Civil Liberties Forecast

How we will fare in several areas of concern in 2004

| February 5, 2004

Civil liberties are becoming an endangered species in Bush's America this election year, argues Kari Lydersen on AlterNet. Lydersen paints a gloomy picture of how the conservative administration will continue to manipulate American citizens (and others) in the fallout from September 11. And help from other branches of the government is nowhere to be found. The Supreme Court upheld a previous decision by a U.S. Court of Appeals that releasing information about the thousands of arrests made in the wake of the terrorist attacks 'would give terrorist organizations a composite picture of the government investigation.' Lydersen laments the precedent set by the administration each time it imposes secrecy and silence in the name of national security.

Lydersen points to eight developments likely to cloud the skies over America throughout 2004. The United States continues to hold hundreds of people it arrested more than two years ago. Under the second PATRIOT Act it will continue to exercise surveillance over all citizens. As the war on terrorism increases, prison reform issues will receive less attention, rolling back progress made toward abolishing the death penalty and doing away with mandatory prison sentences.

Regressive drug policy and enforcement continue to bedevil many Americans, and Bush's new measure to 'legalize' undocumented workers actually stabs. Immigrants and guest workers in the back, argues Lydersen. 'While it legalizes immigrant workers, it makes them even more reliant on and vulnerable to their employers [than] they were without documents,' she writes..

Finally, we should accustom ourselves to Washington's double-speak and 'the current administration's propensity to try to pass off initiatives which could harm millions of people and the environment as exactly the opposite of what they really are,' Lydersen writes, citing examples that reek of Orwell: Healthy Forests. No Child Left Behind. The Clear Skies Initiative. The Liberation of Iraq. -- Jacob Wheeler

Go there>>Civil Liberties: The 2004 Forecast

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