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Sunday, August 10, 2014

Presidential Overreach: Executive Out-Of-Order

Recently, while discussing politics with a local construction contractor, the subject of guns came up.

(NYTimes, 2013)

After reviewing the finer points of the Second Amendment, "a well-regulated militia," etc, this well meaning patriotic gentleman offered this warning, "Well, ya know, it's getting harder and harder to own a gun, what with all the Executive Orders Nobama keeps signing regulating everything. They are buying up all the ammunition too!" The idea that this might be an urban myth was lost on our friend. Good Job, Alex Jones.

If you are prone to listening to people talk in supermarket lines, coffee houses, and pizza places around the U.S., you're bound to have heard something similar at least a dozen times over the last five years. Where does that idea come from?

Although this urban myth began even before President Obama was sworn in is as the 44th President of the United States, it hit as a mainstream talking point around 2010. Voted into office with a double digit majority, Obama also brought with him record high approval ratings, and that just wouldn't do for the GOP establishment. A healthy dose of fear and a dollop of misinformation would prove to be a productive solution.

While friends of the NRA looked forward to booming bullet sales, conspiracy theories worked up at InfoWars started to be announced as whole scale real real news by the likes of Sen. Jim Inhofe. Lou Dobbs got all worked up while one of the friends at Fox and Friends did a spit take of her morning coffee. "'PRESIDENT PANIC' IS TAKING ALL THE BULLETS!!!!!" chimed in Steve Doocy. Clearly, now is the time to run in circles and scream.

Media Matters has a good take on how some of that nonsense started. This chart pretty much sums it up. Here's the action over at the Department of Homeland Security.

In our continuing six part series on the Executive Orders of President Barack Obama, we begin again, this time reviewing the President's second year in office. As an active citizen, a voting and informed American, we click links, open books, read the paper, in an effort to see if there is really any there there. While Obama's orders are significant, they are not radical - in practice or in the context of past presidential orders. To know that for certain, let's review them directly.

Presenting the 35 Executive Orders signed by the 44th President in the year 2010. Ta da.

Executive Order 13528Signed January 11, 2010
Establishment of the Council of Governors

Executive Order 13529Signed January 16, 2010
Ordering the Selected Reserve and
Certain Individual Ready Reserve Members
of the Armed Forces to Active Duty

Executive Order 13530Signed January 29, 2010
President's Advisory Council on Financial Capability

Executive Order 13531Signed February 18, 2010
National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform

Executive Order 13532Signed February 26, 2010
Promoting Excellence, Innovation,and Sustainability
at Historically Black Colleges and Universities

Executive Order 13533Signed March 1, 2010
Providing an Order of Succession Within the Department of Defense

Executive Order 13534Signed March 11, 2010
National Export Initiative

Executive Order 13535Signed March 24, 2010
Ensuring Enforcement and Implementation of Abortion Restrictions
in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act

Executive Order 13536Signed April 12, 2010
Blocking Property of Certain Persons Contributing
to the Conflict in Somalia

Executive Order 13537Signed April 14, 2010
Interagency Group on Insular Affairs

Executive Order 13538Signed April 19, 2010
Establishing the President's Management Advisory Board

Executive Order 13539Signed April 21, 2010
President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology

Executive Order 13540Signed April 26, 2010
Interagency Task Force on Veterans Small Business Development

Executive Order 13541Signed May 7, 2010
Temporary Organization To Facilitate a
Strategic Partnership With the Republic of Iraq

Executive Order 13542Signed May 13, 2010
Providing an Order of Succession
Within the Department of Agriculture

Executive Order 13543Signed May 21, 2010
National Commission on the BP Deepwater
Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling

Executive Order 13544Signed June 10, 2010
Establishing the National Prevention, Health Promotion,
and Public Health Council

Executive Order 13545Signed June 22, 2010
President's Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition

Executive Order 13546Signed July 2, 2010
Optimizing the Security of Biological Select Agents
and Toxins in the United States

Executive Order 13547Signed July 19, 2010
Stewardship of the Ocean, Our Coasts, and the Great Lakes

Executive Order 13548Signed July 26, 2010
Increasing Federal Employment of Individuals With Disabilities

Executive Order 13549Signed August 18, 2010
Classified National Security Information Program
for State, Local, Tribal, and Private Sector Entities

Executive Order 13550Signed August 18, 2010
Establishment of Pakistan and Afghanistan Support Office

Executive Order 13551Signed August 30, 2010
Blocking Property of Certain Persons With Respect to North Korea

Executive Order 13552Signed August 31, 2010
2010 Amendments to the Manual for Courts-Martial, United States

Executive Order 13553Signed September 28, 2010
Blocking Property of Certain Persons With Respect to
Serious Human Rights Abuses by the Government of

Iran and Taking Certain Other Actions

Executive Order 13554Signed October 5, 2010
Establishing the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Task Force

Executive Order 13555Signed October 19, 2010
White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics

Executive Order 13556Signed November 4, 2010
Controlled Unclassified Information

Executive Order 13557Signed November 4, 2010
Providing an Order of Succession Within the Department of Justice

Executive Order 13558Signed November 9, 2010
Export Enforcement Coordination Center

Executive Order 13559Signed November 17, 2010
Fundamental Principles and Policymaking Criteria for
Partnerships With Faith-Based and
Other Neighborhood Organizations

Executive Order 13560Signed December 14, 2010
White House Council for Community Solutions

Executive Order 13561Signed December 22, 2010
Adjustments to Certain Rates of Pay

Executive Order 13562Signed December 27, 2010
Recruiting and Hiring Students and Recent Graduates

Houston Teen Tests Shotgun
(Reuters, 2013)

Again, when sorting through these Executive Orders in detail, it is hard to find a line that has been crossed. No clear signs of impending martial law descending on the unsuspecting citizenry or a mass seizure of all privately held guns in the making. What do you see? Anything worth pulling your hair out?

Until next time, when we list 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014,

The Policy Geek

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