Third Party & Independents Archives

July 24, 2005

Bush's Cheap Talk of Freedom!

By giving to government officials our comings and goings and submitting to body and baggage checks, and failing to halt Congress on extending the Patriot Act for another decade, we are submitting to the ‘cowering leadership’ of this country which has a desperate craving for ever more information about us and foreigners alike. And their cravings will continue to grow with their fear. The American public is offering up its freedom and liberties in precisely the same manner the German people offered up theirs to Hitler and his henchman, in the name of patriotism and security.

Pres. Bush said on July 11:

As Prime Minister Blair said after the attacks in London, 'Our determination to defend our values and our way of life is greater than their determination to cause death and destruction to innocent people.' The attack in London was an attack on the civilized world. And the civilized world is united in its resolve: We will not yield. We will defend our freedom."

But we are not defending our freedom. Defending our freedom would be securing our borders against those who would harm us, so we could continue to exercise the freedom and liberty we have so loved and enjoyed these last few centuries. But, instead we are allowing thugs and terrorists to frighten us away from our open and free society. President Bush and Congress are offering freedom to Iraqis while taking it away from Americans. The President says we love our freedom. But, does one give up that which one loves out of fear? Most Americans don't see it, but we continue to give more and more freedom away to legislation like the Patriot Act which comes straight out of the Nazi play book. Our willingness to live free is unquestionably being given away to the President's and Republican's fears and insatiable desire for control.

There was a time when Americans were free to visit the Capital. There was a time when Americans of any party could attend speeches by the President or attend fundraisers to hear what the party had to say. No longer. There was a time when we could drive by the Capital, park and walk to the gates and gaze upon that shrine of a living democracy called the Whitehouse. There was a time when we could walk right in to visit and speak with our Representatives in Congress or one of their aids. No longer. There was a time when we could travel from coast to coast and back again without the government ever being aware we'd left home. There was a time when secrecy in the government had to fight with the people's right and need to know what its government is doing and how. No longer. There was a time when what books one checked out of the library or what one said on a telephone was no one's business but our own. No longer.

Is America that afraid that it will give up so much freedom of access to government, or is it the politicians who are afraid and deny it to us? Is America so fearful for its monuments and government buildings that it will cordon them off from public access, or is it the politicians who are afraid of working too close to such targets? Is it Americans who so fear each other and strangers that they now need to know who every individual is and where they are going and coming from, or is it the politicians who are afraid of Americans and foreigners alike? This fear by our leadership is leading us all toward a potentially very dangerous social phenomena.

Mental depression and terrorist headlines will prove to be a dangerous mix as we move forward. Almost 19 million Americans experience depressive illness. MedicineNet.com reports: "The suicide rate in young people increased dramatically over the last few decades. In 1997, suicide was the 3rd leading cause of death among 15 to 24 year olds." Giving up freedom to a police state that checks our luggage, our handbags, our clothing, and now, even our bodies is certainly not going to be any cure for depression and anxiety. Depression is a precursor to many suicides. What a waste of life to kill oneself to escape the pain of depression and loss. How enticing will it be for depressed individuals to read about suicide bombers and realize, they can end their pain and do it for a noble and justifying cause? Our schools have already witnessed mass suicide murders at the hands of depressed young American students as occured at Columbine.

How large a leap is it from guns to bombs by young depressed American students? And what cause could justify suicide bombing by young Americans in America? Why, freedom, of course. The ultimate freedom. Freedom from one's pain of depression and freedom from the perceived agony of anonymity. Suicide bombers in America who will blow themselves up for freedom will get their names recorded in history. The day may be coming when young suicidal American bombers will invite dying for a cause instead of worthlessness. They will have the cause of freedom, and the demonstration of patriotism to bolster their suicide bombing of symbols of this police state, which we are becoming.

There are many ways to bolster American security without stripping Americans of their liberties and freedoms enjoyed throughout our history. But, the Republicans refuse to budge; nothing short of a police surveillance state in which every movement of every human being outside their home is tracked and recorded, will make these fearful people feel safe, so they think. The truth is, nothing short of the kind of control Adolph Hitler had over his people will let these people sleep at ease. These leaders of ours are full of fear which is beginning to border on paranoia.

Ladies and gentlemen, this Patriot Act is little more than a self-fulfilling prophecy. The more we restrict freedom in America for Americans, the more home-grown terrorists we will create, and they will have the greatest historical and most noble principle and cause of all to die for in their depressed minds, Freedom. Can any rational dispassionate mind fail to see what horrors this restriction of freedom and consent to intrusion upon our personal lives portends? Do we really want America to travel the path of Nazi Germany or champion the need for partisan rebels who use terrorism in defense of American individual freedoms?

We have been ever increasing the power of the Presidency over the decades in response to the cold war, the Viet Nam protests and civil rights turmoil, and now the war on Terrorism. We have been eroding the checks and balances so carefully but fragilely woven into the Constitution. When does it end, this erosion of freedom? Where will it stop, this intrusion into our lives by the state? When will we wake up in America and realize we no longer live in the land of the free, and the home of the brave?

We are all being asked to sacrifice. But when a people are asked to sacrifice freedom and they yield to that request, they become a society that values control, not freedom. Under President Bush, despite his political rhetoric to the contrary, freedom has become the enemy. Under the Republican's leadership, freedom of travel, freedom of movement, and freedom from prying eyes of the state have all become a threat. Nothing makes this statement more emphatic than attempting to renew the Patriot Act unchanged for another decade.

Make no mistake fellow Americans, President Bush and most Republicans are working very hard against freedom in America and against you and your children's freedom today, tomorrow, and forever. And they do this because they are afraid. America cannot afford fearful leadership in this time of threat from within and without.

Home of the brave? Land of the Free? Not anymore. We are rapidly becoming the home of the fearful and land of police surveillance. If we continue on this path, those living in Communist China in 2020 will have more freedom of movement and freedom from government than we will have in America.

Posted by David R. Remer at July 24, 2005 07:28 AM
Comments
Comment #68251

The ironic thing about all this is that the System we had pre-911 WORKED. The people who hijacked the planes were reported to the FBI. Had the FBI been doing their jobs, the US would have been a far different place today.

Posted by: Aldous at July 24, 2005 12:15 PM
Comment #68259

You’re right David, we are losing freedoms with the Patriot Act.. the sad fact is, Republicans are supposed to be for limited government.

Posted by: Mike T. at July 24, 2005 02:47 PM
Comment #68263

David, I agree with you, except I’m not quote so pessimistic.

Yes, we are losing our freedoms because we are responding with fear. Fear and an excessively competitive attitude go together. All of us keep saying:

“I am better than you. I’m smarter than you. I’m richer than you. I am right; you are wrong. I’m a winner; you’re a loser. I’m Godly: you’re an atheist. I’m a patriot; you’re a traitor.”

We are fearful and try to cheer ourselves up with competitive slogans. But all these slogans do is make us more fearful. And we destroy our freedoms, one by one, as you say.

What’s the solution? We must adopt a more cooperative attitude. Instead of fearing fellow airline passengers, we should be encouraging passenger comraderie. Instead of surveillance cameras in stores, we should build communities there. Instead of a Patriot Act, we should resoundingly proclaim that all Americans will face the terrorists together - while maintaining all our freedoms.

The freedom vs. security choice is a false choice. We can have both. I believe the two support each other: the more freedom you have the more security you have.

True freedom, however, requires us all to be more cooperative. We must help each other, work together with each other, Democrats and Republicans must talk to each other. We must build communities. We must make America a community of communities.

More. We must be more cooperative with other nations. Unilateralism is the worst possible way to handle foreign affairs in a world of terrorism. We must work together with our allies. We must talk to our adversaries. We must seek peace among nations. We must rebuild the UN to help the world get rid of terrorism.

David, this is a terrific post! Bravo!

Posted by: Paul Siegel at July 24, 2005 03:47 PM
Comment #68289

Aldous, you are quite right. 9/11 was a sociological trauma upon the psyche of the nation, and the individuals charged with the responsibility for insuring such an event never happened.

Trauma often elicits defensive reactions which are often inappropriate responses, exacerbating the the trauma instead of allowing the person to heal from it. This is what some of our leadership are going through, and there is no question, millions of Americans still have not come to grips with the reality and objective appraisal of what happened, how it happened, and how it can be reduced to minimal probability of occurring again (controlling entry through our borders).

In the meantime we are draining our resources on efforts to cover up, defend against accusation and responsibility, and shifting focus everywhere but where it belongs, controlling traffic across our borders. It has been almost 4 years since 9/11. If we had poured the resources we put into Iraq into border control, we would be healing from 9/11 now secure in the knowledge that a repeat of that event was remote. Instead, we all know we are nearly as vulnerable today as we were on 9/10, and that fact and the anxiety it causes prevents us from taking the steps necessary to secure ourselves and healing from 9/11.

Posted by: David R. Remer at July 24, 2005 08:33 PM
Comment #68290

Mike T., limited government is for those who feel capable and responsible for taking care of their own, and only reluctantly depend upon others when necessity dictates. Many republicans talk libertarian but their beliefs do not move them to smaller government. They also have beliefs that stand in complete contradiction to smaller government, like expanding Medicare, putting colonies on the Moon and Mars, and bolstering religious based charitable organizations with tax dollars, not to mention the huge dollar black hole called the war on drugs. Government regulation of individual behavior is a belief a great many Republicans hold, and it stands diametrically opposed to their libertarian rhetoric. It is a kind of dual personality, what sounds good and what feels good, not being in concert.

Posted by: David R. Remer at July 24, 2005 08:41 PM
Comment #68291

Paul, thank you for the comments and praise. I agree with where your argument goes. When you say:

The freedom vs. security choice is a false choice. We can have both. I believe the two support each other: the more freedom you have the more security you have.
I would add the word responsibility in there. Responsibility - having the ability to respond appropriately. It is much overused and much misunderstood concept. Freedom without responsibility has a very short life span. Freedom to act inherently implies the obligation to act in such manners as to insure one’s freedom is protected. As Americans we are acting very irresponsibly where the Patriot Act is concerned. A majority of the provisions in the Patriot Act are necessary and responsible and constitute no loss of freedom to Americans. But there are a number of its provisions which directly impinge upon American’s privacy and freedom to live unencumbered by government intrusion, not the least of which is the Patriot Act’s total and complete ignoring of effective border security and control.

Posted by: David R. Remer at July 24, 2005 08:49 PM
Comment #68303

David, comparing stricter security around government buildings and luggage inspections as the first steps down the slippery slope to Nazi Germany is a little hyperbolic, isn’t it?

I might agree that some of these measures are silly or poorly executed, but we’ve had baggage checks at airports for decades. Does that remind you of Nazi Germany too? What’s the difference between that and baggage checks for other forms of transportation?

And don’t our so-called civil libertarians also howl bloody murder and evoke Hilter at the suggestion of securing our borders , which you advocate?

You complain about not being able to walk up close to the White House anymore as if it were equivelant to being dragged out of your bed at midnight and sent to a concentration camp.

I’d like to you cite A SINGLE example or case in which the Patriot Act has been abused. Even if you can do so, I wonder if it really equals this rather overblown rhetoric about Nazi Germany and Adolf Hitler.

Posted by: sanger at July 24, 2005 10:51 PM
Comment #68305

Another thing regarding Nazi Germany: the gradual “loss of freedom” that people often describe as occuring there is a myth. That’s simply not how it happened, and it’s a fiction only maintained by those who want to drag Hitler and the Gestapo onstage every time a law related to policing is passed in passed in a Western democracy.

Once Hitler consolidated power he didn’t “gradually” erode the freedoms of the German people. He pretty much just swept them aside with a wave of his hand.

How Nazism actually started may be instructive in this debate, however.

Nazism was a fringe totalitarian political movement that in its early days consisted of little but street violence and terrorism.

Their actions went unchecked by authorities who were too-weak willed and too intimidated to enforce the law. Nazi Germany became what it was because of TOO LITTLE law enforcement, not too much.

And guess what? Every time a Nazi was jailed or tried, as Hitler himself was after the attempted Beer Hall putsch, the Nazis started wailing about how their precious civil liberties were being eroded. And much of the press jumped in to join the chorus. Sound familiar?

Posted by: sanger at July 24, 2005 11:26 PM
Comment #68327

Yes, Sanger, it all sounds very familiar. And that is the point isn’t it? Your implication that my argument portends our becoming a Nazi type authoritarian state is just wrong. Authoritarian government and its supporters are already growing in America, but, that does not mean America will become a Nazi Germany. Corruption of the Constitution and the law and consolidation of power into fewer unchecked hands can take many forms, from communism, to fascism, to oligarchy, aristrocracy and even anarchy with large numbers of despots instead of just one.

America can, and is, becoming corrupt and authoritarian but in its own unique way. The consolidation of power in the Executive Branch has been accumulating for decades and our founding fathers would not recognize the power of the Presidency today by what they intended and wrote in the Constitution.

Sandra Day O’Connor spoke on Cspan in an interview about the S.Court past and present, and she expressed concern about the marginalization of the Courts by the other two branches of government - and she has good cause to be concerned.

Power will always justify itself. But there is no justification for power in a democracy that usurps the constitutional rights and guarantees provided for by the Constitution, except in the case of internal civil strife or war, and that is not what we are facing today.

There is no doubt in my mind, that if we could revoke all Secret Service protection from the Whitehouse and Congress, we would have legislation on the the books to secure our borders, coffin tight, in less than a month, for that would be the only protection they would have. It is precisely because these cowards in office have the best protection in the world, that they can afford to ignore the vulnerability of all the rest of us to terrorists in lieu of other agendas. They already proved that on 9/11.

This is the kind of corruption of which I speak and which the majority of Americans are apparently oblivious to.

Posted by: David R. Remer at July 25, 2005 04:19 AM
Comment #68332
we’ve had baggage checks at airports for decades. Does that remind you of Nazi Germany too?

But not to the extent we do now. Before 9/11, you never had federal agents pawing through your luggage without you present - unwrapping all your Christmas gifts - then leaving a little note and a big mess. Unless there was probable cause, you never had to strip off your sweatshirt and your shoes.

And all of this does nothing to make you safer. Most of the 9/11 hijackers didn’t even have box-cutters. They overpowerd the passengers and crew with their bare hands and whatever was available in the cabin.

The most effective way to stop a repeat of 9/11 is to keep the terrorists off the planes in the first place, yet - four years later - the DHS has yet to implement a unified terrorist database.

Excellent article and follow-ups, David. And good posts, Paul. I don’t give a crap how closely what’s going on mirrors Nazi Germany. I’m more concerned about here and now.

Posted by: American Pundit at July 25, 2005 05:08 AM
Comment #68346

David,

I agree we need to secure our borders, How do we do that without searching people coming in or out?
We have to control immigration and travel to and from some areas. To pass any meaningful laws to do that we’ll have to trash the “PC” howls of discrimination, ethnic or religous.

If the problem we were facing now, and trying to combat, was lynchings and bombings of black churches ect. by the KKK, it wouldn’t make much sense to search and roust blacks and jews.
It doesn’t make any sense now to search every 5th person if 1-4 were young muslim males, and #5 is and old lady from Iowa! That is insane.

It will take removing politics to make it work in a netural manner.

I want a damn bill sponsered by Frist/Reid to prove both sides can agree on something without trying to use an issue for political gain.

It has to come from the leadership of both houses of congress for common sense to deal with the problems.
How about a Delay/Pelosie bill?

If everyone would demand that the leadership from both sides of the isle cosponser bills to protect America, there could be no political fallout for either side.
Everyone in congress could vote common sense without anyone being able to use their vote politically against them.

We could go back to fighting about other thing later.

Just an idea.

Posted by: Beagle at July 25, 2005 10:28 AM
Comment #68361

Beagle, searching people at our borders is necessary. And the only real issue over that is employers who will bitch over the increased labor costs. Priorities. Our national defense is first priority by any legal and Constitutional measure. Let them squeal all they want - they will get over it once we have secured the borders against intruders and reestablished good old fashioned freedom and security within this borders.

It is an idea and a good one. You contact your representatives in the next 24 hours and I will contact mine now. Let’s keep this ball rolling…

Posted by: David R. Remer at July 25, 2005 12:00 PM
Comment #68363

Speaking of “freedom”, political scientist Lawrence Britt studied fascist regimes throughout history, including those of Hitler, Mussolini, Franco, Pinochet, Suharto, and others. Britt concluded that all fascistic regimes shared 14 traits. Here’s the article.

The question is, how many of those traits exist here and now? How much farther in this direction are we willing to go before we as a nation realize that we don’t have the moral high ground any more? Remeber, Bush himself said early in the 2000 campaign that “there ought to be limits to freedom”.

As Benjamin Franklin said, “They who would give up an essential liberty for temporary security, deserve neither liberty or security.”

Posted by: ElliottBay at July 25, 2005 12:09 PM
Comment #68364

Beagle,

I can’t agree that making people “show their papers” is acceptable. I don’t care if it’s based on appearence or not. Just look at that Brazillian kid murdered by undercover bobbies in London. Profiling is immoral, no matter what logic or justification one applies, it’s step one in abuse of power, I.e. “He looked guilty, so it’s OK I killed him”.

Praticality or Principle? Conservatives voted with their moral principles to elect this president. Now they support an agenda based on lies and actions antithical to our traditionally held values of freedom.

How does one handle this hypocracy???

Posted by: Dave at July 25, 2005 12:14 PM
Comment #68365

ElliotBay,

Interesting article (fascistic regimes). I don’t know which is cause and which is effect, however. Can the growth of dogmatism result in those traits or visa-versa? The only thing I find universal is that none of those traits are symbiotic with personal freedoms.

Posted by: Dave at July 25, 2005 12:19 PM
Comment #68371

David,

I have called/wrote to mine many times about that issue, I will continue to do so.
(we don’t have to agree often, once in a while keeps a debate meaningful..grin).

Dave,

To use the term “racial Profiling” you must cite where it is unjustified. For it to be classified as such there would have to be no basis for it except racism, and a bias against a group of people.

Please don’t attempt to tag my statement on that as racist.
Few that have read my posts over the years would believe that.(from either side).
I thank you in advance for re-thinking that.

Posted by: Beagle at July 25, 2005 01:02 PM
Comment #68376

Beagle,

My apologies if you feel I called you a racist. It was not my intent and I never used the term “racial.” Appearence is just as easily applied to clothing and length of hair as to skin color. Profiling these days also applies to what books you buy on Amazon or take out from the library or whether or not you fly open legs on airlines (i.e. buy two one way tickets for three cities).

I’m against profiling based on the tenets of “innocent until proven guilty” and “right to privacy”, two conservative values that conservatives seem to be willing to give up because it’s “them” not “us”. That’s the hypocracy I was questioning.

Posted by: Dave at July 25, 2005 01:23 PM
Comment #68380

Dave,

I didn’t think you were calling me a racist.
But Implying statements are such, would lead others to believe that. N/P. No harm, no foul.

How do we deal with problems if we can’t deal facts based on the process of elimination?

I’m always open to reasonable ideas?

Posted by: Beagle at July 25, 2005 01:58 PM
Comment #68390

Beagle,

Now that we have that out of the way…

I don’t understand what you mean by “process of elimination” Is that what you mean by profiling or am I missing something?

Posted by: Dave at July 25, 2005 02:35 PM
Comment #68400

The objective of the Homeland Security program is to develop conditions wherby we are safe from terrorism in our own backyards. IMO to do so requires both searching/screening people at borders and, major mass transit points and, profiling.

Quite frankly, I am happy that profiling exists. My credit card companies (as do yours) keep a close eye on my spending habits. In a sense, they have my spending profile. When they see a transaction that is inconsistent with my normal buying habits, I am contacted immediately for authorization.

Marketing techniques, liklihood of political candidates being elected area by area, by race, age, etc. are additional areas of profiling.

I am very excited when profiling has pulled over a vehicle that is found to contain drugs, guns, explosives, etc. It is much better than the alternative and, certainly given the risk-reward of offending someone or violating their rights is worth it every time.

Opponents of profiling and searching people generally use the violation of rights defense. I would much rather show up alive at a destination to find that my checked luggage had been searched than to have people read about how my flight was blown from the sky over Omaha.

Also, I am a bit tired of hearing about how it was never that way before 9/11. Get over it people, nothing will ever be the same after 9/11.

Posted by: steve smith at July 25, 2005 04:02 PM
Comment #68406

Dave,

“I don’t understand what you mean by “process of elimination” Is that what you mean by profiling or am I missing something?”

Yes Dave, my guess is you are missing something.
As I stated before, if the problem was the KKK, you could likely scratch blacks and jews from the list of where the problem is coming from?

That could be switched around if the problem was the bloods and cripts, but its the same thing, anyone screaming racism is only adding to the problem.

Posted by: Beagle at July 25, 2005 04:41 PM
Comment #68413

Dave~

I still NEVER hear an outrage of “profiling” when a serial killer is on the loose and the cops are looking for a middle aged/white/male!

Profiling is profiling if you are against it! To me its just damn good police work (although there have been other ethnicities and genders to join the “serial killer” ranks)! It still only makes good sense to look at the big picture 1st don’t ya think?

Search me at any airport…..I have NOTHING to hide!!! Although, unless I’m acting suspicious, this is rather silly and dumb police work!

Posted by: Traci at July 25, 2005 05:11 PM
Comment #68465

David, David, David…

I just cannot fathom your frame of mind. We actually moved away from having a potential police state when Republicans gained the majority in this country. Unfortunately we have not moved right enough. There still is a danger that we could lose all of our freedoms because the country is still too liberal!

You and I both know the direction of liberalism is toward the ‘freedom’ of socialism. That is, the freedom of the government to run our lives. Private property? Doesn’t really exist. God given rights? There is no God, and your rights are only those which the government grants you. Let’s call them privileges.

As for the patriot act and fighting terror I’ll reiterate what I’ve said before.

How is it that those who complain the loudest about how Bush is not protecting us enough from potential terrorists are also those who complain the loudest about anything that is done to catch potential terrorist before they kill us?

AND the solutions they offer are to do nothing!! Or worse— openly declare that we are complete doormats.

Actually Aldous expressed the real opinion of the left about homeland security: pre-911 security was good enough.

Paul,

As with most other progressive solutions to violence and tyranny, I’d like to see you (in a rhetorical sense) implement your liberal solution to terrorism in Gaza, Pakistan, or Bahgdad.

What’s the solution? We must adopt a more cooperative attitude. Instead of fearing fellow airline passengers, we should be encouraging passenger comraderie. Instead of surveillance cameras in stores, we should build communities there. Instead of a Patriot Act, we should resoundingly proclaim that all Americans will face the terrorists together - while maintaining all our freedoms.

I’m sure a more cooperative attitude would have stopped Mohammed Atta in his tracks. I can see it now, “Passenger comraderie forces would-be hi-jackers to relent.”

Surely once we have all proclaimed our togetherness every Al Qaeda sleeper cells within the United States will flee back to their own countries and start a co-op and advocate for change, “We didn’t stand a chance against their “togetherness maintenence of their freedoms.”

I hope that doesn’t sound too harsh.

Posted by: ericsimonson at July 25, 2005 08:25 PM
Comment #68466
The American public is offering up its freedom and liberties in precisely the same manner the German people offered up theirs to Hitler and his henchman, in the name of patriotism and security.

Threads end when people bring Nazism and Hitler into them. This is not Germany and Bush is not Hitler - way to go for the emotionally charged allusion.

Posted by: Brian at July 25, 2005 08:26 PM
Comment #68467

Oh and another thing…

I prefer the ‘cheap talk’ of freedom rather than serious talk of slavery anyday.

Posted by: ericsimonson at July 25, 2005 08:26 PM
Comment #68468

Brian,

I believe the word you were looking for was ILLUSION.

Posted by: ericsimonson at July 25, 2005 08:29 PM
Comment #68486

The administration has clearly had their head up their ass for quite some time. And, the administration before that. And the one before that.
Is that really any surprise ?
Despite several explicit warnings, the federal government failed the people.
But, the people failed themselves too.
They continue to empower the government that fails them.
So, who’s more to blame?
We’re all to blame.

Posted by: d.a.n at July 25, 2005 09:37 PM
Comment #68502

Traci, you are debating the wrong person. With a degree in psychology, I know that physical characteristic profiling is innate and inevitable. I have no problem with physical profiling when such profiling is efficient and effective and does not capture or impede large numbers of innocents for the sake of catching one or two guilty persons.

We don’t need to be shooting innocent Brazilian electricians because their skin is brown, now do we?
Though some Republicans here have implied that is just fine with them. They would rather have the state kill one dead innocent than let a possible terrorist kill a few dozen or hundred. That kind of rationalization of right and wrong is precisely what led Germans to follow the Nazis on their quest for genocide, instead of opposing them.

Posted by: David R. Remer at July 25, 2005 10:35 PM
Comment #68505

Eric, I can’t argue with you about the Left desiring their own brand of police state as in their anti-gun legislation, and their immense opposition to minutemen citizenry vigilence.

Regardless of this, the right as I have pointed out, has its own police state agenda as well. Fear is non-partisan, and inappropriate responses to fear are also non-partisan.

Trying to defend the right by accusing the left of the same misdeeds is no defense at all. That line of debate neither addresses the problems nor solutions.

You said “You and I both know the direction of liberalism is toward the ‘freedom’ of socialism.”

I consider that a preposterous statement. There are socialists on the left just as their on neo-nazis on the right, but you also know bloody well that the Democratic Party is not made of socialists anymore than the Republican Party is made up of fascists.

The truth of the matter is Republicans believe in socialism just as Democrats do. Both parties also believe in the merits of free enterprise and entrepreneurial endeavor. The only differences are in the mix of the two. It was a Republican President and Republican Congress that grew the Medicare program by adding a Rx drug assistance aspect to it. Socialist programs are owned by both parties. Democrats want to keep Soc. Sec., Republicans want to keep corporate subsidies.

It is just a difference of priorities and ratio. So your socialist claim simply doesn’t wash when compared to real life.

Posted by: David R. Remer at July 25, 2005 10:45 PM
Comment #68506

Brian said: “Threads end when people bring Nazism and Hitler into them. This is not Germany and Bush is not Hitler - way to go for the emotionally charged allusion.”

Allusion, comparison is more like it and quite appropos’ I might add. This thread obviously hasn’t ended as a result of the comparison in the article. Reality speaks much louder than rhetoric and cliche’s, Brian.

Posted by: David R. Remer at July 25, 2005 10:47 PM
Comment #68513

David:

Could you compare what has happened to our civil liberties in this war to what Rosevelt did in WWII and Lincoln did during the civil war??

We seemed to have survived well from both of those wars.

Were they criticized for their retricting of civil rights??

Bush gets a great deal of criticism no matter what he does. One of the criticisms of the left is that Bush has not asked the country to sacrifice, and yet your article is very good at defining the sacrifice Bush is asking us to make.

I think you make some very good arguements, however I think your premise needs to be made in a context of what other presidents have done when our country was under attack. The patriot act seems a little lest extreme than the draft, or internment, or military tribunals for instance. And yet both Lincoln and Rosevelt were considered heros for saving liberty.

Bush hatred is running very very deep. I don’t think it matters much what Bush does anymore for the left. I saw an article this week criticizing Bush for excersizing!!

Craig

Posted by: Craig Holmes at July 25, 2005 11:25 PM
Comment #68514

David and the Left:

Why do you compare Bush to Hitler’s Germany instead of to Rosevelt and Lincoln on this matter of civil liberty restriction during a time of war?? Wouldn’t it be better to look at American examples??

Craig

Posted by: Craig Holmes at July 25, 2005 11:31 PM
Comment #68518

David,

A difference of priorities and ratio? Obviously you don’t consider the Nazi ‘ratios’ you ascribe to Republicans as benign.

Most Americans don’t see it, but we continue to give more and more freedom away to legislation like the Patriot Act which comes straight out of the Nazi play book. Our willingness to live free is unquestionably being given away to the President’s and Republican’s fears and insatiable desire for control.

Right out of the Nazi playbook? Let’s see, let me check my Republican National Committee copy of Mein Kampf… no- I’m not seeing Patriot Act in here, no… nothing about checking library records…. hmmm.

There is some stuff in here about workers and bourgeois.

Ever wonder why the party Hitler took over was called the National Socialist Party?

Interestingly the book is a best seller in the Middle East. But of course, they have a different culture than us. It wouldn’t be right for us to try to force our values on them now would it?

Posted by: ericsimonson at July 26, 2005 12:03 AM
Comment #68535
Brian,

I believe the word you were looking for was ILLUSION.

Ericsimonson - From Webster.com - Allusion
1 : an implied or indirect reference especially in literature; also : the use of such references
2 : the act of alluding or hinting at

David ALLUDED (or hinted that) Bush and our society today is akin to that of Nazi Germany and Hitler. A stronger argument would have been that David was not alluding but making a direct comparison. Be careful when you correct me, especially when I use the word correctly.

Posted by: Brian at July 26, 2005 03:01 AM
Comment #68551

David:

The American public is offering up its freedom and liberties in precisely the same manner the German people offered up theirs to Hitler and his henchman, in the name of patriotism and security.
Yes, Sanger, it all sounds very familiar. And that is the point isn’t it? Your implication that my argument portends our becoming a Nazi type authoritarian state is just wrong.

The implication is not on the part of Sanger. YOU make the implication very clear in the first statement above. You compare the way that Americans now are offering up freedom and liberty to the way the Germans did the same to Hitler.

If you are going to make such comments, at least stand up and admit having made them. Or better yet, retract them as being incorrect. But to blame the reader for reaching the conclusion that YOU set forth is certainly not the path to choose.

Craig:

I believe the left uses the comparison to Hitler because they are angry. The comparison is the most vile thing they can think of to represent their anger, and so they present Bush as similar to one of the worst leaders in the history of the world (or certainly the most commonly thought of worst leaders).

The over exaggeration in their attempt to make a point simply hurts their argument, and this is the silly part. By making such an incorrect and obviously malicious comment, they weaken much of the good in their comments. They become the boy crying wolf.

If someone throws one punch that breaks my nose, I can simply prosecute them on that basis. If however, I exaggerate my claims wildly, claiming a group of thugs beat me mercilessly for hours, a jury might see that exaggeration, and wonder what ELSE I am exaggerating, which ultimately hurts my case.

Some in our society do two things, as identified above. They exaggerate wildly (comparing Bush to Hitler, America to Nazi Germany etc) and they find blame in ANY and EVERY action. When airline security becomes more stringent, people complain about the waiting, that innocent people are being checked, that personal items are not allowed etc etc.

We can improve our discourse by looking for positive solutions, rather than wallowing in the mire of negative thinking. Some however, appear to enjoy the mire.

Posted by: joebagodonuts at July 26, 2005 09:08 AM
Comment #68561

David~

In response to your comment that I am debating the wrong person….well NO, I wrote Dave and I meant Dave…so I’m confused?

As far as the rest of your comments go???????????????????????????????????????????????
I have no clue!!Your chastizing makes no sense to me because your response,IMO, does not match my post(which was not to you)! You lumped me in w/ the masses and decided that I thought it was o.k. to go around shooting random people? Whatever!!

Posted by: Traci at July 26, 2005 09:48 AM
Comment #68605

David,

Interesting post. Glad to see I wasn’t the only one to take heat for a Republican / Nazi analogy.

Nevertheless, I wouldn’t be too pessimistic about a permanent loss of our civil liberties. There is an ebb and flow to liberty throughout American History. From the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus and civil courts during the Civil War to the Espionage and Sedition Acts of WWI to the internment of Japanese-Americans during WWII to the McCarran Act of the Cold War to Cointelpro of the Vietnamese War to today’s Patriot Act the pattern is clear: threats breed repression. Within a democratic society, freedom and fear are mutually exclusive in direct proportion to one another.

Much like Pearl Harbor, September 11th traumatized the nation and made us all vicarious veterans in the war against religious terrorism. It engendered a collective version of post-traumatic stress disorder that has affected subsequent expressions of public policy. A collective stress disorder compels democratically elected officials to assuage public trepidation through the enactment of repressive legislation. An emotionally disturbed body politic will often act irrationally.

The question becomes one of necessity or abuse. Are the Republicans responding to the threat posed by religious terrorism appropriately or are they exploiting it for personal political gain? Is the repression of civil liberties justified or excessive? I think that the answer to those questions depend upon your own personal degree of trust or doubt in the ethicality of our elected representatives.

Nevertheless, even a cynic such as myself recognizes the very real danger posed by religious zealotry. As Blaise Pascal wrote in 1670,

“Men never do evil so completely and so cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction.”
In much the same way that capital punishment cannot deter suicide, sophisticated military weaponry and strident federal legislation will not deter religious fanatics; death is not a deterrent, it’s the intent. Because our military and criminal deterrents are predicated upon retaliation and punishment, they seem to be inherently ineffectual methods of ameliorating the psychological threat posed by self-destructive lunatics. When normative deterrence becomes archaic, societies become neurotic.

Thus, religious terrorism lends itself to exploitation remarkably well. So don’t expect a return to the halcyon days of your youth any time soon, but like all threats to our collective security, this threat will pass, as well. When it does so, I’m sure that the people will demand the reinstatement of their civil liberties. They always have.

Then our kids will be able to look back on the first decade of the new millenium and wonder what the hell all the fuss was about.

PS. I was in Washington DC last week on business and found myself at Union Station with 90 minutes to kill. I walked over to the Capitol & talked to the cops outside. They suggested getting a gallery pass from my senator’s office across the street. I got the pass, walked back over to the Capitol and after a cursory electronic scan I walk right in. It was jammed full of tourists and I saw hardly any police. In fact, I got lost and somehow ended up in a restricted area. Nobody bothered me as I found my way out of the building.

Just wanted to let you know that it’s not the armed camp you fear.

Posted by: Chuck Hanrahan at July 26, 2005 12:45 PM
Comment #68670

Well, I am pleased to see conservatives get so upset and irrational in their responses. Craig is so hopping mad, he thinks I don’t stand by my words. I do, completely. I made no allusion or implication. I stated emphatically as Craig points out, but then he accuses me of not being emphatic but defending some allusion or illusion which belongs to others comments.

Craig wants me to compare Republicans actions today NOT with Germany, but with previous American Presidents. Fine, previous Americans erred too, internment of the Japanese was a huge historical embarassment and the fact that we are making the same mistakes today, just demonstrates how Republicans are so ignorant of history’s lessons that they are willing to repeat the mistakes of the past.

When your debaters get this hopping mad, one knows the points have been scored and the truth hit close to home.

ericsimmonson continues on his broken record of turning anything he does not like into spin against socialism. Eric will never recognize what I have pointed out to him repeatedly, that Bush’s medicare Rx program was an expansion of a socialist type program. His congnitive dissonance won’t permit him to see that America has been the most successful mix of capitalism and socialism economy the world has ever seen. Oh, well, you lead a horse to water….

We got JBOD so upset, he is completely misattributing allusions, illusions from others to my comment. Calm down, JBOD and reread what has been written for a clearer understanding. I know this criticism of Republicans is hard to swallow, but get a grip, it is true, and you can become part of the solution instead of supporting the problem.

JBOD, please quote where I said Bush was Hitler. Get a grip, my friend. I compared what the American people are doing in the name of security to what the German people did. You are responding very irrationally to what was actually said here.

Traci, I apologize for responding to your post to another named Dave, but you did post in a public forum so I responded with some debate. How about debating the points I made about killing innocents in order to get the bad guys? Are you comfortable killing innocents in order to get the bad guys.

It is a good day when one’s post can energize so many conservatives (or liberals for that matter) to irrational and unfocused retorts in a single article. Thanks folks, you have provided the best compliments yet for this article.

Posted by: David R. Remer at July 26, 2005 04:43 PM
Comment #68676

Chuck, thanks.

You said: “There is an ebb and flow to liberty throughout American History.”

There is an ebb and flow to liberty in all societies throughout all of history. Some ebbs and flows last only a few years and some last decades or centuries as cultural tradition like in the Japanese culture. I don’t take comfort in this observation. This war on terrorism has all the earmarks of lasting for generations. Doesn’t it bother you that this flight to coservative revocation of liberty could last just as long as the war on terrorism does?

I agree with you on entirely on the religious fundamentalism rising up in the world and the threat it poses everywhere, including here in the US.

It is good to hear the security in our nation’s capital is so lax that folks can wander into unrestricted areas and can approach the offices of their representatives with little more than a hall pass. It raises the question though, about why all the media print about security in D.C.

Perhaps all of the protection around our monuments and the capitol written about after 9/11 has dissipated. I guess the Republican fear mongering about terrorists targeting America is just hype, since no practical measures to protect high profile targets is taking place as you indicate. Or perhaps your credentials gave you some preferred or expedited processing. Hard to say, having not been there to inquire.


Posted by: David R. Remer at July 26, 2005 04:59 PM
Comment #68738

David~

Give me a break!

The problem did not lie in the fact that you responded to my post(i’ve done that myself, so don’t spin it)the problem was you assuming that I was confused to who I was responding to!

The answer to your question is already answered in my last post……I stated that I was offended that you lumped me into a certain group w/ no 1st hand knowledge of my feelings!

What on earth is going on with you? I can remember a time when I felt you were a rational debater, now it’s all emotional rantings IMO!

I miss the old David!

Posted by: Traci at July 26, 2005 07:35 PM
Comment #68741

I apoligized Traci, that is all you will get. I give blood to the blood bank, not debaters.

Posted by: David R. Remer at July 26, 2005 07:47 PM
Comment #68745

Traci,

You responded to Dave. I did indeed believe you were responding to me. I apologized. However, I addressed the points you made about being comfortable being searched and having nothing to hide. But you did not respond to those comments at all.

I was making the argument that willingness to be searched and believing you have nothing to hide is no protection as the innocent man in London who was shot and killed by profiling demonstrates. He had nothing to hide either, but, it doesn’t make him any less wrongfully dead at the hands of government who acts as if security is more important than individual rights to judged guilty in a court of law before being executed.

I am still awaiting your response to my comments to you.


Posted by: David R. Remer at July 26, 2005 08:03 PM
Comment #68764

David:

I think you must have mixed my post up with others, since you accuse me of doing things which I have obviously not done, such as your comment below:

JBOD, please quote where I said Bush was Hitler.

MY comments were as follow…verbatim…
:“You compare the way that Americans now are offering up freedom and liberty to the way the Germans did the same to Hitler.” I never spoke of you comparing Bush to Hitler, but instead, spoke of how you compared Americans of today to Germans of the 1930-40s.

Additionaly, David, I did not misattribute anything. I cut and pasted statements from your posts, and used only your comments, and not anyone elses. Both quotes were directly from your posts—you can check the veracity of what I say simply by scrolling back to your posts.

I will admit to being surprised at the level of venom in your discourse, especially on such a personal level. You accuse me of being “upset” simply because I disagree with you. I’m not upset—-I simply feel you should either not make the comparisons you made, or you should stand by them. You did not—-you accused Sanger of reaching implications—-but he reached the implication that you posted. Its not like the David Remer I used to know….perhaps much has changed in my absence.

I will once again state that I think comments comparing America to Nazi Germany are misguided at best. They discredit the history of what happened in WWII, and they attempt to create a false equality between the two eras.

Posted by: joebagodonuts at July 26, 2005 11:36 PM
Comment #68774

JBOD, yes, you are right, you did quote me and did not misattribute what I said. When I referred to misattribution, I was misinterpreting your remarks to Craig as reflective of your opinion toward what I said in my article.

Since, I sit largely on the left side of the fence on social and individual rights issues, I took your comments to Craig about those on the left as directed toward me, and I responded with that in mind.

You did say: “I will once again state that I think comments comparing America to Nazi Germany are misguided at best. “

And I will respond if the shoe fits, wear it, in reference to conservatives who seek to subtract from the freedoms and liberties Americans enjoyed in the latter half of last century, in response to their fears that the boogeyman terrorist is going popup and shred them to pieces with their beheading swords.

Yes, there is a real threat. Yes, the Patriot Act does subtract from freedoms and liberties. But any American has a better chance of dying from lung or skin cancer or EVEN SUICIDE, than they do of dying from terroism in America. The math is inescapable.

So, I will stand by my position that those on the right who seek control and surveillance of Americans in America are cowards and paranoids who would grant police state power to government in response to their fears. Such an hysterical response has no relation to real facts and probability and statistical measures of the threat which is far smaller than threats created by our own culture and lifestyles.

We are not facing enemies numbering in the millions as in WWII, here. We are facing an enemy numbering in the thousands, 90% of whom are overseas and apparently content to remain there.

The rational response to the real fear is establish and control our borders, not establish and control Americans living in America. You can call my remarks extreme or venomous if you like, I consider my remarks rational and fact based. To each his own, I guess.

Posted by: David R. Remer at July 27, 2005 01:12 AM
Comment #68817

David:

Thank you for clearing up how you misinterpreted my remarks. A couple things to add: I intend my comments to the person I direct them to, hence when I wrote “Craig:” and then followed it with comments, those comments were for Craig. (Im being a bit overly facetious here)

Secondly, i never called your comments extreme, but I did comment on the venom in them. I felt that your comments about me being “upset”, that I need to “get a grip” and “Calm down, JBOD and reread what has been written for a clearer understanding.” were intended as patronizing, and were certainly upon your further review, incorrect. Venomous was the wrong word—patronizing would have suited the purpose more clearly, I think.

I understand your concern about civil liberties and freedoms. I recognize that the Patriot Act removes some freedoms. But again, to liken the USA of today to Germany under the Nazis is simply hyperbolic. It actually undermines your argument for many people, as I explained in my comments to Craig.

I don’t beleive that closing our borders, or securing them more tightly is the only solution. It would work for a while, but remember that there are those like the Lackawanna Eight who were acting as a sleeper cell already within our borders. Since its hard to determine who the good guys and bad guys are, we have to take other measures as well. And that entails some loss of freedom.

An analogy would be to how the FBI infiltrated the KKK years ago. They used many methods which invaded people’s privacies, and certainly some of those people were innocent. FBI undercover agents have been accused of beating up people, which some have deemed necessary in order to maintain their place within the KKK structure. They would say the end justified the means.

This isnt always the case, but I wonder how we ever would have gotten inside the KKK or Mafia without invading privacies to a degree. The question, perhaps, is what degree is acceptable.

In my opinion, the Patriot Act is an acceptable level. I’ll go out on a limb and state that you see it as unacceptable.

I’d be interested in how you prevent organizations like the KKK, Mafia, militias, or the Lackawanna sleeper cell without in any way invading their privacies to some degree. I just dont see how it can be done.

Posted by: joebagodonuts at July 27, 2005 09:58 AM
Comment #68851

Terrific article and many good follow-ups, David.
Excellent posts Paul, AP, and Elliotbay.

I have long badgered my Senators and Congressional Reps about the Patriot Act(s). The unconstitutional provisions within these pieces of legislation abridge our Constitutional rights and freedoms. Therefore, they MUST go. Really is there anything more to be said?

Posted by: Adrienne at July 27, 2005 01:23 PM
Comment #68868

Adrienne:

No offense, but since the House recently voted to extend the Patriot Act, with 43 Democrats joining 214 Republicans, I’d guess there is plenty more to talk about. If those who are elected by the people are in favor of it, and do not see it as unconstitutional, then perhaps there is some merit to it.

Thats of course not to say that elected officials cant be wrong—-they can be and often are. But to make it appear that there is only one viewpoint of the Patriot Act that holds credibility would hardly be accurate.

Posted by: joebagodonuts at July 27, 2005 03:09 PM
Comment #68905

JBOD, yes, upon review, those comments of mine were patronizing, and I apologize.

We do disagree on the extents that trading liberty for security is justified. Total liberty is anarchy. That is clearly not what anyone here intends.

We are however a Constitutional Government and nation based on the rule of law that emanates from that Constitution. When we violate our own Constitution for expedience, we do indeed follow the path of the Germans under Hitler in giving assent to ends justifying any means necessary.

Our Constitution and adherence to it or modification of it by Amemndment, is what defines American greatness and American Democracy. When we legislate against it without amendment to it, we choose expedience over principle, we choose efficiency over the Constitution. And in so doing, we march down that road toward becoming a nation based on the rule of polticians and leaders, and begin to abandon the bedrock of our past greatness which was a Constitutional Government governed by the rule of that Constitution - the rule of law.

The Patriot Act bypasses the Supreme Court and the Constitution, by enacting unConstitutional abridgements of personal liberty from government instrusion without the prerequisite Amendment process assented to by the majority of the people and the states.

I believe this one of the things Justice O’Connor alluded to when she discussed the Courts being marginalized by the other two branches of government eroding the checks and balances called for and erected by the Constitution and the wisdom of its drafters.

Posted by: David R. Remer at July 27, 2005 05:01 PM
Comment #69034

David:

Thanks.

In my opinion, for the America2005=Germany1930’s argument to take hold, one would have to imagine someone like Bush being able to run for a 3rd or 4th term. Since the ultimate top position in government changes at least every 8 years, I think the comparison falls short.

I suppose one could take the position that those behind the curtain in government remain, and this is true. But I see an entirely different America under George Bush than I saw under Bill Clinton, and an America under John Kerry or Al Gore would be quite different from that of today. The Presidency NOT being a dictatorship changes everything.

David, when a patient has cancer, doctors administer chemo or radiation therapy, both of which hurt the body in the short run. The intent is to rid the body of the disease, but in doing so, part of the body is damaged as well. Were you to remain on these therapies indefinitely, the therapy would kill you sooner than the cancer.

In a similar way, countries sometimes need to take drastic steps to cure their ills. In order to defeat terrorism, or at least blunt it, we are fighting a war in which young American men and women are dying, not to mention all the other casualties as well. We are limiting some freedoms. American freedoms were curtailed during WWII, but the curtailment did not continue. This is a different kind of war, so there is not a direct parallel, but I do not see the type of police state occurring that perhaps you do.

If we were to graph out the future, I think you would see the limits to freedom increasing on an exponential line, steadily moving upwards, while I see a surge upwards without any accompanying continuation of that surge.


I think we both see some of the same things having happened, but I also think we have vastly differing viewpoints of what these mean for the future. That is where our disagreements are, in my opinion.

Thanks for your viewpoints, and I’d appreciate hearing whether I’ve at least targeted the source of our disagreement accurately.

Posted by: joebagodonuts at July 28, 2005 07:55 AM
Comment #69051

JBOD, there was Bush I, now Bush II, and there could easily be Bush III within the next 12 years. The argument that 8 years and everything changes does not hold up under these circumstances. And yes, as you say, “I suppose one could take the position that those behind the curtain in government remain, and this is true.” is especially true when the same party holds majority for many election cycles as the Democrats did.

In a similar way, countries sometimes need to take drastic steps to cure their ills.

I can’t buy that argument JBOD regarding the war on terrorism. The best and most recent reason I can give comes straight from the Whitehouse. Bush and his staff have discontinued referernces to the “war on terrorism”, replacing it instead with the far more realistic phrase, “global struggle against violent extremists” which corrects the idea that this war can ever be won, or that the future portends an end to the struggle.

If the struggle can go on indefinitely, so can the abridgements of freedom and liberty, indefinitely.

Yes, I agree that the source of our disagreement lies primarily in what the current fact set says about what the future holds.

Posted by: David R. Remer at July 28, 2005 09:27 AM
Comment #69516

brian,

Illusion, as in the illusions of liberalism. i.e. Seeing what isn’t there. (Nazi’s under every republican.)

David,

re: Bush’s medicare rx

Sorry I hadn’t made that clear, I do agree with you that it is a socialist program and should be ended. It’s a bad program all around. I just assumed you might guess my position on that.

The point you made with it though didn’t really deserve a response. “It’s all the same.” Is not much of a point when you originally used Nazi to paint the opposition as extremists trying to create a police state.

I don’t see any Nazi policies taking away freedom David. However, socialist ones, yes. I just do not see the need for liberal knee jerk reactions with the word Nazi.

Posted by: ericsimonson at July 30, 2005 04:40 AM