Attorney General John Ashcroft -
The Most Dangerous Man In America,
The Most Dangerous Man To America
Before you read on, I'm going to summarize this rant now rather than at the end, because--let's face it-- most Americans don't seem to understand the Constitution, don't care about what it stands for, and won't bother reading any additional analysis of the current situation. So here goes:
John Ashcroft is the most dangerous man in America. He is conducting the most serious assault on the US Constitution since COINTELPRO, with the explicit aim of limiting the rights that US citizens enjoy. His intent is to take advantage of this uncertain time to achieve for law-enforcement, what could not be achieved in more peaceful times. His aim is to silence dissent and legitimate protest, and if he is successful, the United States' future will resemble that of an authoritarian state where due process, political dissent, freedom of speech, and freedom from burdensome government interference and surveillance are things of the past.
Despite all of my fears to the contrary, America seems to have won some kind of war against the Taliban. They're no longer in power. But in reality, the war IS already over, and no battle was ever fought. In late October Congress, at the urging of Attorney General John Ashcroft and the Bush administration, passed the USA/PATRIOT Act. In a single stroke, they did away with our constitution's 4th Amendment (searches and seizures) and did serious damage to the 1st, 5th, and 7th Amendments (protected speech, due process, and jury trials). They also asserted that the protections asserted under our constitution don't apply to non-citizens, even if they are legal immigrants who pay our taxes and obey our laws. Furthermore, Ashcroft, in statements made before Congress, asserted that he'll have the FBI and Justice Department exercise their new powers with the greatest possible latitude.
So basically...our leaders gave away the whole show, and the terrorists got more than they could have hoped for. Not only did Al Qaeda sow fear with the attack of September 11, but they helped put the United States on the sure road to authoritarianism, and this with the willing assistance of our own leaders.
Most Americans are responding to these tragic events (and by this I don't mean the horrific events of September 11, but rather the evisceration of the Constitution) with a naive "Well, we need to protect ourselves from terrorists," attitude Even though there is much evidence to suggest that curtailing our civil liberties will do exactly nothing to foil terrorists. So, with that in mind, let's do a small assessment of some of the more egregious provisions of the USA/PATRIOT act:
So what is the upshot of all of this? Well, if you really need to be reminded of what I think this means go back to our home page, but let me go a little further. If you're a immigrant, I wouldn't even think about coming to the US. The provisions of the USA/PATRIOT Act give you a de facto status of a "criminal in waiting". If you're a researcher in any field that the government is sensitive about, I suggest warming up the visas in preparation for emigration, and on the day that any of these provisions are held up in Federal Court...don't hesitate...get out! The US has clearly demonstrated that you will not be protected if you run afoul of their draconian new regulations. If you're an ordinary citizen, be prepared to explain to your children how in our fear and ignorance, we allowed our constitution to be thrown away...or...you can get off your dead ass and fight to have this piece of bullshit legislation overturned. Write to your representatives, protest in the streets, call for John Ashcroft's resignation, throw the imposter president (that Bush, for those of you who aren't familiar with my opinions) out of office in 2004. In short, make it clear that you will not stand for the dismantling of the Constitution.