We don’t need no stinkin’ evidence

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 13, 2003

I’ll grant you, following the 9/11/01 terrorist attacks on this nation we needed action and we needed justice. Going into Afghanistan to unseat the Taliban and bring al Queda to justice was Bush’s finest hour. Unfortunately for the United States, it was a momentary glimmer of light in an otherwise gloomy presidency.

Laws passed in the name of 9/11 – and let’s not hand all the blame to President Bush because Congress passed them – have eroded the foundation of the Constitution and assaulted the concept of individual liberty.

The Patriot Act allows the government to investigate citizens and non-citizens with just a suspicion of wrongdoing (Evidence? We don’t need no stinkin’ evidence!) and gives federal agencies the right to check out which books you’ve checked out in the library, search your computer for what you’ve written, whom you’ve spoken with, and where you’ve visited on the world wide web. These agencies can also search your home without bothering to inform you that the search has been conducted.

But the press has said nothing and only a handful of people have complained.

Hundreds (maybe more) of people are being detained to this day for no reason that the government has disclosed. These people have been denied visitation by family members, denied legal council, have not been charged with any crime, and some may have been subjected to torture because they may or may not have had something to do with terrorists plots.

The press has done little more than mention this and has taken little if any action to actively investigate what the government is doing with this people. This, by the way, is not the enemy combatants they are holding in Guantanamo Bay – in violation of the Geneva Convention, by the way, which is the internationally accepted way to handle prisoners of war.

Oops, forgot for a second that these are not really prisoners of war even though they were captured during combat operations in Afghanistan as part of the United States’ &uot;War on Terror&uot;, but are instead just nebulously defined enemy combatants. Since the US says they’re not POWs, we don’t have to abide by those pesky international laws.

The way the US handles its prisoners, whether those in custody for suspicion of terrorist ties (if that’s why they’ve been locked up [remember, they haven’t actually been arrested because that would mean they’ve been charged with something]) or those picked up in foreign lands because they took up arms against us, is important because it tells me a great deal about how scrupulous the administration is in sticking to the spirit of the Constitution.

Bush’s legal advisors are working overtime to find ways to violate the spirit of the Constitution without violating the wording. If you look at what the Bush administration has done, you get a real appreciation for how fragile our liberties are and how precious the Constitution is.

As troubling as this stuff has been, Bush’s economic policy is worse. So Bush cuts taxes (again, don’t forget Congressional culpability in this scam) and claims that middle class folks will benefit most. They do &uot;benefit&uot; some, but the wealthiest 10 percent of the population are the folks gaining the most. Poor folk, the working people who need the most help, are getting little or nothing.

The &uot;Peace in Iraq&uot; is costing the US more than a billion dollars a week – that’s pretty close to $52 billion a year – and the latest report indicates the budget deficit will be $455 billion this year. I guarantee that estimate is low.

After 12 years of Republican presidents and huge deficits, an Democrat Bill Clinton got the job, eliminated deficit spending and actually started building up surpluses that could be used to pay off the huge national debt Reagan and Bush racked up.

Bush Jr. just had to find ways to bring back deficit spending and saddle our children with a crippling debt.

Its not enough that his rich friends are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer, Bush’s economic policies are insuring that there are more poor people because businesses are going bust, jobs are being lost, and the government is doing nothing to stem the tide.

For three straight years, the nation has lost jobs and job creation is the worst it’s been since the Great Depression.

The corporate culture of greed has run amuck because nobody in government is keeping the big corporations honest (but are still strangling mom and pop businesses with regulatory mandates). What this means is that the people of this country are being robbed by multinational corporations and our government – which is responsible from protecting us from entities, foreign or domestic, that we are helpless against – is complicit in the thievery.

But Bush’s popularity remains at nearly 60 percent.

I’m missing something. The American people are worse off today than they were when Bush became president, our standing in the world community has nose-dived, we launched a war based on lies, Americans are more fearful than they’ve been since Orson Welles announced that Martians had landed, and, yet, folks just love that Bush. What gives?