Thursday, July 19, 2007

Executive Order: Blocking Property of Certain Persons Who Threaten Stabilization Efforts in Iraq

As someone on put it, Fifth Amendment, RIP 1787-2007.  Killed by George "What Constitution?" Bush and Dick "I don't see no Bill of Rights" Cheney.

Let's pick this apart a bit, shall we?

Basically, the order blocks the property and interest in property of anyone who is in or enters the U.S., if that person has engaged in violence to undermine the reconstruction of Iraq.  They can't bring it here, send it there, or do anything with any of their property (which is undefined in the document - are we talking real estate, business assets, the clothes on their backs?)

My second thought (after considering the demise of the Fifth Amendment) was: when do we block Bush's and Cheney's assets?  How about Haliburton shareholders assets?  Seems to me that the Bush Administration has been the biggest purveyor of violence aimed at destabilizing the economy and government of Iraq - somehow I don't think the administration seems it that way.

Anyway, on to the document: Section One defines the affected folks as those committing violence, those who help folks commit violence, and those who get something from those who commit violence.  Those people now have their property blocked.

Think of it this way - your cousin robs a liquor store completely  unbeknownst to you.  If he stops by to pay you back to $50 he borrowed, using the loot he stole; or you told him where a liquor store was because he asked, you're now just as guilty.  Well, maybe not just as guilty, but just as punished, according to this order - remember we did say the Fifth Amendment was dead, right?  Due process, freedom from self-incrimination, no taking private property - all fair game to be rescinded in the face of an endless war and a President with no principles.

Then there's Section Two, which basically says evading the prohibitions is prohibited, which is kinda like getting arrested for resisting arrest.  Conspiracy to evade is also prohibited - in other words, talking about how you might evade the prohibitions is prohibited.  But the First Amendment died years ago, so this is not as immediately tragic.

Section Five is also interesting - Bush has determined that his ability to enforce this is adversely affected if we tell people they're on the blocked list.  So that's the last of the Fifth Amendment and part of the Sixth gone as well - no grand jury presentment, and certainly no informing the accused of the nature of the offense or confronting them with witnesses or letting them mount a defense or summoning a jury.

And if that wasn't disturbing enough, Section Six gives presidential powers to the Secretaries of Treasury, State, and Defense when it comes to enforcing this.  Admittedly, they're part of the Executive Branch by fiat and precedent, but I haven't seen any of their signatures on key pieces of legislation, have you?  Constitutionally, I don't think they're entitled - but then again, that's why we have Executive Orders, ot get around pesky Constitutional issues like who can do what and when.

And finally, Section Eight says there's nothing you can do about it.  Read it closely - once you get through the modifiers and dependent clauses, it says the order doesn't create any right enforceable at law by any party against the U.S.  So there's the rest of the the First Amendment done, that whole pesky petition government for redress of greivances thing.  I'm thinking the only partial Amendment left is the freedom of religion portion of the First - as long as it's a Christian religions, and it has to be a religion, none of that new age crap or atheism treason.

If you're not disturbed by this administration yet, you haven't been listening.

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