First, the U.S. ruling governmental clique announces that financial Armageddon is at hand, unless Congress hand over approximately a trillion dollars to the direct control of the executive branch, under the ostensible leadership of the Secretary of the Treasury. While met with much derision and suspicion, it appears some version of this demand is going to be met with bipartisan support this week or next. (As I write this, breaking news announces an agreement has been made in Congress for Bush's $700 billion bailout.) Meanwhile, even such stalwarts of the system as the top archbishops in the Church of England are blaming the capitalist system itself for this crisis.
Second, there is the strange maneuvering of GOP Presidential candidate, John McCain, and his ersatz VP candidate, Sarah Palin. Both are running to cancel their debates. Palin will barely even speak to the press. And now McCain took the opportunity of the financial crisis to announce a suspension of his campaign!
McCain's move is unprecedented, and raised eyebrows and fueled the rumor mills of Washington, D.C. From afar, the whole apparatus of the election starts to feel somewhat shaky, or as U.S. comedian/talk-show icon, David Letterman, put it, "This doesn't smell right."
State of Emergency?
So with the economy supposedly tanking, the GOP candidate ducking, and Congress staggering to satisfy their financial backers, while avoiding massive constituent anger at home, we get this third knock upon the door:
Thursday, September 25, 2008:: For the first time ever, the US military is deploying an active duty regular Army combat unit for full-time use inside the United States to deal with emergencies, including potential civil unrest.Army Times reports it this way:
Beginning on October 1, the First Brigade Combat Team of the Third Division will be placed under the command of US Army North, the Army's component of the Pentagons Northern Command (NorthCom), which was created in the wake of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks with the stated mission of defending the US homeland and aiding federal, state and local authorities.
The 3rd Infantry Division’s 1st Brigade Combat Team has spent 35 of the last 60 months in Iraq patrolling in full battle rattle, helping restore essential services and escorting supply convoys.Now, active-units have helped out in emergencies before, such as during Hurricane Katrina, but this seems to be something very different. This is no hurricane deployment:
Now they’re training for the same mission — with a twist — at home.
Beginning Oct. 1 for 12 months, the 1st BCT will be under the day-to-day control of U.S. Army North, the Army service component of Northern Command, as an on-call federal response force for natural or manmade emergencies and disasters, including terrorist attacks.
They may be called upon to help with civil unrest and crowd control or to deal with potentially horrific scenarios such as massive poisoning and chaos in response to a chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear or high-yield explosive, or CBRNE, attack....So this is no ordinary deployment, and the 1st BCT is no ordinary brigage. They are the "Raider Brigade"!
The 1st BCT’s soldiers also will learn how to use “the first ever nonlethal package that the Army has fielded,” 1st BCT commander Col. Roger Cloutier said, referring to crowd and traffic control equipment and nonlethal weapons designed to subdue unruly or dangerous individuals without killing them.
“It’s a new modular package of nonlethal capabilities that they’re fielding. They’ve been using pieces of it in Iraq, but this is the first time that these modules were consolidated and this package fielded, and because of this mission we’re undertaking we were the first to get it.”
The package includes equipment to stand up a hasty road block; spike strips for slowing, stopping or controlling traffic; shields and batons; and, beanbag bullets.
In March of 2003, the 1st BCT was the first element of the 3d Infantry Division to cross the border into Iraq. The Raiders moved quickly north, fighting around the clock with regular and unconventional Iraqi troops.Bringing the war home
After weeks of constant fighting, the Raider Brigade captured the International Airport, the primary strategic objective of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
The Brigade earned its reputation – Raiders First! – as the first unit to fight its way into Baghdad.
Where is this sense of governmental emergency coming from? There's been no attack. Only weeks ago, the government bigwigs were adamant the "fundamentals" of the economy were strong. They were certainly painting a pretty picture upon a far more grim canvas than they would admit, but Armageddon? the army deployed with beanbag bullets and huge "non-lethal" weaponry to subdue "civil unrest." I must ask... what the fuck?
The one common denominator in all this is the fact that Bush and the GOP stand to lose power, and a subdued citizenry may have an executive in power that, while Obama is clearly no revolutionary, may allow an empowered populace to go farther in taking control over events in this country than the financiers, generals, and politicians wish to let things go.
Are they ready to end democracy, even the figleaf of it that remains after stolen elections and infomertial campaigns have robbed democracy of most of its content and left it a brittle, empty shell?
One thing is clear. Nothing is sacred to those who hold power. Their greed and lust to hold onto power, and their fear of being held accountable even the tiniest bit, appears to have whipped up the ruling elite into a frenzy of fear-mongering, impulsive theft, and a trigger-finger when it comes to oppressing anything that could challenge their power in a real way. We only have to look to the massive police presence and crackdown during the national political conventions to see how intent the ruling class is on maintaining the facade of "order."
In modern terminology, anything that threatens that facade is "terrorism" -- even legitimate political dissent and protest. Maybe even a legitimate political campaign. If the country weren't transfixed by the Wall Street mega-drama, the population should be calling for the de-deployment of the 1st BCT from U.S. soil. We don't need them for civil unrest emergencies... or does the government know something we don't?
It's starting to smell really bad in this country. Something feels like it's afoot, something more than the ordinary electoral tomfoolery. Or maybe I'm just paranoid. Consider National Security and Homeland Security Presidential Directive 51:
... [which] specifies the procedures for continuity of the federal government in the event of a "catastrophic emergency." Such an emergency is construed 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."I know this posting will forever classify me as a paranoid freak to those responsible types who like to pejoratively label their opponents and file them away. But if you think I like to think this way, then you're the one with a problem. I didn't like to think the country I live in could aggressively start a war, kill hundreds of thousands and make millions refugees, with minimal protest at home. I didn't like to think the U.S. government, in conjunction with many scientists and members of the medical and psychological establishment researched torture for decades, then saw to its implementation.
The directive specifies that, following such an [catastrophic] emergency, an "Enduring Constitutional Government," comprising "a cooperative effort among the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of the Federal Government," coordinated by the President of the United States, will take the place of the nation's regular government, presumably without the oversight of Congress. .... The directive specifies that the president has the power to declare a catastrophic emergency and does not specify who has the power to declare said emergency over.
I just hope this is one nightmarish fantasy I don't have to live to dislike having come true.
[After posting this, I came across this article by Naomi Wolf over at AlterNet:
Has Sarah Palin Been Picked as the Titular Head of the Coming Police State?
You have to understand how things work in a closing society in order to understand "Palin Power." A gang or cabal seizes power, usually with an affable, weak figurehead at the fore. Then they will hold elections -- but they will make sure that the election will be corrupted and that the next affable, weak figurehead is entirely in their control. Remember, Russia has Presidents; Russia holds elections. Dictators and gangs of thugs all over the world hold elections. It means nothing. When a cabal has seized power you can have elections and even presidents, but you don't have freedom....
Under the coming Palin-Rove police state, you will witness the plans now underway to bring Iraqi troops to patrol the streets of our nation. This is not McCain's fantasy: it is Rove's and Cheney's.