Archive for the ‘Exploding Freedoms’ Category

We’re All Zimbabweians Now

August 5, 2007

President Robert Mugabe has signed into law an act enabling
state security agents to monitor phone lines, mail and the Internet, a
government notice published on Friday said. (More)

Kind of like the law that the Bush Regime just got past our weakened Congress and Senate.

And all of us here in Northern California can thank that Enabler of Evil, Senator Diane Feinstein.

Imagine, we’re now just like Zimbabwe.

Another "Mission Accomplished."

(more…)

Senator Diane Feinstein and the Patriot Act

March 18, 2007

It’s still not clear to me if California Senator Diane Feinstein fully comprehends the danger she and her colleagues are facing from the various sneaky and not so sneaky power grabs that have been going on during the past years.

She does appear to be aroused from her slumber by the firing of the United States Attorneys, but from her explanation, it doesn’t sound as if she was really on top of things.

“How did all of this happen? This is an interesting story. Apparently, (italics added) when Congress reauthorized the PATRIOT Act last year, a provision was included that modified the statute that determines how long interim appointments are made. The PATRIOT Act Reauthorization changed the law to allow interim appointments to serve indefinitely rather than for a limited 120 days. Prior to the PATRIOT Act Reauthorization and the 1986 law, when a vacancy arose, the court nominated an interim U.S. Attorney until the Senate confirmed a Presidential nominee. The PATRIOT Act Reauthorization in 2006 removed the 120-day limit on that appointment, so now the Attorney General can nominate someone who goes in without any confirmation hearing by this Senate and serve as U.S. Attorney for the remainder of the President’s term in office. This is a way, simply stated, of avoiding a Senate confirmation of a U.S. Attorney.”

Apparently?

Apparently Senator Feinstein doesn’t read the statues before she votes.

On the bright side, she does seem to have some dim awareness that this was a power grab.

I guess it’s a baby steps kind of thing with her.

In the past, Senator Feinstein has been one of President Bush’s enablers as they team up to violate American’s civil rights.

“President Bush urged Congress on Thursday to renew the USA Patriot Act, which he called an invaluable tool in the war on terrorism, and cited the support of California Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein as evidence the 4-year-old law has not led to violations of civil liberties.” (Source)

Senator Feinstein had this to say about the ACLU’s concerns about the Patriot Act.

“As part of my effort to oversee the
implementation of the USA-Patriot Act, I asked the ACLU, in a letter
dated March 25, 2005, to provide an update of their October 2003
statement that they did not know of any abuses of the USA-Patriot Act.
             

On
April 4, 2005, the ACLU published a reply to my letter, in which they
listed what they described as ‘abuses and misuses’ of the Act. I
carefully reviewed each of the examples provided in the letter. I also
reviewed information provided to me by the Department of Justice about
each of the examples. And while I understand the concerns raised by the
ACLU, it does not appear that these charges rose to the level of
‘abuse’ of the Patriot Act." (Source)

In fact, Senator Feinstein was so pleased with the Patriot Act that she used it as a vehicle for her anti-drug bill that makes it harder for people to purchase cold medicine. She attached her bill onto the reauthorization of the Patriot Act.

“The finish line is in sight,” Senator Feinstein said.  “With
this agreement on the Patriot Act, Congress is but a step away from
passing the most significant anti-meth bill in a decade.  The heart of
this legislation is a strong standard for keeping pseudophedrine
products out of the hands of meth cooks. This includes a limit on how
much cold medicine with pseudophedrine can be purchased both daily and
monthly, moving these products behind the counter and requiring purchasers to show identification and sign a log book.  We’re close.  Now we’ve got to finish the job.” (Source)

I could be wrong, but if you have to send a letter to the ACLU and check with the Justice Department to see  if a law is being abused, or if you suspect there might be a problem with a piece of legislation, it might not be the best thing to use that same law to pass your pet legislation.

Isn’t time to fix the Senate rules so that Senators can’t tack totally unrelated bills onto pending legislation?

Just a thought.

PETA “Terrorists”

November 14, 2006

Back in October I commented on my belief that terrorist laws were going to be abused.

"As an almost thirty year veteran of law enforcement, I can tell you will almost 100 percent certainty that use of these laws will not be confined to terrorists."

I had no idea that it had already happened.  And I certainly had no idea that these idiots would turn PETA and other animal rights activists into terrorists.

I was listening to the Thom Hartmann program today and a caller was rightfully very upset about the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act.

My first thought was, here’s another radio crackpot, but boy, was I wrong.

It turns out that this thing has already passed the House (H.R. 4239) and the Senate (S. 3880)

Here’s what the ACLU has to say about making "terrorists" out of animal rights activists.

"Lawful and
peaceful protests that, for example, urge a consumer boycott of a company that
does not use humane procedures, could be the target of this provision because they “disrupt” the
company’s business.  This overbroad
provision might also apply to a whistleblower whose intentions are to stop
harmful or illegal activities by the animal enterprise.  The bill will effectively chill and
deter Americans from exercising their First Amendment rights to advocate for
reforms in the treatment of animals.

Alarmingly, the bill would also make the expanded crime a
predicate for Title III federal criminal wiretapping.  This provision could be used for
widespread domestic surveillance of animal rights organizations.  A court will be far more likely to find
probable cause for a vague crime of causing economic damage or disruption to an
animal enterprise than for a crime that requires some evidence that the
organization plans to engage in activity causing illegal “physical
disruption."

While it’s true that some eco-activists and animal rights advocates have engaged in inappropriate and destructive conduct incompatible with the concept of peaceful protest – but these people are not even close to being "terrorists."  And the fact that some Republican corporate shill can get a law passed that designates animal advocates, no matter how violent, they might be, as "terrorists" shows how far this country has sunk into repression.

This is another outlandish example of the Bush Administration’s incremental repression of our individual constitutional rights under the guise of fighting "terrorism" for the real purpose of protecting their corporate interests.

The Republicans no longer have control of the legislature, but undoubtedly they’ve left more of these liberty destroying land mines around just waiting to blow up more of our constitutional rights.

On The Road To Oppression

October 17, 2006

The American Civil Liberty Union states of the new oppressive measures approved by President Bush today:

"The president can now – with the approval of Congress – indefinitely hold people without charge, take away protections against horrific abuse, put people on trial based on hearsay evidence, authorize trials that can sentence people to death based on testimony literally beaten out of witnesses, and slam shut the courthouse door for habeas petitions…”

As an almost thirty year veteran of law enforcement, I can tell you will almost 100 percent certainty that use of these laws will not be confined to terrorists. 

Soon, you may be snatched off the street and held indefinitely without charges with no access to an attorney because somebody accused you of doing something wrong.

In a depressingly short time, the use of these measures will creep into use by Federal, and local law enforcement.

There have always been people in police departments and prosecutors offices who want to “get the job done” by using any means necessary. These kind of people have wanted to these kind “tools” for years.

We have started down a very dark path here.

Are We A Police State Yet?

October 1, 2006

Recently, the Bush Administration got the court decision that they have been looking for that allows them to indefinitely detain a U.S. citizen captured on U.S. soil without any criminal charges, holding that such authority is vital during wartime to protect the nation from terrorist attacks.

Now, we have the Bush dominated congress passing legislation that allows U.S. citizens to be tortured while being held indefinitely.

Provisions of the Patriot Act have already been used to go after drug cartel members – not what the law was intend for, but these things have a way of being applied to situations other than their creators intended….

Like linking the war on terrorism and conventional organized crime.      

Now that  we’ve all meekly acquiesced to the suspension of one of our basic rights of habeas corpus – one of the things that has made us different from other countries – we find that any low level petty thief, fixer, pimp, drug dealer, money launder, or other member of traditional organized crime can be considered to be a threat to our national security and simply disappear into our new oppressive police state, never have a trial, and never be seen again.

It may come as a surprise to many, but sometimes, the intelligence is wrong, and sometimes people are falsely accused and sometimes people are setup. Sometimes the police are just plain incompetent.

We don’t recognize the jurisdiction of any world court or treaty, we invade countries that we dislike, and threaten countries that do things we don’t  like.

The suspension of habeas corpus now makes us pretty much like most other rogue nations that threaten and invade other countries and lock up their own citizens and throw away the key.

Just swell.

It’s Time to Wake Up

February 6, 2006

Brownshirtbush

You may think the art work is in bad taste or not, but it’s the way things are going with this crowd.

They are now in total control.  But you don’t see it do you?   Every day is pretty much the same as the day before to you isn’t it?   Nothing that goes on in Washington really matters to you does it?

Well. think again.  You’ve elected and reelected a bunch of lying, world dominating, fear peddling, war mongering Fascist’s. They’ve ruined the country’s reputation in the world, they’ve ruined the country’s economy, they’re raping the environment, they’re attempting to roll back science to the dark ages, they want to dictate your religious practices, and they’re taking away your freedoms.

But you don’t see it do you?  What do you care about the Constitution?  You can still watch football, drink beer, and drive down to the local pool hall, and besides,they say they’re violating the law and taking away your rights to protect you against the terrorists, right?

Think about this for a minute.

We shouldn’t be unsympathetic toward the victims of the attack on the World Trade Center, and we shouldn’t minimize their terrible loss and the hardships they’ve suffered from the attack, but the fact of the matter is that the attack on 9/11 didn’t destroy the country’s economy or bring the country to a stand still.  It’s a tribute to the victims and their families that we are strong enough to survive such a hit and move on.

That’s worth repeating. The United States is strong enough to withstand an attack by a terrorist organization.

I’m sure there are many people who fear another attack, and another attack may well come, but the country survived the first one and we’ll get though the next one when and if it comes. The fact we haven’t had a second attack isn’t because of anything these idiots have done since 9/11.

What isn’t so good is our collective response to these attacks.  Every little town thinks their water tower is an Al-Quida target.  We have to get over this.  We are letting our fears run us and this crowd in control in Washington are more than happy to feed those fears as they lead us down the path to a totalitarian regime.

They’re using your fears to consolidate their power.  That’s what’s it’s all about for these people.  Power.  They now control everything.  They control all branches of government.

You really don’t want that.

Did you know that the Constitution has provisions for checks and balances?  That means that no branch of the government is stronger than the other.  It means that the Congress checks the power of the President and the President’s powers are checked by Congress.  It means that the courts can check the power of both the President and the Congress.

But these folks in power in Congress don’t care about the Constitution or separation of powers or checks and balances. In fact,they’ve changed the rules in Congress so that the minority party has almost no ability to be any kind of meaningful check on the majority. They’ve put people on the courts who agree with their world view.

That’s they way they want it. They want total power.  They want single party rule.

But when one political party, either party, for that matter, controls all branches of government, we have the beginnings of a dictatorship.

I’m not sure about this, but I don’t think the founding fathers thought about the situation where one political party would control every single branch of government.

Another brake on a creeping dictatorship under our system of government is that, under normal circumstances, the government bureaucrats, the civil servants, just keep rolling along no matter who’s in the White House. This gives a certain amount of continuity to things no matter who’s in power in the White House.

Well, we’ve also lost that check on these guys because they’ve gone deeper than any administration in recent history in purging the governmental bureaucracy of those who are not of the right mindset.  There have been wholesale purges of the CIA, State Department, and even the National Park Service has to consider religious matters in park programs. They now even control the bureaucrats.

And the press as a check on power?  The same corporations that contribute money to keep these guys in power own the media.  Enough said there.

We’re at a dangerous period here.  We’re looking at perpetual war, huge debts for future generations, and a ruined environment.  One way to start to turn things around would be to have the minority party gain control of one house of Congress.

Unfortunately, the Democrats don’t have too many individuals with the kind of presence that inspires confidence and a new era of responsible government, but we need to get some of these people into office even if they are not the barn burners we hope for in our leaders.

Before the next election cycle we need to change the perception that everything has changed since 9/11.  This is one of the fundamental assumptions this crowd uses to justify taking away your rights and snooping into your private life.

We need to get going on this right now.

Bye Bye Freedoms, Hello Alito

January 17, 2006

I guess the answer to –

Hey Dude Can I have My Country Back?

Is…. Well, actually, NO!

Salute_1
Thanks to Funny Politics

What We’ve Come To

September 9, 2005

It was announced today that the Katrina benefit telethon won’t be censored.

Governmental manipulation and management of our daily lives has become so common that it’s now news when something isn’t going to be censored.

We can all be very proud of ourselves about this, I’m sure.

Letter to Chairman Powell

November 11, 2004

FCC Chairman Michael K. Powell
Federal Communications Commission
445 12th Street SW
Washington, DC 20554

Dear Chairman Powell,

I want to thank for your wonderful work in creating an atmosphere of fear and self censorship in the country so that many will be unable to see an academy award winning movie on television. 

I’m sure  your wing-nut republican cronies will be very pleased with your work.

I look forward to the book burnings at my local library.

I saw Saving Private Ryan in the movie theater and found the violence and profanity to be totally within the context of the story and in no way objectionable. 

But then, I’m not one of the Red State Wingers who want to impose their hateful and intolerant world view on the entire country.

Sincerely,

The North Coast Curmudgeon

Bush’s America

November 7, 2004

292199

Now it’s terrorism, but it’s all the same.

Thanks to Ron Cobb.