Civil Liberties Forecast

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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