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October 26, 2007

Executive Order 13422 and a History Lesson

By Steve Osborn

One more step toward totalitarianism by the "Unitary Executive."


THE Union of Concerned Scientists asked me to contact my representatives and ask them to fight Executive Order 13422 by cutting funds for its implementation during the appropriation process. They list off the reasons for the request, but they miss one point which I feel is very important, and which seems to be affecting virtually all of our government activities.
Their points were:
* The executive order gives the White House excessive control over the standards government agencies set to protect our health and environment, making science particularly vulnerable to political interference.
* The executive order also allows specially designated political appointees to have the last word on science-based agency actions without public knowledge, input, or debate.
* Furthermore, it forces federal agencies to justify their rules by demonstrating that they address economic needs rather than a threat to public health and safety or the environment.
* Please ensure that federal policy making maintains the proper checks and balances by using the appropriations process to cut the funds to Executive Order 13422.

Now, the history lesson. When the Soviets perfected their system of government, it, too, put party loyalty and political correctness at the top of the list. Every entity in the CCCP had its usual management cadre, but it also had its Political Commissar. Every decision was watched over by the Commissar to see that it followed in line with the Party’s pronouncements on the subject. The Commissar’s rulings were law. This was true in science, the military, literature, the arts. Every facet of Soviet life was subject to the will of the Political Commissar, who was subject to the rule of the Party. Here in the States, we used to laugh at this and wonder how they got anything done. We couldn’t imagine, for instance, someone working out a theory of, say, evolution or selective crop breeding, and have it rejected because the Party Doctrine said something different. What a joke!

Well, with Executive Order 13422, we seem to have reinvented the political Commissar. Look at Bullet 2, above. “The executive order also allows specially designated political appointees to have the last word on science-based agency actions without public knowledge, input, or debate.” That is the duty of a Political Commissar.

What Bush is telling every scientist is that, “whatever research you do, if it doesn’t correspond with what I feel is the truth, I have a man there to remove it.”

In the Soviet Union, if you crossed the Commissar, or had to be “corrected” too many times, you lost your job and possibly found another in a labor camp.

What have we seen in the past few years? Reports on climate change have been altered by laymen or bought scientists. Respected scientists have been pilloried and character assassinations have been commonplace. Reports have been suppressed. Scientists who object are suddenly unemployed and blacklisted. Can Halliburton’s camps be far behind in this process?

I keep finding it hard to believe that the world we fought so hard to protect in my youth, from Fascism, Nazism and later from Communism is now being cloned in the United States. Our “Unitary Executive” seems to be cherry picking the worst policies of Nazi Germany and the unlamented Soviet Union, to be the governing policies of the United States. Unfortunately, it seems to have a very compliant “Reichstag” rubber stamp Congress to help the process along.

Remember, Hitler blamed everything on the Jews, then the Communists, then the unions, then the churches and the ministry. Each one, as it was singled out, found itself first harassed, then hauled out to the labor and extermination camps. Stalin did basically the same things, killing and enslaving millions of Russians, many for no more reason than people with grudges against their neighbors calling the MVD.

Our Muslims are slowly becoming German Jews, our Scientists are being harassed and losing their jobs, our unions are being virtually dismantled, our people are being spied upon and lists are being compiled. More Executive Orders are being passed, allowing confiscation of assets. The definition is flexible enough that that could be justified by any protest of government policy. Even churches and ministers who protest wanton killing and war from the pulpit are being sued, are having their tax status questioned. Teachers who honestly answer question about the war are fired and the courts uphold the firings.

I’m sorry, but if We the People don’t act, and act soon, we will be truly lost. The United States will be nothing more than a name, and a memory, either sad, or hated.

Authors Bio:
Stephen M. Osborn is a freelance writer living on Camano Island in the Pacific Northwest. He is a columnist for the Populist Party website and has had a number of articles published internationally. He is an "Atomic Vet." (Operation Redwing, Bikini Atoll 1956, ) who has been very active working and writing for nuclear disarmament and world peace. He is a retired Fire Battalion Chief, lifelong sailor, writer, poet, philosopher, historian and former newspaper columnist. Much of his antiwar poetry may be found on the site.