it's no longer our city, it's no longer our country

Finlay Johnson Richards, 2, of London, England, points at New York City police officers patroling Union Square as part of Operation Hercules as his twin sister Maya Rose looks on, Monday, Dec. 22, 2003 in New York.

The uniforms and the guns have descended in force once again.

Our little general tells his people to just go about their lives, and leave everything in his care. And all has been absolutely super under that arrangement so far, no?

Jimmy Breslin describes what this looks like on the streets here in New York.

. . . over the weekend, Homeland Security raised the terrorism alert to condition orange. By Saturday night, the streets of midtown looked like a parking lot at a police precinct. Vans were all along the curbs. Patrol cars were up on the sidewalks. All had lights, yellow and white, flashing in the night air.

Cops took over the sidewalks and lined them with metal barricades. On Seventh Avenue, 44th Street was blocked and traffic waved on. A friend was in a cab on Seventh Avenue trying to get to the Algonquin Hotel on 44th and Sixth, but as the cab couldn't turn on 44th, he said he would get out.

The driver stopped and said, "Get out now. Hurry up!" They were too slow. A cop was at the door when it opened and he shouted that he was giving the cabbie a summons. Nobody was to stop. This was a civil defense emergency.

This great big city now belonged to the nearest badge.

We're now being told that the "alert" will not be called off at the end of the holiday season. Is that supposed to please or upset us? Do we bother to think about it at all? All of this is only a rehearsal anyway, for something much bigger. If and when just one more terrorist succeeds within our borders, much more than lives will be lost. Our entire political system will be destroyed forever, permanently replaced by a military dictatorship. We can be sure no voice will be heard to object.

If, in this interim, anyone manages to think about it at all, she or he knows that no SWAT team, no army, can make us safe. Only an intelligent executive, and above all an intelligent foreign policy, could give us and the rest of the world any security. But Americans don't want intelligence, especially in their government.

Hail to the [fill in the blank] chief!

In the Fall of last year I wrote in this space:

Almost two years ago, in the months after the 2000 elections, I bored or frightened my friends with my prediction that we would never have another Presidential election, and we would very likely be relieved of the messiness of another congressional election as well. I believed that the Republicans would never give up what had been so ill-gotten in the winter of 2000-2001.

I was certain that some pretext would be invented to distort the electoral process, or even entirely suspend the Constitutional niceties providing for the election of a Congress and a President, in order to protect us from enemies at home or aboad.

Absent any compelling case for Republican involvement in the events of September 11, we still have a case for a Republican conspiracy, one which is subverting the political process at this very moment, and it's working very well indeed. Most of the Democrats have bought into the monstrous idiocy of this regime's war arguments and practices, with disagreement only in the details, at best.

It looks like they're going to pull it off.

[image, and the excerpt from its caption there, are from Yahoo! News (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)]

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Published on December 23, 2003 2:38 PM.

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