Friday, 23 June 2017

undisclosed location or habeas corpus

NPR’s Fresh Air featured a really engaging and frankly terrifying interview that explored the various contingency plans for the continuity of the US government in the event of a nuclear attack or other catastrophic event through the lens of bureaucracy and bunkers.
Optimistically first codified in the 1940s at a time before run-away proliferation when nuclear capabilities did seem survivable due to delivery methods and potency of the arsenal, the government seemed to want to keep up the pretence that such doomsday forecasts would still hold as to contemplate otherwise was unthinkable—believing that the person who had the sole, unilateral authority to choose how to respond would be the sagest and most introspective of Americans. Despite the level of detail and deputising involved in these plans and places of refuge, all of it seemed geared toward the goal of supporting some cult of personality that could sustain survivors through to a national reconstitution that would take hold at some calculated juncture in the not too distant future. There were quite a few engrossing details and descriptions to latch on to, like how the emergency cash reserves of the US are in large part denominated in the unpopular two-dollar bill and the order of precedence when it comes to safeguarding national treasures like the original bill of rights or the constitution, but what struck me as most surprising was that there was (and assuredly is—in some form) the equivalent of the Nuclear Football was at the disposal of the US attorney general. Like the president’s entourage, an aide would accompany America’s top lawyer at all times with a briefcase full of writs and warrants signature-ready to curtail civil liberties and confine the troublesome.