i'm starting to think that the white house, now that it's entering lame duck mode, is leaking executive orders for no other reason than to savor the sheer sadistic joy of scaring the bejeezus out of left blogistan every few days. and left blogistan never fails to deliver on the shrieks.
my previous post covered the latest presidential "finding" on iran and gave my reasons, once again, why we aren't going to be nuking iran tomorrow. it's probably no coincidence that washington and teheran thawed a 27-year diplomatic freeze in the same week this "finding" was leaked. "don't worry," seems to be the message to their fellow neocon war-mongers, "we're just putting on a show for the cameras ... we're still planning to screw these guys" — wink, wink.
now "national security presidential directive 51/homeland security presidential directive 20" has hit the internets and once again the old ladies are fanning their breasts because bush is apparently stealthily grabbing dictatorial emergency powers for himself. considering that the directives are posted on the white house web site, it's not much of a stealth move.
in fact, enough of a to-do was raised that the ordinarily agnostic investigative blogger josh marshall decided to invite a small panel of experts in law, government and civil rights to vet the directives. how scary were bush's orders? not so much:
the consensus amongst experts seems to be that the directive, aimed at establishing "continuity of government" after a major disaster, is not new nor does the policy seem to expand executive power.
in fact, mike german, the policy counsel to the aclu’s washington office told me that an executive continuity plan actually might “not be that bad of an idea.”
executive power expert, nyu law professor david golove, also sent me an email saying the directive didn’t appear to be a power grab.
... german called the release a positive sign, but said he urges the release of all previous directives so we can get a real sense of what has changed.
the concept of continuity of government applies to all branches of government. christopher kelleye, a presidency expert and political science professor at miami university ohio told me in an email that he didn’t see any new powers listed in the directive, but wondered why congress hasn’t done the same thing.
granted, marshall's panel is an informal poll, but the great majority of his commenters were hardly reassured:
"the directive that was signed may 14/15 is the most troubling ... it is his way of having total power in the event of a natural or man made disaster ..."
"i scare myself just thinking that an administration could/would perpetrate a catastrophy on it's [sic] own people just to retain political power ..."
"even if this power is nothing new, what is new is a president so untrustworthy that i'll not be surprised if a false flag attack occurs next year in october, bush declares martial law, and he suspends the national election. i expect this supreme court would support him and gonzales (should he survive his term in the doj) would bring all the police power of the federal government to maintain bush."
"of course, a blatant "coup" by bush, turning the federal government into the bushchaneyrove junta has been slowly in the making for some time, or haven't you noticed? the directive 51 is just the vaseline to make slide in more easily when they decide to not just ignore, but do away with the congress ..."
"can homeland security remove you from your home, or place you in one of the haliburton camps? direct which corporations or other businesses get priority on the highways? on rail transit? will the internet be coopted, in the naqme [sic] of national security to keep us from commmunicating?"
"remember that halliburton contract a yr ago to build new u.s. detention camps"
"he is probably preparing to take over the country after the next presidential elections. he will have one of his goons call in an attack on us and then say 'look we just got attacked and i think i am the best person to take over, new president elect and the constitution be damned.'"
"george has nothing to look forward too once he leaves office, he's served his purpose and will be of no concern. but, if he can make sure that the us military is effectively stuck in iraq, and not able to offer any resistance, his private army made up of mercs from blackwater and dyncorp to name just two can establish martial law and he can keep remain the president for as long as he pleases."
hmmm ... now let's all take a deep breath.
look people, a lot of you guys — too many — sound like the same chicken littles who were endlessly predicting false flag attacks and martial law all of last year in the run-up to the midterms, and all of 2004 in the run-up to the presidential elections ...
while it makes exciting and breathless blog chatter, i still don't see it, folks. it's not like bushco™ hasn't already had ample opportunities to set these paranoid fantasies into motion.
because i don't recall congress being abolished nor any martial law decrees being issued nor any halliburton death camps being filled after 9-11.
nor any after katrina.
nor before the 2002 midterms. nor the 2004 elections. nor the 2006 midterms.
so tell me, just what are our neocon overlords waiting for?