Going Wrong in America

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The President is looking to Congress to grant the Pentagon the authority to determine if it should move in on natural disasters taking over from the beginning on their own authority if warranted. This is reported by CBS News:

White House press secretary Scott McClellan told reporters on Air Force One Sunday that Bush talked about whether "there is a trigger that comes into play in the event of a catastrophic event where the Department of Defense would need to come in and help really to help stabilize the situation."

That trigger, he said, would only be considered in a catastrophic event.

There is no immediate danger should Congress usurp State's Rights under the Constitution by removing the power of the state's governor's as sole decision maker of whether federal authorities and forces should enter the state with the power to commandeer the state's national guard and invoke federal martial law. However, such a law would not be passed as a temporary law.

This sets a future stage in which the option of a President to use a natural catastrophe as predicate to other plans to place whole regions or the entire U.S. under martial law and one person rule for wholly other purposes. This is not as far fetched as it first appears. Our current President used 9/11 as predicate and justification for invading Iraq despite the fact that the bulk of the justifications used to convince the American people and the Congress of the necessity were false or fabricated.

It is not too far fetched for a President to one-day use a disaster event to cloak and cover the carrying out of plans in another direction which the people would never have authorized on its own merits. Therefore, it is extremely dangerous to our democracy if Congress grants the executive branch the authority to override state's rights under the condition of a natural disaster. Such power is not likely to be abused in the next couple of years, but, as we have seen, America is changing at a very fast rate. We have already seen Presidents like FDR and Nixon initiate extra-legal and even illegal actions in the name of power and federal responsibility, not to mention cover-up.

Cover-up by our government is becoming commonplace and truth-telling is getting harder to come by. Collusion between the Courts and the Executive Branch to exercise gag authority is a newfound protection for the abusive and incompetent in government, as well as politician's illegal exercise of power. (e.g. Documents: Frist knew contents of blind trust. and Texas grand jury indicts DeLay committee.)

In a very disturbing case ongoing since 2002, Edmonds v DOJ, (PDF)a former FBI employee, Sibel Edmonds, tried to blow the whistle on incompetence, cover-up, and failure of the FBI to protect and defend Americans. As a result, the following information was deemed TOP SECRET by our government: Her education, date of birth, languages spoken, place of birth, and resume. Thus our government declared her driver's license, her passport, her job history, and a host of other documents containing such information Top Secret, in what appears to be an attempt to halt her life in America despite the fact she became a naturalized citizen in 1988. She took her oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the US and the laws of our land upon hiring into the FBI too seriously for the authorities.

When she took her case to Congressional overseers, they were hit with a gag order which they complied with, eliminating public hearings and media attention to Edmond's allegations. She got her day in court, but during the proceedings, the media was shut out and ultimately the trial became closed to the plaintiff and her attorneys so the DOJ attorneys could present their case to the Judge. Shortly after leaving the courtroom, the Edmonds and her attorneys were told the case was over and they were escorted out of the building. The ruling was that unspecified secrets justified that the gag order against her be upheld.

What was her claim? While a FBI interpreter she learned authorities were dictating to the FBI to not investigate certain terrorist suspects, and a swapping of forensic evidence which would allow the guilty to go free and implicate innocent persons for crimes they did not commit. All in the name of covering up for negligence, incompetence, and illegal behavior by enforcement authorities. While the Dept. of Justice relented in the face of the Edmond's suit, to some extent, the amount of resources, time and money to get the government to halt such abuse is going to prove prohibitive in keeping government compliant with Constitutional design for open and transparent government.

As Gov. Mike Huckabee (R) of Arkansas discussed before the National Press Club on Sept. 23, 2005, Government can do anything it wants, Constitution be damned, if they can gradually alter the atmosphere and tolerance level of the people over time. Gov. Huckabee pointed to the fact that if the government attempted to ban smoking in whole towns and city public places in the 1960's, the public would have viewed such moves as both abusive and unconstitutional. Similarly, he discussed how government authority to fine, or even arrest those who choose not to buckle their seat belt would have met with near revolution back in the 1970's. Yet, today, the majority of states have established the authority to halt a vehicle, search it's contents and occupants, and fine the vehicle's occupants, all Constitutionally as a result of a personal choice to not buckle up.

In these times of domestic and foreign terrorists threatening America, and in this time of increasing frequency of natural disasters resulting from global warming, what we viewed as unconstitutional and against the interests of citizen's rights just a few years ago, are now becoming Constitutional and acceptable by a majority of Americans. The Patriot Act is the most obvious example. The most sinister however, of these changes is in the area of governmental transparency and accountability, and most especially in the very specific area of the government's increasing capacity to gag whistle-blowers either formally through the courts, or through intimidation and threat toward whistle-blower's jobs and livelihoods; whistle-blowers whose oath to protect and defend the Constitution is what motivated their whistle-blowing in the first place.

Americans are allowing them selves to become tolerant and accepting of losses of freedoms and rights, and giving America's government a free pass in its march toward an ever more powerful federal government with ever-greater authoritarian and even dictatorial powers vested in the occupant of the Whitehouse. These are dangerous times we live in; but if left unchecked, the future may contain horrors for our children's generation which George Orwell and Aldous Huxley tried to warn us against.


You know, I started to read this article and gave up because of its length. When a search engine took me back to it, I read the whole thing. Great article - just a tad long though.

As I reread it a second time, I realized that shortening the article would not have conveyed the urgency for vigilence on this issue. Seems to me this is the problem. To get voters to understand, a lot of detail and information has to be given. But, if a lot of detail and information is given, voters won't read it and become informed.

Seems like a this is one of those problems that we will not solve and if we don't, we are all in deep caca!

P.S. very informative site. Ill be back often.

Thanks, Jeremy. You have touched upon one of the quandaries of the internet. Instantaneous access to information predisposes readers to one liners or short summary discussions, rather than nuts and bolts analysis and critique.

It is the highest compliment that you read this twice. Much appreciated.

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This page contains a single entry by David R. Remer published on September 26, 2005 8:19 PM.

The Tax Cut Myth was the previous entry in this blog.

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