Monday, May 23, 2005

This Republican administration and its minions are well beyond Alice in Wonderland surrealism. They've hopscotched over Alice and landed in 1984. One of their G.O.P. forebears, Dwight Eisenhower, would be appalled. Among his presidential papers (Eisenhower Presidential Papers, Document 1147) is this quotation:
Should any political party attempt to abolish social security, unemployment insurance, and eliminate labor laws and farm programs, you would not hear of that party again in our political history. There is a tiny splinter group, of course, that believes you can do these things. Among them are a few Texas oil
millionaires, and an occasional politician or business man from other areas. Their number is negligible and they are stupid.

Admittedly, Eisenhower is not the kind of Republican today's G.O.P. would admire, anyway. After all, as he departed the White House, he warned that "we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence" by the military-industrial complex. Indeed, I don't think Ike could be a Republican in today's U.S.A. He would be shocked and saddened by the attack on working people, by a useless, counterproductive war, and by erosion of civil liberties that McCarthy and J. Edgar would admire.
The latest on the civil liberties front is a bill designed to make Americans into footsoldiers in the war on drugs:
A senior congressman, James Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.), is working quietly but efficiently to turn the entire United States population into informants--by force.
Sensenbrenner, the U.S. House Judiciary Committee Chairman, has introduced legislation that would essentially draft every American into the war on drugs. H.R. 1528, cynically named "Safe Access to Drug Treatment and Child Protection Act," would compel people to spy on their family members and neighbors, and even go undercover and wear a wire if needed. If a person resisted, he or she would face mandatory incarceration.
Here's how the "spy" section of the legislation works: If you "witness" certain drug offenses taking place or "learn" about them, you must report the offenses to law enforcement within 24 hours and provide "full assistance in the investigation, apprehension and prosecution" of the people involved. Failure to do so would be a crime punishable by a mandatory minimum two-year prison sentence, and a maximum sentence of 10 years.
Here are some examples of offenses you would have to report to police within 24 hours:
--You find out that your brother, who has children, recently bought a small amount of marijuana to share with his wife;
--You discover that your son gave his college roommate a marijuana joint;
--You learn that your daughter asked her boyfriend to find her some drugs, even though they're both in treatment.
In each of these cases you would have to report the relative to the police within 24 hours. Taking time to talk to your relative about treatment instead of calling the police immediately could land you in jail.

Check out the AlterNet article to learn about the other provisions.
Surely nothing as draconian as this bill could pass, but it's disturbing that such misbegotten nonsense is even being crafted.
Ike, I hate to tell you this, but the party of your choice has become the Gog and Magog of my universe.

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