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The Fear of Martial Law

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By Alan Caruba

The President of the United States of America, Barack Hussein Obama, has generated so much fear that the most common theme of posted comments and private communications is that he will refuse to relinquish power if defeated in November or that, under some pretext, he will declare a state of martial law.

Many, myself included, did not like the Patriot Act that was enacted following 9/11 but there is little evidence that this law has been abused to deprive Americans of their fundamental rights and freedom, though surely some suspected of being terrorists were detained.

An Executive Order posted on the White House website on Friday, March 16, 2012, has generated a wave of fear. It is officially about “National Defense Resources Preparedness” and its stated policy addresses “national defense resource policies and programs under the Defense Production Act of 1950.”

Its stated policy is that “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.”  (Emphasis added)

In 1950 the nation was entering a new phase of history following World War II. It would be called the Cold War led by the then-Soviet Union, but 1950 is also important because on October 1, 1949, Mao Zedung had proclaimed the birth of the People’s Republic of China, instituting a Communist regime that continues to this day. With German and Japanese totalitarian threats vanquished, new ones were emerging.

The new EO evokes fear because it is occurring in peacetime and, more specifically, when the United States remains the strongest military power on Earth. There is no indication that an attack by any other nation is anticipated, so the implementation of the EO raises concerns that its purpose is not what it says.

In effect, the EO allows the federal government, directed by the President, to commandeer and control all aspects of the economy and the lives of all Americans. It centralizes control to an astonishing and frightening degree.

As just one example, it parcels out control to “ 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” and thereafter to:

The Secretary of Energy with respect to all forms of energy;

The Secretary of Health and Human Services with respect to health resources;

The Secretary of Transportation with respect to all forms of civil transportation;

The Secretary of Defense with respect to water resources; and

The Secretary of Commerce with respect to all other materials, services, and facilities, including construction materials.

The obvious question is why is this EO necessary in the absence of any threat of an invasion or even an attack?
The obvious question is why should the President of the United States, in the run-up to a national election, feel that this is the time to issue such an EO?

I have frankly been dismissive of widely expressed fears that Obama would or could carry off a coup d’etat to establish himself as an American dictator. The problem, however, is that Obama has surrounded himself with Cabinet Secretaries and a shadow government of “czars” that would likely support him if he were to attempt such an audacious move.

The “legality” of such a move would be rubber-stamped by the Attorney General whose regard for the Constitution and laws of the nation is dubious at best, elastic at worst. The President’s views about the Constitution are well known and he resents the limits it puts on his powers.

Would Congress stand by and allow its powers be usurped? Imagine yourself a Senator or Representative fearful of arrest and detention. Rounding up all 435 members would not be a difficult task.

The nation’s media, with exceptions, has “covered” for this President regarding the legitimacy of his right to hold office, his absurd energy policies, and his takeover of various segments of the nation’s economic base; the auto industry, the insurance industry, and Obamacare’s attempt to takeover the healthcare sector.

That is why this EO has evoked such fear and concern and that is why Congress has to assert its Constitutional powers before this President is permitted to overthrow the legislative branch of government and seize control through an EO that is so broad that it is a breathtaking seizure of power that could only be considered if the nation was, in fact, under attack.

This EO is about “preparedness”, but for whom?

© Alan Caruba, 2012

Posted by Alan Caruba at 5:11 PM

President Obama signs Executive Order allowing for control over all US resources

imageKenneth Schortgen Jr

On March 16th, President Obama signed a new Executive Order which expands upon a prior order issued in 1950 for Disaster Preparedness, and gives the office of the President complete control over all the resources in the United States in times of war or emergency.

The National Defense Resources Preparedness order gives the Executive Branch the power to control and allocate energy, production, transportation, food, and even water resources by decree under the auspices of national defense and national security.  The order is not limited to wartime implementation, as one of the order’s functions includes the command and control of resources in peacetime determinations.

Section 101.  Purpose.  This order delegates authorities and addresses national defense resource policies and programs under the Defense Production Act of 1950, as amended (the “Act”).

(b)  assess on an ongoing basis the capability of the domestic industrial and technological base to satisfy requirements in peacetime and times of national emergency, specifically evaluating the availability of the most critical resource and production sources, including subcontractors and suppliers, materials, skilled labor, and professional and technical personnel; – White House

Additionally, each cabinet under the Executive Branch has been given specific powers when the order is executed, and include the absolute control over food, water, and other resource distributions.

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.

(e)  “Food resources” means all commodities and products, (simple, mixed, or compound), or complements to such commodities or products, that are capable of being ingested by either human beings or animals, irrespective of other uses to which such commodities or products may be put, at all stages of processing from the raw commodity to the products thereof in vendible form for human or animal consumption.  “Food resources” also means potable water packaged in commercially marketable containers, all starches, sugars, vegetable and animal or marine fats and oils, seed, cotton, hemp, and flax fiber, but does not mean any such material after it loses its identity as an agricultural commodity or agricultural product.

Executive Orders created for national defense and national preparedness are not new in American history, but in each instance they brought about a Constitutional crisis that nearly led standing Presidents to hold dictatorial power over the citizenry.  During the Civil War, President Lincoln halted freedom of speech and freedom of the press, while at the same time revoking Habeas Corpus and the right to a fair trial under the sixth amendment.  During World War I, when Congress refused to grant Woodrow Wilson extended power over resources to help the war effort, he invoked an Executive Order which allowed him complete control over businesses, industry, transportation, food, and other economic policies.

In both cases, it was only after the death of each President that full Constitutional powers were restored to the citizens of the United States.

The economy of the United States is based on the free flow of resources, energy, and the rights of consumers to buy and sell as they see fit.  Any interference in this economic process quickly leads to shortages, rising prices, and civil unrest.  The purpose of President Obama signing this new Executive Order is yet unclear, however, it may coincide with information coming out of Israel yesterday that plans for a tactical or strategic strike on Iran are accelerating.  Oil prices in Europe rose over $3 a barrel for Brent crude after the Israeli actions, and US oil prices rose $2 for WTI.

The Obama administration appears to be preparing for a long drawn out war in the Middle East, or at the very least, an expected crisis that will require the need to override Constitutional authority and claim dominion over all resources in the United States under the guise of national defense.  With the rise in Disaster Preparedness growing for both individuals and states leading up to yesterday’s Executive Order, the mood of the nation points strongly towards some event or disaster that will require massive preparations on a national as well as local scale.

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