And To The Republic For Which It Stands

June 15, 2013

317349_2266268410306_1056416301_32118783_1225029268_n[1]Well, we just had one of those whiz-bang Ozark thunderstorms, with a lightning strike that shut down power (and therefore, my computer) just long enough to erase everything I’d written for the blog post at the time.
So, let me begin again. What I had written about was an article in the Guardian, yesterday, http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/earth-insight/2013/jun/14/climate-change-energy-shocks-nsa-prism and its link to this article: http://www.longislandpress.com/2013/05/14/u-s-military-power-grab-goes-into-effect/ .
Both articles quote the following unilateral change to US military laws which “formally grants the Pentagon extraordinary powers to intervene in a domestic “emergency” or “civil disturbance””:
“Federal military commanders have the authority, in extraordinary emergency circumstances where prior authorization by the President is impossible and duly constituted local authorities are unable to control the situation, to engage temporarily in activities that are necessary to quell large-scale, unexpected civil disturbances.”
The Long Island Press article discusses the legal implications of this change, while the Guardian article discusses possible reasons the military would make such a change. Both are worth your scrutiny.
As the LIP articles states, “The U.S. military is prohibited from intervening in domestic affairs except where provided under Article IV of the Constitution in cases of domestic violence that threaten the government of a state or the application of federal law. This provision was further clarified both by the Insurrection Act of 1807 and a post-Reconstruction law known as the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878 (PCA). The Insurrection Act specifies the circumstances under which the president may convene the armed forces to suppress an insurrection against any state or the federal government. Furthermore, where an individual state is concerned, consent of the governor must be obtained prior to the deployment of troops. The PCA—passed in response to federal troops that enforced local laws and oversaw elections during Reconstruction—made unauthorized employment of federal troops a punishable offense, thereby giving teeth to the Insurrection Act.”
I’m not well versed in the law, but even George Bush’s “infamous” NSPD-51, (continued unchanged by President Obama,) which gave the President what some considered to be dictatorial powers in a “catastrophic emergency”, at least gave a nod to the Constitution’s Presidential succession or the exercise of its powers: http://www.fas.org/irp/offdocs/nspd/nspd-51.htm
General Provisions
(20) This directive shall be implemented 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 U.S.C. 19), with consultation of the Vice President and, as appropriate, others involved. Heads of executive departments and agencies shall ensure that appropriate support is available to the Vice President and others involved as necessary to be prepared at all times to implement those provisions.
So, it’s hard for me to see how, in light of those Constitutional provisions, the military would need the power it just granted itself in extraordinary emergency circumstances, even if prior authorization of the President is unavailable.
The Republic, to which flag we all pledged alligience as children, is now, of course, an Empire and, as I noted last week, a declining one beset by many problems – financial, climate change related and – despite our new sources of unconventional oil and gas – geologically related.
The Guardian article documents many of these concerns as they relate to the increasing powers of both the military and intelligence communities of the Empire. Both are well aware that we live in perilous times. Both are also aware that, as these problems crowd in on the declining empire, there will be a corresponding rise in civil discontent, eventually spilling over into violence.
It would not be unusual, in the histories of declining empires, for there to be a power struggle for control of this Empire between elements of the military,the intelligence communities and the corporations who enjoy a symbiotic relationship with both. Perhaps we’ve caught glimpses of this in the news items of the last couple of weeks; indeed, the last few years. (Among others, the Petraeus scandal comes to mind.)
Perhaps we are getting a break here. Since both seem to have evaded Congressional scrutiny (or enjoyed Congressional collusion) previously, we may be lucky these glimpses have come at a time when that Congress still has some power to reign them in. Though it will certainly take more than a fleeting ruckus by a few frightened citizens.
The Republic is long gone; the Empire continues its decline; the nation that spanned the two is in extreme peril, much of it of our own doing. Do we, the people, have the wit to recognize this or the will to do more than frightened grumbling? The door is fast closing on what will come after. If we do nothing to demand better, we deserve nothing better. A young man none of us had ever heard of until last week risked everything to put his foot in that closing door. What will we do, now?

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12 Responses to And To The Republic For Which It Stands

  1. I don’t think we can do anything substantive about the power differential, i.e. military control – the logistics are simply overwhelming (they have drones and nukes). But, if history is an indication, the empire will exhaust itself on trivial projects, stretch itself too thin, and evaporate from within. As this happens slowly, as long as nuclear winter isn’t created, space will open up for alternatives – including hunting and gathering. So right now the important work is cadre building and teaching/learning/practicing skills. $.02

    • theozarker says:

      Hey Herc. Seems like the only Congresscritters who’ve been trying to speak out are Wyden, Udall and Paul. Some others were surprised by the extent of it, but from those who made the news rounds today, most think it’s fine and, of course, well regulated.

      The Empire is already in overreach. The question is how damaged the country (and the world) will be as it continues to try to protect itself at any cost..

  2. ChetM says:

    What is amazing is that they know everything about us, but it is not possible for us to know much about them. In fact we don’t know who ‘them’ are. The security state is beyond our reach and it has no head and no body, so it cannot be dismantled or defeated. It is everywhere and nowhere and it is global. It is integral to our civilization. Welcome to our dystopian world.

    • theozarker says:

      Hey Chet, welcome to the blog. My guess is, like the empire it professes to protect, it will eventually come down of its own weight. Must take an awful lot of energy to run all that. How much damage it will do on the way down is the question, I suppose.

      Thanks for chiming in.

      • ChetM says:

        Thanks. I have actually followed your blog for a number of years, but rarely comment.

        I agree that it will eventually fail likely do to resource limitations, but in the meantime I expect the security state to continue growing. Note that I do not distinguish between official state actors and commercial actors. In fact that is what makes it so frighting. Commercial actors generally know more about you than you do and have part of your life in searchable databases.

        As an example, on one of my visits to Costco, I was approached by a company employee carrying a portable computer. She told me based on what I had spent that I should upgrade my membership and receive a discount on future purchases based on the list of purchases she showed me on the portable computer.

        I also worked in high tech and know that companies record a tremendous amount of data. This includes crowd sourcing data. Crowd sourcing allows Apple, Microsoft, Google and others to develop massive databases that include everything from a list of all working WiFi routers and their lat long locations, bus routes and schedules, road construction, traffic flows, …. Everything they think that they might be able to monetize.

        Amazon knows what you read. Netflix knows what you watch. Yahoo, Microsoft, and Google have copies of the email you have sent and received. Microsoft, Google, and Yahoo know what web sites you visit and how often. Microsoft, Google, and Yahoo know what you search the internet for. Mobile phone operators know where you are and where you have been, who you have called and who calls you. Microsoft and Google knows what applications you use and how often you use them, as does Adobe and other software companies. Universities have transcripts of your studies. Target, Walmart, Costco, Sears, and other retailers know what you buy. Grocery stores know what you buy when you use loyalty cards or credit/debit cards. USPO knows what mail you have sent and received. FedEx and USPS know what packages you have sent and received. Banks, credit unions, and stock brokerages know your financial resources and where you spend and get your money.

        The fact that commercial actors collect all this means that state actors can have access if they demand it. And IMO it is only a matter of time until they demand it or it is offered up in the interest of defending the security state.

        When you combine all the commercial databases plus official state records (income tax returns, driver licenses, professional licenses, security clearances with a complete list of your addresses going back to when you were 18) you get a very complete database of your life. Note that while much of this data seems innocence, when it is massaged and correlated with other data it can be quite revealing. For example, a location with a time stamp can be matched with someone else’s location and time stamp thereby establishing a potential relationship.

        Some questions that can be answered by querying an integrated database include: Are you a member of any social groups? Do you activity participate? Who are your friends, relatives, and acquaintances? What arms have you purchased? What skills do you possess? Are you an outspoken critic of the security state? Are you a likely local organizer? Can you make trouble for the security state? Are you smart? Are you a leader, doer, or follower? How many people are in your household? Will you likely follow orders issued by authorities? What assets do you own? What are you weaknesses?

  3. theozarker says:

    It really is heinous the amount of information collected, both in the name of the “free market” and of “security”. I still protest, I still sign petitions, but honestly I’m not sure it can be stopped anymore until the cost of maintaining it – both financially and energy wise – finally brings it to a halt. And I’m pretty certain it will bring ordinary Americans (and probably the rest of the world) down first. I guess that’s why we prep.

  4. ChetM says:

    And it is not just commercial.

    “Presidential Policy Directive 20, issued last October and released by Edward Snowden, outlines U.S. cyberwar policy.”

    “According to Defense News’ C4ISR Journal and Bloomberg Businessweek, Endgame also offers its intelligence clients — agencies like Cyber Command, the NSA, the CIA, and British intelligence — a unique map showing them exactly where their targets are located. Dubbed Bonesaw, the map displays the geolocation and digital address of basically every device connected to the Internet around the world, providing what’s called network situational awareness.”

    The report then goes on to say

    “The map will then display what software is running on the computers inside the facility, what types of malware some may contain, and a menu of custom-designed exploits that can be used to secretly gain entry.”

    What this means is that they can likely take control of any computers and networks in the world on demand. Then they can shut them down, cause them to crash, wipe out data, collect intelligence, and if the computers are being used to control equipment cause physical real world damage such as shutting down power grids.

    This is the world of cyberwarfare and it looks like NSA and friends are its masters. We are indeed living in a dystopian world.

    Read the full report at http://www.cnn.com/2013/06/18/opinion/schneier-cyberwar-policy/index.html?hpt=hp_t4.

    • theozarker says:

      Good article. Thanks. I read Bamford’s article on Alexander the other day. Scared the crap out of me. The thing is, people living in this country have no idea of the expanse of the Empire. And the people that make up the Empire have no real concept of (and not much concern for) the ordinary people that make up the country. And neither the people of the country nor the people who run the Empire will understand what the hell happened when the whole thing finally collapses. Sometimes the thought of all that suffering when it finally goes down just makes me physically ill. One can only hope that the gameplayers go down with the game – though that’s rarely true. Sigh.

      • ChetM says:

        I had not seen Bamford’s article on Alexander. It contains even more detail on these programs.

        I have been aware of Stuxnet and rumors of other programs such a Total Information Awareness for years. So the expansion of these programs does not surprise me very much – since if it is there it will be used. Although getting ‘some’ confirmation of what is going on is disturbing to say the least. I emphasis the word ‘some’ because that is all we will ever get and as I said in my first post we do not even know who they are.

        Note that is a global issue. There is little that we the people can do about this except around the edges and then it still will continue to grow in hidden from view. One consolidation is that unless you standout and have the capability to threaten the security state is that they will likely just ignore you. Ugo Bardi makes this same point in his current post on Cassandra Legacy. In other words we should just hide in plain sight.

        I do not know what to think about the ‘gameplayers’. I do know that they like us are embedded in this high tech world and like us will suffer a great loss without it. So it would not surprise me if they too have plans to survive with their high tech. The difference for us is that we are planning to survive with old/low tech. I wonder where that leads.

        BTW: Your smart phone is an internet device that is likely included in the map. And that means that your location is known in real time. Ever wonder why GPS is freely available world wide?

      • theozarker says:

        I don’t know, Chet. Piecing together odds and ends that I’ve read over the last few years, I think the gameplayers know the jig’s up and are taking all these massive steps to protect themselves on the way down. My guess is, (without sounding like too much of a conspiracy nut) they are doing one of two things – maybe both – (1)hoping the high tech and energy required to use it will last until they can escape a dying earth – screw the rest of us – or (2) if that fails, buying up enough land, food, gold, supplies that they’ll survive the crash and its fallout hidden away somewhere, then come out and start the whole shebang over again. Neither sounds like a good option to me, but hey, what do I know? I’m just a nutty old lady. 😀

  5. graveday says:

    Make that nifty old lady. Course it’s coming from a shifty old guy, heh.

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