ability to use all private and citizen owned resources in times of war or catastrophe. This Order also includes amendments addressing a similar 1994 Executive Order, transferring some of the powers from FEMA to the Department of Homeland Security; the DHS did not exist in 1994. Most of this new EO seems to merely update the old information.
But there are differences. And the differences are all in the name of “preparedness.” The President wants to “ensure the availability” of all of our privately owned resources in the name of preparedness for a potential threat. Section 103(c) of the Order directs executive departments and agencies (as defined) to:
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.
Is this order issued in preparation for expansion of the hostilities in the Middle East between Israel and Iran? The consequences of an impending war could result in a global economic crisis and the need to be prepared is evident. Or, is this just a convenient time for an out-of-control government to strip us of all of our liberties, one executive order at a time, just because it has the ability to do so in the name of security?
This order was released on a Friday evening, when most media outlets would not give it the attention it deserves, due to distractions of the impending weekend festivities. This is called “Friday Night Document Dump Night.” And under the current administration, it makes the conservatives and tea party enthusiasts very nervous. It should make all of us nervous.
Does this new executive order give the President the ability to steal privately-earned wealth under the pretense of a national emergency? I see some striking similarities to the Italian dictator Benito Mussolini as he used his principle of a “nation in arms” to steal private property from citizens.
The problem is that over the last 60 years, we have had legitimate laws that have been passed to ensure our security as a nation. Yet, those laws have resulted in restricting more and more of our civil liberties along the way. What are we giving up in the name of security?
Much like the Patriot Act that passed in response to the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center, an extension of more powers that were designed to combat terrorism are now primarily used for investigating crimes. Almost any crime can have some contrived connection to terrorism and this is where the abuse of power comes into play. The authority then becomes over-reaching.
With the President usurping fiscal authority by assuming the power to guarantee loans for the purchase of goods or services, thereby becoming the fiscal agent in those contracts, will this drive biased decisions, picking and choosing the companies that the government will use? Will the next Executive order state that the government does not have to pay on guaranteed loans under certain conditions? Section 301(b) of the order provides:
Each guaranteeing agency is designated and authorized to: (1) act as fiscal agent in the making of its own guarantee contracts and in otherwise carrying out the purposes of section 301 of the Act; and (2) contract with any Federal Reserve Bank to assist the agency in serving as fiscal agent.
We used to call it slavery when someone was compelled to work for free. This order gives the Executive Branch the ability to take a scientist, a contractor, or anyone for that matter, and force them to work for the government, without compensation. We call this slavery. Section 502(c) authorizes the President and these agencies:
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 re-delegated.
Is this really America?
We should know by now that by granting the President nebulous powers and trusting him to not abuse them is a bad idea. Where are the congressional checks and balances? There was a reason that our founding fathers sought to balance the power within our government. Without this balance, we have a monarchy or a dictatorship. What happened to the land of democracy and freedom?
As John Adams noted, the very basis of the Constitution rests on the concept of private property. “The moment the idea is admitted into society that property is not as sacred as the laws of God,” Adams wrote, “anarchy and tyranny commence. Property must be secured or liberty cannot exist.”
Having this Executive order come on the heels of the National Defense Authorization Act (the “detainee bill”) is disturbing. It seems as though our civil liberties are being taken away at a faster rate these days. We need those who govern to understand that limited government is what is best for our country and for our citizens.
Executive orders that bypass the congressional stamp of approval should be issued sparingly, not weekly. Executive orders, used to enact laws that would never pass through Congress, could turn our presidents into dictators if we are not careful and aware.
If the ballot in 2008 had said King Obama, would anyone have voted for him? I think we all know the answer to that.
Copyright 2012 St. George News.