...not with a violent coup, but with the quiet passage of a bill that, among other things, authorizes the President to declare martial law whenever he deems it necessary to "suppress public disorder." This effectively repeals the Posse Comitatus Act, which prohibited the U.S. military from being used in law enforcement actions against U.S. citizens. This seems to have gone all but unnoticed by the mainstream press.
So maybe all that sabre rattling about Iran was just a clever ruse to distract us from the real plan, which is to give the President the power to call in the Army to "suppress public disorder" in case people get upset over, say, not being allowed to vote on November 7. Unthinkable? I would have thought so. But at this point, if Bush decides to turn the Army against U.S. citizens it will be legal. And it's not at all clear what we could do about it then.
Let's take stock:
1. The votes are being counted by machines that are manufactured by a company whose CEO is a rabid partisan Republican. The machines have had myriad security problems, and are known to be very easy to hack.
2. The President now has the power to imprison and torture anyone he deems to be an enemy combatant (which is to say, anyone he wants) indefinitely without trial and without access to an attorney.
3. The President now has the power to use the U.S. Army against U.S. citizens on U.S. soil.
4. The President believes he's on a mission from God. And so do a lot of other people.
At this point, if the Democrats officially win (as opposed to actually win, which is not the same thing nowadays) the election and the transition of power happens peacefully I will be genuinely surprised.
I predict that November 7 will be a good day to be out and about with a video camera. It's going to be an interesting day.