grarpamp at gmail.com
Wed Jun 1 23:19:57 PDT 2022
Cypherpunks said they had invented and were applying the solutions,
apparently they were lying.
America, Meet Your New Dictator-In-Chief: The President's Secret,
“Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness have given way to
permanent crisis management: to policing the planet and fighting
preventative wars of ideological containment, usually on terrain
chosen by, and favorable to, our enemies. Limited government and
constitutional accountability have been shouldered aside by the kind
of imperial presidency our constitutional system was explicitly
designed to prevent.”
- David C. Unger, The Emergency State: America’s Pursuit of
Absolute Security at All Costs
America, meet your new dictator-in-chief.
As the New York Times reports, “Newly disclosed documents have shed a
crack of light on secret executive branch plans for apocalyptic
scenarios—like the aftermath of a nuclear attack—when the president
may activate wartime powers for national security emergencies.”
The problem, of course, is that we have become a nation in a permanent
state of emergency.
Power-hungry and lawless, the government has weaponized one national
crisis after another in order to expand its powers and justify all
manner of government tyranny in the so-called name of national
The seeds of this present madness were sown almost two decades ago
when George W. Bush stealthily issued two presidential directives that
granted the president the power to unilaterally declare a national
emergency, which is loosely defined 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.”
Comprising the country’s Continuity of Government (COG) plan, these
directives (National Security Presidential Directive 51 and Homeland
Security Presidential Directive 20) provide a skeletal outline of the
actions the president will take in the event of a “national
Just what sort of actions the president will take once he declares a
national emergency can barely be discerned from the barebones
directives. However, one thing is clear: in the event of a national
emergency, the COG directives give unchecked executive, legislative
and judicial power to the president.
The country would then be subjected to martial law by default, and the
Constitution and the Bill of Rights would be suspended.
Essentially, the president would become a dictator for life.
It has happened already.
As we have witnessed in recent years, that national emergency can take
any form, can be manipulated for any purpose and can be used to
justify any end goal—all on the say so of the president.
The emergency powers that we know about which presidents might claim
during such states of emergency are vast, ranging from imposing
martial law and suspending habeas corpus to shutting down all forms of
communications, including implementing an internet kill switch, and
Yet according to documents recently obtained by the Brennan Center,
there may be many more secret powers that presidents may institute in
times of so-called crisis without oversight from Congress, the courts,
or the public.
It doesn’t even matter what the nature of the crisis might be—civil
unrest, the national emergencies, “unforeseen economic collapse, loss
of functioning political and legal order, purposeful domestic
resistance or insurgency, pervasive public health emergencies, and
catastrophic natural and human disasters”—as long as it allows the
government to justify all manner of government tyranny in the name of
so-called national security.
The war on COVID-19, the war on terror, the war on drugs, the war on
illegal immigration: all of these programs started out as responses to
pressing national concerns and have since become weapons of compliance
and control in the police state’s hands.
Deploying the same strategy it used with 9/11 to acquire greater
powers under the USA Patriot Act, the police state—a.k.a. the shadow
government, a.k.a. the Deep State—has been planning and preparing for
such crises for years now, quietly assembling a wish list of
presidential lockdown powers that could be trotted out and approved at
a moment’s notice.
Indeed, the Trump Administration even asked Congress to allow it to
suspend parts of the Constitution whenever it deems it necessary
during the COVID-19 crisis and “other” emergencies. The Department of
Justice (DOJ) went so far as to quietly trot out and test a long
laundry list of terrifying powers that override the Constitution.
We’re talking about lockdown powers (at both the federal and state
level): the ability to suspend the Constitution, indefinitely detain
American citizens, bypass the courts, quarantine whole communities or
segments of the population, override the First Amendment by outlawing
religious gatherings and assemblies of more than a few people, shut
down entire industries and manipulate the economy, muzzle dissidents,
“stop and seize any plane, train or automobile to stymie the spread of
contagious disease,” reshape financial markets, create a digital
currency (and thus further restrict the use of cash), determine who
should live or die.
These are powers the police state would desperately like to make permanent.
In such a climate, the American president becomes dictator with
permanent powers: imperial, unaccountable and unconstitutional.
Bear in mind that the powers the government officially asked Congress
to recognize and authorize barely scratch the surface of the
far-reaching powers the government has already unilaterally claimed
Unofficially, the police state with the president at its helm has been
riding roughshod over the rule of law for years now without any
pretense of being reined in or restricted in its power grabs by
Congress, the courts or the citizenry.
Although the Constitution invests the President with very specific,
limited powers, in recent years, American presidents have claimed the
power to completely and almost unilaterally alter the landscape of
this country for good or for ill.
The powers amassed by each successive president through the negligence
of Congress and the courts—powers which add up to a toolbox of terror
for an imperial ruler—empower whoever occupies the Oval Office to act
as a dictator, above the law and beyond any real accountability.
As law professor William P. Marshall explains, “every extraordinary
use of power by one President expands the availability of executive
branch power for use by future Presidents.”
Moreover, it doesn’t even matter whether other presidents have chosen
not to take advantage of any particular power, because “it is a
President’s action in using power, rather than forsaking its use, that
has the precedential significance.”
In other words, each successive president continues to add to his
office’s list of extraordinary orders and directives, expanding the
reach and power of the presidency and granting him- or herself near
All of the imperial powers amassed by Barack Obama and George W.
Bush—to kill American citizens without due process, to detain suspects
indefinitely, to strip Americans of their citizenship rights, to carry
out mass surveillance on Americans without probable cause, to suspend
laws during wartime, to disregard laws with which he might disagree,
to conduct secret wars and convene secret courts, to sanction torture,
to sidestep the legislatures and courts with executive orders and
signing statements, to direct the military to operate beyond the reach
of the law, to operate a shadow government, and to act as a dictator
and a tyrant, above the law and beyond any real accountability—were
inherited by Donald Trump and passed along to Joe Biden.
These presidential powers—acquired through the use of executive
orders, decrees, memorandums, proclamations, national security
directives and legislative signing statements and which can be
activated by any sitting president—enable past, president and future
presidents to operate above the law and beyond the reach of the
These are the powers that continue to be passed along to each
successive heir to the Oval Office, the Constitution be damned.
This is what you might call a stealthy, creeping, silent, slow-motion
>From Clinton to Bush, Obama to Trump, and now Biden, it’s as if we’ve
been caught in a time loop, forced to re-live the same abuses over and
over again: the same assaults on our freedoms, the same disregard for
the rule of law, the same subservience to the Deep State, and the same
corrupt, self-serving government that exists only to amass power,
enrich its shareholders and ensure its continued domination.
We’ve been losing our freedoms so incrementally for so long—sold to us
in the name of national security and global peace, maintained by way
of martial law disguised as law and order, and enforced by a standing
army of militarized police and a political elite determined to
maintain their powers at all costs—that it’s hard to pinpoint exactly
when it all started going downhill, but “we the people” are paying the
price for it now.
We are paying the price every day that we allow the government to
continue to wage its war on the American People, a war that is being
fought on many fronts: with bullets and tasers, with surveillance
cameras and license readers, with intimidation and propaganda, with
court rulings and legislation, with the collusion of every bureaucrat
who dances to the tune of corporate handouts while on the government’s
payroll, and most effectively of all, with the complicity of the
American people, who continue to allow themselves to be easily
manipulated by their politics, distracted by their pastimes, and
acclimated to a world in which government corruption is the norm.
Unless something changes in the way we deal with these ongoing,
egregious abuses of power, the predators of the police state will
continue to wreak havoc on our freedoms, our communities, and our
If we continue down this road, there can be no surprise about what
awaits us at the end.
After all, it is a tale that has been told time and again throughout
history about how easy it is for freedom to fall and tyranny to rise,
and it often begins with one small, seemingly inconsequential
willingness on the part of the people to compromise their principles
and undermine the rule of law in exchange for a dubious assurance of
safety, prosperity and a life without care.
Unfortunately, the process of unseating a dictator and limiting the
powers of the presidency is far from simple but at a minimum, it must
start with “we the people.”
For starters, as I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War
on the American People and in its fictional counterpart The Erik Blair
Diaries, we must recalibrate the balance of power.
Start locally—in your own communities, in your schools, at your city
council meetings, in newspaper editorials, at protests—by pushing back
against laws that are unjust, police departments that overreach,
politicians that don’t listen to their constituents, and a system of
government that grows more tyrannical by the day.
What we desperately need is a concerted, collective commitment to the
Constitution’s principles of limited government, a system of checks
and balances, and a recognition that they—the president, Congress, the
courts, the military, the police, the technocrats and plutocrats and
bureaucrats—answer to and are accountable to “we the people.”
This will mean that Americans will have to stop letting their personal
politics and party allegiances blind them to government misconduct and
It will mean holding all three branches of government accountable to
the Constitution (i.e., vote them out of office if they abuse their
And it will mean calling on Congress to put an end to the use of
presidential executive orders, decrees, memorandums, proclamations,
national security directives and legislative signing statements as a
means of getting around Congress and the courts.
In other words, we’ve got to start making both the president and the
police state play by the rules of the Constitution.
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