Bonfire for the Constitution (Part I)
On June 3, 1994, President Clinton signed Executive Order #12919 gathering together into a single document all the power and authority of a multitude of Executive Orders issued by preceding presidents from John Kennedy on. Recent examination of this Executive Order has brought to light that the consolidation of previous presidential orders deliver unprecedented authority into the hands of the Chief Executive that exceed those powers granted him under the U.S. Constitution.
Incorporated under the aegis of President Clinton's EO #12919 are powers originally claimed by President Kennedy in a series of Executive Orders signed into "law" in February of 1962 which, if invoked, would virtually suspend the greater portion of liberties guaranteed by the United States Constitution.
In Section 3 of Kennedy's original EO #10995 entitled, "ASSIGNING TELECOMMUNICATIONS MANAGEMENT FUNCTIONS" there is the vague statement, "Such authority shall include the power to amend modify, or revoke frequency assignments." Innocuous as this sounds, it embodies the power of the Chief Executive, in time of "national emergency", to seize control of all radio and other telecommunications.
On the same day that President Kennedy signed EO #10995, he also gave birth to four successive Orders that Clinton included in his EO containing provisions to disable constitutional rights. Executive Order #10997 empowers the Secretary of the Interior to seize all energy production facilities--specifically, "electrical power", "petroleum", "gas", "solid fuels", and "minerals". Section 3, subsection (d) of that order, entitled "Claimancy" states:
Prepare plans to claim materials, manpower, equipment, supplies and services needed in support of assigned responsibilities and other essential functions of the Department...to insure availability of such resources in an emergency. [emphasis and supplied]
Note the word "claim" in reference to "materials, manpower, equipment, supplies and services". The legal definition, as supplied by Black's Law Dictionary is, "To demand as one's own or as one's right...means by or through which claimant obtains possession or enjoyment of a privilege or thing. Demand for money or property as of a right...." This means that the government may, upon declaration of a state of local or national emergency, seize any of the above, private or otherwise, including "manpower".
As to what constitutes a national emergency again Black's definition is quite revealing:
"A state of national crisis; a situation demanding immediate and extraordinary national or federal action. Congress has made little or no distinction between a "state of national emergency" and a "state of war." Brown v. Bernstein, D.C.Pa., 49 F.Supp. 728, 732. [emphasis supplied]
EO #10998 places all food resources under authority of the Secretary of Agriculture.
EO #10999 invests the Secretary of Commerce with control over all means of transportation, public and private.
EO #11000 provides for the establishment of manpower resources at the discretion of the Secretary of Labor, with the authority to "claim" services (labor) and involuntary relocation of workers. Collateral authority for this conscription of labor is given in Title 50 app. United States Code, Section 2153 "WAR AND NATIONAL DEFENCE" under the section addressing civilian disposition entitled, "DEFENSE PRODUCTION ACT OF 1950" in which is set forth that civilian personnel may be assigned work without regard to payment or reimbursement.
It is important to note that according to the "War and Emergency Powers Act" the United States has legally been under a state of national emergency since its enactment in 1933. It has never been repealed, thus leaving the president with instant powers to suspend the constitution. Most legal scholars and legislators who have studied the matter concur that the War and Emergency Powers Act has, in reality, already suspended the Constitution since the moment the act was signed into law by President Roosevelt. The actual suspension of those consitutional rights awaits only the impetus of a national emergency requiring it.
In 1933 a U.S. Congressman entered the following statement into the Congressional Record:
"I think of all the damnable heresies that have ever been suggested in connection with the Constitution, the doctrine of emergency is the worst. It means that when Congress declares an emergency, there is no Constitution. This means its death. It is the very doctrine that the German chancellor is invoking today in the dying hours of the parliamentary body of the German republic, namely, that because of an emergency, it should grant to the German chancellor absolute power to pass any law, even though the law contradicts the Constitution of the German republic. Chancellor Hitler is at least frank about it. We pay the Constitution lipservice, but the result is the same....the Constitution of the United States, as a restraining influence in keeping the federal government within the carefully prescribed channels of power, is moribund, if not dead."
The introduction to Senate Report 93-549, entered into the Congressional Record forty years later in 1973 states:
"A majority of the people of the United States have lived all their lives under emergency rule....For 40 years, freedoms and governmental procedures guaranteed by the Constitution have, in varying degrees, been abridged by laws brought into force by states of national emergency....And, in the United States, actions taken by the government in times of great crisis have from, at least, the Civil War, in important ways shaped the present phenomenon of a permanent state of national emergency."
Following the introduction the report's opening statement goes on to say:
"Since March the 9th, 1933, the United States has been in a state of declared national emergency....This vast range of powers, taken together, confer enough authority to rule the country without reference to normal constitutional processes. Under the powers delegated by these statutes, the President may: seize property; organize and control the means of production; seize commodities; assign military forces abroad; institute martial law; seize and control all transportation and communication; regulate the operation of private enterprise; restrict travel; and, in a plethora of particular ways, control the lives of all American citizens."
Not overlooked by those drafting the Constitution was the possible need to address national emergencies. The document contains certain provisions indicating that its signatories conceived of the possibility that some guarantees of personal liberties may, in the national interest, require suspension.
Article 1, Section 9 states: The privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in cases of rebellion [an internal occurrence] or invasion [external] the public safety require it." This grants the citizen the freedom from imprisonment or detention without due process. The proviso "unless when in cases of rebellion or invasion the public safety require it" indicates the necessity to provide for some contingencies that may also carry with them the possibility for abuse. No document of liberty, however, could possibly proscribe all potential for misuse of those liberties without actually eliminating them in the process. It has been said that communism is nothing more than democrasy with all potential for abuse legislated out.
As a result of the Executive Orders listed above, in concert with the War and Emergency Powers Act, there exists within the United States a government within a government. It is hidden, semi-covert in nature, and does not recognize the U.S. Constitution or its constraints. It functions autonomously as a form of totalitarian regime in suspended animation, awaiting its time of activation. It is a government driven by presidential Executive Orders to be executed by federal agencies run by non-elected officials.
Executive Orders amount to ready-wired buttons by which the president can suspend constitutional rights at any moment he determines that a "national emergency" exists. The great problem inherent is that no binding legal definition exists as to what constitutes a "national emergency". That definition lies entirely with the Chief Executive. When he declares a state of emergency, the aforementioned documents can be used to activate whatever federal agency is most suited to address the emergency. Those agencies include, but are not limited to, the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms (BATF), the FBI and the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA).
Because this nation is under a continual state of emergency due to the War and Eergency Powers Act, and the Constitution granting somewhat elastic powers of emergency in "cases of rebellion or invasion", the president can circumvent such fundamental protections as the Posse Comatatus Act which forbids the use of the military against U.S. citizens.
This slow motion decay of constitutional rights was not unforeseen by the Founding Fathers. In a letter to Thomas Jefferson, James Madison once wrote, I believe there are more instances of abridgment of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations...."
The Constitution of the United States of America, once the hub of American law and freedoms, has been moved to the position of the hubcap. It has become merely an ornamental relic that serves no real function other than that of making the American people feel as if the document still matters to those who govern.
It appears that the modern electorate chooses their leaders for the same purpose that they attend a magic show. Their actual desire seems to be that the performer deceive them.
"The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their money; and my people love to have it so: and what will ye do in the end thereof?" Jer 5:31
Copyright © 1997, The WINDS.
Reprinted with permission