Last Friday, President Obama quietly signed an executive order titled, “National defence Resources Preparedness.”
The order is on the White House website right now.
But no two news sources can agree on what it means.
The Drudge Report linked to it under the title, “MARTIAL LAW? WHITE HOUSE ISSUES EXECUTIVE ORDER: ‘NATIONAL defence RESOURCES PREPAREDNESS’…
And Huffington Post writer Edwin Black called attention to it, saying that the document puts the United States on a “war footing.”
Some right-wing websites are saying that Obama’s executive order is effectively a “coup against U.S. citizens.”
So what is in this document?
It’s based in part on the defence Production Act of 1950, which mobilized America for the Korean War. Basically that law granted the Executive branch of government broad authority in the economy: to compel businesses to sign contracts to produce goods for the national defence, to set wage and price controls, especially on raw materials, and to even requisition property that might be useful for national defence.
The Act has been reauthorized and passed through Congress many times, most recently in 2008 by President Bush, who had previously re-authorised it in 2003. President Clinton did the same in 1994.
Here is part of the text of the Executive order that is most interesting to imagine being used:
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 defence over performance of any other contracts or orders, and to allocate materials, services, and facilities as deemed necessary or appropriate to promote the national defence, 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 fertiliser;
(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 defence with respect to water resources; and
(6) the Secretary of Commerce with respect to all other materials, services, and facilities, including construction materials.
So essentially, different Cabinet departments could take command over their respective parts of the economy during a national emergency, which the president determines.
We all know instinctively that in a national emergency or war the government is going to do whatever it takes to stay in power, regardless of Constitutional niceties.
This Executive Order reauthorizes and “legalizes” that process, in the same way every Administration has done for the past 60-two years.
If this is a coup, it already happened long ago.
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