Very few people realize how close we are to complete totalitarianism. Some people think they know, but it’s not until you read the Executive Orders (EOs) issued by a long succession of Presidents that you will grasp just how much power they claim without Congressional approval or Constitutional authority.
Let me say that again: these EOs claim the president can invoke them at his whim, for any emergency he cares to define.
I discussed this in some detail in an older post (The Unbridled Authority of Presidential "Executive Orders") but that's just too verbose for most people, so I want to briefly summarize them here again so you get the full impact.
Most of the EOs I summarize here have been superceded by later EO’s, but none of the claims to authority have been rescinded, only expanded. It would be interesting to read what EOs Obama is issuing. (Many EOs are classified, FYI.)
Most EOs started under John Kennedy. None have ever been challenged in court. Federal actions for the current economic crisis were probably justified under these EOs. Early EO’s were justified for nuclear attack. Later EO’s broadened the definition of an “emergency” almost without bound, though Reagan was the first President to provide some definition of an emergency, but today it could include a flu epidemic. All the EOs have blanket expropriation clauses similar to:
(f) Claimancy. Prepare plans to claim materials, manpower, equipment, supplies, and services needed to carry out assigned responsibilities and other essential functions of the agency from the appropriate agencies and work with such agencies in developing programs to insure availability of such resources in an emergency.Go here to see the original EOs in the online federal archives.
EO 10990 allows the government to seize all highways, seaports.
EO 10995 allows the government to seize and control the communication media.
EO 10997 allows the government to seize all electrical power, gas, petroleum, fuels and minerals.
EO 10998 allows the government to seize all food resources and farms.
EO 11000 allows the government to force all civilians into work brigades.
EO 11001 allows the government to take over all health, education and welfare functions.
EO 11002 establishes a national registration of all persons.
EO 11003 allows the government to seize all airports and aircraft, including commercial aircraft.
EO 11004 allows the Housing and Finance Authority to relocate communities, build new housing, designate areas to be abandoned, and establish new locations for populations.
EO 11005 allows the government to seize railroads, inland waterways and public storage facilities.
EO 11051 gives authorization to put all Executive Orders into effect in times of increased international tensions and economic or financial crisis.
EO 11310 granted authority to the Department of Justice to enforce “industrial support”.
EO 11490 consolidates 21 Executive Orders issued over a fifteen year period.
EO 11921 established control over the mechanisms of production and distribution, of energy sources, wages, salaries, credit and the flow of money in U.S. financial institution in any undefined national emergency. It also provides that when a state of emergency is declared by the President, Congress cannot review actions under this EO for six months. This EO is a massive expansion of previous EOs, under a Republican Administration.
EO 12148 created FEMA. An “emergency czar” was appointed. Very long, and amends many prior EOs.
EO 12656 allows the government to increase domestic intelligence and surveillance. It grants the government the right to isolate large groups of civilians. The National Guard could be federalized to seal all borders and take control of U.S. air space and all ports of entry. An EXTREMELY long EO.