72 Days to Inauguration Day: The danger zone.Byline: Randall B. Hamud
Nov.4, 2008, saw the election of the first African-American president in the history of the United States “American history” redirects here. For the history of the continents, see History of the Americas.
The United States of America is located in the middle of the North American continent, with Canada to the north and the United Mexican States to the south. of America. On Jan.20, 2009, seventy-seven days after his election, President-elect Barack Hussein Obama is supposed to take the oath of office An oath of office is an oath or affirmation a person takes before undertaking the duties of an office, usually a position in government or within a religious body, although such oaths are sometimes required of officers of other organizations. as the 44th president of the United States The head of the Executive Branch, one of the three branches of the federal government.
The U.S. Constitution sets relatively strict requirements about who may serve as president and for how long. .
This year may be different. After the most divisive and hateful presidential campaign in recent US history, all is not necessarily forgiven after Election Day. Led by the mostly evangelical Republican Right, candidate Obama's opponents branded him a communist, a fraud who actually was born in Kenya, a "closet" Muslim, and worst of all, the anti-Christ. During the campaign, the Secret Service uncovered three separate plots to kill him while Sen. McCain still had a good chance to win. By election night over 50 percent of Sen. McCain's supporters expressed abject fear at the prospect of an Obama victory.
For these reasons, a clear and present danger exists during the next seventy-two days that sinister forces within our own government will try to prevent Obama from assuming office. Convoluted laws of presidential succession In politics, presidential succession is a series of steps established by the government of a nation or state to assure a smooth transition of power should the president, vice president, or any other executive authority be unable to complete their duties. , religious indoctrination of our military forces, civic malaise, and the culture wars have combined to create a singular opportunity for tyranny. This is not the first time that the country has faced such a threat. But it may be the first time that the threat becomes a reality.
Aaron Burr was the third vice president of the United States Noun 1. Vice President of the United States - the vice president of the United States who presides over the United States Senate
V.P., vice president - an executive officer ranking immediately below a president; may serve in the president's place under certain , serving between 1801 and 1805. While he was in office, he entered into a conspiracy to split the territories west of the Alleghenies from the rest of the country and invade Mexico. In 1807, he was arrested on charges of "levying war LEVYING WAR, crim. law. The assembling of a body of men for the purpose of effecting by force a treasonable object; and all who perform any part however minute, or however remote from the scene of action, and who are leagued in the general conspiracy, are considered as engaged in levying " and "rebellion." He got off on a technicality.
While testifying before a congressional committee in 1934, United States Marine Corps United States Marine Corps (USMC)
Separate military service within the U.S. Department of the Navy (see U.S. Navy), charged with providing marine troops for seizure and defense of advanced bases and with conducting operations on land and in the air in connection with Maj. Gen. Smedley D. Butler, a recipient of two Medals of Honor for heroism, revealed that he had been approached by a cabal of wealthy business and corporate fascist sympathizers to lead an army to overthrow President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. The conspiracy became known as the Business Plot of 1933. The committee sealed the transcript and issued a redacted report. But Gen. Butler's testimony was confirmed. No prosecutions ensued, likely because President Roosevelt allowed the high-profile conspirators CONSPIRATORS. Persons guilty of a conspiracy. See 3 Bl. Com. 126-71 Wils. Rep. 210-11. See Conspiracy. to remain free in return for softening their opposition to his New Deal legislation.
The anti-communist paranoia of the 1950s spilled over into the 1960s as Americans found the Soviet Union ensconced en·sconce
tr.v. en·sconced, en·sconc·ing, en·sconc·es
1. To settle (oneself) securely or comfortably: She ensconced herself in an armchair.
2. in Castro's Cuba only 90 miles off the Florida coast. In a sign of those times, in 1962 a novel entitled Seven Days in May was published. The plot was straightforward: James Matton Scott, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is by law the highest ranking overall military officer of the United States military, and the principal military adviser to the President of the United States. , led a cabal of military conspirators in an attempted coup d'etat against the United States government. The catalyst was a proposed peace treaty with the Soviet Union that the president intended to sign and that the joint chiefs (with one important exception) viewed as national suicide. Special operations forces Those Active and Reserve Component forces of the Military Services designated by the Secretary of Defense and specifically organized, trained, and equipped to conduct and support special operations. Also called SOF. were to seize control of the nation's communications infrastructure. Then, from an underground nuclear shelter Gen. Scott was going to use his military and media power to stop the treaty. The plot was exposed by United States Marine Corps Col. "Jiggs" Casey, who got wind of it from anomalous communications between elite military units.
At almost the same time that the novel was released, United States Army United States Army
Major branch of the U.S. military forces, charged with preserving peace and security and defending the nation. The first regular U.S. fighting force, the Continental Army, was organized by the Continental Congress on June 14, 1775, to supplement local Gen. Lyman Lemnitzer was chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (1960-1962). After the failure of the Bay of Pigs invasion Bay of Pigs Invasion, 1961, an unsuccessful invasion of Cuba by Cuban exiles, supported by the U.S. government. On Apr. 17, 1961, an armed force of about 1,500 Cuban exiles landed in the Bahía de Cochinos (Bay of Pigs) on the south coast of Cuba. of Cuba in April 1961, he and the Joint Chiefs submitted to President John F. Kennedy "John Kennedy" and "JFK" redirect here. For other uses, see John Kennedy (disambiguation) and JFK (disambiguation).
John Fitzgerald Kennedy (May 29, 1917–November 22, 1963), was the thirty-fifth President of the United States, serving from 1961 until his assassination in a plan intended to generate popular support for an invasion of Cuba. The plan called for terrorist attacks on Cuban refugees in Miami, sinking boatloads of Cubans on the high seas high seas
In maritime law, the waters lying outside the territorial waters of any and all states. In the Middle Ages, a number of maritime states asserted sovereignty over large portions of the high seas. , and the shooting down United States civilian airliner over Cuban airspace. The plan was not adopted, and Gen. Lemnitzer was not reappointed as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. But neither he nor any of the other chiefs was disciplined for proposing the plan.
Evidence suggests that Gen.Lemnitzer also approved of the actions of United States Army Maj. Gen. Edwin Walker. In 1959, while Gen. Walker was commanding the 24th Infantry Division stationed in West Germany, he indoctrinated his soldiers with the teachings of the far right. Gen. Walker stated publicly that Eleanor Roosevelt and ex-Secretary of State Dean Acheson were "definitely pink," meaning communist sympathizers. He did this in spite of constitutional constraints that precluded him from political activities while in uniform. Gen. Walker was removed from his command on Nov. 2, 1961.
Right-wing extremism in the military caught the attention of the United States Senate's Foreign Relations Committee. In 1961, it issued a report warning that there was considerable danger in the right-wing propaganda activities of uniformed personnel motivated by a central theme of the communist infiltration of the government. It warned of the possibility of a revolt by senior military officers.
In 1974, the nation's civilian leadership worried about that very possibility. During the turmoil surrounding President Nixon's resignation from office in August 1974, Secretary of Defense James R. Schlesinger James Rodney Schlesinger (born February 15, 1929) was United States Secretary of Defense from 1973 to 1975 under presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford. He became America's first Secretary of Energy under Jimmy Carter. and the Joint Chiefs of Staff were on guard against any orders to military units that might have originated outside the normal chain of command. Secretary Schlesinger stated that he "did assure myself that there would be no question about the proper constitutional and legislated chain of command...."
Though today's military is no longer infected by the overwhelming fear of communist infiltration of the government, it has a new affliction - religious indoctrination inspired by the evangelical Christian right. Arguably, religious zealousness could trigger excesses far beyond those evoked by the strident anti-communism of the 1960s.
After the Vietnam War Vietnam War, conflict in Southeast Asia, primarily fought in South Vietnam between government forces aided by the United States and guerrilla forces aided by North Vietnam. ended in 1975, the armed forces of the United States A term used to denote collectively all components of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard. See also United States Armed Forces. were completely demoralized de·mor·al·ize
tr.v. de·mor·al·ized, de·mor·al·iz·ing, de·mor·al·iz·es
1. To undermine the confidence or morale of; dishearten: an inconsistent policy that demoralized the staff. . The anti-war movement and the loss of the war had created a deep divide between civilians and the military. Evangelical Christians saw an opportunity to make inroads inroads
make inroads into to start affecting or reducing: my gambling has made great inroads into my savings
inroads npl to make inroads into [+ among the armed forces. Alienation from the civilian population even carried into the religious preference of the officer corps. Its unofficial church had always been Episcopalian. Now, the officer corps turned more conservative. It found new friends among the evangelical Christians. Even the chaplaincy lost its historic Episcopalian flavor and found itself seeded with evangelical Christians. As a result, thousands of military men and women were converted to evangelical Christianity.
Today, evangelical Christianity is deeply rooted in the US military. For example, an evangelical ministry has provided thousands of copies of Bibles to the 101st Airborne Division. The Bibles are being carried by US soldiers in Iraq and are being distributed to Iraqis to covert them from Islam to Christianity. The 101st is also planning also to take the Bibles and the word of the Christian God to Muslim Afghanistan.
Marines guarding the Iraqi city of Fallujah have distributed "witnessing coins" to the local Muslim population. In Arabic, the coin recites John 3:16 and invites the recipient to enjoy the eternal life of the Christian God. In a newsletter published in 2004 by a fundamentalist Christian ministry, a US Army chaplain bragged that Iraqis were eager for conversion to Christianity Conversion to Christianity is the religious conversion of a previously non-Christian person to some form of Christianity. The exact understanding of what it means to attain salvation varies somewhat among denominations. and that he had personally converted dozens of them.
Here at home, evangelicals are given easy access to US military bases to carry on conversion activities. For a while, the Fort Jackson, South Carolina South Carolina, state of the SE United States. It is bordered by North Carolina (N), the Atlantic Ocean (SE), and Georgia (SW). Facts and Figures
Area, 31,055 sq mi (80,432 sq km). Pop. (2000) 4,012,012, a 15. , website contained links to the Military Ministry, part of the Campus Crusade for Christ Campus Crusade for Christ is an interdenominational Christian organization, focusing on evangelism and discipleship in over 190 countries around the world. Its mission is "to win people to Christ, build them in their faith, and send them out to win, build and send others. International. The Fort is a major training base. The ministry's website makes no secret of its intent to target military training centers and evangelize e·van·gel·ize
v. e·van·gel·ized, e·van·gel·iz·ing, e·van·gel·iz·es
1. To preach the gospel to.
2. To convert to Christianity.
To preach the gospel. the US armed forces. It claims the conversion of thousands of soldiers to evangelical Christianity.
In August 2007 a report by the Pentagon's Inspector General faulted high-ranking Air Force and Army personnel for participating in uniform in a promotional video for a private evangelical organization. Two Air Force major generals, three Army brigadier generals, an Air Force colonel, and an Army lt. Col. took part in the video on behalf of the Christian Embassy, which is part of the Campus Crusade for Christ International.
Among the military academies, the Air Force Academy has been repeatedly called to account for its evangelical Christian bent. Mandatory prayer sessions, proselytizing by teachers identifying themselves as "born again," and insensitivity to religious minorities were pervasive. As recently as February 2008, the academy was again in hot water for hosting conference at which appeared three self-professed ex-Islamic terrorists who had proudly converted to evangelical Christianity.
And then there is United States Army Lt. Gen. William Boykin. Between 2003 and his retirement in 2007, he was deputy undersecretary of defense for intelligence under the undersecretary of defense for intelligence. As such, Gen. Boykin was the Pentagon's point man in the war on terrorism Terrorist acts and the threat of Terrorism have occupied the various law enforcement agencies in the U.S. government for many years. The Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996, as amended by the usa patriot act . He had come from the special operations fraternity. His previous commands included commanding general, US Army Special Forces Command (Airborne) and commanding general, United States Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center.
He caused quite a stir in 2003 when he bragged during a television interview that his Christian God was real and bigger than Islam's Allah and that Allah was an idol. During that same year, he also made inflammatory comments while addressing a church congregation in full uniform. A "born again" evangelical Christian, his religious views were widely known among his peers and superiors.
The general's words stirred much anger throughout the Muslim world and among Islamic organization here in the United States. Clarion calls issued calling for his discipline or reassignment. A congressman even introduced a resolution of censure.
The Christian right came to the general's defense. Among his staunchest supporters were Rev. James Dobson of Focus on the Family, televangelist tel·e·van·gel·ist
An evangelist who conducts religious telecasts.
[Blend of television and evangelist.]
tel Pat Robertson, the Family Research Council, the Christian Coalition Christian Coalition, organization founded to advance the agenda of political and social conservatives, mostly comprised of evangelical Protestant Republicans, and to preserve what it deems traditional American values. , and the Rev. Bobby Welch, president of the Southern Baptist convention Noun 1. Southern Baptist Convention - an association of Southern Baptists
association - a formal organization of people or groups of people; "he joined the Modern Language Association"
Southern Baptist - a member of the Southern Baptist Convention .
An inspector general's report concluded that the general had violated three regulations. Nonetheless, he was never disciplined. To the contrary, Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld and Gen. Peter Pace, then Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, came to his defense. Gen. Boykin issued an apology and all was forgiven.
The Boykin affair raises concerns about whether his views are representative of our officer corps, especially among the special operations forces. Today the Special Operations Command A subordinate unified or other joint command established by a joint force commander to plan, coordinate, conduct, and support joint special operations within the joint force commander's assigned operational area. Also called SOC. See also special operations. ("SOCOM SOCOM Special Operations Command (US DoD) " is the military acronym) is the spear point in the war on terrorism. With an authorized strength of over 50,000 personnel, the command is chasing suspected terrorists across the globe. Its operations, actual force levels, constituency, and unit leaders and members are for the most part closely guarded secrets. In "Seven Days in May", Gen. Scott was going to utilize just such a force to seize power.
An even more important question is whether there exists a dangerous cadre among our officer corps who would seek to deny the presidency to a president-elect who is perceived by them and by millions of Americans to be a communist, a closet Muslim, and the anti-Christ. Assuming that the answer is yes, the most opportune time to launch a coup d'etat would be during the 77-day period between Election Day and Inauguration Day.
When there is a sitting president and he or she is disabled, the vice president steps in. This is clearly stated in the Constitution. But the Constitution is silent in the event that the president-elect and the vice president-elect cannot take office on Inauguration Day.
Enter the Presidential Succession Act The Presidential Succession Act of 1947 () establishes the order of succession to the office of President of the United States in the event neither a President nor Vice President is able to "discharge the powers and duties of the office. of 1947. That law provides that in such a scenario, the next in line for the presidency are, in order, the speaker of the House of Representatives, the president pro tempore president pro tem·po·re
n. pl. presidents pro tempore
The senator who presides over the U.S. Senate in the absence of the Vice President. of the Senate, the secretary of state, the secretary of the treasury, and so on down the list of Cabinet officers. The problem is that the Presidential Succession Act of 1947 is probably unconstitutional.
As early as 1792, when the first presidential succession law was adopted, no less a figure than James Madison, primary author of the Constitution, pointed out that the Constitution's use of the term "Officer" meant an officer of the United States government who is a member of the executive or judicial branches. A member of Congress could not be an officer of the United States and was disqualified dis·qual·i·fy
tr.v. dis·qual·i·fied, dis·qual·i·fy·ing, dis·qual·i·fies
a. To render unqualified or unfit.
b. To declare unqualified or ineligible.
2. from serving as president. This fundamental flaw still characterizes the present version of the Presidential Succession Act.
Thus, if the conspirators could prevent President-elect Obama and Vice President-elect Biden from assuming office January 20th, members of the Bush administration could strongly argue that the status quo [Latin, The existing state of things at any given date.] Status quo ante bellum means the state of things before the war. The status quo to be preserved by a preliminary injunction is the last actual, peaceable, uncontested status which preceded the pending controversy. should be maintained until the crisis had passed. Most people probably would expect the sitting president to handle matters until the dust settled.
The conspirators would likely mask their intentions by orchestrating a significant terrorist attack here in the United States. They would then seize our military and civilian command, control, communications, and computers facilities. ("C4 " in military parlance.)
We are more vulnerable to such an attack today than we were in 1962. Our armed forces are micromanaged from a few centralized locations through massive computerized systems dependent on microwave, optical fiber, and satellite-based communications. Likewise, all civilian modes of communication are dependent on the same kinds of systems. And since 9/11, the military and intelligence agencies have plugged into all of the civilian traffic in the name of the war on terrorism. To the delight of "Seven Days in May"'s Gen. James Matton Scott, today it would actually be simpler for a resolute group of special operations troops to seize control of C4 in both the military and civilian sectors.
Even if segments of our domestic military forces wanted to act to quell the coup d'etat, without control of C4 they would be blind and ineffective. Forces loyal to the Constitution would have no way to communicate with each other, coordinate their strategies, or transport themselves to targeted venues. Moreover, because of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, our domestic military assets lack adequate training, transport, and equipment. Ironically, the elements of our military which could be most effective to foil the coup d'etat are stuck in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Nor can we depend on our own intelligence agencies to sniff out the plot because they, too, have been coopted by the military. The head of the Central Intelligence Agency is recently retired United States Air Force United States Air Force (USAF)
Major component of the U.S. military organization, with primary responsibility for air warfare, air defense, and military space research. It also provides air services in coordination with the other military branches. U.S. Gen. Michael Hayden. The head of the supersecret National Security Agency is United States Army Lt. Gen. Keith B. Alexander. And the director of National Intelligence is retired Vice Adm. John Michael McConnell.
Our forefathers forefathers npl → antepasados mpl
forefathers npl → ancêtres mpl
forefathers npl → Vorfahren thought that the Second Amendment (the right to keep and bear arms) would be our first line of defense against tyranny. They loathed the idea of a standing army and thought that an armed citizen-militia would be sufficient to defend the country against foreign intruders and a tyrannical government.
But times have changed. We now have the standing army that our forefathers so loathed. And we do not have any legitimate citizen-militias outside the structure of the 3.5-million strong US military.
But what about those 268 million guns owned by America's 310 million people? That should be plenty of firepower to defeat any military coup d'etat. But they have to be willing to use those guns - against each other. That is a problematic at best.
In 2006, the McCormick Tribune Freedom Museum The McCormick Tribune Freedom Museum was opened on April 11, 2006 in Chicago by the McCormick Tribune Foundation. It is the first museum in the United States dedicated to the First Amendment. conducted a national survey to measure Americans' knowledge of the Bill of Rights (for the uninitiated - freedom of religion, speech, press, assembly, and petition). The results were truly disappointing. 72 percent could recall one of the rights, 28 percent could recall two or more, 8 percent could recall three or more, 2 percent could name four or five, and only one person in one thousand could name all five. However, 20 percent of those surveyed could name all five characters of the popular cartoon show "The Simpsons." 52 percent could name at least two of the characters.
Thus, we are more likely to fight for the Simpsons than we are to fight for the Bill of Rights. Our forefathers would be doing handstands in their graves if they knew the results of the McCormick survey.
Worse yet, millions of gun owners would simply choose to sit on the sidelines On the sidelines
An investor who decides not to invest due to market uncertainty.
on the sidelines
Of or relating to investors who, having assessed the market, have decided to avoid committing their funds. . On a per capita [Latin, By the heads or polls.] A term used in the Descent and Distribution of the estate of one who dies without a will. It means to share and share alike according to the number of individuals. basis, most guns are owned in the mostly conservative and evangelical Christian Red states. Can we really expect them to grab their guns and charge the ramparts on behalf of a man whom they perceive to be a communist, a closet Muslim, and the anti-Christ? No we cannot; and no, they will not. Lacking their numbers and resources, others who may want to actively oppose the military coup d'etat will be at a decided disadvantage.
As concerns other population centers where armed resistance might occur, large numbers of forces are no longer needed to control large swaths of territory. In today's era of UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles
The fire of hell, considered as punishment for sinners.
the torment of hell, imagined as eternal fire
Noun 1. missiles fired from a remotely controlled drone into a crowd of resistors would likely deter further resistance in the local neighborhood.
That is why the present situation is so dangerous to our Republic. The culture wars yet again may prevail over reason. The Blue states are outgunned, and the Red states have nothing to lose by placing their trust in a faith-based administration to do the right thing later on. Unfortunately, our forefathers would not have been so trustful.
None of this bodes will for the coming Obama administration. For the next seventy-two days we are, indeed, in grave danger. Our country's fate could well rest in the hands of Pentagon-based officers like "Seven Days in May"'s Col. "Jiggs" Casey. They must be vigilant. They must put their collective ear to the rail. They must look for anomalous movements of troops, communications, and military activities that this time may be well within the chain of command. And they must be loyal to their oaths of office. Their task is exponentially more complicated than was Col. Casey's. And their potential reward will not be otherworldly. Rather, it will be here and now: The salvation of the Republic of the United States of America UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. The name of this country. The United States, now thirty-one in number, are Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, .
- Randall B. Hamud is an attorney at law based in San Diego, CA. He can be contacted at: email@example.com
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