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Those bagpipes you hear playing in the background provide a much-needed funeral dirge for freedom, which died this week at the hands of the United States Congress.
Freedom has been on its deathbed for about five years now, mortally-wounded in the post-9/11 frenzy that put political expediency above the Constitution and gave paranoia supremacy over what used to be guarantees of individual rights for all Americans.
Freedom went on the endangered-species list in the hours following the 9/11 attacks when President George W. Bush turned to attorney general John Ashcroft and said “John, take whatever steps you feel are necessary to make sure something like this never, ever, happens again.”
Turning a zealot like Ashcroft loose on the Constitution is like giving Bill Clinton the keys to a sorority house. Someone is going to get screwed big-time and in this case it was, collectively, the whole concept of freedom and individual rights in this country.
Ashcroft crafted his personal vision of a new America, one ruled by a police state reporting to a totalitarian government, and called it the USA Patriot Act. It sailed through a shell-shocked Congress like a fraternity on a panty raid and gave Bush and his gang of thugs all they needed to create a new American Gestapo, detaining this nation’s citizens without due course, spying on Americans without warrants and setting the country on a headlong rush to ruin.
The abuses of the Patriot Act proved so onerous that even firebrand conservatives like Bob Barr joined forces with uber-liberals like the American Civil Liberties Union to fight it.
Late last year, spurred by anger over Bush’s admission that he authorized the warrantless spying on Americans by the National Security Agency, the Patriot Act appeared to face serious opposition when it came up for renewal. Congress twice granted temporary extensions and promised to add new language to protect the civil liberties of Americans.
But, as happens all too often in Washington, those promises vanished into thin air as the Patriot Act this week cleared hurdle after hurdle and heads for permanent renewal when the goons who call themselves our elected representatives return from the President’s Day recess.
In the end, the White House “negotiated” a set of meaningless changes with a handful of Republicans and the so-called compromise sailed through the Senate Thursday on a 96-3 vote. Even worse, the Republican-controlled Senate Intelligence Committee successfully blocked attempts to open an inquiry in Bush’s use of the National Security Agency to spy on Americans.
Not that the Democrats did that much to stop it. Even those who spoke out about Bush’s spying on Americans said they supported the concept but only opposed how the President went about it. As long as he got warrants, they said, they didn’t really care who the NSA snooped on. And a bunch of Democrats joined with Republicans Thursday to keep the rights-robbing USA Patriot Act the law of the land.
Which means virtually no one – Democratic or Republican, conservative or liberal, left or right – can claim the high road when it comes to destroying freedom in the United States. Only Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wis., seems to realize the dangers of the act, continuing to fight it and saying the law, even as amended, allows “government fishing expeditions” and an outright assault on the Constitution.
For the most part, the rest of Congress sold out the people who elected them to office, all Americans who depend on Congress to serve as a check and balance on the excesses of the White House and the Constitution of the United States.
Yes, freedom died this week and just about every one of the bitches and bastards who “serve” in Congress should take a long, hard look at the blood on their hands. They stand guilty of high crimes and treason against the United States of America. They are traitors and should be treated as such.