Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Freedom's Just Another Word For...

Front paged at Booman Tribune and ePluribus Media

Nothing left to lose... Janis Joplin, 1969.

The Lebanese people have made it clear they want to live in freedom.

And if we ever give up the desire to help people who live in freedom, we will have lost our soul as a nation, as far as I'm concerned.

The terrorists attacked us and killed 3,000 of our citizens before we started the freedom agenda in the Middle East.

George W. Bush, August 21, 2006

We know how much Dear Leader likes to throw that word around. "Spreading freedom". "The (Iraqis/Lebanese/Afghanis) want freedom". "We have made the choice to bring freedom to the Middle East".

You know what, just shut the fuck up already.

Cuz, the great Janis Joplin is right - when its all been stripped away, then you have nothing left. And when you have nothing left, there is nothing left to lose.

So when Bush talks about the Lebanese people and "freedom", does he mean this:

Qana makes grim history again:

Ten years later, the town is again in the headlines, this time because of a single massive bomb dropped by an Israeli aircraft, causing a building to collapse on top of dozens of civilians - many of them children - taking cover in the basement.

Or maybe he means this:

Lebanon: Refugees Pour Into Beirut

Refugees from southern Lebanon continued to pour in to Beirut on July 22. Sources in the city said more than 100,000 people have entered the Lebanese capital since July 12, and Lebanese army units are patrolling the renovated city center to prevent refugees from squatting there. In the district of Baabda, Shiite officers from the Lebanese army reportedly tried to confiscate vacant apartments owned by Maronite Christians to house Shiite refugees, but stopped when the mayor complained.

What about the spreading of freedom in Iraq? Does Bush mean this:

Growing Pessimism on Iraq

People at the CIA "are mad at the policy in Iraq because it's a disaster, and they're digging the hole deeper and deeper and deeper," said one former intelligence officer who maintains contact with CIA officials. "There's no obvious way to fix it. The best we can hope for is a semi-failed state hobbling along with terrorists and a succession of weak governments."

"Things are definitely not improving," said one U.S. government official who reads the intelligence analyses on Iraq.

"It is getting worse," agreed an Army staff officer who served in Iraq and stays in touch with comrades in Baghdad through e-mail.

Mind you, that is from September 2004 - nearly two years ago.

Maybe he means this: 40,000 - 45,000 Iraqi civilians dead since the invasion.

Or maybe it is this:Study Finds Nation-Building Efforts In Iraq and Afghanistan Hampered by Failures to Address Health Problems

An estimated 40 percent of the water and sanitation network in Baghdad has been damaged during the conflict. Efforts to rebuild the system -- aging and in frail condition before fighting began - have moved slowly, hampered by the nation's widespread security problems and looting.

A year after the major combat phase of the war in Iraq ended, Baghdad's three sewage treatment plants were still inoperable, forcing sewage to be dumped in the Tigris River and putting the nation's population at risk of communicable disease outbreaks. The sewage plants ultimately were repaired, but surveys of Iraqi citizens show that most have been unhappy with the quality of sanitation services -- a sign that an opportunity to foster goodwill was lost.

Lest we forget the "freedom" that we gave to those at Abu Ghraib as well as in Afghanistan prisons.

Well, enough about "freedom" over in the Middle East. What about right here in the "freest country in the world"?

"There's a man with a gun over there....telling me I got to beware" Buffalo Springfield, 1966

Videos Challenge Accounts of Convention Unrest - 2004

A sprawling body of visual evidence, made possible by inexpensive, lightweight cameras in the hands of private citizens, volunteer observers and the police themselves, has shifted the debate over precisely what happened on the streets during the week of the convention.

For Mr. Kyne and 400 others arrested that week, video recordings provided evidence that they had not committed a crime or that the charges against them could not be proved, according to defense lawyers and prosecutors.

Among them was Alexander Dunlop, who said he was arrested while going to pick up sushi.

Last week, he discovered that there were two versions of the same police tape: the one that was to be used as evidence in his trial had been edited at two spots, removing images that showed Mr. Dunlop behaving peacefully. When a volunteer film archivist found a more complete version of the tape and gave it to Mr. Dunlop's lawyer, prosecutors immediately dropped the charges and said that a technician had cut the material by mistake.

Seven months after the convention at Madison Square Garden, criminal charges have fallen against all but a handful of people arrested that week. Of the 1,670 cases that have run their full course, 91 percent ended with the charges dismissed or with a verdict of not guilty after trial. Many were dropped without any finding of wrongdoing, but also without any serious inquiry into the circumstances of the arrests, with the Manhattan district attorney's office agreeing that the cases should be "adjourned in contemplation of dismissal."

False arrests. Doctored evidence. People held for 48 hours in a greasy oily unsanitary makeshift holding pen without due process. Nearly all charges ultimately dropped. Lawsuits against NYC.

Can't you feel the freedom oozing from your pores?

Screening Tactics at Bush Events Questioned

The unceremonious ouster of three people from a recent White House Social Security event in Colorado has critics wondering how far President Bush will go to ensure friendly, sympathetic audiences at his town hall-style forums and rallies.

How the Secret Service Protects Bush from Free Speech

When Bush went to the Pittsburgh area on Labor Day 2002, 65-year-old retired steel worker Bill Neel was there to greet him with a sign proclaiming, "The Bush family must surely love the poor, they made so many of us."

The local police, at the Secret Service's behest, set up a "designated free-speech zone" on a baseball field surrounded by a chain-link fence a third of a mile from the location of Bush's speech.

The police cleared the path of the motorcade of all critical signs, but folks with pro-Bush signs were permitted to line the president's path. Neel refused to go to the designated area and was arrested for disorderly conduct; the police also confiscated his sign.

"I always feel like somebody's watching me"Rockwell, 1984 (sorry for not having a better one, but I have a soft spot for 80's cheesy music).

Chertoff Seeks Support on Real ID

Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff called on state legislators Thursday to embrace new federal driver's license requirements to strengthen security, but state lawmakers later demanded that Congress either fund the program or drop it.

In a speech at the annual meeting of the National Conference of State Legislatures, Chertoff sought to allay privacy concerns about the federal Real ID Act, saying there are no plans to create a federal database of drivers' personal information.

Yeah, because there have never been an issue with privacy concerns in recent years.

The Long Shadow of Jim Crow: Voter Intimidation and Suppression in America Today

In every national American election since Reconstruction, every election since the Voting Rights Act passed in 1965, voters - particularly African American voters and other minorities - have faced calculated and determined efforts at intimidation and suppression.

"Freedom". Somehow, it just doesn't seem like there is enough of it anymore. Anywhere. And we are left with Janis Joplin's words - just another word for "nothing left to lose". Because when all of your freedoms are being taken away, you ain't got nothing.

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