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What Now ‘Paulbots’?

So, what now?  The “election” is over. Ron Paul will retire.  If President Obama doesn’t declare himself Dictator Obama, we will get another opportunity to “elect” a President in 4 years. FOUR YEARS?!?!  Seems like a lifetime in one sense, and in another, it zips by in a flash.

Ok, where to begin? Well, let’s get the whole “who’s to blame?” thing out of the way. For months now, we have been hearing “You Paulbots are going to be responsible for Obama’s re-election!”  And more recently, “Thanks for re-electing Obama all of you who voted for Johnson!”

Let’s take a look at this. IF the GOP, the RNC,  and the “mainstream” media had not cheated, lied, and stolen through election fraud, and given Ron Paul a FAIR shot at the Republican nomination, Mitt Romney may very well have been President-Elect this morning.

Yep, you read that right. Even if everything during the Primaries up through the Convention, was played fairly, Romney may still have been the nominee. We still might not have had the numbers necessary to secure the nomination. This is purely “Monday morning quarterbacking” on my part. We MIGHT have had the numbers and taken the nomination, but it was always a long shot. At any rate, there are two things I am certain of, if we were given a level playing field.
#1).
IF Ron Paul would have gotten the nomination, he WOULD HAVE beaten President Obama. (A point I will address later)
#2). IF Romney got the nomination (fairly), the Republican Party would have brought many of the Paul supporters into the fold for the sake of unity in defeating President Obama.

Let’s begin with my second point first. The one thing that everyone from the extreme right wing religious Republicans all the way over to the socially liberal Independents, to include the core base of Libertarians agreed on through all of this, was Obama’s policies were wrong and he needed to be defeated. I don’t believe that was ever in dispute. The dispute rested in who to replace Obama with. And up until the Convention, that person SHOULD have been a negotiable point. But it never was. There was no choice. The GOP, RNC, and the media (along with the powers behind the scenes) took all choice away from ALL of us. 

Romney was SELECTED because it provided a win/win situation for Wall Street, the Military Industrial Complex, the Statists, and yes, the proponents of a New World Order. They ALL wanted 4 more years with Obama, who in his second term is likely to be more aggressive in implementing policies that are beneficial to all of them. But in the event Obama lost, who better to replace him with than a man who, based on his record, would continue those same policies? Romney was perfect!

But back to my point. If Romney, and the Republican Party would have played fair, and STILL won the nomination, I have no doubt, although disappointed, many Paul supporters would have supported Romney in the common goal of defeating Obama. I’m confident of this because, IF it were a fairly won nomination, Ron Paul would have, at the very least, had a platform to address the Convention. He would have been encouraged to help shape the Romney campaign and agenda. His advice would have been sought out in shaping policy for the future of Conservatism and the Republican Party. And as we all know, where Dr. Paul goes, so goes his supporters. Now you can claim this is pure speculation and opinion on my part, and it is. I don’t deny that. But it is pretty logical, as far as speculation goes. So, I’m sticking with it…IF this had been played out in a fair and honest manner, and Romney still secured the nomination, he would have garnered upwards of MILLIONS of additional supporters.

Ok, now on to my first point. IF everything had been done fair and square and Ron Paul would have secured the nomination, he would without doubt be taking the Oath of Office in January. How can I say this obvious opinion with such force and conviction?  How can I present my opinion so matter of factly?

Well, for starters, there is an overwhelming majority of Americans, who KNOW that the policies, both domestic AND abroad of the Obama administration are just not cutting it. This President has added TRILLIONS of dollars in debt, to an already out of control debt he claims to have inherited. He has broken nearly every campaign promise he made to get the job the first time. He has not only continued the war effort of the last President, but has expanded it, and will continue to do so. And speaking of the last administration, President Obama has continued to eliminate personal liberties of Americans through the extension of the Patriot Act, and implementing NDAA.  He has increased spending and manpower, and expanded the jurisdiction of the TSA.  He has exhibited a disdain for the process of our system by circumventing Congress through the use of Executive Orders. He has a Justice Department, under the head of Eric Holder, who at the very least is incompetent, but more realistically, criminal. And on and on and on. So, there are even die hard Liberals and Democrats who recognize this Administration’s policies are simply continuations of the Bush Administration’s policies. And they aren’t exactly thrilled about it.

Did any of you watch the “debates” between President Obama and Governor Romney? Yeah, me neither. After the halfway point of the first one, it was apparent, there was no “debate”. With all of their double talk, blame game, fool hearty attempts to prove how different they are, nobody bought it. The only ones who grudgingly, painfully, subjected themselves to the “show” were the pundits, bloggers, and sadists. It is abundantly clear, those “debates” were merely entertainment. Now, a President Obama vs. Congressman Paul series of debates would have been EPIC!

The President might have actually been put in a position to defend his FAILed policies:

Senator Obama campaigning in 2007….Gonna end the wars!
Congressman Paul 2012 debate….WHEN?

Senator Obama campaigning in 2007….Gonna put Americans back to work!
Congressman Paul 2012 debate…
WHEN?

Senator Obama campaigning in 2007….Gonna turn this economy around!
Congressman Paul 2012 debate…WHEN?

And these are just the easy ones. But specifically, imagine President Obama, while feebly attempting to defend his policies, trying to make valid arguments against Dr. Paul’s proposed policies!

For example, these wars. I think it’s safe to say America is “warred out“. How can President Obama defend his policies on war expansion AND argue against Dr. Paul’s policy of “Just march them home!”? Yes, I have simplified that, but how difficult must it be to make it true? Not one of these wars we are involved in does ANYTHING to make America safer. Even if you believe that there are bad guys who want to kill us, there is no valid justification for these UNDECLARED wars, and immoral occupations. These actions create enemies. So yes, “Just march them home!” while simplistic, seems to work just fine in my mind. But of course, President Obama would no doubt have come back with It’s complicated, and your proposal will leave us weak as a nation. Actually, it wouldn’t. Because Congressman Paul’s proposal of “Just march the home” includes DOUBLING the size of the U.S. Navy AND the U.S. Coast Guard.  Hey, aren’t those the guys and gals that protect OUR borders from a DEFENSIVE standpoint? I think I read that somewhere.

Need another example? How about the Patriot Act?, corporate bailouts?, printing/borrowing/spending?, NDAA?, ObamaCare?, No Child Left Behind?, the Dream Act? My intention here is not to rehash each of their positions on every issue, but to demonstrate that they actually DO differ…on just about every issue imaginable. There is a clear and distinct difference in their policy positions. We would have had a choice. We would have witnessed real debates. We would have seen a true fiscal Conservative, not merely saying Obama’s monetary policies are wrong, but explaining why they are wrong, AND presenting a realistic, workable, alternative. Did you hear Governor/Candidate Romney present such a plan? I sure didn’t. I heard an awful lot of You’re wrong, and I have a plan, but I heard nor saw this plan.

Back to the wars. I heard Governor Romney say a lot of the You did it wrong, and I would have done it differently, but it is clear…he had no intention of scaling back when it comes to war. In fact, that is one area he might have escalated faster than President Obama.

How about those bailouts, NDAA, TSA, and other issues that at best were gleaned over during the debates? Again, I heard nothing to suggest a Romney Presidency would have changed any of that. ObamaCare? Please….he created that monstrosity! No matter how many times he said I will repeal ObamaCare, he could never not follow that up with and replace it. Replace it how? I have always maintained he would replace the name of ObamaCare with its ORIGINAL moniker, RomneyCare.

So, IF the circus we witnessed over the last several months would have been conducted fairly, and IF Dr. Paul would have secured the Republican nomination, I am confident he would have been named President-Elect this morning. All, but the far left Liberals, and the die-hard Statists (NWO) are less than satisfied with one or more of President Obama’s policy implementations thus far, and MOST Americans are less than enthusiastic in him performing any better next term. Take the Democrats who are opposed to the wars. Given a choice of sticking with the current President, who is showing no signs of ending the wars, and a candidate who has said “March them home!”, a great number of those people (who voted for Obama last time for that very reason) are going to chance it with the guy who says he will end the wars.

But given the choice we were given, they chose to stick with the devil they know. The same is true for Independents, who are not necessarily Libertarians, who oppose corporate bailouts and Quantitative Easing. Given this choice we were given, they opted for 4 more years of one tax/print/spend guy, rather than risk 8 years of another borrow/print/spend guy. Had they been offered the choice of tax/borrow/print/spend OR cutting ONE TRILLION DOLLARS in the first year, with an actual plan proving it can be done, they would have chosen the latter.

We said the Republicans could not defeat Obama without us, and that has now been proven to be true. So, we have 4 more years of Obama. Well, put the blame where it belongs. It does NOT lie with the Paulbots, or the Johnsonites, or the Steinians, or with ANY other American who stood proud in their convictions by casting their vote. The blame lies entirely with the people who gave you NO CHOICE.

Believe it or not, there is actually an upside to Obama winning. While it is true, there is no appreciable difference between Obama and Romney, had Romney won, he would get the blame for the inevitable financial meltdown we are approaching. But more importantly than him getting the blame, capitalism and free markets would get the blame. No, Romney is not a true free market capitalist, but the media will mislabel his policies as such. 

I could go on showing that if Americans had a real choice, the outcome would have been much different, but I’d like to move on to the original intent of this article. What are we Paulbots (and other 3rd Party Independents) to do now? First and foremost, we continue to spread the message. It has ALWAYS been more than the man (Ron Paul).  It has, and should remain about the message. The message of individual liberty and personal responsibility. The message of free trade with nations while remaining secure in our defense. The message of retaining the fruits of YOUR labor and investing those fruits to suit YOUR needs.

Some of you have chosen Governor Johnson as your new Liberty Leader. Some of you have latched onto Rand Paul. Some have migrated towards other Parties, such as the Green and Constitution Parties. I admit, I was saddened and disappointed that so many of you chose that route BEFORE the Convention. However, at this point in the game, I am elated at the prospect of promoting ALL 3rd Party/Independent platforms. It is long overdue! Even after all I pointed out in this article of how America is disenfranchised,disappointed, and disgusted by the lack of choice this two-Party system gives them, a lot still see no alternatives. We certainly cannot depend on the media to enlighten them. It is up to us. Become the media.

Next, for those of you who have not had State elections for the Senate, House, and Governorships, get cracking! Start looking into the folks running for those seats. Investigate and vet them all out.  Dr. Paul formally endorsed 11 candidates for the House this cycle and yesterday EIGHT of those 11 won! And that, my friends is how we continue the R3VOLUTION! that IS the message! We get people in the House, Senate, and Governors mansions from all over this country who will continue Ron Paul’s legacy.

1). Justin Amash. Michigan 3rd District.
2.)
Thomas Massie. Kentucky 4th District.
3.)
Kerry Bentivolio. Michigan 11th District.
4.) Steve Stockman. Texas 36th District.
5.)
Randy Weber. Texas 14th District. To replace Congressman Paul. He’s got some big shoes to fill!
6.)
Ted Yoho. Florida 3rd District.
7.)
David Schweikert. Arizona 6th District.
8.) Walter Jones. North Carolina 3rd District.

http://www.thenewamerican.com/usnews/item/13555-the-ron-paul-revolution-moves-to-congress

I personally have high hopes for Justin Amash, Thomas Massie, and Walter Jones. While these wins are indeed impressive, we have a lot more work to do. We need many more Rand Paul’s and Mike Lee’s in the Senate. Early predictions for the 2014 cycle lean toward a possible Republican takeover.
http://www.rollcall.com/issues/57_93/Senate_2014_Field_Looks_to_Favor_GOP-212263-1.html

We need to make sure they are Constitutional Republicans, or Libertarian. We’ve lost the Executive Branch for at least the next 4 years, the Judicial Branch offers little to no hope, so we must retake the Legislative Branch.

When researching these potential candidates, be sure they oppose such atrocities as Patriot Act, NDAA, bailouts, socialized health care, etc. But also be sure they favor things like nullificaction and State’s rights.

Six States were successful yesterday in approving initiatives that nullify unconstitutional federal laws! This is paramount to our success in restoring the Constitutional authority granted to the States through the Constitution.

1).  Montana,Referendum 122
2).  Colorado, Amendment 64
3).  Alabama, Amendment 6
4).  Washington State, Initiative 502
5).  Wyoming, Amendment A
6).  Massachusetts, Question 3

http://tenthamendmentcenter.com/2012/11/07/nullification-victories/

Another thing we should concentrate on, is electing honest local Sheriffs. They are our last best defense against a tyrannical government. Take a good look at how your local police department personnel are dressed, armed. Check out their vehicles. Read the current Police Beat section of your local newspapers. You may be quite surprised at the overkill tactics used by the ones who are hired to Protect and Serve you. While the staff of the Sheriff, including the deputies are hired personnel, they answer solely to the Sheriff who is normally elected by you and I. Look into your local Sheriff’s Department and see how you can get the right people to defend you against the State. I don’t want to come off as an alarmist in this particular post, but be prepared people.

A dichotomy frequently exists today between a sheriff’s jurisdiction and the jurisdiction of a local police department. A metropolitan area may encompass an entire county or more; police departments and sheriffs will often maintain concurrent jurisdiction in the overlapping area. A sheriff may assume that a local police department will do its duty in enforcing the law, but the primary obligation rests with the sheriff and requires him to act when evidence of neglect of that duty exists.

http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Sheriff

The SAME Unaccountable Government Agency Which Spies on ALL Americans Also Decides Who Gets ASSASSINATED by Drones

“The [Government Agency] — Now Vested With The Power To Determine The Proper ‘Disposition’ Of Terrorist Suspects — Is The SAME AGENCY That Is At The Center Of The Ubiquitous, Unaccountable Surveillance State Aimed At American Citizens.”

The Washington Post reports that the same agency which spies on all Americans also decides who is assassinated by drone or otherwise.

Over the pas. two years, the Obama administration has been secretly developing a new blueprintfor pursuing terrorists, a next-generation targeting list called the “disposition matrix.”

The matrix contains the names of terrorism suspects arrayed against an accounting of the resources being marshaled to track them down, including sealed indictments and clandestine operations. U.S. officials said the database is designed to go beyond existing kill lists, mapping plans for the “disposition” of suspects beyond the reach of American drones.

Among senior Obama administration officials, there is a broad consensus that such operations are likely to be extended at least another decade. Given the way al-Qaeda continues to metastasize, some officials said no clear end is in sight.

***

Obama has institutionalized the highly classified practice of targeted killing, transforming ad-hoc elements into a counterterrorism infrastructure capable of sustaining a seemingly permanent war.

***

White House counterterrorism adviser John O. Brennan is seeking to codify the administration’s approach to generating capture/kill lists, part of a broader effort to guide future administrations through the counterterrorism processes that Obama has embraced.

***

The United States now operates multiple drone programs, including acknowledged U.S. military patrols over conflict zones in Afghanistan and Libya, and classified CIA surveillance flights over Iran.

Strikes against al-Qaeda, however, are carried out under secret lethal programs involving the CIA and JSOC. The matrix was developed by the NCTC [the National Counterterrorism Center], under former director Michael Leiter, to augment those organizations’ separate but overlapping kill lists, officials said.

***

The result is a single, continually evolving database in which biographies, locations, known associates and affiliated organizations are all catalogued. So are strategies for taking targets down, including extradition requests, capture operations and drone patrols.

***

The database is meant to map out contingencies, creating an operational menu that spells out each agency’s role in case a suspect surfaces in an unexpected spot. “If he’s in Saudi Arabia, pick up with the Saudis,” the former official said. “If traveling overseas to al-Shabaab [in Somalia] we can pick him up by ship. If in Yemen, kill or have the Yemenis pick him up.”

***

The administration has also elevated the role of the NCTC, which was conceived as a clearinghouse for threat data and has no operational capability. Under Brennan, who served as its founding director, the center has emerged as a targeting hub.

As Glenn Greenwald notes:

The central role played by the NCTC in determining who should be killed – “It is the keeper of the criteria,” says one official to the Post – is, by itself, rather odious. As Kade Crockford of the ACLU of Massachusetts noted in response to this story, the ACLU has long warned that the real purpose of the NCTC – despite its nominal focus on terrorism – is the “massive, secretive data collection and mining of trillions of points of data about most people in the United States”.

In particular, the NCTC operates a gigantic data-mining operation, in which all sorts of information about innocent Americans is systematically monitored, stored, and analyzed. This includes “records from law enforcement investigations, health information, employment history, travel and student records” – “literally anything the government collects would be fair game”. In other words, the NCTC – now vested with the power to determine the proper “disposition” of terrorist suspects – is the same agency that is at the center of the ubiquitous, unaccountable surveillance state aimed at American citizens.

Worse still, as the ACLU’s legislative counsel Chris Calabrese documented back in July in a must-read analysis, Obama officials very recently abolished safeguards on how this information can be used. Whereas the agency, during the Bush years, was barred from storing non-terrorist-related information about innocent Americans for more than 180 days – a limit which “meant that NCTC was dissuaded from collecting large databases filled with information on innocent Americans” – it is now free to do so. Obama officials eliminated this constraint by authorizing the NCTC “to collect and ‘continually assess’ information on innocent Americans for up to five years”.

And, as usual, this agency engages in these incredibly powerful and invasive processes with virtually no democratic accountability:

“All of this is happening with very little oversight. Controls over the NCTC are mostly internal to the DNI’s office, and important oversight bodies such as Congress and the President’s Intelligence Oversight Board aren’t notified even of ‘significant’ failures to comply with the GuidelinesFundamental legal protections are being sidestepped. For example, under the new guidelines, Privacy Act notices (legal requirements to describe how databases are used) must be completed by the agency that collected the information. This is in spite of the fact that those agencies have no idea what NCTC is actually doing with the information once it collects it.

“All of this amounts to a reboot of the Total Information Awareness Program that Americans rejected so vigorously right after 9/11.

What has been created here – permanently institutionalized – is a highly secretive executive branch agency that simultaneously engages in two functions: (1) it collects and analyzes massive amounts of surveillance data about all Americans without any judicial review let alone search warrants, and (2) creates and implements a “matrix” that determines the “disposition” of suspects, up to and including execution, without a whiff of due process or oversight. It is simultaneously a surveillance state and a secretive, unaccountable judicial body that analyzes who you are and then decrees what should be done with you, how you should be “disposed” of, beyond the reach of any minimal accountability or transparency.

Americans on U.S. Soil May Be Targeted

This might be acceptable if the U.S. government was only targeting really bad guys, and if drones were not being used inside the borders of America itself.

But drones are becoming pervasive within the U.S.  Indeed, some of the numerous drones flying over American soil – projected by the FAA to reach 30,000 drones by 2020 – are starting to carry arms.

When torture memo writer John Yoo was asked last year whether drones could kill people within the United States, he replied yes – if we were in a time of war:

(Of course, since the U.S. has declared a perpetual war – and see this–  drones will always be in fashion.)

Indeed, the military now considers the U.S. homeland to be a battlefield.  The U.S. is already allowing military operations within the United States.    Indeed, the Army is already being deployed on U.S. soil, and the military is conducting numerous training exercises on American streets. And see this.

Government officials have said that Americans can be targets in the war on terror.   Obama has authorized “targeted assassinations” against U.S. citizens.

And it is not very comforting that the U.S. government labels just about every U.S. citizen as a potential terrorists.

The U.S. Activates Skynet

In the Terminator science fiction series, computers and machines – organized by “Skynet” – track people down who threaten the status quo of the machines and then selectively assassinate them.

The powers given to the NCTC remind me of Skynet. Especially given how fast the military is advancing its robotic capabilities:

They remind others of The Matrix.

Greenwald comments on the machine-like aspect the NCTC’s operations:

The Council on Foreign Relations’ Micah Zenko, writing today about the Post article, reports:

“Recently, I spoke to a military official with extensive and wide-ranging experience in the special operations world, and who has had direct exposure to the targeted killing program. To emphasize how easy targeted killings by special operations forces or drones has become, this official flicked his hand back over and over, stating: ‘It really is like swatting flies. We can do it forever easily and you feel nothing. But how often do you really think about killing a fly?’”

That is disturbingly consistent with prior reports that the military’s term for drone victims is “bug splat”. This – this warped power and the accompanying dehumanizing mindset – is what is being institutionalized as a permanent fixture in American political life by the current president.

***

At Wired, Spencer Ackerman reacts to the Post article with an analysis entitled “President Romney Can Thank Obama for His Permanent Robotic Death List”. Here is his concluding paragraph:

“Obama did not run for president to preside over the codification of a global war fought in secret. But that’s his legacy. . . . Micah Zenko at the Council on Foreign Relations writes that Obama’s predecessors in the Bush administration ‘were actually much more conscious and thoughtful about the long-term implications of targeted killings’, because they feared the political consequences that might come when the U.S. embraces something at least superficially similar to assassination. Whoever follows Obama in the Oval Office can thank him for proving those consequences don’t meaningfully exist — as he or she reviews the backlog of names on the Disposition Matrix.”

But one thing is clear.  Warmongering is always good for the super-elite, and bad for everyone else … And itdestroys freedom and prosperity.

Given that the national security apparatus has been hijacked to serve the needs of big business and to crush dissent, it’s not far-fetched to think that information gained from drones will be used for purposes that are not necessarily in the best interests of the American people.

As Greenwald notes:

The core guarantee of western justice since the Magna Carta was codified in the US by the fifth amendment to the constitution: “No person shall . . . be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.” You simply cannot have a free society, a worthwhile political system, without that guarantee, that constraint on the ultimate abusive state power, being honored.

And yet what the Post is describing, what we have had for years, is a system of government that – without hyperbole – is the very antithesis of that liberty. It is literally impossible to imagine a more violent repudiation of the basic blueprint of the republic than the development of a secretive, totally unaccountable executive branch agency that simultaneously collects information about all citizens and then applies a “disposition matrix” to determine what punishment should be meted out. This is classic political dystopia brought to reality (despite how compelled such a conclusion is by these indisputable facts, many Americans will view such a claim as an exaggeration, paranoia, or worse because of this psychological dynamic I described here which leads many good passive westerners to believe that true oppression, by definition, is something that happens only elsewhere).

***

As the Founders all recognized, nothing vests elites with power – and profit – more than a state of war. That is why there were supposed to be substantial barriers to having them start and continue – the need for a Congressional declaration, the constitutional bar on funding the military for more than two years at a time, the prohibition on standing armies, etc. Here is how John Jay put it in Federalist No 4:

“It is too true, however disgraceful it may be to human nature, that nations in general will make war whenever they have a prospect of getting anything by it; nay, absolute monarchs will often make war when their nations are to get nothing by it, but for the purposes and objects merely personal, such as thirst for military glory, revenge for personal affronts, ambition, or private compacts to aggrandize or support their particular families or partisans. These and a variety of other motives, which affect only the mind of the sovereign, often lead him to engage in wars not sanctified by justice or the voice and interests of his people.”

In sum, there are factions in many governments that crave a state of endless war because that is when power is least constrained and profit most abundant. What the Post is reporting is yet another significant step toward that state, and it is undoubtedly driven, at least on the part of some, by a self-interested desire to ensure the continuation of endless war and the powers and benefits it vests. So to answer Hayes’ question: the endless expansion of a kill list and the unaccountable, always-expanding powers needed to implement it does indeed represent a great success for many. Read what John Jay wrote in the above passage to see why that is, and why few, if any, political developments should be regarded as more pernicious.

Note: While it may be tempting to say that spying and assassination are part of the new “post-9/11 reality”,  widespread spying on Americans, assassination, militarization of the police, the Patriot Act, indefinite detention,  and most of the other abuses were launched or contemplated long before 9/11.

http://fromthetrenchesworldreport.com/the-same-unaccountable-government-agency-which-spies-on-all-americans-also-decides-who-gets-assassinated-by-drones/24393/

Executive Order — Establishing the White House Homeland Security Partnership Council

EXECUTIVE ORDER
– – – – – – –
ESTABLISHING THE WHITE HOUSE
HOMELAND SECURITY PARTNERSHIP COUNCIL
By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, and in order to advance the Federal Government’s use of local partnerships to address homeland security challenges, it is hereby ordered as follows:
Section 1. Policy. The purpose of this order is to maximize the Federal Government’s ability to develop local partnerships in the United States to support homeland security priorities. Partnerships are collaborative working relationships in which the goals, structure, and roles and responsibilities of the relationships are mutually determined. Collaboration enables the Federal Government and its partners to use resources more efficiently, build on one another’s expertise, drive innovation, engage in collective action, broaden investments to achieve shared goals, and improve performance. Partnerships enhance our ability to address homeland security priorities, from responding to natural disasters to preventing terrorism, by utilizing diverse perspectives, skills, tools, and resources.
The National Security Strategy emphasizes the importance of partnerships, underscoring that to keep our Nation safe “we must tap the ingenuity outside government through strategic partnerships with the private sector, nongovernmental organizations, foundations, and community-based organizations. Such partnerships are critical to U.S. success at home and abroad, and we will support them through enhanced opportunities for engagement, coordination, transparency, and information sharing.” This approach recognizes that, given the complexities and range of challenges, we must institutionalize an all-of-Nation effort to address the evolving threats to the United States.
Sec. 2. White House Homeland Security Partnership Council and Steering Committee.
(a) White House Homeland Security Partnership Council. There is established a White House Homeland Security Partnership Council (Council) to foster local partnerships — between the Federal Government and the private sector, nongovernmental organizations, foundations, community-based organizations, and State, local, tribal, and territorial government and law enforcement — to address homeland security challenges. The Council shall be chaired by the Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism (Chair), or a designee from the National Security Staff.
(b) Council Membership.
(i) Pursuant to the nomination process established in subsection (b)(ii) of this section, the Council shall be composed of Federal officials who are from field offices of the executive departments, agencies, and bureaus (agencies) that are members of the Steering Committee established in subsection (c) of this section, and who have demonstrated an ability to develop, sustain, and institutionalize local partnerships to address policy priorities.
(ii) The nomination process and selection criteria for members of the Council shall be established by the Steering Committee. Based on those criteria, agency heads may select and present to the Steering Committee their nominee or nominees to represent them on the Council. The Steering Committee shall consider all of the nominees and decide by consensus which of the nominees shall participate on the Council. Each member agency on the Steering Committee, with the exception of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, may have at least one representative on the Council.
(c) Steering Committee. There is also established a Steering Committee, chaired by the Chair of the Council, to provide guidance to the Council and perform other functions as set forth in this order. The Steering Committee shall include a representative at the Deputy agency head level, or that representative’s designee, from the following agencies:
(i) Department of State;
(ii) Department of the Treasury;
(iii) Department of Defense;
(iv) Department of Justice;
(v) Department of the Interior;
(vi) Department of Agriculture;
(vii) Department of Commerce;
(viii) Department of Labor;
(ix) Department of Health and Human Services;
(x) Department of Housing and Urban Development;
(xi) Department of Transportation;
(xii) Department of Energy;
(xiii) Department of Education;
(xiv) Department of Veterans Affairs;
(xv) Department of Homeland Security;
(xvi) Office of the Director of National Intelligence;
(xvii) Environmental Protection Agency;
(xviii) Small Business Administration; and
(xix) Federal Bureau of Investigation.
At the invitation of the Chair, representatives of agencies not listed in subsection (c) of this section or other executive branch entities may attend and participate in Steering Committee meetings as appropriate.
(d) Administration. The Chair or a designee shall convene meetings of the Council and Steering Committee, determine their agendas, and coordinate their work. The Council may establish subgroups consisting exclusively of Council members or their designees, as appropriate.
Sec. 3. Mission and Function of the Council and Steering Committee. (a) The Council shall, consistent with guidance from the Steering Committee:
(i) advise the Chair and Steering Committee members on priorities, challenges, and opportunities for local partnerships to support homeland security priorities, as well as regularly report to the Steering Committee on the Council’s efforts;
(ii) promote homeland security priorities and opportunities for collaboration between Federal Government field offices and State, local, tribal, and territorial stakeholders;
(iii) advise and confer with State, local, tribal, and territorial stakeholders and agencies interested in expanding or building local homeland security partnerships;
(iv) raise awareness of local partnership best practices that can support homeland security priorities;
(v) as appropriate, conduct outreach to representatives of the private sector, nongovernmental organizations, foundations, community-based organizations, and State, local, tribal, and territorial government and law enforcement entities with relevant expertise for local homeland security partnerships, and collaborate with other Federal Government bodies; and
(vi) convene an annual meeting to exchange key findings, progress, and best practices.
(b) The Steering Committee shall:
(i) determine the scope of issue areas the Council will address and its operating protocols, in consultation with the Office of Management and Budget;
(ii) establish the nomination process and selection criteria for members of the Council as set forth in section 2(b)(ii) of this order;
(iii) provide guidance to the Council on the activities set forth in subsection (a) of this section; and
(iv) within 1 year of the selection of the Council members, and annually thereafter, provide a report on the work of the Council to the President through the Chair.
Sec. 4. General Provisions. (a) The heads of agencies participating in the Steering Committee shall assist and provide information to the Council, consistent with applicable law, as may be necessary to implement this order. Each agency shall bear its own expense for participating in the Council.
(b) Nothing in this order shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect:
(i) the authority granted by law to an executive department, agency, or the head thereof;
(ii) the functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals; or
(iii) the functions of the Overseas Security Advisory Council.
(c) This order shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and appropriate protections for privacy and civil liberties, and subject to the availability of appropriations.
(d) This order is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.
BARACK OBAMA
THE WHITE HOUSE,
October 26, 2012.

Obama moves to make the War on Terror permanent

Complete with a newly coined, creepy Orwellian euphemism – ‘disposition matrix’ – the administration institutionalizes the most extremist powers a government can claim

The National Counterterrorism Center, the site of a new bureaucracy to institutionalize the ‘kill list’. Photograph: FBI

A primary reason for opposing the acquisition of abusive powers and civil liberties erosions is that they virtually always become permanent, vested not only in current leaders one may love and trust but also future officials who seem more menacing and less benign.

The Washington Post has a crucial and disturbing story this morning by Greg Miller about the concerted efforts by the Obama administration to fully institutionalize – to make officially permanent – the most extremist powers it has exercised in the name of the war on terror.

Based on interviews with “current and former officials from the White House and the Pentagon, as well as intelligence and counterterrorism agencies”, Miller reports that as “the United States‘ conventional wars are winding down”, the Obama administration “expects to continue adding names to kill or capture lists for years” (the “capture” part of that list is little more than symbolic, as the US focus is overwhelmingly on the “kill” part). Specifically, “among senior Obama administration officials, there is broad consensus that such operations are likely to be extended at least another decade.” As Miller puts it: “That timeline suggests that the United States has reached only the midpoint of what was once known as the global war on terrorism.”

In pursuit of this goal, “White House counterterrorism adviser John O Brennan is seeking to codify the administration’s approach to generating capture/kill lists, part of a broader effort to guide future administrations through the counterterrorism processes that Obama has embraced.” All of this, writes Miller, demonstrates “the extent to which Obama has institutionalized the highly classified practice of targeted killing, transforming ad-hoc elements into a counterterrorism infrastructure capable of sustaining a seemingly permanent war.”

The Post article cites numerous recent developments reflecting this Obama effort, including the fact that “CIA Director David H Petraeus is pushing for an expansion of the agency’s fleet of armed drones”, which “reflects the agency’s transformation into a paramilitary force, and makes clear that it does not intend to dismantle its drone program and return to its pre-September 11 focus on gathering intelligence.” The article also describes rapid expansion of commando operations by the US Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) and, perhaps most disturbingly, the creation of a permanent bureaucratic infrastructure to allow the president to assassinate at will:

“JSOC also has established a secret targeting center across the Potomac River from Washington, current and former U.S. officials said. The elite command’s targeting cells have traditionally been located near the front lines of its missions, including in Iraq and Afghanistan. But JSOC created a ‘national capital region’ task force that is a 15-minute commute from the White House so it could be more directly involved in deliberations about al-Qaeda lists.”

The creepiest aspect of this development is the christening of a new Orwellian euphemism for due-process-free presidential assassinations: “disposition matrix”. Writes Miller:

“Over the past two years, the Obama administration has been secretly developing a new blueprint for pursuing terrorists, a next-generation targeting list called the ‘disposition matrix’.

“The matrix contains the names of terrorism suspects arrayed against an accounting of the resources being marshaled to track them down, including sealed indictments and clandestine operations. US officials said the database is designed to go beyond existing kill lists, mapping plans for the ‘disposition’ of suspects beyond the reach of American drones.”

The “disposition matrix” has been developed and will be overseen by the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC). One of its purposes is “to augment” the “separate but overlapping kill lists” maintained by the CIA and the Pentagon: to serve, in other words, as the centralized clearinghouse for determining who will be executed without due process based upon how one fits into the executive branch’s “matrix”. As Miller describes it, it is “a single, continually evolving database” which includes “biographies, locations, known associates and affiliated organizations” as well as “strategies for taking targets down, including extradition requests, capture operations and drone patrols”. This analytical system that determines people’s “disposition” will undoubtedly be kept completely secret; Marcy Wheeler sardonically said that she was “looking forward to the government’s arguments explaining why it won’t release the disposition matrix to ACLU under FOIA”.

This was all motivated by Obama’s refusal to arrest or detain terrorist suspects, and his resulting commitment simply to killing them at will (his will). Miller quotes “a former US counterterrorism official involved in developing the matrix” as explaining the impetus behind the program this way: “We had a disposition problem.”

The central role played by the NCTC in determining who should be killed – “It is the keeper of the criteria,” says one official to the Post – is, by itself, rather odious. As Kade Crockford of the ACLU of Massachusetts noted in response to this story, the ACLU has long warned that the real purpose of the NCTC – despite its nominal focus on terrorism – is the “massive, secretive data collection and mining of trillions of points of data about most people in the United States”.

In particular, the NCTC operates a gigantic data-mining operation, in which all sorts of information about innocent Americans is systematically monitored, stored, and analyzed. This includes “records from law enforcement investigations, health information, employment history, travel and student records” – “literally anything the government collects would be fair game”. In other words, the NCTC – now vested with the power to determine the proper “disposition” of terrorist suspects – is the same agency that is at the center of the ubiquitous, unaccountable surveillance state aimed at American citizens.

Worse still, as the ACLU’s legislative counsel Chris Calabrese documented back in July in a must-read analysis, Obama officials very recently abolished safeguards on how this information can be used. Whereas the agency, during the Bush years, was barred from storing non-terrorist-related information about innocent Americans for more than 180 days – a limit which “meant that NCTC was dissuaded from collecting large databases filled with information on innocent Americans” – it is now free to do so. Obama officials eliminated this constraint by authorizing the NCTC “to collect and ‘continually assess’ information on innocent Americans for up to five years”.

And, as usual, this agency engages in these incredibly powerful and invasive processes with virtually no democratic accountability:

“All of this is happening with very little oversight. Controls over the NCTC are mostly internal to the DNI’s office, and important oversight bodies such as Congress and the President’s Intelligence Oversight Board aren’t notified even of ‘significant’ failures to comply with the Guidelines. Fundamental legal protections are being sidestepped. For example, under the new guidelines, Privacy Act notices (legal requirements to describe how databases are used) must be completed by the agency that collected the information. This is in spite of the fact that those agencies have no idea what NCTC is actually doing with the information once it collects it.

“All of this amounts to a reboot of the Total Information Awareness Program that Americans rejected so vigorously right after 9/11.”

It doesn’t require any conspiracy theorizing to see what’s happening here. Indeed, it takes extreme naiveté, or wilful blindness, not to see it.

What has been created here – permanently institutionalized – is a highly secretive executive branch agency that simultaneously engages in two functions: (1) it collects and analyzes massive amounts of surveillance data about all Americans without any judicial review let alone search warrants, and (2) creates and implements a “matrix” that determines the “disposition” of suspects, up to and including execution, without a whiff of due process or oversight. It is simultaneously a surveillance state and a secretive, unaccountable judicial body that analyzes who you are and then decrees what should be done with you, how you should be “disposed” of, beyond the reach of any minimal accountability or transparency.

The Post’s Miller recognizes the watershed moment this represents: “The creation of the matrix and the institutionalization of kill/capture lists reflect a shift that is as psychological as it is strategic.” As he explains, extra-judicial assassination was once deemed so extremist that very extensive deliberations were required before Bill Clinton could target even Osama bin Laden for death by lobbing cruise missiles in East Africa. But:

Targeted killing is now so routine that the Obama administration has spent much of the past year codifying and streamlining the processes that sustain it.

To understand the Obama legacy, please re-read that sentence. As Murtaza Hussain put it when reacting to the Post story: “The US agonized over the targeted killing Bin Laden at Tarnak Farms in 1998; now it kills people it barely suspects of anything on a regular basis.”

The pragmatic inanity of the mentality driving this is self-evident: as I discussed yesterday (and many other times), continuous killing does not eliminate violence aimed at the US but rather guarantees its permanent expansion. As a result, wrote Miller, “officials said no clear end is in sight” when it comes to the war against “terrorists” because, said one official, “we can’t possibly kill everyone who wants to harm us” but trying is “a necessary part of what we do”. Of course, the more the US kills and kills and kills, the more people there are who “want to harm us”. That’s the logic that has resulted in a permanent war on terror.

But even more significant is the truly radical vision of government in which this is all grounded. The core guarantee of western justice since the Magna Carta was codified in the US by the fifth amendment to the constitution: “No person shall . . . be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.” You simply cannot have a free society, a worthwhile political system, without that guarantee, that constraint on the ultimate abusive state power, being honored.

And yet what the Post is describing, what we have had for years, is a system of government that – without hyperbole – is the very antithesis of that liberty. It is literally impossible to imagine a more violent repudiation of the basic blueprint of the republic than the development of a secretive, totally unaccountable executive branch agency that simultaneously collects information about all citizens and then applies a “disposition matrix” to determine what punishment should be meted out. This is classic political dystopia brought to reality (despite how compelled such a conclusion is by these indisputable facts, many Americans will view such a claim as an exaggeration, paranoia, or worse because of this psychological dynamic I described here which leads many good passive westerners to believe that true oppression, by definition, is something that happens only elsewhere).

In response to the Post story, Chris Hayes asked: “If you have a ‘kill list’, but the list keeps growing, are you succeeding?” The answer all depends upon what the objective is.

As the Founders all recognized, nothing vests elites with power – and profit – more than a state of war. That is why there were supposed to be substantial barriers to having them start and continue – the need for a Congressional declaration, the constitutional bar on funding the military for more than two years at a time, the prohibition on standing armies, etc. Here is how John Jay put it in Federalist No 4:

“It is too true, however disgraceful it may be to human nature, that nations in general will make war whenever they have a prospect of getting anything by it; nay, absolute monarchs will often make war when their nations are to get nothing by it, but for the purposes and objects merely personal, such as thirst for military glory, revenge for personal affronts, ambition, or private compacts to aggrandize or support their particular families or partisans. These and a variety of other motives, which affect only the mind of the sovereign, often lead him to engage in wars not sanctified by justice or the voice and interests of his people.”

In sum, there are factions in many governments that crave a state of endless war because that is when power is least constrained and profit most abundant. What the Post is reporting is yet another significant step toward that state, and it is undoubtedly driven, at least on the part of some, by a self-interested desire to ensure the continuation of endless war and the powers and benefits it vests. So to answer Hayes’ question: the endless expansion of a kill list and the unaccountable, always-expanding powers needed to implement it does indeed represent a great success for many. Read what John Jay wrote in the above passage to see why that is, and why few, if any, political developments should be regarded as more pernicious.

Detention policies

Assuming the Post’s estimates are correct – that “among senior Obama administration officials, there is broad consensus that such operations are likely to be extended at least another decade” – this means that the war on terror will last for more than 20 years, far longer than any other American war. This is what has always made the rationale for indefinite detention – that it is permissible to detain people without due process until the “end of hostilities” – so warped in this context. Those who are advocating that are endorsing nothing less than life imprisonment – permanent incarceration – without any charges or opportunities to contest the accusations.

That people are now dying at Guantanamo after almost a decade in a cage with no charges highlights just how repressive that power is. Extend that mentality to secret, due-process-free assassinations – something the US government clearly intends to convert into a permanent fixture of American political life – and it is not difficult to see just how truly extremist and anti-democratic “war on terror” proponents in both political parties have become.

UPDATE

As I noted yesterday, Afghan officials reported that three Afghan children were killed on Saturday by NATO operations. Today, reports CNN, “missiles blew up part of a compound Wednesday in northwest Pakistan, killing three people – including one woman” and added: “the latest suspected U.S. drone strike also injured two children.” Meanwhile, former Obama press secretary and current campaign adviser Robert Gibbs this week justified the US killing of 16-year-old American Abdulrahaman Awlaki, killed by a US drone in Yemen two weeks after his father was, on the ground that he “should have a far more responsible father”.

Also yesterday, CNN profiled Abu Sufyan Said al-Shihri, alleged to be a top al-Qaida official in Yemen. He pointed out “that U.S. drone strikes are helping al-Qaida in Yemen because of the number of civilian deaths they cause.” Ample evidence supports his observation.

To summarize all this: the US does not interfere in the Muslim world and maintain an endless war on terror because of the terrorist threat. It has a terrorist threat because of its interference in the Muslim world and its endless war on terror.

UPDATE II

The Council on Foreign Relations’ Micah Zenko, writing today about the Post article, reports:

“Recently, I spoke to a military official with extensive and wide-ranging experience in the special operations world, and who has had direct exposure to the targeted killing program. To emphasize how easy targeted killings by special operations forces or drones has become, this official flicked his hand back over and over, stating: ‘It really is like swatting flies. We can do it forever easily and you feel nothing. But how often do you really think about killing a fly?'”

That is disturbingly consistent with prior reports that the military’s term for drone victims is “bug splat”. This – this warped power and the accompanying dehumanizing mindset – is what is being institutionalized as a permanent fixture in American political life by the current president.

UPDATE III

At Wired, Spencer Ackerman reacts to the Post article with an analysis entitled “President Romney Can Thank Obama for His Permanent Robotic Death List”. Here is his concluding paragraph:

“Obama did not run for president to preside over the codification of a global war fought in secret. But that’s his legacy. . . . Micah Zenko at the Council on Foreign Relations writes that Obama’s predecessors in the Bush administration ‘were actually much more conscious and thoughtful about the long-term implications of targeted killings’, because they feared the political consequences that might come when the U.S. embraces something at least superficially similar to assassination. Whoever follows Obama in the Oval Office can thank him for proving those consequences don’t meaningfully exist — as he or she reviews the backlog of names on the Disposition Matrix.”

It’s worth devoting a moment to letting that sink in.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/oct/24/obama-terrorism-kill-list

Obama Closer to Seizing Control of Cyberspace; Exec. Order Imminent

According to a copy of a draft executive order on cybersecurity obtained by the Associated Press (AP), President Obama will soon order “U.S. spy agencies to share the latest intelligence about cyberthreats with companies operating electric grids, water plants, railroads and other vital industries to help protect them from electronic attacks.”

For some time, government officials have insisted that Iran is planning a cyberattack on the electronic communications infrastructure of the United States. The AP reports that Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said that the U.S. armed forces are “ready to retaliate” should Iran — or any other country — attempt an attack on U.S. cybersecurity.

Promises of the White House’s imminent issuing of the edict have been coming for months. The AP reports that regardless of the latest leak, “the White House declined to say when the president will sign the order.”

On September 19, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said the executive order granting the president sweeping power over the Internet is “close to completion.”

In testimony before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, Napolitano said that the order is still “being drafted” and vetted by various high-level bureaucrats. But she also indicated that it would be issued as soon as a “few issues” were resolved. Assuming control of the nation’s Internet infrastructure is a DHS responsibility, Napolitano added.

“DHS is the Federal government’s lead agency for securing civilian government computer systems and works with our industry and Federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government partners to secure critical infrastructure and information systems,” she informed senators.

Napolitano’s report on the role of DHS squares with the information revealed in the seven-page version of the order the AP has read. According to the report of their findings:

The draft order would put the Department of Homeland Security in charge of organizing an information-sharing network that rapidly distributes sanitized summaries of top-secret intelligence reports about known cyberthreats that identify a specific target. With these warnings, known as tear lines, the owners and operators of essential U.S. businesses would be better able to block potential attackers from gaining access to their computer systems.

The new draft, which is not dated, retains a section that requires Homeland Security to identify the vital systems that, if hit by cyberattack, could “reasonably result in a debilitating impact” on national and economic security. Other sections establish a program to encourage companies to adopt voluntary security standards and direct federal agencies to determine whether existing cyber security regulations are adequate.

The president’s de facto re-routing of all Internet traffic through federal intelligence officers deputizes more than just DHS as cybertraffic cops. The AP reports that “the Pentagon, the National Security Agency (NSA), the director of national intelligence, and the Justice Department” will all cooperate in the surveillance — in the name of national security, of course.

Corporate employees will be authorized to snoop, as well. Per the AP’s reading of the draft executive order, “selected employees at critical infrastructure companies would receive security clearances allowing them to receive the information.

As for those companies considered less critical to our national cybersecurity, “the government would ask businesses to tell the government about cyberthreats or cyberattacks. There would be no requirement to do so.”

Given the history of the federal government’s penchant for vague language, however, it is likely that despite the denial of compulsory cooperation with the government there will be a loophole just large enough to mandate private cooperation with the federal government.

Although the president and officials in his administration portray the attack as imminent, Congress isn’t persuaded, and on several occasions lawmakers have rejected measures calling for greater government control over the Internet and the communications infrastructure.

The president claims that this legislative lassitude is forcing him to bypass the Constitution and act alone to protect the country from cyberattacks. Once Barack Obama signs his name to this edict and assuming compliance with its mandates changes from voluntary to involuntary, he will possess powers only dreamed about by the most ambitious dictators of history.

“In the wake of Congressional inaction and Republican stall tactics, unfortunately, we will continue to be hamstrung by outdated and inadequate statutory authorities that the legislation would have fixed. Moving forward, the President is determined to do absolutely everything we can to better protect our nation against today’s cyber threats and we will do that,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said in an email reported by The Hill.

The demise of the bill in the Senate was not unforeseen. As The New American reported in July:

The Cybersecurity Act of 2012 has been the subject of some criticism as privacy advocates feared that the bill would pose too many threats to the constitutional rights of the American people.

Likewise, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and IBM sent out letters to show their opposition for the original bill, asserting that it would overwhelm the industry with regulations.

In response to the criticism, Senator Lieberman reformed the original bill.

For example, the updated version of the bill reflects changes to the provision to assign the Department of Homeland Security the role of creating mandatory cybersecurity standards for infrastructure industries.

The newer version of the bill does not include language for “mandatory, regulatory sections,” but still requires a creation of industry best practice standards for the purposes of protecting critical infrastructure, but rather than making the adoption of those standards mandatory, the owners of the critical infrastructure adopt “voluntary” standards. The bill offers incentives to adopt those standards, such as liability protection, and access to threat information.

Some contend that the revisions are not ideal, however, as it gives the government the power to deny threat information to critical infrastructure owners who choose not to comply with the voluntary standards. Likewise, the incentives are too insignificant to fully incentivize any company to adopt the standards.

Since the beginning of his administration, President Obama has made cybersecurity a central plank in his presidential platform. As The New American reported in 2009:

The president pointed out that shortly after taking office he directed the National Security Council and Homeland Security Council to thoroughly review the federal government’s efforts “to defend our information and communications infrastructure” and to recommend improvements. He mentioned that National Security Council Acting Senior Director for Cyberspace Melissa Hathaway led the review team, and that the 60-day review included input from industry, academia, civil liberty and privacy advocates, every level and branch of government, Congress, and other advisers — even input from “international partners.”

To that end, the White House proposed legislation in 2011 and has ordered one after the other administration official to testify at no fewer than 17 congressional hearings on the subject.

In a recent Wall Street Journal opinion piece penned by the president, he did his best to instill in the American people fear of the consequences we would suffer should someone launch a successful cyberattack on the critical infrastructure networks of our nation.

The AP reports that the version of the order it obtained was undated and that Obama administration spokesmen refused to disclose when President Obama would issue the order.

National Security Council spokesman Caitlin Hayden was quoted parroting the president’s party line on the urgent need for action, however: “Given the gravity of the threats we face in cyberspace, we want to get this right in addition to getting it done swiftly,” Hayden told the AP.

http://www.thenewamerican.com/usnews/item/13334-obama-closer-to-seizing-control-of-cyberspace-exec-order-imminent

Another Obama Executive Order Allows Seizure of Americans’ Bank Accounts

The latest executive order (EO) emanating from the White House October 9 now claims the power to freeze all bank accounts and stop any related financial transactions that a “sanctioned person” may own or try to perform — all in the name of “Iran Sanctions.”

Titled an “Executive Order from the President regarding Authorizing the Implementation of Certain Sanctions…” the order says that if an individual is declared by the president, the secretary of state, or the secretary of the treasury to be a “sanctioned person,” he (or she) will be unable to obtain access to his accounts, will be unable to process any loans (or make them), or move them to any other financial institution inside or outside the United States. In other words, his financial resources will have successfully been completely frozen. The EO expands its authority by making him unable to use any third party such as “a partnership, association, trust, joint venture, corporation, subgroup or other organization” that might wish to help him or allow him to obtain access to his funds.

And if the individual so “sanctioned” decides that the ruling is unfair, he isn’t allowed to sue. In two words, the individual has successfully been robbed blind.

But it’s all very legal. The EO says the president has his “vested authority” to issue it, and then references endless previous EOs, including one dating back to 1995 which declared a “state of emergency” (which hasn’t been lifted): Executive Order 12957.

EO 12957 was issued by President Bill Clinton on March 15, 1995, which was also obliquely related to the Iran “problem”:

I, William J. Clinton, President of the United States of America, find that the actions and policies of the Government of Iran to constitute an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States, and hereby declare a national emergency to deal with that threat.

Clinton’s EO further delegated such powers as were necessary to enforce the EO to the secretaries of the treasury and state “to employ all powers … as may be necessary to carry out the purposes of this order. The Secretary of the Treasury may redelegate any of these functions to other officers and agencies of the United States Government.”

Such EOs are the perfect embodiment of what the Founders feared the most: the combining of the legislative, executive, and judicial functions into one body. Article I, Section 1 of the Constitution says: “All legislative powers herein shall be vested in a Congress of the United States.” As Thomas Eddlem, writing for The New American, expressed it, “then it stands to reason [that] none is left for the president.”

But Joe Wolverton, also in The New American, pointed out the particular piece of language the Founders used to limit the powers of the president which totalitarians have twisted to allow such powers to expand: the “take care” clause, to wit: Article II, Section 3: he [the president] shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed…

With every EO, the president avoids the cumbersome constitutional safeguards spelled out by the Constitution, and uses them to implement policies he “knows” are right. Says Wolverton: “With every one of these … executive orders, then, the president elevates his mind and will above that of the people, Congress and the courts.”

The current administration has had a lot of help in justifying and codifying the legitimacy of executive orders, going all the way back to President George Washington who in 1793 issued his “Neutrality Proclamation,” which declared that the United States would remain neutral in the current conflict between France and Great Britain, and would bring sanctions against any American citizen who attempted to provide assistance to either party. The language of Washington is eerily similar to that used by President Obama in the present case:

I have therefore thought fit by these presents to declare the disposition of the United States to observe the conduct aforesaid toward those powers respectively, and to exhort and warn the citizens of the United States carefully to avoid all acts and proceedings whatsoever which may in any manner tend to contravene such disposition…

I have given instructions to those officers to whom it belongs to cause prosecutions to be instituted against all persons who shall, within the cognizance of the courts of the United States, violate the law of nations with respect to the powers at war, or any of them.

When James Madison protested Washington’s usurpation of powers not intended for the president, Congress acquiesced and passed, retroactively, the Neutrality Act of 1794, validating Washington’s usurpation.

President Lincoln engaged in similar usurpations, using presidential “directives” to run the early months of the Civil War, presenting Congress with, as Todd Gaziano put it,

the decision either to adopt his [directives] as legislation or to cut off support for the Union army.

Within his first two months in office, on April 15, 1861, Lincoln issued a proclamation activating troops to defeat the Southern rebellion and for Congress to convene on July 4.

He also issued proclamations to procure warships and to expand the size of the military; in both cases, the proclamations provided for payment to be advanced from the Treasury without congressional approval.

These latter actions were probably unconstitutional, but Congress acquiesced in the face of wartime contingencies, and the matters were never challenged in court.

President Franklin Roosevelt often overlooked the niceties of constitutional restraints as well. As Gaziano expressed it, “FDR also showed a tendency to abuse his executive order authority and [to] claim powers that were not conferred on him in the Constitution or by statute.”

As far as numbers of executive orders issued, Obama is a piker. At the moment, although the list is growing, his administration has issued 138 executive orders. President Theodore Roosevelt issued 1,006 while President Woodrow Wilson issued 1,791. Even President Calvin Coolidge used the EO “privilege” 1,253 times.

The granddaddy of them all, FDR, issued an astounding 3,728 executive orders, but of course he was in office longer than Obama.

President Bill Clinton issued only 364 executive orders, but he made the most of them, using this extra-legal power to, among other things, wage war in Yugoslavia without congressional approval. Cliff Kincaid collated the numerous EOs issued by Clinton in 1998 and 1999, and concluded:

Clinton waged his war on Yugoslavia through executive order and presidential directive. Clinton used executive orders to designate a “war zone,” call up troops, proclaim a “national emergency” with respect to Yugoslavia, and impose economic sanctions on the Belgrade government.

Clinton claimed war-making presidential authority through his “constitutional authority” to conduct “foreign relations,” as “Commander in Chief” and as “Chief Executive.” Under this self-designated authority, Clinton delegated command-and-control of U.S. forces to NATO and its Secretary-General Javier Solana, who decided when the air war would be discontinued…

The most outrageous executive order of all time was that issued by President Roosevelt that allowed the enforced internment of 120,000 Japanese-Americans: 9066.

Congressman Ron Paul (R-Texas) called EOs patently unconstitutional. When asked about them by Fox News’ Megan Kelly, Paul responded:

The Constitution says that only Congress passes laws. The executive branch is not allowed to pass laws, nor should the judicial system pass laws. So it is clearly unconstitutional to issue these executive orders.

They’ve been done for a long time, both parties have done it, but the Congress is careless. They allow and encourage and do these deals … to get the president to circumvent the Congress. If something’s unpopular and he can’t get it passed, well, let’s just sign an executive order. So I think that is blatantly wrong. I think this defies everything the founders intended. I think it’s a shame that Congress does it, and I think it’s a shame that the American people put up with it.

Correction: As originally written, this article placed the number of executive orders issued by the Obama administration at 900, based on an inaccurate source. We regret this misinformatiion. The figure cited in the article has now been corrected.

http://www.thenewamerican.com/usnews/constitution/item/13196-another-obama-executive-order-allows-seizure-of-americans%E2%80%99-bank-accounts

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