Wednesday, October 08, 2008

republican america in action in maryland

More details are coming out in testimony before the State Senate about Maryland's 2005-06 domestic surveillance program, which was apparently bigger than we thought.

They were watching such dangerous types as opponents of the death penalty and anti-war protesters. And 53 nonviolent people were classified as terrorists and entered into various state and federal computer programs for tracking terrorists. Even state senators.

Pretty over the top. But the ex-head of the state police, one Thomas E. Hutchins, still defends it: "Hutchins said the program was a bulwark against potential violence and called the activists 'fringe people.'"

"Fringe people"? Yeah, they probably are, to most of us. Many of these lefty protest types are unusual people. But since when does being a fringe person mean you are a potential terrorist?

Needless to say, Hutchins and governor Robert Ehrlich didn't manage to find any right-wing groups to suspect of terrorism during the program's life. Even though right-wing groups like neo-Nazis, survivalists, "militia" types, anti-abortion groups, etc are far more likely to be armed and to inflict harm than a bunch of aging hippies protesting the death penalty. Ask the people of Oklahoma City, who still remember the name of Tim McVeigh. Or the families and friends of doctors assassinated for providing abortions.

This is a very Republican kind of operation - demonize people on the left to scare the rest of us into going along with whatever kind of civil-liberty-infringing police state type tactic they care to inflict. A very Bush, a very McCain, a very Palin kind of vision. One we should all reject.



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