Friday, August 22, 2008

Musings: Doing Damage

The pre-dawn sky promised color this morning and that, frankly, was the only thing that prompted me to leave my warm bed and the pleasant world of dreams and enter another world, with Koko pulling hard at the leash, where a light haze dimmed the moon and a chilly breeze reminded me that summer is on the wane.

The anticipated color was never delivered, but I did meet a neighbor who also often walks in the morning, and scratched the head of a white horse waiting impatiently for his bucket of alfalfa cubes and heard the wind sighing through the ironwood and eucalyptus trees.

I’ve been sighing a bit myself, too, wondering how much more damage the Bush Administration can do before it leaves office. In recent weeks I’ve learned of several attempts to enact dramatic changes in ways that don’t require Congressional approval.

Among them is a Health and Human Services proposal to redefine birth control pills, IUDs and the “morning after pill” as abortion, which would affect clinic counseling and insurance payment funding for these services.

Then there’s the direct hit on the Endangered Species Act, with an Interior Department proposal to eliminate scientific review of projects by federal biologists and instead give agency bureaucrats to determine the impact of their projects on the nation’s rarest species.

And now there’s a Justice Department plan to allow FBI agents “to allow agents to open a national security or criminal investigation against someone without any clear basis for suspicion,” according to the New York Times. It reports:

As the end of the Bush administration nears, the White House has been seeking to formalize in law and regulation some of the aggressive counterterrorism steps it has already taken in practice since the Sept. 11 attacks.

Other pending changes would also authorize greater sharing of intelligence information with the local police, a major push in the last seven years.

Meanwhile, new efforts are under way to crack down on dissent, starting with the Democratic National Convention, which will make use of the increasingly popular “designated protest zones” that conveniently keep citizens out of sight, and thus out of mind, of delegates.

The Colorado Independent reports the DNC is bringing together “the largest convergence of law enforcement, military and emergency personnel in the state’s history” and prompted plans to use a “super fusion center” to gather and share intelligence about “suspicious activities” that are so broadly defined as to include taking notes and photographs.

And Democracy Now! reports that those who are arrested at the DNC will be jailed “at a warehouse with barbed-wire-topped cages and signs warning of the threat of stun gun use.”

This is where we’re at in the final months of the Bush regime, this is the harvest we’re reaping from eight years of sowing the seeds of paranoia, repression, fear-mongering and government intrusion.

One can only hope and pray that in this case they are “terminator seeds,” genetically modified so as to prevent them from germinating a second time in the form of John McCain.


Larry said...

It's not antiterrorism measures that are being pushed through. Opportunistically, using that as an excuse, the surveillance society, the police state, is being installed. A picture of the Denver detention cages is at:

Arguably, Osama has won, if indeed he hates our way of life. Religious fundamentalism as practiced by the White House is being installed as the law of the land. This is snipped from today's Democracy Now:

New Rule on Abortions to Impact Hospitals and Clinics

The Washington Post reports the Bush administration has announced plans to implement a controversial regulation designed to protect doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers who object to abortion or birth control from being forced to deliver services that violate their personal beliefs.

Now, if a healthcare worker decides that poor black women should not get health services, but rich Republicans in Montgomery County can, that's ok. Whatever someone believes.

How long will it take to get our democracy back after Bush is gone?

Joan Conrow said...

Larry wrote: It's not antiterrorism measures that are being pushed through. Opportunistically, using that as an excuse, the surveillance society, the police state, is being installed.

And that's what so damn chilling about all this. It's happening right beneath our noses, and many people don't even mind because they mistakenly believe it's all designed to keep them "safe."

Katy said...

Yes, it's the old "If you have nothing to hide, you shouldn't be worried" mentality. What a shame.

Anonymous said...

Personally, I'm for all of it. More CCTV's covering all public spaces. More pressure on desenters. Eight years of McCain.

These are a few of my favorate things.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, who could argue with four more years of the same, only with an older, more short tempered, shoot first guy as President?

Anonymous said...

'ground control to major tom'....

Anonymous said...

There's one hopeful thing about Bush's reign of self-serving idiocy, and the self-serving idiocy of government, business and social institutions that nurtured it. Which is that he and the social system that created him are working as hard as they can to assure their mutual destruction.

The tragic thing is that, as with all such self destructions, the price in human suffering is dreadfully high.