…by Jonas E. Alexis and John W. Whitehead
If you have not read Naomi Klein’s The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism, then do so at your earliest convenience. As we have argued in a previous article, the elite, the Deep State, the shadowing government, always look for disasters so that they can expand their economic and political powers.
Who gets shafted in the end? The poor and needy, not the sons and daughters of the elite themselves. Stephen Johnson has recently declared: “Stock markets may be plummeting, but that doesn’t mean the spread of COVID-19 is hurting everyone’s bottom line.” Who are those people that Johnson is talking about? Here it is:
“‘Stay-at-home’ companies — like Netflix and Amazon — seem to be uniquely poised to weather the outbreak. Media companies also appear to be profiting from surges in coronavirus-related traffic.”
This is not farfetched at all. We know that the pharmaceutical industry has been profiting from people getting sick. Listen to this:
“Last July, Turing Pharmaceuticals’ CEO Martin Shkreli became a lightning rod for growing outrage over soaring prescription drug prices after he raised the price of a newly-acquired drug from $13.50 to $750. But Shkreli, who earned the title ‘the most hated man in America,’ is not the only one acquiring drugs currently on the market to raise their price and, in turn, rapidly drive up their stock price.
“J. Michael Pearson, the CEO of Valeant Pharmaceuticals has enraged the internet after saying in a recent interview with MSNBC that ‘his company’s responsibility is to its shareholders, not the customers who rely on his drugs to live.’
“‘My primary responsibility is to Valeant shareholders. We can do anything we want to do. We will continue to make acquisitions, we will continue to move forward,’ Pearson said. He added: ‘If products are sort of mispriced and there’s an opportunity, we will act appropriately in terms of doing what I assume our shareholders would like us to do.’”
According to this logic, if a disease can bring oligarchs like Pearson more money, then Pearson will agree that curing the patient is a problem because it will stop the flow of money. For the oligarchs, the logic is pretty straightforward: money is essentially the measure of all things. They don’t care about whether you live or die. They only care about making more money at the expense of the poor and needy.
We should ask again, are the oligarchs and powerful people up to something this time? We’ll let John W. Whitehead unpack that question for us.
John W. Whitehead:
You can always count on the government to take advantage of a crisis, legitimate or manufactured.
This coronavirus pandemic is no exception.
Not only are the federal and state governments unraveling the constitutional fabric of the nation with lockdown mandates that are sending the economy into a tailspin and wreaking havoc with our liberties, but they are also rendering the citizenry fully dependent on the government for financial handouts, medical intervention, protection and sustenance.
Unless we find some way to rein in the government’s power grabs, the fall-out will be epic.
Everything I have warned about for years—government overreach, invasive surveillance, martial law, abuse of powers, militarized police, weaponized technology used to track and control the citizenry, and so on—has coalesced into this present moment.
The government’s shameless exploitation of past national emergencies for its own nefarious purposes pales in comparison to what is presently unfolding.
It’s downright Machiavellian.
Deploying the same strategy it used with 9/11 to acquire greater powers under the USA Patriot Act, the police state—a.k.a. the shadow government, a.k.a. the Deep State—has been anticipating this moment for years, quietly assembling a wish list of lockdown powers that could be trotted out and approved at a moment’s notice.
It should surprise no one, then, that the Trump Administration has asked Congress to allow it to suspend parts of the Constitution whenever it deems it necessary during this coronavirus pandemic and “other” emergencies.
It’s that “other” emergencies part that should particularly give you pause, if not spur you to immediate action (by action, I mean a loud and vocal, apolitical, nonpartisan outcry and sustained, apolitical, nonpartisan resistance).
In fact, the Department of Justice (DOJ) has been quietly trotting out and testing a long laundry list of terrifying powers that override the Constitution.
We’re talking about lockdown powers (at both the federal and state level): the ability to suspend the Constitution, indefinitely detain American citizens, bypass the courts, quarantine whole communities or segments of the population, override the First Amendment by outlawing religious gatherings and assemblies of more than a few people, shut down entire industries and manipulate the economy, muzzle dissidents, “stop and seize any plane, train or automobile to stymie the spread of contagious disease,” reshape financial markets, create a digital currency (and thus further restrict the use of cash), determine who should live or die…
You’re getting the picture now, right?
These are powers the police state would desperately like to make permanent.
Bear in mind, however, that these powers the Trump Administration, acting on orders from the police state, are officially asking Congress to recognize and authorize barely scratch the surface of the far-reaching powers the government has already unilaterally claimed for itself.
Unofficially, the police state has been riding roughshod over the rule of law for years now without any pretense of being reined in or restricted in its power grabs by Congress, the courts or the citizenry.
The seeds of this present madness were sown several decades ago when George W. Bush stealthily issued two presidential directives that granted the president the power to unilaterally declare a national emergency, which is loosely defined as “any incident, regardless of location, that results in extraordinary levels of mass casualties, damage, or disruption severely affecting the U.S. population, infrastructure, environment, economy, or government functions.“
Comprising the country’s Continuity of Government (COG) plan, these directives, which do not need congressional approval, provide a skeletal outline of the actions the president will take in the event of a “national emergency.”
Mind you, that national emergency can take any form, can be manipulated for any purpose and can be used to justify any end goal—all on the say so of the president. Indeed, the U.S. military has reportedly already been given standby orders under COG for this present coronavirus pandemic.
So what is the bottom line here?
We are, for all intents and purposes, one crisis away from having a full-fledged authoritarian state emerge from the shadows, at which time democratic government will be dissolved and the country will be ruled by an unelected bureaucracy.
Thus far, we have at least pretended that the government abides by the Constitution.
The attempts by each successive presidential administration to rule by fiat merely plays into the hands of those who would distort the government’s system of checks and balances and its constitutional separation of powers beyond all recognition.
Remember, these powers do not expire at the end of a president’s term. They remain on the books, just waiting to be used or abused by the next political demagogue.
So, too, every action taken by Trump and his predecessors to weaken the system of checks and balances, sidestep the rule of law, and expand the power of the executive branch of government has made us that much more vulnerable to those who would abuse those powers in the future.
Think on this: the presidential election is right around the corner.
Suddenly, the improbable possibility of any incumbent president attempting to extend the police state’s stranglehold on power by using current events to justify postponing or doing away with an election—forfeiting the people’s rights to govern altogether—and establishing a totalitarian regime seems less far-fetched than it did even a few years ago.
The emergency state is now out in the open for all to see. Unfortunately, “we the people” refuse to see what’s before us. Most Americans, fearful and easily controlled, would sooner rouse themselves to fight for that last roll of toilet paper than they would their own freedoms.
This is how freedom dies.
We erect our own prison walls, and as our rights dwindle away, we forge our own chains of servitude to the police state.
Be warned, however: once you surrender your freedoms to the government—no matter how compelling the reason might be for doing so—you can never get them back.
As I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, no government willingly relinquishes power.
If we continue down this road, there can be no surprise about what awaits us at the end.
The America metamorphosing before our eyes is almost unrecognizable from the country I grew up in, and that’s not just tragic—it’s downright terrifying.
Naomi Klein, The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism (New York: Picador, 2007).