Landscape organizes everything within sight.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

So much for the Pax Americana

President George W. Bush has signed executive orders giving him sole authority to impose martial law, suspend habeas corpus and ignore the Posse Comitatus Act that prohibits deployment of U.S. troops on American streets.

Reports That Bush Has Signed Order For Martial Law |

The Posse Comitatus Act has an interesting history, dating back to British Common Law policy of containing grievance riots only through local intervention. Posse Comitatus was suspended at various points during the Civil War, Progressive, and Civil Riots eras, for the containment of suffrage riots, trade unionists, and protesting students. Suspension of Posse Comitatus is generally a sign that the American government senses that civil war is at hand, and that only direct intervention from above can contain the menace.

How exactly would George Bush describe the menace that threatens the United States? Peace activists continue to practice civil disobedience; Katrina survivors continue to occupy their FEMA trailers and car seats; students dutifully stage living wage rallies. For all intents and purposes, this is not a nation facing civil war.

So it's an intriguing exercise to think through how the Bush administration has come to see the United States: a country of rebels to its own policies; a country of consumers unable to grasp the long-term gambit for fuel reserves in the Middle East and Central Asia for which the Bush administration has us at war; a fissile country whose controlled media and scarcely participatory democracy are not enough to insure social stability, not by a long shot.

The Bush administration, that is, thinks that the tenure of the politics of demagoguery is limited, and that a coming fraction will bring out forces of dissatisfied workers, students, pacifists, liberals, and libertarians, such that the social and political stability of the nation will be overturned.

How interesting.


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