Obama Signs Executive Order ‘Blocking Properties of Certain Persons’ in Ukraine Crisis

ukraine1 300x226 Obama Signs Executive Order Blocking Properties of Certain Persons in Ukraine Crisis

Obama Signs Executive Order ‘Blocking Properties of Certain Persons’ in Ukraine Crisis

#BREAKING: President Obama signs executive order “blocking property of certain persons contributing to the situation in Ukraine” and threatening security. The White House says the U.S. is prepared to consider additional steps and sanctions as necessary depending on how Ukraine situation develops. (@Reuters) This comes as the Crimean parliament overwhelmingly votes to become a part of  Russia.

The Obama administration did not say how many people were subject to the visa bans or reference their nationality. However, the targets described as “officials and individuals” are believed to be Russians held responsible for the week-old occupation of Crimea.

The White House said the visa restrictions reflected “policy decision to deny visas to those responsible for or complicit in threatening the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine” and was in addition to visa denials for figures close to the government of former president Victor Yanukovych, over oppression of protesters.

The president’s press secretary, Jay Carney, said the additional executive order “authorises sanctions on individuals and entities responsible for activities undermining democratic processes or institutions in Ukraine”. He said those included: “threatening the peace, security, stability, sovereignty, or territorial integrity of Ukraine; contributing to the misappropriation of state assets of Ukraine; or purporting to assert governmental authority over any part of Ukraine without authorization from the Ukrainian government in Kiev”. Source: Guardian

President Obama: “I’ve Got a Pen and a Phone” on Expanding Opportunity

president obama 3 300x166 President Obama: Ive Got a Pen and a Phone on Expanding Opportunity

President Obama: “I’ve Got a Pen and a Phone” on Expanding Opportunity

Quote of the Day:  President Obama on expanding opportunity in his weekly address: “I’ve got a pen and a phone…a pen to take executive action, and a phone to rally citizens and business leaders who are eager to create new jobs and new opportunities.”

President Obama Signs Executive Order to Keep Guns Out of Hands of Convicted Felons

guns 1 300x199 President Obama Signs Executive Order to Keep Guns Out of Hands of Convicted Felons

President Obama Signs Executive Order to Keep Guns Out of Hands of Convicted Felons (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The White House issued a press release detailing two more executive orders in the gun control battle. Of course, the right wing is none too pleased that President Obama is flexing his muscles. As expected, the National Rifle Association freaked out. NRA spokesman Andrew Arulanandam said “prohibiting the re-importation of firearms into the U.S. that were manufactured 50 or more years ago does not keep firearms out of the hands of criminals.” Yeah, whatever.  Here’s an excerpt from President Obama’s executive order:

Closing a Loophole to Keep Some of the Most Dangerous Guns Out of the Wrong Hands

  • Current law places special restrictions on many of the most dangerous weapons, such as machine guns and short-barreled shotguns.  These weapons must be registered, and in order to lawfully possess them, a prospective buyer must undergo a fingerprint-based background check.
  •  However, felons, domestic abusers, and others prohibited from having guns can easily evade the required background check and gain access to machine guns or other particularly dangerous weapons by registering the weapon to a trust or corporation.  At present, when the weapon is registered to a trust or corporation, no background check is run.  ATF reports that last year alone, it received more than 39,000 requests for transfers of these restricted firearms to trusts or corporations.
  • Today, ATF is issuing a new proposed regulation to close this loophole.  The proposed rule requires individuals associated with trusts or corporations that acquire these types of weapons to undergo background checks, just as these individuals would if the weapons were registered to them individually.  By closing this loophole, the regulation will ensure that machine guns and other particularly dangerous weapons do not end up in the wrong hands.

Keeping Surplus Military Weapons Off Our Streets

  • When the United States provides military firearms to its allies, either as direct commercial sales or through the foreign military sales or military assistance programs, those firearms may not be imported back into the United States without U.S. government approval.  Since 2005, the U.S. Government has authorized requests to reimport more than 250,000 of these firearms.

  • Today, the Administration is announcing a new policy of denying requests to bring military-grade firearms back into the United States to private entities, with only a few exceptions such as for museums.  This new policy will help keep military-grade firearms off our streets.

Obama “National Defenses Resources Preparedness” Executive Order Doesn’t Mean Martial Law is Coming

The Tea Party wingnuts are screaming Martial Law over President Obama’s recent Executive Order, titled “National Defenses Resources Preparedness.” In a nutshell, it’s called preparedness. The reality is that this update of prior Executive Orders signed in 1988 and 1994, which elaborate similar powers in time of war or national emergency.  The Order signed in 1994 was not limited to national emergency:

The United States must have an industrial and technology base capable of meeting national defense requirements, and capable of contributing to the technological superiority of its defense equipment in peacetime and in times of national emergency.

While I don’t agree with everything President Obama is doing or has done, I wouldn’t say this Executive Order was an act of a dictator because of an expansion of presidential powers. Martial Law isn’t coming as a result of the National Defenses Resources Preparedness Executive Order. It’s just pure mischief to suggest that as a fact.

Ed Morrissey:  Why the update?  If one takes a look at EO 12919, the big change is in the Cabinet itself.  In 1994, we didn’t have a Department of Homeland Security, for instance, and some of these functions would naturally fall to DHS.  In EO 12919, the FEMA director had those responsibilities, and the biggest change between the two is the removal of several references to FEMA (ten in all).   Otherwise, there aren’t a lot of changes between the two EOs, which looks mainly like boilerplate.

In fact, that’s almost entirely what it is.  The original EO dealing with national defense resources preparedness was issued in 1939 (EO 8248) according to the National Archives.  It has been superseded a number of times, starting in 1951 by nearly every President through Bill Clinton, and amended twice by George W. Bush.

So, if Ed Morrissey, who seems to be more conservative than a moderate, could say there’s nothing that signifies Martial Law is coming, then why are some in the Tea Party and other conservatives, such as Kenneth Schortgen Jr., making hay out of nothing? The fact that this Executive Order is simply an update, with limited expansions due to new Cabinet positions and focuses on preparedness, then it’s just ridiculous to suggest he’s exhibiting traits of a dictator.