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Erosion of human rights and freedoms in the U.S.

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Robyn E. Blumner, a columnist for the St. Petersburg Times in Florida published the following article titled "Doesn't anyone notice the erosion of our freedoms?" on 2002-OCT-20.

It is easy to make the case that the situation has significantly degenerated since then.

She wrote, in part:

Just like the frog in a pot of water that doesn't realize it's being boiled to death because the temperature is raised so gradually, so too can a populace fail to appreciate the erosion of its freedom.

Polls show, distressingly, that most Americans would willingly give away civil liberties in pursuit of security. But while Americans believe giving up freedom means added inconvenience at the airport, the Bush administration has used this moment to obliterate the checks and balances that keep the executive branch operating within legal constraints.

Over the past year, the administration's transgressions have piled up: from refusing to disclose information to Congress on the Sept. 11 detainees, to dismissing the Geneva Conventions as inapplicable to the hundreds of Guantanamo Bay prisoners, to telling the federal courts to butt out of a decision to hold Americans as enemy combatants, without charge or access to lawyers.

Our arrogant, cowboy executive and his minions see themselves as not answerable to any countervailing power, be it Congress, the courts or international law. Their credo is: We know what we're doing and we don't have to explain it to you. (Even the vote on whether to approve a pre-emptive attack on Iraq came grudgingly and with repeated claims that Congress wasn't needed to act.)

We are in this mess partly due to a pliant Congress. After Sept. 11, it was browbeaten into passing the USA Patriot Act, which granted significant new surveillance and detention authority to federal law enforcement. This Saturday marks its one-year anniversary.....

The Bush administration has used every opportunity to exploit this national crisis as a way to arrogate power to itself. Whatever it couldn't get past Congress, it took through rulemaking. I expect we will find ourselves at the end of this "war" with our constitutional traditions of checks and balances and individual rights in tatters.

I wonder if anyone will notice.

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References used:

The following information source was used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlink is not necessarily still active today.

  1. Robyn E. Blumner, "Doesn't anyone notice the erosion of our freedoms?," St. Petersburg Times; all rights reserved. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. sec 107, the quotations above is provided without profit by the Ontario Consultants for Religious Tolerance, PO Box 27026, Kingston ON Canada K7M 8W5, and are intended to be available to anyone interested in the topics included, for educational purposes only.

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Quotation Copyright 2002 by St. Petersburg Times
Originally posted: 2006-JUN-06
Latest update: 2006-JUN-06
Author: B.A. Robinson

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