Bush Gives Himself Totalitarian Authority

“National Emergency”  | Print |   E-mail 
By Kenneth J. Theisen, 5/29/07

On May 9, 2007 President Bush issued two new presidential directives, National Security Presidential Directive/NSPD 51 and Homeland Security Presidential Directive/HSPD -20. According to the White House press release, “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. This policy establishes ‘National Essential Functions,’ prescribes continuity requirements for all executive departments and agencies, and provides guidance for State, local, territorial, and tribal governments, and private sector organizations in order to ensure a comprehensive and integrated national continuity program that will enhance the credibility of our national security posture and enable a more rapid and effective response to and recovery from a national emergency.”

In case you do not understand governmental gobbly-gook, it says that in the case of a “catastrophic emergency” [The president gets to decide when a national eergency should be declared. He also gets to decide when the emergency is finished.] Bush has granted himself the power to run the entire federal government without any checks and balances, in other words dictatorial powers. The document states that, “The President shall lead the activities of the Federal Government for ensuring constitutional government.”

What a relief?  For a moment there I was afraid constitutional government was in danger, but with Bush protecting us, I feel safe. The Bush regime has never abused the Constitution right? And these presidential directives will only be implemented in the event of a catastrophic emergency.  So what if such an emergency is 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 function.” According to the directives, the emergency could include, “localized acts of nature, accidents, and technological or attack-related emergencies.” In effect, anything from a hacker attack, an earthquake, hurricane, or another 9/11 type attack could trigger the declaration of a national emergency.

But do not worry!  The president will not be alone in this emergency.  According to the directives, he would be assisted by the Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism who will create a National Continuity Implementation Plan.  This person will become the National Continuity Coordinator. The implementation plan will guide not only the federal government, but also “state, local, territorial, and tribal governments, and private sector owners and operators of critical infrastructure.”  The plan will impact all government functions at any level and many private sector functions as well, including communications. The directives also give a prominent role to the Vice-President.  With Dick Cheney assisting the president, what do we have to worry about?  “This directive shall be implanted in a manner that is consistent with, and facilitates effective implementation of, provisions of the Constitution concerning succession to the Presidency or the exercise of its powers, and the Presidential Succession Act of 1947 (3 USC 19), with the consultation of the Vice President and, as appropriate, others involved.”

Even though the new position of National Continuity Coordinator carries tremendous powers, it appears that the job can be filled by the president without the consent of Congress, without hearings, or any interference by the legislative branch.  Even the declaration of the national emergency does not appear to require any Congressional action or oversight.  The implementation plan to be developed is to be submitted to the President for his approval within 90 days of the directive and does not require any approval from Congress. In fact the new presidential directives make no reference whatsoever to Congress and any effective role of the legislature. But why would a dictator want to be bothered by a pesky legislature?

Now some of the readers of this article may be alarmed that these new presidential directives may have gone too far. But I am sure that President Bush has run them by Attorney General Gonzales to make sure that they are legal and consistent with the Constitution and other laws.  As the chief law enforcement officer for the federal government, the Attorney General is charged with making sure that federal law is fair and not abused.  Just because he called the Geneva Conventions “quaint,” approved a few “torture memos,” fired a few disloyal U.S. prosecuting attorneys, tried to get a doped up John Ashcroft to approve the illegal NSA spying operation and generally has provided the legal justification for the Bush regime program, does not mean that he will not do the right thing here, does it?

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