A threatened elite seeks to consolidate control and tighten its grip on a nation’s resources …

You could be forgiven for thinking I’m describing Bolivia, where conflict between landowners and backers of the democratically elected president Evo Morales claimed 30 lives so far this month, but I’m not. Reading the economic plan proposed by the Bush Administration for Wal St., I’m struck by the thought that what we’re going through right here might not be an election season, but rather a coup.

The oligarchs in Bolivia used bullets and batons to undermine democracy. Here the weapons look like bailouts and blank checks, but the end goal is the same: Put the economy in a vice and you’ve tied the hands of whomever’s in office. You, the voter, may not vote for the team that promises — as the GOP service-cutters have promised — to shrink the Treasury to a puddle that can be drowned in a bathtub. But no matter, your candidate gets the keys to the Treasury and – presto, the Treasury is bare.

We know the Bush team want to tie Congress’s hands by preemptively committing troops to Iraq. The same thing’s going on with our tax-dollars here at home. Bush Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson wants $700 billion, "clean," with no quids pros or quos from Congress. He’s demanding absolute power plus immunity from review "by any court of law or any administrative agency."

Yet Democratic candidate Barack Obama hasn’t "ruled out" keeping Paulson in place even if he wins this November. Getting a new person to start juggling those balls is going to be tricky," Mr. Obama said in an interview aboard his campaign plane Saturday. "Regardless of who wins the election, the issue of transition to the next administration is going to be very important. And it’s going to have to be executed with a spirit of bipartisanship and cooperation," Senator Obama told The New York Times,

Is this still an election season? Or something else?

Laura Flanders is the host of RadioNation and GRITtv. Watch GRITtv on Free Speech TV (Dish Network Ch. 9415) or 8 pm ET on Channel 67 in Manhattan. OR on a cable station near you, or online at GRITtv.org. And become a subscriber.