Constant's pations

If it's more than 30 minutes old, it's not news. It's a blog.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Which way is this slippery slope headed?

[Cross linked here]

Saw this on Kos: Able Danger disappeared and now we have Granite Shadow, "simulating" martial law in DC.

Also, I'm wondering about this article -- it's a problem when the citizenry cheers as the military enslaves them.

Seems a little too much interest in throwing away Posse Comitatus. Take II of how quickly the Patriot Act was passed. Is it too much to ask Congress not to rubber stamp a solution to FEMA-DHS? Indeed, the weather isn't cooperating somewhere on the planet, so no hope for Congressional interest.

* * *

Sure, with disasters . . . it's nice to have constructive results. My concern is that, as Mr Arkin, suggests: There's something wrong when DHS has to rely on DoD to do its basic mission -- that can be a slippery slope. As a solution or way forward:

  • Why not have civilian versions of these "military-like equipment" first responders?

  • Have we looked at the commercial costs associated with this?

  • How about having a floating armada chasing hurricanes to act as Federally-managed forces that are outside DoD, DoD-equivalent in organization/responsiveness, but under the DHS umbrella?

    Here a concept on how this could be implemented.

    * * *

    There's a slippery slope with relying too much on DoD:
    "Oh, DoD ... we've got a little problem over here with these 'suspicious' people [who are simply exercising their rights] . . . could you help us out, show some force, and remind them this is a free country?"
    The beatings continue until they lament, "Yes, we agree this is a free country."

    I like the barrier between JTTF and DoD; and I don't like the idea of officers stopping me on the street as they are supported by tanks, armored helicopters and bulletproof humvees. Oh, wait . . . that's already happening.

    Why isn't that barrier between police and the overwhelming military force vigorously preserved, not selectively ignored or explained away in the wake of another excuse?

    I find it most annoying when local and federal officials turn a blind eye to the abuse in these "special circumstances." If someone in a position of leadership and oversight promises to investigate, they should do so. It's annoying to find out that the investigation doesn't result in changes; or that subsequent law enforcement efforts simply continue with the misconduct.

    A population can only support government when that government responds. When that government gives only lip service to oversight, it deserves nothing less than lip service is demands for reform.

    America is a curious place. Problems are "too small to look at" when they're small; and too big when the problem balloons. That's a default way of saying, no matter how big or small the problem, "We aren't going to do anything to regulate this misconduct."

    If they like that approach, they're free to move to Iraq. Oh, wait . . . they're already there.

    * * *

    I thought this country's system of "checks and balances" was supposed to do just that: Balance each branch of government, not turn a blind eye to a concentration of power, or three branches of tyranny.

    Or is it too much to ask for a separation of power during "special circumstances" -- seems like every chance DC gets, the President wants to "extend the state of 9-11 emergency." Perma-war, perma-crisis, but what about perma-oversight to preserve the constitution?

    * * *

    Doesn't inspire much in the legal community. They've sworn an oath to the constitution, not to a client bent on destroying that document.

    Where are some noisy withdrawals from the White House counsel's office over these war crimes at home and abroad inter alia: Torture, intrusions, NSA monitoring domestic communications, fabricated information to justify invading a sovereign nation.

    The legal community has shown what foundation they're willing to preserve, protect, and defend: Their continued right to write rules to justify more access to power, regardless the legality of how that power is employed both at home and abroad.

    I'm all for self-regulation in the legal community. The problem we have is that state-regulated legal experts are at the Federal level and burning the constitution to please the most powerful master.

    I hear excuses, not reasons, why there should not be a more intrusive mechanisms to aggressively discipline lawyers who continue to stand by clients who are violating the laws of the land.

    Yes, if we are to have a truly federal constitutional system of government, then there needs to be some federal-level discipline of those court officers that fail to assert the rule of law over the lawless. Clients have the right to have their rights defended; but that defense should not come at the expense of the rights of a civilian population.

    * * *

    A federal government is not an individual. It cannot compel the civilian population to recognize the government's "right to be left alone," or "have it's private papers above inspection" when it denies that right to those it supposedly is serving.

    * * *

    It doesn't do much to inspire domestic or world confidence in the "rule of law" or the "shining American model of constitutional democracy" when every chance we have, we have but another exception to justify ignoring the very principles we are supposedly taking these actions to preserve.

    Last time I checked, when a country respects the rule of law, it is respected; when the rule of law is ignored, others feel emboldened to use "other means" to preserve their way of life. We've seen that endless wars can be supported by endless budget deficits, but there is a limit.

    * * *

    DC is using the "crisis of the day" as an excuse to avoid oversight, accountability. "We don't have time to plan, just sign off on these contracts; if you don't, we'll smear you and your career in the Senior Executive Service will be over."

    The law is good, so long as it is enforced; but "we can't have that" in these "special circumstances" that justify torture and endless detentions.

    * * *

    As far as Ms. Frances Townsend leading the investigation into Katrina: I've read the statutes, and see a problem with OMB/EOP looking into the Federal Government: more.

    Sure, EOP can look into local matters for oversight through FEMA; there's a problem when we have EOP essentially investigating itself, and this current "Federal review of Federal-FEMA actions" appears to be outside the statute.

    * * *

    I look at the current approaches to problems as disorganized chaos: Government arrives with the "big solution," only to let more chaos reign.

    What happened to solving problems within the confines of the law: Accountability, contract oversight, and lawfully awarding contracts to those who are most capable, not most capable of raising money for lobbying?

    * * *

    Other than the fact that they have a "force of the gun to compel taxes," I don't specifically see anything in the constitution that tells the people they must put up with this non-sense.

    Rather, in the spirit of 1776, sovereignty is supposed to lie with the people, not with the liars.