Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Protection Is Always a Racket

Life changed forever on September 11, 2001. We were attacked on our home soil, and for the public at least it was out of the blue and shocking. Planes were grounded for days, which was really noticeable in Alaska where much of the state is reachable only by air and people couldn't get mail and groceries into the villages or people with medical problems out.

While we were still reeling from this blow, the administration set out to protect us by passing the Patriot Act. This piece of legislation, which was produced much too fast for me to believe that it wasn't cobbled together from a wish list just waiting for a disaster to attach it to, was too big and shoved through Congress too rapidly to be read before it was voted on and gave the administration new powers -- some protect us, most protect the government from us. There was such an assault on our civil rights that
    Amnesty International is concerned that the USA PATRIOT Act:
    Creates a broad definition of "domestic terrorism" that may have a chilling effect on the US and international rights to free expression and association.

    Allows non-citizens to be detained without charge and held indefinitely once charged.
    Permits the government to scrutinize peoples' reading habits by monitoring public library and bookstore records, without notifying the suspect. It also allows for "sneak and peak" tactics such as physical search of property and computers, wiretapping and monitoring of email, and access to financial and educational records, without providing notification.
    These activities contradict the right to be free from arbitrary interference with individuals' privacy, as protected in the US Constitution and the ICCPR.

Since then we have had Patriot II, which further broadened the ability of the government to interfere in the lives of its citizens and ignore the Bill of Rights and, indeed, common law that goes back centuries regarding trials and privacy.

The President admitted using warrantless wiretaps and instead of censuring him, the Congress passed a retroactive law to make his infringement of our rights legal.

Now we have the newest abomination, allowing the President to declare anyone an enemy combatant and have them locked up indefinitely without recourse to habeas corpus or any other protections, tortured, and forgotten if he so wishes. There is no clause that forbids him to move in on your maiden aunt in this manner, and indeed he is even allowed to delegate this identification of status to anyone he desires.

Now, out of South Dakota comes the latest news in the abortion ban. First the legislature passed a law outlawing abortions except to save the life of the mother. The goal was to have the law challenged and take it to the Supreme Court, where Bush's newly appointed judges could use it as an excuse to take down Roe vs. Wade. The people of South Dakota were having none of that, and put a referendum on the ballot to allow the citizens to vote on this issue directly.

The forces in favor of the ban are trying a new tactic. They are claiming, with some 70 pages of findings based on pseudo-science at its best, that women must be protected from abortions. They do not know what it is that they want. They are not competent to decide these issues for themselves, and if allowed to do so will be pressured into abortions by unprincipled boy friends and abortion clinics, which will result not only in breast cancer, but a lifetime of regret. To support this, the report makes some amazing claims about the nature of women straight out of the heart of sexual stereotyping -- that the mother has a connection to her unborn that is greater than her perception of her own interests. Her biology knows more than her mind. Her impending motherhood is more important than her current circumstances.

Isn't it interesting? When they claim to be protecting the citizens, they use it as a cover to take away our civil rights. When they claim to be protecting women, they use it as an excuse to take away our reproductive rights.

It reminds me of a story I heard about Golda Meir. There was a move to declare a curfew for women, keeping them off the streets of Israel after dark, and thereby keeping them safe from attack. Golda Meir's response was to suggest that since it is men who attack women after dark, the curfew be passed to restrict them. No more was heard of the gender specific curfew.

Somehow, protection is always a racket.

13 comments:

Mary Lou said...

Well then maybe we ought to pass a law that all males old enough to vote should be neutered! THat would solve the abortion problem!

naomi dagen bloom said...

at the ourbodiesourselves blog, learned about this effort to say enough already--http://www.hyde30years.nnaf.org/ and thought you might be interested.

also, have you seen the colbert interview with steinem and fonda? the two of them are surprising match for his efforts to turn them into apple pie bakers.

Py Korry said...

Sometimes protection is a racket, but with this bunch in power right now they take "security" to such extremes that it's just a matter of time before they propose we all sit in pods a la The Matrix.

J said...

Mary Lou, I think that would solve the problem all right! Of course, it would create a few others...

Such scary times we are living in. It's hard to believe, and yet here I am, and I go about my life pretty much unaffected, except that I'm always pissed off at these people...and for others, they are affected so greatly, and the consequences of this administration are far reaching and scary as shit.

Maya's Granny said...

Naomi, I love the Colbert skit with Steinem and Fonda. Irony is so great.

Joy Des Jardins said...

Protection does seem to be just another racket J....and how sad it is. I'm so disenchanted..crushed, really... by it all...and EVERYTHING connected to Bush. Nov. 7th can't come soon enough for me. I pray we make some drastic changes...changes that will help lift us up and help us to feel good about our country again.

Thailand Gal said...

As unpopular as this view is, I honestly believe 9/11 and the possibility of future attacks has given the nearly oligarchic bunch in power a perfect opportunity to introduce fascism.

There. I used the word. If the people of this country don't want to see the "velvet glove come off the iron fist", they'd better wake up. Soon.


Thailand Gal

~*~*~*

Rain said...

Excellent column with a lot of good sense. It is a frightening time but it makes me hopeful to read blogs from people like you who are thinking and realize what is happening.

On the abortion issue, what they don't realize is they would then be saying that any woman who had a miscarriage would be in the same boat for increased risk of breast cancer. You never hear them say that. Those studies have been debunked but keep popping up by those who don't care about scientific facts but only about their political agenda

Ginnie said...

You always put things so succinctly and honestly. Thanks. I'm very discouraged about the way the politicians use any dirty excuse to cover up what's really going on...it's scary. Keep up the good work.

Deja Pseu said...

Benjamin Franklin said it best:

"People willing to trade their freedom for temporary security deserve neither and will lose both."

Chancy said...

"It reminds me of a story I heard about Golda Meir. There was a move to declare a curfew for women, keeping them off the streets of Israel after dark, and thereby keeping them safe from attack. Golda Meir's response was to suggest that since it is men who attack women after dark, the curfew be passed to restrict them. No more was heard of the gender"
It reminds me of a story I heard about Golda Meir. There was a move to declare a curfew for women, keeping them off the streets of Israel after dark, and thereby keeping them safe from attack. Golda Meir's response was to suggest that since it is men who attack women after dark, the curfew be passed to restrict them. No more was heard of the gender specific curfew."

AMEN !!!!!

Anvilcloud said...

It's so sad to see what's happening in America. Surely people will come to their senses because you are a wonderful bunch.

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