Land of the not-so-free

    According to those who started this so-called experiment in Democracy more than two centuries ago, America is the land of the free where citizens are able to speak their minds and oppose their government.

    Guess George W. Bush and his storm troopers missed that part of American history.

    Which explains why the Bush administration works overtime to stop anyone who dares oppose their narrow view of the world.

    Not only are Bush’s press conferences carefully-controlled media events packed with pro-administration shills and GOP lackeys, the Republican’s goon squad purges public events of anyone with an opposing view.

    In Denver last month, three people were tossed out of a Social Security town meeting with the President after a Republican operative noticed they arrived in a car with a “No blood for oil” bumper sticker.

    This happened after a list surfaced in Fargo, N.D., listing 42 political opponents to be barred, by force if necessary, from a Bush appearance there.

    The White House blamed the incident on an “overzealous volunteer.” They must have a lot of these overachievers because those who disagree with Bush are routinely removed from events or barred from the door.

    Republican storm troopers routinely remove protestors from the President’s public appearances, often shuttling them to a holding area a block or more away. Participants in the tightly-scripted town meetings are screened and only those with a proven record of support for Bush and GOP policies are allowed in.

    GOP operatives lie and claim they are Secret Service agents as they escort opponents out of events.

    In Denver, Alex Young, Leslie Weise and Karen Bauer were forced to leave the nonpartisan, taxpayer-financed Denver forum an hour before the president arrived.

    A Republican staff member wearing an earpiece and an orange lapel pin that resembled the red lapel pins worn by Secret Service agents escorted them out and claimed to be an agent..

    “Our agency wasn’t involved,” said Lon Garner, the agent in charge of Denver’s Secret Service district.

    In Fargo, those who wrote letters to the editor criticizing the President’s Social Security plan were barred from what the White House billed as a “nonpartisan” event.

    Isolated incidents? Hardly. Bush’s administration is the most tightly-controlled in history. Events billed as public events, and paid out of taxpayer dollars, are – in fact – invitation only media ops where only staunch Bush supporters get past the goon squads and storm troopers.

    Freedom of speech is not a phrase you find in Bush’s speeches. The man who promises freedom to far-off places like Iraq does not allow it to exist here at home.