America’s Cold War with Itself
c. 2009, Judith Acosta
Recently, the Massachusetts legislature passed Bill 2028 that will give the governor and
the health commissioner the absolute authority to put a range of emergency measures into
action in the event of a health “crisis” or “emergency.” According to the video report
which can be seen on youtube.com (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gXBV2jGrBg8 ),
this will include enforced vaccinations, quarantines, and fines of up to $1,000 per day.
The bill was passed rapidly, according to the reporter, because of what was happening in
First, a question, please: Has anything changed in Mexico? Because the last I saw a
report on the situation there, it was more hysteria than disease. And the same could be
said about anyplace else on the globe. People die every year of acute disease. So far, over
the last year, fewer have succumbed to complications from the flu than in years prior.
Why the hysteria? If nothing has changed in Mexico, then something has changed in
Hysteria is not new to the American political scene. This is not the first time we have
been faced with proposed or real internments because of a perceived threat. Nor, should
this republic continue, will it be the last that Forces frenzied and frightened threaten to
corral and silence those who disagree or disobey. First it was the Germans, then it was the
Japanese, then it was the Russians and communists, then the hippies, after that terrorists.
What is different this time and what is so surreal to me as I watch the news developing, is
that now the enemy is us. Or rather, it’s germs that may be IN us. It is the first time
America has turned the gun around and locked in on itself. For no reason other than the
possibility that some of us may get sick, we have put the entire American public in the
The question in this article is not whether the vaccine is effective or not or even whether
it’s necessary or not. (For more information on this topic, please go to
The question is who gets to say whether we get vaccinated. And at this point, it looks like
the frenzied and the frightened have the bulk.
Like myself, many of you who are reading this are surely not old enough to remember the
internment of Japanese Americans. But the data and the painful personal documentation
of the seizure are all readily available. According to the census of 1940
(www.answers.com), 127,000 persons of Japanese ancestry lived in the U.S. with
approximately one-third born in Japan. Even prior to the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the
Japanese were not allowed to own land, be naturalized, or vote in some states. But after
the bombing, the rumors of Japanese-American saboteurs pressured the Roosevelt
administration to sign Executive Order 9066 on February 19, 1942, which forced all
Japanese-Americans to evacuate the West Coast. No comparable order applied to
German-Americans or Italian-Americans, with whose homelands we were also at war.
Ten internment camps were established throughout the west and southwest, where
approximately 120,000 people were held after being forced to sell off or lose any
property they had. Naturally, with shackles on their wrists and bayonets at the door, they
were not in a position to sell any of it for very much.
Oddly, the Supreme Court didn’t overturn the order. The vast relocation was upheld in
Hirabayashi v. United States and Korematsu v. United States.
The camps continued until 1946 and it wasn’t until 1948 that any compensation was
made for the property loss sustained by the interned. In 1988, survivors were paid another
The 1950’s saw a similar, but less obvious assault on civil liberties in the person of Joe
McCarthy, who collaborated with big business to essentially keep anyone suspecting of
seditious politics from working, an elaborate “starvation” policy to put pressure on
writers, actors, politicians, and academics to conform and give up their colleagues, their
convictions, and their constitutional rights in exchange for a good meal. Some did. Some
didn’t. It was a harsh time and I can’t honestly imagine what I would do if my family had
no means of support and I had the choice to provide them with food or continue writing
what I believed to be true. Do you starve or speak up? I do not judge anyone.
But the time is coming again when we may be forced to choose.
The Executive Order Highway
It started, oddly enough under John F. Kennedy, on February 2, 1962. That day marked
the beginning of a series of FEMA Executive Orders that would give the government
absolute sovereignty in the event, once again, of any emergency. Who would determine
whether there was such an emergency? The same people writing the executive orders.
Who could be surprised by that?
Here but a few of those orders:
E.O. 10990, which allows the government the right to take over all public transportation,
including rail, seaports, trains, and airports.
E.O. 10995, which permits the government to seize all the media and control the
information available on any channel, radio, television or cable.
E.O. 10997, which states the government may control all utilities—electric, gas,
E.O. 10998, which gives the powers that be the ability to seize any and all means of
personal transportation—your car, bicycle, motorbike, or plane.
Finally, E.O. 10999, which takes your farm, your food, and your future.
These orders supersede any local or state regulations. Meaning, regardless what you, your
senators, or governors have to say about it, they’re coming in.
These standing Executive Orders, which have stood on the books for more than forty
years, now, are coming to a bizarre, and fundamentally horrifying fruition under another,
more modern version called REX 84, standing for readiness exercise number 84.
According to Diana Reynolds, REX 84 is also known as a continuity of government plan.
I guess in an emergency of global proportions (this plan was designed and enacted in
cooperation with NATO), the principle purpose of government is to keep itself—and not
its citizenry—alive. It reminds me of what they say on the airlines: “Please put your mask
on you first and then attend to your child.” It should make sense. So, why does
everything in me find it frightening?
There is more: It seems that there are already a large number of detention camps fully
operational and ready to receive evacuees—or detainees, as you see fit to call those who
wind up there.
Under this program, certain military bases are closed down and turned into “housing”
centers, although some pundits and scholars question whether that’s a fair word when
those living there will not be able to leave of their own accord.
Where the Highway Leads—H1N1 and Viral Fear.
This is not a matter of politics—neither left nor right. I have scanned the blogs, the
fanatics, the more centrist news media, and the archives and, although the left is accusing
the right and the right is accusing the left of being at fault for the sorry state of our
liberties, they are both as aghast as they are against it. Neither side stands to win anything
by losing the Bill of Rights. It is truly only the wildly uneducated, the fringe paranoids,
and the secret fascisti who think any of this makes any sense.
Over the years, starting with the Act of August 29, 1916, continuing with the National
Security Act of 1947 and the 1950 Defense Production Act, the grasp of the government
has extended steadily ending (but not stopping) with the most recent security measures
enacted under the Bush/Cheney administration
Despite the seeming solidity of our system of government, despite the written guarantees
of our constitution our bill of rights and our declaration of independence, we have had to
fight for the simple right for free speech, freedom of religion, and freedom of political
point of view and freedom (above all) to dissent over and over again. The rights may be
free, but they don’t come cheap.
Choice is both the glory and the bane of the American system. Because in order to
continue speaking freely, in order to continue choosing our own candidates, in order to
decide whether or not we will take a medicine or a submit to a vaccination or not, we
have to choose. Constantly. It is not one choice and the matter is solved. Like breathing,
it is something we must do every day.
We are always being offered a barter for freedom: If you were guaranteed security, a
good job with a 6-figure salary, an insured retirement plan, and a house stocked with
cheap, but filling food, would you take it if all you were being asked to do was take a
little pill? Would you even momentarily consider the trade off? I think most people
Most, unfortunately, do all the time.
We are being told: “Yield up your principles and you will be safe.” This is not at all
different than the deal McCarthy offered the blacklisted in the 1950’s: “Give up your
friends, your ideals, your beliefs and your conscience and you will be rich again.”
The American conscience and our freedom of choice can sadly be bought with a coupon
or a good ad. We will sacrifice our ability to communicate without surveillance for empty
sacks they assure us will make us feel safe forever. Sadly, very few are willing to test
either their own characters or the snake-oil salesmen to see if anything they are saying is
true. As it turns out, if you give people enough comfort or the illusion of security, the
purveyors of false promises don’t have to take our freedom away. We give it to them.