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Tue

05

Jun

2007

The Big Story That Never Was
Tuesday, 05 June 2007 08:07
by Stephen P. Pizzo

Why wasn't this on every front page earlier this month? I mean it isn't like it was kept secret. It appeared on May 10th on the White House's own web page:

President Signs National Security/Homeland Security Presidential Directive

Purpose

(1) This directive establishes a comprehensive national policy on the continuity of Federal Government structures and operations and a single National Continuity Coordinator responsible for coordinating the development and implementation of Federal continuity policies..... 6) The President shall lead the activities of the Federal Government for ensuring constitutional government. In order to advise and assist the President in that function, the Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism (APHS/CT) is hereby designated as the National Continuity Coordinator.

-- "Catastrophic Emergency" means 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 functions; (Full order here)

Breathtaking. Simply breathtaking. It's the kind of sweeping authority that only a banana republic could love. It's the kind of authority Fidel Castro operates under and which Venezuela's Hugo Chavez is working day and night to get for himself. The Mullahs in Iran already have it and, as of May 9th, George W. Bush is just a single “incident” away from having it too.

Is this just more liberal hand-wringing and whining? Well, don't take my word for it. The link to the unadulterated goods is right there above this paragraph. Take your own lying eyes there and read it yourself. And read it all. Then contact your favorite newspaper editor and ask him/her just how far up their ass their had to be to miss this? How did they miss it and fail to see the clear and present danger it poses to everything this country is supposed to stand for?

I have come to understand that we Americans are lazy defenders of our rights. Few will actually read the whole damn thing. So here are just a few of the low-lights. (And the second you doubt me, you are obliged to read the original document. If you don't then go rattle someone else's cage. I don't refuse to engage in a war of wits with the unarmed.)

The Directive Bush signed into law on May 9, 2007: (Any emphasis is mine)

The President of the United States is granted virtual dictatorial powers in the event of a “National Emergency – which the order broadly describes 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 functions;”

Regardless of location? Would that include, say, a terrorist attack on Saudi oil fields and refineries? That would certainly “disrupt” the U.S. population and economy.

“or government functions.” Would that include mass public protests such as those during the Civil Rights and Vietnam War eras?

But it get better. We may not even have to wait for a real “national emergency” to hit before the President can assume the mantle of near-dictator. Under the guise of “maintaining government continuity, the President could just sign a “NEF” - a National Emergency Finding:”

“ As a result of the asymmetric threat environment, adequate warning of potential emergencies that could pose a significant risk to the homeland might not be available, and therefore all continuity planning shall be based on the assumption that no such warning will be received.”

Once the President signs “detects” a real or imagined threat, and signs a NEF, here's what he gets for his signature:

The President shall lead the activities of the Federal Government for ensuring constitutional government.

a) Ensuring the continued functioning of our form of government under the Constitution, including the functioning of the three separate branches of government;

(b) Providing leadership visible to the Nation and the world and maintaining the trust and confidence of the American people;

(c) Defending the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic, and preventing or interdicting attacks against the United States or its people, property, or interests;

(d) Maintaining and fostering effective relationships with foreign nations;

(e) Protecting against threats to the homeland and bringing to justice perpetrators of crimes or attacks against the United States or its people, property, or interests;

(f) Providing rapid and effective response to and recovery from the domestic consequences of an attack or other incident;

(g) Protecting and stabilizing the Nation's economy and ensuring public confidence in its financial systems; and

(h) Providing for critical Federal Government services that address the national health, safety, and welfare needs of the United States.

In other words, to quote the old Christian hymn, “He has the whole world, in his hands, the whole world, in his hands...”

You might have noticed that the act the President signed on May 9th tips its hat several times to the Constitution and the other two branches of government. What's that all about? A close reading uncovers the weasel words that betray the real purpose behind this act – to neuter the Constitutional co-equal authority of the other two branches of government, and to do so with the kind of Orwellian language we've come to expect from this administration:

"Enduring Constitutional Government," or "ECG," means a cooperative effort among the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of the Federal Government, coordinated by the President, as a matter of comity with respect to the legislative and judicial branches and with proper respect for the constitutional separation of powers among the branches, to preserve the constitutional framework under which the Nation is governed and the capability of all three branches of government to execute constitutional responsibilities and provide for orderly succession, appropriate transition of leadership, and interoperability and support of the National Essential Functions during a catastrophic emergency;

“As a matter of comity?” The relationship and responsibilities of our three branches of government are chiseled in the stone we call the U.S. Constitution. Comity has nothing to do with it. Therefore the term implies that the President will try to be “nice” to Congress and the Courts during a declared emergency, but otherwise they can pound salt. He's going to do whatever he see fit.

“and to provide for orderly succession, appropriate transition of leadership..” Ah, hello. We've got that already. Had it for over two centuries. It's in the Constitution too. So, since we already know how to go about ensuring an appropriate transition, and have done so without interruption for 200 years, through wars, depressions and national disasters galore, this clause appears to anticipate something else – something not envisioned, or sanctioned, by the Constitution.

And what if Congress should want to meet during one of these Presidentially declared national emergencies? Well the act covers that too:

The Secretary of Homeland Security shall serve as the President's lead agent for coordinating overall continuity operations and activities of executive departments and agencies, and in such role shall perform the responsibilities set forth for the Secretary.... the Chief of Staff to the President shall ensure that the executive branch --efforts are appropriately coordinated with those of the legislative and judicial branches in order to ensure interoperability and allocate national assets efficiently to maintain a functioning Federal Government.

This clause effectively reduces congress to a “mother-may-I” position in the governing pecking order. The Secretary of Homeland Security and Chief of Staff to the President may just decide that it's “too dangerous” for congress to gather and refuse to “coordinate security for, or even facilities, for sessions of Congress. Courts will be deemed national security assets to be used to assure “terrorists and criminals” are incarcerated for “public safety.”

Then there's the pesky matter of State” Rights. Of course some states, say Texas, won't be a problem. But states like California, Massachusetts, Vermont and New York could be troublesome. They might disagree and refuse to cooperate entirely. Not to worry. That' base was covered too in the law:

“Federal Government -- plans and operations shall be appropriately integrated with the emergency plans and capabilities of State, local, territorial, and tribal governments, and private sector owners and operators of critical infrastructure, as appropriate, in order to promote interoperability and to prevent redundancies and conflicting lines of authority. The Secretary of Homeland Security shall coordinate the integration of Federal continuity plans and operations with State, local, territorial, and tribal governments, and private sector owners and operators of critical infrastructure, as appropriate, in order to provide for the delivery of essential services during an emergency.”

That rounds up about every American, even the original ones, American Indians. The only group not mention were the church folk.

Oh that's enough. If you give a flying fig, go read it for yourself. If you don't care, you will, someday.

In all my years of covering the federal government I have never seen, or even heard rumors, of a law like this. I never even worried about it since I figured any President who tried to pull such an outrageous and obvious grab for power would be run out of office, either by Congress, the courts or an outraged American public – once the media fully informed them of it.

But it wasn't in the free press. Did you see it? I didn't. If it was there it was treated as a minor story. Even the perps knew the media would miss the significance of the matter because, rather than make it secret they brazenly posted it on the White House web site.

Well, not all of it. Here's the last two paragraphs:

23) Annex A and the classified Continuity Annexes, attached hereto, are hereby incorporated into and made a part of this directive.

(24) Security. This directive and the information contained herein shall be protected from unauthorized disclosure, provided that, except for Annex A, the Annexes attached to this directive are classified and shall be accorded appropriate handling, consistent with applicable Executive Orders.

GEORGE W. BUSH

Wouldn't we just love to know what's in the classified Annex A! It must be really hot stuff considering how outrageous the stuff they felt okay to make public is.

I don't know. Some days I wonder why I bother. Some days I wonder if Americans even deserve the freedoms that are being taken away from us one by one by this utterly lawless and un-American, administration.

And then there's Congress. They won't end a war that the vast majority of Americans want ended. And now they won't even consider impeaching a President who has broken more laws and violated the U.S. Constitution more times in less than seven years than all 42 Presidents before him – combined.

Why aren't we in the streets? All of us? Why isn't Pennsylvania Ave blocked by protesters every day?

And, remarkably, no member of Congress will be booed off the stage at home-state Memorial Day picnics this weekend. Why not?

They certainly should be booed, this weekend and every time they appear in public. Because they are have just been standing around, doing nothing. Just watching, even aiding and abetting, as it's all just slip-slidin' away.
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