T Nation

Bush's Latest Executive Order

I don’t know how many people saw this, but I was hoping some of the more legal savvy posters could help cover a few things about it:

http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2007/07/20070717-3.html

I have seen a lot of different opinions saying that this violates the 5th amendment. Or that this give the Executive Office the ability to create a dictatorial police state because the EO does not have to be ratified by Congress. Hopefully someone more knowledgeable can share some insight?

I’m not an expert in this area by any means, but it looks like a fairly typical move by the executive branch, under the President’s power w/r/t foreign relations, to freeze the assets of individuals and countries connected with a hostile or illegitimate group.

I believe we froze Cuban assets after Castro took over, and I’m fairly sure we froze Iranian assets after the hostage crisis and Khomeni coming to power. We recently froze a bunch of North Korean assets for negotiating leverage with them on the nuclear issue.

[quote]BostonBarrister wrote:
I’m not an expert in this area by any means, but it looks like a fairly typical move by the executive branch, under the President’s power w/r/t foreign relations, to freeze the assets of individuals and countries connected with a hostile or illegitimate group.

I believe we froze Cuban assets after Castro took over, and I’m fairly sure we froze Iranian assets after the hostage crisis and Khomeni coming to power. We recently froze a bunch of North Korean assets for negotiating leverage with them on the nuclear issue.[/quote]

But don’t we already have those powers? I mean funds and assets of potential terrorist sponsors get frozen quite routinely.

So why the new executive order?

I’m guessing that they weren’t doing it w/r/t this group of folks related to Iraq.

having issued an executive order declaring that he and other members of the federal government have the right to seize the property of any person who undermines efforts to promote economic reconstruction and political reform in Iraq. The vague, far-reaching language in the order does not name any specific groups that the rules apply to. This means that protester can now have their property seized for “undermining” efforts to promote “political reform” in Iraq.

The definition of undermine according to Merriam-Webster:

Main Entry: un·der·mine

1 : to excavate the earth beneath : form a mine under : SAP
2 : to wash away supporting material from under
3 : to subvert or weaken insidiously or secretly
4 : to weaken or ruin by degrees

Definitions three and four seem to be most fitting for the language of the bill - unless we are somehow “excavating earth” beneath ideas. Can protests “subvert or weaken” “economic reconstruction” or “political reform”? What about writing anti-war blogs, articles, or letters? It seems as though the answer is ‘Yes’ which means that this order is a direct violation of the Fifth Amendment:

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

Not to mention the First Amendment which guarantees the right to free speech. But I guess these amendments only apply when you are not talking about Iraq. So much for protecting unpopular speech.

Examining this and the executive order that allows Bush to declare himself dictator of the US if there is a �??national emergency�?? reveals that we are sliding down a slippery slope towards tyranny and it needs to stop. A great step towards achieving this goal would be eliminating Executive Orders all together. They give the president the de-facto authority to pass laws without proper approval from congress which seems to be direct a violation of the constitution in the first place.

Why do we even have the constitution if the bureaucrats do not need to follow it? In recent decades it has been reduced to nothing more than an inked piece of parchment with slight sentimental significance. It seems as though the people of this country are compliant as long as they believe they are protected by the constitution. The fact that it truly means nothing anymore seems to be lost on the masses.

I most certainly am not a lawyer, but I’m guessing the vague language used in the document is on purpose. A scare tactic to get people thinking twice before engaging in any form of protest.

Either way, it must really suck to be an American nowadays. You’re definitely going down as the most complacent generation ever. Dirty things are done in your name while you’re watching Paris Hilton’s tribulations.

[quote]lixy wrote:
I most certainly am not a lawyer, but I’m guessing the vague language used in the document is on purpose. A scare tactic to get people thinking twice before engaging in any form of protest.

Either way, it must really suck to be an American nowadays. You’re definitely going down as the most complacent generation ever. Dirty things are done in your name while you’re watching Paris Hilton’s tribulations.[/quote]

Dirty things such as fighting murderous scum in Afghanistan and Iraq.

It only makes sense to cut off their funding.

If I understand correctly, but doesn’t the “RICO act” already do this? Why does the Sec. of State, Treasury or Executive Branch need these powers?

Um, I think everyone should reread sec 5. & sec. 6. There goes buying the cookies from the little girl in the funny uniform. I don’t know where actually all the money goes.

I feel we (US citzens) should be very afraid of the ASSHOLES who currentlty occupy 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, Washingto DC (Waco,Tx)

[quote]58buggs wrote:
If I understand correctly, but doesn’t the “RICO act” already do this? Why does the Sec. of State, Treasury or Executive Branch need these powers?[/quote]

Executive orders cannot create powers. Powers are limited and defined by the Constitution and applicable law. Executive orders state the POTUS’ interpretation of the law, or instruct agencies under the executive branch to operate in a certain way, or clarify the way in which an existing power is to be interpreted or used. Executive orders are not laws.

If you can’t see that this is leading towards a dictatorial police state where any dissension from government policy is considered outlawed.

Better question, can this be used against senators and representatives that vote against any funding bill concerning Iraq / the WoT?

What better way to take out the opposition than to make it illegal.

This is what happens when the people allow people with authoritarian leanings into office…

Sometimes the threat is as powerful as the actuality, because nobody wants to take the chance.

So, yet another piece of leverage to be applied…

[quote]vroom wrote:
Sometimes the threat is as powerful as the actuality, because nobody wants to take the chance. [/quote]

My point exactly.

I’m inclined to say that this it what you get for voting Bush twice in a row, and then can’t help but empathize with the “other half”. I wonder if Ben Laden’s goal was to mess with your liberties in the first place.

[quote]ssn0 wrote:
having issued an executive order declaring that he and other members of the federal government have the right to seize the property of any person who undermines efforts to promote economic reconstruction and political reform in Iraq. The vague, far-reaching language in the order does not name any specific groups that the rules apply to. This means that protester can now have their property seized for “undermining” efforts to promote “political reform” in Iraq.[/quote]

That interpretation would require actively NOT reading the executive order as written. It says:

A and B are sub-paragraphs of (i), which means it applies to people who have committed, or pose a significant risk of committing, acts of violence which have the purpose or effect of undermining efforts in Iraq.

[quote]nephorm wrote:
ssn0 wrote:
having issued an executive order declaring that he and other members of the federal government have the right to seize the property of any person who undermines efforts to promote economic reconstruction and political reform in Iraq. The vague, far-reaching language in the order does not name any specific groups that the rules apply to. This means that protester can now have their property seized for “undermining” efforts to promote “political reform” in Iraq.

That interpretation would require actively NOT reading the executive order as written. It says:

(i) 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;

A and B are sub-paragraphs of (i), which means it applies to people who have committed, or pose a significant risk of committing, acts of violence which have the purpose or effect of undermining efforts in Iraq.[/quote]

Here’s the bit that bothers me most or to pose a significant risk of committing. That’s straight out of “minority report”. It’s the same logic that triggered the Iraq invasion.

[quote]lixy wrote:
Here’s the bit that bothers me most or to pose a significant risk of committing. That’s straight out of “minority report”. It’s the same logic that triggered the Iraq invasion. [/quote]

A person can always do as he pleases. All we can do is establish consequences that we apply afterwards. That applies for the president and agents of the president, as well. A judge would still be involved in this process, and it would presumably have to pass constitutional muster.

[quote]nephorm wrote:
(i) 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;
[/quote]

Do war protesters undermine efforts or are we limited to more tangible impact?

Because, if you ask me, protesters are prone to violent clashes with police… which of course is violence conjoined with activities specifically meant to undermine the administration’s war policy… and the war policy is in place supposedly to support economic and political reform.

Besides, we’ve already seen free speech rights be adjusted to control protester visibility.