Saturday, October 20, 2007

When You're Paranoid, But Right

Back a few months ago, Serious People ridiculed the netroots for calling attention to NSPD-51, a presidential executive order that seemed to give the president authority to declare a national emergency on the thinnest of pretexts, institute the equivalent of martial law, including suspending elections, and proceed to rule as effective dictator for as long as he chose.

No, no, Serious People chided us, that's not what it says. It's just the same kind of contingency planning for the continuation of government that every president has issued for decades. Calm down, get back on your medication.

Now Serious Journalist Ron Rosenbaum takes a second look at NSPD-51 and realizes we may be paranoid, but we're also right. After a detailed analysis, Rosenbaum concludes:

If you ask me, setting aside any paranoid fantasies, it is clear on the most basic level—read it yourself—that NSPD-51 is the creation of irresponsible incompetents, bulls in the china shop of our constitutional framework.

 It is a recipe for disaster. For a catastrophe of governance that would match whatever physical catastrophe it followed and threaten the re-establishment of constitutional democracy. It would make the partisan warfare over the 2000 election in Florida seem like child's play.

We might recover from a disaster but we might never recover from the "continuity coordination" that followed, "coordination" that could forever undermine any faith in the actual continuity of constitutional liberty in America since it would put it at the mercy of any president who wants to "coordinate continuity" rather than govern legally.

 I think it's urgent that we bring these questions out of the shadows of phony comity. I'd urge readers to call or e-mail their members of Congress and senators now. Call for an emergency joint congressional hearing to end this farce, give us some transparency about what our government will do if we suffer another 9/11.

 Let all branches of government participate in the attempt to reach some consensus on rational and effective continuity planning. Something more specific and sophisticated than the clumsy but dangerously Orwellian "Continuity Coordination Committee."

Read the whole thing.

Cross-posted at BlueGrassRoots.