Freedoms Lost Under Bush, Do As I Say, Not As I Do
- Freedoms Lost Under Bush
Supporters and apologists for President G.W. Bush will often assail my assertion that the Bush administration has done more to dismantle constitutional protections of our liberties than any president in modern memory. It seems that these people believe that until federal Storm Troopers knock down the doors of their homes and drag them off to the gulags, they have lost no freedoms. Nothing could be further from the truth. If history is any teacher, it instructs us in the incremental process that elitists use to implement their totalitarian agenda. The first step is to use an incessant, highly orchestrated propaganda. For all practical purposes, the major media in the United States is providing that propaganda. At the national level, there is hardly any investigative journalism going on. Instead, the national press corps has become little more than lazy lackeys for the White House.
The second step is to lay the foundation for totalitarianism by passing legislation that may later be used against the citizenry. And that is exactly what the Bush administration has very successfully accomplished. It very adroitly succeeded where the Clinton administration failed.
For example, most conservatives would be surprised to learn that the Patriot Act and Department of Homeland Security was the brainchild of one William Jefferson Clinton. However, a recalcitrant Republican Congress denied Clinton the opportunity to implement these plans. Of course, with the Republican, G.W. Bush, serving as President, that same Republican Congress was all too eager to pass these bills into law.
The third step is to demonize and marginalize anyone and everyone who opposes the government's plans and ambitions. Such opponents are characterized as "unpatriotic," "obstructionist," "uncompassionate," or even "ungodly." Once again, the Bush minions have very skillfully done just that. Anyone who dares to oppose or even question Bush must be regarded as enemies of America or even as enemies of God.
Of course, the last step is to begin using the power and force of government to physically silence or remove those who are determined to require such treatment. And, as Germany's National Socialists proved, by the time this happens, there is no one around who is capable of coming to the assistance of such people.
For those who are willing to objectively analyze Bush's actions and policies, the truth is clearly seen: this President has systematically put in place laws, policies, and bureaucracies that can, are, and will continue to strip the American citizenry of the constitutional protections of their liberties.
Following are examples of freedoms which President Bush and his fellow Republicans in Congress have already expunged (as reported by the Associated Press):
*FREEDOM OF ASSOCIATION: Government may monitor religious and political institutions without suspecting criminal activity to assist terror investigations.
*FREEDOM OF INFORMATION: Government has closed once- public immigration hearings, has secretly detained hundreds of people without charges, and has encouraged bureaucrats to resist public records questions.
*FREEDOM OF SPEECH: Government may prosecute librarians or keepers of any other records if they tell anyone that the government subpoenaed information related to a terror investigation.
*RIGHT TO LEGAL REPRESENTATION: Government may monitor federal prison jailhouse conversations between attorneys and clients, and deny lawyers to Americans accused of crimes.
*FREEDOM FROM UNREASONABLE SEARCHES: Government may search and seize Americans' papers and effects without probable cause to assist terror investigation.
*RIGHT TO A SPEEDY AND PUBLIC TRIAL: Government may jail Americans indefinitely without a trial.
*RIGHT TO LIBERTY: Americans may be jailed without being charged or being able to confront witnesses against them.
These rights have already been lost! Whether individual Americans have been personally subjected to the resultant tyranny or not doesn't change the fact that they have already lost these freedoms! This fact, alone, should be enough for any studious lover-of-liberty to be outraged!
That good men are compliant and unconcerned regarding G.W. Bush's propensity to trample constitutional freedoms bespeaks a great ignorance or a great apathy, or both! Read More Here
Bush: Do As I Say, Not As I Do
01/31/05 "Information Clearing House" -- Chinese pro-democracy activist Yang Jianli has been incarcerated in a Chinese prison since April of 2002. Jianli, a permanent U.S. resident, is the founder of the Foundation for China in the 21st Century. While on a return visit to China in 2002, he was arrested on charges of using a false passport. He was then placed in solitary confinement, held incommunicado, and tortured.
The Chinese government violated their own law when they failed to release Jianli after 37 days, which is required if no warrant is filed. They eventually convicted him of illegal entry and espionage and sentenced him to five years in prison. He suffered a stroke last summer while in custody.
The U.S. Congress has unanimously passed several resolutions condemning Jianli's prolonged imprisonment and demanding his release. In addition, Condoleezza Rice, while National Security Advisor, told Jianli's wife that American officials had pressed high-level Chinese authorities on the matter.
Jianli is now up for parole. As a human rights activist, I pray that the Chinese government will finally see fit to release him. At the same time, I can't help but note the irony in the Bush administration's support for the release of this Chinese dissident.
Let's look at the situation: The Chinese have essentially labeled a dissident as an enemy combatant, put him in jail, incommunicado, with stalled due process, and tortured him. The trial was conducted secretly. His family was not informed of his whereabouts. It sounds very much like how the Bush administration has been dealing with those suspected of terrorist ties in Afghanistan, Iraq, Guantanamo Bay, and even right here on the mainland.
I originally hoped to present a point-by-point comparison of Jianli's situation with those of Bush's "enemy combatants"; however, it seems that the Chinese have released much more information about Jianli than the Bush administration has given us about any of the people it is holding in their own legal limbo. But we do know that the U.S. is holding thousands of suspects in detention, incommunicado, under cruel and inhumane conditions, and not even offering the minimal level of legal recourse that the Chinese afforded to Jianli. Just earlier this month, a federal judge in Washington threw out challenges to their detentions by inmates at Guantanamo Bay. Ironically, some information does leak out from Guantanamo and elsewhere as detainees in Bush's "war on terror" are occasionally released, one by one, when evidence leaks to the press and the public that their arrests were groundless.
The Bush administration has the nerve to complain about how awful the Chinese are. Somebody needs to send them a mirror. But, of course, we're the great and powerful United States of America, and Bush keeps reminding us that he's doing God's work and spreading "democracy", so it must be OK. Apparently, it's God's will that you can violate your own laws if Bush says so. If anyone else does, though, it's evil.
The Bush administration has lost the moral high ground for taking others to task for human rights violations. But I hope that the citizens of the U.S., despite their misguided leadership, will continue to stand up for what is right - in China, at Guantanamo, and right here in the U.S. We cannot let the Bush administration get away with its gross human rights violations, just as we cannot let the Chinese government do the same.
We must not forget the words of Pastor Martin Niemoller, who wrote the following from Berlin in 1939:
"First they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew. Then they came for the Communists, and I did not speak out because I was not a Communist. Then they came for the trade-unionists, and I did not speak out because I was not a trade-unionist. Then they came for the Catholics, and I did not speak out because I was not a Catholic. Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak out for me." Read More Here
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