A Sinister Inheritance

So far, excessive powers exercised by Trump have been powers he inherited from Bush and Obama. Since 9/11 the powers of the Executive Branch have grown alarmingly. No president...

So far, excessive powers exercised by Trump have been powers he inherited from Bush and Obama.

Since 9/11 the powers of the Executive Branch have grown alarmingly. No president has moved to retract these powers and none will.  Presidents pledge to defend the Constitution of the United States. Since 9/11, they’ve stated that their job is to protect the American people and American interests instead.   Congressional timidity has allowed presidents free reign in a global war without end, with no clear targets and no exit strategy. Anti-torture laws either don’t apply or can be set aside.  Supporters of the militarized state claim that it’s dangerous to limit the powers of the President.  When White House aide Stephen Miller was asked about Trump’s proposed extrajudicial actions on Face the Nation, he said “The end result of this is that our opponents, the media and the whole world will soon see as we begin to take further actions, that the power of the presidency to protect our country are very substantial and will not be questioned.”

Trump has suggested using rendition and reopening black sites for torture and interrogation. He has proposed killing innocent families of suspected terrorist, dipping bullets in pig’s blood when fighting Muslims and torturing “a hell of a lot worse than water boarding.” Water boarding was ruled torture at the Tokyo War Crimes Trials and the perpetrators were executed.

The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of 2007, specifically section 1076, allows the President to declare martial law, commandeer National Guard units and unilaterally authorize military operations against Americans in the event of public emergency.  Section 333 says “the president may employ the armed forces including the National Guard, to restore public order and enforce the laws of the U.S.”  “…the President determines that domestic violence has occurred to such an extent that the constitutional authorities of the state or possessions are incapable of (or “refuse” or “fail” in) maintaining public order – in order to suppress, in any State, any insurrection, domestic violence, unlawful combination, or conspiracy.” This looks like it’d apply to sanctuary states.

Obama’s additions to the NDAA from 2011 allows for the arrest and detentions of any person who supports terrorists or “associated forces” against the U.S. You may be detained based on unproven allegations. Foreign suspects may be sent overseas for further interrogations. Section 1021 states that the military may detain “without trial until the end of hostilities” or send one to an alternative court. How do we determine an end to hostilities in a war without end and what‘s an alternative court?

The Department of Homeland Security claims authority to stop, search and detain any person for any reason if they’re within 100 miles of the border, including coasts. These Constitutional-Free Zones effect 99.73% of Californians.

Trump wants to increase the availability of military weapons to the police and increase the use of private prisons. To fill these prisons, children without lawyers stand before judges who babble at them in a language they don’t understand. Trump has called the police the “most mistreated people in America.”

His war against free media was enhanced when Obama signed the Countering Foreign Propaganda and Disinformation Act in 2016.

Our recourse lies in the Constitution and in forcing the courts to act because we are in the streets, shutting down the war machine day after day and forcing democracy onto this Corporatocracy.

Sources: Censored 2008 & 2011.

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Op-Ed

Rebel Fagin is a writer who has been politically active in Sonoma County since the 1970’s. He writes regularly for the Sonoma County Peace Press and the Global Critical Media Literacy Project (gcml.org). He has a book documenting nearly forty years of street activism in Sonoma County called Tales from the Perpetual Oppositional Culture – a Journey into Resistance. He lives in Santa Rosa, California and is active with many activists’ organizations.
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