This is a rush transcript from "Glenn Beck," February 16, 2010. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
GLENN BECK, HOST: You know, yesterday, we talked about all the executive orders that Barack Obama has signed in his first year in office and he's not the only president to use executive orders. Bush was writing them up like crazy as well.
Over the years, presidents have signed some amazing orders giving them the ability to wield incredible power that would essentially — if they acted upon them — make them rulers over the country. The Constitution is out.
That's why executive orders — what is President Obama is saying he's going to do with healthcare and everything else — that's why it makes people just a little uncomfortable. And it also makes conspiracy theorists use them to drum up all kinds of fear.
I want you to know two things about executive orders: First of all, executive orders should make you nervous. It's a potential power grab. Do it out in the open. Let's do it the right way.
The other thing is, almost all executive order conspiracy theories that you'll find on the Internet are wrong. I'm going to show you a pretty safe interpretation of some of the executive orders that are floating around there and saying, "Look, what the president can do."
Executive Order 10995: It allows the president, through his telecommunications director, full and efficient employ of telecommunication resources in carrying out all national policies. That means telephones, TV, radio, Internet — everything — could be controlled by the president if the president decided there was a national emergency.
And that's the problem of all of the directives. What defines a national emergency? Well, the question really is who defines it? The president.
Executive Order 10997: Would grant that the secretary of interior will prepare national emergency plans, develop preparedness programs covering all electrical power, all petroleum, gas, solid fuels and minerals in event of an emergency.
I don't see a problem with that one.
Executive Order 10998: The secretary of agriculture shall prepare national emergency plans and develop programs covering food resources, farm equipment, fertilizer, food resource facilities as defined below. They do the fire control, defense against biological warfare, chemical warfare, radiological fall-out, pertaining to agricultural activities and rural defense information and education.
That just means the secretary of agriculture, under the direction of the president, could control all food production and distribution in the United States of America.
What kind of power could you possibly wield if you control the food supply?
Executive 10999: Development and coordination over all policies, plans and procedures for the provision of centralized control of all modes of transportation in an emergency for the movement of passenger, freight traffic — of all types — control all types of modes of transportation.
OK. Now, here's the part you need to understand. All of these orders were signed on the same day, February 16, 1962 — John F. Kennedy. If enacted, they would have given the president of the United States control over all media, telephones, power, fuel, minerals, all of our food, all of our transportation.
What could possibly go wrong?
Fortunately, all of these executive orders — and this is what you will not find out on the Internet — they were revoked by another president, Richard Nixon. I thought I hated this guy.
JFK was most likely responding to the Cuban missile crisis and he was just preparing for a potentially massive war with the Soviet Union by signing these orders in the first place.
So if you get some friend who says, "Hey, I found these executive orders and Obama has put them in place." No, no, no, no. It was JFK and [Nixon] revoked them all.
But the point is, you've got to do your own homework. You've got to not listen to conspiracy theories. You don't want this kind of power in the hands of anybody. But you really have to take a breath and really think about it when the person that is in power believes that the Constitution reflects an enormous blind spot from American culture.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
THEN-ILLINOIS STATE SENATOR BARACK OBAMA: I think we can say that the Constitution reflected an enormous blind spot in this culture that carries on until this day, and that the framers had that same blind spot.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
BECK: All these orders were rescinded. They go back to my first point: Our executive now is looking at signing new executive orders on health care and everything else — cap-and-trade.
Executive orders should make Americans nervous because it's really not our system. It's not. It's with the stroke of a pen and in the time of an emergency, even the best-intentioned president may seize control.
But every U.S. president — every U.S. president that believes in the U.S. Constitution — will give that power back to the people.
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