December 4th, 2007
Everybody who is paying attention – and who is not in deep denial – knows that there has been an intense and radical assault on civil liberties in the United States during the Bush Administration. In fact, the blows against the Constitution and the Bill of Rights have come on so fast and furious that few of us have been able to absorb them – or to try to get a complete picture of the damage done. Too many outrages tends to fog the mind against recalling the details of each or of any. Indeed, this tactic – relentlessness – is one that has often been employed by authoritarian regimes.
Working on behalf of the incipient QuestionAuthority organization and the MondoGlobo Social Network, Phil Leggiere has put together what may be the only complete timeline that delineates Bush's Greatest Hits against our rights, as well as relevant Supreme Court decisions, and Acts of Congress.
The Bushies started rockin' hard right out of the gate – well before 9/11. Taking office in January, 2001, the administration introduced it's paranoid style — immediately broadening the scope of documents and information that could be classified, and within a couple of months they had the NSA monitoring domestic calls and internet traffic.
We all tend to remember the big hits. The Patriot Act of 2001. The Military Commissions Act of 2006. But how many of us recall deceptively clever little mindfucks like when the FBI and DOD routed around US law by contracting with private companies to provide them with information on US citizens? And how about the time the Justice Department gave the FBI permission to monitor US religious and political groups? And not to be outdone, the Supreme Court showed off it's own chops in 2006, deciding that it was OK for drug-sniffing dogs to search your car when you're stopped for a random traffic violation. (Full disclosure: I've dated a few drug-sniffing dogs in my time!)
You may think that the biggest hits – the most damage – came in the immediate aftermath of 9/11. Perhaps they freaked out — understandably — and it inspired the Bushies to go mental for a few years. Or maybe you would assume that the Bushies would have chilled after his popularity sank to Nixonian levels.
No way! In October, 2006, the Congress, acting in consort with the administration, gave the president the power to – in essence – declare martial law and round up troublemakers. To quote Leggiere, "The 'John Warner Defense Authorization Act' is passed. The act allows a president to declare a public emergency and station US military troops anywhere in America as well as take control of state based national guard units without consent of the governor or other local authorities. The law authorizes presidential deployment of US troops to round-up and detain 'potential terrorists', 'illegal aliens' and 'disorderly' citizenry." And then in May, 2007, El Presidente issued a directive that allowed him or his successor to take charge of all three branches of government in case of "a disaster resulting in extraordinary casualties."
There have been so many awesome hits! I have only scratched the surface here. Collect them all! Check out the timeline here!