There is much wringing of hands going on about Obama’s Executive Order on National Defense Resources Preparedness, and how it’s setting the U.S. up for Martial Law, the ceasing of personal property, nationalization of industry, etc. However, at the end of the day, this is, sadly, nothing new.
This very same document, with few exceptions, was issued almost verbatim by the Clinton Administration (EO 12919). According to this FOX News article, the only true change in the document is the assignment of duties to various organizations or cabinet members, while the essential aspects stay the same. That’s also echoed in this article. So there really is nothing new to get worked up over here.
That being said, the fact that these EOs have existed and continue to exist is quite troubling and the true danger within them is in the vastly expanded circumstances under which the “authorities” in the act can be applied in our current Patriot Act society. We’re much more likely to see this enacted now than ever before.
A state of National Emergency can be declared for virtually anything in the current climate – whether that is based on a perceived terrorist threat, act of war (very wide berth there), or even high gas prices. Another dam breaking in New Orleans could put this Executive Order into action, or if Obama simply feels that his supply of “Touch of Gray” from Just For Men is too hard to come by, he could flip the switch. His unilateral control of what is or isn’t a National Emergency is a terrifying abuse of Presidential authority without any of the “checks and balances” that are supposed to be built in by our Constitution.