Remember that little gem? It lets Commander Decider Stutterer-in-Chief Guy do, well, anything he wants, including being the Determiner. He can define "catastrophic event" (snowstorm? earthquake? manufactured terrorist alert?) in order to then "coordinate activities" with no input from Congress. No separation of powers; you know, business as usual.
As it turns out, I wasn't the only one who thought this was a little, er, extreme.
"A blueprint for instituting martial law in the United States."
"Sounds like something out of Star Wars."
"The old blue bloods have taken over."
These are just a few of the claims being bandied about by bloggers on the Internet and radio talk-show hosts alarmed by President Bush's plan for the federal government's survival following a catastrophic attack or natural disaster.
The plan, embodied in National Security Presidential Directive 51, was issued without fanfare by Bush on May 9.
"Without fanfare" is exactly right. Everything is a secret. Even Bush's secrets are secrets. Everyone over there must run around sounding like librarians: "Shhhh!"
But the plan's outline has stirred heated reactions.
Misery loves company. And I've been pretty miserable.
Michael Harrison, editor of Talkers Magazine, which serves many of the nation's estimated 5,000 radio and television talk-show hosts, says progressive radio hosts claim Bush "might just create a disaster to grab more power."
Conservatives, on the other hand, "have distanced themselves from Bush for all his wrong calls, mistakes and incompetence and they see this directive handing Bush's critics yet another weapon," he said.
Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., a member of the House Homeland Security Committee, complains that the White House has rejected his request to review secret parts of the Bush plan.
"Maybe people who think there's a conspiracy out there are right," DeFazio said.
Pshyeah, maybe. But then there are always the "some" who "say":
Some say Bush is on solid ground overhauling the nation's Cold War-era preparations to deal with the post-Sept. 11 possibility of an al-Qaida attack using explosives, a dirty bomb or a stolen nuclear weapon.
And there are the "others" who also "say". Richard Blau, a lawyer in Tampa, Fla., and a member of the advisory committee of the American Bar Association's committee on law and national security, says "he's concerned about provisions that could enable a president to brush aside state objections to impose federal control in a disaster."
And who better to be concerned about enabling than this president? I rest my case.