May 26, 2007
Keep an eye out for "The Insurer"
From The Progressive last week:
Bush Anoints Himself as the Insurer of Constitutional Government in EmergencyMay 18, 2007 By Matthew Rothschild
In a new National Security Presidential Directive, President Bush lays out his plans for dealing with a “catastrophic emergency.”
Under that plan, he entrusts himself with leading the entire federal government, not just the Executive Branch. And he gives himself the responsibility “for ensuring constitutional government.”
He laid this all out in a document entitled National Security Presidential Directive/NSPD 51" and "Homeland Security Presidential Directive/HSPD-20."The subject of the document is entitled “National Continuity Policy.”
It defines a “catastrophic emergency” as “any incident, regardless of location, that results in extraordinary levels of mass casualties, damage, or disruption severely affecting the U.S. population, infrastructure, environment, economy, or government function.”
The document emphasizes the need to ensure “the continued function of our form of government under the Constitution, including the functioning of the three separate branches of government,” it states.
But it says flat out: “The President shall lead the activities of the Federal Government for ensuring constitutional government.”The document designates a National Continuity Coordinator, who would be the Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism.
Did you know about this? I sure was surprised. I try to be careful where I place my paranoia, but this all sounds so very brown-shirty, so very Berzelius Windrip to me. Ye gods, just what the fuck is a "National Continuity Coordinator" anyway? Perhaps they distribute rolls of Bill of Rights toilet paper equally and fairly, or organize the "The Best of Luigi Pirandello" summer stock series?
Read Rothschild's whole article, and if you think it's just the left that's raising an eyebrow, check out Jerome "Swiftboat" Corsi's commentary, which points out a few more salient facts:
- The directive issued May 9 makes no attempt to reconcile the powers created there for the National Continuity Coordinator with the National Emergency Act... which allows that the president may declare a national emergency but requires that such proclamation "shall immediately be transmitted to the Congress and published in the Federal Register."
- Under the National Emergency Act, the president "may seize property, organize and control the means of production, seize commodities, assign military forces abroad, institute martial law, seize and control all transportation and communication, regulate the operation of private enterprise, restrict travel, and, in a variety of ways, control the lives of United States citizens."
- But the National Emergency Act sets up Congress as a balance empowered to "modify, rescind, or render dormant such delegated emergency authority," if Congress believes the president has acted inappropriately.
- NSPD-51/ HSPD-20 appears to supersede the National Emergency Act by creating the new position of National Continuity Coordinator without any specific act of Congress authorizing the position. In fact, NSPD-51/ HSPD-20 also makes no reference whatsoever to Congress. The language of the directive appears to negate any requirement that the president submit to Congress a determination that a national emergency exists, suggesting instead that the powers of the executive order can be implemented without any congressional approval or oversight.
It's been reported that the White House had no comment. I'm nearly as speechless, at this point still by choice.
Until now I just thought they were paranoid.
This is just freaking scary.
Great post, O'Tim, well spotted. We're slowly losing our basic liberties here in the UK too, bit by bit, so we're scarcely noticing. But they're in these main areas: Right to protest, Free speech, Privacy, Detention without Trial, Extradition, Torture
Amazingly, many right-wingers (not all, by any means, but many) are comfortable, even happy, about all of this.
There's a new movie all about this - called 'Taking Liberties' - which is coming out shortly. It's mainly about what's been happening here, but I'm sure it would have some obvious resonances for American viewers too.
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