Diana West has a post up which caused our translator, JLH, to send a worried email with a one word subject line: “Gulp”. Now JLH is a mellow fellow not given to drama, but DW’s essay disturbed him exceedingly.
It bothers me some, too, for several reasons.
For one thing it was yet one more Friday afternoon Executive Order signed by President Obama after the MSM White House Press Corps has fled for the weekend. Those reporters stampede for the exits in as seemly a manner as possible. Even knowing Obama’s proclivity for Friday afternoon Executive Directives can’t seem to draw them back from their Friday Rush.
This particular Order details “National Security and Emergency Preparedness”.
That sounds fine and presidential until you drill down into the small print. But who does that? Is there anything more MEGO than one of these presidential orders larded with clauses and sub-clauses? Oh, wait: there is another, worse category — the gargantuan legislative nightmares extruded from our sausage-making Congress during the past few administrations, especially when Democrats control both the Executive branch and the Legislative branch as they did during the first two years of Obama’s reign. (However, Bush’s cooperation with the late Senator Kennedy on that boondoggle, “No Child Left Behind” Act deserves its own shame medal. An immoral, unnatural act it is.)
But I digress. It seems that our president and our Department of Homeland Security director couldn’t rest easy until they’d tweaked a few provisional “emergency communication orders” for just-in-case.
Diana West drills uses her scalpel to peel back the covering bumpf so you can see some of the inner workings here:
…on July 6 — a holiday-weekend Friday — the White House posted an Executive Order setting up Napolitano’s Department of Homeland Security as the uber-communications authority during a national emergency with some peculiar little clauses that make me wonder. (Hat tip: John L. Work.)
Obama’s Order creates an Executive Committee for National Security/Emergency Preparedness (NS/EP) under the Secretaries of Defense and Homeland Security, and a Executive Committee Joint Program Office under the Secretary of Homeland Security to support the Executive Committee.
As Diana West says, that’s just the blah-blah section. I always thought they did that so you’d give up bothering to read the rest. Then she drills down:
…The parts enumerating duties and powers, however, despite the same mind-numbing official patois, seem like anything but hot air.
Sec. 5.2. The Secretary of Homeland Security shall:…
(d) receive, integrate, and disseminate NS/EP communications information to the Federal Government and State, local, territorial, and tribal governments, as appropriate, to establish situational awareness, priority setting recommendations, and a common operating picture for NS/EP communications information;
(e) satisfy priority communications requirements through the use of commercial, Government, and privately owned communications resources, when appropriate;
That’s her emphasis, not mine. She asks if conservative talk show hosts like Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity have looked at this order and then says:
Is DHS now waiting in the wings to seize — sorry: “satisfy priority communications requirements through the use of commercial … and privately owned” radio networks “when appropriate”?
She notes the already-supine print media and then examines more deeply other aspects of this Order:
As I read Federalese, this means that Janet Napolitano, after having “satisfied communications priorities through the use of commercial … and privately owned communications resources” — read: seized radio networks in a public emergency — gets to pick and choose who gets to go back on the air and when.
But it gets worse. Much worse. Go over to her post and scroll down to what the Commerce Secretary is permitted to do.
In any event, Ms. West is right to be concerned with the seizure by the government of privately owned anything. They tend not to give back once they take. And they have no right to decide who gets the airwaves back and who doesn’t.
Never mind that the Congress can step in here to push back against Executive overreach. The question is, will they?
For more information on Executive Orders, both those signed since Obama entered the Oval Office and the directives issued by his predecessors (see FDR’s record!) see this blog. I had trouble loading some of the pages but if you have excellent connectivity you’ll have no problem. This blogger has done his homework.
All in all, this is worrisome. Sure, the next president can undo these things – and most have famously done so – but Congress ought to take up once more its role of CONSENT. For a change.