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Original work by Grant Wood. Satire by Brad Kozak
American Gothic Nightmare

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.”

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  1. It was Greta Garbo, not Dietrich who said that.

    And yes, executive orders are frequently a bunch of anti-freedom garbage, no matter which party is in power.

  2. Did someone in this administration read “Atlas Shrugged” and thought Wesley Mouch was the hero of the story? Sure looks like we have an Wesley Mouch starting to run the show.

  3. The no lead bullets thing is bullshit, but like all regulations it does and does not matter. I can still buy lead ammo here in California, most of what you see on the shelves is still lead. They can regulate or outlaw something here but enforcing it is another story. It would cost a fortune to try and enforce not leaving brass on the ground, shooting lead ammo or the sound of the shot. Here in the central valley there are guns every where, a lot of the cops here love to shoot and hunt. Best of luck to them, when they are done with that maybe they can try and hold back the ocean tides with their hands.

  4. Brad, that’s not how executive orders work.

    Also, drug is not a past tense of drag. Drag, dragged, or get another word.

    • I am sure the site owners would be happy to have you write up an article about how executive orders work.

      • I could, but it doesn’t belong here. This is supposed to be a gun blog. I think more gun material would be great.

        You guys wouldn’t like my version anyway, since it would be full of boring facts and stuff. Kozak takes the view that the most important thing to be said on any subject is his precious opinion about it. I like to use a different approach.

  5. “Note that W was a big believer in Executive Orders. He signed 291 of them in his four years in office.”

    Which four?

    • Um…gee Magoo, when you write an EDITORIAL, that’s supposed to be the view of the writer. Hard news is when you report “just the facts, m’am.” (I know this is confusing for you, because being a Liberal and all that, you and the lamestream media have confused the two for so long, they seem to be one and the same.)

      You, of course, descend from on high with your tablets of stone (oh, wait…too Jewish), and pontificate (read: “snipe”) from the comfort of your armchair, without bothering to muster facts or figures to support your opinion masquerading as “truth.”

      You wanna take a turn in the spotlight and write something for TTAG? Go ahead. We’ll print it. If you’ve got the stones to write a feature, editorial, or even a legit op-ed piece (look it up), we’ll be happy, nay eager to print it. Just don’t be surprised when the full force of the TTAG Armed Intelligentsia descends upon your missive like Valkyries from on high, and picks apart your every word.

    • Sorry. Typo. EIGHT years in office. Given what we’ve suffered through in the last two years, it just SEEMS as if Bush was only around for four.

      Saw a billboard the other day, with W’s pic, and the headline “Do you miss me yet?” Had to think about that for a while, because I was not a huge fan of Bush. I think he did the right thing internationally, but I hated his domestic policy. Yet, if the choice is between him and Obama, yeah, I do miss him.

  6. “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.”


  7. There’s a big difference between study and recommendations on one hand and implementation on the other. Congress can de-fund anything that they choose, and it doesn’t take a supermajority to do it. Besides, the EPA has already made it’s ruling on lead bullets and guns are now permitted on many Federal lands. Noise? Brass? I’m not worried.

    • I hope you’re right , but government intrusion only goes one way, up. they have learned from their aint-smoking campaign that Slooooow is the way to go. I remember smokers laughing that the government would ban smoking in
      your own home. Its getting real close in some places, and smoking is now a major PIA to do anywhere. there california lead ban already had the desired effect, the ammo makers have put expensive alternatives on the shelf. now they can expand the lead ban without having to face the “you’re outlawing shooting ” argument. they clearly want to make it more expensive and more of a hassle to shoot. then the number of shooters will fall and their political clout will be weakened.

      We get constant lawsuits trying to close state and forest service land here in Michigan claiming hunting makes it impossible to enjoy hiking and bird watching . so green groups sue to have hunting eliminated as an approved use.

      they have lost them so far but they continue to file , and they only have to win once. google it you may find it interesting.

    • Congress can de-fund anything that they choose, and it doesn’t take a supermajority to do it.

      Right, but they have to de-fund programs, specifically. They fund whole departments and programs but those departments are run by cabinet secretaries who answer to the President and the programs are run by bureaucracies who get their instructions by executive orders.

    • Congress doesn’t need to de-fund this. Executive orders are unfunded because of their lack of Congressional imput.

  8. This seems like a snoozer to me – just more busi-work for bureaucrats that apparently don’t have enough on their plates. Too bad he doesn’t send out an excutive order requiring agencies to fire 20% of their workforce and cut their budgets by 30%.

  9. “Now you might think that this is just a bunch of paranoid ramblings….”

    Yes, indeed I do.

    • Yeah, well, even paranoids have enemies. And if this administration’s antics aren’t making you paranoid, then, with all due respect, you aren’t paying attention…

    • Your choice. We’ll see what happens. I hope I’m wrong. But unlike some people, if I’m right, I’ll take way too much pleasure in rubbing your nose in it and saying “I told you so.”

  10. Fuck yeah, fast internet!

    …my priorities skew toward the nerdy.

    Regarding the Agenda 21 thing, could you please cite the relevant section that deals with private property?

  11. Sect. 4, b. coordinate and increase the effectiveness of Federal engagement with rural stakeholders, including agricultural organizations,..

    Don’t worry, Brad. It’s not as if agricultural collectives are a collectivist strategy to collectivize agriculture, or anything.

    Besides, they worked to great effect in Soviet Russia and Red China.

    Your friend,

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