WASHINGTON (BP) 10/27/2012 Yesterday, following mass riots and demonstrations throughout the U.S., President Barack Obama suspended all national civil liberties and in several localities, ordered in units of the National Guard in an attempt to restore order. The President took these actions in response to the public’s outcry for order and stability. These actions also suspended the upcoming 2012 national elections which are scheduled to take place next month. In a speech to the country, President Obama commented: “ As a result of eight years of Bush Administration failed policies, our nation continues to face tough economic times with high unemployment, racial unrest, bank failures and the prospect of national bankruptcy. These events have caused fellow citizens and outside forces to take unfair advantage of our tenuous conditions. For these and other reasons, I announce today the suspension of all civil liberties until further notice. I take this action in response to the American peoples voices calling for me to take charge and restore civil order. I do so reluctantly”. _________________________________________________________________________________________
Since publishing this article there have been two additional sources that have come to light that add significant context to the theory that is proposed in the article below. The first source is an article by Quin Hillyer written in The American Spectator. The second are two separate episodes of the Glenn Beck show, one having aired on September 27th, the publication date of this article and the second episode which aired today, September 28th. We have updated this article with the Hillyer link and the two Glenn Beck episodes. All three are found in a Post Script at the end of this article.
Could conditions in America ever become so grave that civil liberties could be suspended ? If so, how would it likely happen? A recent episode of MSNBC’s Morning Joe Show provides insight. (Refresh page if video does not appear)
In a previous article “The Black Church, Obama and Social Unrest” written for Black Quill and Ink, I mentioned the prospect of social unrest occurring in the U.S. and President Obama taking drastic action to address the problem. In that article I suggested the possibility of a suspension of civil liberties including, for example, the suspension of the 2012 elections. The point of the article was that current conditions in the U.S. could deteriorate to such an extent that the general public might urge the President to take some sort of action. In the MSNBC clip, what I suggested as theory was actually put forward in this debate; the encouragement of President Obama to violate civil liberties in order to address an issue involving a preacher’s practice of his First Amendment rights.
Regrettably, since coming into office, President Obama has consistently taken positions, passed legislation and governed in a manner often diametrically opposed to the interest and will of most Americans. As a result of these actions the public has become angry; divisions have arisen between an assortment of groups including races, classes and to some degree gender. This conflict was most recently seem in the proposed 9/11 mosque construction and the threatened burning of the Quran. These tensions have culminated with the real prospect that some type of violence could occur soon somewhere in the country. Should widespread upheaval erupt what are chances that President Obama could suspend American civil liberties? The suspension of American civil liberties is, unfortunately, not a foreign event to America. Our history has a checkered past with government imposition of civil liberties restrictions. During the civil war, President Lincoln ordered the suspension of habeas corpus in order to preserve the Union. In an article on this subject found at the The American Patriot Network it was noted:
In 1861, Lincoln had already suspended civil law in territories where resistance to the North’s military power would be dangerous. In 1862, when copperhead democrats began criticizing Lincoln’s violation of the Constitution, Lincoln suspended habeas corpus throughout the nation and had many copperhead democrats arrested under military authority because he felt that the State Courts in the north west would not convict war protesters such as the copperheads. He proclaimed that all persons who discouraged enlistments or engaged in disloyal practices would come under Martial Law. (The American Patriot Network)
Lincoln’s actions occurred during a time of war or just leading up to war. His analysis was grounded on the belief that his actions were necessary in order to preserve the Union. In the Supreme Court case of Ex Parte Merryman, Chief Justice Taney ruled that Lincoln’s suspension of habeas corpus was unconstitutional because a suspension of the writ could not be done without an Act of Congress. There have been other instances of the President of the United States taking broad actions to suspend or deny civil liberties. For example, President Roosevelt placed groups of people, notably Japanese Americans, into retention camps during World War II.
A more recent event involved action by the Bush Administration immediately following the September 11th attack on America. Following this national disaster President Bush, through his Attorney General John Ashcroft, issued an order directing Federal Officers to detain suspects of terrorists acts for indeterminate periods, without being charged, as well as issuing electronic wiretaps for a broad range of reasons. In effect the order allowed the U.S. government to bypass civil trials and to place terrorist suspects into the military tribunal system.
Like President Lincoln’s actions on habeas corpus, President Bush sounded as the basis for his actions the fact that we were ” at war” ; in this case with Al Queda and other Islamic terrorist. While the actions of Presidents in this area are practically always challenged, usually in the courts, the general public mood is usually one of tolerance, recognizing the need for these actions for national security . In almost all cases, the suspension of civil liberties, historically, was narrowly applied and done in the context of a wartime environment. Americans understood and wanted the peace of mind that their government was taking “necessary ” steps to protect them and the nation. But even with these limited restrictions, concerns over freedom from excessive government intrusion was always a significant issue. Challenges to these government actions were always pursued either in the courts or the arena of public opinion. But where would the public stand if civil liberties were suspended not in the context of wartime but in the exercise of First Amendment rights of free speech? When or can the exercise of free speech cross the line to justify the action taken by President Obama? Yes, I believe that conditions could exist that would justify the suspension of civil liberties. However, I believe the more important issue, especially as it applies to President Obama, is whether we as a country are being manipulated by the government into behaving in a manner that will create crisis thereby allowing the President to impose civil restrictions.
Here, Rham Emanuel and Hillary Clinton both laud the value of using a national crisis to advance a political agenda. Perhaps its just me but I feel a little uneasy with my government leaders looking for opportunities or crisis so that they can do things that they know they would not otherwise be able to accomplish. It seems to me that if government cannot make their case to the American public then the objective that they wish to achieve must not have the merit that the government officials seem to think exists. If, for example, government experiences success in using crisis to achieve their otherwise flawed or unwanted programs then what’s to stop them from “manufacturing” crisis when no real crisis exists? That’s the rub and that’s what concerns me about this current Administration.
In several of his episodes, Glenn Beck talked about the Cloward and Piven model for revamping an economy. Cloward and Piven are two professors who developed a road map for how one could change the fundamental structure of an economy. In the case of the U.S. the map describes how to transform a capitalist system to a socialist economy. Their theory describes how you collapse the economy by overwhelming the system with social programs and participants until the system implodes under the weight of debt and financial obligations. When the collapse occurs, and this necessarily involves social unrest since people dependant on the government are no longer able to receive benefits, the public will demand that a strong leader take charge to fix the problems. Following the collapse, you then insert a new system, in this case, a socialist structure. The Cloward and Piven model foresees violence, for they see violence as a necessary evil to justify the ends. Note Mrs. Piven:
There are many people today who strongly believe that President Obama has set our nation on a course towards socialism. I have written several articles describing how the President has forced through Congress unwanted policies and legislation; dealt heavy handily with companies and just generally engaged in acts that now has even the most detached and naive American saying that the President is moving the country towards socialism. With this awakening by Americans, aggressive efforts are now underway to putting a halt to President Obama’s fundamental changing of America. Tea Party activist have taken to the streets to protest and they as well as similar groups have become a major force in the electoral process. In fact, these groups and their efforts have been so successful that many think that they will succeed by changing the Congressional make-up in November and possibly eliminating the prospect of Obama’s re-election in 2012. If Obama’s re-election is a real threat which means the termination of his efforts to fundamentally change America, could we see some effort undertaken by the Administration or its allies to fabricate a crisis that will allow the President to impose civil liberties restrictions on America? Looking back on the last year and a half of the Obama Administration I would say that the likelihood of a crisis being fabricated and civil restrictions being imposed is about as real as our government someday owning car companies; suing states over legal immigration laws; taking over all higher education funding; bringing the country to near financial bankruptcy or bailing out insurance companies and banks. What are the chances?
POST SCRIPT 1
Just today, Quin Hillyer, writing for the American Spectator, eloquently describes conditions existing today in America; conditions which could create the “crisis” event that culminates in the imposition of restrictions on American civil liberties. I suggest all of my readers go to http://spectator.org/archives/2010/07/29/the-cure-for-political-dejecti to read Mr. Hillyer’s article. Perhaps, great minds think alike. No slander intended to Mr. Hillyer, though.
POST SCRIPT 2
It is amazing that within the 12 hours since this article was posted there has been another related article published and a TV program that aired on the same content as this post. Below is today’s episode of The Glenn Beck show where Glenn talks about a potential crisis occurring in America as a result of groups who might create the crisis for political gains.
September 27th Glenn Beck episode.
Glenn Beck episode September 29th
POST SCRIPT 3
New links to The Blaze. Articles on European Violence. 9/29/2010
POST SCRIPT 4
This video, Road to Serfdom, explains how a Republic like the United States, can regress to a totalitarian state and ruled by a dictator.