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article imageOp-Ed: Obama's Executive Order, business as usual?

By Joseph Corica     Mar 19, 2012 in Politics
Washington - Despite controversy over the March 16 Executive Order issued by the Obama administration, apologists are passing the word "Move along. Nothing to see here." But is "business as usual" really the case?
To answer that question let's take a closer look at executive order National Defense Resources Preparedness (NDRP).
The executive order it ostensibly updates is a 'continuity of government' type scenario in case of nuclear holocaust. Can the same be said of NDRP?
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
(emphasis mine)
No, this is NOT a parallel to a 1950's executive order. It builds off of it, expands it, and where it laid the groundwork for taking the reins in case of emergency, NDRP actively takes the reins as if that emergency is upon us. The justification for this is in NDRP section 102 (quoted above). The President has decided these Continuity of Government plans need to go into effect in peacetime, not just in time of war.
In short, these 'Secretaries' are given complete authority to reorganize civilian labor and/or production quotas within their given field:
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 defense over performance of any other contracts or orders, and to allocate materials, services, and facilities as deemed necessary or appropriate to promote the national defense, 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 fertilizer;
(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 Defense with respect to water resources; and
(6) the Secretary of Commerce with respect to all other materials, services, and facilities, including construction materials.
(b) The Secretary of each agency delegated authority under subsection (a) of this section (resource departments) shall plan for and issue regulations to prioritize and allocate resources and establish standards and procedures by which the authority shall be used to promote the national defense, under both emergency and non-emergency conditions. Each Secretary shall authorize the heads of other agencies, as appropriate, to place priority ratings on contracts and orders for materials, services, and facilities needed in support of programs approved under section 202 of this order.
(emphasis mine)
The lengthy order carries on in this manner, but I've included this segment to give you just a snippet of how radical this order is. Reading through the parts I've emphasized, this reads "The authority of the President to promote national defense and to allocate materials ... as deemed necessary is delegated to these Secretaries in peacetime."
Placating arguments have been made that this is "business as usual", but that is only a half-truth. Government micromanaging civilian industry for the top priority of "national defense" was 'business as usual' last week...but only if you were watching Battlestar Galactica reruns. As Earth is currently devoid of any impending Cylon threat, I question the legitimacy of government seizing authority in this manner.
If this analysis comes across as alarmist, it may well be because the material covered is indeed alarming. If any other conclusion can be reached by rational examination of the order's text, I welcome it in the comments section.
To those of you who may not agree that this is a power grab, I challenge you to find anything in this order that says it is not in effect except in case of emergency. Everything in it alludes to "even in peacetime" or "in emergency and non-emergency".
This is not a 'Democrat' or 'Republican' issue. Americans from all over the political spectrum should be concerned about this unprecedented grasp for power, as well as the lack of coverage from major news networks.
Why are Continuity of Government plans, dreamt up to combat the worst-case nuclear holocaust scenario, being seized upon to grab power in peacetime?
Conscientious Americans need to demand answers from their Executive Branch.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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