Sunday, July 11, 2004

News Flash: Terrorists Win 

Via Zemblan patriot K.Z.: However low your opinion of the current gang may be, each passing day brings fresh evidence that it isn't low enough. Presidential elections were not suspended or postponed during the Civil War. Presidential elections were not suspended or postponed during World War II. But you had better get used to the idea, because the Department of Homeland Security and the Ashcroft DoJ are comtemplating a push for legislation that could save Bush the trouble of stealing the next election; in the event of, let's say, a bomb going off in a mall, he could simply call off the election altogether :
[T]he success of March's Madrid railway bombings in influencing the Spanish elections—as well as intercepted "chatter" among Qaeda operatives—has led analysts to conclude "they want to interfere with the elections," says one official.

As a result, sources tell NEWSWEEK, Ridge's department last week asked the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel to analyze what legal steps would be needed to permit the postponement of the election were an attack to take place. Justice was specifically asked to review a recent letter to Ridge from DeForest B. Soaries Jr., chairman of the newly created U.S. Election Assistance Commission. Soaries noted that, while a primary election in New York on September 11, 2001, was quickly suspended by that state's Board of Elections after the attacks that morning, "the federal government has no agency that has the statutory authority to cancel and reschedule a federal election." Soaries, a Bush appointee who two years ago was an unsuccessful GOP candidate for Congress, wants Ridge to seek emergency legislation from Congress empowering his agency to make such a call. Homeland officials say that as drastic as such proposals sound, they are taking them seriously—along with other possible contingency plans in the event of an election-eve or Election Day attack. "We are reviewing the issue to determine what steps need to be taken to secure the election," says Brian Roehrkasse, a Homeland spokesman.
Question for the legal scholars among us: what happens if the election is postponed until, say, January, and another bomb goes off in a mall? And the election is re-rescheduled for, say, March, and the Reichstag building burns down?

Democracy over! Will you miss it when it's gone?

UPDATE (via Zemblan patriots J.M. & J.D.): Another cheery harbinger of things to come, from the official DoD website:
The Defense Department is ready to provide support to safeguard this fall's Democratic and Republican national conventions and the presidential election, a senior U.S. military officer said here today.

"We support (Homeland Security) Secretary (Tom) Ridge in his operations," Army Brig. Gen. David Rodriquez, deputy operations director for the Joint Staff, told reporters at a Pentagon news conference.

Ridge warned Americans at a Washington news conference earlier in the day that al Qaeda is planning to attack somewhere in the United States between now and the national presidential election. He said al Qaeda "is moving ahead with its plans to carry out a large-scale attack in the United States in an effort to disrupt our democratic process."
Assuming the posse comitatus laws are still in effect, exactly what kind of "support" do you suppose the Pentagon means to provide at your local polling place this November?

UPDATE II: In the comments below, our esteemed colleague Scorpio chides us (not unfairly) for insufficient activism. If there was ever a piece of legislation that deserved to be strangled in its crib, this is it. So:

Write your Senators here. Write your Representative here. Be polite but forceful. E-mails are nice, but snail mail probably carries more clout.

Go on! Do it now!

UPDATE III: Avedon Carol tipped us off to a recent batch of posts at Seeing the Forest, where John Emerson, Thomas Leavitt, and Dave Johnson have been chasing this story like a pack of beagles. Highly intellectual beagles, that is. With better eating habits.

UPDATE IV: Well, now we feel better. Turns out that, under the proposed legislation, the fellow who would get to decide whether or not we have a Presidential election is the "senior pastor of the 7,000-member First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens in Somerset, New Jersey." (Via Eschaton.)

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