It’s something like 70% of us now, who want us out of Iraq. Congress talks and talks about getting us out, but does nothing.
Then, on July 17, the President issues an Executive Order (which has the full force of law) saying that anyone the Executive Branch determines is “undermining efforts to promote economic reconstruction and political reform in Iraq” will have all their assets seized without notice to them. The Order is written very broadly, and is open-ended, with no rules for determining anything, and no time frames. It reminds me of those environmental protesters in Oregon being tried as terrorists. Maybe I’m just freaky.
Actually, in name, it’s the Secretary of the Treasury, Henry Paulson, who makes the determination whether someone’s assets should be seized. Although he was the Chairman and CEO of the International Monetary Fund (and a few other things, like CEO of Goldman Sachs Investment Bankers and the Nixon Administration), he seems like an ok guy.
The Deputy Secretary of the Treasury, who takes over if Henry dies or becomes ill, is Robert M. Kimmitt, a West Point Military Academy graduate who has worked deep in the National Security Council and CIA, and as an arbitrator for the World Bank. He also handled global public policy for Time Warner, Inc. Recently, in addressing The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Robert began describing this new Treasury Department, noting it’s relevance in power while we are under emergency conditions, as we have been for many years now, according to Presidential decree. In the Soref Symposium (here are the proceedings), in which Robert spoke, he describes these Executive Branch powers as being “more offensive in nature” than the ones given in the Patriot Act. And with the new Executive Order given by the President, these offensive powers can be turned upon US Citizens.
So, yeah – those guys can now seize anyone’s assets just on a whim, and maybe have to prove something later. Fortunately, though, the new Executive Order requires that the Treasury work “in consultation with” the Secretary of State, our lovely and talented and oh, so trustable Condoleezza Rice (won’t even go into writing anything about her), and the Secretary of Defense, who, under George Bush’s father was, was Dick Cheney, and now is Robert Gates.
Robert Gates, who, of course, finally got pushed into place to lead the CIA by George Bush’s dad when he was President. It was hard to get him in place as the CIA director, though, because people didn’t like his involvement in the secret Iran arms sales scandal that happened with George’s daddy was running the CIA. But sense prevailed, and he became the CIA director, anyway.
OK, so those are the people who decide if your assets get seized or not. For “undermining” policy. Does that mean protests, or writing? Well, you can’t say for sure. It doesn’t not mean that. If Congresspeople start talking about forcing a pullout, are they undermining the policy? Strange how it works. If you get your assets seized, you have no money to take it to court. And if people help you, they can be hit with it too. It reminds me of the Patriot Act, where you commit a crime even if you mention to anyone, that someone you know got arrested by the government.
And crazy how George’s grandfather supported Hitler. Just read through even the Wikipedia entry on Prescott Bush for that. You’ll find some things in there too, which surprise me are there, linking him to the depression era “Business Plot“, where group of very rich people and organizations were actually plotting coup against Roosevelt to instill a fascist government. The reasoned that it would take a strong leader, which fascism could deliver, to save America from the threat of the Depression. It was stopped because a US Marine soldier, a war hero, was recruited by them and played along, until he finally turned on them. Most, but not all, Congressional records of this have vanished.
But it seems that Prescott Bush’s interests did benefit from Hitler’s prison camps, and the free labor they provided. And just to help send you all the way over into this whole Ruler, Aristocracy, pre-Democracy, people-oppression paranoia thang, I ran across recently a couple interesting videos detailing the suspected construction of prison camps within the US, overseen by FEMA. The conversion of closed military bases and government property (like Amtrak repair stations) into fenced and barbed-wired compounds (barbed wire aligned to contain people, not to keep them out). Also, Bush’s daddy’s Iran arms selling scandal’s fall guy, Ollie North, testifying before Congress, but suddenly can’t talk about some secret FEMA thing going on.
Just so we can say, we shoulda seen it coming. Or, more hopefully (and ironically), how whackily the mind can wander when secrecy is the norm.
Then again, there actually is a US Army Civilian Inmate Labor Program which establishes prison camps for US Citizens to perform labor for the Military, at no cost to the military. If I’m remembering right, Alberto Gonzales, as Attorney General, decides the “who, what and why” that gets channeled into them. Here’s a copy of US Army Regulations pertaining to the program.
Cheney’s Halliburton gets lots of money for building the prison camps / detention centers around here. And just one more — the FEMA bit, that Ollie couldn’t talk about, were the readiness exercises that the US Federal Government has, periodically, practicing what they will do in the event of civil unrest — practicing how they will identify US citizens, round them up, and lock them away. In this case, strangely yet again on Wikipedia, Rex 84, as an example.
Which brings us back to the Intelligence community again, and the monitoring of people and organizations, for our own safety. And how Bush just kept Congress in session to pass legislation that further expanded his ability to implement covert action, and removed a large chunk of court oversight — which Congress just today, agreed to.
Did I mention that over 60% of US intelligence work is outsourced to corporations, and is not handled by our government any more? I’m pretty sure I mentioned the private corporate armies for hire, in a previous post. And I’m sure I mentioned that there are really no mass media sources left that perform actual investigative journalism.
Oh well. Time for dinner. I’m thinking either tofu with peanut sauce, or maybe some chili.
PS. I just learned that the “Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act” just passed unanimously out of the Homeland Security committee in the House. This act establishes the identification and study of radical ideologies in people in the United States. Congressman Reichert says: “The better we understand radicalization, the better we can prevent radical ideologies from spreading”.
I’m all for protecting people from harm, but I’m not quite ready yet for the thought police.