Monday, November 21, 2005

Bushco: Hypocrisy at Its Best

I wonder if anyone in China is aware of just what a hypocrite George Dumbya Bush is? He's so worried about how dissidents are treated in China. Maybe he needs to be more worried about how dissidents are treated in the land of the free.

This New York Times article had me chuckling at one point. Please, don't get me wrong. I know that China has a long history of jailing, torturing and killing dissidents. I am not making light of the horrors that they have faced through the years. However, the article described that dissidents were confined to their homes and told not to use the phone while Bush was in the area. Just how different is that from how activists are treated in our country during any GOP or BushCo event?

It's pretty well known that Bush doesn't want any sign of protest anywhere near him. Before he travels anywhere for an event a Secret Service advance team goes ahead of him and determines a "free-speech zone". I may be naive, but I thought the entire United States was a free-speech zone. There are many stories of people being arrested who did nothing more than protest peacefully within view of George Bush.

In The Rocky Mountain News they report that the ACLU will represent two of three people who were forced to leave a Bush speech because there was a No Blood for Oil bumper sticker on their car. They did not wear anti Bush clothing and didn't carry signs. They didn't speak out against the President. They had tickets to the event. The event was paid for with tax dollars. In other words, they had every right to be there.

The newspaper also reported a brief accounting of what happened to Nicole and Jeffery Rank. This couple from Corpus Christi, Texas was arrested in Charleston, W.Va. at a rally after removing outer clothing to show anti Bush shirts. They were handcuffed and cited. The protestors were supposed to be in another area away from the rally. In other words they were not to be seen or heard.

In September of 2002 Bill Neel, 65, was arrested at a Labor Day Rally in Pennsylvania after he refused to move to the "free-speech zone". He was carrying a sign that said "The Bush family must surely love the poor. They've made so many of us." The FSZ was 1/3 of a mile away on a baseball field surrounded by chain link fencing. Neel was polite in his refusal to leave but was arrested by local police under the instruction of the Secret Service. For a brief accounting of this event go here.

On June 4, 2001 three people in Tampa, Florida were arrested for carrying signs that read "June is Gay Pride Month." They were attending an event at Legends Field where President Bush and his brother, the Governor of Florida would be speaking. They were arrested after refusing to put their signs down. They were forcefully removed and charges were later dismissed. Pro-Bush signs were, of course, allowed at the event.

This AP article from last year describes events that sound chillingly similar to how The Times article describes the treatment of dissidents in China. Before the Republican National Convention the FBI was out paying friendly visits to self proclaimed anarchists and other activists. They were trying to head off any show of dissent before it could happen.

Right or wrong, isn't this what the Chinese government was doing? We know there are people in China who disagree with their government. The Chinese government knows that we know. They just didn't want the protests against the government to be front and center during the President's visit. Sound familiar?

The Chinese who had freedoms curtailed aren't guaranteed these freedoms by law. American citizens are guaranteed freedoms under the constitution that our President sees fit to deny us. It appears that whether you're in a Communist State or a constitution-based Federal Republic, if your leader is paranoid it appears certain freedoms will be denied.

I noted something else interesting about the AP article. It also says the NYPD sent "scruffy-looking" police officers to organizational meetings of protest groups to infiltrate the groups and head off any violence they might have planned.

WAIT...So now we're scruffy-looking? I beg your pardon. I am anything but scruffy looking. I may be rumpled when I roll out of bed in the morning, but after about 6:00 a.m. I am NOT scruffy. I'm not perfectly coiffed, but I'm not scruffy.

I wonder if an undercover officer or agent who infiltrates a GOP activist group has to actually shove his head up his ass to fit in?


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