Reading it, I started to dig into whether the argument was valid. I read many of Obama's recent EO's, and then was drawn to a White House webpage title "Presidential Actions", that lists presidential proclamations, orders and whatever else Presidents do on any given day. We'll put aside the several hundred special days, weeks and months that were designated in the last couple years -- things like "National Poison Prevention Week", "Workers Day", etc. It's what Presidents do.
More interesting was ALL the national emergencies that I found which are active **right now**. Just going through the first 42 pages of the "Presidential Actions", I found that we are presently in a State of National Emergency with respect to:
Russia's proliferation of Highly Enriched UraniumLet me say again: we are in a state of national emergency with respect to all these entities.
Terrorists Disrupting the Middle East Peace Process
Weapons of Mass Destruction
Terrorists and their supporters
I'm sure there's a lot more. That's just the ones I found for the last year or so that were declared or re-authorized. Some of them go back to Bush and Clinton, maybe further. I didn't trace back but a few.
It's clear to me what's going on: under "precedent", a President can bypass Congress by declaring a national emergency via an Executive Order. There is no established Constitutional authority for doing so, but no one ever challenged the precedent, so they are just doing it. (Again, it started before Obama.)
So, in my blog posts of awhile ago ("The Unbridled Authority of Presidential Executive Orders", or "Totalitarianism Redux", etc) I was rather missing the Amazonian rain forest for the Charlie Brown Christmas tree when I ruminated on the dangers of allowing the President the authority to declare any undefined emergency. That bus has come and gone decades ago. Presidents for quite some time have been asserting that authority endlessly.
The purpose seems clear: to circumvent Congress and U.S. Statute, they declare an emergency, and then no existing law on the books applies to them. They can do (in the words of Bill Murray, from "Groundhog Day"): whatever they want.
No restrictions whatever.
Let's review just what it is they do claim they can do in an emergency, if their mood sees fit:
1. Seize all highways, seaports. (EO 10990, originally, superceded by later EOs)I'll leave you to ruminate on just how far down the path of statism we've actually gone, and what's holding them back.
2. Seize and control the communication media. (Well, that's a fait accompli, but it started with EO 10995)
3. Seize all electrical power, gas, petroleum, fuels and minerals. (EO 10997, et al)
4. Seize all food resources and farms. (EO 10998...)
5. Force all civilians into work brigades. (EO 11000...)
6. Take over all health, education and welfare functions. (EO 11001. Sounds just like Obamacare, doesn't it?)
7. Establishes a national registration of all persons. (EO 11002...)
8. seize all airports and aircraft, including commercial aircraft. (EO 11003. Pretty much what happened after 9/11)
9. Relocate communities, build new housing, designate areas to be abandoned, and establish new locations for populations. (EO 11004. Not unlike what Fannie, Freddie and the CRA accomplished, but more draconian.)
10. Seize railroads, inland waterways and public storage facilities. (EO 11005)
11. The National Guard could be federalized to seal all borders and take control of U.S. air space and all ports of entry. (EO 12656)
12. Enforce “industrial support” with the Dept. of Justice. (EO 11310)
13. Take 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. (EO 11921)
14. Asserts that when a state of emergency is declared by the President, Congress cannot review actions under this EO for six months. (EO 11921. This EO is a massive expansion of previous EOs, under a Republican Administration.)
15. increase domestic intelligence and surveillance. (EO 12656) It grants the government the right to isolate large groups of civilians.
16. authorize all Executive Orders to be put into effect in times of increased international tensions and economic or financial crisis. (EO 11051)