Good Alternative News Sources And Bad Solutions From Authoritarians

by William Skink

While the information realm known as “alternative media” is comprised of lots of unhelpful noise and garbage, I’ve found value in wading in with an open mind to think differently about the events shaping our lives.

Two of the most helpful sites I’ve been regularly visiting as this global pandemic has been rolled out have been Moon of Alabama and The Last American Vagabond.

UPDATE: I need to add Liberty Blitzkrieg as a great site to check out.

One of the things that most concerns me is the types of solutions that will be put into action in response to the threat of this global pandemic. If you’ve never heard of the term “continuity of government”, I suggest checking out Whitney Webb’s new piece at The Last American Vagabond where she landed after leaving Mint Press. Here’s a peak:

Last week, Newsweek published a report entitled “Inside The Military’s Top Secret Plans If Coronavirus Cripples the Government,” which offers vague descriptions of different military plans that could be put into effect if the civilian government were to be largely incapacitated, with a focus on the potential of the current novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic to result in such a scenario.

The article’s author, William Arkin, largely frames these plans as new, though — buried deep within the article — he eventually mentions that such contingency plans can be traced back to the Eisenhower administration (though they were in place before) and have since been developed and updated by most subsequent administrations, largely through the issuance of executive orders. Arkin also points out that some of these “Continuity of Government”, or COG, plans include the “devolution” of leadership and Constitutional authority, which he notes “could circumvent the normal Constitutional provisions for government succession, and military commanders could be placed in control around America.”

Yet, there are key aspects of COG and its development that Arkin leaves out. For instance, in his timeline on how such plans have developed in the post-World War II era, he conveniently fails to mention any of the Reagan administration’s major changes to COG, including the Reagan-era Executive Order on which all current COG programs are based. Indeed, many of the “extra-Constitutional” aspects of COG that Arkin mentions began during the Reagan administration, when these plans were redrafted to largely exclude members of Congress, including the Speaker of the House, from succession plans and even moved to essentially eliminate Congress in the event of COG being implemented, with near total power instead being given to the executive branch and the military. It was also during this time that the “devolution” aspect of COG was hammered out, as it created three president-cabinet “teams” to be stationed in different parts of the country outside of the nation’s capital. Arkin’s decision to not mention how COG was a major focus of the Reagan administration is striking given that that administration poured hundreds of millions of dollars annually into COG planning and development and also conducted COG drills on a regular basis.

Continuity of government planning is one of those “solutions” we should be paying close attention to because it’s an actual plan, refined over the decades, to remove the constitutional protections we naively assume we will retain in a national emergency.

Other solutions that authoritarians won’t be able to resist implementing will be going cashless and ramping up surveillance. Can’t let an amazing opportunity like this go to waste, right?

On the garbage end of alternative media exist the everything hoaxers, people like former Montana blogger Mark Tokarski who claim this whole CoVid 19 virus doesn’t exist. I still check in at his website to see how his followers maintain their fierce denialism. It is actually quite impressive.

I should be more charitable. We are all experiencing disorientation and anxiety over what is happening. I’d say more, but I hear trouble brewing in the kitchen. Gotta go for now…

About Travis Mateer

I'm an artist and citizen journalist living and writing in Montana. You can contact me here: willskink at yahoo dot com
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2 Responses to Good Alternative News Sources And Bad Solutions From Authoritarians

  1. J. Kevin Hunt says:

    My thoughts:

    1. Attorney General Barr secretly asked Congress to suspend habeas corpus. It was the ‘alternative press’ that first publicized it, followed quickly by MSM.

    2. Very odd Monday that Barr was the second Team Prevaricate member to take the microphone at the daily Bullshit Briefing. I was chomping at the bit to hear reporters lay into him about his request for indefinite detention without trial of various undesirable types, but when he reached the podium, the networks cut back to regular programming. That included NPR. WTF??? That alarms me.

    3. The Missoula City Council voted that evening to cede special powers to Mayor Engen. I’m amazed that there were any unceded powers remaining to cede to him.

  2. Djinn&Tonic says:


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