|Power Grab Through Executive Orders|
|Not only does President Clinton not feel any shame about his impeachment (as he told Dan Rather), Clinton now feels stronger than ever, able to override the U.S. Constitution and ignore Congress. He has been exercising extraordinary new powers — never asserted by any prior President — both through Executive Orders (EO) and abuse of his title of Commander in Chief. Rep. Jack Metcalf (R-WA) says that Clinton has “made himself a super-legislator by issuing executive orders that require the appropriation of funds.” |
Clinton’s good friend and defender of Oval Office misbehavior, Paul Begala, put it like this: “Stroke of the pen. Law of the land. Kinda cool.” No, it isn’t cool; it’s hot with disdain for the constitutional rules that “all” legislative powers belong to Congress and that “all bills for raising revenues shall originate in the House.” James Madison called the accumulation of executive and legislative powers in the same branch “the very definition of tyranny.”
Clinton will be President for another year and a half. By what the press has variously called a “blizzard” or a “blitz” of Executive Orders, Clinton has grabbed new powers for the executive branch, made broad public policy changes, spent non-appropriated taxpayers’ money, and even tried to restructure our governmental system. Clinton’s Executive Orders are in awesome tandem with his other power grabs through phony “peacekeeping” expeditions, unauthorized bombing of four sovereign countries, plans to create a “Homelands Defense Command” to use the Army for domestic law enforcement, monitoring of our bank accounts, and databasing of our health records.
The term Executive Order does not appear in the Constitution. The Executive Order authority derives from the President’s Article II, Section 3 power to “take care that the laws be faithfully executed.” However, “laws” must mean laws that are already passed, not laws that an Executive Order purports to create. The validity of particular Executive Orders has often been questioned, but neither Congress nor the Supreme Court has ever defined the extent of their power, and courts have rarely invalidated or even reviewed EOs.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt proclaimed a national emergency and issued wide-reaching Executive Orders, notably his 1933 bank holiday and prohibition on private possession of gold, but those orders were subsequently ratified by Congress. The notorious EO 9066, under which some Japanese-Americans were interned during World War II, was subsequently upheld by the Supreme Court under FDR’s war powers. In 1952, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Harry Truman’s EO 10340 to seize the nation’s steel mills.
In 1996, the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit invalidated Clinton’s EO 12954, which attempted to prohibit federal agencies from doing business with companies that had permanently replaced strikers.
Clinton has issued 279 Executive Orders, but many others are not numbered. The Presidential Decision Directives (PDD) have a different sequence of numbers, and many of them are kept secret, such as the notorious PDD 25, by which Clinton presumed to give himself the power to assign U.S. troops to serve under foreign commanders and under foreign rules of engagement.
Some of Clinton’s Executive Orders are federal land grabs over property that belongs either to the states or to private landowners. Land use and zoning are quintessentially matters of state or local, not federal, jurisdiction.
By Executive Order 13061, the American Heritage Rivers Initiative , Clinton purported to give himself the power to take over 10 rivers a year (later amended to 20 by EO 13093, of which 14 have been named), whose adjacent lands will be put under the control of Clinton-appointed River Navigators, each with a salary of $100,000. Congress never authorized this land grab or appropriated any money for it, so Clinton says he will divert funds from 12 departments. This EO on rivers takes governing authority away from states and localities, and threatens private property rights guaranteed by the Fourth and Fifth Amendments. (For details on EO 13061, see the Phyllis Schlafly Report, April 1998, p.4)
Clinton’s surprise grab of 1.7 million acres of Utah land for a national park in 1996 just happened to include a trillion dollars’ worth of clean-burning, low-sulfur hard coal. Clinton’s removal of this huge natural resource from commercial availability tremendously enhanced the value of the world’s second largest source of environmentally-safe coal, which just happens to be owned by Clinton’s Indonesian friends the Riadys, who gave millions of dollars to Clinton’s presidential campaigns in 1992 and 1996.
For the Mexican and Brazilian bailouts, Clinton used executive authority to raid a U.S. Treasury Department fund set up in the 1930s for the specific purpose of being available to stabilize the U.S. dollar. The President certainly was not authorized to give this money to foreign governments so they could make their loan payments due to Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin’s old firm, Goldman Sachs.
Clinton’s EO 13107 on Implementation of Human Rights Treaties attempts to bypass the constitutional requirement that treaties, to be valid, must be ratified by the Senate. This EO sets up a framework to implement our alleged “obligations” under UN treaties on human rights “to which the United States is now or may become a party in the future.”
The first treaty listed in EO 13107 is the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which was ratified by the Senate during George Bush’s Administration in 1992. Aggressive implementation of this treaty can open up a can of worms in regard to our First Amendment rights, criminal law, our unique system of federalism, and sex discrimination. The treaty’s Article 23 even binds governments “to ensure equality of rights and responsibilities of spouses during marriage,” one of the UN “rights” to be monitored by the Article 28 “Human Rights Committee” on which the United States may have only one out of 18 members.
There are several unratified UN human rights treaties that could be “implemented” under EO 13107:
Other Clinton Executive Orders include his EO 12919 of June 3, 1994, entitled National Defense Industrial Resources Preparedness, which asserts plenary and dictatorial authority over citizens, food, transportation, energy, health, contracts, materials and resources to be exercised by the National Security Council and FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency). Many wonder if this EO’s real purpose is to grab emergency powers if we are bitten by the Y2K bug.
Clinton’s EO 13083 on Federalism of May 14, 1998, which was a transparent attempt to rescind the Tenth Amendment (as well as President Reagan’s EO on Federalism), did give Congress a wake-up call. After congressional protest, Clinton said he would suspend it, but it’s still viable and Congress should pass legislation to render it inoperative. (For details on EO 13083, see the Phyllis Schlafly Report, July 1998, p.4)
Congress and the American people must call a halt to Clinton’s assault on our separation-of-powers form of government by his unprecedented use of Executive Orders. One constructive step would be to pass Rep. Jack Metcalf’s bill, H.Con.Res. 30. It provides that any Executive Order that “infringes on congressional powers and duties,” or requires spending federal funds “not specifically appropriated for the purpose of the executive order,” would be advisory only and have no effect.
Clinton’s War in Yugoslavia
Congress and the American people should repudiate and call a halt to Bill Clinton’s war in Yugoslavia.
Let’s answer some of the false arguments put forth to defend Clinton’s actions:
Was It All “According to Plan”?
State Department spokesman James Rubin has said over and over again that “nothing went wrong,” that everything is going “according to plan,” that they were “not surprised” by the results, and that the American people are at fault for lacking “patience.” If that’s true, we must ask the corollary questions.
Maybe it’s really true, as James Rubin said, that “nothing went wrong” and everything is going “according to plan.”
Does Sovereignty Still Matter?
Bill Clinton and his Administration gurus are trying to replace the concept of sovereignty, piece by piece, with their global utopian vision. In trying to force the sovereign state of Yugoslavia to kowtow to a U.S.-dictated “peace” agreement, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright demanded that Yugoslavia allow foreign troops to occupy and control a portion of its territory. It is, of course, a critical element of sovereignty that foreign troops must not be allowed jurisdiction over a nation’s soil.
Albright cut to the core of the argument with a demand that Yugoslavia surrender a piece of its sovereignty. She said: “Great nations who understand the importance of sovereignty at various times cede various portions of it in order to achieve some better good for their country. We are looking at how the nation-state functions in a totally different way than people did at the beginning of this century.”
That ominous ultimatum sounds like a double entendre. Yugoslavia is not a “great nation,” but the United States is. It’s becoming more and more evident that the Clintonites are pursuing an incremental plan to cede various portions of U.S. sovereignty in order to achieve what they believe is the “better good.”
Clinton’s chief foreign policy adviser, Strobe Talbott, was frighteningly forthright during his 22 years as a writer for Time Magazine. Talbott enthusiastically wrote that “national sovereignty wasn’t such a great idea,” predicted that “nationhood as we know it will be obsolete,” and rejoiced in the coming “birth of the Global Nation.”
It’s a mistake to relax in the conventional wisdom that Clinton is just muddling along without a coherent foreign policy. Charles Krauthammer accurately defined Clinton’s foreign policy as implementing non-traditional elements: “internationalism” (rather than sticking with policies based on what’s good for America), “legalism” (the folly that treaties can make nations get along peacefully and can even regulate domestic law), and using “humanitarianism” as the excuse for interventionist escapades (rather than U.S. strategic, political or economic interests).
The Clinton Administration repeatedly cites international “obligations” as its authority for issuing overbearing Executive Orders and administrative regulations. Americans are expected to defer to global governance irrespective of whether the order comports with either our Constitution or national security interests, or whether the relevant treaty has even been ratified by the U.S. Senate.
Clinton is using this ploy of global “obligations” in his environmental regulations to implement the unratified Global Warming Treaty (the Kyoto Protocol), and in his “Bring Beijing Home” task force to implement the unratified UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women.
We’ve already seen numerous encroachments on our national sovereignty from NAFTA and the World Trade Organization, under which rulings by committees of foreigners cannot be appealed to American courts and even purport to order changes in U.S. domestic law.
We should also be on guard against probable attempts to subject individual American citizens to regulations and penalties imposed by committees set up under treaties signed by other nations. Treaties that pose dangers to American citizens even though we never ratified them are the treaty creating an International Criminal Court and the new protocol adopted in March under the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women.
The most dangerous attack on American sovereignty by the Clinton Administration comes from its pretense that we should abide by the now-obsolete 1972 ABM Treaty with now-defunct Soviet Union. Only those who don’t believe in America as a sovereign nation could argue that a treaty with a government that went out of existence seven years ago can limit America’s right to protect the lives of our citizens against nuclear attack. A dead treaty with a non-existent government cannot protect us against offensive missiles from Communist China, North Korea, Iran, Iraq, or even from the new countries carved out of the old Soviet Union, which still possess an awesome number.