fellers were talking in a bar.
Around the same time, Dubya's handlers had him introduce another harebrained scheme. He told Congress to reconsider a 19th century law that forbade our military forces from participating in arrests, seizures and searches on U.S. soil that usually is tasked to domestic police.
The "Posse Comitatus" or county posse act was passed in the Reconstruction era following U.S. Civil War in the 1860s, and expressly forbade the use of the army, navy, air force and marines in domestic police investigations -- a very sensible act.
There was, of course, loud public outcry against both of these idiotic Bushie proposals. The administration spokespeople hurriedly announced these were just suggestions and would not be implemented. Even Tom Ridge in tones designed to sooth the savage beasts of outrage, quickly assured us that there would be no troops used in place of police.
Perhaps the most telling indication of how horrible these policies are is the way even Republicans came out against the Ashcroft TIPSY idea. This is not because they disagree with him but because of the way most Americans have reacted toward his program. The word now from the administration is that these two homeland security policies are to be "toned down."
Unfortunately for us, these programs are already in the works and even operating in some areas. You may not see military police in a squad car today, but the staging has been implemented. "The cable guy" will be just the cable guy in most cases, but you cannot be sure when any person visiting your home is reporting to the D.O.J.
Remember all those rightwing zealots after 9/11 that were spouting hate against all Islamic or Arabic people? Yes, they've toned it down some but they are signing up in droves to be Ashcroft's little spies. Besides letter carriers, meter readers and cable technicians, churches will play an important role in a national reporting system in Bush's domestic terrorism program since "they are well positioned to report suspicious activity."
Bush and Cheney stonewalling and lies about their former cooperate business dealings have seen the light of day and there are more revelations to follow. How can anyone think the Bush administration can be trusted when they are encouraging neighbors to spy on neighbors, or prime our military to engage in police action in America? Is this what the 70% who approve of Bush want -- America the Beautiful Police State?
Remember what happened in Florida? Regular police intimidated black voters when they set up roadblocks that kept them from the polls? What if you went to vote and found armed military police and tanks around the polling place? Remember Kent State?
Wouldn't you feel intimidated if one of Ascroft's agents, one of your neighbors, watched you mark your ballot? How about that neighbor with the binoculars is he really watching birds?
Al-Qaida is determined to destroy America from without. They needn't bother. The Bushies with their "Patriot Act," Tips, military troops and double speak are already doing it from within.
Copyright 2002 Renee T. Louise and Ruth M. Sprague, Ph.D. These articles may be republished for noncommercial use only, provided that they are copied intact, and that this copyright notice is attached. Address all queries to: firstname.lastname@example.org.