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Monday, June 9, 2008

Fear

As I'm sure most regular readers know, the Patriot Act and it's associated legislation offends me as an American most grievously - as does the current administration.

I think the provisions of the Patriot Act, especially the sections giving the President almost unlimited power over his fellow citizens and thereby elevating his status to that of a despotic emperor, are absolutely contrary to everything the Founding Fathers intended.

I am incensed that this administration has in effect created secret laws which are hidden from the average citizen, and yet holds those same citizens accountable to standards and regulations that they cannot know and have no recourse for if convicted under. Indeed, the average citizen is not even allowed to access to the information used to convict him, or allowed to confront his accuser, and is not allowed to challenge the conviction in court. Need an example? How about the TSA's secret "No-Fly" list? You are not allowed to know what placed your name on that list to begin with. There is no legal recourse and no appeal. Whether or not you get on the airplane is entirely dependent on the arbitrary whim of some faceless government functionary. A single anonymous phonecall is enough to make you an enemy of the state. This is a return to McCarthyism; bribery, chicanery, and corruption cannot be far behind.

I am especially offended by the secret provisions put in place by this administration which allow the US government to monitor Americans and search their property without a court issued warrant, due notification, or recourse, in what amounts to a return to Napoleonic Law. This presumption of guilt, vice the presumption of innocence, is anathema to the very principles of liberty and justice upon which America was founded.

I am disgusted that my country has become a nation that tortures people. I never thought that my fellow citizens would stand for it. Liberal or Conservative, I find it nearly unbelievable that Americas would tolerate a government that kidnaps people off the street and the battlefield and spirits them away to secret prisons, tortures them, and convicts them without due adherence to the rule of law, international agreement, and our own Constitution. I am disgusted that, as Americans, our perspective is so skewed that we would impeach a President for getting a blowjob in the oval office, and yet tolerate and even encourage a leader who enthusiastically advocates and engages in the abject violation of basic human rights. Human rights that the United States has been the benchmark for since its founding.

I am appalled that Americans would stand for this trampling of the Constitution and for their rights and freedoms as Americans, and for the dishonor this administration has levied upon us as a people. Yet, inevitably when this topic comes up in conversation, and especially in conversation with staunch conservatives who support the current administration, their response is always the same:

If you don't have anything to hide, you don't have anything to fear.

I think that's complete crap. I think that kind of thinking leads inevitably to tyranny and absolutism. But, just for the sake of argument I'll allow it to stand for the moment.

If you don't have anything to hide, you don't have anything to fear. Fine. Then answer me a question, Conservatives, Bush Supporters, and all of you Flag Waving Patriots - why is it that the White House ordered the destruction of interrogation notes by its Gitmo Interrogators? Or the destruction of CIA interrogation video tapes? Or the deliberate overwriting of White House email backups in direct violation of federal regulation? You can't have it both ways, Patriots, by your own logic either the President has nothing to hide, in which case George W. Bush has nothing to fear - or, well, he does.

These records, these public records which are property of all Americans, weren't accidentally destroyed - they were ordered destroyed in a manner that reminds me of a couple of potheads flushing their stash down the toilet while the cops are banging on the front door. And they were destroyed for exactly the same reason, and for exactly the reason stated in Conservative logic - the White House has a great deal to fear.

I'll make the accusation right here and right now - these records show without equivocation that the President is full of shit, that he is in criminal violation of everything this country stands for, that not only should he be impeached but that he should spend a considerable amount of time behind bars.

Go ahead, Patriots, prove me wrong - publish the records. After all, if you don't have anything to hide, you have nothing to fear.

Right?

11 comments:

  1. I thought you were at a training seminar? You surfing the interweebs on company time?

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  2. Right on and well said! Woot! Good job. For more on our tyrannical govment:

    http://www.boingboing.net/2008/06/09/tsa-outlaws-flights.html

    TSA outlaws flights to those who refuse to show ID

    "This new rule seems to only apply to terrorists that are unable to lie, while at the same time, massively cutting into the rights of passengers."

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  3. I am not nearly as liberal as you, and yet I say amen to your statement:

    "I am disgusted that, as Americans, our perspective is so skewed that we would impeach a President for getting a blowjob in the oval office, and yet tolerate and even encourage a leader who enthusiastically advocates and engages in the abject violation of basic human rights."

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  4. I would actually think the flag waving patriots would be the ones most incensed by all of this.

    It's just so fucking Un-American.

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  5. Jeri, I don't consider myself a liberal, per se. If I were to label myself, I'd probably say I tend to middle of the road conservative. Neither label fits me very well. If anything I am probably a Jeffersonian Constitutionalist - though unlike Jefferson, I think there is a real need to have our rights spelled out specifically. For exactly the reasons that prompted this post.

    Nathan, absolutely. I'd think that conservatives would be the ones screaming the loudest. But I think they're embarrassed by being hoodwinked by the hysteria surrounding 911 and are too far down the road to change. I also think they fear the "Liberal" label more than anything else, and will go along with dammed near anything the GOP says in order to avoid being labeled as such even slightly.

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  6. May I recommend the book "The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder", written by Vincent Bugliosi? You may remember him as the prosecutor in the Charles Manson case, as well as the author of a number of bestselling books. It's a very powerful book.

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  7. Hmmm... if conservative, liberal and libertarian were three different but mutually intersecting axes, I'd probably be wandering around cluelessly somewhere around the mid point.

    I am a fan of neither strong state nor federal government, but in the minimum government necessary. What is the definition of necessary? That's where the devil is in the details.

    I love Heinlein's concept of rational anarchy. I'm not sure it would work - humans are too contrary - but idealistically, I like it.

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  8. Of course the flag-waving patriots aren't bothered. They have nothing to hide. And if the President, who is clearly a God-fearing, patriotic American with balls (unlike those pansy, appeasement-happy liberals) wants to shred a few documents for our own good, they have no beef with that. If we needed to know, he'd tell us, because he's a good man.

    Americans, by and large, are ignorant of history, and a distressingly large number of the ones who proclaim themselves patriots and conservatives are proudly ignorant. A more humble and well-informed American might remember the famous words of a German clergyman:

    "In Germany, they came first for the Communists, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist;

    And then they came for the trade unionists, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist;

    And then they came for the Jews, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew;

    And then . . . they came for me . . . And by that time there was no one left to speak up."

    (attributed to Pastor Martin Niemöller)

    --but since those words weren't spoken on Fox News last week, you know, who cares? I mean, you're going to listen to some dead European intellectual when Europeans are ungrateful sods who don't appreciate everything America has given them and intellectuals are snobby elitists who'd rather sit around talking in their ivory towers until the terrorists have blown everything up.

    America's the greatest country on Earth, and therefore whatever we do is right. You didn't know we were perfect and pristine? Anyone who can't accept that ought to just pack and leave.

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  9. Eric, do I detect just a bit of sarcasm? ;)

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