Yeah, Martial Law’s Really Only a Problem When It’s Declared

“Hey, Mark!” taunted my right-wing brother-in-law. “Who ya gonna vote for in the election?”

Dolton was seated opposite me at my parents’ golden wedding anniversary celebration. Why, oh why, hadn’t they gotten divorced at some point?

Teeth gritted, I plunged. “What makes you think there’ll be one?”

“Told ya!” he cackled to my sister Apolitica as he jabbed her, hard, in the ribs. As much as I loved her, she’d forfeited all potential sympathy years back with two words: “I do.”

Her beloved was just warming up.

“I suppose now, Mark, you’re gonna lecture us about rigged voting. Hey, little Dolt,” he snorted to my unfortunate ten-year-old nephew sitting beside him, “seen yer uncle’s tinfoil hat lyin’ around anywhere?”

“Though America’s fixed elections are certainly a worthy topic,” I replied evenly, “I’m not talking about that. I’m referring to all the executive orders and legislation your heroes in the White House have put in place that make it a cinch, if they so choose, to declare martial law, lock up dissenters and thus dispense with even faux balloting.”

He looked puzzled. “Who’d wanna vote for their enemies?”

“What?”

“‘Foe balloting.’ That makes no sense.”

He had me there. I flashed my sister a quick look but she was already slinking away, dragging a bewildered Dolton, Jr., behind her while I calculated the odds of successfully performing hari-kari with a cocktail weenie pick.

“Besides just being plain crazy,” Dolt pressed, “there’s an obvious problem with your hallucination: There’s nowhere to house thousands of traitors. Oh, excuse me: ‘dissenters,'” he snickered.

“Try again,” I replied. “In January 2006, Halliburton’s then-subsidiary KBR was handed a $385 million government contract to, per a crowing press release, build ‘temporary detention and processing’ facilities… ‘in the event of an emergency influx of immigrants into the U.S., or to support the rapid development of new programs.'”

“Good!” he exclaimed. “That’ll make those terrorists think twice about rushing the border.”

“You mean the hordes of Canadians breathlessly poised to overrun America with their deadly hockey sticks?”

“Hockey sticks??” he gasped, horrified. “They really will stop at nothing!”

Or, perhaps I could choke myself with a dinner roll.

“Look, Dolt, don’t you get it?” I asked pointlessly. “Forget the ‘emergency influx of immigrants’ ruse. What’s this ‘rapid development of new programs’? The swift incarceration of thousands of Americans protesting the imposition of martial law, perhaps?”

“Man!” he guffawed. “You’re even more paranoid than I thought.”

“I wish I were imagining things. Unfortunately, horrors like domestic detention facilities are but one verifiable piece of an all-encompassing, all-intrusive system Bushco has methodically installed to take unchallenged control of America instantly.”

“Name another.”

“OK. You like your co-worker Ahmed, right?”

“He’s not bad, I guess — you know, for an Iraqi. I even loaned him five bucks the other day,” Dolt beamed, proud of his hefty contribution toward cultural tolerance.

“Then you’d better hope his views of what the Bushies are doing to his country are in line with theirs. Otherwise, under Dubya’s executive order of July 17, 2007, your and Apolitica’s property is ripe for confiscating if those five dollars are construed in any way as ‘financial… support for’… ‘an act or acts of violence that have the purpose or effect of threatening the peace or stability of Iraq or the Government of Iraq, or undermining efforts to promote economic reconstruction and political reform in Iraq or to provide humanitarian assistance to the Iraqi people.'”

“Damn,” he mumbled. “I knew he looked shifty.”

“That’s your concern? Ahmed’s suddenly suspect appearance, rather than an insanely vague executive order?”

Dolt glared. “Your anti-Americanism, Mark, blinds you to seeing that anyone could be a terrorist. You just never know and, unfortunately, there’s no machine that can look into people’s hearts.”

“How ’bout under their clothes?”

“Huh?”

“In June, the Transportation Security Administration installed body scanner devices in ten major U.S. airports that produce, essentially, naked photographs of travelers.”

He brightened. “Maybe I should call and apply as a scanner operator, heh-heh.”

“Knock yourself out. Just pray TSA hasn’t out-sourced its call center to, say, India, because under the new FISA bill, any message you send to, or receive from, overseas is fair game for the government, warrant or probable cause be damned. I’ll bet Apolitica would love to hear that tape played in court.”

He looked around quickly. “Well, um, they, uh — so what?” he stammered. “No one can be arrested for what they’re thinking.”

“If the pending Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act becomes law, banish that thought from your mind, as well as many others.” I refrained from noting he had a clear leg up on the process. “This bill is thought-crime codified, establishing a national commission to provide ‘legislative recommendations’ for stopping those peskily ubiquitous homegrown terrorists from, among other things, ‘developing and spreading within the United States’… ‘the use, planned use, or threatened use of force or violence by a group or individual to promote the group or individual’s political, religious, or social beliefs.'”

“What’s wrong with that?”

“Not much, I guess, other than it’s so broadly and absurdly written that anyone at a demonstration, for example, could be deemed a terrorist.”

“You mean,” he said, smiling slowly, “like all those ones you’ve attended? I think I’ll call my senator tomorrow to push that bill. Unlike certain America haters I know, I believe in doing everything possible to defeat evildoers.”

“Why wait? Why not instead ask your boss if he’s one of the 23,000 FBI-deputized private industry members of ‘InfraGard’ who, according to Matthew Rothschild of The Progressive, preferentially ‘receive secret warnings of terrorist threats before the public does…’ If so, then maybe you, too, could attend InfraGard meetings like that at which one participant reported he and others were told by Homeland Security and the FBI that ‘when — not if — martial law is declared, it was our responsibility to protect our portion of the infrastructure, and if we had to use deadly force to protect it, we couldn’t be prosecuted.’ Does that not get your attention?”

“Absolutely! It sounds like an even better gig than eyeballing nudie shots of airline passengers, uh, I mean, performing confidential inspections in the name of national security. OK, you two, let’s go!” he said to my sister and nephew returning to the table.

“You’re leaving?” Apparently, there was a God.

“Sorry to ruin your day, but I gotta help my boss install a new grill over at The Sloppy Burger.”

Hmm. “Hey, Dolt, do you think after you two hook that thing up, you’ll eventually end up cooking burgers on it?”

“Boy, you are nutty,” he smirked. “Of course! Why would anyone go to all the trouble to put something in place and then not use it?”

Indeed.

Mark Drolette writes in Sacramento, California. He can be reached at: mdrolette@comcast.net. Read other articles by Mark, or visit Mark's website.

13 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. Donald Hawkins said on August 4th, 2008 at 7:35am #

    Mark it looks like Costa Rica is a good place for thinking, indeed.

  2. Tom Joad said on August 4th, 2008 at 7:37am #

    Mark is a wuss. If this had happened to me the conversation would have gone like this.

    “Hey, Mark!” taunted my right-wing brother-in-law. “Who ya gonna vote for in the election?”

    THUD (Me hitting him), THUD (He hits the wall), THUD (He hits the floor after slumping down the wall).

    End of conversation.

  3. bozhidar balkas said on August 4th, 2008 at 8:19am #

    i’m also in mood for joking. listen to this advice (this is for men only), When women wear long pants it means the r not for sale or on sale.
    so, don’t u be asking.
    my wife gave a me a good advice. she said, Bob (she can’t pronounce my real name) u’r 86 yrs old; u don’t have to listen any more; u don’t have to learn a thing any more; u have the right to be stupid.
    finally, my most basic human right was recognized.
    can any of u top this advice? oh, it feels so goood! thank u

  4. mary said on August 4th, 2008 at 8:32am #

    Mark – hope you are getting on well with your new life in Costa Rica. I expect you are very thankful you made the move.

    ‘Apolitica’ and ‘Dolton’ are your imaginary literary devices to enable you to make your point I believe. Hilarious stuff but the messages behind are chilling. We are going the same way in the UK I’m afraid to say.

    PS I know a Guide Dog here in the UK called Dalton. I expect he’s a lot brighter than your ‘Dolton’.

  5. Sam said on August 5th, 2008 at 3:24am #

    Mark,

    If you really had that conversation, you have more patience than I do! I’ve learned to just walk away from Bush-programmed sheep like that because I’ve learned it’s a waste of my time to try to engage in a conversation/debate with them. Nothing I say or any credible articles, links or facts I could present would have any bearing whatsoever on such a person. That type of person agrees with ANYTHING Bush does. Without question, they continue to believe all the lies that come out of the illegitimate Bush regime and Fox “News.” Such sheep will live very comfortable in a full-blown Dictatorship, while mindlessly waving their flag.

    As far as the things you brought up in your conversation, many of them I have found that most so-called “progressives” don’t even want to talk about, especially the topic of the easily-hackable e-voting machines which are all over the nation now. Most so-called “progressives” write their comments as if we have fair, honest and legitimate elections. That’s DENIAL. They also write their comments as if it would be absolutely impossible for Bush, Cheney et al to say on past January 2009, despite all the criminality they have done so far. Some (most?) people STILL don’t seem to understand who and what these Bush people are and are about, despite everything we have seen from them.

    Bush and Cheney may leave in January, but I’m not expecting them to. And even if they do, their agenda will continue under Obama or McCain. Does anyone honestly and truly think—versus wishful-thinking and false hope—that Walk-On-Water Obama would abolish the Department of Homeland InSecurity or the USAPATRIOT ACT or legal spying on US citizens, as some examples? I-don’t-think-so.

  6. Sam said on August 5th, 2008 at 3:29am #

    Correction to my previous comment. I had a typo. It should read:

    “They also write their comments as if it would be absolutely impossible for Bush, Cheney et al to STAY on past January 2009…”

  7. Arch Stanton said on August 5th, 2008 at 11:48am #

    Neo-nazis a problem? Martial “law” getting you down? Pissed about a crushed and neglected infrastructure? For a limited time only you can get both the Iraqi and Afghani Insurgency Manuals for one low price. Act now. Operators are standing by.

  8. Joe Anybody said on August 5th, 2008 at 12:30pm #

    what A kick ass article
    well written
    heck I am going to post this on my web page over at
    joe-anybody dot com

    thanks for writing this
    you eloquently put the Dolt in perspective

    this discussion will be the same one I will be having this weekend at my family reunion

    I hate to ruin the reunion (head in the sand get together) …I am sure terrorism, fear, war, privacy, the constitution , heabus corpus, topics will not even be discussed… unless I bring them to the happy table. (and I will …as always)

    Living (surrounded) around Ignorance it sure feels good to see articles like this one
    keep up the good fight.. your words and the writing were excellent

    check out my FEMA CAMPS link when ya get a moment
    http://www.joe-anybody.com/id69.html

    Working For Peace & Justice
    ~Joe Anybody

  9. MrSynec3 said on August 6th, 2008 at 1:27am #

    Mark,

    You are wrong. Of course there will be an election. Bush and Cheney are just employees of the ruling class. The next president whether it is
    Obama or McCain will be the new employee and will continue exactly
    the same policies foreign and domestic. For the ruling class, head they win , tail they win. Elections are just a theatrical show and a make belief.

  10. Sam said on August 6th, 2008 at 12:00pm #

    MrSynec3 wrote:

    QUOTE:

    Mark,

    You are wrong. Of course there will be an election. Bush and Cheney are just employees of the ruling class.

    END QUOTE

    MrSynec3, you don’t know that there will be an “election” any more than I do. You’re just making the assumption that there will be one. Under the illegitimate Bush regime, I don’t make such assumptions. So to say “Mark, you are wrong” is rather arrogant. You seem to be living under the premise that we are in the days of “politics as usual.” We aren’t. “Politics as usual” ended during the 2000 stolen “election” particularly the night of the Judicial Coup where the Supremes selected Bush/Cheney to occupy the White House.

    Bush and Cheney are far more than employees of the ruling class. Particularly Cheney. The same can be said about John Kerry and Al Gore (they are employees of the ruling class), but it was Bush and Cheney and the Bush Crime Family who STOLE TWO presidential elections to grab power. And if anyone thinks they are going to walk away easily after all that they have put in place (Directive 51 comes to mind) and willingly hand over the dictatorship they have installed….well, I’ll believe when I see it. I don’t think they have any intention of going anywhere.

  11. Bob said on August 6th, 2008 at 7:16pm #

    My gosh, Mr. Drolette and some of you are paranoid! I heard and read the same sort of things in 2004: Bush was going to cancel the election, declare martial law, and round up all the dissidents!!
    Well it didn’t quite happen then and it’s not going to happen this year.

    “Bush and Cheney are far more than employees of the ruling class. Particularly Cheney. The same can be said about John Kerry and Al Gore (they are employees of the ruling class), but it was Bush and Cheney and the Bush Crime Family who STOLE TWO presidential elections to grab power. And if anyone thinks they are going to walk away easily after all that they have put in place (Directive 51 comes to mind) and willingly hand over the dictatorship they have installed….well, I’ll believe when I see it. I don’t think they have any intention of going anywhere.”
    Sam if your so sure, lets put dinner at Ruth’s Criss Steak House on it.

    The new President will be sworn in on schedule. The only glitch may be the left wing protesters trying to disrupt the inauguration, screaming McCain stole the election. Which would be par for the course.
    Bob

  12. Sam said on August 6th, 2008 at 9:53pm #

    Bob wrote:

    “Sam if your so sure, lets put dinner at Ruth’s Criss Steak House on it.”

    A steak house? UGH. How nasty! Eating dead animals with all that blood running all over the plate. No, I don’t want any part of that. Disgusting. That won’t work for me at all because I don’t eat dead animals. I’m a vegetarian which is part of being a real, true progressive. I don’t feel that an animal should give up its life so that I can have a meal.

    If you believe things will happen on schedule politically, fine. I don’t believe it.

  13. Richard Posner said on August 6th, 2008 at 11:18pm #

    TROLL ALERT
    Please don’t waste time and effort responding to anything “Bob” says.

    “None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free.”