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A Faerie's Farthing

Flitting through the internets looking for sparkly bits. All content mine and not to be reproduced without permission.

Location: All Material Copyrighted, United States

Monday, November 07, 2005

Liberties, Schmiberties!

Liberties, Schmiberties!

Still moving diaries over from dkos. I felt like posting something funnyish, but in this day and age, absurd just can't outpace reality.

The Internal Revenue Service has warned one of Southern California's largest and most liberal churches that it is at risk of losing its tax-exempt status because of an antiwar sermon two days before the 2004 presidential election.

...In his sermon, Regas, who from the pulpit opposed both the Vietnam War and 1991's Gulf War, imagined Jesus participating in a political debate with then-candidates George W. Bush and John Kerry. Regas said that "good people of profound faith" could vote for either man, and did not tell parishioners whom to support.

But he criticized the war in Iraq, saying that Jesus would have told Bush, "Mr. President, your doctrine of preemptive war is a failed doctrine. Forcibly changing the regime of an enemy that posed no imminent threat has led to disaster."

On June 9, the church received a letter from the IRS stating that "a reasonable belief exists that you may not be tax-exempt as a church … " The federal tax code prohibits tax-exempt organizations, including churches, from intervening in political campaigns and elections.

...As Bacon spoke, 1984 Nobel Peace Prize winner Archbishop Desmond Tutu, a co-celebrant of Sunday's Requiem Eucharist, looked on.

And that's following on the heels of this lovely tidbit:

The FBI now issues more than 30,000 national security letters a year, according to government sources, a hundredfold increase over historic norms. The letters -- one of which can be used to sweep up the records of many people -- are extending the bureau's reach as never before into the telephone calls, correspondence and financial lives of ordinary Americans.

Issued by FBI field supervisors, national security letters do not need the imprimatur of a prosecutor, grand jury or judge. They receive no review after the fact by the Justice Department or Congress. The executive branch maintains only statistics, which are incomplete and confined to classified reports. The Bush administration defeated legislation and a lawsuit to require a public accounting, and has offered no example in which the use of a national security letter helped disrupt a terrorist plot.

And all this time I thought the following essay was just silly, sardonic hyperbole - ha!

Before the election, the story of three Medford, OR school teachers being evicted from a shrubya rally hit the news wires.
Salon.com took it a bit further:

Our question is, why does the Bush-Cheney campaign assume people wearing shirts that say "Protect Our Civil Liberties" are opposed to the president's re-election? Would the campaign welcome guests as obvious Bush supporters if they're wearing shirts that say "Civil Liberties, Civil Schmiberties"?

And that made me write this Daily Showesque piece:

Taking a bold, new tack in the war on terror, President Bush's latest policy speech stressed the importance of "addressing the root causes of terrorism." When asked about the policy shift, Bush explained that he'd "heard a lot of talk about this 'reality-based' thing on the internets. That sounded decisive; it appealed to me." Bush said it was "disappointing" and not at all what he expected, but one of the ideas there really resonated with him: terrorism could better be addressed through policy and intelligence gathering, as opposed to war. He also related another insight, lamenting, "Turns out, I had 'pre-emptive' confused with 'pro-active.' I sure wish Laura'd told me sooner, but, hey - live and learn!"

He further stated, "After that, everything just clicked, you know? It's so simple, I don't know how I didn't see it sooner - if we stop doing what makes them hate us, they'll stop attacking us!" He praised our progress in exporting democracy and fighting terrorism, but added that "We have more work to do. And it's hard. Hard work." But he was optimistic for the plan, saying that "luckily, we already have all the tools we need in the Patriot Act and the Department of Homeland Defense."

"The thing is, you see, we have these monsters - these evil doers, these terrorists - who hate us because we're free. Our freedom just makes them crazy, you know? So I'm gonna take away their reasons for hating us." Under the new plan, Bush said the DHS would work closely with the FBI and the CIA in unprecedented surveillance efforts. He also mentioned that freedom of speech is the biggest concern, asking, "What kind of message does it give the terrorists if everybody gets to express their opinion and dissent all the time? It's practically an open invitation to attack!"

The new strategy is already being successfully implemented, according to the President, who cited an example from his recent campaign stop in Medford, Oregon. Three teachers wearing t-shirts with a provocative slogan were evicted from Bush's speech and faced arrest if they did not leave the grounds. "I couldn't believe it...here we're fighting this war against terrorists, who hate us because we're free, and these women show up with 'Protect our civil liberties' written on their shirts! That's exactly the kind of thing we cannot have - dangerous speech such as this. People have got to understand that to freedom-hating terrorists, 'protect our civil liberties' is very inflammatory speech. To say something like that at a political rally, of all places, is just reckless. It makes the terrorists hate us. It's unpatriotic."

He gave no further details of the plan, but stated triumphantly that "Freedom is definitely on the march!"


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