By Imperial Decree, by Robert Gore

A dangerous expansion of presidential power has gone virtually unnoticed.

Trump’s supporters can’t believe their man’s primary motivation is acquiring power. Trump’s enemies, other than Senator Feinstein, can’t believe how good he is at it. Neither side will recognize the real danger until it’s too late. Legions of worrywarts fret that an erratic, captured Trump will go off half-cocked and press a nuclear button or do something else almost as stupidly devastating. What should worry them are the precise calculations and bloodless strategies of the most ruthlessly Machiavellian president since Franklin D. Roosevelt as he further consolidates and extends his power. Given present jurisprudence, nothing in the Constitution stands in his way.

So Deep It’s Sunk,” SLL, 9/3/17

Exhibit One would be President Trump’s Executive Order Blocking the Property of Persons Involved in Serious Human Rights Abuse or Corruption, dated December 20, 2017. Within various executive orders issued by Trump’s predecessors, there are provisions that would scare the daylights out of any civil libertarian who had the time and intestinal fortitude to go through them. Trump has now added to this dubious pile.

In the finest tradition of such orders, regulations, and laws, the preamble cites Humongous Dangers.

I, DONALD J. TRUMP, President of the United States of America, find that the prevalence and severity of human rights abuse and corruption that have their source, in whole or in substantial part, outside the United States, such as those committed or directed by persons listed in the Annex to this order, have reached such scope and gravity that they threaten the stability of international political and economic systems. Human rights abuse and corruption undermine the values that form an essential foundation of stable, secure, and functioning societies; have devastating impacts on individuals; weaken democratic institutions; degrade the rule of law; perpetuate violent conflicts; facilitate the activities of dangerous persons; and undermine economic markets. The United States seeks to impose tangible and significant consequences on those who commit serious human rights abuse or engage in corruption, as well as to protect the financial system of the United States from abuse by these same persons.

I therefore determine that serious human rights abuse and corruption around the world constitute an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States, and I hereby declare a national emergency to deal with that threat.

President Trump’s Executive Order

By imperial decree, Trump assumes the power to block, or freeze, the property within the reach or control of the US government of, “any foreign person determined by the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State and the Attorney General” to have engaged in, “serious human rights abuse” or “corruption.” The power to freeze assets is extended to any entity, including a government, which is led by or has an official who the Gang of Three determine is corrupt or a serious human rights abuser. Thirteen people listed in the annex are so labeled, although it appears that for most of them their crimes are alleged, not established by a judicial determination. An additional 39 individuals and entities were named in a Treasury Department release.

The power is also extended to anyone, US citizen or foreign national, who has “materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services to or in support of” corrupt or human rights abusing foreigners. Keep in mind the government’s wholesale surveillance of Americans began with the claim that it would only be applied to Americans’ foreign contacts. The definition of foreign contacts in that instance has been stretched beyond recognition; look for something similar here.

The order specifies that no prior notice will be given to those whose property is blocked. No judicial recourse is provided, only that the Secretary of Treasury, “in consultation with the Secretary of State and the Attorney General, is hereby authorized to determine that circumstances no longer warrant the blocking of the property and interests in property of a person listed in the Annex to this order, and to take necessary action to give effect to that determination.” Presumably enabling regulations will detail how those—whether listed in the annex or named later—whose assets are frozen can petition the Secretary of Treasury, if the accused has enough unfrozen assets to hire the necessary legal assistance and run the bureaucratic gamut.

This is civil asset forfeiture going global and running amuck. Civil asset forfeiture allows state and local governments and the federal government to seize assets it deems involved in crime, with no requirement that the property owner be found guilty of any crime. The burden is then on property owners to prove the “innocence” of their property in a judicial proceeding to reclaim the property. Abuse is rampant. In 2014 government took more through civil asset forfeiture ($4.5 billion) than the total lost in burglaries ($3.9 billion, according to the FBI). Fourteen states have amended their laws to require a criminal conviction in most or all forfeiture cases.

Sometimes the federal government and either state or local governments team up and split the booty (the Equitable Sharing Program). Barack Obama tried to stop this practice, but Attorney General Jeff Sessions has reinstated it. President Trump endorsed expansive civil asset forfeiture in off-the-cuff remarks to the National Sheriff’s Association at the White House in February. It’s unclear if Trump knew exactly what he was endorsing.

Judging by this newest executive order, he might have. The executive order does not allow the government to seize the assets in question. However, a freeze, as civil asset forfeiture demonstrates, can be tantamount to seizure for the property owner if it leaves the individual or entity without access to resources. And a future executive order could allow the government to confiscate what it has frozen, which would turn Trump’s executive order into the global equivalent of civil asset forfeiture.

The US government simply has to label a foreign person or entity guilty of corruption or human rights abuse, and not only can their assets be frozen, but the assets of any US citizen or entity that the government determines assisted the foreign person or entity can be as well. This further erodes the tattered remnant of American property rights. Multinational corporations down to individuals now have to worry that their foreign contacts and transactions might run afoul of a bureaucratic determination of culpability by those with whom they contacted or transacted, exposing them to an asset freeze.

The Trump Administration quietly issued an Executive Order (EO) last Thursday…

Zero Hedge, “New Trump Executive Order Targets Clinton-Linked Individuals, Lobbyists, And Perhaps Uranium One” 12/28/17

In “Is Trump Winning?” SLL said that, “when Trump does anything quietly, take note.” Aside from the Zero Hedge article there has been remarkably little said in either the mainstream or alternative media about this sweeping order, though it puts within the Trump Administration’s grasp a substantial portion of the world’s assets. The Zero Hedge article was generally laudatory, and that site has long been vigilant concerning expanding government and its many dangers.

President Trump is amassing power. Civil liberties are merely an obstacle, notwithstanding his oath to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution. Some of his fans are delighted that this new executive order will make it easier for him to go after his enemies, especially the detested Clintons and their foundation. The 13 people listed in the annex are alleged to have done dastardly deeds, and some have ties to the Clintons. However, executive orders establish law and precedent, and this one will give a future president the power to go after a different set of enemies—maybe Trump supporters or even Trump himself.

Perhaps legislation would have to be passed or an executive order promulgated allowing the president to jail anyone he or she chooses without a trial before they’d see the danger, and even then they might not object…at least until Trump was out of office. For the rest of us, the message is clear: Trump craves power and is adept at acquiring it. The modus operandi of governments is clear: what they acquire is taken from someone else. What Trump acquires will ultimately be at the cost of our liberty and individual rights. Once they’re gone, there’s nothing left.

START THE NEW YEAR OFF RIGHT!

AMAZON

KINDLE

NOOK

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31 responses to “By Imperial Decree, by Robert Gore

  1. Sir,

    Do you have a reference/list for the:
    “Fourteen states have amended their laws to require a criminal conviction in most or all forfeiture cases.”

    Thank you,
    Joe Fahy

    Like

  2. Robert,
    I am torn in-between wanting to see the DC toilet finally flushed and wanting the Federal government slashed to bone, not it’s power increased.

    I am torn in-between wanting Trump to expose all the interconnected global national vampires and worried about the fangs of the Feds getting longer.

    I’m not looking for another President who has another pen and phone to negate the Constitution but I want to see the Clinton’s and all their ilk exposed and dealt with by the rule of law…but not new laws left in place that could be used to build a throne.

    I want the quiet Coup exposed and stopped but not replaced by another one just as dangerous.

    Excellent article, I have been following this EO since it came out. Your last sentence was”

    “Once they’re gone, there’s nothing left.”

    But there would be something left. I have felt we are heading towards it no matter who won in 2016. Civil War 2.

    Like

  3. Mark
    Thanks. Your comment captures some of the ambivalence I have about what Trump is doing.

    Like

  4. It’s hard to swallow, but we’ve been pushed here by a long train of abuses. It is clear Trump is consolidating power, and the American people know that power is needed if there is to be a swamp draning, as the swamp currently holds most of the power. It’s a damned dangerous situation. The executive order is a few steps too far. Government keeps moving in the wrong direction.

    Like

  5. norman franklin

    Robert, you make some great points about the nature of (absolute) power. I think you nailed the parts about asset forfeiture. Unfortunately we lost that fight along with the drug war decades ago. That these laws were not used on the bankers in 2008 is imho the biggest injustice in my lifetime. The curtain has now been pulled away and there can be no denying that the queens rules no longer apply. The fact that tptb refused even the slightest accountability or course correction over the last 30 years has sealed our fate. When justice is denied for so long the inevitable pendulum swing will always be epic. I am happy for the extra time and sorry this couldn’t be resolved peacefully. Trump gave these “good people” every chance to go away and enjoy their filthy lucre. They just couldn’t let it go thus we find ourselves here today. The fact that war is now upon us is sobering in the extreme. At 52 years young I had begun to believe that this fight would not come in my lifetime. Oh well I was growing tired of the sedentary farm life. Time to get back to my nomadic roots.

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  9. This is ironic in that since 9/11 and even before the tyranny and usurpation has continued. See the Bundys and their ranch. Civil asset forfeiture. Abortion on demand. Gay Marriage – bake that cake!.

    Occasionally some rare objection on something Obama claimed like assassinating American citizens outside the US because they were on his kill list, but shug – “they were terrorists anyway, I need to go back to streaming my personal “24” marathon where Jack Bauer is torturing and murdering those nasty folks”.

    Abortion is 60 million murdered innocent babies, without judicial review or trial, or see Terri Schiavo and the dithering Bush brothers.

    I’m not sure there is ANYTHING left for Trump to expand power into. The Court’s penumbras and emanations don’t protect anything. Congress is cucked. The left was right to go crazy because they turned Obama into a Dictator, and thought Hillary would take over.

    I’ve been fighting to retain life and liberty since before Ronald Reagan. Few others have. Then I see articles like these that are shocked! shocked! to see we are in a tyrannical panopticon. Blame yourselves and your parents.

    And your grandparents that defeated Hitler and Stalin, but failed to do the simple and small sacrifices that would have preserved the USA as the shining city on the hill with liberty and justice for all. They wanted big government to protect them and make sure their social security checks kept coming, so they sold you into slavery. And make no mistake – you are slaves as this article notes in different words. But even you don’t want true liberty because you would be responsible for your life, you merely want a different, nicer, benevolent tyrant.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. The problem is both simpler, and far more dire.

    What Trump does or does not is largely irrelevant; he may, and likely will, wind up doing no such draconian power grab, and assertions of what might happen largely wash up on the rocks of Trump Derangement Syndrome, already entering its third year in the US.

    But the precedents set, and the framework laid, persists perennially to every subsequent occupant of the Oval Office, and as Trump’s predecessors have already shown, that’s always a motley crew of cut-throats and pirates, eager to move the goalposts of totalitarianism further into your lives with each passing minute and every opportunity.

    It’s long since become apparent that the only way to clean out the morass of entanglements on original liberties hereabouts is going to be a fire that burns them to the ground, and a watering with a bloodbath that would choke a river.

    Nothing less will likely suffice, and the cure will be only slightly less onerous than the disease.

    The only question is when.

    Like

    • Very well said sir. Thank you.

      Like

    • “Nothing less will likely suffice, and the cure will be only slightly less onerous than the disease.”
      What you seem to be pushing most of the time sounds more like the disease.
      Mind you, i do see the attraction, i do feel the calling at times, Yet when you and others call for ‘ random’ indiscriminate, murder based only by a profession, it becomes easy to see the wrong of it.
      Your recent statement to me:
      “A “mistake” is something that can be fixed with a pencil eraser.”
      Some mistakes can never be erased. Do you understand?

      Like

  11. Mr. Gore,

    I love your writing and appreciate this article. Had you not called DiFi his enemy, I would be on board 100%.

    In my humble (and likely valuless) opinion, they are all in the same gang.

    Like

  12. Lawlessness seems to breed more lawlessness.
    i believe there is a place to stand without becoming one of them.

    Like

  13. Mr. Gore;
    Although I have followed your column with interest and admiration, I take issue with your assumptions that DJT will inevitably become an evil Tyrant. This following 8 years of the tyrannical rule of the most destructive, malevolent, black hearted, muslim bastard our country has ever endured. He was the master of devious deception (Taqiya -sp?)…and yet we survived.

    Given the sad fact that at least 90% of the MSM appears to be intent on (and complicity in) destroying our president, kindly dare to be different…
    Give he and his administration a fair hearing. Attempting to undo that which has driven our once great nation into the pathetic state we are in will require exceptional brains, brawn & balls in spades. Meek will not cut into the heart of the deep states devious fortress. It will take a man who DARES!!!

    Respectfully,
    Jay Wolcott Sample

    Like

    • Jay,

      If you’ve been following SLL you know that since before the election SLL has dared to be different and has given President Trump a fair hearing, while also criticizing things he’s done. I voted for Trump. Last February, after Trump fired Michael Flynn and many were wondering if he’d make it three months, SLL began a series of articles with “Plot Holes,” which posited that Trump was far smarter and more capable than generally supposed, the Deep State far weaker, that Trump was good a acquiring power, and that he would end up using the Deep State’s criminality against it. I think the thrust of those articles has been borne out.

      I agree with you that for Trump to prevail he must dare. That daring is far more important than adding to the odious stack of laws that has expanded the government’s power ad infinitum. If Trump dares, he can rout the enemies of America’s freedom within existing law while preserving one of the cornerstones of American freedom, due process of law. The key is Trump’s resolve, not that he doesn’t already have the power to do what needs to be done. This executive order, besides being unnecessary, like civil asset forfeiture, shreds due process of law.

      While I admire some of what Trump has done, he and his Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, have repeatedly demonstrated a disregard for civil liberties. My distrust of Trump, heightened by this executive order, is based on my generic distrust of all human beings who are put in positions of power. Power corrupts. Now maybe Trump is the angel whom power does not corrupt, but that’s not the way I’d bet.

      There’s one other salient point. Trump now heads the government. Anything he does to increase his own power, like this executive order, increases the power of the government. The overriding issue in human existence has been the distribution of power between the rulers and the ruled, and most of the time the ruled have come out on the short end of the stick. Laws, regulations, and executive orders outlive those who promulgate them, and often end up being used for purposes diametrically opposed to the goals of the people who write them. This is not merely an expansion of Trump’s powers, it’s an expansion of the government’s powers, and it will be around long after Trump is gone. The only historical truism more “true” than power corrupts is that governments, left unchecked, will always increase their power at the expense of individual liberty and rights. Trump’s executive order is just another example of that deadly historical trend.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Robert;
    Thank you for your thorough, reasoned response. I recognize your ethical responsibility to function in relative neutrality during oversight.
    I sincerely appreciate the volume of your response, as well as content.
    Genuine Regards,
    Jay Wolcott Sample

    Like

  15. the govt already has the power to jail any US citizen via the NDAA
    this grab of liberty and freedom has been a process!

    Like

  16. The cheerleaders for Trump are not any different than the ObamaTrons..

    Like

  17. In my opinion, the last 8 years of the Obama Presidency were filled with the removal and replacement of key military, political and government employees, for the purpose of devolving the government, allowing it to be absorbed into a global government. Add to that the last 3 months of his presidency, of laying a trap to remove the newly elected president, once it became clear the Hillary Clinton would not be taking over the presidential reigns.
    Having stated the scenario and with the complicity of the media to frustrate any attempt at purging these elements of sedition buried within the departments of the government, do you believe the purge President Trump is now orchestrating, could have happened within the constraints of the constitution?
    It is my opinion that President Obama was very confident that the plan he put in place, would guarantee the removal of a sitting president and complete what he could not accomplish in his time as president, or never be completed by his party, as Hillary lost the election.
    In short, they never saw this coming and I feel, this is the only way the purge could have been successfully carried out. I agree with you its a dangerous precedent, but one I feel that was undertaken as the only option.

    Like

    • The point I would make is that Trump can effect his purge without this dangerous expansion of presidential power, which will be around long after Trump is gone.

      Like

  18. Republics devolve into Demoncrazies, then into Oligarchies with Dictators.
    What I see now in the USSA Empire is battling Oligarchs to determine the Dictator of the future. Since a return to a Republic is a now lost cause, I’ll go with the Nationalist Populist over the Globalist NWO. Clintons’ are obvious Criminals, Trump not so much IMO. I’m “voting” for the best choice available when voting is no solution, but a possible postponement of the inevitable, eventual collapse. In the meantime I try to enjoy the simpler pleasures of life for the peasantry…. family, food, and good comrades ensconced in the illusion of some security in rural America.

    Like

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  20. Right, it wasn’t like Hillary was vying for power…
    Oh wait!

    Like

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  22. RG,

    Power, not that it corrupts, but that it attracts the corruptible or already corrupted, IMHO.

    Your mileage may vary, but I generally see very few in the .gov complex, from the dogcatcher to the white house that wouldn’t run the Milgram experiment to the deadly end if given the chance.

    They all consolidate power, that’s the nature of it’s beastlyhood, and since at it’s core, all .gov power is firmly situated behind the barrel of a gun, a bayonet, or the threat of a jail cell or government sponsored maiming, we should begin to look at it differently now.

    They can extinguish our God given rights at the speed of light, at any time, for any reason.

    Therefore a careful logical examination, would deem this situation as just as despotic as the king we threw off back in 1775.

    Except of course, we can get (x) amount of likes of facepalm, and the little emperor with no clothes can find a few million minions and helots to ‘follow’ him on twatter or whatever it’s called.

    Maybe this is the newest of the Brave New World’s, and I just need to be Soylent Greened out of this mess.

    Sean

    Like

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