Photo by Taylor at T-Sides from a recent Roger Waters concert in New York City
Friday was one of those days that was both sweet and sour. Sweet because I had the day off. But it was particularly sour when I read in the paper a couple of news stories that had me muttering the title of the song “This is not America” by David Bowie (Theme to the movie The Falcon and the Snowman).
Story #1: Congress approves legislation that allows the U.S. government to impose severe limitations on the rights of defendants accused of being terror suspects. Those accused of being terrorists now cannot challenge their detention, nor will they be able to view the evidence against them when on trial in a military court. In addition, there’s a clause that bars testimony acquired through coercion (AKA torture), but that prohibition is applied to cases between December 30, 2005 and the present. You see, we’ve been torturing people since 2001, and the government wants to protect those who did the dirty work for Bush and Co. by granting them immunity from the law so no one can initiate a law suit against the CIA.
Story #2: In Canada, the commissioner of the Canadian Royal Mounted Police apologized to Maher Arar (a Canadian citizen) who was taken by U.S. agents to Syria where he was held (without being charged), tortured, and denied any legal council. Why the apology? Well, all the allegations against Arar were false and exaggerated. Canadian police said that he had terrorist connections and was the subject of an investigation. Turns out, Arar was just a computer programmer who got swept up in a dragnet that funneled him into our “rendition program” where we send terror suspects to countries that have lax human rights laws. That way, we can torture them without any legal worries. While Canadian police have apologized for their crimes, the U.S. won’t acknowledge Arar’s innocence or admit to any wrongdoing of their part.
Story #3: Bush is coming to California to raise money for Richard Pombo and John Dolittle. No surprise there. All politicians do this, so big deal, right? Well, there’s another agenda for Bush and it’s this: Use this little trip as a way to fire up the base by firing back at war critics who think that our invasion of Iraq was a mistake that has done more to engender hatred toward the U.S. among those affected by our actions. But where is Bush going to do all this tough talk? Among millionaires and from safe areas where he’ll have a willing media available to cover his sound bites for the news. But will he engage in a conversation with those who oppose him? Hell no! Why, that would be…unAmerican, wouldn’t it? Why would any president be interested in the views of those who are critical of his policies? No, it’s better to use a variation of the old Soviet model and repress and punish those you consider dissidents to The Truth of your ideas. Remember what Bush once said: if you’re not with “us,” you’re with the terrorists. See stories #1 and #2 for information on what happens if you’re not with “us,” and why you should be energized to vote for people who don’t have an elephant as a mascot.
P.S. Story #4: Mark Foley, Republican from Florida, resigned today after e-mails and IMs were made public that demonstrated he was cruisingÂ teenage boys that were working as pages in the government. You want a good definition of irony that will make you go “Ewwwwwww:”
“Foley, as chairman of the Missing and Exploited Children’s Caucus, had introduced legislation in July to protect children from exploitation by adults over the Internet. He also sponsored other legislation designed to protect minors from abuse and neglect.” AP story link HERE.