This, my friends, is how democracies die …
“The Justice Department has quietly [emphasis added] 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.
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.”
You can read the rest of the article here, but let’s talk a bit about what this could mean.
This could mean, if somehow either Congress passed it, or failing that, Trump took his ‘executive power’ to an unprecedented level, that you might be arrested for any or no reason. Say your state is under a mandated “lock down” (something that is outside of the law to begin with), and you are out for a walk in your neighborhood. A police car is patrolling the area, sees you, stops and the officer arrests you simply for being outside. He couldn’t do that under normal circumstances, and if he did, you would be able to appear before a magistrate, explain the situation, and almost certainly be released immediately. But, if this suspension of constitutional rights were to fly, you could be arrested, tossed in jail, and not go before a judge “until this crisis is over” … possibly months or even as long as a year.
That scenario is frightening enough, but let’s project a bit. If allowed to suspend constitutional rights, what other areas of our civil liberties might be affected? The one that worries me the most is the 1st Amendment, our rights to freedom of speech and freedom of the press. Already, our right to peaceful protest has been suspended by default with the ruling that no more than ten people are allowed to gather in one place. What next? Could it become unlawful to … say, speak against our government, to call Trump out on his lies and ignorance?
I don’t know where this will go, and I hope that the Democratic-majority House of Representatives will put a stop to such nonsense, but I do not have a crumb of trust in our government at this time – not Donald Trump, not William Barr and his Department of ‘Justice’, not the Republican-led Senate under Mitch McConnell. I don’t trust our law enforcement agencies, nor our Departments of Labour, Education, Health and Human Services … none of them. They are led by people who do not care about the people of this nation but will do almost anything to enhance their own profits and power. Just something to think about. Let’s keep our eye on the ball and hope our free press does the same.
And just one little snippet that I found humorous in a macabre sort of way …
“In Rhode Island, among businesses cited for ignoring social-distance warnings was Wonderland, a strip club, where customers were still receiving lap dances last weekend.”
Gotta get your priorities straight, y’know!