As important as it is to understand the U.S. Executive's institutional evil, lawlessness and authoritarianism, however, there is one question that must be addressed first: its claim to be protecting "national security."
For this claim is the foundational rationale of all Executive action. American democracy has become so debased that most Americans passively accept the fact that the public servants whose salaries they pay routinely lie to them; wage losing and murderous wars that waste trillions of dollars that they need at home to make a living and support their families; send their sons and daughters off to be senselessly killed; and routinely break the domestic and international laws in which all Americans claim to believe, and upon which Executive officials base their right to rule.
They accept these Executive Branch violations of the most basic principles upon which their country was founded for one basic reason: they believe Executive Branch leaders are protecting them, that even clearly illegitimate activities are legitimate because they protect U.S. "national security."
So deep is the unconscious need to be protected that the words "national security" have acquired a near-mystical power that overwhelms the undeniable factual evidence that U.S. Executive Branch leaders are endangering not protecting Americans, as they lose U.S. influence around the world.
~ from America's Most Anti-Democratic Institution: How the Imperial Presidency Threatens U.S. National Security, by Fred Branfman ~
The problem with the term "national security" is that it means one thing for the unwashed masses and something altogether different for the elite. For the former, it means protection from all the bogeymen -- real and imagined -- out there in the big bad world. National Security means that our borders are protected and that terrorists -- real or imagined -- won't attack and harm us.
But this is NOT what the term means for elites. For them, it is ALL about economics. Nothing else factors into it. Not human rights. Not national sovereignty. Not environmental stewardship. Not the democratic process. And most definitely NOT the economic security of the 99 percent!
No, for the powers that be, national security means they are afforded the opportunity to exploit whomever they want whenever they want without any fetters or obstacles placed in their way.
Do you have oil? They want it. Do you have other valuable natural resources? They want that too. Do you have cheap labor for them to exploit? Hand it over. Will you let them pollute your land like there is no tomorrow? You're their best friend!
If they have to kill to get what they want, so be it. Nothing can stand in their way. They won't allow it.