18 March 2012

Alan Caruba is a singularity of terribleness

Alan Caruba, patron saint of terrible columnists (evidence here and here), has written this week about President Obama's recent Executive Order on "National Defense Resources Preparedness."  This column is a microcosm of all that is wrong with Alan Caruba's spasms of pseudo-journalism.
The President of the United States of America, Barack Hussein Obama, has generated so much fear that the most common theme of posted comments and private communications is that he will refuse to relinquish power if defeated in November or that, under some pretext, he will declare a state of martial law.
An Executive Order posted on the White House website on Friday, March 16, 2012, has generated a wave of fear. It is officially about “National Defense Resources Preparedness” and its stated policy addresses “national defense resource policies and programs under the Defense Production Act of 1950.”
The new EO evokes fear because it is occurring in peacetime and, more specifically, when the United States remains the strongest military power on Earth. There is no indication that an attack by any other nation is anticipated, so the implementation of the EO raises concerns that its purpose is not what it says.
In effect, the EO allows the federal government, directed by the President, to commandeer and control all aspects of the economy and the lives of all Americans. It centralizes control to an astonishing and frightening degree.
Let's get one thing straight, first of all. I can't believe I even have to say this, but this executive order is not occurring in peacetime. We are at war in Afghanistan against the insurgents, for the moment at least, and only just drawing a second war in Iraq to a close. In March alone, twenty-five soldiers have died in Afganistan, and seven of them were Americans. Alan Caruba is dumb. But okay, what terrible things does Obama's executive order do?
As just one example, it parcels out control to “ the Secretary of Agriculture with respect to food resources, food resource facilities, livestock resources, veterinary resources, plant health resources, and the domestic distribution of farm equipment and commercial fertilizer” and thereafter to:
The Secretary of Energy with respect to all forms of energy;
The Secretary of Health and Human Services with respect to health resources;
The Secretary of Transportation with respect to all forms of civil transportation;
The Secretary of Defense with respect to water resources; and
The Secretary of Commerce with respect to all other materials, services, and facilities, including construction materials.
Well, it's true that he did copy-and-paste some elements of the executive order that sound vaguely threatening.  But it is not true that these Cabinet members get "control." The first half of that section of the executive order - the half Caruba "forgot" to include - explicitly states that this is restricted to governmental supply orders and non-employment contracts. Quite reasonably, this is just the President delegating his authority as executive to place government orders for supplies to his cabinet members. This is so that in time of crisis, the Secretary of Transportation can specially order some boxcars for the railroad or whatever. And as the next section further specifies, the Cabinet members can only do this under written authorization of Defense, Homeland Security, or Energy.  It will be a vicious authoritarian coup, but at least it will be well-documented and planned for.

But hey, I guess I shouldn't bust Caruba too much for lazily copying and pasting stuff from this executive order. After all, this one is just an update of the 1996 Executive Order 12919, and in fact that whole scary section of Obama's that so terrifies Caruba was itself copied and pasted from President Clinton's. And even worse, Clinton seems to have just clarified what was done in 1988 by President Reagan's Executive Order 12656!

Obama! How villainous of you to travel back in time and force Ronald Reagan to delegate the authority granted by the Defense Production Act of 1950 to the Cabinet! What did poor Ronald Reagan ever do to you?

You can read the rest of the column for yourself (until Caruba deletes in in shame), but it's mostly baseless fearmongering about how Obama will enact a coup and arrest all of Congress, and the media will help him because they're in cahoots.  But that's all beside the point.  The real point is this: Alan Caruba is terrible.

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