Sunday, July 29, 2007

A slap at liberty

What is Bush up to? Or, that is, what is Cheney up to? They know the American people are fed up with their shenanigans, but they shamelessly continue. Where are they going?

An executive order signed this month by Bush should give you some pause. The idea is to seize the assets of persons who help promote violent persons or who might be violent persons. That is, it's up to the Treasury Dept. to seize assets -- with no warning -- of people, including American citizens, of people deemed to be lending support to violence. You thought something like that required a court order. Wrong again. At least when you're hit with a "slap" lawsuit designed to stifle dissent, you get your day in court.

This new edict, as Walter Pincus of the Washington Post, suggests, could easily spill over into non-judicial punishment of persons who are too effective in their criticisms of Bush and Cheney.

Why word the order so broadly unless the intention was intimidation of Americans? Keep your mouth shut, or we'll bankrupt you.

Now it becomes apparent that the methods used to isolate professionally and economically individual journalists and critics such as myself are to be deployed more widely as the subversive system faces more and more danger.

After all, it's not much of a step between public discussion of cooked prewar intelligence behind the Iraq fiasco and 9/11 subversion.

Is this paranoid thinking? Well, know them by their fruits. Bush's intelligence chief is aggressively pushing Congress for wider powers never mind the administration's bad record. Bush has at his disposal a martial law measure that overrides previous safeguards. Bush protects an attorney general who has backed abuses of power widely regarded by lawyers to be beyond the pale.

The TIPS program, where neighbors tell on their neighbors, is still going strong, though under another name. The old Soviet Union had a similar program in its early decades. After a rush of public input, the comrades would scrutinize the material and haul off hundreds of thousands of "counter-revolutionaries" to their doom. The helpful public generally had no idea how they were being deceived.

And of course Halliburton is building massive detention facilities -- called in another day "concentration camps" -- able to hold hundreds of thousands of people.

It's unfortunate the Congress lacks the political will to impeach these guys. They may pull off yet another power grab.

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