A disturbing recent phenomenon in Washington is that laws that strike to the heart of American democracy have been passed in the dead of night. So it was with a provision quietly tucked into the enormous defense budget bill at the Bush administration's behest that makes it easier for a president to override local control of law enforcement and declare martial law.
Back in the 90s, when I used to listen to a lot of shortwave radio, I first heard about posse comitatus. Back then, Janet Reno was the Great Satan of the wingnuts, but I never really understood their paranoia. They loved to invoke "jackbooted thugs" when something like Waco or the taking of Elian Gonzalez occurred, but I never really got the feeling that there was the sort of psychopathic distrust of the American people which would cause our own government to become the enemy of the people.
But now I do. The Bush administration has exceeded even Nixon's in its obsession with secrecy and it's bunker mentality. 9-11 was the trigger which justified all the twisted thinking and set the wheels in motion. Who would have ever believed that the United States would have secret prisions, imprisonment without trial (or even charges), and Big Brother watching our bank accounts, internet activities and even what we borrow from the public library.
The saddest part is that there has been no public outrage. I guess it's a measure of the success of their post-9-11 propaganda campaign that the people who used to worry the most about abusive government practices are now the biggest proponents of such tactics. Whether it's fear, ignorance or the ultimate victory of partisanship over the good of the nation isn't really important. What matters is that we are marching steadily toward tyranny, but because it's wrapped in the flag and labeled "security," we're quite happy with it.
Note: Wizbang Blue is now closed and our authors have moved on. Paul Hooson can now be found at Wizbang Pop!. Please come see him there!