Executive Orders

Executive orders have been used by presidents since 1789, even though there is no constitutional provision or statute allowing it.

Use of the executive order was fairly mundane until the Civil War, when Abe Lincoln used executive orders to control the press, suspend the right of trial and the right to be confronted by accusers, and other constitutional rights that were restored after the war. This precedent gave the executive order the perceived power to override Congress and the Constitution. This perceived power has, over the years, developed real power simply by an attrition of lawmakers defense (or understanding) of the constitution.

No one challenged an executive order until 1952, when Harry Truman tried to put the nation's steel mills under government control. That order was struck down by the Supreme Court on the grounds that it attempted to make a law, rather than clarify or further a law established by Congress or the Constitution. The only other executive order that has been overturned by the courts was in 1996 when Bill Clinton tried to prevent the US government from contracting with organizations that had strike-breakers on the payroll.

Here's the deal:
The president does not have, and Congress cannot grant the president, the power to create laws. However, given the above, shit happens.

Executive orders have been put into place that allow the president to declare martial law, suspend the constitution, and disallow the ability of Congress to review such actions for a period of six months. The reasons for declaring martial law no longer need to be defined. Orders have been put into place that not only severely limit our privacy, but remove other controls designed to protect us from abuse by our own government.

Wading through the mass of executive orders is a time consuming task. Executive orders are amended, revoked, or changed over time, sometimes altering the very nature of the original intent. I've waded through a vast number of web sites, many of which point to orders that are no longer in effect or have been changed. The only way to obtain valid information is to pour through the National Archives.

If you are up to the task, you can go to the Federal Register in the National Archives at


I have not mentioned specific orders here as I do not want to make an incorrect statement when citing a specific order. Orders must be investigated from their original declaration through any changes that may have happened later. There are executive orders such as #11049 that combine and augment 21 different orders put in place over a 15 year period. I am currently researching several and will eventually put together a page of specific information.

Through executive orders, the president now has the power to transfer whole populations to any part of the country, the power to suspend the press and to force a national registration of all persons. The President, in essence, has dictatorial powers never provided to him under the Constitution. These executive orders have been put into place by the Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Clinton and Bush (Sr and Jr) administrations. Several of these are revised documents from the Kennedy years when they were drafted over concern for nuclear attack. These include orders for centralized executive control of all modes of transportation, including roads, bridges and ports of entry, as well as communications, the mechanisms of production and distribution, of energy sources, wages, salaries, credit and the flow of money in U.S. financial institutions. The Constitution provided for a balanced separation of powers. That is no longer applicable.

There are Emergency Preparedness executive orders on the books that could easily be abused by an administration bent on totalitarian control. The events of 9/11 have been a great catapult toward passing legislation such as The Patriot and Real ID Acts, which create a situation that is severely threatening to our personal freedom.

The Real ID Act
This act, immorally attached to "must pass" legislation, allows the government to create a national database on all of its citizens, and will severely limit their activities if they are lacking the proper "papers", in the form of an electronically readable identification card. Real ID, according to security experts, will do nothing to prevent terrorists from entering the country, but will do a lot to control the activities of law-abiding citizens.

The Patriot Act
This act allows the government to effect
  1. secret FBI and police searches of your home and office without your knowledge;
  2. secret government wiretaps on your phone, computer, and Internet activity;
  3. secret investigations of your bank records, credit cards, and other financial records;
  4. secret investigations of your library and book activities;
  5. secret examinations of your medical, travel and business records;
  6. freezing of funds and assets without prior notice or the right to appeal;
  7. the creation of secret "watch lists" that ban or restrict those named from air and other travel activities. 60 Minutes discovered that the list included the president of Bolivia, dead people, Sen. Ted Kennedy, Yusuf Islam (aka Cat Stevens), political activist Naomi Wolf and dozens of common American names like Robert Johnson and John Williams. This out-of-control list stands at 917,000 names as of March 1st, 2008 and, according to a report issued by the Inspector General of the Department of Justice, is growing by 20,000 a month.
The Department of Justice’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG) has cited several breaches of department regulations, as well as violations of the law by the FBI in conducting sections of the Patriot Act. There were two instances where the FBI, on its own initiative, issued National Security Letters (NSLs) to get sensitive information after the FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) court had already rejected its requests.

An NSL is a demand letter issued to a business or organization requiring them to turn over an individual's personal data. NSLs require no probable cause or judicial oversight. There is also a non-disclosure provision - the business or organization is breaking the law if they inform you that your personal data is or was being investigated.

Use of NSLs is not limited to the FBI, although, prior to 2001, it was. Originally limited to foreign powers or those suspected of being agents of foreign powers, with the advent of the Patriot Act, use of NSLs was handed to Homeland Security, the CIA, the Pentagon and other federal agencies, and was expanded to include US citizens who are not suspects in any criminal investigation. So, this means that any one of several federal agencies can investigate you and go through your personal records, just because they want to, and anyone aware of the occurrence of such invasion is not allowed to tell you about it under threat of arrest.

These type of actions are unprecedented in American society, even though we have been under much more serious threat of attack than exists today. Throughout modern history, these type of acts usually precede the establishment of dictatorial governments.

Other Items
  1. According to the ACLU, the NSA has reinstituted its "Total Information Awareness" domestic-spying program that was banned by Congress in 2003. Congress has done nothing to prevent this recent activity. They must first prove that the NSA is doing the activity, and the NSA is really not into divulging its activities to Congress. Even though oversight committees exist, the NSA holds 22 levels of security clearances above the president or anyone in Congress. If Congress wants to know what the NSA is doing, they have to find out by other means than asking the NSA.
  2. Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act, originally introduced as HR 1955, targeted U.S. citizens, defined thought crimes as "homegrown terrorism" and cited the Internet as aiding "in facilitating violent radicalization, ideologically based violence, and the homegrown terrorism process.

    "Homegrown Terrorism" is defined by the act as the planned use, threatened use, of force or violence by a group to intimidate or coerce the government of the United States. Hopefully, we are all against violence, but what is the definition of "force"? This broad definition could be used to define anything that tries to influence the U.S. Government. Of course, this would include thousands of Washington D.C. lobbyists and, indeed, some members of Congress, and, in some instances, the President himself. Such implementations, however, are unlikely.

    More likely implementation would be against Occupy Wall Street protestors, civil rights activists, the critic with a popular online blog, or any number of individuals or organizations exercising their right to dissent. Under this legislation, any of these could be considered "Homegrown Terrorists".

    The good news is the bill was defeated in the Senate. The scary news is that the House passed the bill by a vote of 404 to 6. Does this mean a large number of our "representatives" in the House want to take away our constitutional rights of dissent? No. What it does mean is that we have a great number of brainwashed people representing us who will vote for anything that plays to the terrorist fear factor, without giving an intelligent thought to the ramifications of the legislation they are voting for. It should be understood that we have a great number of ignorant and idealistic people representing us, and it is up to us to educate them. That is OUR job.
  3. HR 1528 Titled "Defending America's Most Vulnerable: Safe Access to Drug Treatment and Child Protection Act of 2005"requires you to spy on your neighbors or notify law enforcement if your child (under 18) is using drugs. Violators would face 2 to 20 years behind bars. The bill was introduced by the father of the Real ID act, Jim Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin. Sensenbrenner's Web site states he has a strong record on constitutional issues. It does not state whether that record is supportive of the constitution.
  4. This Web site could be declared a "subversive activity".