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'Patriot 2'

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  • 'Patriot 2'

    This is from Michael Moore's website:

    Currently, the Justice Department is working on the Domestic Security Enhancement Act, an extension of the Patriot Act that has been dubbed "Patriot II". Perhaps one of the most dangerous aspects of this bill would grant the government the right to detain someone indefinitely without ever disclosing their identity, allowing the person to ultimately disappear. It would also broaden local police's ability to spy on "terrorist" groups, including domestic religious and political organizations. The government could take sweeping "anti-terrorist" action, like obtaining an individual's financial and library records without a warrant and allowing wiretaps without a court order. How else could this affect you? Well, if you engage in civil disobedience, the government would have the right to strip you of your citizenship!
    Full link:http://www.michaelmoore.com/takeacti...patriotact.php

    I find this quite an insidiously nasty bit of potential legislation and wonder if anyone would be willing to share their views.

  • #2
    Hello !

    Isn't it time for a revolution in USA ???
    In France also there is a wind of reaction - the right wing government develops police and army, and leads the opinion towards some old bad ideas... and it seems that nobody can do anything - or wants to do anything ? The last presidential election was beetween extreme-right party and traditional right-party !!!!
    How to act against this sort of measures ?
    By engaging in politics by every mean available to the basis-citizens we are ; by talking, arguing, expressing ourselves and never forget that it will be our fault if something in our world goes wild or bad...

    It's maybe unsignifiant, but nobody has visited this thread, though almost all others are visited everyday ...

    Too much people don't care about politics in their everyday life ; but it's in everyday life that we can act...

    Thanks for sharing with us the information !!!!

    Comment


    • #3
      As many people know I'm a great believer in populist democracy, even when people don't vote the way I'd like them to. I do believe we are
      now in the power of the oligarchs as much as Russia is and we have to develop better strategies to deal with this fact, since it now seems obvious that the rich are able to manipulate voters pretty much at will. This is at its worst in America, where the system seems completely corrupted, but America also has the constitution to fall back on,which will allow individual states to determine their own fates. In some states the governments are as hopelessly corrupt as in Washington, but there are still individual governors who have done great work in refusing to allow the Federal Government to dictate its desires -- in issues of free speech and public health care in particular.
      Yes, we must organise ourselves as well as the 'opposition' is organised and this can sometimes mean an alliance between traditional leftist and traditional rightist parties that would have been unheard of a few years ago. We might argue over how to run a democracy, but those of us who are at root democrats are going to ensure that democracy exists before we argue over the relatively minor differences we have about how to do the best for our people.
      I think things can still change for the better. We just have to start formulating a new rhetoric, a new dynamic, which can be as successful as tht which now comes from the 'far right' (which has consciously borrowed a lot of its techniques and rhetoric from Machiaevelli, Goering, Mussolini and Stalin!).
      Good luck, pards.

      Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in Europe:
      The Whispering Swarm: Book One of the Sanctuary of the White Friars - The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction
      Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles - Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - Modem Times 2.0 - The Sunday Books - The Sundered Worlds


      Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in the USA:
      The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction - The Sunday Books - Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles
      Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - The Sundered Worlds - The Winds of Limbo - Modem Times 2.0 - Elric: Swords and Roses

      Comment


      • #4
        Guys,

        This is an interesting thread. I am an Australian that moved to the US a year ago.

        Putting aside the American idiosyncrasies (eg patriotism, nationalism, general dickwaving etc), I am really saddened by the fact that people that stand up and say their piece are branded as "unpatriotic". Whilst an Aussie would be proud to be called this (we don't like that stuff :twisted: ), an American is shamed, which is a bad thing. It appears to me that US has a pretence of free speech but, unless you spout the prevailing attitude, you are ostracised.

        I am not a major fan of Michael Moore but do enjoy watching him attempt to shake the guts out of the US/ wake people from their torpor. I hope he keeps up the good work.

        I am a leftie who hurts a bit when the right are in power but obviously acknowledge their right to be voted in. And maybe this is post 11 Sept behaviour but it is sad when one side of politics is in power and manages to effectively shutdown any opposition, legally or through prevailing attitude using words like "unpatriotic".

        The dodgy Ronald Reagan telemovie being removed from scheduling was bloody disturbing.

        Catch ya

        Terror_Byte

        Comment


        • #5
          Brave New World?

          The US can hardly be called a Democracy at all. The fact that Bush Jnr was effectively placed into power by the Supreme Court in a system that is a polarised politically (granted, between two very close poles) means that effective debate is often strangled.
          Since 1941 there has been an increasing tendency of USG to talk up freedom while doing it's best to restrict freedom elsewhere. It is a TV culture that believes it's own advertising. Huxley knew what he was talking about. Obviously this is not true of all citizens of the US (living in Mexico I find the term "Americans" offensive as it is almost exclusively used to refer to US citizens. It is a culture no less based on fear than Iraq or any other restricted political system but it's beguiling facade makes it an attractive lie. It is something that needs to be resisted at all costs before we become an even greater paranoic society that fears the strange and therefore destroys it. The Uk is following in this way to a certain extent with Blair's denial of democracy over the Iraq War.
          Sure, 9/11 was a terrible day that I remember well but one must look into the reasons for why it happened and see that knee-jerk reactionism is no way to run a foreign policy. Clint Eastwoodism must be stopped in it's tracks although it's already out of control.

          Comment


          • #6
            If a person has as little as two neurons to bang together inside the old brain-case s/he is sure to be on somebody's shit-list somewhere these days. I just picked some things to do, and even if they seem small, I just keep doing them.

            1. I network, and do not let the government or anyone else tell me who my friends 'should' or 'should not' be.

            2. I have joined several on-line fax brigades, including True Majority and E-Activist. It takes about a minute to send a fax, and faxes *must be replied to* unlike emails, which are routinely deleted by congressional staffs.

            3. On top of the faxes, I also write letters when there is something particularly odious going on. I also write letters of appreciation when a Rep or Senator gets it right.

            4. I attend local demonstrations/rallies for causes I support.

            5. When I can, I send $$$ to causes I support. Every penny counts. So what if you only send $5? It's $5 they didn't have until you gave it to them.

            6. I vote in every election, county, state or national. I look at this as part of my personal spiritual discipline, and consider it to be every bit as important as doing a yoga asana, chanting mantra or whatever.

            7. I also vote with my wallet. Currently, our local supermarket employees are on strike as the management of the chains they work for want to take away their pension plans for starters and eventually want to bust the union for 'dessert'. Since the strike began in late October, I have honored the picket lines, and I am only shopping at independent local stores and co-ops, as requested and designated by the strikers. If some business you know of is making their $$$ in an exploitive, particularly repulsive way, *do not buy their goods or services*!!! Also be sure to tell your friends what you are doing and why.

            8. I do not look to television/radio for anything 'newsworthy'. If it's on the tube, it's guaranteed not to be. I now 'survey' for my news: I check multiple internet and print sources, *and then I make up my own mind*!!!

            9. I take a break from the world whenever I need one, and make double-damn sure I pay attention to my 'now', and to those who I love and value. This keeps me focused on what's really important. For example, I am not at all deceived by the window-dressing capture of Saddam Hussein, who was never any kind of credible threat to the U.S., and at the same time, I sardonically observe that NOT ONE DESPICABLE M--F--ing ENRON EXEC is in jail yet... and we even know where *they* are!

            10. I laugh loud and long at least once a day at someone in a position of authority.

            These are just small things, but if sufficient numbers of people do them over and over, they *do* make a difference.

            Comment


            • #7
              Thanks for the input everyone.

              Originally posted by ColwinLyber
              ...people don't care about politics in their everyday life ; but it's in everyday life that we can act...
              It seems our society is currently deliberately set up to marginalise the influence of the public in political affairs.

              Mike - the idea of a populist democracy is intriguing. Would proportional representation need to be in place to support it?

              Veil - I need to take a leaf or five out of your book. You have a very practical approach to all this. I'm sure if we all followed your approach some very real changes could be made where it counts.

              Comment


              • #8
                I used to be a strong supporter of proportional representation and put my money where my mouth was with Charter 88 and so on. However, the more I've seen of it in action, the more I'm unsure of it as an effective form of democracy. It is, after all, what let both Hitler and Sharon form governments! You have to think of the likely consequences.
                That said, I'm still open minded. The idea of voting for the candidate rather than the party and then letting the candidate determine how best to represent the interests of their constituents probably appeals to me best. This would allow for a lot more flexibility in parliament and parties could form and reform around specific issues.
                I am also a lifelong republican who now wonders if having a monarch as a representative of 'the state' might not work better than having an elected president. Which still doesn't mean I believe in the Windsor family having such a huge amount of the UK's wealth. I'm for the
                symbol, perhaps, but not the power. By this I mean that it's quite useful to have a Magna Carta (a deal with the monarch as representing the state) or even a BBC charter, without political or monetary interests being able to influence it. I suppose a constitution could serve the same purpose, as it does to a major degree in the US, but the US constitution certainly doesn't allow a more or less penniless politician to become Prime Minister. American presidents are largely drawn from the moneyed classes, whereas British prime ministers are frequently drawn from poor or middle class homes. There's clearly a better chance of a poor boy from Liverpool becoming PM than there is a poor boy from
                New Orleans becoming President.
                Whether PR represents the popular vote as well or better than the current system, I'm not sure. Three parties might work better than two, but I'm not sure ten parties work better than three. I'm still thinking this one over.

                Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in Europe:
                The Whispering Swarm: Book One of the Sanctuary of the White Friars - The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction
                Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles - Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - Modem Times 2.0 - The Sunday Books - The Sundered Worlds


                Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in the USA:
                The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction - The Sunday Books - Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles
                Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - The Sundered Worlds - The Winds of Limbo - Modem Times 2.0 - Elric: Swords and Roses

                Comment


                • #9
                  I meant leader rather than Prime Minister in reference to America. And I agree with Veil -- especially about laughing at least once a day at someone in authority. I was astonished, living in the US, at the amount of respect given to politicians and, indeed, almost anyone who sets themselves up in authority. Very authoritarian country compared with most of the European countries I'm familiar with. Not sure why that is.
                  Seems to go for a liking for uniforms, too!

                  Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in Europe:
                  The Whispering Swarm: Book One of the Sanctuary of the White Friars - The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction
                  Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles - Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - Modem Times 2.0 - The Sunday Books - The Sundered Worlds


                  Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in the USA:
                  The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction - The Sunday Books - Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles
                  Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - The Sundered Worlds - The Winds of Limbo - Modem Times 2.0 - Elric: Swords and Roses

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    God I seem to be making typo after typo. They seem to go for...
                    Mind you, it's also good to be reminded, as I was last night, of the real unsentimental thirst for social justice you still find in America. I went to the Willie Nelson and Friends concert for Dennis Kusinich and it was an absolutely wonderful night. Not a single mention of God on stage and not a single piece of standard politicking either from Dennis or from Willie and his guests (Michael MacDonald and the superb Bonnie Riatt among many others). I'm not the only one who wants this country to be the best it can be and live up to its traditional ideals, rather than sacrifice them for sentimentality and simplification. Huge audience roaring its demand for justice and social fairness. There's still a large percentage of people in this country who know what America can and should be.

                    Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in Europe:
                    The Whispering Swarm: Book One of the Sanctuary of the White Friars - The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction
                    Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles - Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - Modem Times 2.0 - The Sunday Books - The Sundered Worlds


                    Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in the USA:
                    The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction - The Sunday Books - Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles
                    Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - The Sundered Worlds - The Winds of Limbo - Modem Times 2.0 - Elric: Swords and Roses

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      One of the methods that the 'powers that be' use to effectively immobilize people from taking any kind of action on anything is to constantly bombard them with a daily litany of *everything* that is 'going wrong with the world'. Most individuals looking at the sum total of all the bad news they get each day via the media are then left feeling very helpless. It's the old 'What power do I have to stop any of this' head-game going on. They way out of that trap is threefold:

                      1. Do not let the 'sum-total' approach overwhelm you. You are not personally required to fix the world: in fact, there are a lot of things you should not even worry about, as others are actively engaged in rectifying some of these other situations. Let other fellow humans who are as decent and worthy as you do their work on their chosen issues.

                      2. Don't be afraid to 'think small' and/or 'think local'. Pick just one thing to do-- it doesn't matter that it is 'just one thing', or that it is in your own back yard and not in India, the Middle East or wherever. If you only send one fax or one letter about something, it's one more voice chiming in on an issue, and numbers sway politicians.

                      3. Once you have selected one thing to do, DO IT! Also, be sure to give yourself credit and/or reward yourself in some way for having sent in that fax or voted or given that $2. A lot of people I know treat themselves very badly in this regard, and when they do something productive, they immediately undercut their sense of accomplishment with such stupid internal dialogue as: 'Well, it's no more than I should have done', 'Oh, it's nothing, and it probably won't make a difference', 'I should be doing more', etc. Instead, try something like, 'Well, it may be a small gesture, but I didn't sit on my hands and do nothing, so GOOD FOR ME!!!' Seriously, this approach *works*. If people subjected their friends to the same kind of constant criticism they usually level at themselves, they would have no friends left. Conversely, if they accord themselves the same emotional generosity that they give to their friends, they will find that their drive to do more and try more is enhanced because they are not short-circuiting their own sense of personal worth with a constant stream of self-directed negative remarks.

                      Another thing that I do is that I pay attention to how the presence of some people affects me. I think that the idea that Sufi teachers talk about regarding some people being actively bad for one's spiritual development makes a lot of sense. If someone has a severely negative effect on me, I allow myself to avoid seeing/listening to that person. I am not required to hear anyone and everyone out, and I certainly do not have to expose myself on a daily basis to the televised presences of erstwhile 'leaders' whose influence on my spirit and mood is higly corrosive to say the least. I may have to wait until November of this year to kick Shrub the Squatter and his Holy Roller & Corporate Corruption Sideshow Freaks out of the White(y)house, but they all have not been welcome in my living room since 2000.

                      While I am at it, I will also say that personally, I do not require any sort of leader to make my life worth living. I am capable of ordering my own life, forming my own opinions, and making my own choices. The reason why the U.S. is so darned 'authority-happy' is that lots of people have swallowed the idea that the public SERVANTS they elect (and who are in reality nothing more than proxys for the general public, who can't physically all cram into the House of Representatives to make legislation) are *leaders* and great sages. They aren't, in spades. I do not require government pomp, circumstance, or figureheads. I just need my elected representatives TO DO THEIR F--ING JOBS, and if they try to put on airs of superiority, then it's time for them to be bitch-slapped back into 'ordinary citizen' status come the next election cycle. If people are unhappy with their current representatives, then they need to VOTE or shut up.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Im no politico unfortunately and I agree with some of the statements as above with regards to money people running a country.

                        The point I have to make is with regards to MM`s comment re proportionall representaion. Here in Nz we have adopted the system on a so called trial.. and to be honest is a crock of shit as the smaller parties form alliances with the large parties to get the majority to run government , at that point the smaller party then puts the screws on and holds the major party to ransom with the threat of leaving the alliance if they dont get their way . At this point it is the minority is then pulling the strings of government and not the major seat holder..so much for the majority vote

                        Who would ever think of a carreer in politics, I think the career bit says it all. nobody is in it for the betterment of society,...only to line their own pockets..

                        Sorry...wildly off topic

                        shaeve out

                        Ps please ignore all typos and spelling mistakes , its 1.03 am ..and im tired

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I'd be curious to know what others who are used to PR have to say on the subject. There are, of course, different forms. It's often said against the Weimar version that it allowed Hitler's Nazis to gain power, for instance, and thereby overthrow democratic government.
                          I've posted this in the Q&A section but thought it worth passing on here, since it's typical of the way in which our constitutional rights are being limited. Similar (though not as thorough) techniques have been tried in the UK re. Blair.
                          See what you think:
                          >Subject: Quarantining Dissent
                          >
                          >Quarantining dissent
                          >How the Secret Service protects Bush from free speech
                          >
                          >James Bovard
                          >Sunday, January 4, 2004 (c)2004 San Francisco Chronicle
                          >URL:sfgate.com/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2004/01/04/
                          >INGPQ40MB81.DT
                          >L
                          >
                          >When President Bush travels around the United States, the Secret
                          >Service
                          >visits the location ahead of time and orders local police to set up
                          >"free speech zones" or "protest zones," where people opposed to Bush
                          >policies (and sometimes sign-carrying supporters) are quarantined.
                          >These
                          >zones routinely succeed in keeping protesters out of presidential sight
                          >and outside the view of media covering the event.
                          >
                          >When Bush went to the Pittsburgh area on Labor Day 2002, 65-year-old
                          >retired steel worker Bill Neel was there to greet him with a sign
                          >proclaiming, "The Bush family must surely love the poor, they made so
                          >many of us."
                          >
                          >The local police, at the Secret Service's behest, set up a "designated
                          >free-speech zone" on a baseball field surrounded by a chain-link fence
                          >a
                          >third of a mile from the location of Bush's speech.
                          >
                          >The police cleared the path of the motorcade of all critical signs, but
                          >folks with pro-Bush signs were permitted to line the president's path.
                          >Neel refused to go to the designated area and was arrested for
                          >disorderly conduct; the police also confiscated his sign.
                          >
                          >Neel later commented, "As far as I'm concerned, the whole country is a
                          >free-speech zone. If the Bush administration has its way, anyone who
                          >criticizes them will be out of sight and out of mind."
                          >
                          >At Neel's trial, police Detective John Ianachione testified that the
                          >Secret Service told local police to confine "people that were there
                          >making a statement pretty much against the president and his views" in
                          >a
                          >so-called free- speech area.
                          >
                          >Paul Wolf, one of the top officials in the Allegheny County Police
                          >Department, told Salon that the Secret Service "come in and do a site
                          >survey, and say, 'Here's a place where the people can be, and we'd like
                          >to have any protesters put in a place that is able to be secured.' "
                          >
                          >Pennsylvania District Judge Shirley Rowe Trkula threw out the
                          >disorderly
                          >conduct charge against Neel, declaring, "I believe this is America.
                          >Whatever happened to 'I don't agree with you, but I'll defend to the
                          >death your right to say it'?"
                          >
                          >Similar suppressions have occurred during Bush visits to Florida. A
                          >recent St. Petersburg Times editorial noted, "At a Bush rally at
                          >Legends
                          >Field in 2001, three demonstrators -- two of whom were grandmothers --
                          >were arrested for holding up small handwritten protest signs outside
                          >the
                          >designated zone. And last year, seven protesters were arrested when
                          >Bush
                          >came to a rally at the USF Sun Dome. They had refused to be cordoned
                          >off
                          >into a protest zone hundreds of yards from the entrance to the Dome."
                          >
                          >One of the arrested protesters was a 62-year-old man holding up a sign,
                          >"War is good business. Invest your sons." The seven were charged with
                          >trespassing, "obstructing without violence and disorderly conduct."
                          >
                          >Police have repressed protesters during several Bush visits to the St.
                          >Louis area as well. When Bush visited on Jan. 22, 150 people carrying
                          >signs were shunted far away from the main action and effectively
                          >quarantined.
                          >
                          >Denise Lieberman of the American Civil Liberties Union of Eastern
                          >Missouri commented, "No one could see them from the street. In
                          >addition,
                          >the media were not allowed to talk to them. The police would not allow
                          >any media inside the protest area and wouldn't allow any of the
                          >protesters out of the protest zone to talk to the media."
                          >
                          >When Bush stopped by a Boeing plant to talk to workers, Christine Mains
                          >and her 5-year-old daughter disobeyed orders to move to a small protest
                          >area far from the action. Police arrested Mains and took her and her
                          >crying daughter away in separate squad cars.
                          >
                          >The Justice Department is now prosecuting Brett Bursey, who was
                          >arrested
                          >for holding a "No War for Oil" sign at a Bush visit to Columbia, S.C.
                          >Local police, acting under Secret Service orders, established a
                          >"free-speech zone" half a mile from where Bush would speak. Bursey was
                          >standing amid hundreds of people carrying signs praising the president.
                          >Police told Bursey to remove himself to the "free-speech zone."
                          >
                          >Bursey refused and was arrested. Bursey said that he asked the police
                          >officer if "it was the content of my sign, and he said, 'Yes, sir, it's
                          >the content of your sign that's the problem.' " Bursey stated that he
                          >had already moved 200 yards from where Bush was supposed to speak.
                          >Bursey later complained, "The problem was, the restricted area kept
                          >moving. It was wherever I happened to be standing."
                          >
                          >Bursey was charged with trespassing. Five months later, the charge was
                          >dropped because South Carolina law prohibits arresting people for
                          >trespassing on public property. But the Justice Department -- in the
                          >person of U.S. Attorney Strom Thurmond Jr. -- quickly jumped in,
                          >charging Bursey with violating a rarely enforced federal law regarding
                          >"entering a restricted area around the president of the United States."
                          >
                          >If convicted, Bursey faces a six-month trip up the river and a $5,000
                          >fine. Federal Magistrate Bristow Marchant denied Bursey's request for a
                          >jury trial because his violation is categorized as a petty offense.
                          >Some
                          >observers believe that the feds are seeking to set a precedent in a
                          >conservative state such as South Carolina that could then be used
                          >against protesters nationwide.
                          >
                          >Bursey's trial took place on Nov. 12 and 13. His lawyers sought the
                          >Secret Service documents they believed would lay out the official
                          >policies on restricting critical speech at presidential visits. The
                          >Bush
                          >administration sought to block all access to the documents, but
                          >Marchant
                          >ruled that the lawyers could have limited access.
                          >
                          >Bursey sought to subpoena Attorney General John Ashcroft and
                          >presidential adviser Karl Rove to testify. Bursey lawyer Lewis Pitts
                          >declared, "We intend to find out from Mr. Ashcroft why and how the
                          >decision to prosecute Mr. Bursey was reached." The magistrate refused,
                          >however, to enforce the subpoenas. Secret Service agent Holly Abel
                          >testified at the trial that Bursey was told to move to the "free-speech
                          >zone" but refused to cooperate.
                          >
                          >The feds have offered some bizarre rationales for hog-tying protesters.
                          >Secret Service agent Brian Marr explained to National Public Radio,
                          >"These individuals may be so involved with trying to shout their
                          >support
                          >or nonsupport that inadvertently they may walk out into the motorcade
                          >route and be injured. And that is really the reason why we set these
                          >places up, so we can make sure that they have the right of free speech,
                          >but, two, we want to be sure that they are able to go home at the end
                          >of
                          >the evening and not be injured in any way." Except for having their
                          >constitutional rights shredded.
                          >
                          >The ACLU, along with several other organizations, is suing the Secret
                          >Service for what it charges is a pattern and practice of suppressing
                          >protesters at Bush events in Arizona, California, Connecticut,
                          >Michigan,
                          >New Jersey, New Mexico, Texas and elsewhere. The ACLU's Witold Walczak
                          >said of the protesters, "The individuals we are talking about didn't
                          >pose a security threat; they posed a political threat."
                          >
                          >The Secret Service is duty-bound to protect the president. But it is
                          >ludicrous to presume that would-be terrorists are lunkheaded enough to
                          >carry anti-Bush signs when carrying pro-Bush signs would give them much
                          >closer access. And even a policy of removing all people carrying signs
                          >-- as has happened in some demonstrations -- is pointless because
                          >potential attackers would simply avoid carrying signs. Assuming that
                          >terrorists are as unimaginative and predictable as the average federal
                          >bureaucrat is not a recipe for presidential longevity.
                          >
                          >The Bush administration's anti-protester bias proved embarrassing for
                          >two American allies with long traditions of raucous free speech,
                          >resulting in some of the most repressive restrictions in memory in free
                          >countries.
                          >
                          >When Bush visited Australia in October, Sydney Morning Herald columnist
                          >Mark Riley observed, "The basic right of freedom of speech will adopt a
                          >new interpretation during the Canberra visits this week by George Bush
                          >and his Chinese counterpart, Hu Jintao. Protesters will be free to
                          >speak
                          >as much as they like just as long as they can't be heard."
                          >
                          >Demonstrators were shunted to an area away from the Federal Parliament
                          >building and prohibited from using any public address system in the
                          >area.
                          >
                          >For Bush's recent visit to London, the White House demanded that
                          >British
                          >police ban all protest marches, close down the center of the city and
                          >impose a "virtual three-day shutdown of central London in a bid to foil
                          >disruption of the visit by anti-war protesters," according to Britain's
                          >Evening Standard. But instead of a "free-speech zone," the Bush
                          >administration demanded an "exclusion zone" to protect Bush from
                          >protesters' messages.
                          >
                          >Such unprecedented restrictions did not inhibit Bush from portraying
                          >himself as a champion of freedom during his visit. In a speech at
                          >Whitehall on Nov. 19, Bush hyped the "forward strategy of freedom" and
                          >declared, "We seek the advance of freedom and the peace that freedom
                          >brings."
                          >
                          >Attempts to suppress protesters become more disturbing in light of the
                          >Homeland Security Department's recommendation that local police
                          >departments view critics of the war on terrorism as potential
                          >terrorists. In a May terrorist advisory, the Homeland Security
                          >Department warned local law enforcement agencies to keep an eye on
                          >anyone who "expressed dislike of attitudes and decisions of the U.S.
                          >government." If police vigorously followed this advice, millions of
                          >Americans could be added to the official lists of suspected terrorists.
                          >
                          >Protesters have claimed that police have assaulted them during
                          >demonstrations in New York, Washington and elsewhere.
                          >
                          >One of the most violent government responses to an antiwar protest
                          >occurred when local police and the federally funded California
                          >Anti-Terrorism Task Force fired rubber bullets and tear gas at peaceful
                          >protesters and innocent bystanders at the Port of Oakland, injuring a
                          >number of people.
                          >
                          >When the police attack sparked a geyser of media criticism, Mike van
                          >Winkle, the spokesman for the California Anti-Terrorism Information
                          >Center told the Oakland Tribune, "You can make an easy kind of a link
                          >that, if you have a protest group protesting a war where the cause
                          >that's being fought against is international terrorism, you might have
                          >terrorism at that protest You can almost argue that a protest against
                          >that is a terrorist act."
                          >
                          >Van Winkle justified classifying protesters as terrorists: "I've heard
                          >terrorism described as anything that is violent or has an economic
                          >impact, and shutting down a port certainly would have some economic
                          >impact. Terrorism isn't just bombs going off and killing people."
                          >
                          >Such aggressive tactics become more ominous in the light of the Bush
                          >administration's advocacy, in its Patriot II draft legislation, of
                          >nullifying all judicial consent decrees restricting state and local
                          >police from spying on those groups who may oppose government policies.
                          >
                          >On May 30, 2002, Ashcroft effectively abolished restrictions on FBI
                          >surveillance of Americans' everyday lives first imposed in 1976. One
                          >FBI
                          >internal newsletter encouraged FBI agents to conduct more interviews
                          >with antiwar activists "for plenty of reasons, chief of which it will
                          >enhance the paranoia endemic in such circles and will further service
                          >to
                          >get the point across that there is an FBI agent behind every mailbox."
                          >
                          >The FBI took a shotgun approach toward protesters partly because of the
                          >FBI's "belief that dissident speech and association should be prevented
                          >because they were incipient steps toward the possible ultimate
                          >commission of act which might be criminal," according to a Senate
                          >report.
                          >
                          >On Nov. 23 news broke that the FBI is actively conducting surveillance
                          >of antiwar demonstrators, supposedly to "blunt potential violence by
                          >extremist elements," according to a Reuters interview with a federal
                          >law
                          >enforcement official.
                          >
                          >Given the FBI's expansive definition of "potential violence" in the
                          >past, this is a net that could catch almost any group or individual who
                          >falls into official disfavor.
                          >
                          >James Bovard is the author of "Terrorism &Tyranny: Trampling Freedom,
                          >Justice, and Peace to Rid the World of Evil." This article is adapted
                          >from one that appeared in the Dec. 15 issue of the American
                          >Conservative.

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                          • #14
                            I was booted off before I could add that if you want to see some CONSERVATIVE opposition to Bush's policies, you should have a look at The American Conservative (they have a web site) which frequently runs articles about violations of the Constitution, anti-war pieces and so on,
                            not from a 'liberal' viewpoint but from the viewpoint of those who identify with the Republican party.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              That is correct about Russia and oligarchs. But the bad thing that they not just rule but also fight with each other which really badly affects the economics of the country.

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