Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Obama and Executive Orders

Obama is giving some sort of speech tonight. Word has it that he will announce plans to use executive authority to raise the minimum wage for federal contractors. I'm glad that Obama is finally doing something he should have done in 2009. It's no small thing -- especially if you are (say) someone who cleans carpets or does gardening for a federal property. (One should note, though, that the local government of Washington DC is already taking steps to raise the minimum wage to $11.50 an hour.)

Nevertheless, Boehner says he plans to fight:
"We’re just not going to sit here and let the President trample all over us," said Boehner.

"This idea that he's just going to go it alone, I have to remind him we do have a constitution. And the Congress writes the laws, and the President’s job is to execute the laws faithfully. And if he tries to ignore this he's going to run into a brick wall."
What kind of brick wall can he erect against an executive order? And why didn't the Republicans try to brick up the executive orders issued by (say) George W. Bush?

Number of executive orders issued by Barack Obama: 167 (so far).

Number of executive orders issued by George W. Bush over eight years: 291.

While we're on the topic of executive orders:
I was interested to learn, by way of Snopes, about this piece of fakelore that has been buzzing its way through various email lists since 2012.
The President signed 923 Executive Orders in 40 Months. It is all over the net. These sites include commentary on what the executive order is for and what it does. If this is the truth, I'm scared to think about it. Most of the past presidents have allegedly signed around 30 of them. At the end of the day an executive order circumvents the congress and senate. Fill in the blanks. Someone credible needs to research and report on this.

-EXECUTIVE ORDER 10990 allows the government to take over all modes of transportation and control of highways and seaports.

-EXECUTIVE ORDER 10995 allows the government to seize and control the communication media.

-EXECUTIVE ORDER 10997 allows the government to take over all electrical power, gas, petroleum, fuels and minerals.

-EXECUTIVE ORDER 10998 allows the government to take over all food resources and farms.

-EXECUTIVE ORDER 11000 allows the government to mobilize civilians into work brigades under government supervision.
The message goes on and on like that.
-EXECUTIVE ORDER 11921 allows the Federal Emergency Preparedness Agency to develop plans to establish control over the mechanisms of production and distribution, of energy sources, wages, salaries, credit and the flow of money in U.S. financial institution in any undefined national emergency. It also provides that when a state of emergency is declared by the President, Congress cannot review the action for six months.
Toward the end, the author claims that Bush issued only 62 EOs while Clinton issued a mere 15. (Clinton used to be on the receiving end of this kind of email attack. I guess he has been forgiven.)

This entire message is, of course, a hoax. Every sentence contains a lie. It's the sort of psywar broadside designed to appeal to the ninnies who consider Glenn Beck a really good historian.

My question: Who writes this stuff?

We saw many similar examples of emailed fakelore during the Clinton administration. One could argue that Snopes made its reputation through the patient exposure of these things. But Snopes never addresses the authorship problem.

Everyone presumes that such texts make themselves. Wrong.

Look at the way this particular "executive order" email blast is worded: Everything is well-ordered and designed for maximum psychological impact. The grammar is not sloppy (although I question a few word choices). This email is, in short, a fine piece of ad copy. Professional work.

Let's stop kidding ourselves. Let's confess an obvious truth: These texts are written by people who are paid to do a job. This kind of propaganda must be effective, or the tactic would have been abandoned years ago.

The lack of a signature is a tell. These agit-prop narratives are usually written in the first person, in order to convey a folksy appeal. But nobody ever claims authorship. In real life, when average people write anything -- even a long-ish recipe -- they always put down a name, or at least a nick.
Comments:
Better late than never, but why didn't this phony mofo do something to address the plight of the working poor five years ago? I'm thinking it's because he's just a shill for the 1% like his immediate predecessor. I guess it's better to be kicked in the face by an allegedly left wing fascist than an allegedly right wing fascist, but for some it's hard to tell the difference.
 
Great post. I don't generally post comments telling bloggers how much I agree, I think that is a waste of time. But this one really has me thinking. I wonder if it is possible to trace back one of those emails to find out where they came from. By the way, too many bloggers delete contrary comments and only leave those that tell them how bright they are. You don't. I think that is commendable.
 
Having been a DoD contractor for over 25 years I have seen loads of this type of mass e-mails.
They were always anti-Democrat, and always echoed GOP talking points.

About ten years into my tenure as a white collar welfare recipient I came to the conclusion that somebody somewhere was getting paid to write this propaganda and put it out to the DoD community.

I saved loads of those e-mails. So, somewhere, on some orphaned hard drive, or misplaced CD, I have a PST with lots of those lying e-mails.

Off topic - kind'a:
It always killed me to hear DoD contractors, and Silly Servants, complain about taxes as every dime most of them ever made came from taxes paid into the system by a working man or woman.
Clueless spoiled rotten crybabies they be.

Then again, they may just be innocent victims of the BS that has been pumped into their selfish little brains for years via all those lying e-mails.

P.S. The NSA could tell you exactly where those e-mails come from. Hold your breath.
 
Cute comment re: The NSA. You're right, too, about the people who live off taxpayer money being the first and foremost to complain about taxes.

I recall one piece of email fakelore that was anti-Republican -- the one about Duby having the lowest IQ of any President in the last 50 years, as determined by something called the Lovenstein Institute.

http://urbanlegends.about.com/library/bliq-bush.htm
 
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