Sunday, March 09, 2008

Quick Note: Bill of Wrongs

If you haven't read Molly Ivins' last book, Bill of Wrongs (which co-author Lou Dubose completed after her death), you need to do so. Now.

Ivins' longstanding opposition to the policies of George W. Bush is well known. In this book, she and Dubose complete the work they began in their earlier works, Shrub and Bushwhacked, and provide insights into the many ways that American freedoms have been deliberately eroded by the Bush administration. None of what Ivins and Dubose describe in this book is news. All of it has been documented elsewhere. Nevertheless, the compilation of these diverse stories into one tome is effective.

You're probably aware that, when President Bush speaks in public, his political handlers and security forces ensure that dissenters are herded into "Free Speech Zones," which are often located several blocks away from the event they are attending. Those who manage to avoid isolation in the zone are hustled away from the view of the president and the news cameras as soon as they are discovered. If they refuse to move, they are arrested. How is one identified as a dissenter? A T-shirt or lapel pin is usually all the evidence the Secret Service needs to justify hustling one away to the Free Speech Zone. If one refuses to be hustled away, the local police will hustle one to the nearest jail. Read the book for details.

So much for Freedom of Speech.

The First Amendment also guarantees freedom of the press. Tell that to the San Francisco reporter who, notwithstanding the fact that California has one of the strongest journalist shield laws in the USA, spent 199 days in jail for refusing to provide investigators with either the names of people who attended a protest or videotapes he had filmed at the rally. Read the book for details.

So much for Freedom of the Press.

The Bush Administration's Constitutional violations do not end at amendment number one. Federal agencies also have systematically and deliberately violated the fourth, fifth, sixth, eighth and fourteenth amendments of the Constitution thousands of times over the past eight years. Ivins and Dubose tell some of these stories in their book. Many other authors have done the same. Do a quick Amazon search of the term "patriot act" and check out some of the hits you get. Also, check out my review of Walter Brasch's book, Sinking the Ship of State. (Check out his book too. Warning: Brasch's book is published by a small press and has several editorial errors. Nevertheless, the substance of the material is good, if one is willing to overlook its stylistic shortcomings.)

I firmly believe that the upcoming federal election is one of the most important elections in American history. Ivins' book has reinforced that belief. The Republicans have taken this country down a dark and dangerous path throughout the past eight years. This election will be our opportunity to change course and start undoing the damage that Bush, Cheney and an untold number of "loyal Bushies" have done to the USA and the world at large. Read Ivins' book. Get mad. Then go do something about it. At the very least, vote for ABAR (anyone but a Republican) in the upcoming primaries, caucuses and elections!

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