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A time of many changes in America.

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posted on Jan, 16 2013 @ 09:58 PM
I put a good deal of thought into the placement of this thread. I hope I've chosen wisely. I'd love to have a discussion on this at the level of the issues and the serious repercussions all this is carrying.

What this thread is and isn't:

This is first and foremost spawned by the Firearms debate in the United States because that topic is what has brought this to a head at this point in time. Having said that, this is NOT a gun thread. What happened today goes beyond firearms and it's reach will far surpass this one topic. There is a concept at stake here that is simply referred to as precedent.

What the issue here actually is:

Precedent -
An earlier event or action regarded as an example or guide to be considered in subsequent similar circumstances.

That word is what this *ALL* comes down to. It's what makes this so important and transcends the mere issue of the firearms themselves.

What Precedent is at stake:

Another term is critical here. Executive Order. I've kept the reference for this to a general and easy to read one rather than academic references. It's no less accurate in descriptions though.

In many ways, presidential executive orders are similar to written orders, or instructions issued by the president of a corporation to its department heads or directors.

Thirty days after being published in the Federal Register, executive orders take effect. While they do bypass the U.S. Congress and the standard legislative law making process, no part of an executive order may direct the agencies to conduct illegal or unconstitutional activities.

President George Washington issued the first executive order in 1789. Since then, all U.S. presidents have issued executive orders, ranging from Presidents Adams, Madison and Monroe, who issued only one each, to President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who issued 3,522 executive orders.

and of particular note:

Can Executive Orders be Overridden or Withdrawn?

The president can amend or retract an executive at any time. The president may also issue an executive order superseding an existing one. New incoming presidents may choose to retain the executive orders issued by their predecessors, replace them with new ones of their own, or revoke the old ones completely. In extreme cases, Congress may pass a law that alters an executive order, and they can be declared unconstitutional and vacated by the Supreme Court.

for more specific detail on the wording: Article II, Section 1 - The Powers of the Executive

What's changing and why does this matter? Isn't it about the guns you may ask? No... It's more than that

The original purpose of them was, as interpreted and described in both lay and legal sources, a tool for the Executive Branch to guide and influence the agencies of the Government, within that branch. It's been used and at times, abused, to accomplish that housekeeping as well as pet interests of various Presidents, end-runs around Congress here and there on relatively small things they didn't put up major fights about, reaffirmation of what Congress itself WANTS but can't pass or politically stomach (Past EO's dealing with Detention as well as much earlier ones relating to Continuity of Government as concept and named program are among the latter, in my opinion) and general things usually mundane and entirely routine. Presidents write hundreds and even thousands of them. Their existence is nothing new. This use of Executive power IS something not usually seen, to be extremely kind about it.

What they were not made to do or meant to do was give a President the means and tools to directly circumvent the legislative process on matters of major national policy, law or domestic impact. Just as the ABSOLUTE, SOLE AND EXCLUSIVE power to budget monies, take on debt and direct the printing of currency lay with Congress and specifically, the House of too does the process of Law for both it's original creation and significant modification in major national impact. In the case of law and major domestic policy changes, it can originate in either the Senate or the House while by the end, BOTH MUST agree. This is by design and to prevent any political ideology from running over another with impunity.

That is how our system was designed. That was how it was intended to function and the Founders are very clear on this point in many areas and ways. Not the least of which was the clear and stated intention at one point to have TWO men share the power and the oft stated intention that the U.S. Presidency be subservient to the elected bodies of the Legislature. Neither actually came to be in the final structural agreements for government, and that's compromise at it's best.

Why it DOES matter and to every American it should matter A LOT:

What DID happen in the end and what this President is looking and actually managing to materially CHANGE is what the structure of this nation's Government in it's final form DOES NOT ALLOW FOR. 'Suggestions" with the force of law and policy to originate from just a single man. Be that Bush or Clinton or Obama.

That makes absolutely no difference here. Who is President isn't even the point on this. It's too important to get lost bickering about Obama or Bush or the Boogeyman 4 years hence.

The problem this creates by PRECEDENT of the circumvention of Congress on MAJOR national policy issues and changes is multi-layered. Without direct meaningful challenge BY Congress it will be something we're living with LONG AFTER President Obama is retired and likely beyond his own lifetime or ours.

The Bottom Line:

Precedent within least OUR Government, is NO small thing and we're still enforcing both law and principle over things decided all across the nation's 230+ years. It's bad enough they REQUEST the debt ceiling be eliminated and the issuance of debt be removed from the House. This, today, doesn't even request. It simply forces by Executive prerogative, what Obama and % of the nation feel is a good idea. When it's not Obama anymore and it's someone else's definition of a good idea, it will work just as easily. PRECEDENT makes that happen....and it can't be so easily turned off once established.

Now, this series of laws would have been interesting and it would have been a run to the court's with for challenge if it had gone through Congress and proper legislative process of floor votes in both sides of almost every matter of major U.S. Policy HAS done for those two centuries preceding this President. As this stands though? It wasn't even given the honor of seeing a rubber stamp through the legal process......and the whole process has outright been circumvented.

To let this all simply stand and pass without challenge or serious uproar is to accept this major change in the way the United States Government functions. What hasn't been done today in reality has the foundation to make those final steps to complete central authority relatively minor adjustments by comparison. This, is what lays the concrete foundation like the Patriot Act did for SO MUCH in other ways.


posted on Jan, 16 2013 @ 10:12 PM
reply to post by Wrabbit2000

Well this is effectively what happens in a system that hasn't gone through major change in a few hundred years. Much like anything, the value and original purpose of institutions is lost over time and they are replaced with more modern and what is said to be more 'appropriate' for our time.

Ofcourse, we know in this day and age that these sorts of institutions are used by politicians and our other elected or appointed officials to circumvent the rule of law and push radical agendas that are based on personal whim and not on the demcratic process.

With that being said however, setting precendent for various government actions or judicial ones is not always a requirement for using said institutions to commit the kinds of atrocities we see today. Much like the passin of the Patriot act, goverments claim that in exceptional circumstances, exceptional measures are required.

This would be true had the spirit of proper governance and honesty been maintained over the last however many years we've had a proper framework in place. As it stands however, there is no need for a government to prove that something worked in the past, for it to work today.

In this particular example, we see Obama signing executive orders with the excuse that congress and the senate refuse to act, yet the dialogue about guns has just freshly emerged. Although discussed often, a national diaolgue such as this one is rarely seen and to circumvent that process by executive order is something of a tragedy in itself.

WIth no reaching accross the isle to fellow representatives of opposing ideology and no reaching out to the general electorate for what they would like to see happen, abuses of power become far too common.

Another thought provoking read my friend.


posted on Jan, 16 2013 @ 10:30 PM
reply to post by Wrabbit2000

don't forget about "sustainable development" aka agenda 21.

Bush Sr agreed to it

Clinton "researched it" (towards a sustainable America)

Bush Jr and Obama are implementing it.

EO's are scary and getting more horrifying by the day (it seems)

posted on Jan, 16 2013 @ 10:40 PM
reply to post by Another_Nut

To be really technical, some of the absolute control EO's go back to FDR and Truman after him. Some of the broadest for taking simply ALL transportation, communication and industry under Federal Control date at least that far back. Of course, changing times all around and what people of that era had experienced and/or been conditioned to accept as normal and what people of the last 12 years or so have come to accept as at least tolerable if not normal are night and day different, as I'd imagine you'll agree.

I think the whole point here is to see a big fork appear in the road where I wasn't even expecting to see one by what happened today. It's a single leap in some ways that makes the rest so much easier into the future, it really is a point of considering various future options like Political involvement or activism... Indeed.. Choices

posted on Jan, 16 2013 @ 10:47 PM
While rare or over-used, Executive Order, by a president is concerning, at best.

Aside of this fact, I'll list three (3) things which seriously have become obstacles in our lives and how our government functions.

This includes:

1. Conflicting ideologies which create and contain inherent cognitive dissonance, a conflict and symptom of holding two or more conflicting ideologies concurrently, resulting in apathy, violence, rationalization, and ultimately reconciliation. And usually involved and combined with political and cultural conflicts.

2. Divisive Social Groups and Institutions re-enforce social divisions through class, racial differences, media influence by positive or negative means with no rebuttal of opposing viewpoints forcing polarization, capitalistic monetizing of social status which stresses quantity instead of quality disregarding compassion and correct ethical and moral outlook toward another member(s) of humanity. Please refer to the etiquette on how to treat a stranger. It's an old-standing protocol from the most-ancient of times.

3. Conflicting belief systems which ultimately usher-in a reconciliation toward what works and what doesn't. True individual freedom and liberty is respectful and stands-in reverence to God's Laws, instead of the statutes of man, which can be "legislated" to countermand those of the Former. And with this in-mind, we then reason there can be only One correct way and strive to reconcile what works against what doesn't. Disregarding labels, affiliations, party-preference, racial type, or ideology and recognizing that to gain the most as Humanity, we must appreciate our diversity as individuals.

If we can crack these three (3) things, I think we may honestly have a real shot at this thing we call Freedom, Liberty, combined equals Democracy. It's hard-won, but worth it...

And the saga continues...

posted on Jan, 16 2013 @ 11:30 PM
you are saying that what occurred today was "executive order"?

that's odd.....I heard it described as "executive power".

I sure hope someone comes along that can clear this up. with all the ongoing hype around here, I'd hate to think you've invested so much time and effort into a strawman. politics these days is just so darned unpleasant.


To let this all simply stand and pass without challenge or serious uproar ....

"serious uproar" is so cheap nowadays. everybody seems to be uproared about something. are we totally certain that TODAY is the day and THIS is the appropriate cause for our uproariousness? again, I'd hate to think....
edit on 16-1-2013 by tgidkp because: (no reason given)

posted on Jan, 16 2013 @ 11:34 PM
reply to post by trekwebmaster

I really couldn't agree with you more. I think the time of being at the level where the petty differences of ideology matter as the end all/be all of public discourse is about past us now. We'll be doing well to get back to it at some point, I'd say.

In the mean time, we have problems facing the nation that are truly of a magnitude it makes us all simply Americans to be facing, as we'll all suffer together as Americans if it falls apart. In just one example, there are the financial issues the can was simply kicked to next month to have to deal with in the same little nightmare all over again that was JUST gone through at the end of December. Although, of course, this time Obama is going into that with guns blazing...pun intended...and yikes. This won't be pretty for an outcome.

Congress has been steamrolled once in the past month and isn't even back in session yet and even Harry Reid is suggesting the White House just make some things happen financially too....seemingly damn the fact the Constitution specifically outlines the House as the sole body charged with it. I guess the Senate finds it easy to deal away what isn't their's to give by statute or political issue.

It's just getting to be madness in anything even remotely relational to Constitutional guidelines....and scary that it's not even the main point most people notice to talk about above all else. Once upon a time it would have been in the top 3 anyway.

posted on Jan, 16 2013 @ 11:57 PM
reply to post by tgidkp

you are saying that what occurred today was "executive order"?

that's odd.....I heard it described as "executive power".

This President has made a career out of playing these little word games and semantics like this is High School or some nonsense. He's the President of the United States of America. Not a Community Organizer in South Chicago and carrying no meaning with his words and actions. He KNOWS that....but his supporters..somehow, seem to play into this game over and over again. It's baffling.

Now, if it's all the same, I'm taking them AT THEIR OWN WORDS. Those statements don't become invalid because they are a few days old ...or because his signature wasn't literally put to paper on everything he talked about TODAY. Their own words.....quotes, directly, in fact, are what I go by. Period.

"The president is going to act," said Biden, giving some comments to the press before a meeting with victims of gun violence. "There are executives orders, there's executive action that can be taken. We haven't decided what that is yet. But we're compiling it all with the help of the attorney general and the rest of the cabinet members as well as legislative action that we believe is required."

Biden said that this is a moral issue and that "it's critically important that we act."

Biden talked also about taking responsible action. "As the president said, if you're actions result in only saving one life, they're worth taking. But I'm convinced we can affect the well-being of millions of americans and take thousands of people out of harm's way if we act responsibly."

Now some may even suggest a thing like 'Well that's just Biden', and I'd say, no, that's the man 2nd to the President of a Super Power nation. his words mean as much as his boss's. Perhaps more when he's actually the one in charge of crafting the White House gun policy/immediate actions.

Now it's not just some conservatives saying this and ringing the bells of warning. There are Congressmen, Senators, County Sheriff's, leaders of Business and Industry as well as the sheer MILLIONS UPON MILLIONS in numbers of Americans buying guns and voting that way....

THE PRESIDENT: Well, my understanding is the Vice President is going to provide a range of steps that we can take to reduce gun violence. Some of them will require legislation. Some of them I can accomplish through executive action. And so I'll be reviewing those today. And as I said, I'll speak in more detail to what we're going to go ahead and propose later in the week.

But I'm confident that there are some steps that we can take that don't require legislation and that are within my authority as President. And where you get a step that has the opportunity to reduce the possibility of gun violence then I want to go ahead and take it.

^^^ That's Obama himself at the White House Press Conference on the 14th.

Now, today, he OUTLINES 23 things he'll be doing by taking 'executive action'. Okay, again, call it what you will. It's the same animal and same executive orders and executive power exercised to bring major national policy change and legal definition without Congress or the Judicial getting so much as a 'by your leave'. This is definitely not how it's spelled out to work...and the Constitution, for some who haven't really read it a whole lot more than the rights spelled out. It spells out every step of how all this is SUPPOSED to work for each branch of Government too......and how far from that it's gone. There to see...for anyone.

posted on Jan, 17 2013 @ 12:15 AM
reply to post by Wrabbit2000

Very nice topic, and one that I applaud.

I will start with this......

The means of defense against foreign danger historically have become the instruments of tyranny at home. ~James Madison

I think our framers of the Constitution knew it all too well, what could happen to a Country like ours, when Government became too big for its people. We are at an Impasse. Financially, Fiscally, Emotionally, where our Government can really do no right. We are too big, yet polarized. Storm clouds and wind.............Im afraid.

Tyranny is here.

posted on Jan, 17 2013 @ 12:19 AM

Originally posted by tgidkp
you are saying that what occurred today was "executive order"?

that's odd.....I heard it described as "executive power".

You fail to see the other word.........


It trumps the will of the people, regardless if you use "action", "order", or "decision" after it.

posted on Jan, 17 2013 @ 12:26 AM
reply to post by tgidkp

I hate these childish word games, my kids try this all the time.

He signed 23 executive orders today. He's usurping the branches of government, the constitution and the people.

Stop with the silliness.

posted on Jan, 17 2013 @ 06:35 AM
reply to post by timetothink

i really am not trying to be childish. seriously. i am just trying to understand the issue in the most straightforward way possible. i get that you all want me to be super afraid or really outraged or something. and i might end up being outraged. but first, i need the information. straight up. and, yes, words matter.

posted on Jan, 17 2013 @ 07:36 AM
reply to post by tgidkp

Well, here is a link to his EO's.

It's not there. Yet.
The last one appears to be on the 27th.

I don't know how long it takes them to show up. If it's going to be there.

Just an FYI

posted on Jan, 17 2013 @ 09:49 AM
reply to post by tgidkp

Well, fair enough. You first appear more as a person looking for a fight to start ...but then, that IS the case with many these days and right here in our own little community, too. So it's my bad for not asking further in finding you're seeking understanding, not amusement in poking the bears, so to speak.

The guns are an issue, of course and I was all for seeing whatever was suggested head to court, regardless. Heller wasn't unclear ...and what was left was undetermined regulation ability at the lower court level. Okay... I'll take them up on that. So, as they say is needed, anything lower will run through the lower courts. Gotcha Mr. Chief Justice. Life would have been so much easier if they hadn't loaded the Heller decision with a little bomb to drop out into the future (now), but then I 'd love World Peace too...think I'll get it in my lifetime? We just have to deal with the reality the court left.

Unfortunately, some would seek to run that reality and the gaps allowed by the court to the ABOLUTE maximum and then some just for good measure ....with so much of it being extra-judicial and extraordinary for the process being used to accomplish it.

That's the problem..right there. The process being used. It made people like me all but drop the gun side of this entirely for just a moment because the truth of what's being done to address it is FAR worse and more disturbing than even a TOTAL ban on guns would have been to hear. I'd have laughed at that, actually....because the court would have burned the order within moments of it landing on their side of the Capital. This though? Obama ...I don't know about intelligence. It's hard to say.... When he's not reading from prepared text, he's about as intelligent in appearance as Bush or Quayle. I really wonder about the mental horsepower of a NUMBER of our leaders.

Having said that, the President has people around him who ARE very intelligent and VERY clever in knowing precisely how best to play the system. Like any President, he has staff who have been through multiple Presidents before him. Usually that is a comforting thing. In this case? Well, I've never seen staff used to actively break the system we have to pass laws and change in America. If tearing our system up is Fundamental Change? Folks can keep it .....

The solution here isn't a hard one but it's not a sexy one either. No flashy news conferences at the FEDERAL LEVEL but that's how it's supposed to be too. The solution is simply for states to find their own path which best fits their own population on this matter. If New York, Illinois and California want to OUTLAW guns to the extent the Supreme Court allows that, more power to them and I weep for those who live there. They asked for it by whoever they elected though.

In other states? Well.... Our gun shows make a National Guard armory look under-gunned and kinda pathetic. lol... Such is the lifestyle those in the Midwest have chosen and we're quite happy with it, too. It's not my right to FORCE that acceptance for firearms upon those other states...and it's NOT their right to force their hatred for them upon my way of life. The 10th amendment all but defined for both purpose and letter.

^^ The 10th amendment this President has totally brushed aside and ignored. Guns aren't the first issue he's done it with. Guns are simply the highest profile one ..YET. I wonder.... If Bush had slammed through Social Security reform, conservative style .... then forced OPEN laws regarding guns on all 50 states ....basically serving the OTHER half of the nation to what Obama is doing that just as fair and as decent a thing?

I think it's flat wrong either way, but that's just me. It's something I feel strongly enough about to fight for though. Peacefully, and by every means available to me as a citizen. Those who talk but don't fight? Well... Doing nothing is a decision of support in itself....for those doing this to us.

posted on Jan, 17 2013 @ 10:51 AM
I fail to see where any of the 23 executive actions have enacted new laws or modified any existing law. All I see are clarifications and emphasis on existing laws.

This may be off-topic, but .... what really scares me is the power of the gun lobby (or any other lobby for that matter) to actually enact and modify laws. Lobbies like the NRA have MUCH more power than the president has ever had. That scares me.

posted on Jan, 17 2013 @ 11:08 AM

Originally posted by kaylaluv
I fail to see where any of the 23 executive actions have enacted new laws or modified any existing law. All I see are clarifications and emphasis on existing laws.

This may be off-topic, but .... what really scares me is the power of the gun lobby (or any other lobby for that matter) to actually enact and modify laws. Lobbies like the NRA have MUCH more power than the president has ever had. That scares me.

Umm... The logic of that argument gives me a headache. Tell me, if the 23 executive orders do nothing to change law, policy or regulation...WHY HAVE THEM? He didn't sign these just for pure publicity points and a press conference photo-op. Oh, he'll never miss a moment to preen for his fan club out there...but that wasn't the point, even by his motivations.

So.. Honestly... you're not the first to suggest he signed executive orders that effectively do nothing, for no reason and with no gain to his agenda or cause. Care to elaborate a bit on the actual reasoning behind them then?

posted on Jan, 17 2013 @ 11:25 AM

Originally posted by Wrabbit2000

Umm... The logic of that argument gives me a headache. Tell me, if the 23 executive orders do nothing to change law, policy or regulation...WHY HAVE THEM? He didn't sign these just for pure publicity points and a press conference photo-op. Oh, he'll never miss a moment to preen for his fan club out there...but that wasn't the point, even by his motivations.

So.. Honestly... you're not the first to suggest he signed executive orders that effectively do nothing, for no reason and with no gain to his agenda or cause. Care to elaborate a bit on the actual reasoning behind them then?

Well, then - take an aspirin and try to keep up. Yes, I think the primary purpose of these executive actions was for publicity. There is really no "meat" in any of them. The point is to say that he is committed to getting the real meat accomplished (universal background checks, ban assault weapons, ban high capacity magazines) through congressional action - all legal shmegal.

I like how you just glossed over my concerns over the NRA lobby setting national laws. You know, the one executive order that the President could have legally signed that might have actually had some meat in it - he was apparently too scared to approach - maybe the NRA had something to do with that?

The president has, under existing law, the authority to block the import of weapons that aren't "generally recognized as particularly suitable for, or readily adaptable to sporting purposes." In the wake of the Stockton school massacre in 1989, President George H.W. Bush — who was backed to the hilt by the NRA at the time — used this authority to block the import of many semiautomatic weapons

That pen stroke is MIA today – and its absence is a testament to the continuing power of the gun lobby.

Read more:

I look at yesterday's events as more of a victory for the NRA then for the victims of gun violence.
edit on 17-1-2013 by kaylaluv because: (no reason given)

posted on Jan, 17 2013 @ 11:40 AM
reply to post by Wrabbit2000

Umm... The logic of that argument gives me a headache. Tell me, if the 23 executive orders do nothing to change law, policy or regulation...WHY HAVE THEM?

my take on the issue, after seeing the EO's you posted yesterday, is that Obama is generally sending his suggestions to congress, showing them the issues that could be addressed in their new session,
i expect that there will be much 'bill introducing' to hammer out an apropriate, if any, course of action.
compare it to the way members here at ATS introduce threads, the topic and the responses, when looked at as a whole, bring out constructive arguments for and against the issues and sometimes a general consensus is drawn where many members will stick to it, even though it doesn't fit all of our beliefs.

as it stands, there has been nothing enacted that should change much, and all i expect to see for now is congress making a big show of this.

i'm sure i will be entertaining and make for alot of heated discussion on our boards.

posted on Jan, 17 2013 @ 11:51 AM
reply to post by Wrabbit2000

"The sky is falling we're all going to die!!!"

All 23 of these "Executive Orders" have no real impact on you or your neighbor. Why have them? To satisfy the American public that something is being done. I call these "feel good EO's"

Look, we all know this country is going down the crapper, and frankly there isn't anything you, I or anyone else can really do to stop it. We're past the point of no return. We've reached "Peak America".

I take solace in the fact that the average lifespan of an American male is what, 70-something? I only have another 40 or so years of putting up with this crap.

We all sit around and bloviate and whine about the problems in America. Is anyone here actually running for any offices to effect change? Is anyone here actually making signs and organizing protests? Is anyone here doing anything besides complaining?

posted on Jan, 17 2013 @ 11:58 AM
reply to post by kaylaluv

Well now I'd hate to be accused of glossing over anything....and you do seem fixated on the NRA lately by this and other threads I'm reading. So let's address that first and in absolutely no uncertain terms.

The National Rifle Association was....was...the backbone of the Firearms rights movement in this nation for a couple decades at least. Since the push against guns really started in the 70's and then became a full crusade following Hinkley shooting Reagan and ...we'll NEVER be allowed to forget, his press secretary named Brady.

Since then the NRA has morphed. I used to be a member. I had my card for a few years in fact. All I EVER got from the NRA was junk mail, Spam and generla harrassment to give MORE AND MORE AND MORE money to them. Membership isn't the fee, it's a starting point in their mind and just the minimum anyone should think they 'owe' the cause.

Well... My NRA card went through a shredder a few years ago and I wouldn't give them a penny if their headquarters were burning down and that was the cost of a firetruck to save them.

Now, your response and general attitude about the 23 executive 'actions'/orders or whatever is that I'd expect from a school student and I'd be thinking Middle School...damn sure not college or even High School. You take ALL he did yesterday and just jump it all together as one big pile of "P.R. Stunt". Well, thats a quick and simple way to dismiss what so many are enraged about....if your audience is simple minded enough to buy that level of argument.

However, his numbered points came to 23. Each was different and while some are related in area of focus, all are different enough to warrant their own consideration and discussion. The idea that anyone can simply 'lump' them all together as one big picture of 'Publicity Stunt' is indicative of the level of debate we're reached around here lately. It's nothing to be happy with or proud of. I think it's a problem and this side discussion is a very bright example of it.

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