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Posts Tagged ‘emergency powers’

Workers of the World Unite (Just Kidding!)

Posted by M. C. on February 22, 2022

Leftist movements have always been the brainchild of angry academics envious of the wealthy. The working-class were only meant to be pawns, cannon fodder, holding the frontline so that Marxist academics could make their demands from behind closed doors and be lifted to the status of elites. Their disdain for the working-class had remained whispers until recently—“Why do they vote against their own self-interest?” they would ask with contempt.

by Tommy Salmons

Nearly a month ago a convoy of tractor trailers and passenger vehicles full of protesters descended on Ottawa, the capitol of Canada. Their message has been clear: “lift all mandates and COVID restrictions.”

The Canadian Government’s response (in addition to invoking emergency powers) has been to call them racists, fascists, NAZIs, seditionists, and white separatists despite the diversity of people protesting the draconian measures. The Ottawa City Counsel continues to call on strong-arm police tactics to silence opposition to their technocratic rule, and the left has gleefully joined the government in the fight against the working-class citizens asking for their lives to go back to the normalcy of 2018.

If you hadn’t been paying attention this could be confusing. The workers of the world unite, and those ideologues historically demanding a worker revolution are opposed to the movement? They must be hypocrites, right?

Well, no.

Leftist movements have always been the brainchild of angry academics envious of the wealthy. The working-class were only meant to be pawns, cannon fodder, holding the frontline so that Marxist academics could make their demands from behind closed doors and be lifted to the status of elites. Their disdain for the working-class had remained whispers until recently—“Why do they vote against their own self-interest?” they would ask with contempt. But that was as far as they would take their criticisms because their goals always required the blue-collar workers to further their doctrine.

The election of Donald Trump and Brexit changed that. The unspoken alliance of corporatists, media, and academics finally revealed itself as an oppositional force of the every-man. They went on tirades about deplorables and the uneducated. They labeled all opposition to their plans of global governance fascists and racists. They mobilized student groups, political activists, media personalities, and NGOs to fight “disinformation” and “racism” worldwide. They were set into death-throes in an attempt to preserve their power and influence.

They weren’t surprised by the desires and political identities of the working-class; they were surprised that the working-class became aware of their own desires and mobilized in a cooperative way to realize those desires and combat the established order that this unsavory faction had so carefully crafted.

In the decades leading up to the Civil Rights Movement the Marxists concluded that the workers of the world wouldn’t unite to bring forth their socialist utopia. In fact, the workers rejected their collectivist ideas altogether. This epiphany led to the development of cultural or racial Marxism, and the goal of the establishment moved from mobilizing the proletariat to igniting a revolution that was fashioned after the Maoist Cultural Revolution. They would utilize the race-based politics of identity and the evils of history to bring forth their ends. The trick was that in order to accomplish this goal they had to distract and divide the proles just long enough to propagandize their children to turn against them, but they got greedy.

Most blue-collar people are not ideological. They spend their time oriented towards the goal of improving their lives and the lives of their children. They want to be left alone to pursue their dreams in order to leave a legacy future generations may enjoy. As politics have become pop culture, invading every aspect of life, they have become more uncomfortable. Their children come home spewing Marxist propaganda, calling them racists, and questioning their sexuality at inappropriate ages. (There’s absolutely no reason a five-year-old should be concerned with sexual orientation or identity.)

The left rejects this. In their worldview everything is political, and everyone must be coerced to submit to their ideology. When the working-class stands up against CRT, sexual practices, and the demonizing of traditional families being taught in public schools they must be brought to submission. When they refuse to submit, they are ostracized and labeled bigots. But the corporatist left didn’t predict that they would encounter so much opposition to their cultural revolution. Calling people racist, sexist, homophobe, transphobe, NAZI, fascist, and bigot are their only tool. They’ve overused these terms to the point that they have no significant definition or utility anymore. The hard-working small business owner, contractor, farmer, plumber, electrician, and truck driver (etc.) is not going to be bullied. They are going to fight for their children and grandchildren. They are going to fight for the future of freedom. That’s what the Marxists realized nearly a century ago—the proletariat want freedom, not revolution. The trucker protest in Canada is a microcosm, and it reflects this fact. The elites and the left are seeing what a real workers revolution is, and it is what they always feared. Their utility belt of insults has become feckless, and they must only comply to the demands to end the technocratic shift to totalitarianism because the honking will continue until freedom improves.

About Tommy Salmons

Tommy Salmons is the host of Year Zero, a podcast focusing on government abuse of power.

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State Legislatures Are Finally Limiting Governors’ Emergency Powers | Mises Wire

Posted by M. C. on April 14, 2021

Ironically, in many states, the covid-19 shutdowns—which many governors used to essentially turn their state governments into institutions of one-man rule and rule by decree—may end up precipitating a widespread movement to limit executive powers in state governments. The fact that a great many residents of New York, Ohio, and California have apparently had enough of their governors may be a harbinger for the future.

Ryan McMaken

Last week, Indiana governor Eric Holcomb vetoed a bill that would limit gubernatorial authority in declaring emergencies. The bill would allow the General Assembly to call itself into an emergency session, with the idea that the legislature could then vote to end, or otherwise limit, a governor’s emergency powers. Although both the legislature and the governor’s office are controlled by Republicans, the legislature has apparently wearied of the governor’s repeated renewals of the state’s emergency status in the name of managing the effects of the covid-19 virus.

The legislature could still override the veto. In Indiana, an override requires only a majority vote.

If the legislature does so, it won’t be the first state to override a governor’s veto on this front. Last month, the Republican-led Ohio legislature voted to override Republican Mike DeWine’s veto of Senate Bill 22, which gives lawmakers the authority to cancel any gubernatorial health orders that last longer than thirty days. The bill also creates a legislative oversight panel.

These two states, however, offer only a small sampling of what state legislators have planned during 2021’s legislative session. In fact, lawmakers in forty-five states have proposed more than three hundred measures this year designed to expand legislative oversight over governors’ emergency powers.

Ironically, in many states, the covid-19 shutdowns—which many governors used to essentially turn their state governments into institutions of one-man rule and rule by decree—may end up precipitating a widespread movement to limit executive powers in state governments. The fact that a great many residents of New York, Ohio, and California have apparently had enough of their governors may be a harbinger for the future.

One can only hope so, since this is a debate that is long overdue.

States have long expanded the administrative powers of governors and lengthened their terms in office. So we now have a nation full of politically and administratively powerful state governors who think it perfectly reasonable to declare year-long states of emergency, shut down businesses at the point of a gun, and order law-abiding citizens to stay in their homes. In many states, legislatures could do little, and did do little. 

In response to any efforts to curtail their powers, governors will naturally protest, claiming—as Mike DeWine did—that to limit the governors’ powers would upset the “balance of powers” or otherwise constitute a threat to public safety. No legislator should fall for this ruse. It’s high time that governors be reined in and stripped of the many powers which governors of yesteryear could only dream of wielding. Just as executive power at the federal level constitutes one of the gravest dangers that the US regime can pose, the same is true at the state level.

State Legislators Move to Rein in Governors

The idea that governors must be trusted with emergency powers has long rested on a presumption that these powers would be limited in time and scope.

The covid-19 business closures, mask orders, and stay-at-home orders, on the other hand, have made it abundantly clear that state governors will enthusiastically embrace emergency orders that last many months, with governors freely renewing their emergency powers again and again and again. Moreover, governors have wielded their power arbitrarily, often apparently deciding to implement shutdowns on a whim, with no established metrics for how many covid deaths or infections would trigger more business closures. Governors have handed over public health decisions to unelected bureaucrats who often meet in secret and with no public accountability.

It appears many legislators have learned something from the experience.

According to the AP:

About half of [the 45 states considering bills to limit governors’ powers] are considering significant changes, such as tighter limits on how long governors’ emergency orders can last without legislative approval….

Though the pushback is coming primarily from Republican lawmakers, it is not entirely partisan.

Republican lawmakers have sought to limit the power of Democratic governors in states such as Kansas, Kentucky and North Carolina. But they also have sought to rein in fellow Republican governors in such states as Arkansas, Idaho, Indiana and Ohio. Some Democratic lawmakers also have pushed back against governors of their own party, most notably limiting the ability of embattled New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo to issue new mandates.

In Ohio, the new legislation that will limit DeWine’s power also explicitly “limits local health officials’ power to require people to quarantine or self-isolate without a specific medical diagnosis and allows Ohioans to sue over the constitutionality of any state emergency order in their home county.”

Efforts to rein in governors’ powers are not limited to legislative action. The state supreme courts in Wisconsin and Michigan have both handed down rulings limiting the governors’ powers, and a recall election designed to end Gavin Newsom’s lockdown fetish is—so far—moving forward.

Most efforts to limit governors’ power, however, are likely going to have to come at the legislative level. The federal courts have made it clear they’re not willing to do much to limit emergency powers, and state supreme courts have also proven to be mostly unresponsive.

A Long Trend of Increasing Governors’ Powers

If legislatures do move to limit governor’s powers, however, it would be only a small reversal in a long and well-established trend toward increases in gubernatorial power.

In the early years of the United States, state governors were thoroughly limited by the legislatures. In many cases, governors were appointed by the legislatures themselves, and terms of office were one or two years in length. Although states then moved toward popular election of governors—thus making them more independent of the legislatures—the legislatures also moved to reduce the governor’s administrative power by making more offices elected rather than appointed by the governor.

Thus, during the first half of the nineteenth century, up until around 1850,

the governor’s appointing power, and as a result his control of the administration was at its lowest point. The general result of the development up to that time made the governor’s position less important than at first; and his legislative authority was of greater importance than his administrative authority.1

This changed during the second half of the century, however, and in a lengthy 1912 analysis for the Michigan Law Review, John Fairlie concluded:

In the period since 1850 the position of the State governor has been strengthened to a notable extent, not so much by changes in the State constitutions, as by the expansion of State administration and a considerable increase in the appointing power of the governor conferred by statute. Many new State offices, boards and commissions have been established; and these positions have been filled on the nomination of the governor usually with the consent of the senate. This increase in appointing power has added to the governor’s control over the State administration; and the increased administrative control has added to the influence of the governor in other directions…. The general result has been to emphasize decidedly the importance of the governor’s office; although his authority still falls much short of that of the President of the United States.

In other words, increasing the number of administrative agencies and offices constitutes a de facto increase to a governor’s power. Coupled with new opportunities to appoint political allies to bureaucratic offices, the effect is sizable indeed.

It’s also notable that Fairlie’s words were written in 1912. Needless to say, the administrative power of governors, exercised through appointed bureaucrats, has not exactly been reduced since 1912. Moreover, over the past century, the number of state governors enjoying four-year terms instead of two-year terms has nearly doubled, further increasing the governors’ independence from both the voters and the legislature.

Unfortunately, limiting gubernatorial power will do nothing to directly limit federal power or the US president’s vast executive power, which dwarfs that of the states. This is part of the reason why Americans largely ignore their state governors and their offices. They have, until recently, seemed relatively invisible. Yet, the covid-19 lockdowns have unexpectedly brought into clear view the fact governors do in fact wield immense power over the daily lives of Americans, and many do so in an aggressive and arbitrary manner. Now is as good a time as any to strip these governors of more than a little of their much-abused power. 

  • 1. John A. Fairlie, “The State Governor. II. Administrative Powers,” Michigan Law Review 10, no. 5 (March 1912): 370–83. 


Contact Ryan McMaken

Ryan McMaken (@ryanmcmaken) is a senior editor at the Mises Institute. Send him your article submissions for the Mises Wire and Power&Market, but read article guidelines first. Ryan has degrees in economics and political science from the University of Colorado and was a housing economist for the State of Colorado. He is the author of Commie Cowboys: The Bourgeoisie and the Nation-State in the Western Genre.

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DOJ seeks new emergency powers amid coronavirus pandemic – POLITICO

Posted by M. C. on March 21, 2020

A rose is a rose is the Soviet Union.


The Justice Department has quietly asked Congress for the ability to ask chief judges to detain people indefinitely without trial during emergencies — part of a push for new powers that comes as the coronavirus spreads through the United States.

Documents reviewed by POLITICO detail the department’s requests to lawmakers on a host of topics, including the statute of limitations, asylum and the way court hearings are conducted. POLITICO also reviewed and previously reported on documents seeking the authority to extend deadlines on merger reviews and prosecutions.

A Justice Department spokesperson declined to comment on the documents.

The move has tapped into a broader fear among civil liberties advocates and Donald Trump’s critics — that the president will use a moment of crisis to push for controversial policy changes. Already, he has cited the pandemic as a reason for heightening border restrictions and restricting asylum claims. He has also pushed for further tax cuts as the economy withers, arguing that it would soften the financial blow to Americans. And even without policy changes, Trump has vast emergency powers that he could legally deploy right now to try and slow the coronavirus outbreak.

The DOJ requests — which are unlikely to make it through a Democratic-led House — span several stages of the legal process, from initial arrest to how cases are processed and investigated.

In one of the documents, the department proposed that Congress grant the attorney general power to ask the chief judge of any district court to pause court proceedings “whenever the district court is fully or partially closed by virtue of any natural disaster, civil disobedience, or other emergency situation.”

The proposal would also grant those top judges broad authority to pause court proceedings during emergencies. It would apply to “any statutes or rules of procedure otherwise affecting pre-arrest, post-arrest, pre-trial, trial, and post-trial procedures in criminal and juvenile proceedings and all civil process and proceedings,” according to draft legislative language the department shared with Congress. In making the case for the change, the DOJ document wrote that individual judges can currently pause proceedings during emergencies, but that their proposal would make sure all judges in any particular district could handle emergencies “in a consistent manner.”

The request raised eyebrows because of its potential implications for habeas corpus –– the constitutional right to appear before a judge after arrest and seek release.

“Not only would it be a violation of that, but it says ‘affecting pre-arrest,’” said Norman L. Reimer, the executive director of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. “So that means you could be arrested and never brought before a judge until they decide that the emergency or the civil disobedience is over. I find it absolutely terrifying. Especially in a time of emergency, we should be very careful about granting new powers to the government.”

Reimer said the possibility of chief judges suspending all court rules during an emergency without a clear end in sight was deeply disturbing.

“That is something that should not happen in a democracy,” he said.

The department also asked Congress to pause the statute of limitations for criminal investigations and civil proceedings during national emergencies, “and for one year following the end of the national emergency,” according to the draft legislative text.

Trump recently declared the coronavirus crisis a national emergency.

Another controversial request: The department is looking to change the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure in some cases to expand the use of videoconference hearings, and to let some of those hearings happen without defendants’ consent, according to the draft legislative text.

“Video teleconferencing may be used to conduct an appearance under this rule,” read a draft of potential new language for Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 5(f), crossing out the phrase “if the defendant consents.”

“Video teleconferencing may be used to arraign a defendant,” read draft text of rule 10(c), again striking out the phrase “if the defendant consents.”

Reimer said forcing people to have hearings over video rather than in person would threaten civil liberties.

“If it were with the consent of the accused person it would be fine,” he said. “But if it’s not with the consent of the accused person, it’s a terrible road to go down. We have a right to public trials. People have a right to be present in court.”

The department also wants Congress to change the law to explicitly say that people with Covid-19 –– the illness caused by the novel coronavirus –– are not included among those who may apply for asylum. And the department asked for the same change regarding people who are “subject to a presidential proclamation suspending and limiting the entry of aliens into the United States,” according to the draft legislative language.

Layli Miller-Munro, the CEO of the Tahirih Justice Center, which advocates for women and girls fleeing violence, said the language would block anyone on a presidential travel ban list from seeking asylum in the U.S.

“I think it’s a humanitarian tragedy that fails to recognize that vulnerable people from those countries are among the most persecuted and that protecting them is exactly what the refugee convention was designed to do,” she said.

The asylum request comes as the Trump administration on Friday said that it would begin denying entry to all migrants illegally crossing the U.S. southern border, including those seeking asylum.

“I hope we come out of this with a sense of oneness, interconnectedness,” Miller-Munro said of the coronavirus pandemic. “Borders can’t protect us. Viruses do not care.”

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