“Hi, I’m George Bush, and I’m here to take all your shit.”

Melissa (hat-tipping Shaker Moira, who gets credit for the post title, as well) called my attention to an Executive Order issued by the White House, titled “Blocking Property of Certain Persons Who Threaten Stabilization Efforts in Iraq” and dated July 17, 2007, and asked me to review it. In my considered opinion, I have to say…Holy SHIT.

[I’ll translate from legalese into English as best I can. Where I write ‘person,’ remember that it applies to all groups as well, including (arguably) Shakesville.]

Under this order, the Executive Branch can ‘starve out’ a person by completely freezing their assets, without trial, without the need to present evidence, and without appeal. The Treasury Secretary has sole discretion to determine who is in violation of this order, in ‘consultation’ with the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of State. That last part is verbiage; Treasury has the power per this order. Even better, the Secretary of Treasury has the explicit authority to delegate this decision to any flunky or flunkies of his choice per Sec. 6. This order applies to all persons within the United States. If Treasury declares that a person is a ‘SIGNIFICANT RISK’ to commit violence in Iraq, or a ‘SIGNIFICANT RISK’ to support violence in Iraq in any way, or to have assisted in any way a person who is a ‘SIGNIFICANT RISK’ to do so, all their assets are to be immediately frozen.

It is a further violation of the order to make a donation to such a person whose assets have been frozen. (I was being literal when I said ‘starve’ them. Such a person would have no legal means of acquiring food, clothing, or shelter. They couldn’t buy it with frozen assets, nor accept it as a gift, and stealing is already illegal.) [See here for the statute on which Bush relies to issue this order.]

Section 5 says that these actions will be taken by the government without any notice to the person whose assets are to be frozen. I see no procedure listed for any appeal from this action to anyone. In theory, a person could argue the matter in federal court. However, merely donating legal services to represent such a person would apparently be a violation of Sec. 1(b). The odds of an unrepresented person successfully challenging an executive order, when said order will be defended by a phalanx of Justice Department lawyers, are low.

Is that scary enough for you? When I first read it, I checked the site to make sure it wasn’t a spoof of some sort, a la the Onion. I may have missed something, but I hit the high points.

Oh, I probably don’t need to mention the obvious, but the lack of due process, lack of evidentiary requirements, and the vagueness surrounding exactly what constitutes a violation make this order a totalitarian dream. And there is no end to the ‘daisy chain’ it creates, either. If you donate money to a person whose assets were frozen because they gave money to a person who was declared to be a ‘significant risk’ to commit or support violence in Iraq, then you are subject to the order, subject to have your assets frozen, and anyone helping you thereafter gets the same treatment. This order is far in excess of the presidential orders from 20+ years ago that were circulated to make us afraid of the government. (FYI, there’ve been executive orders since at least Kennedy that declares the feds are in charge of everything in case of nuclear attack and such.)

This is some ham-handed work by the attorneys who drafted it. The only half-clever aspect of it is that, by freezing assets rather than claiming ownership of them, the feds are trying to side-step the prohibition against taking property without compensation. Of course, that is mere sophistry, as the total prohibition of all use of an asset is the same as taking the damned thing, especially as this order has no time limit on how long the assets are to be frozen.

One problem is that the order cannot be attacked in the courts as unconstitutional unless and until it is used against someone, because no one else would have ‘standing’. Being the political animals that they are, the first time they’ll use it will probably be against an undeniable sleazebag, someone almost certainly guilty of the charge. He’d have standing to challenge the order, but the ACLU and other interested groups would be trapped into ‘defending’ a terrorist. And that assumes that someone would be willing to violate the order by taking the case and risking having their entire firm’s assets frozen indefinitely.

The odds of us still having a republic in anything but name only by January 2009 grows more remote every day. I’m off to stock up the doomsday shelter now.

Advertisements

103 Comments

Filed under 11_nightshift

103 responses to ““Hi, I’m George Bush, and I’m here to take all your shit.”

  1. This makes my blood run cold.

  2. Q. But if you haven’t done anything wrong, there’s no reason to worry, right?

    A. Yeah, unless you have spent any time at all thinking about who’s deciding what “wrong” is. And unless you’ve never had to try to jump through our federal government’s impossibly high and small hoops of fire (just ask the people that were “helped” after hurricane Katrina).

  3. Nightshift, thanks so much for writing this post. I literally can’t comprehend how Bush can keep ruling by fiat and pulling stunts like this without any media attention. Everyone in America should be screaming about this horseshit.

    Of course, that requires knowing about it.

  4. Everyone in America should be screaming about this horseshit.

    GAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!

    Okay, I’ll dust off my blog and write about this, too.

  5. Jesus. It’s even more evil than I thought when I first read it. Kind of makes the Alien and Sedition Acts look like the perennial “We Like Firemen Yes We Do” bills.

    Does anyone else have the impression that King George is just trashing the hotel room before anyone makes him leave?

  6. It’s even more evil than I thought when I first read it.

    That’s why I wanted to send it to Nightshift. I just wasn’t sure whether I was reading it right–and I wasn’t. It was worse than I thought.

  7. nightshift66

    Your media at work, Liss. I’m a news junkie, yet would never have known about it without the tip-off from Shaker Moira to you, thence to me. The media are too busy telling us about some celebrity’s nip slip and the missing blonde of the week to fit in minor, unimportant matters of state.

    I hope everyone understands that, in all likelihood, this will never be used against you personally. That isn’t the primary purpose of orders such as this. Vague and undefined orders of this nature serve two primary purposes: to allow the Empire to go after its most effective critics, and to cow the rest into silence.

    This is one more step in the accumulation of all actual power into the executive branch. By an odd coincidence, last week I contemplated posting my theory that we are already well into the Empire phase of our existence, and that Bush corresponds pretty well to the historical Emperor Claudius (not the brilliant character from the BBC mini-series).

  8. yep, i was given a heads up on this one from my cousin. he has been preparing some stuff on indian sovreignity issues for federal presentation and was told about this order by a collegue. it was along the lines of “can you believe these motherfuckers?”

    excellent analysis too nightshift. especially the part about how this can’t be challenged until somebody is fucked by it, and, if they are fucked by it they will be so fucking fucked that they won’t be able to afford a fucking lawyer, because most lawyers would look at the case and say to themselves if i take this case then they might fuck me too then i’d be fucked like this fucker’s fucked. . .

    all i gots to say is well,

    fuck.

  9. “None of our political writers…take[s] notice of any more than three estates, namely, Kings, Lords, and Commons…passing by in silence that very large and powerful body which form the fourth estate in this community…The Mob THE BLOGS.”

    — Update of Henry Fielding (1752)

  10. “The Mob” was supposed to be lined out (it worked in the preview).

  11. Brynn

    I hope everyone understands that, in all likelihood, this will never be used against you personally.

    I agree. But what about using it against an organization you support or belong to, like the ACLU? PETA? The Peace & Freedom Party? Or could it exert an even greater chilling effect on media? Could MSNBC be seen to support terrorists if Keith Olbermann, say, called for an open trial for Jose Padilla?

    Or am I overreacting?

  12. Jay in Oregon

    So NOW can we start handing out torches and pitchforks? Or would that run me the danger of having my assets frozen and property confiscated?

    Coutler, Malkin and their ilk are probably creaming their pants at the thought of this.

  13. nightshift66

    Mistrel,
    You have such a more… potent… way with words than I! (smile) But I cannot disagree with your analysis. This is an incredible assertion of power by the administration.

    And I say admin because, frankly, my honest assessment is that Dubya would not be intelligent enough to read and interpret this order, let alone write it. This has Chaney’s fingerprints all over it. He has desired one-man rule since Nixon, for whatever reason.

  14. Could MSNBC be seen to support terrorists if Keith Olbermann, say, called for an open trial for Jose Padilla?

    Or am I overreacting?

    This eliminates due process. So, they could seize a person’s property and never have to give him or her a reason.

    So, they could simply take all of Keith Olbermann’s stuff and not give him any advance notice or a reason for their action. They would just stand behind this executive order and Olbermann would be totally screwed. He could even buy food. And, if you gave him food, you’d be subject to the order, too.

    Are you overreacting? Hell no! This oder flushes the Fifth Amendment down the toilet.

  15. Pingback: William K. Wolfrum » Blog Archive » 33 years later, Barry Bonds and George W.Bush are no Hank Aaron and Richard Nixon

  16. nightshift66

    Brynn,
    Fritz nails it. You are not overreacting. My point was that, as a practical matter, we are too small-time to be on their radar. And as I said, the first time this is invoked it will be against some hideous character who they could actually take to trial because they have the evidence. They’ll use that as the test case to (they hope) get some authoritarian circuit like the 5th or 2nd to OK the order, and as a bonus for them maybe get some liberal and libertarian groups to come out against the order so they can be smeared as being pro-terrorist. If the test case holds, THEN they can run with it.

    OH, this is too fouled up: the current Treasury Secretary is a Christian Scientist. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_M._Paulson
    Quoting: “Christian Science does not rely on conventional medicine but holds that illness, eventually including death itself, can be healed through prayer and growing closer to God. This belief extends to the possibility of healing any kind of disharmony, not just illness.”

  17. Holy Fucking Shit!!

    We are *comment edited by author to protect the assets of any who may read*, aren’t we?

    Time to learn all the words to “O, Canada!”

  18. BEG

    While it’s true that it can’t be challenged in the courts till someone is hit with it, can’t Congress pass legislation to eviscerate it? At that point then I’d think the courts would have to be involved to resolve the conflict between executive and legislative branches.

    I’m absolutely and utterly appalled.

  19. Pingback: thoughts from an empty head » Freezing Your Assets

  20. Pingback: University Update - George W Bush - “Hi, I’m George Bush, and I’m here to take all your shit.”

  21. My blood… it just went so cold just now!

  22. BEG

    OH, and here’s a question, actually. Could, for example, Reid be construed as “threatening stabilization efforts in Iraq” by having tabled the the current Iraq bill, for example? Not that I think they’d start there, but it might be an interesting point to make when calling in to congresscritters about this EO.

  23. SAP

    *COMMENT DELETED BY ORDER OF HOMELAND SECURITY*

  24. OH, and here’s a question, actually. Could, for example, Reid be construed as “threatening stabilization efforts in Iraq” by having tabled the the current Iraq bill, for example?

    No, no, no! The real problem with this is that they DON’T NEED A REASON. There is no due process. It is like the king tossing you in a dungeon because he doesn’t like you.

    So, they don’t even have to put forth that Reid’s actions are a threat. They just seize his property and he becomes a homeless beggar — don’t feed him or you’ll lose your property, too.

    This is very Orwellian. They can make you a non-person.

  25. nightshift66

    BEG,
    Legislators are immune from civil suit or criminal charges for anything said in session. Of course, that doesn’t cover these special orders, does it? But the order does require violence or ‘significant risk’ of violence. In reality, the admin has been careful not to push too hard, too fast. No elected official is going to be a target of this, I predict. Why would the admin take the heat? They’ll just keep turning the heat up slowly on us frogs.

  26. Brynn

    Ok, encourage my paranoia at your peril. Here’s where it takes me…this is yet another, consecutive nail in the coffin of the American democracy. Along with (not necessarily in this order) the Supreme Court decision that appointed Bush president, the incarceration without charges and deportation of non-nationals after 9/11, the Patriotic Act (which Congress passed twice), NSA spying, Guantanamo, the indefinite incarceration and, yes, torture of American citizen Jose Padilla, the Authorization to Use Force (which handed Congressional power to the president and which Bush interprets as ongoing), the official suspension of habeas corpus/the Military Commissions Act of 2006, and the John Warner National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2006.

    And yet the only action that has motivated the American public, in large numbers, to express discontent with Bush isn’t that he invaded Iraq illegally or has left New Orleans to suffer and fester, or has made a total hash of Afghanistan. But rather, that he’s losing in Iraq. If the US were winning there, I venture to say he would still be the popular war president.

    I really hope all Shakers have an exit strategy of some sort, cuz future prospects for an air invasion of Iran and subsequent disappearance of even more civil rights seem almost inevitable.

  27. I really hope all Shakers have an exit strategy of some sort, cuz future prospects for an air invasion of Iran and subsequent disappearance of even more civil rights seem almost inevitable.

    The nuking of Tehran won’t surprise me. Not a bit.

  28. SAP

    brynn,

    I really hope all Shakers have an exit strategy of some sort, cuz future prospects for an air invasion of Iran and subsequent disappearance of even more civil rights seem almost inevitable.

    I sure do. Head due south along Baja Highway 1 until I run out of land. Open bar and wait for Shakesville refugees to show up so that I can help ferry them to nicer climes.

    And no, that’s not a joke, either. I’ve already got it mapped out.

  29. Brynn

    And no, that’s not a joke, either. I’ve already got it mapped out.

    I didn’t leave the US on a joke, SAP. And like Fritz I worry increasingly about nuclear strikes on Iran. Which would be reason enough, in my opinion, to leave the US regardless of personal privileges I might still enjoy there. I admit I have a tendency to overreact–I really do. But the ongoing direction of the Republican Party since Nixon, the utter depravity and unswerving ambition of Cheney, and Bush’s terrifying ignorance and his conviction that he has been chosen by God to “win” in the ME, all totally freak me out. That Americans are not taking to the streets in the hundreds of thousands to overturn this administration, demand their resignations en masse, and stop this march toward totalitarianism and nuclear war is something I don’t really understand.

  30. Canuck Liz

    Hey Shakers,

    I’ve got a couch and floorspace in my tiny apartment in Vancouver; beer in the fridge, tequila in the cabinet, and a welcome mat for any and all Shakers. Please, at the first sign of trouble, get yer asses to Canada. No guarantees for how safe it will be for how long, though!

    liz

  31. SAP

    I didn’t leave the US on a joke, SAP.

    I know, brynn. Point is that I joke quite a bit, and on this subject, I’m dead serious.

  32. Benjamin

    Nightshift:
    Well covered. In addition to working as a legislative flash-bang tossed in the lap of opposition, tidy little bills like this lay the groundwork for further Iraq/terror/flying monkey related legislature.

    Except that the wording ISN’T tidy. This thing looks like Frankenstein’s monster would have if old Vic had run out of human parts and started sifting through his garbage. I think you’re spot-on about the test case. They HAVE to get this sucker upheld in court in an open and shut trial. Any situation where it’s even remotely ambiguous will call into question the way applicability is set up in the bill, re:
    (following emphasis mine)

    B) undermining efforts to promote economic reconstruction and political reform in Iraq or to provide humanitarian assistance to the Iraqi people;

    These are the vaguest criteria for seizure of property I’ve read. What, exactly, does it mean to “undermine efforts”? No criteria are proposed by the order. I think one could make a compelling case that this order could be applied to the current Executive branch, Fox news, or from the other side, conscientious objectors, war protesters, or the United Nations. Hell, the only people who can’t be construed as “undermining efforts” by one side or the other are people who aren’t involved in any way, but that brings us right to:

    (iii) to be owned or controlled by, or to have acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to this order.
    And:
    (b) Any conspiracy formed to violate any of the prohibitions set forth in this order is prohibited.

    “Conspiracy” is a dangerous word to use in any piece of legislation, especially when it isn’t clarified. This is RICO without the three-prong test. Hell, this is RICO without a clue and a broken broom handle to guide the way.

    PURPORTED to act on behalf of, directly or indirectly? How the HELL does someone claim that they have NOT been “purported to have” “indirectly” “undermined” humanitarian efforts in Iraq? Again, these criteria are literally and directly applicable to the Bush administration. Actually, better example.

    My dog has undermined efforts to bring democracy to the Iraqis.
    There. The State department may now seize her food dish, water bowl, jingly collar (that she actually likes), favorite blanket, and collection of tennis balls, since she has been “purported” to have “undermined” these efforts.
    They didn’t even have the decency to qualify it with the empty gesture of using the word “credibly”.
    Did you know that Texas still has a legal right to secede from the Union? Could all Texans present give it some serious thought AFTER I’m over the border?

  33. ballgame

    OK, I have a really stupid question.

    It’s my understanding the executive branch can’t make laws. How is this not a law?

  34. Dear God, I did not need to read this right now.

    But I’m very glad nightshift wrote about it–thank you for this illuminating piece, which must surely have taken a depressing chunk of time to read, analyze, and write.

    Honestly, what is it going to take? How fascist does it have to get around here before someone notices Hey, this isn’t America!

    I feel sick.

  35. Dee

    Canuck Liz, please dahlin, don’t tease me! I’ll be on your doorstep in a flash!

    Been trying to figure out how to move to Canada but feel like I’m swimming in molasses! Any pointers on how to escape?

    I actually have marketable work skills as well as actual work experience. Too many decades of work experience! 😉

  36. Dee

    I know it all seems pretty useless, but has everyone contacted their so-called representatives in government? I have for what it’s worth.

  37. Benjamin

    ballgame: It’s possible because of four words.
    State of National Emergency.

  38. “Could all Texans present give it some serious thought AFTER I’m over the border?”

    We’d want to make sure it was done when W was not in the state, natch.

    *shudder*

    Yanno, i’m not much of a drinker, but i don’t have nearly enough alcohol in the house to contemplate the ramifications of this thing.

  39. boatboy_srq

    Seems to me this particular piece of bullshit legalese was written to do things: 1) convince the casual reader that it’s aimed at Teh Tehrrursts; 2) in reality snare anyone the [mal]administration wants. It’s shades of the WoD and 3 Strikes, where the legislation aimed at taking out the kingpins takes out the ordinary users and footsoldiers instead: the actual target is hidden by the presumed intent inferred from reading the document.

    Bloggers are (initially) almost certainly too small to merit pursuit immediately. But imagine if ShrubCo froze the assets of every candidate opposing the current stupidity policy for the GWoT. Anyone – anyone – rising to their defense could be brought in under this order, and in a case like that, it would be the next best thing to declaring all opposition parties – not just the Democrats – effectively defunct. That also includes opposition PACs, including outfits like MoveOn. All ShrubCo has to do is snare the leading candidates with this little beauty, and all opposition to the [mal]administration ceases: either because those who speak up get hit with this thing, too, or because we stop making noise because silence is preferable to starving on the street.

    I disagree with nightshift on the source (for the reason above if nothing else): Cheney may have proofread, but this has Rove’s fingerprints on it.

    Can we PLEASE impeach this administration now?

  40. Pingback: What's that you said?

  41. Fritz

    Kristallnacht Order
    (November 10, 1938)

    Message from SS-Grupenführer Heydrich to all State Police Main Offices and Field Offices:

    Secret

    Copy of Most Urgent telegram from Munich, of November 10, 1938, 1:20 A.M.

    To

    All Headquarters and Stations of the State Police

    All districts and Sub-districts of the SD

    Urgent! For immediate attention of Chief or his deputy!

    Re: Measures against Jews tonight

    Following the attempt on the life of Secretary of the Legation vom Rath in Paris, demonstrations against the Jews are to be expected in all parts of the Reich in the course of the coming night, November 9/10, 1938. The instructions below are to be applied in dealing with these events:

    1. The Chiefs of the State Police, or their deputies, must immediately upon receipt of this telegram contact, by telephone, the political leaders in their areas – Gauleiter or Kreisleiter  who have jurisdiction in their districts and arrange a joint meeting with the inspector or commander of the Order Police to discuss the arrangements for the demonstrations. At these discussions the political leaders will be informed that the German Police has received instructions, detailed below, from the Reichsfuehrer SS and the Chief of the German Police, with which the political leadership is requested to coordinate its own measures:

    a) Only such measures are to be taken as do not endanger German lives or property (i.e., synagogues are to be burned down only where there is no danger of fire in neighboring buildings).

    b) Places of business and apartments belonging to Jews may be destroyed but not looted. The police is instructed to supervise the observance of this order and to arrest looters.

    c) In commercial streets particular care is to be taken that non-Jewish businesses are completely protected against damage.

    d) Foreign citizens – even if they are Jews – are not to be molested.

    2. On the assumption that the guidelines detailed under para. 1 are observed, the demonstrations are not to be prevented by the Police, which is only to supervise the observance of the guidelines.

    3. On receipt of this telegram Police will seize all archives to be found in all synagogues and offices of the Jewish communities so as to prevent their destruction during the demonstrations. This refers only to material of historical value, not to contemporary tax records, etc. The archives are to be handed over to the locally responsible officers of the SD.

    4. The control of the measures of the Security Police concerning the demonstrations against the Jews is vested in the organs of the State Police, unless inspectors of the Security Police have given their own instructions. Officials of the Criminal Police, members of the SD, of the Reserves and the SS in general may be used to carry out the measures taken by the Security Police.

    5. As soon as the course of events during the night permits the release of the officials required, as many Jews in all districts – especially the rich – as can be accommodated in existing prisons are to be arrested. For the time being only healthy male Jews, who are not too old, are to be detained. After the detentions have been carried out the appropriate concentration camps are to be contacted immediately for the prompt accommodation of the Jews in the camps. Special care is to be taken that the Jews arrested in accordance with these instructions are not ill-treated.

    signed Heydrich,

    SS Gruppenfuehrer

    PS-3051.

    Source: Yad Vashem

  42. Canuck Liz

    Dee, not teasing 🙂 I get so angry/sad/frustrated when I read this blog and others like it (notwithstanding the talent and sidesplitting humour of our mistress and the contributors), but I can’t vote, can’t contribute money to a candidate (if there was even one that I liked), so all I can do is offer any encouragement and support to any US citizen trying to take a stand. Seriously.

    Canada is great, but it’s got its own problems…not perfect by any means, no matter what Michael Moore tells you. Vancouver is the most beautiful city I’ve ever lived in (and I’ve been around) but it’s expensive as hell (for Canada). We are going through a labour shortage, so I would think that there are jobs available. Micro$oft is about to open a big office complex here, many of the video game designers are based here (EA and Radical, for example) and there are about a million restaurants where you can make an almost living wage (we have an okay min.wage and west coasters are generally good tippers).

    The rest of Canada is great too, but the winters are pretty intense (ever seen Fargo?).

    liz

  43. “They’ll just keep turning the heat up slowly on us frogs.”

    Nightshift I am hoping you meant this in the way I am interpreting it which is a reference to The Story of B by Daniel Quinn, which if you are, remember that the water around us is already boiling and we are already almost dead. For you or anyone who has not read this book or anything by Quinn, he is an amazing writer who talks about the collapse of our culture and this is not just meant as western culture this is the current world culture, which is collapsing as we speak.

  44. Great work, ‘Shift.

    Reading that order, what bugged the shit out of me the most was the premise itself. E.g.:

    due to the unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States posed by acts of violence threatening the peace and stability of Iraq

    and

    …would seriously impair my ability to deal with the national emergency declared in Executive Order 13303 and expanded in Executive Order 13315

    The preposterous notion that we — here in the U.S. — are facing an “extraordinary threat” that qualifies as a “national emergency”, when in fact for most of us life here at home is utterly unchanged in any substantial way, is what galls me to no end. What the hell would these people do if we ever really were immediately threatened in some legitimately grave fashion?

  45. For as much as some people don’t like Ron Paul around here, it’s too bad his Separation of Powers Act didn’t make it past 1999. 😦

    (And no, I’m not an RP shill — I recalled hearing about the bill. When I looked it up and saw who proposed it, I just thought the fact that it was from RP was amusing given the recent post and comments about him.)

  46. jahf

    I was being literal when I said ‘starve’ them.

    People also don’t believe that Jefferson was speaking literally when he wrote, “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.”

    Q. But if you haven’t done anything wrong, there’s no reason to worry, right?

    Utterly false, of course. It might not happen today, but, having permitted it to happen to someone else–anyone else–it is certain that everyone’s turn to be thrown under the bus will come.

    Your media at work, Liss.

    It’s not “our” media, or they wouldn’t be part of the army that is helping to kill off the republic.

    I hope everyone understands that, in all likelihood, this will never be used against you personally. That isn’t the primary purpose of orders such as this. Vague and undefined orders of this nature serve two primary purposes: to allow the Empire to go after its most effective critics, and to cow the rest into silence.

    Whether one is a live target, or merely one of the cowed, it seems to me that one is very personally effected by this latest edict, particularly given the capricious nature of corrupt and absolute power.

    How fascist does it have to get around here before someone notices Hey, this isn’t America!

    Apparently, the blood must run red over the land, and fuck off if it isn’t the blood of a family relative. And so, the myth of rugged American individualism plays its part in the death of the republic, whose enemies are more coordinated and more disciplined in their efforts destroy it than putative citizens are in theirs to preserve it.

  47. nightshift66

    Toast,
    The order had to be worded that way, because the referenced legislation only authorizes a president to pass these sweeping orders in a ‘national emergency’ that poses an ‘extraordinary threat.’ Those are the exact words from 50 U.S.C. 1702, linked to in the original post. In other words, an earlier Congress, trusting the American people to be vigilant and future presidents not to be power mad, passed legislation allowing these orders to be passed to meet actual emergencies. And here we are.

  48. The order had to be worded that way, because the referenced legislation only authorizes a president to pass these sweeping orders in a ‘national emergency’ that poses an ‘extraordinary threat.’

    Not surprising, then, that this administration so thoroughly decoupled those phrases from their meaning.

  49. nightshift66

    No, not surprising for anyone who’s paid the slightest attention the last 6 1/2 years or so.

  50. Shade

    Nightshift,

    So this is LEGAL? Is it permanent? I mean, can the Congress actually do anything about this, or are we screwed?

  51. Shade

    BTW, Crooks and Liars has picked up on this, so has TPMmuckraker.

  52. YIKES!

    I am dumbfounded. Speechless.

    And I’m one of the people who’s been saying for years (e. g. here) that we’ve crossed the line into dictatorship after that first detention without trial.

  53. Pingback: The Death of The Republic, The Final Act « Our Descent Into Madness

  54. OK, I’m unclear on one point: If King George and the US Treasury freeze someone’s assets (or, given the scope of this, thousands of people’s assets), can they use the proceeds to, say, pay for more war (or pay their cronies at Halliburton or Bechtel)?

  55. Pingback: YOUTHinkLeft » The Death of The Republic, The Final Act

  56. nightshift66

    Vicster,
    In theory, no; frozen assets technically remain the property of their owner. But that’s cold comfort to the schmuck who can’t use it in any way, not even to borrow against it.

    Shade,
    “Legal”? Friend, we years ago left the realm of law and entered the realm of pure power in politics. It is clear that the administration has twisted an existing law to aggrandize its own power (again). Since I don’t believe any opposing force is going to make them back down on this, I suppose it is going to remain on the books and will be used at their discretion.

  57. Rottweiler

    Something foreboding is absolutely in the air. All they really need is another 9/11. Does anyone doubt that a second planned devastation is already in the works? Remember Skeletor Chertoff’s “gut feeling” about an impending attack? The scare machine is reving up. Connect the dots.

  58. Anonymous

    This was done in the Soviet Union (Ukraine and other countries) in the 1930s. Surely some of you are old enough to remember hearing the phrase “enemy of the State”? Just substitute the word “Homeland” for “State.” If you’re leaving, leave soon, before you need an exit permit, as well as a passport to leave. These are my worst nightmares. This is not paranoia.

  59. Okay. Don’t get hysterical. It’s bad – but not as bad as some of you are making it out to be.

    “to have materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, logistical, or technical support for, or goods or services in support of, such an act or acts of violence or any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to this order;”

    does NOT include Keith Olbermann making a Special Comment or one of us writing a blog post calling for US withdrawal. That’s not “material assistance, sponsorship, or provision of financial, logistical, or technical support”.

    “to have committed, or to pose a significant risk of committing, an act or acts of violence that have the purpose or effect of:

    (A) threatening the peace or stability of Iraq or the Government of Iraq; or

    (B) undermining efforts to promote economic reconstruction and political reform in Iraq or to provide humanitarian assistance to the Iraqi people;”

    You can’t start at “undermining efforts” – it’s “acts of violence that have the purpose or effect of undermining efforts”.

    So – this is sweeping and possibly unconstitutional. But it’s not as bad as it’s being painted. We have to fight what it actually says, not some straw-man version of it, or we get sucked into wasting our efforts.

  60. Jocelyn

    My God. How in God’s name could we have been dumb enough to elect this asshole TWICE? Land of the free? Sure…

  61. Shae

    We weren’t dumb enough to elect this asshole twice, he stole his way into the damn job.

  62. Jay in Oregon

    Okay. Don’t get hysterical. It’s bad – but not as bad as some of you are making it out to be.

    It is that bad, because there’s plenty of evidence of how this administration will twist even innocuous-sounding powers (signing statements, executive privilege, redefining prisoners of war as “enemy combatants” to skirt the Geneva Conventions, etc.) when they’re not outright ignoring the rule of law (Cheney’s “we aren’t part of the executive branch” BS).

    The fact that ANY PRESIDENT would try to grant himself such a sweeping power should be cause for rioting in the streets. I will bet you every penny that I make this year that if the president who did this had a last name of Clinton that it would not be sailing quietly by in the night like this.

  63. nightshift66

    Ridger,
    The most crucial point is that the decision resides entirely in one man, Secretary of Treasury. You are reading the text correctly, but when he doesn’t have to produce any evidence whatsoever and is subject to no appeal, what does the text matter? He doesn’t have to prove anything, just make the accusation. That is where the real power comes in, the complete lack of oversight and accountability.

  64. didn’t leave the US on a joke, SAP

    Believe me I didn’t leave as a joke either. I won’t be some kind of smartass and say I saw this shit coming because I didn’t but I knew that a country that had enough totally ignorant voters to elect a lying crooked prick like Nixon would quite possibly do something like this in the future. And they proved it when they elected Reagan. And you have allowed this son of a bitch to steal 2 elections and done nothing about it and now you have the result. A dictatorship in everything but name. And once the war in Iran starts, or perhaps just prior to it’s starting, you can expect the Kristal night to follow swiftly. And you can also forget all this shit about an election in 2008 ’cause it ain’t gonna happen baby.

  65. LS

    Ridger,

    I’d be concerned about the term “sponsorship” and the phrase “to pose a significant risk of committing.” Sponsorship is a short hop from “support” in the wingnut sense of “not decrying as utterly evil at every opportunity” and who determines what constitutes a “significant risk”?

    Answer: the folks who wrote this piece of shit order. And even if we’d seen nothing else about them, this order screams loud and clear that they don’t give a damn about evidence or due process. Oh, the first time they use it, it’ll be in response to violence. But then they’ll whip it out against someone who was planning violence, and celebrate the “foiling of the terror plot!” in the media, and talk about how great it was that they had this ‘tool’ to use against the terrorists. Then they’ll start on people who are just speaking out, accusing them of planning to commit violent acts, and the media will go happily along.

  66. I keep thinking it’s time to move to Canada!!!!!
    ~

    ballgame Jul 19th, 2007 at 6:20 pm

    OK, I have a really stupid question.

    It’s my understanding the executive branch can’t make laws. How is this not a law?
    ~

    It is a law. All presidents can make them, it’s called an Executive Order, and as soon as he signs it, it’s law.
    ~
    He did one as the first thing he did in office. It prohibited the US govt from giving any $$ to any organization advocating or giving info about abortions or real birth control. It’s still in effect.

  67. oddjob

    While it’s true that it can’t be challenged in the courts till someone is hit with it, can’t Congress pass legislation to eviscerate it? At that point then I’d think the courts would have to be involved to resolve the conflict between executive and legislative branches.

    Yes, Congress can pass legislation that countermands it, and no I doubt the courts would be involved. Here’s why.

    This is an executive order. Executive orders have the force of law with regards to the action of the executive branch, but they are not laws, and because they are not laws Congress can pass laws that nullify them. Because of the times in which we live it’s easy to forget that the laws passed by Congress supercede the president’s wishes, but it nontheless remains the fact that the executive is obligated to carry out the laws duly passed by Congress.

    Now, if Shrub were to sign such a nullifying bill and then attach one of his ridiculous “signing statements” illegally directing the Sec. of the Treasury to ignore the law and continue to carry out the executive order, that would create a situation where the courts might become involved.

    What would happen once the courts struck down the signing statment, I don’t know.

  68. Pingback: The Last Challenege at Shakesville

  69. Jesus H Christ. Anyone know which countries are the easiest to immigrate to?

  70. Pingback: Friends

  71. Pingback: Feministe » Don’t get too attached to your stuff

  72. In Australia our government has currently detained an Indian immigrant doctor on suspicion of being connected to the Glasgow Airport bomb plot, and they haven’t been able to make anything substantive stick. He has however been charged with “recklessly supplying material aid to a terrorist organisation” because 18 months ago when he left the UK he gave his UK SIM card to his cousin, whose brother is one of the accused bomb plotters. [link]

    The cousin in the UK has not been charged with belonging to a terrorist organisation, only with “withholding information that could have been used to prevent a terrorist attack” because of a very flimsy chain of evidence, an email from his brother with a link to an online email account with draft documents that included a will.

    An old SIM card. An email from a brother containing a link to online documents that you might not even have read.

    This is the evidence that countries in the Coalition of the Willing are using to lock up people in countries that do still allow judicial review. This executive order doesn’t allow for even that.

  73. Pingback: Making Light: President Cheney

  74. I have two daughters in college, so I’m not going anywhere.

    Please God, watch over them if I have to die for my Constitution.

    Join me, if you will, in The New Pledge of Allegiance:

    “I pledge allegiance to the CONSTITUTION of the United States, and to its commitments to Personal Freedoms, Shared Responsibilities, and Equal Justice For All.”

  75. Dee

    Thanks for the info, Liz!

    Yep, I’ve seen Fargo and, crazy as it sounds, I like harsh winters and just wild weather in general!

    I guess I’ll dust off the old resume and see if Microsoft might be interested!

    Thanks again!

    Dee

  76. What would happen once the courts struck down the signing statment, I don’t know.

    The white house lawyers would issue an interpretation of the judge’s case claiming that, contrary to the clear language of the decision, they’d actually won. And then things would proceed as before. We’re at a point where the administration is limited by “what are we physically capable of accomplishing,” not “what are we allowed to do”. It’s kind of endearing the way they still go through the charade of pretending they have proper legal authority for things.

  77. kate

    “I, GEORGE W. BUSH, President of the United States of America, find that, due to the unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States posed by acts of violence threatening the peace and stability of Iraq and undermining efforts to promote economic reconstruction and political reform in Iraq and to provide humanitarian assistance to the Iraqi people, it is in the interests of the United States to take additional steps with respect to the national emergency declared in Executive Order 13303 of May 22, 2003, and expanded in Executive Order 13315 of August 28, 2003, and relied upon for additional steps taken in Executive Order 13350 of July 29, 2004, and Executive Order 13364 of November 29, 2004. I hereby order:”

    Looks to me by my interpretation of the above text that the National Emergency has been declared as of May 22, 2003, therefore this is good to go into effect now.

    Shift: I realize the first test will be the easiest and clearest for the courts, but does the legislature (house and/or senate) have the authority to block an executive order? I know, its basic civ, but you know, I’m part of the ignorant masses.

  78. jahf

    What would happen once the courts struck down the signing statment, I don’t know.

    Mob bosses don’t put cronies on the bench to have them make judgments unfavorable to said mob bosses’ cause. I can’t say that I’m convinced that the SCOTUS would strike down such a signing statement. I’d say that we’re learning now, and far too late, why it’s necessary to fight tooth and nail against the appointment of loyal foot soldiers to the post.

  79. Pingback: Raven’s Aerie » Blog Archive » Way Past Time to Do More Than Get Mad

  80. Pingback: when did dubya become king? - Via Chicago

  81. See the difference with the detainee in Australia is that the justice system is actually fighting back, not working with the government to oppress random individuals who look like terrorists. The courts have actually released to the public the “evidence” the government is using to detain this guy (which, as was mentioned above, is not very much at all). Prior to this, the government was trying to say that they had all sorts of secret shit against this poor guy.

    To me, that’s a huge difference.

  82. Pingback: BobGeiger.com: The Saturday Cartoons

  83. Pingback: Activist Mommy

  84. Pingback: Impeachment Matters Even More at Shakesville

  85. Jeff S

    This is givin’ me chills. I too just stumbled on the order and like all of you have tried to find out what it really meant. Now I’m frightened. Partly because the energy that used to cause the torches and pitchforks to come out is being expended (somewhat) by bloging. If we didn’t have blogging we might actually be talking face to face. What we need is a million people marching up Pennsylvania Ave with what’s left of the National Guard looking on. Thanks to all

  86. Pingback: Obligated to exaggerate - In case anyone missed the news...

  87. Pingback: America, where have we gone | VirusHead

  88. mel

    Revelation 13:16-18
    And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a MARK in their right hand, or in their foreheads:
    And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the MARK, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.
    Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six. Rev. 13:16-18

  89. Pingback: links for 2007-07-22 « MissM’s Blog

  90. This makes me think a lot of different things, some negative, some positive.

    First, yes, it’s damn, damn bad. George would pick some psychotic nobody first, some inept loon who’d claim he was working for Al Qaeda. Freeze his assets, and when his family and friends try to keep him from starving to death, they’ll get their assets frozen, too. Around that time, the ACLU would say, hey, wait, that ain’t kosher, and BAM, they’d freeze the ACLU’s assets — and all their members’ assets, too. Any group that hollers, BAM, freeze the group, freeze the members. That’s not just an abuse of power, that’s George and Dick saying, hey, wheee, we’re gonna be the East Germans now.

    On the other hand, when it comes to George declaring martial law, it’s already too late for him to pull that shit. He could’ve gotten away with it five years ago, back when he had high approval ratings. Right now, everyone hates him. Everyone wants him gone. He’s got the support of a the chickenshit media dorks and a handful of Cheeto-eating cowards who aren’t going to be leaving their parents’ basements for a while. He can’t rely on the military — they’re pinned down in the Middle East. He can’t rely on the cops, because they’ll bail fast when they realize it’s them against everyone else.

    I live in one of the most conservative cities in Texas, and right now, if George declared martial law, people would be burning effigies of him in the streets. People from all over the country would be marching on Washington.

    Smart tyrants try their takeovers when they’re popular. Dumb tyrants try it when everyone hates them.

  91. You people are all missing something important about this. It’s only partly about *actually* using it. Now that they’ve got it, anyone they don’t like, or anyone they need to help them fix an election, or anyone they need not to represent the next Jose Padilla, or whatever, they can *threaten* them with it if they don’t get compliance to their wishes.

    “You don’t want to be writing another op-ed like that. That kind of talk gives comfort and support to the terrorists. And you know what can happen to people who give comfort and support to terrorists. We don’t have to take your kind to court any more–we can just take everything you’ve got, toss you out onto the street and make it illegal to give you so much as a crust of bread. Your daughters are in college, huh? Be a shame if they had to quit and go to work at McDonalds. Even more of a shame if they tried to give you some money to keep you from starving and we had to do the same to them. So you better wise up quick and change your tone, citizen.”

    That’s how the police state happens. Once they have a way they can just fuck over anyone they want, it’s only partly about actually doing it. It’s more about using the threat to make people toe the line. This order could do serious police state action without ever actually getting used.

  92. Pingback: Ezra Klein: Impeachment Matters--Even More

  93. Oh, yes . . . “technical assistance” could also I’d say be construed as including publicity on someone’s behalf. So, say they did this to somebody. Not only could they nail you for giving the victim money or food, they could probably get you for publicizing their plight–you technically assisted the victim by filming them with a videocamera, or using a webserver to send out information on their behalf.

  94. Pingback: links for 2007-07-22 « Amy G. Dala

  95. Pingback: at bitter-girl :: musings

  96. Pingback: Carousel - we're in for it now...

  97. Pingback: A Voice of Kamui's Friends

  98. Don

    BEG wrote
    While it’s true that it can’t be challenged in the courts till someone is hit with it, can’t Congress pass legislation to eviscerate it?

    BEG, keep in mind that this is the administration says the congress can’t pursue “Contempt of Congress” charges because the Federal prosecutors will not prosecute any charges against administration officials forwarded to them by Congress. Also the administration only needs 34 Senators to stop anything Congress wants to do (and with 40-41, depending on on when the Senator for SD recovers, they can prevent a vote).

  99. Pingback: these are the Daves I know

  100. Pingback: roz_mcclure: Your vote could change the future!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s