Enjoy the national spectacle that was Weinergate? Despite the fact that I have nothing in common with the politics of Andrew Weiner, I really wanted to see that scandal go away, even realizing that the longer it drug on, the more harm it did to the agenda of the Progressives in Congress. But as Rahm Emmanuel once famously opined, “never let a crisis go to waste.” And apparently, the White House took his words to heart, with the O-man signing Exec. Order 13575 while we were all focused on Andrew’s Weiner. Or whatever.
For those of you not steeped in the inner machinations of life inside the Beltway, Executive Orders exist in a kind of Never-Never Land between regulation and law. Ostensibly, they are orders from the President, dealing with how to run the Executive Branch. But these directives carry the force of law, without anyone but the President voting on them. True, they can be overturned by a Congressional bill, but of course, the President has veto power over bills. Effectively, to overturn an Executive Order, it has to be found to be unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, or a two-thirds majority of Congress has to get behind striking it down. Neither strategy is without pain, time, and risk, so Executive Orders bear watching. Note that W was a big believer in Executive Orders. He signed 291 of them in his four years in office. Obama’s on a pace to keep up with him. For a President, an Executive Order is a way to get his way, without having to go through/wait on Congress. For the American people, all too often, and Executive Order can me legislation without representation.
Executive Order 13575 deals with about 16% of America’s population – the part that lives in rural areas. It’s written in the vaguest of bureaucratese, designed to numb the mind into a false sense of security, and to be so vague as to authorize just about whatever the bureaucrats want to do. Here’s the preamble to the order:
Section 1. Policy. Sixteen percent of the American population lives in rural counties. Strong, sustainable rural communities are essential to winning the future and ensuring American competitiveness in the years ahead. These communities supply our food, fiber, and energy, safeguard our natural resources, and are essential in the development of science and innovation. Though rural communities face numerous challenges, they also present enormous economic potential. The Federal Government has an important role to play in order to expand access to the capital necessary for economic growth, promote innovation, improve access to health care and education, and expand outdoor recreational activities on public lands.
My first question is, since the government seems to be doing such a bang-up job with the work they’ve already got on their plate, why are they expanding the role of government, and why do it now? (The last part’s easy – they did it now, because nobody’s looking.) Some of the buzzwords that should be jumping out at you are safeguard our natural resources and expand outdoor recreational activities on public lands.
But that’s just the start. Essentially, what this order does is to establish a council that will oversee how the Feds interact with “rural America.” In this case “interact” means “regulate, control, and generally mess with.” Let’s take a look at the specifics under Section 4:
Sec. 4. Mission and Function of the Council. The Council shall work across executive departments, agencies, and offices to coordinate development of policy recommendations to promote economic prosperity and quality of life in rural America, and shall coordinate my Administration’s engagement with rural communities. The Council shall:
- (a) make recommendations to the President, through the Director of the Domestic Policy Council and the Director of the National Economic Council, on streamlining and leveraging Federal investments in rural areas, where appropriate, to increase the impact of Federal dollars and create economic opportunities to improve the quality of life in rural America;
- (b) coordinate and increase the effectiveness of Federal engagement with rural stakeholders, including agricultural organizations, small businesses, education and training institutions, health-care providers, telecommunications services providers, research and land grant institutions, law enforcement, State, local, and tribal governments, and nongovernmental organizations regarding the needs of rural America;
- (c) coordinate Federal efforts directed toward the growth and development of geographic regions that encompass both urban and rural areas; and
- (d) identify and facilitate rural economic opportunities associated with energy development, outdoor recreation, and other conservation related activities.
Note that they are talking about “opportunities” for “outdoor recreation and other conservation-related activities.” Um? So now “outdoor recreation” falls under the category of conservation.
Look, I realize that those among you who see those of us on the Right as conspiracy theorists will be saying “this is harmless…you see boogeymen around every corner…lighten up!” I get it. But I also get that the Devil is in the details. Executive Orders (no matter who issues them) are dangerous things. They are dangerous because they allow the Federal Government to have enormous powers over things that Congress never legislated and We the People never intended. And remember, the most dangerous thing to our freedom isn’t a member of the Taliban. It’s a nameless government bureaucrat, who holds the power to screw with your life, with absolute impunity.
Let’s look at how this new council might affect the rights of gun owners.
For the sake of this argument, lets say that the council is filled with those who have no love for guns, and are generally anti-gun. (Look at the list of who’s on there. Oh, no! Too late.) So they start passing regulations that significantly curtail the use of firearms on public lands. Like things such as the California ban on lead ammunition in the name of “saving the endangered falcons and condors?” How’d you like that to go nationwide? Or how about an ordinance that carries some serious penalties for leaving spent brass out in the great outdoors? Noise pollution? Oh, yeah – they could easily add regulations that would prohibit loud noises that might endanger the fragile ecosystem. (Never mind that it hasn’t hurt anything for hundreds of years.)
I know some of this sounds ridiculous. And it is. Right up until the time that it becomes the law. Then it’s a tragedy. Now you might think that this is just a bunch of paranoid ramblings, or suspicions of things that will never come to pass. You might also argue that this is all too random to be anything like an organized effort to put a Progressive agenda in place. Whoops. Wrong again. Ever hear of the United Nations “Agenda 21” initiative?
Agenda 21 is a UN-sponsored set of guidelines, ostensibly to create and promote “sustainable communities.” A closer look reveals that it is the lynchpin of a Progressive plan to remake America. It deals with things like the outlawing of private ownership of property. (!) Funny thing, it’s not just Conservatives or Republicans up in arms over Agenda 21 or it’s kissin’ cousins, ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability USA (ICLEI USA) and U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). These are the folks that have already banned incandescent light bulbs in America (coming soon to a hardware aisle near you). Can banning lead ammunition be far down their list?
Don’t take my word for it. Please. As a member of the TTAG Armed Intelligentsia, I encourage you to do your own research. Google “Agenda 21,” “ICLEI,” “USGBC,” and “White House Rural Council.” See what’s out there in the way of information. Don’t rely on one source. But for each source, check them out to see what their agendas may be. Then put your own thoughts together, and see if you believe, as I do, that this Executive Order is simply another attempt by the Left to add more government, more bureaucracy, more regulations, and more grief into the lives of Americans who’d much rather adhere to the sentiments of Marlena Dietrich, when she said “I vant to be [left] alone.”