Friday, September 12, 2008

Hoarding Regulations in America(?)

This morning I woke to an e-mail from my oldest friend in the world, Sam, entitled, "Hoarding Regulations in America(?)" She had attached some links to the subject of whether or not the government, fed or state, can take our personal stored food, and how much we can legally store in the first place. Interesting subject.

My first thought was, "Obscure law or conspiracy theory?" It seems there is a little bit of both going on.

If you go here:, you can read about executive orders and a bit of the history surrounding the particular EOs that point to regulation of hoarding and fears of having our stores taken by the government. Here is my response, after reading this little piece, to Sam:

"As the author specifies in bold type, 11051--Provides FEMA complete authorization to put above orders into effect in times of increased international tension of economic or financial crisis. (FEMA will be in control in case of 'National Emergency').

"I believe there is a typo here and that this should read "international tension or economic or financial crisis." The original EO was instituted by FDR in 1939, during the Depression, which was worldwide in scope at that moment. During this time was also the rise of Hitler and the advent of WWII. Both were the case, international tensions and economic crisis, in fact, the economic crisis on a global scale (at least among the industrialized countries, which was instrumental in the war coming so quickly on the heels of WWI, and at all.)

"Now, here is where confusion and panic is allowed to arise, in the manner of conspiracy theory: Later on in the same passage, the author notes that... Who will determine how much food we can have in our house? FEMA. And the amount depends on the needs of all...not your needs or my needs...but the "welfare" of the needy.

"This statement is inaccurate. I mean it is inaccurate in the sense that nowhere do I see how an emergency such as attack by outside forces instigated by international tensions, or financial crash within the country can be or has been reduced, by Executive Order or otherwise, to mean 'welfare of the needy' in the sense that it is portrayed in this second boldface statement. 'Welfare of the needy,' when we are discussing the EOs, or the single EO under which Clinton, for reasons which elude me but that I will certainly research, out of historical and political curiosity, placed those EOs released by FDR, as far as I can glean from the language of the orders would refer to the fact that in such dire times, the entire nation's citizenry would be deemed "needy" to a higher degree than normal, because of a military or financial threat to everyone.

"So, what is implied in the author's statement, that the President could allow FEMA to come take your canned goods away from your cellar to feed someone else, is misleading. The orders, and the order as compiled into one, specify the seizure of people's goods for the purpose of ensuring that everyone has food, medical supplies, water, whatever... during a time of crisis- like rationing during wartime, except that we have to give our stuff up to the common pile. That is the reference of all this business.

"Now, I think it is still within our own individual power to decide whether or not we would 'hoard' our food and hide it so no one else could have it. Crap, I've read those apocalypse books, seen the movies, and I figure, being an anarchist, better to take responsibility upon myself to throw what I have into the pile and then help distribute it, than to be eaten by starving creeps or zombies down the road."

If my interpretation thus far is incorrect, someone let me know, because Sam shared my reply with a lot of people, and I ought to stand corrected if I am wrong.

On further investigation, it appears that Clinton's placement of all those EOs released in 1939 under one EO in 1994 was in direct response to threat of proliferation of WMD. So it says right in the order. What I cannot find, despite several bloggers out there claiming this, evidence that there is carte blanche executive authority to define the national emergency that would give FEMA the go ahead to come knocking at our doors and take away our Rice Krispies. In fact, the panel convened explicitly noted the extension of a National State of Emergency "as defined under United States Code, Title 50" as a resulting point of Clinton's order, and Clinton specifies laws within that code in EO #12919.

For those of you who are still worried, because essentially Clinton's EO gives FEMA, of all previously-proven-to-be-dangerously-ineffective agencies, the power to take control of you and your stuff in whatever time is deemed a National State of Emergency, or because the Bush Administration has lied to the people, and King George himself has time and again taken extreme liberties with his position, I am here to allay your fears! Don't forget that in just a matter of a few months, he will be gone, first of all. And FEMA has been transformed, too, remember? After Katrina? And there is hope for the future:

Peepscapes, John McCain could very well be elected our next President. And he is not getting any younger. Sarah Palin could become, by default, President of the United States of America. And then you'll have a mommy to take care of you and tell you what to do.

But, before I go to work, the best thing about all this? Title 50 of the United States Code, which outlines the role of war and national defense for this country once contained a chapter devoted entirely to Interference with Homing Pigeons Owned by the United States. Of course, it was repealed in 1948.

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