Sunday, February 12, 2006

E & P: V.A. Nurse Investigated for Sedition

Political criticism = sedition? You don't have to be a great legal scholar to see the horrific illogic behind that connection. You definitely don't have to be a "chicken little" conspiracy theorist to see the threat posed by government officials who investigate law-abiding Americans for writing letters to the editor suggesting that we use the legitimate tools of democracy to bring about political change.

Even in these dangerous times, especially in these dangerous times, we have to be vigilant in protecting the rights and freedoms on which we now have such a precarious hold. Talk of "sedition" related to the overt and responsible exercise of free speech rights smacks of totalitarianism and fascism, as does so much of what is happening in today's political climate in the name of national security. Considered separately, these acts are disturbing. Considered together, they pose a horrifying threat to our way of life and our standing in the world. Can American democracy and world leadership survive acts such as these?
  • Warrantless eavesdropping on American citizens in violation of established law
  • Infiltration of legitimate, peaceful opposition and protest groups
  • Police officers and federal agents posing as protesters, promoting and sparking violence, so as to legitimize violent police attacks on protesters
  • Investigation of legitimate political criticism
  • The U.S. government paying American journalists and media organizations to dispense propaganda, denying access to media personnel who question policy, granting access to biased and illegitimate "journalists" such as Jeff Gannon. Otherwise creating an environment of media censorship and manipulation.
  • Illegal revenge campaigns against political opponents, including leaking the name of a covert CIA operative in an attempt to undermine her husband's legitimate dispute of executive branch dishonesty
  • Attempts by all three branches of government to undermine the checks and balances necessary to the functioning of our democracy: shifting the right to declare war from the legislative to the executive, the Supreme Court usurping the legislative branch's power to determine the legitimacy of federal election results in Bush v. Gore, the executive's refusal to submit to the oversight powers of the legislative and judicial branches, the legislature attempting to undermine judicial decisions with illegal last-minute legislation in the Schiavo case
  • An executive branch that manipulates intelligence and blatantly lies to Congress, the courts, and the American people to prevent interference with its illegal and immoral policy of preemptive war
  • A chief executive who claims the power to break any and all laws at his discretion with no oversight
  • The most secretive executive branch ever actively working to prevent oversight of any or all of its decisions
  • The manipulation of public fear to promote illegal policies that do nothing to further their stated cause, national security, but do too much in limiting civil liberties
  • The executive branch cracking down on dissent within its ranks, ostracizing officials who refuse to support the party line and ignoring intelligence and expertise that would contradict or delegitimize official policy
  • The promotion of torture and cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment
  • Indefinite detention of "suspects" with no judicial oversight or habeus corpus, most of them proven to be completely innocent of any wrong doing
  • The disapppearing of persons both in the United States and in the theatre of combat
  • Illegal rendition of subjects, many of them citizens of allied countries, to secret CIA prisons around the world and to countries known to use torture
  • A Homeland Security contract for KBR to build domestic "detention centers" for (according to the NY Times) "an unexpected influx of immigrants, to house people in the event of a natural disaster or for new programs that require additional detention space" (Hmmm unidentified "new programs that require additional detention space")
  • Attempts to break down the wall separating church and state and the manipulation of religious controversies to garner the support of the religious right, attacking vital civil liberties in the process
  • Scapegoating homosexuals, abortion activists, feminists, political opponents, liberals, secularists, etc.
  • Intentional manipulation of and deception about legitimate scientific findings and the harassment of government scientists, forcing them to lie about scientific truths in order to support government policies
  • Widespread cronyism and corruption that threatens the efficacy of government and places control of governmental policy and vital legislation in the hands of corporate lobbyists. The overall merger of corporate and political interests at the expense of the people.
  • Undermining the election process by disenfranchising minorities, supporting the use of unreliable voting machines with no paper trail, campaigns of harassment and disinformation targeting minority communities, illegally purging voter rolls, etc.

And these are just the things we know about. Considering the overwhelming secrecy of the current administration, there are probably numerous crimes we don't know about yet. Only an open investigation into the Bush administration, leading to real consequences for those found guilty of high crimes could preserve our democracy. Impeachment is a difficult process, but it may be the only legitimate means to ensuring the survival of our freedoms and our way of life. Of course, saying such a thing in this climate is apparently "sedition." Frightening, isn't it?


Blogger Drew said...

Bush and company were not the first power mongers to usurb extra-constitutional powers, and they certainly won't be the last.

8:34 AM  
Anonymous Scott Arthur Edwards said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

12:40 AM  

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