Why the buzz over Obama’s mysterious executive order?

Why all the chatter on Twitter, the Drudge Report, the Huffington Press and all the conservative websites? Did Obama declare martial law?

BY: Rob Kerby, Senior Editor


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In a nutshell, it gives the president the power to take just about anything deemed necessary for ‘National Defense,’ whatever they decide that is. It’s peacetime, because as the title of the order says, it’s for ‘Preparedness.’

“Under this order the heads of these cabinet level positions; Agriculture, Energy, Health and Human Services, Transportation, Defense and Commerce can take food, livestock, fertilizer, farm equipment, all forms of energy, water resources, all forms of civil transportation (meaning any vehicles, boats, planes), and any other materials, including construction materials from wherever they are available. This is probably why the government has been visiting farms with GPS devices, so they know exactly where to go when they turn this one on.”

Kenneth Schortgen Jr., writing in the Finance Examiner newspaper, writes, “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.”

Calm down, writes Ed Morrissey at the website HotAir:

“We’re getting a lot of e-mail this weekend about an executive order issued on Friday afternoon by President Obama titled ‘National Defense Resources Preparedness.’ While the timing of the Executive Order is curious — why send it out on a Friday afternoon when an administration is usually trying to sneak bad news past the media? — the general impact of it is negligible. This Executive Order simply updates another Executive Order (12919) that had been in place since June 1994, and amended several times since.

“Let’s start with Friday’s Executive Order:

“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’).

“Sec. 102. Policy. 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. The domestic industrial and technological base is the foundation for national defense preparedness. The authorities provided in the Act shall be used to strengthen this base and to ensure it is capable of responding to the national defense needs of the United States.

“Sounds dramatic, doesn’t it?” asks Morrissey. “ This actually matches the language in Executive Order 12919, however, even the part about ‘in peacetime.’ Note what this Executive Order specifically orders: identify, assess, be prepared, improve, foster cooperation.

“ None of these items claim authority to seize private property and place them at the personal disposal of Obama.”

The order says the President can invoke the powers of this order to “meet national defense requirements” in “the full spectrum of emergencies.”

Presidents have issued similar orders in the name of national defense. For example, during the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln suspended habeas corpus and the rights to an impartial trial as protected by the Sixth Amendment.

President Lincoln visits the troops

During World War I, President Woodrow Wilson, frustrated with Congress’s reluctance to grant him power over natural resources, invoked an executive order to assume absolute and unilateral authority over the same range of resources.

So, yes, it sounds pretty alarming.

But the White House says it’s just clarifying the status quo – so America can be ready in case of emergency.

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