This article does not suggest any “conspiracy theories.” This is a Washington-oriented column that addresses issues relating to laws, policies and regulations. More specifically, it deals with how such matters might impact your business.

    This month’s topic regards the world of Executive Orders (EO) and Directives issued by the White House and asks both why and for what purpose the following citations exist. Recall that most Presidents, but not all over the past century, have issued a few, including 11 by Franklin Roosevelt, five by Harry Truman, four by John F. Kennedy, three by Jimmy Carter, five by Ronald Reagan, 15 by Bill Clinton, and … well over 900 offered by Barack Obama. 

    There is no precedent and no reason to offer so many EOs. As an interested citizen, you are urged to read about them at President Obama has actually signed and issued about 130 EOs, beginning with EO 13489 of Jan. 21, 2009, which rescinded EO 13233 of Nov. 1, 2001, regarding the availability of Presidential records. That was his first EO action.

    The following is a list of several EOs in the past 50 years:

•   EO 10990 – allows government to take control of all transportation modes, including highways and seaports (signed by Kennedy)

•   EO 10995 – allows government to nationalize communications media

•   EO 10997 – allows government to take over producers of electric power, gas, fuels, petroleum and minerals

•   EO 10998 – allows government to take over all food resources and farms

•   EO 11000 – allows government to mobilize civilians into work brigades under federal direction

•   EO 11002 – allows registration of all persons into a national registry

•   EO 11003 – allows government to take over all airports and aircraft

•   EO 11004 – allows government to relocate communities and relocate populations

•   EO 11005 – allows government to take over railroads, inland waterways and public storage facilities

•   EO 11051 – specifies federal responsibilities to put into effect all EOs in times of international tensions and financial crisis

•   EO 11310 – grants authority to Department of Justice to enforce EOs

•   EO 13489 – rescinds prior EO on Presidential records availability (signed by Obama)

•   EO 13603 – grants the President authority to declare martial law (signed by Obama)

•   EO 13617 – declares limited condition of national emergency (signed by Obama)


    What this history shows is that for the past 50 years Presidents have exercised their authority to prepare and protect the nation from harm. All of the prior EO actions, and those that changed or rescinded those preparations, have created the situation America now faces – the declaration of conditions and existence of national emergency and subsequent martial-law enactment. Remember that this column raised the question of trusting government only a few months ago. Regardless, for the purposes of this op-ed, what are the conditions establishing national emergency and martial law? There are all manner of situations that you read/see daily in the news that could drive America’s President to such a declaration, and most all are political judgments.

    It is quite obvious that the nationalization of communications, energy supplies, transportation and air/land/water facilities or moving the national population to coerce operation under federal direction is not what the citizenry and their employers have in mind. My view is that the general public never thinks about EOs and how they “could” impact our lives. My point is that all the legal mechanisms are in place to achieve our nightmare of “transition to tyranny.”

    What U.S. entities, citizens and businesses could face, under rules and processes currently in place, is national reversion to a despotic government … and it may all be legal and proper. It is all arguable in court whether the President has the legal right to establish these emergency and martial-law conditions, but the national collective judgment seems to be that the public is wary. All of which should cause any prudent business to have awareness and contingency plans covering this very real aspect of our current world.

    Let me make a wild guess that most folks reading this today have never thought about what is presented here. Because of national economics, financial debt, general views of public disenchantment with government, foreign-policy problems and rising terrorist threats, maybe it’s time to think about it. IH