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20 Things That You Must Believe In Order To Convince Yourself That Everything Is Going To Turn Out Okay Somehow

This article was originally published by Michael Snyder at The Economic Collapse Blog.

Despite everything that we have already been through in 2020, the dominant narrative in our society right now is that everything is going to be just fine once we get past our temporary problems.  So many people that I hear from can’t understand why I am so “negative” about the future because they are completely convinced that really great days are just around the corner.

As odd as this may sound, we are seeing this sort of wild optimism among both Democrats and Republicans, Christians and atheists, capitalists and communists.  Of course, about half the country will have their optimistic hopes for the future brutally crushed by the results of the upcoming election, but we aren’t there yet.  For now, both sides are absolutely convinced that they are going to win, and both sides are envisioning a wonderful new era for our nation in which their values reign triumphant.

If only things were that easy.

The truth is that many of our largest problems have been steadily growing for decades, and they aren’t going to magically disappear just because a particular candidate wins an election.  Our debt levels are absolutely exploding, our economy has plunged into a depression, there is widespread civil unrest in our streets, our nation is more divided than it has ever been in my entire lifetime, and our society is literally coming apart at the seams as just about every form of evil that you can possibly imagine is growing rapidly all around us.

But there are a whole lot of people out there that want to stick their heads in the sand and pretend that everything is going to be just fine.

If you would like to be just like them, the following are 20 things that you must believe in order to convince yourself that everything is going to turn out okay somehow…

#1 “Being 27 trillion dollars in debt is not a problem.  We can go into as much debt as we want, and future generations of Americans won’t mind at all that we are dumping all of our bills on them.”

#2 “The fact that the Federal Reserve creates trillions of dollars out of thin air whenever a major crisis erupts doesn’t really matter.  We can debase the reserve currency of the world as much as we want and the rest of the globe will continue to use it and the inflation rate in this country will never get out of control.”

#3 “Antifa is just an idea, and all of the rioting, looting, and violence will somehow magically come to an end after the upcoming election.”

#4 “When I see people smashing windows, setting buildings on fire and shooting at police officers, I just remember to remind myself that those are really just peaceful protesters.”

#5 “It is perfectly okay that a former intern for Joe Biden will moderate the next presidential debate.  He has promised that he will be perfectly neutral, and I believe him.”

#6 “Kamala Harris will never become president if Joe Biden wins the election because Joe Biden is so strong and vigorous that he could easily make it through two terms.”

#7 “The Democrats would never pack the Supreme Court because Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are way too decent to ever allow that to happen.”

#8 “Once the election is over, the big social media companies will give us our freedom of speech back because that is the right thing to do.”

#9 “It makes perfect sense that the stock market has soared to record highs while the real economy has plunged into a horrifying depression.  This isn’t a bubble, and stock prices will just keep going up indefinitely.”

#10 “It is perfectly okay that 40 percent of U.S. children are being born outside of marriage.  America can certainly prosper without strong marriages and strong families because so many other great civilizations have shown that it can be done.”

#11 “Even though study after study has shown that antibodies fade very rapidly and that any immunity is very short-lived, a vaccine will save us from this pandemic.”

#12 “Once this virus has been eradicated, they won’t make us wear masks anymore, and they certainly wouldn’t try to force people to take vaccines if they don’t want them.”

#13 “Now that everyone has seen how much chaos this pandemic has caused, evil people would never purposely release more deadly viruses because they wouldn’t want to kick us while we are down.”

#14 “There is no need to worry that our relationships with Russia and China have gone down the tubes because our military is so strong that nobody would ever dare getting into a military conflict with us.”

#15 “Even though the head of the UN World Food Program is warning that there will be famines of ‘biblical proportions’, I am sure that any food shortages are just temporary and everyone in the world will have plenty of food to eat in 2021 and beyond.”

#16 “More than 60 million Americans have filed new claims for unemployment benefits this year, but most of those jobs will quickly come back, and we are on the verge of the greatest era of economic prosperity in U.S. history.”

#17 “The rapid rise in crime rates in cities all over the nation is just temporary.  I am sure that things will go back to normal in 2021.”

#18 “We can ignore the hundreds of earthquakes that are shaking the west coast, because ‘the Big One’ probably won’t happen for thousands of years.”

#19 “The fact that tens of millions of Americans will be mailing in their ballots won’t cause any issues at all.  All of the ballots will be counted quickly, efficiently, and accurately, and the American people will remain perfectly calm while we wait for days or even weeks to find out the winner of the presidential election.”

#20 “Even though more than 60 million children have already been aborted, and even though every form of evil that you can possibly imagine is exploding all around us, there will never be any serious consequences for our actions and the greatest days for America are still ahead of us even though we completely refuse to change our ways.”

***Michael’s new book entitled “Lost Prophecies Of The Future Of America” is now available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon.***

About the Author: My name is Michael Snyder and my brand new book entitled “Lost Prophecies Of The Future Of America” is now available on Amazon.com.  In addition to my new book, I have written four others that are available on Amazon.com including The Beginning Of The EndGet Prepared Now, and Living A Life That Really Matters. (#CommissionsEarned)  By purchasing the books you help to support the work that my wife and I are doing, and by giving it to others you help to multiply the impact that we are having on people all over the globe.  I have published thousands of articles on The Economic Collapse BlogEnd Of The American Dream, and The Most Important News, and the articles that I publish on those sites are republished on dozens of other prominent websites all over the globe.  I always freely and happily allow others to republish my articles on their own websites, but I also ask that they include this “About the Author” section with each article.  The material contained in this article is for general information purposes only, and readers should consult licensed professionals before making any legal, business, financial, or health decisions.  I encourage you to follow me on social media on Facebook and Twitter, and anyway that you can share these articles with others is a great help.  During these very challenging times, people will need hope more than ever before, and it is our goal to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with as many people as we possibly can.

The post 20 Things That You Must Believe In Order To Convince Yourself That Everything Is Going To Turn Out Okay Somehow first appeared on SHTF Plan – When It Hits The Fan, Don't Say We Didn't Warn You.

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Trump’s Condition Improved Again Overnight, Chief Of Staff Meadows Says

This article was originally published by Tyler Durden at ZeroHedge. 

Update (0835ET): National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien said the president has always been in control despite his illness and hospitalization.

“Our adversaries knew it, our friends knew it,” O’Brien said on the Hugh Hewitt radio show. “China has a very serious health problem and they need to get it fixed immediately. They can’t keep unleashing these plagues on the wold.”

* * *

President Trump’s condition has improved again overnight, according to White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows.

In an interview with Fox News, Meadows said he expects Trump to depart the White House Monday afternoon, though the decision will be made later in the day.

“We’re still optimistic that, based on his unbelievable progress,” he will be released, Meadows said in an interview with Fox News, adding that “that decision won’t be made until later today.” Meadows said Trump’s condition continued to improve over the night and “the doctors will have an evaluation sometime late morning.” “Obviously this is an important day,” he said. “The president continues to improve and is ready to get back to a normal work schedule.”

As we noted earlier, in addition to optimism over a COVID vaccine, optimism about the economic recovery, and optimism about a fiscal stimulus, we can now add another category of “optimism” cited by traders to justify overnight futures ramps (at least for the next few days): optimism Trump will be discharged from Howard Reed hospital any day now, perhaps as soon as today, and then stage a full recovery.

Of course, fears that the White House isn’t giving the public ‘the whole story’ will create risks that an errant anonymously sourced report claiming Trump needed another round of supplemental oxygen could send stocks plunging.

Such a turnaround would be remarkably quick, especially for a patient with at least two comorbidities: Trump’s age, and the fact that he’s “slightly overweight”, as Dr. Sean Conley said.

But National Security Advisor Robert C. O’Brien said in an interview with one of the Sunday shows that Trump was “in great shape and firmly in command of the country” while he is being treated from coronavirus.

In other news: Despite spending quite a bit of time with the president recently, Rudy Giuliani has tested negative for COVID-19.

Meadows reportedly spoke with Trump Monday morning and said that Trump will meet with his medical team shortly.

The post Trump’s Condition Improved Again Overnight, Chief Of Staff Meadows Says first appeared on SHTF Plan – When It Hits The Fan, Don't Say We Didn't Warn You.

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Iranian President: The U.S. Will Suffer A Humiliating Defeat This Weekend

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Vahid Salemi

Speaking in a Wednesday cabinet session, President Hassan Rouhani said Washington failed in its attempts to reinstate a United Nations arms embargo as well as international sanctions on Iran, and these failures amount to major victories for Iran. Rouhani added that the U.S. would “suffer a humiliating defeat this weekend.”

“The US suffered ignominious defeats,” he said. “Our people should pay attention. This Saturday and Sunday will be days of the Iranian nation’s victory and days of humiliating defeats for the U.S,” he added according to Iran Front Page News.

 

“So, I urge anti-Iran news channels abroad not to fabricate stories that would indicate that the U.S. has made a claim and has waited for a month, so it can use this mechanism,” the president said. “After all, no mechanism ever started in the first place to be producing any results,” he added.

“I congratulate the Iranian nation, in advance, on the success that Iranians will secure on Saturday and Sunday, the same way that I congratulated Iranians on their resistance during the eight-year Iraqi imposed war on Iran [in the 1980s],” he added.

Elsewhere in his remarks, the president fulminated against the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain for normalizing their relations with Israel. “[Israeli authorities] are committing more and more crimes in occupied Palestine every day. How come [the UAE and Bahrain] are extending your hands to Israel? Then you want to give Israel bases in this region. You will be responsible for all grave consequences of this move. Your action is against regulations and regional security,” he said.

A month ago, mainstream media in the U.S. declared that Trump has suffered a “humiliating defeat” at the UN in his efforts to impose sanctions on Iran.

US efforts to indefinitely extend an arms embargo collapsed last week when it suffered a humiliating defeat at the UN Security Council. A resolution sponsored by Washington only secured one other vote from the 15-member UN Security Council.

The US continues to maintain that despite its unilateral withdrawal it nonetheless has “an explicit right” to initiate the snapback sanctions and that any argument to the contrary would “create a perilous precedent that could threaten the force of virtually any Security Council decision.”- Middle East Monitor, 8/20/2020

Hopefully, this doesn’t elude to a war. It’s important information, however. Stay alert and aware. If history has shown us anything, it’s that things will get crazy as the rhetoric ramps up.

The post Iranian President: The U.S. Will Suffer A Humiliating Defeat This Weekend first appeared on SHTF Plan – When It Hits The Fan, Don't Say We Didn't Warn You.

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The Great Election Fraud: Will Our Freedoms Survive Another Election?

“Never has our future been more unpredictable, never have we depended so much on political forces that cannot be trusted to follow the rules of common sense and self-interest—forces that look like sheer insanity, if judged by the standards of other centuries.” ? Hannah Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism

And so it begins again, the never-ending, semi-delusional, train-wreck of an election cycle in which the American people allow themselves to get worked up into a frenzy over the misguided belief that the future of this nation—nay, our very lives—depends on who we elect as president.

For the next three months, Americans will be dope-fed billions of dollars’ worth of political propaganda aimed at keeping them glued to their television sets and persuading them that 1) their votes count and 2) electing the right candidate will fix everything that is wrong with this country.

Incredible, isn’t it, that in a country of more than 330 million people, we are given only two choices for president? How is it that in a country teeming with creative, intelligent, productive, responsible, moral people, our vote too often comes down to pulling the lever for the lesser of two evils?

The system is rigged, of course.

It is a heavily scripted, tightly choreographed, star-studded, ratings-driven, mass-marketed, costly exercise in how to sell a product—in this case, a presidential candidate—to dazzled consumers who will choose image over substance almost every time.

As author Noam Chomsky rightly observed, “It is important to bear in mind that political campaigns are designed by the same people who sell toothpaste and cars.”

In other words, we’re being sold a carefully crafted product by a monied elite who are masters in the art of making the public believe that they need exactly what is being sold to them, whether it’s the latest high-tech gadget, the hottest toy, or the most charismatic politician.

This year’s presidential election, much like every other election in recent years, is what historian Daniel Boorstin referred to as a “pseudo-event”: manufactured, contrived, coinfected, and devoid of any intrinsic value save the value of being advertised.

After all, who wants to talk about police shootings, SWAT team raids, asset forfeiture schemes, private prisons, school-to-prison pipelines, overcriminalization, censorship, or any of the other evils that plague our nation when you can tune into a reality show carefully calibrated to appeal to the public’s need for bread and circuses, diversion and entertainment, and pomp and circumstance.

But make no mistake: Americans only think they’re choosing the next president.

In truth, however, they’re engaging in the illusion of participation culminating in the reassurance ritual of voting. It’s just another Blue Pill, a manufactured reality conjured up by the matrix in order to keep the populace compliant and convinced that their vote counts and that they still have some influence over the political process.

It’s all an illusion.

The nation is drowning in debt, crippled by a slowing economy, overrun by militarized police, swarming with surveillance, besieged by endless wars and a military-industrial complex intent on starting new ones, and riddled with corrupt politicians at every level of government.

All the while, we’re arguing over which corporate puppet will be given the honor of stealing our money, invading our privacy, abusing our trust, undermining our freedoms, and shackling us with debt and misery for years to come.

Nothing taking place on Election Day will alleviate the suffering of the American people.

Unless we do something more than vote, the government as we have come to know it—corrupt, bloated, and controlled by big-money corporations, lobbyists, and special interest groups—will remain unchanged. And “we the people”—overtaxed, overpoliced, overburdened by big government, underrepresented by those who should speak for us and blissfully ignorant of the prison walls closing in on us—will continue to trudge along a path of misery.

With roughly 22 lobbyists per Congressman, corporate greed will continue to call the shots in the nation’s capital, while our so-called representatives will grow richer and the people poorer. And elections will continue to be driven by war chests and corporate benefactors rather than such values as honesty, integrity and public service.

Just consider: while billions will be spent on the elections this year, not a dime of that money will actually help the average American in their day-to-day struggles to just get by.

Conveniently, politicians only seem to remember their constituents in the months leading up to an election, and yet “we the people” continue to take the abuse, the neglect, the corruption, and the lies. We make excuses for the shoddy treatment, we cover up for them when they cheat on us, and we keep hoping that if we just stick with them long enough, eventually they’ll treat us right.

When a country spends billions of dollars to select what is, for all intents and purposes, a glorified homecoming king or queen to occupy the White House, while tens of millions of its people live in poverty, nearly 18 million Americans are out of work, and most of the country and its economy remain in a state of semi-lockdown due to COVID-19 restrictions, that’s a country whose priorities are out of step with the needs of its people.

Then again, people get the government they deserve.

No matter who wins the presidential election come November, it’s a sure bet that the losers will be the American people if all we’re prepared to do is vote.

As political science professor, Gene Sharp notes in starker terms, “Dictators are not in the business of allowing elections that could remove them from their thrones.”

To put it another way, the Establishment—the shadow government and its corporate partners that really run the show, pull the strings and dictate the policies, no matter who occupies the Oval Office—are not going to allow anyone to take office who will unravel their power structures. Those who have attempted to do so in the past have been effectively put out of commission.

So what is the solution to this blatant display of imperial elitism disguising itself as a populist exercise in representative government?

Stop playing the game. Stop supporting the system. Stop defending the insanity. Just stop.

Washington thrives on money, so stop giving them your money. Stop throwing your hard-earned dollars away on politicians and Super PACs who view you as nothing more than a means to an end. There are countless worthy grassroots organizations and nonprofits working in your community to address real needs like injustice, poverty, homelessness, etc. Support them and you’ll see change you really can believe in in your own backyard.

Politicians depend on votes, so stop giving them your vote unless they have a proven track record of listening to their constituents, abiding by their wishes and working hard to earn and keep their trust.

It’s comforting to believe that your vote matters, but Franklin Delano Roosevelt was right: “Presidents are selected, not elected.”

Despite what is taught in school and the propaganda that is peddled by the media, a presidential election is not a populist election for a representative. Rather, it’s a gathering of shareholders to select the next CEO, a fact reinforced by the nation’s archaic electoral college system. In other words, your vote doesn’t elect a president. Despite the fact that there are 218 million eligible voters in this country (only half of whom actually vote), it is the electoral college, made up of 538 individuals handpicked by the candidates’ respective parties, that actually selects the next president.

The only thing you’re accomplishing by taking part in the “reassurance ritual” of voting is sustaining the illusion that we have a democratic republic.

In actuality, we are suffering from what political scientists Martin Gilens and Benjamin Page more accurately termed an “economic élite domination” in which the economic elite (lobbyists, corporations, monied special interest groups) dominate and dictate national policy.

No surprise there.

As an in-depth Princeton University study confirms, democracy has been replaced by an oligarchy, a system of government in which elected officials represent the interests of the rich and powerful rather than the average citizen.

We did it to ourselves.

We said nothing while our elections were turned into popularity contests populated by individuals better suited to be talk-show hosts rather than intelligent, reasoned debates on issues of domestic and foreign policy by individuals with solid experience, proven track records, and tested integrity.

We turned our backs on things like wisdom, sound judgment, morality, and truth, shrugging them off as old-fashioned, only to find ourselves saddled with lying politicians incapable of making fair and impartial decisions.

We let ourselves be persuaded that those yokels in Washington could do a better job of running this country than we could. It’s not a new problem. As former Senator Joseph S. Clark Jr. acknowledged in a 1955 article titled, “Wanted: Better Politicians”: “[W]e have too much mediocrity in the business of running the government of the country, and it troubles me that this should be so at a time of such complexity and crisis… Government by amateurs, semi-pros, and minor-leaguers will not meet the challenge of our times. We must realize that it takes great competence to run a country which, in spite of itself, has succeeded to world leadership in a time of deadly peril.”

We indulged our craving for entertainment news at the expense of our need for balanced reporting by a news media committed to asking the hard questions of government officials. The result, as former congressman Jim Leach points out, leaves us at a grave disadvantage: “At a time when in-depth analysis of the issues of the day has never been more important, quality journalism has been jeopardized by financial considerations and undercut by purveyors of ideology who facilely design news, like clothes, to appeal to a market segment.”

We bought into the fairytale that politicians are saviors, capable of fixing what’s wrong with our communities and our lives, when in fact, most politicians lead such sheltered lives that they have no clue about what their constituents must do to make ends meet. As political scientists, Morris Fiorina and Samuel Abrams conclude, “In America today, there is a disconnect between an unrepresentative political class and the citizenry it purports to represent. The political process today not only is less representative than it was a generation ago and less supported by the citizenry, but the outcomes of that process are at a minimum no better.”

We let ourselves be saddled with a two-party system and fooled into believing that there’s a difference between the Republicans and Democrats, when in fact, the two parties are exactly the same. As one commentator noted, both parties support endless war, engage in out-of-control spending, ignore the citizenry’s basic rights, have no respect for the rule of law, are bought and paid for by the corporate elite, care most about their own power, and have a long record of expanding government and shrinking liberty.

Then, when faced with the prospect of voting for the lesser of two evils, many simply compromise their principles and overlook the fact that the lesser of two evils is still evil.

Perhaps worst of all, we allowed the cynicism of our age and the cronyism and corruption of Washington, DC, to discourage us from believing that there was any hope for the American experiment in liberty.

Granted, it’s easy to become discouraged about the state of our nation. We’re drowning under the weight of too much debt, too many wars, too much power in the hands of a centralized government, too many militarized police, too many laws, too many lobbyists, and generally too much bad news.

It’s harder to believe that change is possible, that the system can be reformed, that politicians can be principled, that courts can be just, that good can overcome evil, and that freedom will prevail.

Yet I truly believe that change is possible, that the system can be reformed, that politicians can be principled, that courts can be just, that good can overcome evil, and that freedom can prevail but it will take each and every one of us committed to doing the hard work of citizenship that extends beyond the act of voting.

A healthy, representative government is hard work. It takes a citizenry that is informed about the issues, educated about how the government operates, and willing to make the sacrifices necessary to stay involved.

Most of all, it takes a citizenry willing to do more than grouse and complain.

The powers-that-be want us to believe that our job as citizens begins and ends on Election Day. They want us to believe that we have no right to complain about the state of the nation unless we’ve cast our vote one way or the other. They want us to remain divided over politics, hostile to those with whom we disagree politically, and intolerant of anyone or anything whose solutions to what ails this country differ from our own.

What they don’t want us doing is presenting a united front in order to reject the pathetic excuse for government that is being fobbed off on us.

So where does that leave us?

We’d better stop hanging our hopes on a political savior to rescue us from the clutches of an imperial president.

It’s possible that the next president might be better, but then again, he or she could be far worse.

Remember, presidential elections merely serve to maintain the status quo. Once elected president, that person becomes part of the dictatorial continuum that is the American imperial presidency today.

If we are to return to a constitutional presidency, “we the people” must recalibrate the balance of power.

The first step is to start locally—in your own communities, in your schools, at your city council meetings, in newspaper editorials, at protests—by pushing back against laws that are unjust, police departments that overreach, politicians that don’t listen to their constituents, and a system of government that grows more tyrannical by the day.

As I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, the only thing that will save us now is a concerted, collective commitment to the Constitution’s principles of limited government, a system of checks and balances, and a recognition that they—the president, Congress, the courts, the military, the police, the technocrats and plutocrats and bureaucrats—answer to and are accountable to “we the people.”

This will mean that Americans will have to stop letting their personal politics and party allegiances blind them to government misconduct and power grabs. It will mean holding all three branches of government accountable to the Constitution (i.e., vote them out of office if they abuse their powers). And it will mean calling on Congress to put an end to the use of presidential executive orders, decrees, memorandums, proclamations, national security directives, and legislative signing statements as a means of getting around Congress and the courts.

As historian Arthur Schlesinger Jr. concludes:

I would argue that what the country needs today is a little serious disrespect for the office of the presidency; a refusal to give any more weight to a President’s words than the intelligence of the utterance, if spoken by anyone else, would command… If the nation wants to work its way back to a constitutional presidency, there is only one way to begin. That is by showing Presidents that, when their closest associates place themselves above the law and the Constitution, such transgressions will be not forgiven or forgotten for the sake of the presidency but exposed and punished for the sake of the presidency.”

In other words, we’ve got to stop treating the president like a god and start making both the office of the president and the occupant play by the rules of the Constitution.

“A man is no less a slave because he is allowed to choose a new master once in a term of years.” ? LYSANDER SPOONER

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What’s the Deal With Executive Orders?

In 2014, President Barack Obama raised the ire of Republicans when he circumvented Congress and effectively legislated from the Oval Office utilizing executive orders.

“We’re not just going to be waiting for legislation in order to make sure that we’re providing Americans the kind of help they need. I’ve got a pen and I’ve got a phone,” Obama quipped at the time.

Fast forward six years — that pen and phone belong to President Donald Trump, and he’s following right along in Obama’s footsteps.

At some point, another Democrat will inherit the pen and the phone, and the legacy will undoubtedly continue. Each executive order sets a precedent and effectively expands the power of the next person in office.

Presidents have been issuing EOs since the George Washington administration.

So what’s the deal with EOs? Are they legitimate exercises of executive authority? Or are they a usurpation of power?

People seem to adopt one of two extremes. On the one hand, many argue the president can legitimately issue executive orders with virtually no limitation. The left aggressively advanced this idea during the Obama years. In many cases, the president did indeed utilized EOs to formulate policy, shape rules and essentially legislate from the Oval Office. This clearly went beyond the scope of legitimate executive authority.

On the other side of the debate, some claim the president cannot issue executive orders for any purpose whatsoever.

Constitutionally, the truth falls somewhere in the middle.

The president has the authority to issue EOs relating to the operation of the executive branch, and to direct and manage its personnel. For example, Pres. Trump signed an order during his first full day in the White House instituting “a freeze on the hiring of Federal civilian employees to be applied across the board in the executive branch.” The president remains perfectly within his authority to direct staffing levels in executive branch agencies.

On the other hand, the president cannot constitutionally issue orders that implement rules, regulations and edicts applying to the people, orders that bypass the legislative processes, or orders that subvert legislation that was passed by Congress and signed into law. This crosses over into legislative authority. As just one example, EOs establishing environmental rules fall outside of presidential executive authority.

Historian and lawyer Kevin Gutzman summed it up succinctly.

“Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution says the executive power will be vested in a president of the United States. Other members of the Executive Branch are his subordinates. He can legitimately order them to carry out his legal policies. What he can’t legitimately do is order them to carry out illegal policies, as when Obama ordered them to ignore the calendar established by the PPACA and when he used one to rewrite the immigration laws.”

Modern presidents exercise powers far beyond those delegated to them in the Constitution and constantly usurp legislative authority. Much of the blame lies with Congress. It often delegates legislative authority to the president by writing vague, open-ended laws that expand executive authority into the legislative realm. Congress’s delegation of war powers to the executive branch provides one of the best examples.

In the American system, Congress should serve as the most powerful branch, as it most directly represents the people. Instead, America has evolved into a system very much like the one the American revolutionaries sought to destroy.

This article was adapted from “Constitution Owner’s Manual: The Real Constitution the Politicians Don’t Want You to Know About.” For more information about the book, visit ConstitutionOwnersManual.com.

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Executive Power: Who Made Presidents and Governors Kings?

Article II of the Constitution defines the role and qualifications of the president.

The Constitution delegates specific powers and responsibilities to the executive branch including the power of appointment, the power to make treaties with the advice and consent of Congress, the veto power, etc.

These specific powers delegated to the executive are relatively clear and unambiguous. But a question remains: does the president enjoy other non-specified powers as chief executive?

The so-called “vesting clause” leaves this question up for debate.

“The executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America.” [Emphasis added]

What exactly does “executive power” mean in this context? Is it limited by the specific powers listed, or does it include a broader slate of “implied” powers?

Many modern legal scholars claim this clause grants broad, unspecified “executive” authority to the president. They point to the difference in wording between the vesting clause for Congress in Article I and the executive branch vesting clause in Article II to make their case.

The legislative vesting clause in Article I reads:

“All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States” [Emphasis added]

Proponents of broad executive power claim the omission of the words “herein granted” in the presidential vesting clause infers a broader delegation of authority, whereas Congress remains limited to the enumerated powers in Article I Sec. 8.

But the idea that the vesting clause delegates broad, undefined powers to the president presents several interpretive problems.

In the first place, giving the president a broad range of powers runs counter to everything we’ve already discussed about the nature of the general government. If, as all of the supporters claimed, it was to be a limited government with specific functions, they wouldn’t have given the president virtually unlimited authority. Again, as James Madison put it in Federalist #45, “The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined.” This includes the powers delegated to the president.

In fact, the founding generation was particularly wary of vesting too much authority in a single individual. After all, it just fought a bloody war to free itself from the tyranny of a king.

We learn in elementary school history classes that American revolutionaries rejected the notion of a king. But it went beyond that. The founding generation also sought to eradicate the concept of a powerful magistrate who ruled over the people and who was empowered to make law. As the Americans split with Great Britain and forged ahead forming new governments, they were ever-fearful of giving power to individuals detached and unaccountable from the will of the people.

The British colonial governors ruled with that kind of authority. The founding generation would have no more of that. As the people of the states began to draft their own constitutions, they placed very little power in the executive branches.

In his book Creation of the American Republic, historian Gordon S. Wood put it this way.

“The Americans, in short, made of the gubernatorial magistrate a new kind of creature, a very pale reflection indeed of his regal ancestor. The change in the governor’s position meant the effectual elimination of the magistracy’s major responsibility for ruling the society – a remarkable and abrupt departure from the English constitutional tradition.” 

This represented a clean break from the then-accepted philosophy of government. In the Old World, executives wielded tremendous power. Instead, Americans vested their legislatures with the greatest level of authority.

Why?

Americans feared the arbitrary power they so often saw exercised by magistrates in the past. And as Wood put it, “only a radical destruction of that kind of magisterial authority could prevent the resurgence of arbitrary power in their land.”

The founding generation believed legislatures best reflected the will of the people because they were directly accountable. And as we’ve already established, the founding generation believed sovereignty was ultimately vested in the people, not in any government institution.

Governors in the new state governments were thus relegated to merely “executing the laws,” essentially an administerial role.

John Sullivan served as a general in the American Revolution, and later as governor of New Hampshire and a federal judge. He took a break from fighting in the winter of 1775 to pen a letter to Meshech Weare outlining his thoughts on forming a new state government. He warned against vesting too much power in a single person.

“And here I must beg leave to observe that, however high other people’ s notions of government may run, and however much they may be disposed to worship a creature of their own creation, I can by no means consent to lodging too much power in the hands of one person, or suffering an interest in government to exist separate from that of the people, or any man to hold an office, for the execution of which he is not in some way or other answerable to that people to whom he owes his political existence.”

This mentality certainly carried over into the drafting of the Constitution, and we should read Article II in that light.

But today, we have utterly abandoned the principles articulated by Sullivan – the principles America was founded on – and returned to the system of unaccountable, absolute rulers the founding generation fought to free itself from.

Modern presidents make laws using their pens and their phones, as Barack Obama put it. They send troops off to war without even so much as consulting Congress. They issue supposedly legally binding edicts and pronouncements pulling from a vast reservoir of assumed executive powers.

But these undefined powers simply don’t exist.

Proponents of a narrow reading of the presidential vesting clause argue repeating the words “herein granted,” in Article II would be redundant, and if a broad grant of authority was intended, the further enumeration of presidential powers following would be superfluous. This would violate standard rules for drafting legal documents in place at the time.

As constitutional scholar Rob Natelson explains in his book “The Original Constitution: What it Actually Said and Meant,” framers of legal documents conveying powers in the late 1700s followed a well-established pattern.

  1. Designation
  2. Organizational details
  3. Enumerated powers

Most colonial charters, the king’s commissions granting power to colonial governors, the Articles of Confederation and several pre-1787 state constitutions followed this pattern. But if the first section of Article II serves as a broad vesting clause in the sense modern scholars claim, it presents a totally new and unique structure, fitting no earlier precedent. As Natelson put it, “An interpretation that fits prevalent drafting customs is far more likely.” (4)

Furthermore, simply saying the president has “executive power” doesn’t really mean anything. Executive power wasn’t specifically defined in the founding era. It was a general term. Executive officers in the British and colonial systems exercised varying levels of authority and operated within different spheres depending on the particular office. There was no list of specific executive powers that were common to all executive roles that anybody can point to. Therefore, the term “executive power,” standing alone, has no real meaning.

It follows we should read the vesting clause as merely a general designation of the president’s role, further defined by the delegated powers that follow, not as a general grant of power. It is simply unthinkable that the founding generation would have imbued the president with a vast pool of undefined powers to define and exercise as he saw fit.

Tucker outlined executive authority in this limited sense in View of the Constitution of the United States.

“The powers, or more properly, the duties, of the president of the United States are various and extensive; though happily abridged of many others, which are considered as inseparable from the executive authority in monarchies: of these last, we have had frequent occasion to notice such as are transferred by the constitution to the congress of the United States; and of those which are assigned to the president… 

Tucker goes on to list the duties specifically delegated in Article II Sec. 2 and 3, and he offers no hint that any additional, broadly defined “executive powers” exist.

Within the constitutional structure, the president lacks any authority whatsoever to issue edicts, write rules and regulations, or legislate in any manner. In an essay known as “Helvidius” Number 1, James Madison clearly states the president’s power extends only to putting existing law into effect.

“The natural province of the executive magistrate is to execute laws, as that of the legislature is to make laws. All his acts therefore, properly executive, must pre-suppose the existence of the laws to be executed.”

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Engineering a Race War: Will This Be the American Police State’s Reichstag Fire?

This article was originally published by John W. Whitehead at The Rutherford Institute.

“Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”— George Santayana

Watch and see: this debate over police brutality and accountability is about to get politicized into an election-year referendum on who should occupy the White House.

Don’t fall for it.

The Deep State, the powers-that-be, want us to turn this into a race war, but this is about so much more than systemic racism. This is the oldest con game in the books, the magician’s sleight of hand that keeps you focused on the shell game in front of you while your wallet is being picked clean by ruffians in your midst.

It’s the Reichstag Fire all over again.

It was February 1933, a month before national elections in Germany, and the Nazis weren’t expected to win. So they engineered a way to win: they began by infiltrating the police and granting police powers to their allies; then Hitler brought in stormtroopers to act as auxiliary police; by the time an arsonist (who claimed to be working for the Communists in the hopes of starting an armed revolt) set fire to the Reichstag, the German parliamentary building, the people were eager for a return to law and order.

That was all it took: Hitler used the attempted “coup” as an excuse to declare martial law and seize absolute power in Germany, establishing himself as a dictator with the support of the German people.

Fast forward to the present day, and what do we have? The nation in turmoil after months of pandemic fear-mongering and regional lockdowns, a national election looming, a president with falling poll numbers, and a police state that wants to stay in power at all costs.

Note the similarities?

It’s entirely possible that Americans have finally reached a tipping point over police brutality after decades of abuse. After all, until recently, the legislatures and the courts have marched in lockstep with the police state, repeatedly rebuffing efforts to hold police accountable for official misconduct.

Then again, it’s also equally possible that the architects of the police state have every intention of manipulating this outrage for their own purposes.

It works the same in every age.

As author Jim Keith explains, “Create violence through economic pressures, the media, mind control, agent provocateurs: thesis. Counter it with totalitarian measures, more mind control, police crackdowns, surveillance, drugging of the population: antithesis. What ensues is Orwell’s vision of 1984, a society of total control: synthesis.”

Here’s what is going to happen: the police state is going to stand down and allow these protests, riots, and looting to devolve into a situation where enough of the voting populace is so desperate for a return to law and order that they will gladly relinquish some of their freedoms to achieve it. And that’s how the police state will win, no matter which candidate gets elected to the White House.

You know who will lose? Every last one of us.

Listen, people should be outraged over what happened to George Floyd, but let’s get one thing straight: Floyd didn’t die merely because he was black and the cop who killed him is white. Floyd died because America is being overrun with warrior cops—vigilantes with a badge—who are part of a government-run standing army that is waging war on the American people in the so-called name of law and order.

Not all cops are warrior cops, trained to act as judge, jury, and executioner in their interactions with the populace. Unfortunately, the good cops—the ones who take seriously their oath of office to serve and protect their fellow citizens, uphold the Constitution, and maintain the peace—are increasingly being outnumbered by those who believe the lives—and rights—of police should be valued more than citizens.

These warrior cops may get paid by the citizenry, but they don’t work for us and they certainly aren’t operating within the limits of the U.S. Constitution.

This isn’t about racism in America.

This is about profit-driven militarism packaged in the guise of law and order, waged by greedy profiteers who have transformed the American homeland into a battlefield with militarized police, military weapons and tactics better suited to a war zone. This is systemic corruption predicated on the police state’s insatiable appetite for money, power, and control.

This is a military coup waiting to happen.

Why do we have more than a million cops on the taxpayer-funded payroll in this country whose jobs do not entail protecting our safety, maintaining the peace in our communities, and upholding our liberties?

I’ll tell you why.

These warrior cops—fitted out in the trappings of war, drilled in the deadly art of combat, and trained to look upon “every individual they interact with as an armed threat and every situation as a deadly force encounter in the making—are the police state’s standing army.

This is the new face of war, and America has become the new battlefield.

Militarized police officers, the end product of the government—federal, local, and state—and law enforcement agencies having merged, have become a “standing” or permanent army, composed of full-time professional soldiers who do not disband.

Yet these permanent armies are exactly what those who drafted the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights feared as tools used by despotic governments to wage war against its citizens.

American police forces were never supposed to be a branch of the military, nor were they meant to be private security forces for the reigning political faction. Instead, they were intended to be an aggregation of countless local police units, composed of citizens like you and me that exist for a sole purpose: to serve and protect the citizens of each and every American community.

As a result of the increasing militarization of the police in recent years, however, the police now not only look like the military—with their foreboding uniforms and phalanx of lethal weapons—but they function like them, as well.

Thus, no more do we have a civilian force of peace officers entrusted with serving and protecting the American people.  Instead, today’s militarized law enforcement officials have shifted their allegiance from the citizenry to the state, acting preemptively to ward off any possible challenges to the government’s power, unrestrained by the boundaries of the Fourth Amendment.

They don’t work for us. As retired Philadelphia Police Captain Ray Lewis warned, “Corporate America is using police forces as their mercenaries.”

We were sold a bill of goods.

For years now, we’ve been told that cops need military weapons to wage the government’s wars on drugs, crime, and terror. We’ve been told that cops need to be able to crash through doors, search vehicles, carry out roadside strip searches, shoot anyone they perceive to be a threat, and generally disregard the law whenever it suits them because they’re doing it to protect their fellow Americans from danger. We’ve been told that cops need extra legal protections because of the risks they take.

None of that is true.

In fact, a study by a political scientist at Princeton University concludes that militarizing police and SWAT teams “provide no detectable benefits in terms of officer safety or violent crime reduction.” According to researcher Jonathan Mummolo, if police in America are feeling less safe, it’s because the process of transforming them into extensions of the military makes them less safe, less popular, and less trust-worthy.

The study, the first systematic analysis on the use and consequences of militarized force, reveals that “police militarization neither reduces rates of violent crime nor changes the number of officers assaulted or killed.”

In other words, warrior cops aren’t making us or themselves any safer.

Militarized police armed with weapons of war who are allowed to operate above the law and break the laws with impunity are definitely not making America any safer or freer.

The problem, as one reporter rightly concluded, is “not that life has gotten that much more dangerous, it’s that authorities have chosen to respond to even innocent situations as if they were in a warzone.” Consequently, Americans are now eight times more likely to die in a police confrontation than they are to be killed by a terrorist.

Militarism within the nation’s police forces is proving to be deadlier than any pandemic.

This battlefield mindset has gone hand in hand with the rise of militarized SWAT (“special weapons and tactics”) teams.

Frequently justified as vital tools necessary to combat terrorism and deal with rare but extremely dangerous criminal situations, such as those involving hostages, SWAT teams have become intrinsic parts of local law enforcement operations, thanks in large part to substantial federal assistance and the Pentagon’s military surplus recycling program, which allows the transfer of military equipment, weapons and training to local police for free or at sharp discounts while increasing the profits of its corporate allies.

Where this becomes a problem of life and death for Americans is when these SWAT teams— outfitted, armed, and trained in military tactics—are assigned to carry out relatively routine police tasks, such as serving a search warrant. Nationwide, SWAT teams have been employed to address an astonishingly trivial array of criminal activity or mere community nuisances: angry dogs, domestic disputes, improper paperwork filed by an orchid farmer, and misdemeanor marijuana possession, to give a brief sampling.

Remember, SWAT teams originated as specialized units dedicated to defusing extremely sensitive, dangerous situations. They were never meant to be used for routine police work such as serving a warrant. Unfortunately, the mere presence of SWAT units has actually injected a level of danger and violence into police-citizen interactions that was not present as long as these interactions were handled by traditional civilian officers.

There are few communities without a SWAT team today, and there are more than 80,000 SWAT team raids per year.

Yet the tension inherent in most civilian-police encounter these days can’t be blamed exclusively on law enforcement’s growing reliance on SWAT teams and donated military equipment.

It goes far deeper, to a transformation in the way police view themselves and their line of duty.

Specifically, what we’re dealing with today is a skewed shoot-to-kill mindset in which police, trained to view themselves as warriors or soldiers in a war, whether against drugs, or terror, or crime, must “get” the bad guys—i.e., anyone who is a potential target—before the bad guys get them. The result is a spike in the number of incidents in which police shoot first, and ask questions later.

Making matters worse, when these officers, who have long since ceased to be peace officers, violate their oaths by bullying, beating, tasering, shooting and killing their employers—the taxpayers to whom they owe their allegiance—they are rarely given more than a slap on the hands before resuming their patrols.

This lawlessness on the part of law enforcement, an unmistakable characteristic of a police state, is made possible in large part by police unions which routinely oppose civilian review boards and resist the placement of names and badge numbers on officer uniforms; police agencies that abide by the Blue Code of Silence, the quiet understanding among police that they should not implicate their colleagues for their crimes and misconduct; prosecutors who treat police offenses with greater leniency than civilian offenses; courts that sanction police wrongdoing in the name of security; and legislatures that enhance the power, reach and arsenal of the police, and a citizenry that fails to hold its government accountable to the rule of law.

Indeed, not only are cops protected from most charges of wrongdoing—whether it’s shooting unarmed citizens (including children and old people), raping and abusing young women, falsifying police reports, trafficking drugs, or soliciting sex with minors—but even on the rare occasions when they are fired for misconduct, it’s only a matter of time before they get re-hired again.

Much of the “credit” for shielding these rogue cops goes to influential police unions and laws providing for qualified immunity, police contracts that “provide a shield of protection to officers accused of misdeeds and erect barriers to residents complaining of abuse,” state and federal laws that allow police to walk away without paying a dime for their wrongdoing, and rampant cronyism among government bureaucrats.

It’s happening all across the country.

This is how perverse justice in America has become.

Incredibly, while our own Bill of Rights are torn to shreds, leaving us with few protections against government abuses, a growing number of states are adopting Law Enforcement Officers’ Bill of Rights (LEOBoR), which provide cops accused of a crime with special due process rights and privileges not afforded to the average citizen.

This, right here, epitomizes everything that is wrong with America today.

Even when the system appears to work on the side of justice, it’s the American taxpayer who ends up paying the price.

Literally.

Because police officers are more likely to be struck by lightning than be held financially accountable for their actions. As Human Rights Watch explains, taxpayers actually pay three times for officers who repeatedly commit abuses: “once to cover their salaries while they commit abuses; next to pay settlements or civil jury awards against officers; and a third time through payments into police ‘defense’ funds provided by the cities.”

Deep-seated corruption of this kind doesn’t just go away because politicians and corporations suddenly become conscience-stricken in the face of mass protests and start making promises they don’t intend to keep.

As I explain in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, we need civic engagement and citizen activism, especially at the local level. However, if it ends at the ballot box without achieving any real reform that holds government officials at all levels accountable to playing by the rules of the Constitution, then shame on us.

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Engineering a Race War: Will This Be the American Police State’s Reichstag Fire?

This article was originally published by John W. Whitehead at The Rutherford Institute.

“Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”— George Santayana

Watch and see: this debate over police brutality and accountability is about to get politicized into an election-year referendum on who should occupy the White House.

Don’t fall for it.

The Deep State, the powers-that-be, want us to turn this into a race war, but this is about so much more than systemic racism. This is the oldest con game in the books, the magician’s sleight of hand that keeps you focused on the shell game in front of you while your wallet is being picked clean by ruffians in your midst.

It’s the Reichstag Fire all over again.

It was February 1933, a month before national elections in Germany, and the Nazis weren’t expected to win. So they engineered a way to win: they began by infiltrating the police and granting police powers to their allies; then Hitler brought in stormtroopers to act as auxiliary police; by the time an arsonist (who claimed to be working for the Communists in the hopes of starting an armed revolt) set fire to the Reichstag, the German parliamentary building, the people were eager for a return to law and order.

That was all it took: Hitler used the attempted “coup” as an excuse to declare martial law and seize absolute power in Germany, establishing himself as a dictator with the support of the German people.

Fast forward to the present day, and what do we have? The nation in turmoil after months of pandemic fear-mongering and regional lockdowns, a national election looming, a president with falling poll numbers, and a police state that wants to stay in power at all costs.

Note the similarities?

It’s entirely possible that Americans have finally reached a tipping point over police brutality after decades of abuse. After all, until recently, the legislatures and the courts have marched in lockstep with the police state, repeatedly rebuffing efforts to hold police accountable for official misconduct.

Then again, it’s also equally possible that the architects of the police state have every intention of manipulating this outrage for their own purposes.

It works the same in every age.

As author Jim Keith explains, “Create violence through economic pressures, the media, mind control, agent provocateurs: thesis. Counter it with totalitarian measures, more mind control, police crackdowns, surveillance, drugging of the population: antithesis. What ensues is Orwell’s vision of 1984, a society of total control: synthesis.”

Here’s what is going to happen: the police state is going to stand down and allow these protests, riots, and looting to devolve into a situation where enough of the voting populace is so desperate for a return to law and order that they will gladly relinquish some of their freedoms to achieve it. And that’s how the police state will win, no matter which candidate gets elected to the White House.

You know who will lose? Every last one of us.

Listen, people should be outraged over what happened to George Floyd, but let’s get one thing straight: Floyd didn’t die merely because he was black and the cop who killed him is white. Floyd died because America is being overrun with warrior cops—vigilantes with a badge—who are part of a government-run standing army that is waging war on the American people in the so-called name of law and order.

Not all cops are warrior cops, trained to act as judge, jury, and executioner in their interactions with the populace. Unfortunately, the good cops—the ones who take seriously their oath of office to serve and protect their fellow citizens, uphold the Constitution, and maintain the peace—are increasingly being outnumbered by those who believe the lives—and rights—of police should be valued more than citizens.

These warrior cops may get paid by the citizenry, but they don’t work for us and they certainly aren’t operating within the limits of the U.S. Constitution.

This isn’t about racism in America.

This is about profit-driven militarism packaged in the guise of law and order, waged by greedy profiteers who have transformed the American homeland into a battlefield with militarized police, military weapons and tactics better suited to a war zone. This is systemic corruption predicated on the police state’s insatiable appetite for money, power, and control.

This is a military coup waiting to happen.

Why do we have more than a million cops on the taxpayer-funded payroll in this country whose jobs do not entail protecting our safety, maintaining the peace in our communities, and upholding our liberties?

I’ll tell you why.

These warrior cops—fitted out in the trappings of war, drilled in the deadly art of combat, and trained to look upon “every individual they interact with as an armed threat and every situation as a deadly force encounter in the making—are the police state’s standing army.

This is the new face of war, and America has become the new battlefield.

Militarized police officers, the end product of the government—federal, local, and state—and law enforcement agencies having merged, have become a “standing” or permanent army, composed of full-time professional soldiers who do not disband.

Yet these permanent armies are exactly what those who drafted the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights feared as tools used by despotic governments to wage war against its citizens.

American police forces were never supposed to be a branch of the military, nor were they meant to be private security forces for the reigning political faction. Instead, they were intended to be an aggregation of countless local police units, composed of citizens like you and me that exist for a sole purpose: to serve and protect the citizens of each and every American community.

As a result of the increasing militarization of the police in recent years, however, the police now not only look like the military—with their foreboding uniforms and phalanx of lethal weapons—but they function like them, as well.

Thus, no more do we have a civilian force of peace officers entrusted with serving and protecting the American people.  Instead, today’s militarized law enforcement officials have shifted their allegiance from the citizenry to the state, acting preemptively to ward off any possible challenges to the government’s power, unrestrained by the boundaries of the Fourth Amendment.

They don’t work for us. As retired Philadelphia Police Captain Ray Lewis warned, “Corporate America is using police forces as their mercenaries.”

We were sold a bill of goods.

For years now, we’ve been told that cops need military weapons to wage the government’s wars on drugs, crime, and terror. We’ve been told that cops need to be able to crash through doors, search vehicles, carry out roadside strip searches, shoot anyone they perceive to be a threat, and generally disregard the law whenever it suits them because they’re doing it to protect their fellow Americans from danger. We’ve been told that cops need extra legal protections because of the risks they take.

None of that is true.

In fact, a study by a political scientist at Princeton University concludes that militarizing police and SWAT teams “provide no detectable benefits in terms of officer safety or violent crime reduction.” According to researcher Jonathan Mummolo, if police in America are feeling less safe, it’s because the process of transforming them into extensions of the military makes them less safe, less popular, and less trust-worthy.

The study, the first systematic analysis on the use and consequences of militarized force, reveals that “police militarization neither reduces rates of violent crime nor changes the number of officers assaulted or killed.”

In other words, warrior cops aren’t making us or themselves any safer.

Militarized police armed with weapons of war who are allowed to operate above the law and break the laws with impunity are definitely not making America any safer or freer.

The problem, as one reporter rightly concluded, is “not that life has gotten that much more dangerous, it’s that authorities have chosen to respond to even innocent situations as if they were in a warzone.” Consequently, Americans are now eight times more likely to die in a police confrontation than they are to be killed by a terrorist.

Militarism within the nation’s police forces is proving to be deadlier than any pandemic.

This battlefield mindset has gone hand in hand with the rise of militarized SWAT (“special weapons and tactics”) teams.

Frequently justified as vital tools necessary to combat terrorism and deal with rare but extremely dangerous criminal situations, such as those involving hostages, SWAT teams have become intrinsic parts of local law enforcement operations, thanks in large part to substantial federal assistance and the Pentagon’s military surplus recycling program, which allows the transfer of military equipment, weapons and training to local police for free or at sharp discounts while increasing the profits of its corporate allies.

Where this becomes a problem of life and death for Americans is when these SWAT teams— outfitted, armed, and trained in military tactics—are assigned to carry out relatively routine police tasks, such as serving a search warrant. Nationwide, SWAT teams have been employed to address an astonishingly trivial array of criminal activity or mere community nuisances: angry dogs, domestic disputes, improper paperwork filed by an orchid farmer, and misdemeanor marijuana possession, to give a brief sampling.

Remember, SWAT teams originated as specialized units dedicated to defusing extremely sensitive, dangerous situations. They were never meant to be used for routine police work such as serving a warrant. Unfortunately, the mere presence of SWAT units has actually injected a level of danger and violence into police-citizen interactions that was not present as long as these interactions were handled by traditional civilian officers.

There are few communities without a SWAT team today, and there are more than 80,000 SWAT team raids per year.

Yet the tension inherent in most civilian-police encounter these days can’t be blamed exclusively on law enforcement’s growing reliance on SWAT teams and donated military equipment.

It goes far deeper, to a transformation in the way police view themselves and their line of duty.

Specifically, what we’re dealing with today is a skewed shoot-to-kill mindset in which police, trained to view themselves as warriors or soldiers in a war, whether against drugs, or terror, or crime, must “get” the bad guys—i.e., anyone who is a potential target—before the bad guys get them. The result is a spike in the number of incidents in which police shoot first, and ask questions later.

Making matters worse, when these officers, who have long since ceased to be peace officers, violate their oaths by bullying, beating, tasering, shooting and killing their employers—the taxpayers to whom they owe their allegiance—they are rarely given more than a slap on the hands before resuming their patrols.

This lawlessness on the part of law enforcement, an unmistakable characteristic of a police state, is made possible in large part by police unions which routinely oppose civilian review boards and resist the placement of names and badge numbers on officer uniforms; police agencies that abide by the Blue Code of Silence, the quiet understanding among police that they should not implicate their colleagues for their crimes and misconduct; prosecutors who treat police offenses with greater leniency than civilian offenses; courts that sanction police wrongdoing in the name of security; and legislatures that enhance the power, reach and arsenal of the police, and a citizenry that fails to hold its government accountable to the rule of law.

Indeed, not only are cops protected from most charges of wrongdoing—whether it’s shooting unarmed citizens (including children and old people), raping and abusing young women, falsifying police reports, trafficking drugs, or soliciting sex with minors—but even on the rare occasions when they are fired for misconduct, it’s only a matter of time before they get re-hired again.

Much of the “credit” for shielding these rogue cops goes to influential police unions and laws providing for qualified immunity, police contracts that “provide a shield of protection to officers accused of misdeeds and erect barriers to residents complaining of abuse,” state and federal laws that allow police to walk away without paying a dime for their wrongdoing, and rampant cronyism among government bureaucrats.

It’s happening all across the country.

This is how perverse justice in America has become.

Incredibly, while our own Bill of Rights are torn to shreds, leaving us with few protections against government abuses, a growing number of states are adopting Law Enforcement Officers’ Bill of Rights (LEOBoR), which provide cops accused of a crime with special due process rights and privileges not afforded to the average citizen.

This, right here, epitomizes everything that is wrong with America today.

Even when the system appears to work on the side of justice, it’s the American taxpayer who ends up paying the price.

Literally.

Because police officers are more likely to be struck by lightning than be held financially accountable for their actions. As Human Rights Watch explains, taxpayers actually pay three times for officers who repeatedly commit abuses: “once to cover their salaries while they commit abuses; next to pay settlements or civil jury awards against officers; and a third time through payments into police ‘defense’ funds provided by the cities.”

Deep-seated corruption of this kind doesn’t just go away because politicians and corporations suddenly become conscience-stricken in the face of mass protests and start making promises they don’t intend to keep.

As I explain in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, we need civic engagement and citizen activism, especially at the local level. However, if it ends at the ballot box without achieving any real reform that holds government officials at all levels accountable to playing by the rules of the Constitution, then shame on us.

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Breaking: Rep. Justin Amash is running for president

Michigan Congressman Justin Amash (I) has announced he is launching a 2020 presidential bid to become the nominee for the Libertarian Party.

What are the details?

In a
Twitter post on Tuesday, the former Republican shared a link to his campaign website with the message, “Let’s do this,” before explaining, “Today, I launched an exploratory committee to seek the @LPNational’s nomination for president of the United States. Americans are ready for practical approaches based in humility and trust of the people.”

He added, “We’re ready for a presidency that will restore respect for our Constitution and bring people together. I’m excited and honored to be taking these first steps toward serving Americans of every background as president.”

In a statement on the his campaign website, Amash writes:

We’re ready. For something new. For a government that secures our rights. For equality before the law. For an end to cronyism. For a government that fulfills its purpose and recognizes its limits. For practical approaches based in humility and trust of the people. For an honest, principled president who will defend the Constitution and put individuals first.

This is a developing story that will be updated.

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Howard Stern says he’s ‘all in’ for Biden — and tells Trump supporters to drink bleach and die

Talk radio icon Howard Stern declared that he is “all in” for Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, and then added that he wanted Trump supporters to drink bleach and die.

Stern made the comments on his SiriusXM show after criticizing President Donald Trump for pondering aloud during a coronavirus task force media briefing if disinfectant or ultraviolet light could be used to combat the pandemic. He later said he was being sarcastic.

“What’s it going to take? I don’t get it,” Stern said about Trump’s comments. “I don’t think there is anyone left who will vote for him.”

He made his endorsement later in the show.

“I am all in on Joe Biden,” said Stern.

“You see the wall that’s right next to you, I’ll vote for the wall over a guy who tells me that I should pour Clorox into my mouth. Listen, I think we are in deep s**t. I think we could have been ahead of this curve,” he added.

“I would love it if Donald would get on TV and take an injection of Clorox and let’s see if his theory works. Hold a big rally, say f**k this coronavirus, with all of his followers, and let them hug each other and kiss each other and have a big rally,” Stern continued.

“And all take disinfectant and all drop dead,” he added.

Stern has said previously that he helped Trump win the presidency in 2016 by having him on his talk show. But he added that he was rooting for Hillary Clinton to win. He also claimed that Trump asked for his endorsement and Stern refused.

Here’s more of Stern talking Trump:


Preview: Howard Stern on Donald Trump, as a guest and a president

www.youtube.com

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Mark Levin: ‘Is There Blood on the President’s Hands? What Kind of Question Is That, Chuck?’

Tuesday, Mark Levin discussed why he believes NBC host Chuck Todd is “stupid” and a “reprobate.”

During an interview, Todd asked Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden a completely misleading, preposterous question, so much that even Joe Biden says it’s too harsh

Levin was not impressed with Todd, stating that the NBC host is incapable of putting politics aside during a national crisis.

Watch the video below for the full rant.

Use code LEVIN to save $30 on one year of BlazeTV.

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To enjoy more of “the Great One” — Mark Levin as you’ve never seen him before — subscribe to BlazeTV — the largest multi-platform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution and live the American dream.

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The Presidency and War Power

Readers of this column are familiar with the concept of the separation of powers, which James Madison crafted as integral to the Constitution. That concept mandates that Congress writes the laws, the president enforces them, the courts decide what they mean and interpret them, and the three branches of government don’t step on each other’s toes.

The separation of powers also recognizes that the Constitution reposes unique authority in each branch and, at times, in each house of Congress. For example, only the Senate can confirm judges and ambassadors and ratify treaties. Only the House can impeach high-ranking executive branch officials and federal judges. Only Congress can declare war, and only the president can decide how to use the military to fight a declared war.

The war powers are clearly articulated in the plain language of the Constitution itself — Congress declares and the president wages. Madison himself argued that if the president could both declare and wage wars, he’d not be a president but a prince. This distinction between declaring and waging was recognized for nearly 200 years, until Congress muddied the waters in 1973 by enacting the War Powers Resolution.

That law permits the president to wage any war against any foreign enemy without a congressional declaration of war for 90 days. This is clearly unconstitutional; the Supreme Court has ruled numerous times that the branches of the federal government cannot cede away powers that have been firmly fixed by the Constitution.

When the tragedy of 9/11 took place, President George W. Bush did not use the War Powers Resolution as his legal basis for invading Afghanistan. Rather he sought express authority for the invasion from Congress. Congress, rather than declaring war on Afghanistan (Bush had persuaded Congress that the 9/11 culprits found haven there), enacted a morally ambivalent law known as the Authorization for Use of Military Force of 2001.

That statute permitted Bush and his successors to fight against any foreign entity that planned or facilitated the 9/11 attacks and to continue fighting even after the targeted entity had been defeated. Bush sought and received another morally ambivalent AUMF in 2002, which authorized him to wage war in pursuit of any governments that harbored weapons of mass destruction, notably Iraq.

I have characterized both AUMFs as morally ambivalent because they are open-ended. When Congress declared war on the Axis powers in December 1941, those declarations authorized President Franklin Roosevelt to wage war on them only until they surrendered and not thereafter. But the two AUMFs have no stated endpoint.

They have an implied endpoint, however. The logical and moral endpoint of the AUMF of 2001 came when the folks who took over the government of Afghanistan and used its government power — this is Bush’s version — to stage and support 9/11 were defeated and killed. The logical and moral endpoint of AUMF of 2002 came when Saddam Hussein was deposed, no weapons of mass destruction were found, and Washington installed a friendly (lately, not so friendly) regime in Iraq.

I offer this brief legal and historical background in order to address the current furor raging over the decision of President Donald Trump to withdraw American troops from Syria. From Syria? What are they doing in Syria?

The United States has had a financial and quasi-military relationship with the Kurdish people who live in northern Iraq — an area they call Kurdistan — since the end of World War I. The financial support has come via covert sources. Stated differently, from the CIA. The Kurds — who are furious fighters — in turn have supported western interests in the region.

In 2017, Trump ordered American troops into Syria to support the Kurds, whose homeland had become threatened by the forces combatting each other in Syria, and who were in the crosshairs of the president of Turkey. Trump used the AUMF of 2001 as his legal authority for sending troops to Syria. That, of course, was enacted to crush those who perpetrated 9/11, not to assist friendly groups 16 years later anywhere in the world.

Nevertheless, Trump’s 2017 decision was consistent with the long-standing, nearly 100-year support that American governments have given to the Kurds. And the Kurds have relied on the continuation of that support.

Last Sunday evening, Trump changed his mind about military support for the Kurds. He did so after a telephone conversation he had with the president of Turkey, who views the Kurds as terrorists. Trump was told that if American troops stayed in Syria, they risked injury by Turkish troops. If they left, the Kurds would be on their own.

His decision to withdraw the troops caused a firestorm among those in Congress who like war and those who believe that the U.S. should be using our military amply in the Middle East to help our friends and oppose our foes. Yet, those in Congress who have cried out the loudest about Trump’s decision care not about the Constitution or even about the powers of Congress.

Trump ran for office promising to bring the troops home. He may have made the latest decision to do so without adequate warning to his military commanders, but his decision is utterly consistent with his promises, and it is utterly in compliance with the Constitution.

Now is the time for Congress — which is largely angry at the presidential use or nonuse of the military — to repeal both AUMFs and the War Powers Resolution and reclaim its constitutional power as the sole entity in the federal government able to declare war. Until it does, these profoundly outdated, morally ambivalent and overtly unconstitutional statutes lie in the presidential desk drawer like a loaded gun.

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The Presidency is too Powerful

Imagine living in a world where a single individual can issue binding edicts directly controlling the behavior of every firm within a nation. Where one man can unilaterally impose his will upon the general public to the point of expressly forbidding trade relations with an entire country. How terrifying does that sound? That may well be the world we live in.

When China announced it planned to impose a new round of retaliatory tariffs that will cover around $75 billion worth of American goods, President Trump responded by saying the United States has “lost, stupidly, Trillions of Dollars with China” and we’d be “better off without them.” He went on to say that

our great American companies are hereby ordered to immediately start looking for an alternative to China, including bringing your companies HOME and making your products in the USA.

You may find this preposterous, but following his tweetstorm, Trump correctly pointed out that his executive powers are vast and powerful. He specifically referenced the International Emergency Economic Powers Act of 1977, which allows the president to declare a national emergency and then “investigate, regulate, or prohibit . . . any transactions in foreign exchange.” This gives the executive branch virtually unlimited power to directly control foreign exchange in times of emergency and leaves the executive to decide what an emergency is. That is like telling a kid they are only allowed to have a cookie before dinner when they really need to and then letting them decide when they need to.

Even if Trump does not have the power to directly order all U.S. firms to cease trade with Chinese corporations, the discretionary power held by the executive branch is strong—so strong that he may be able to achieve a similar outcome through other means. He could impose massive tariffs so large they essentially act as de facto prohibitions. He could threaten noncompliant firms with harsher regulations or enforcement that is more aggressive. He may be able to achieve his goals indirectly even if he cannot achieve them directly.

Either way, rhetoric like this shifts the Overton window further and further. We begin to accept things that seemed entirely unacceptable not long ago. We become desensitized. The dividing lines between the different branches of government become increasingly blurred. That is how we got where we are today.

Executive overreach is not a new phenomenon, but it does have an accumulative effect. Each president is able to get away with a little bit more, typically under the guise of an “emergency.” Slowly they amass greater and greater power. Slowly the concept of strictly limited, enumerated powers deteriorates. While each president since the founding has attempted to increase the scope of their power, this behavior took a new form after Woodrow Wilson.

Wilson was able to take advantage of an overly ambitious president’s best friend: war. As FDR’s Attorney General Francis Biddle said, “The constitution has not greatly bothered any wartime president.” Wilson began by going after one of the most fundamental constitutional guarantees: freedom of expression.

After being inaugurated into his second term, Wilson asked Congress to give him the authority to censor the press during times of war, to criminalize the promotion of America’s enemies, and to combat literature that was “of a treasonable or anarchistic nature.” Congress listened and passed the Espionage Act of 1917, which gave Wilson almost everything he asked for except the ability to censor the press. However, just a year later the Espionage Act was amended with the Sedition Act of 1918, which provided for more government surveillance of its citizens and further limited speech that was viewed as detrimental to the government. Wilson finally amassed most of the power he wanted.

Franklin D. Roosevelt continued this legacy of expanding executive power during times of distress. In fact, during his first week in office, FDR used the Trading with the Enemy Act of 1917—a law granting the president vast economic powers during times of war or national emergency—to order a “bank holiday” in order to prevent bank runs. This was particularly aggressive because the act did not give him the power to regulate the domestic economy. Since FDR, executive power has continued to expand and grow, increasing more and more under each successive president. Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush Sr., Clinton, Bush Jr., Obama, and Trump have each used and built upon the powers seized by their predecessors.

The Founders were afraid of this exact scenario. James Madison, often referred to as the “Father of the Constitution,” wrote that power “is of an encroaching nature” and thought “it ought to be effectually restrained from passive the limits assigned to it.” To combat this tendency, he created a system of checks and balances where each branch has significant authority over their domain and can limit the power of the other branches. Or, in the words of the great modern philosopher Kanye West, “No one man should have all that power.” However, Madison did not predict that branches would delegate their power to the extent they have with legislation like the Espionage Act or the International Emergency Economic Powers Act.

Because of power delegations like these and the normalization of executive overreach, we now live in a world where a single individual can substantially affect the economic activity of an entire nation and where the whims of one man can dictate the behavior of a country. Is that the world you want to live in?

This article by Trace Mitchell was originally published at FEE and was reprinted under a creative commons license and with the author’s permission.

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