“..the Roman people were not too concerned with abstract political gains ….(Caligula) understood the appeal of a more concrete demonstration of his favour, and carried out another congiarium, showering gold and silver on them from the roof of the palace for several days in succession. Many people in the crowd were injured in the crush… Dio adds…that they were killed by the pieces of iron that the emperor tossed down with the coins… 32 men, 247 women and one eunuch died.”
— Anthony A. Barrett, Caligula: The Corruption of Power
Our President, to revivify our tanking economy, will distribute up to $600 in tax rebates per person…and this when America is still reeling from the generosity of the largesse at the beginning of this Presidency, when everyone got $300 because we had a surplus, and the President couldn’t figure out how to spend all that money except to give it back to us so we could buy i-Pods.
The anvils being thrown down from the palace roof with this golden shower essentially consist of the fact that the $600/per is essentially a high-interest shark-loan coming from the global economic equivalent of
E-ZPaycheckAdvance.com, borrowed against future income from a job we just lost: i.e. being a reliable nation. The RePo men are coming for America. We may have to sell Louisiana back to the French. Nanny states like Puerto Rico may have to be put in foster countries.
But there’s more to be frightened about than just Depression II.
As Dreg Fiends may be aware, Bush ushered in an historic amount of National Security Presidential Directives and Homeland Security Presidential Directives -Presidential tidbits which are “extra legal” but still have the full “force and effect” of law…a couple in particular being Executive Orders that our Executive ordered so he could Order to entrust himself with absolute power in case of a “catastrophic emergency” (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”) — thus overriding and jettisoning the entire federal branch of government, which might force him to exercise undue restraint, caution or jurisprudence.
Begging the questions:
1. Since 2/3 of these HSPD’s and NSPD’s are going to be classified for the next 12 years (and there are dozens of them), what can the next president do to un-do them?
2. Since they are classified, are we, as citizens, subject to prosecution under law-esque things we’re not allowed to read?
An expert on national security law (who preferred to remain anonymous) finally provided the following answers (which Harvard, Yale, and the Venable law firm all refused to do.)
“The bad news is…these memoranda, directives, orders, etc….may be classified for much longer than 12 years … Many Cold War documents remain classified today. The whole declassification process has become a very problematic thing in and of itself.
The good news… is that what the President giveth, the next President may taketh away. It really is that simple. So long as these executive orders, directives, memoranda, etc., were documents which originated in the Executive Branch (i.e. they were not passed as statute or handed down as a decision from a court), then President Obama/Clinton/McCain can simply order them out of existence with the stroke of a pen, should he/she choose to do so.”
The big point, here, being the “should he/she choose to do so” ….meaning, this is something members of the mainstream press should continually pummel and grill our next President about.
More from our national security law expert (italics mine):
“The basic answer is that executive orders stay in force until they are rescinded, overruled, superseded, etc… So yes… the next president would have to specifically write these out of existence. If I were going to badger… I might ask…’Sen. Obama, will you personally and unilaterally issue an executive order on Day 1 which overrules all of the Bush administration’s torture memoranda and restores the rule of law?’ Or something…”
“As a general rule, executive orders are not enforceable against citizens the way that civil or criminal laws are…. because they’re not actually “laws”….”
There is, however, an exception worth mentioning:
“…the Military Commissions order of Nov. 13, 2001, in which President Bush established military tribunals to try non-U.S. citizens who were suspected of ties to Al Qaeda. This system has matured and ripened into the Military Commissions system now underway at Guantanamo Bay… (it was) overturned by the Supreme Court….and reinstated by Congress through the Military Commissions Act. That last part may be most significant — the military commissions now have a basis in statute, not just executive order.”
So now, um, you can probably be prosecuted under it.
In other words, put that $600 toward your legal fund. Opa!