Bush: dictator with a stroke of a pen
The fact that Dear Leader is a megalomaniac has been apparent for quite some time now, but on May 9, when he placed his John Hancock on the “National Security and Homeland Security Presidential Directive,” his fulfillment of the fantasy of becoming King George has alarmed even the true believers.
President Bush has signed a directive granting extraordinary powers to the office of the president in the event of a declared national emergency, apparently without congressional approval or oversight.
…The directive establishes under the office of the president a new national continuity coordinator whose job 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.
“Catastrophic emergency” 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.”
The directive revokes the 1998 Presidential Decision Directive 67 that was signed by Bill Clinton. The summary of PDD 67 is that it required federal agencies to develop continuity plans in the case of an emergency or national disaster (the full text of the document hasn’t been released to the public). That 1998 directive obviously didn’t satisfy Bush’s requirements for executive branch power.
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.
Of course, when would an emergency officially be “over?” I guess the President should make the call on that one, right?
Where is Congress on this? What about presidential accountability? MIA. Why aren’t there calls from all along the spectrum to examine this action by Bush? His Global War On Terror is not grounds to anoint himself dictator.
The Base is not happy (after all, this applies to any president, not just their demi-god), but way too many have a screw loose over this and don’t see a problem.