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What Tools Other Than Executive Orders do Presidents Have at Their Disposal?

In a previous article we saw how former president on both sides of the aisle  have used executive orders to circumvent establishing a law or declaring a war the Constitutional way: By getting Congressional Approval.

But what about Presidential action that you don’t really want embodied in an “Official Document” like an Executive Order?

Since having a pesky record of your unconstitutional behavior can go down badly in the history books, its sometimes much better to just use secret executive orders.

For example, President George W. Bush (R) allowed wire-tapping of domestic citizens to witch-hunt for terrorist under a “secret” executive order. Unfortunately, the targets of eaves-dropping are never revealed, due to “national security reasons.” The Feds use the excuse that this would give the “terrorist” a leg up. This also means that no one will ever know who has been constitutionally injured by this practice, and therefore, no one has standing to bring a lawsuit before any court in the nation to end this practice, or to protect his or her rights.

Bush also initiated a number of executive “off the record” orders approving “enhanced interrogation techniques” or as we now know, torturing suspects in Guantanamo. He did this, despite the fact that he issued EO13440, specifically saying that the CIA may not degrade, torture, or treat inhumanely any detainee. One of the approved practices was waterboarding. The practise of simulating drowning somebody? It violates the 8th Amendment against cruel and inhumane punishments.

Obama has gone even further with the expansion of the presidential “Kill List” that, according to him, may target U.S. Citizens without any process what-so-ever. The President of the United States can kill your son or daughter just because he suspects (has not proven, but suspects) them of “terror” against the US or any other country. By the way, Federal Prosecutors have interpreted the term “terrorism” to include charitable contributions to Palestinians.

And just how does Obama go about ticking you off the “Kill List”? Well, why not use Drones, or unmanned flying death vehicles? They’ve worked abroad, against US citizens, without the process of law. Maybe they’ll even start “working” here in the US, on domestic citizens.

On March 6, 2013, Rand Paul waged a 13-hour filibuster discussing the use of domestic drones. He had one simple question for Obama: “Are you going to use drones to kill non-combatant citizens on U.S. soil?” Obama couldn’t say “No.” So, Rand Paul literally spoke for 12.5 hours.   It brought some much-needed attention to these issues.

And when it comes down to it, “Executive Orders” have been used throughout the 20th and 21st Century to circumvent the checks and balances of Congress, and as a power-grabbing mechanism.

But it is important to note: these are not one-party’s tool. They are a power play for whoever sits in the oval office. And what is becoming even more scary are the secret orders and directives that only come to light after the fact, if ever.

Hopefully by sharing articles like this these issues will come into the light in a more significant way.