I didn't want to deny people my awesome wisdom on this subject any longer, even though it is "old news" by now. So, here ya go.
The Following Rant is based on this news story:
Bush makes power grab
May 23, 2007
1:00 a.m. Eastern
President Bush, without so much as issuing a press statement, on May 9 signed a directive that granted near dictatorial powers to the office of the president in the event of a national emergency declared by the president.
The "National Security and Homeland Security Presidential Directive," with the dual designation of NSPD-51, as a National Security Presidential Directive, and HSPD-20, as a Homeland Security Presidential Directive, establishes under the office of president a new National Continuity Coordinator.
That job, as the document describes, is to make plans for "National Essential Functions" of all federal, state, local, territorial, and tribal governments, as well as private sector organizations to continue functioning under the president's directives in the event of a national emergency.
The directive loosely defines "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 functions."
When the president determines a catastrophic emergency has occurred, the president can take over all government functions and direct all private sector activities to ensure we will emerge from the emergency with an "enduring constitutional government."
Translated into layman's terms, when the president determines a national emergency has occurred, the president can declare to the office of the presidency powers usually assumed by dictators to direct any and all government and business activities until the emergency is declared over.
Ironically, the directive sees no contradiction in the assumption of dictatorial powers by the president with the goal of maintaining constitutional continuity through an emergency.
The directive specifies that the assistant to the president for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism will be designated as the National Continuity Coordinator.
Further established is a Continuity Policy Coordination Committee, chaired by a senior director from the Homeland Security Council staff, designated by the National Continuity Coordinator, to be "the main day-to-day forum for such policy coordination."
Currently, the assistant to the president for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism is Frances Fragos Townsend.
Townsend spent 13 years at the Justice Department before moving to the U.S. Coast Guard where she served as assistant commandant for intelligence.
She is a White House staff member in the executive office of the president who also chairs the Homeland Security Council, which as a counterpart to the National Security Council reports directly to the president.
The directive issued May 9 makes no attempt to reconcile the powers created there for the National Continuity Coordinator with the National Emergency Act. As specified by U.S. Code Title 50, Chapter 34, Subchapter II, Section 1621, the National Emergency Act 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."
A Congressional Research Service study notes that 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."
The CRS study notes that 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.
NSPD-51/ HSPD-20 also makes no reference whatsoever to Congress. The language of the May 9 directive appears to negate any a 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.
Homeland Security spokesperson Russ Knocke affirmed that the Homeland Security Department will be implementing the requirements of NSPD-51/ HSPD-20 under Townsend's direction.
The White House had no comment.
Kindly note the subtitle. Seriously, who didn't see this one coming? Despite the few supporters he has left, it is already well established that George W. Bush is going down in history as our nation's single worst President ever. He beat out Nixon, Carter, and plenty of other shitty Presidents for that honor. He's lied to the American public, royally fucked over the American public, blown a fucking hole in the economy, and you can barely scratch the surface of what he's done to Constitutional and civil rights in this country. Hell, for the last several years the ACLU's monthly newsletter has consisted of almost nothing *but* word of various court challenges, lawsuits, etc. to defend our rights against everything Bush has been doing!
But even all that isn't enough for him. He keeps right on going, seemingly oblivious to the fact that he is a servant of the American Public and the vast majority of the American Public is against him. By the way, America, thanks for realizing this shit now instead of 3 fucking years ago during the election when it would've fucking mattered!
As if all of this isn't enough, just read the article above. Bush has signed into law an act that does the following:
1) Bush can now declare a "national emergency" based on pretty much anything.
2) Bush does not need Congressional approval to declare a national emergency.
3) Once Bush has declared a national emergency, he controls everything. The military, the government, private businesses, private citizens, travel; everything.
4) There is no Congressional oversight to this control. The fundamental principle of "checks and balances" is null and void if Bush declares a state of national emergency.
You think I'm exaggerating? Maybe I'm embellishing a little; engaging in some of that good 'ol Lord Galen style hyperbole? I wish I could say that. I wish I *was* just blowing this out of proportion to have myself some good old fashioned Bush-hatin' fun. This goes past that. WAY past that.
This isn't about hating Bush. The fact that I fucking hate that stupid cocksucker is a given. This is about me feeling the way one feels when they have a gun to their head for a long time. Eventually you get past the initial shock, fear, and anger. Imagine hour after hour ticks by while a total stranger has a gun to your head. The cops know about it, but they don't care, won't help you, and won't do anything to him regardless of what he does. You don't know what he's gonna do. Will he kill you? Will he leave eventually without firing a shot? You can't be sure. All you know is that you start to feel cold and numb inside....
At this very moment, George W. Bush has a gun to this nation's head. Is he gonna pull the trigger? Does he really plan to use that gun to protect us, like he says? Maybe his finger isn't even on the trigger? All those are things I sure wish I knew the answers to, but here's the most important question: Why the fuck has he been ALLOWED to have that gun in the first place?! At this point, I'm not even talking about his intentions; I'm wondering why he has the capability!
Listen, I know there are still a few Bush supporters running around out there. I even know one (yes, one). Right now, I don't care if you support Bush or not. For the sake of argument, let's just throw out everything I think and feel about the guy. Let's pretend that he's the best President we've ever had, and one heck of a guy to boot! Even if all that is assumed to be true, this move is still WRONG! Let me put it bluntly and succinctly:
No One Man Should EVER Have That Much Power!
If you love Bush, FINE! But fucking recognize that this is too much power for ANYONE to EVER be allowed to have under any circumstances whatsoever! I wouldn't trust my own father to have this power! I wouldn't trust my own wife to have this much fucking power! I wouldn't even trust myself to have this much power! There is not one single human being walking the face of this planet who should ever have this kind of broad sweeping power! If fucking Mother Theresa came back from the dead and wanted this power I'd say "FUCK NO!"
We now resume our regular Bush-hating and you Bush supporters can jump in a hole and fucking die together. Thanks.
And isn't it interesting that this move comes as we're just getting started on the campaign trail. I've wondered for more than 5 years now if Bush would try to pull something to stay in office past his term. What happens if he declares a "national emergency" around November 2008? I'll tell you what happens. He'll get on TV and say something like "Now is a time for our nation to stick together in this moment of crisis. It is not the time for change. We need strong and experienced leaders to steer America's course through the waters of this latest terrorist threat...." Blah blah blah blah. He'll get around to saying that the elections are "temporarily postponed" until the crisis is over.
Think I'm talking out of my ass? Well, let's hope so. Bush is either incredibly stupid or incredibly evil (or a little of both) and if he IS looking for a way to keep himself in office past his term, he found it. With the power he has during a "national emergency" he can suspend elections, put the Supreme Court in recess, and impose martial law complete with a curfew so that people can't come out and protest.
Sigh.... I suppose this was inevitable though. The United States has the single longest standing Constitution in the world at this time. It was fun while it lasted, I guess. Had to end sometime.
Ah, shit, but I'm over-reacting, right? Surely I am! Bush gaining the ability to become a dictator with but a single decree surely doesn't mean the end of the "American way!" So what if it doesn't? I mean, I totally admit that it's a possibility that I'm wrong. Bush, as we all know, is a fucking moron. I'd believe that he's so stupid that he actually believes this is a good thing and he's not even smart enough to think about staying in office longer. Oh yeah, I could see that happening too.
And then what....?
Bush leaves office, we get a new President and-- oh, oops, looks like the new guy (or gal?) now has the ability to become America's Dictator on a whim. I'm sure they'll thank Bush for leaving them that little present while they're marching [insert hated minority of the minute] into the gas chambers...
And if the next President doesn't do it, then what? What about the guy after that? Then what about the next guy? And the next, and the next, and the next...? Even if Bush proves me wrong in my expectations of him (and it would be the first time he's done so), do we REALLY want the threat of "SURPRIZE DICTATORSHIP!" looming over our heads with every new President that steps into office because Bush was fucking stupid enough to give them this power?
I'm not sure what to write now. What I thought about writing was that despite my grissly predictions, I have confidance that the U.S. Supreme Court will strike down Bush's new power play as unconstitutional. Well, that's what I thought about writing anyway, but I quickly changed my mind because, frankly, I don't have any such confidance. I haven't the slightest ounce of faith that either Congress or the Supreme Court will step up to protect us from Bush's fucking batshit insane lust for power. Where the hell would I get such faith from? They've never done a goddamn thing to reign in that fucking hillbilly before. Why would they start now?
Only fallback I can think of, if the worst happens, is for me to claim my South African citizenship, renounce my American citizenship, and get deported to South Africa. Or maybe run for Canada and request asylum (cuz I'm sure any Bush-run regime would be out to get loud-mouth assholes like me who enjoy the finer things in life, like FREEDOM).
What the fuck am I saying....? Run away to South Africa or Canada? Nah, I'm just not that kinda person. Nothing wrong with it, hell yeah, run for your lives if you can. I know what my fate is if 'ol Bush decides to go all Hitler on our asses. My fate is that I'll be shot dead by U.S. troops. I say that because I have no illusions about my chances of winning when I take up arms and join the small group of people crazy enough to try overthrowing the government. That won't work, and I know it won't work, but I can't just not do it. *sigh*
Let's just hope I get this one wrong, folks. Let's hope that the slow but steady erosion of our rights and freedoms over the past several years combined with Bush suddenly giving himself the fucking power to become an overnight dictator is all just one big coincidence and I'm just a paranoid nutjob and there's nothing at all to worry about. Surely, there's nothing to worry about.... right?
Update - August 2, 2009: It's been nearly a year since this rant was published and, amazingly, I appear to have been wrong about Bush. I wish I could breathe a sigh of relief about that, but my point still stands. Now Obama has the power to become an instant dictator and, even though I like Obama, that's still too much power for him. My original point is no less valid now than it was originally. NOBODY should have this much power! NOBODY! Now, Obama doesn't seem like that "lol im ur dictator" type, but we can't know that for sure. And even if he's as good a person as I believe him to be, what about the next president? What about the one after that? I may have been wrong about Bush (and quite happy to be wrong!) but the point STILL stands! This act needs to be repealed NOW!