Thursday :: Feb 19, 2004

I Can See Yours, But You Can't See Mine!

by pessimist

Privacy in Peril
February 14, 2004

In an attempt to bolster its defense of the unconstitutional Partial Birth Abortion Act of 2003, the Bush administration has gone beyond its campaign to destroy women's reproductive rights and has attacked the privacy rights of all Americans. This assault is being conducted through subpoenas the Justice Department has issued demanding that at least six hospitals in New York City, Philadelphia, Illinois and elsewhere turn over hundreds of patient records for certain abortions. This egregious intrusion on patients' privacy is being pursued in the name of defending lawsuits against the abortion ban. Not only is the information not needed to do that, but it is also a flagrant example of why Congress and the attorney general have no business second-guessing sensitive medical decisions made by individuals and their doctors.

Just what would the reaction of the Bush (mis)Administration be if that standard were applied to this?

Bush 'paid for abortion'
February 18, 2004

PRESIDENT Bush faced an extraordinary claim last night that he once paid for a girl-friend to have an abortion. The pro-life president arranged for the procedure in the early 1970s, according to porn publisher Larry Flynt.

'This story has got to come out,' said 61-year-old Flynt. 'There's a lot of hypocrisy in the White House about this whole abortion issue. I've talked to the woman's friends. I've tracked down the doctor who did the abortion, I tracked down the Bush people who arranged for the abortion I got the story nailed.'

The White House had no immediate comment on the claim.

I'll bet they had no immediate comment! Think back to George's recent tete-a-tete with Tim Russert - that certainly caused a whole lot of talk! They just got Margie Schoedinger silenced and then THIS has to come up! We couldn't have this at a time when the Bush (mis)Administration is demonstrating what Fine Morally-Upright Christians they are by doing this:

Justice dept. demand for abortion records a clear-cut violation of doctor-patient privacy

Most of us realize that opinions and beliefs should, in some cases, be kept private, at least for the sake of personal safety and not being the target of an angry mob with pitchforks and torches. There's really no other way to put it - it's important that people hold strong convictions, but pushing them on everyone else is a pretty good way to make enemies.

Which is why it's nothing but unfortunate that there is still at least one person who doesn't seem to realize this in the surface-deep political correctness we all live in. Even more amiss is that he is the highest-ranking lawyer in the United States of America. His name is John Ashcroft.

On Thursday, Ashcroft contended that doctor-patient confidentiality would not be violated by the federal government's attempt to collect medical records of women who have had partial-birth abortions. The collection is motivated by a lawsuit against the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003, which was signed into law by President Bush in November.

By obtaining these records via subpoena, Ashcroft and the U.S. Department of Justice are hoping to learn more about certain late-term abortions performed by the doctors named in the lawsuit. Ashcroft has said that the records are needed to rebuff arguments that the act is overly broad and provides no provisions for a woman's health.

The over-reaching, intrusive measures taken by the Department of Justice in requesting private medical information has little, if nothing, to do with opinion on the act itself. Rather, it has everything to do with the sanctity of doctor-patient confidentiality and the rate at which personal securities and information are being decimated by the current administration.

Now that phone conversations, e-mails and finances are subject to government observation, shouldn't the doctor's office be the last bastion of complete privacy in the United States? Anonymity always has been the saving grace of doctor-patient privilege. Once the door is closed or the curtain is drawn, that is the precise moment when personal freedom is not bound by the ears, eyes and judgments of the government. Ashcroft's engagement into combating anonymity in the doctor's office is not only intrusive, it's alarmingly overbearing.

Our personal freedoms and rights as human beings under the American flag already are being trampled at the discretion of a few. The doctor's office should remain the one place where at least these rights can remain safe. We applaud those hospitals that are resisting Mr. Ashcroft's privacy invasion, and encourage them to stand firm until the legal proceedings run their course. Meanwhile, Americans should see Mr. Ashcroft's intimidating tactics for the dangerous threat to liberty and privacy they really are.

It makes you wonder whether we have somehow drifted back in time to when certain godly and learned men claimed they could determine whether someone was a witch by submitting the accused to trial-by-ordeal, which would only exonerate the accused if she (usually) didn't survive.

So here we have it - we can't violate Bush's privacy by investigating an alleged payment of an alleged abortion, but if the government thinks you ever had an abortion, they can demand that your doctor produce your medical records.

Where's the ACLU when they are needed?

WHAT?!? THEY ARE?!?!?!?

ACLU assists Limbaugh lawyer in appeals for records

Arguing that privacy rights of all Floridians are under attack, Rush Limbaugh's attorneys asked a court Tuesday to return the talk-show host's medical records and ban prosecutors from using them. Limbaugh attorney Roy Black also accused prosecutors of deliberately circumventing state laws to get those documents, rather than the standard procedure of using a subpoena, first notifying Limbaugh and giving him a chance to respond, according to documents.

Limbaugh's attorneys were joined by the American Civil Liberties Union in their arguments to the 4th District Court of Appeal in West Palm Beach.

Limbaugh has not been charged with any crime. The investigation is on hold until the appeals court rules on the records. The court never specifies when it will rule. The court must deal with a genuinely novel legal issue regarding the state seizing medical records using a search warrant.

Certainly, we Americans have come to expect a respect for our privacy, and Rush should be treated no differently until cause can be shown through proper legal channels that it's necessary. But such intrusions by the Right(-wing) Reverend Doctor John Ashcroft and his councils on Moralistic Pronouncements and Behavioral Propriety are OK if there's a woman who had an abortion? Or if one is gay and trying to maintain secrecy about it?

Silly me! I should have known! No one expects the American Inquisition, Inc.!

Gay Rights Information Taken Off Site

The Web pages at the Office of Special Counsel, an independent agency whose mission is to protect whistle blowers and other federal employees from retribution, has removed references to sexual orientation from a discrimination complaint form, training slides, a brochure titled "Your Rights as a Federal Employee" and other documents.

Scott J. Bloch, the agency head, said he ordered the material removed because of uncertainty over whether a provision of civil service law applies to federal workers who claim unfair treatment because they are gay, bisexual or heterosexual.

"It is wrong to discriminate against any federal employee, or any employee, based on discrimination," Bloch said. But, he added, "it is wrong for me, as a federal government official, to extend my jurisdiction beyond what Congress gives me in the actual interpretation of the statutes."

At issue is the meaning of a few lines of a civil service law that bans discrimination against employees and job applicants "on the basis of conduct which does not adversely affect the performance of the employee or applicant."

Bloch said he took the references to sexual orientation bias off the agency Web site because he was not clear about the office's policy and legal interpretation of the provision. He said he did not think it appropriate to leave the references on the site -- "to have my stamp of approval" -- while he reviews the matter.

Bloch, who assumed office last month following Senate confirmation, had served as deputy director and counsel to the Task Force for Faith-Based and Community Initiatives at the Justice Department.

I guess that makes it OK, then! The ordeal will now be performed by one's co-workers even though rules exist to ban such behavior, but as long as you don't know about them you can't exercise them. Which would explain THIS story:

Halliburton calls in Bush lawyer

US Vice President Dick Cheney's old company, battling against perceptions that it is too close to the White House, has hired a law firm previously used by the Bush family to conduct an investigation into allegations of illegal payments on Cheney's watch.

Halliburton has appointed Baker Botts to conduct the investigation into $180m (£95m) in illegal payments between 1995 and 2002 in connection with the construction of a $4.9bn gas plant in Nigeria. Cheney was Halliburton's chief executive at the time.

The Baker of the law firm's name is James Baker, former-Secretary of State under George Bush Senior. The firm's lawyer, James Doty, also acted for George W Bush when he bought a stake in the Texas Rangers basketball team in the 1980s.

Was that a duck call I just heard?

We now see that this privacy issue has finally reached the top! Beginning with Halliburton employee George Warmonger Bush, advancing to the Minister of Official Pronouncements Rush Limbaugh, we have reached the pinnacle of the American power structure - Halliburton.

Surely we mere serfs should understand when our masters demand certain rights and privileges they deny us? So why should we care when THIS happens?

Investigating the Investigation

Editorial writers have rightly slammed the White House for stonewalling two key requests by the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks. One was for essential information on the lead-up to 9-11. The other was for an extension of the May 27 deadline for completing its investigation. [The stonewalling] was entirely predictable, because the administration had tried to prevent any investigation by anybody.

Trying to prevent anyone from violating the privacy of the government of the people? Must be something there we mere mortals are not worthy to know, hmmm?

Suppose that some of those women Ashcroft wishes to persecute - er, in-ves-tigate - used this tactic? Maybe some space could be spared at Guantanamo to add a few more ungodly anti-Christian lib'rul "Terrists" who refuse to answer to the indignation of the Righteous over their behavior?

Frightful! But then, what else is there to expect from members of a family that sees Truth as an enemy?

"A Multigenerational Family of Fibbers"

I've already read the next article, obviously. Because of having read it, I'm going to make the following suggestion - the motivation for all of this protection of privacy for friends, and invasion of privacy of everyone else, is defensive in nature.

There are believable allegations of shady Bush family activities dating back to WW I, and the string of events to which they either are, or are rumored to be, connected to are among the most momentous of the last century. If news of their involvement could be proven, and showed that the entire class was involved in similar behaviors, the turmoil generated would be uncontrollable, maybe ultimately resulting in the demise of the self-appointed aristocracy of the wealthy - something that has frightened these people since before the Russian Revolutions of 1917.

There seems to be, IMHO, a lot the entire Bush family has to answer for, and to prevent any investigation into their activities from coming about, they have to know what the other side knows. This is the same motivation that drove Richard Nixon to initiate the actions that led to the Watergate investigation and the fall of his regime.

The "class" to which the Bush family belongs to, courtesy of their massive wealth, have worked too long and hard to lightly surrender that which they consider rightfully theirs ("We stole it fair and square!"), so the only strategy which guarantees their continued dominance and luxury requires that they enslave the rest of us for their own protection.

But as they aren't numerous enough to withstand an assault by the peasants (us) against their gilt ivory towers, they have to resort to deception and falsehood to achieve their goal of guaranteeing no interruptions of their continued "privileges". They use the accumulated wealth of knowledge developed across centuries against us - knowledge that only those who are free from toil can ever study adequately to use. Ever look into what it takes to work in television advertising?

Sure, it sounds a bit far out there, I admit. But the entire situation, if maybe for different reasons, has caused Kevin Phillips to turn against the very people who made him what he is today and try to reach us peasants to remind us that we are really We, the People.

I'll let Amy Goodwin provide Phillip's biography:

Kevin Phillips first became well known in 1969 with the publication of his book The Emerging Republican Majority which Newsweek described as "the political bible of the Nixon Administration."

After Ronald Reagan's election in 1980, Phillips was generally acknowledged as the Republican Party's principal electoral theoretician. In 1982, the Wall Street Journal described him as "the leading conservative electoral analyst -- the man who invented the Sun Belt, named the New Right, and prophesied 'The Emerging Republican Majority' in 1969."

He has since become a prolific writer and a critic of the current state of the Republican Party. Among his books are Wealth and Democracy and The Politics of Rich and Poor.

His latest book is American Dynasty: Aristocracy, Fortune and the Politics of Deceit in the House of Bush. It examines how the Bush family has been consolidating its power for four generations and how the Bushes have been staging their ascent to national power since World War I.

Now I'll let Phillips have a word:

[Kevin Phillips, speaking at Berkeley Community Theatre on January 18, 2004]
Real Audio version of the speech
mp3 version of the speech

From the beginnings of the Bush Dynasty, in the period around World War I, with two of the current President's great-grandfathers, what we have had is a family that has emerged over the years in close contact with what Eisenhower later referred to as the “military industrial complex,” and very close relations with the intelligence community, and in a whole series of episodes that drew on the relations with armaments, arms dealers, intelligence, rogue banks, all kinds of things like that.

Now go read the article. Just remember that there are many more things connected to the Bush family than Phillips comments upon.

We report - you decide.

Fmr. Top Republican Strategist Examines the History of the Bush Family

pessimist :: 11:50 AM :: Comments (14) :: Digg It!