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08/26/2003 Archived Entry: "George Bush Action Figure"
And I thought it was just a joke! In an earlier blog, I included a Mark Fiore cartoon on a George Bush action figure a la GI Joe. Now the San Francisco Chronicle reports, "we have a new doll, this neat little prefab landfill thing, the George W. Bush 'Elite Force Aviator' action figure, to stand proudly alongside your 'We Will Rock You' Animated Soldier and your civilian-maulin' Forward Command Post' toy set from JCPenney! That's right! Collect the whole set!" I feel sorry for comedians. How can you make fun of an administration that is itself a standing joke and its own satire?
In her highly-recommended Liberty Action of the Week e-newsletter, Mary Lou Seymour provides wonderful commentary on Ashcroft's barnstorming tour across the U.S. -- 18 cities in 10 days -- to rah-rah the Patriot Act and follow-on measures. Distilled down and with embedded links, the gist is this:
The tour is in response to the rise of strong opposition to the Patriot Act's blatant disregard of the Bill of Rights, with many communities and cities condemning the PA and, in some cases, fining officials who co-operate with it. Here is a list of such communities-- 150 in all at this time, including three state-wide resolutions. Nevertheless, Patriot Act II -- the Domestic Security Enhancement Act of 2003 -- was drafted and received a much chillier response from politicians and the media who were no longer gripped so tightly by post-9/11 hysteria. Some media called II a "Total police state takeover." Prudently, the Bush administration seemed to let Patriot II drop below the radar screen. Meanwhile, people began to have second thoughts about provisions of Patriot Act I, as seen in the U.S. House's recent "vote forbidding Justice from spending funds to use the act's controversial 'sneak and peak' provision that authorizes federal agents to conduct secret searches of homes and businesses." Undeterred, Ashcroft is not only seeking to strengthen the Patriot Act but also to pass the Victory Act of 2003 (Vital Interdiction of Criminal Terrorist Organizations Act of 2003-- text) which Wired has dubbed "Patriot II resurrected,". Measures include:
*Creation of a new category of crime called "Narco-terrorism."
*Radical expansion of asset forfeiture powers for the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security.
*Expansion of the definition of money-laundering to several kinds of transactions, including offshore banking as a means of tax evasion.
*Creation of a ludicrous new "crime" of "reverse money-laundering."
*Longer jail terms for a number of nonviolent drug and nondrug offenses.
*Expanded opportunities for judge-shopping in wiretap cases.
*Expansion of nonjudicial "administrative subpoenas" for "terrorism" investigations as broadly defined in the USA PATRIOT Act.
In short...the culmination of a police state.
Best to all,