And this fear cannot be generated without lies. To steal a phrase, fear has a bodyguard of lies. Whether its purveyors sometimes simply do not understand the material they are presenting or are catastrophically gullible, is difficult to say at times. But for the most part it seems clear that there is a conscious effort to distort the facts to adhere to a strict ideological position: Republicans are good for America and represent legitimacy; Democrats are bad for America and when in positions of power are de facto usurpers.
And if an existing situation cannot be repurposed to engage the fear reflex in readers, news is simply invented to serve that end. The narrative is eagerly devoured passing from conservative to conservative out there and gulped down eagerly by otherwise intelligent human beings all too predisposed by FOX News’ dumbing-down of America, to believe it. And it’s not just FOX News.
Look at Godfather Politics. This website actually admits to its underhanded approach in its byline: It’s not personal…it’s politics. Meaning, of course it’s okay to lie in the name of a cause – nothing against the truth, mind you, but it has no place in my thinking, the Godfather seems to be telling us. The “Godfather” informs us of a terrifying discovery:
While doing a bit of Web surfing, I came across an article that contained some very disturbing information about Executive Orders. The ones that get you are the ones you don’t know about. With talk about riots in the streets, it’s not too much to imagine that some of these EOs below could be used under the force of law.
What Godfather is talking about is the site Before It’s News (better name would be “After It’s Lies”) which boasts a shocking headline:
List Of Executive Orders In Place For The Last Eighteen Years (Mens Rea) Which Give Total Federal Control Of The United States Whenever Required.
Now, presumably, Godfather has the same ability I do (intellectually may be another matter) to fact-check the material he is reading (or hearing – see the “dumbing-down” previously spoken of). We citizens of the Western World have a heretofore unimagined plethora of sources at our fingertips from private websites to government archives, from personal essays and news editorials and op-eds to peer-reviewed journals by specialists in their fields. It’s all there.
Not good enough? Too lazy to do your own checking? We even have sites that specialize in fact checking for us. There is absolutely no need to take anything at face value, even what I am saying here. And the following statement begs for fact-checking, doesn’t it?
Bill Clinton grouped together the following EOs under EO #12919 released on June 6, 1994. These are the tools used to shred the Constitution and take away your rights under its protection: Each EO number is linked to its full content.
We see collected before us a list of executive orders which purport to give federal control over pretty much every facet of American life. A sampling is below, organized by EO:
10995–Federal seizure of all communications media in the US (tested last month)
10997–Federal seizure of all electric power, fuels, minerals, public and private;
10998–Federal seizure of all food supplies and resources, public and private and all farms and equipment (that’s including what you are storing for emergencies in your home right now!)
Sounds pretty ominous doesn’t it? And it gets worse:
11000–Federal seizure of American people for work forces under federal supervision, including the splitting up of families if the government so desires (this happened before in Europe during the Nazi regime)
Oh dear. You can see how this contributes to the long-standing Republican feeding-frenzy. It’s an appeal to emotion – that emotion being fear. There is not even a pretense of examining the claims for accuracy. Godfather simply repeats them. Each EO purportedly links to the EO in question, creating the illusion that the documents you see – which are not government websites, by the way – accurately give you the contents of EO 12919.
They do not. What you see is a collection of old executive orders dating far back in time. The site hosting these orders is StanDeyo.com, the site where New World Order-conspiracy theorist Stan Deyo dispenses “news you can use.” Stan Deyo, for the record, is big into aliens and cosmic conspiracies, including alien scientists. You can watch his You Tube series on anti-gravity, purporting to be based on math Mr. Deyo clearly does not understand himself. But we are used to conservatives having their own reality. A good question for purveyors (and readers) of this particular lie (Executive Oder 12919) is why are they using Deyo’s website and not appealing to readily available government websites? Laziness? Because obviously government websites cannot be trusted? The thinking gets very bizarre and circular no matter how you approach it.
You can read EO 12919. Please do so. I have. There is nothing dramatic about it; it does, in point of fact, make for rather boring reading. And don’t go to all the non-government sites because all you will see there are variations on this same theme – government conspiracies, New World Order, aliens, and all sorts of craziness. There are reliable links to it available, including the FEMA site. You can find all of President Clinton’s executive orders dating from 1994 at archives.gov, a simple expedient for anyone with a computer and Internet access, which clearly both Godfather and Before It’s News possess.
But Godfather has no interest in testing what he saw for accuracy. Like so many others, he simply repeated what he read and by way of his website the “shocking news” came to the attention of a family member of yours truly – who believed it implicitly and forwarded it to an even closer family member saying in effect, “See! See what the Democrats are about! They are destroying America! You can’t trust the government!”
No mention, in any of this, of President George W. Bush, of course.
But Bush aside, let’s face it: it never had to go this far. Either the responsibility for inventing this grotesquerie of lies is that of Before It’s News or that of some other unknown and un-credited originator. But Godfather shares responsibility for mindlessly passing it on. Because the list is a collection of fear-mongering lies, as is easily demonstrated by a simple appeal to the Federal Register, Vol. 59, No. 108, dated June 7, 1994.
What Executive Order 12919 of June 3, 1994 does is, as the title says, address “National Defense Resources Preparedness.” Contrary to all the fear-mongering out there with regards to this order, Robert B. Burdette informs us:
Executive Order 12919 concerns industrial preparedness during times of war and national emergency. This brief report uses simple language to describe what Executive Order 12919 does. It is intended to clarify common misunderstandings about the Order’s purpose and scope.
Godfather doesn’t want you to know this. The owners of Before It’s News likewise don’t want you to know this. There is a reason they for while linking you to Executive Order 12919 they do not actually quote from that executive order. They don’t want you to see that this specific EO relates to resources preparedness in case of an emergency. They want you to think “threat to liberty” and “martial law.”
To say, as Burdette does, “The scope of Executive Order 12919 is sometimes misunderstood” is to seriously understate the case but he correctly identifies the problem:
For example, congressional offices sometimes receive correspondence expressing concerns that Executive Order 12919 reflects an attempt by the President to assume powers not conferred on him under the Constitution and to consolidate all the powers of the federal government under the Executive Branch and also that the Order somehow allows the President to declare martial law.
Burdette makes clear that “Those concerns are unwarranted,” explaining:
As its caption (i.e., National Defense Industrial Resources Preparedness) itself implies, Executive Order 12919 relates exclusively to the preparedness of U.S. defense-related industries in times of war or other national emergencies. It has nothing whatever to do with declarations of martial law. It has no effect at all on the continued powers of Congress and the federal courts during periods of war or other national emergencies
Now obviously people can believe what they want. Nonsense of this sort is a staple of the conservative blogosphere and sadly many people do believe it, and eagerly. But would you rather take the word of a conspiracy theorist who misuses high school math to prove anti-gravity and thinks aliens are behind some New World Order, or your own ability to read and to reason? All it takes is the ability to read, and more importantly, the willingness to do so.To me, it seems a very simple – and obvious – choice.