Saturday, January 24, 2009

Marionette du Bleu

by Anonymous

In an exclusive invitation-only night club in The Hague, couples sit back smoking hash and grass, drinking wine and cognac as the curtain parts on a tiny stage lit only by one baby spot.

As the light is slowly turned up, the outlines of a couple become clear, the young, athletic man dressed in black tie, the fabulous woman, veiled in white, her dancer's legs heavily muscled, torso rippling with the discipline of her calling, is sitting slumped under the crossed sticks of a marionette's control mechanism that is held over her head by the young man.

With a tug, he summons her to her feet, which she accomplishes with grace by gathering her long legs and feet shod in heels under her and rising straightway to her erect posture.

He guides her this way and that, making her prance, her arms guided by the strings in a mechanical way.

Suddenly, she becomes agitated. She throws off the controlling strings, bats the crossed sticks from his hand, rips off the veil to reveal a closely cropped cap of curly hair, strips herself of a loose gown, kicks off the heels and stands proudly naked before him, pugnaciously poised with the weight on her left foot, her right arched to push off and attack, all the weight on her toes.

Slowly, she walks around him three times, surveying him from his scalp to his heels, then stops before him to regard him with an eye-level gaze. She helps him out of his jacket and throws it to the floor.

She unties the knot in his bow tie, drapes it loosely around her neck, takes the studs from his shirt front and places them in his outstretched palm, rips his shirt down from the back trapping his arms, unbuckles his pants and waits impatiently while he kicks off his shoes and steps out of them. Then she reaches into an interior pocket of the jacket and withdraws a wicked looking razor-sharp dagger with which she cuts off his shorts.

His erection pops up, bobbing, something she frankly inspects as if it's on display in a butcher shop. Grasping it, pulling him closer, she drops the blade on his pile of clothes, brushes his lips with hers, then captures his neck with the bow tie and pulls him down to his knees before her, turning her back on him.

The crowd strains forward in their seats as he strains forward with alacrity to kiss her ass on alternating cheeks which she has made rock hard by contracting the muscle, standing on the corresponding leg. She strides back and forth mimicking the gait of a long-limbed water fowl of exotic plumage.

A row of blue spots bathes the stage now as they both wrestle in slow motion, alternately pinning one another and assuming positions of dominance as they simulate fucking, first he, then she, their faces contorted with faux exertion.

After one particularly showy climax, he rolls into a reclining position with his forearm across his eyes. She lashes him with the bow tie as he begins to twist and writhe. Finally, as he comes back to his knees, he is stricken by a final spasm that renders him seemingly unconscious. He falls to a prone position and she curtsies before the crowd.

The curtains are drawn and the house lights come up once again as waitresses pass among the tables with trays to take away the empty glasses and take orders for fresh drinks.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

New York, New York, The City Twice as Nice Before Giuliani

by Jim Parks

As the season turns, she will hit the time when leaves fall. Next, winds blow frigid weather from the northeast after the Gulf Stream's sudden withdrawal offshore. People take woolens out of mothballs, furs from cold storage. Scarves and gloves appear; overcoats and hats become common. The harvest season, mid-winter feast, spring festival of the rabbit arrive and the sun's orbit begins its slow turning from Capricorn to Cancer's tropic all over again, the crab nebula crawling high across the summer sky.

Meanwhile, Central Park turns a thousand shades of tobacco and fire, sheds its leaves and goes gray and white in blizzards of big, wet flakes while the city's true nature shows itself in naked views of brownstone, limestone, granite and marble. There will be row upon row of white brick on the upper east side and the west side reveals itself as the red brick oven of summer gone suddenly cold. Steam columns sprout in every intersection as people dart about bundled against winter's piercing blasts.

Grand Central fills up with those who have no home, sleeping on the floors; the downtown streets fill with even more desperate ones sleeping on grates beside the towers of finance.

Hawks living in the aeries of skyscrapers and owls that hide in the thick branches of the park begin to dive on rats, other rodents and the occasional snake.

The Apple beds down for the winter, packed in her own straw and blazing with the lights of eras millenia in the past.

My question to a proud father: Why should a young woman not make her escape in the urgency of planetary changes such as this?

She is a creature of the moon who lives under the sun.

The Legendary
one hand clapping
far away
on a prairie of stubble
in a land of old, partially toothless men.
A friend's note: "Edit again and send it to 'The New Yorker.'"

When they printed Dan Baum's account of burial detail officers accompanying the bodies of slain soldiers home from Iraq, I was moved to tears. I think it was my delicate mental condition that triggered my outburst - that and the fact that the Administration had insisted the media make no mention of American sacrifice in blood and life - but nevertheless, I broke down and cried as if they were my own sons, the two whose bodies Mr. Baum accompanied back to the land of the Big PX.

What did I do? I did what any self-respecting writer should do. I wrote a letter to the editor. In the letter, I praised the courage of The Magazine for defying the ridiculous order of the "war time" president who had demanded there be no pictures or publicity about dead and wounded soldiers returning to our shores.

Now, these days your turn around times are much more instant. You deal with e-mail. Therefore, imagine my surprise when the telephone rang only a day or two after I wrote and my lover was shouting at me, quieting her children, saying, "Honey, it's this woman from something called 'The New Yorker.' She wants to talk to you."

Fair enough.

Then it hit me. Mois? Little old me? About what? There was a very nice young woman on the line who told me she is one of the fact checkers at The Magazine and the editor demanded to know just what in the world did Jas. Parks mean?
It means that is the way I sign my name, I replied. Jas - period - W - period - P-A-R-K-S.

Exactly, she replied, but what does Jas. mean?

Oh, it means James.

Well, if your name is James, why don't you write it that way?

Because we are talking about a signature, here. I sign my name Jas. Parks to distinguish myself from James William Parks, Junior, who died in 1945, my grandfather, or James William Parks, Senior, who died in 1927, my great grandfather from Horseshoe Bend, Virginia, the James William Parks who was born in 1849, exactly one hudred years before my birthdate.

Oh, she said, with a professional smile in her voice, you are THAT Jas. W. Parks.

Thank you.

The Magazine intends to print your letter about Dan Baum's article in the next number.

I was elated.

We're right on deadline and it occurred to us that none of us know what Jas. could possibly mean? Are you sure you don't mean Jason?

Well, blow me down. You know, copy editors. They get like that.

No, it means James, just as Chas. means Charles Dickens, Benj. means Benjamin Franklin or Benj. Siegel, and Geo. means George Washington as does Abr. - Abraham Lincoln - Leibowitz or Lipschitz.

I was becoming somewhat exasperated. As you all know, I am somewhat peripatetic, in any case.

Righto, she said, ringing off cheerfully, but not before I let her know how thrilling I would find it to see my name in The Magazine that had published Truman Capote, Lillian Ross, Josephn Mitchell, Dorothy Parker and James Thurber.

So, happily, off to the rigors of the recliner and my afternoon nap.

I heard the phone ring again almost immediately. I just assumed it was for one of the kids. Their friends will not allow our phone line to be silent for more than a few minutes.

The little girl came to me this time bearing the phone.

Jim, it's that woman from New York again.

This time it was a lady with a somewhat Frenchified accent. What ees zees name Jas. Ees meaning Jasoan, no?

No. It means James. With whom am I speaking?

You are speaking with editorial assistant to ________ _________, editor of magazine.

Well, is English your primary language?

Click. Dial tone.

Fuck'em. I'd rather be right.

The phone rang before I could hang it up. This is __________ __________, the editor. What, exactly, does Jas. mean? We are right on deadline here in New York and we want to print your letter, but we do NOT understand your abbreviation.

It means James.

Then do you want us to by-line you as James?

No, ma'am. No one would believe it's me. You see, I sign my name Jas. W. Parks and...

Well, that stands for Jason, does it not?

No, ma'am, it stands for James. I want people to know you printed a letter I wrote in The Magazine and I signed it the way I would any other important document...

Now, you simply have to understand. This lady can place a phone call to a four-star hotel or restaurant and make the manager wet his Armani britches. She can snap her fingers and dispatch very talented writers - not reporters, but writers - to distant spots on the globe to write take-outs on diverse subjects which are then printed in The Magazine as "Letter from..." and the like.

What is your real name?

I have been by-lined as Jim Parks, madame, throughout a very undistinguished career as a police reporter, if you must know.

What was the newspaper of the largest circulation you ever wrote for, Mr. Parks?

"The Houston Chronicle."

The smallest?

"The Okeechobee News."

Where is Okeechobee?

On a big lake in southern Florida.

Oh, I see.

Fantastic bass fishing, you know. That's the place where they thought they could just tell a man, "I don't want that in the paper."


They can't keep you from printing it, but they can activate the Rotary, Lions, preachers and other pundits and get you fired, you know.

What if I by-line you as Jim Parks, then?

I would be delighted, Ms. ____________.

I once went to sleep in Sheep Meadow on the afternoon of the Fourth of July. I was a tramp. There were workmen setting up a portable stage. They were going to perform "The 1812 Overture" in honor of the occasion and as background music for the fireworks show.

When I awakened, there were men in black tie and women in gowns eating fried chicken and other picnic delights from silver chafing dishes.

Everyone clapped when they saw that I had regained consciousness and I was introduced all around. Someone got me a plate and a glass of champagne and we were off to the races.

Hizzoner The Mayor John Lindsay wheeled in riding in an ordinary Cadillac eight-passenger limo. He schmoozed all around, we shook hands and exchanged pleasantries under his ten-thousand watt smile. It was a good time. He worked hard at it.

I hitched out the next morning and fetched up in Philly's sticky heat where I found work as a laborer putting up and taking down scaffolds for brick masons.

But that's another story.

It's almost like the one about my by-line in "The New Yorker." You can't even dine out on it. Oh, by the way, the fried chicken had a tad too much cumin and garlic in the batter, but it was an unusual touch for a southern boy's palate.

I couldn't have been more delighted.

Friday, January 16, 2009


"Presidential Inauguration Service Update

"FedEx Delivers During the Presidential Inauguration "Heightened security measures for Inauguration Day on Jan. 20, 2009, will include extensive road closures and restricted access to many locations in Washington, D.C.,and surrounding areas, including some bridges and tunnels leading into and out of the Capitol. FedEx Express, FedEx Ground and FedEx Office are planning to operate on this day, however due to enhanced local security measures, customers may experience some delays within the area.

"Continue to check for service updates. As more details become available,we will post alternative shipping options for customers to consider during this time.

"FedEx is committed to providing service to the best of our ability, and we regret any inconvenience during this period of high security.

"For specific shipment status information, please track the status of your shipment at You can also contact FedEx Customer Service at 1.800.GoFedEx 1.800.463.3339, or stay up to date by subscribing to service disruption e-mail notifications at the FedEx E-Mail Subscription Center."

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Goose Creek

by Jim Parks

It was such a startling thing to happen under the overcast winter skies of the rice fields and the levees.

We little men came across the mound of the flood control project and up the muddy bank when suddenly we saw the huge snow goose hunkered down in obvious pain.

The honking began immediately as the creature swiveled and kept its tail to us, challenging any and all to come at it. It must have had a broken wing or some infirmity, all alone and as frightened as any such creature may be.

You never saw them up close. Usually you heard them on bitter cold sunny days miles high in the sky honking and keeping to their V formations. Sometimes they came sailing in at dark to light in the ponds and marshes out in that part of town where they kept the land covered with scrubby trees and the courses of waterways and terraces to absorb the flash floods in the swampy areas contained by the huge levees and flood gates.

We stood around on one foot and another, making comments, feeling deeply for the big bird we knew would die. No one wanted to bother it. No one wanted to leave, but soon we did, letting our little prepubescent legs carry us away while the bird honked at us furiously.

We were little men. Sad little men, but little men nonetheless.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

The Belladonna Cure

by Jim Parks

They three crouched around the coals of a fire built of an oaken pallet by the tracks. The couple fussed with a thick soda bottle in which they brewed tea.

Just as it boiled, the woman in a long black skirt pulled a leather bag on a string out of her bodice and shook out three small seeds. She dropped them in the bottle and the man resumed heating it over the coals.

"Beautiful Lady," she told the tramp. "It's a living dream, the way witches flew." A black crow coasted on silken wings, landed at their feet, turned into a smiling man under a black slouch hat, danced away.

He found an empty boxcar on the line of tracks that was hot, loaded for trains eastbound out of the California valley of produce field and fruit orchards. Grabbed a cast-off brake hose with its galvanized fitting at one end, a mace with which to fight off attackers; jammed a spike in the tracks of the door to prevent its slamming shut and trapping him; arranged a slab of cardboard dunnage and rolled out his bundle of blankets for a snooze.

He awoke at dusk when the engineer jerked the train to make sure all the couplings were secure, waited for the percussive, hissing linear rifle shot to travel the length of the combination as they blew the air out of the brake system, put his back to the corner and got ready to ride uneasy when he saw the three tramps sitting with a half-gallon jug of wine at the other end of the car.

As they rode through the night, one of the tramps kept approaching him in the darkness to cast unsettling stares. He caught glimpses of his alcoholic face and toothless mouth in the shadows and moonlit reflection of snow and stone canyon walls, his evil expressions and his ragged frame clothed in filthy, frizzy gray hair, his body swathed in rags and a huge overcoat.

His attention attracted to a mountain pass covered with snow and spruce groves, their boughs drooping with icy deposits, he turned to see the man wielding a straight razor, preparing to make a slashing cut at him.

The smiling man did not panic. He stood quickly, spread his arms and shouted, eyes blazing.

A massive wind blew across the width of the car. It turned the tramp's coat into a sail, a dark, filthy spinnaker running before the wind that carried the screaming tramp out the door to cling for a moment with one hand; then he dropped into the rocky gorge below.

The other two men huddled fearfully in the corner as he approached them across the rocking, swaying floor of the boxcar, his smile intact under his black slouch hat.

They sat mute for a moment before one of them offered the bottle in drunken capitulation.

"Wanna drink?"

"Don't mind if I do."

Friday, January 9, 2009

Ink-Stained Parrot Slave of the Dragon Lady

by Anonymous

Carlotta's pointed pink tongue ran back and forth over her lips and teeth as she shaded the Indian design between my tits, wiping away the blood, applying the various colors of ink. I opened my eyes from time to time to check out her dark features and raven-black hair. We smiled at each other.

I lay stripped to the waist, my skin tight leather pants riding up into my crotch. She had climbed halfway up on the tattoo chair. Her knee invaded the space of my groin as she shifted around for better purchase.

Suddenly, she brushed my lips with hers, forced my mouth open with that wicked tongue I longed to feel all over my body, and we welded together in a clench that brought sweat out all over my body.

"Roll over, bitch," she said in an even, no nonsense tone of voice.

She unbuckled my smooth leather jeans and stripped them down to the knees. Then she started outlining something from my shoulder, across my back, and down to my hip.

I cried out.

"Shut up, woman. You belong to me. I don't care what you want tattooed on you. I will decide what and where. You got it?"

Outside, some rowdy boys began to tap on the window. Their faces leered in the neon glow on the sidewalk. Carlotta stalked over and let the venetian blinds down with a flourish, locked the door and twisted the key in the burglar alarm to test it. When it blared out its siren call, they ran away.

She shut off the outside lights, stalking back to me, then took up the tattoo gun again as she unbuckled her jeans with her other hand.

I glanced over my shoulder at the barber shop mirrors on the opposite wall. I could see from the bright light at her table that she was tracing in the outline of a huge parrot that would extend from my shoulder to my hip, perched on a tree limb that would extend across the small of my back.

I was flooded with a passion I had never felt before. I fingered the collar she had placed around my neck earlier in the bar.

"That's right, honey. I collared you. You're mine, now." We kissed, writhed with our knees grinding into each others' pussies. When she was finished, she made me parade naked up and down the shop, posing before her. We talked about what color we would fill in, what shades the parrot would be. Then she stripped and let the image of the dragon that dominated her torso, its tail wrapped around one of her legs and grazing her waxed pussy shine forth in the subdued light.

She took me on the couch, handcuffing my hands behind my back and tying my ankles to them. She licked my clit until I screamed for relief. Then she fucked me, fucked me with a long, wicked and curving strap-on.

When she released me, she rubbed me down with alcohol and body lotion, then put me on my knees on a pillow before her and made me go down on her while she asked me questions about what I would do for her?

Would I let her rent me to another dyke?

Would I bathe her and groom her body?

Would I take care of her clothes?

Would I be her bitch?

I solemnly answered yes to each question.

That was the way it started. How I love it.

Monday, January 5, 2009

In The Barber Shop

by Jim Parks

In the Metropolitan that Tuesday morning, all was brilliant refracted sunlight from the prism edges of the mirrors and the dull shine of polished dark-stained wood. The tiny hexagonal floor tiles gleamed from a fresh scrubbing and the air was redolent with shaving soap, liniment and tonic.

The old man came in, nodded to everyone and pulled a newspaper out of the side pocket of his coat after he hung up his hat on a mahogany tree at the door.

His hands shook too badly to do it himself, so he got a shave on Saturday nights, took "Little Bitty Grandma" to church on Sunday, then made the obligatory visit with her to some friends' place before dinner, and spent a lazy afternoon snoozing in his chair.

But there was hell and Jesus in his house now. He could get no rest.

The Klan came into the church on Sunday morning in their robes and one of them made a speech about protecting the flag and southern womanhood.

Little Bitty Grandma could not be consoled. They had committed that one unpardonable sin against southern womanhood. They had scared her.

"Bill, I don't go to church for that kind of trash to come in and talk to me - not that way. I wouldn't listen to them anywhere, much less in my church. I want something done about it."

She had said it over and over - each time the same way. She meant business, had stomped out of the church on the heels of her high button shoes and handed herself into the enormous touring car, then slammed the door with her nose in the air.

He asked what she expected him to do about it.

"I'm sure you will think of something if you know what's good for you, Bill ______."

He made so bold as to ask "Or else what?" It was the kind of thing that came as close to fight as they ever had.

"I will go back out to the place and live with Rebecca."

The "place" was their cotton farm fifteen miles out in the country. Rebecca was her oldest daughter who lived in a home in the compound of five houses they had built over the years so their kids could take care of the enormous place.

He found bedding - quilts, pillows and sheets - on the horsehair sofa in the living room downstairs. Nothing was said.

He could hear her crying upstairs. He went to their room and knocked on the door softly.

"Go away."

"Sarah, I..."

"Go away, Bill. I don't want to hear it." He felt despair as he stood in the wide hallway of the old house, staring at pictures of his children.

He did not sleep well that night. He did not fit the sofa.

That settled it. He would take action, personal and direct, though he was almost eighty, diabetic, and often found himself standing in one place or the other in his home or his yard wondering what it was he had intended to do next.

He waited for Tuesday.

They had found a white woman murdered, strangled and stabbed, her baby trying to nurse at her breast, in a house down along the railroad tracks just outisde the town.

The posse found a negro camped under a low trestle not too far away, dragged him to the jail, and the rest would enter the oral history of the town for the next century to come.

They chained him on a load of hay soaked with kerosene and touched it off. People said he screamed for awhile, then began to turn into a smaller and smaller sizzling piece of stinking, reduced and blackened burned tissue, sizzling smaller and smaller around the skeletal structure. Finally, his skull had exploded with a diminutive pop.

The old man had visited the domino parlor and the fire station. He knew who was responsible, had waited - he called it "laying around the lick log" - until he saw them enter the barber shop that morning, then followed them inside.

Suddenly, he laid his newspaper aside and said, to no one in particular, "Y'all gonna mind me."

No one paid much attention. They just kept on chatting and laughing at one joke or another.

"I said y'all gonna mind me. You will mind me, you hear? Y'all don't mind me, you'll wonder how come you didn't."

One of the barbers stopped in mid-sentence and said, "Are you talking to me, Bill?"

"That's Mister Bill to you, boy."

"Mister Bill, what in the world is wrong?"

"What's right with the world? You tell me, fella."

He stood up and pulled off his coat, throwing it down on the bench next to him. No one missed the big .45 caliber revolver hanging down from the shoulder holster almost to his left hip. The dark brown leather rig held it snugly to what once had been a massive chest and huge shoulders.

His moustaches jumped up and down as he talked. His eyes flashed fire.

"Y'all burned that air niggah t'other day? I can't he'p that. Then you come to my wife's church and talked about it uninvited. That scared her. Y'all ought not scare her - any other women in this town, you hear?

"Here's what I'm gonna do. I'm gonna promise you that if you try to burn anyone else, niggah or white, Meskin or Injun, I'm gonna come for you. You won't like that..."

"Aw, Mister _____, one of the Klansmen said, trying to reason with him.

"No, sir, you listen here to me, boy. Y'all gonna mind me. Y'all think someone done some killin'? Something like that? You turn him over to the Sheriff. Let the District Attorney get him indicted, then let a jury convict him unanimously. Then you turn him over to the Governor to make sure his sentence is carried out. It's that simple. Y'all try to do anything else - especially scare my wife or any other woman - and you'll answer to me."

He put on his hat and folded his coat over his arm, then stalked out of the barber shop, leaving the cloying mixture of odors - lilac and powder, shaving soap and liniment, bootblack, and the light machine oil they used on the clippers and scissors.

Outside, he felt better than he had at any time in at least twenty years. There was a bite to the early Spring air. He sprung along in his boots, then swung up into his touring car with its polished brass and dark-painted fenders and doors, its odor of rubber and gasoline, leather and dust.

He went home to a lunch of cold biscuits and ham, warmed- over coffee and an apple.

He said, "Little Darlin', I talked to them..."

"Do tell," she said, flouncing out of the kitchen as if she was eighteen again. She snorted as she went up the stairs to their room. "Go on and talk to them, old man. Just you be sure and talk to them, now. I'll bet they will be real impressed."

He burned for her, became fully involved in her rage. It was now a matter of survival. Little old men cannot make it by themselves. He knew this so well.

It was another little old man who telephoned him as he dozed in his chair in the middle of one of his famous afternoon naps.

"Bill, they're fixing to burn another damn niggah down here on the square. You'd better get on down here, old man."

"Don't you go nowhere. I'll be by to get you in just a minute."

He stuck his feet in his boots, hitched up his suspenders and shouldered into his holster. Jamming his hat on his head, he thanked himself for having an electric starter put on his touring car.

When they got there, the crowd had just started their war dance. Ugly hatred marched across every face in the crowd. The old man shuddered as he watched neighbors and business acquaintances lust for the blood of this unfortunate black man who was in a wild dither as he begged them to spare his life.

"Lawd, no, hell, no. Don't y'all burn po' me. I didn't do nothin' to nobody. Hell, no," he screamed, trying to break the chains as they laughed at him and made faces.

The old man drove up in the middle of the crowd, making them move out of the way of the big car with its big steel fenders and the incredibly long hood topped by the chromed swan taking flight. He hoisted himself out and stood on the running board, struggling to conceal how he had lost his breath.
He drew the old pistol, fired it in the air.

That startled the crowd, especially when they saw who had done it. It was well known that he had come into the country from Virginia, had made a lot of money and was very influential in business affairs.

"Put the niggah in the jail. Do it and do it now. Y'all gonna mind me, or you'll wonder why you didn't." He shouted it. His voice came from somewhere deep, down near his navel.

The same smart mouth who had tried to talk back to him in the barber shop spoke up.

"Now, Mister ______, you're liable to get yourself hurt."

The old man fired just over his head, his wobbly hand holding the pistol as steady as he could as the broken plate glass from a store front behind the "reserve" deputy crashed inside the window.

"I said you are going to mind me, and I don't mean maybe. So get busy."

The crowd melted away very quickly after that. Two deputies unchained the man and helped him down from the wagon.

"And y'all clean that kerosene off that boy, you hear me?" He was breathing harder than ever, close to a heart attack or a stroke. "I don't want my jail a'burnin' down. Y'all might think that's yo' jail, but it's not. It's my jail."

He watched bleakly until they had gotten the man down from the wagon and gone down the block to the jail, then he climbed back into the driver's seat and reversed out of the parking place and drove on home.

When he had dropped his friend off and wheeled into the old barn behind the house, she was waiting on the back porch to take his hat.

"I've been listening to the party line, Bill. They are all saying you done the right thing."

She looked up at him with pride, taking his elbow and pressing her breast to his side.

She felt the gun hanging from the holster pressed between them.

"And take that thing off. Don't you dare try to wear that into my house. Is it loaded?"

"Wouldn't be much good if it wasn't, would it, now?"

She laughed in spite of herself.

"You hungry, old man?"

"You know I am, Little Darlin'."

They laughed at each other again as they passed under the shotgun hanging on pegs over the door between the kitchen and the mud room.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Military Coup

by Jim Parks

Department of Defense Announces Plans For A Military Coup

The U.S. Armed Forces recently announced their plans for a military takeover.

Apparently, the plan is linked to a government bailout of mortgage companies, banks, Wall Street trading houses and auto manufacturers.

The U.S. Army War College’s Strategic Studies Institute released a report warning that the U.S. military must prepare for a "violent, strategic dislocation inside the United States" that could be provoked by "unforeseen economic collapse" or "loss of functioning political and legal order."

Entitled "Known Unknowns: Unconventional ‘Strategic Shocks’ in Defense Strategy Development," the report was produced by Lt. Col. Nathan Freier, a recently retired officer who is a professor at the college - the Army’s main training institute for prospective senior officers.

"To the extent events like this involve organized violence against local, state, and national authorities and exceed the capacity of the former two to restore public order and protect vulnerable populations, DoD [Department of Defense] would be required to fill the gap...Widespread civil violence inside the United States would force the defense establishment to reorient priorities in extremis to defend basic domestic order An American government and defense establishment lulled into complacency by a long-secure domestic order would be forced to rapidly divest some or most external security commitments in order to address rapidly expanding human insecurity at home."

International Monetary Fund Managing Director Dominique Strauss- Kahn warned last week of riots and unrest in global markets if the ongoing financial crisis is not addressed and lower-income households are beset with credit constraints and rising unemployment, the Phoenix Business Journal reported. Sen. James Inhofe of Oklahoma and Rep. Brad Sherman of California disclosed that Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson discussed a worst-case scenario as he pushed the Wall Street bailout in September, and said that scenario might even require a declaration of martial law.

According to the War College report, "DoD might be forced by circumstances to put its broad resources at the disposal of civil authorities to contain and reverse violent threats to domestic tranquility. Under the most extreme circumstances, this might include use of military force against hostile groups inside the United States.

"Further, DoD would be, by necessity, an essential enabling hub for the continuity of political authority in a multi-state or nationwide civil conflict or disturbance...DoD is already challenged by stabilization abroad. Imagine the challenges associated with doing so on a massive scale at home."

The Defense Department has made plans to deploy 20,000 troops nationwide by 2011 to help state and local officials respond to emergencies.

Although the 130-year-old Posse Comitatus Act restricts the military’s role in domestic law enforcement, a 1994 Defense Department Directive allows military commanders to take emergency actions in domestic situations to save lives, prevent suffering or mitigate great property damage, according to the Business Journal.

Gen. Tommy Franks, who led the U.S. military operations to liberate Iraq, said in a 2003 interview that if the U.S. is attacked with a weapon of mass destruction, the Constitution will likely be discarded in favor of a military form of government.

By the year 2011, if funding is approved. A full brigade- strength military presence of three rapid reaction forces will be in place.

The first such unit, a 4,700 person unit at Ft. Stewart, Georgia - part of the Third Infantry Division's 1st Brigade Combat Team, which rotated into place in the spring of this year, became available as of October 1, according to General Victor E. Renuart, Jr., commander of the U.S. Northern Command.

Two additional teams will join 80 small National Guard and reserve units to support local and state officials - all trined to respond to what the Army calls CBRNE events (chemical, biological, nuclear or high-yield explosive).

All this represents a nearly seven-fold increase in five years, something Paul McHale, assistant defense secretary for homeland defense, said "would have been extraordinary to the point of unbelievable" in remarks before the Center For Strategic and International Studies. He called this a "fundamental change in military culture."

It's enough of a fundamental change to alarm such widely divergent groups as the American Civil Liberties Union and the libertarian Cato Institute, both of which decry the potential for domestic spying and a military presence that might become oppressive and inhibitory.

But the notion that enemies of the nation might not confine their hostilities to areas overseas persists. Subjecting the U.S. to attacks by nuclear devices in major cities might cause the defense establishment to give up the fight.

Late in 2007, Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England signed a directive approving more than $556 million over five years to set up the three response teams.

Planners assume an incident could lead to thousands of casualties, more than one million evacueees and contamination of as many as 3,000 square miles, an area the size of that affected by Hurricane Katrine. The Federal Emergency Management Agency began a $1.8 million pilot project in November, according to McHale. It includes operation areas in Hawaii, Massachusetts, South Carolina, Washington and West Virginia - each of which will focus on a particular threat such as pandemic flu, a terrorist attack, hurricane, earthquake and catastrophic chemical release.

It's all part of federal and state emergency planning that began in 2003.