Saturday, 6 December 2014

The Invisible Executive Order

What was exactly signed on 20 November 2014, in support of the President's immigration reform executive order?

This is a curious thing.  There's only two documents registered now at the National Archives.  If the President signs such a document.....it has to be presented and registered.  It'd be on-line.  So, there are only two documents from that day registered.

Document number one?  It's an order directing cabinet secretaries to find various ways to cut paperwork on visa/immigration forms.  It's a brief three-page type document, and doesn't suggest anything beyond cutting paperwork.  They can collect and distribute data from reviews, among their departments.  Plus the President directs them to talk the improvements to the nation, via the news media.  Beyond that?  Nothing.

Document number two?  It creates a national task force on finding ways of better integrating new Americans into society.  It's a brief three-pager as well.

So, what was it that the news media....CNN, ABC, NBC, Fox News, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post.....all talked about on the evening of 20 November?  The President said he did an executive order and listed his actions.  No such such written document exists.  What happened?

It would appear that the President held a meeting and issued verbal instructions.  Then each cabinet secretary issued out a memo.....having less effect than a Presidential executive order, but accomplishing the wording of the President.  What did the President actually say?  Unknown, and it's likely that no one really remembers the entire wording.

In my youth, around 1985, Ramstein put out a news piece of a massive renovation project for the officer's club on base.  I remembered looking at the massive amount of work and thinking it was well over $2 million involved.   I left the base at the end of the year.....just as work was about to start.

Somewhere in the summer of 1986, as work progressed.....an investigation started up.  It was an odd deal.  Someone asked where the funding came from, and no one could give a straight answer.

So toward the end of 1986, the investigation team on base turned the job over to the Pentagon.  The investigation continued.

What finally came to be declared in spring of 1987 was this.  This whole renovation project started with one meeting which the four-star general of Ramstein was supposed to attend....but did not.

In his place....was his wife (odd, I admit), the chief NCO of the Air Forces in Europe, a number of Recreational and Welfare guys from the headquarters, a funding guy, the Ramstein base commander, the Ramstein Recreational Chief (Lt Col), and the officers club/NCO club chiefs.

A requirement was verbal put out by the headquarters people....verbally, for a massive renovation project.  All the wording was backed by...."the general voiced this priority".  You can imagine the scene. Then someone states that funding will take forever, and the comeback is that a German renovation fund exists for projects like this.  So, the base commander is forced into the corner and agrees to start the project.

The German renovation fund?  It was designed for housing and barracks....NOT for massive recreational projects like this.  That was the big problem to start with.

Then you come to a written document signed by the four-star general....there is none.

So around 1987, the investigation team does some disciplinary paperwork on various people connected to this....but can't say nothing to the four-star general.  He walks away....looking pretty foolish....but otherwise no issues.

The whole renovation project?  They have to review what has been done, and what can be marginally done to just finish the stupid project.  Roughly half of the grounds work of the original plan is thrown out.  The glass covering for the side of the officer's club for a dining area?  Gone.  I'd take a guess that roughly half the whole project is tossed.  Luckily, no one goes to jail.

So I look at this gimmick that the President has used.  He had a meeting and verbally told some people to do something, and they write the memos to enforce his position.  The senate?  They'd have to bring all of the people involved into a room, swear them to some oath, and ask what did he actually say.  They might sit there and beg stupidity or faulty memory....making this immigration gimmick to be the most foolish political accomplishment of the past fifty years.  Stopping it?  Well....stop what?  There is no executive order, and nothing that a court could put its hands around.

My humble guess is that a dozen Democratic senators are sitting there and pretty peeved by this behavior.  Maybe it's enough that they just say 'screw-it'.....we won't vote with the White House for the remainder of the next two years.  This is not the simple easy stuff that they'd like to go on interview shows and explain to CNN journalists or ABC Sunday talk show hosts.

So, all of this hype and talk.....over a non-existent executive order?  Yeah.  That's the funny thing about this deal.  Nothing, about nothing.