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The many headed hydra of the government

This is a page from the original version of Pagan Vigil. There are some formatting differences. Originally published at

Despite the "push for impeachment," it is not one individual or party we should be worried about

Government at all levels has become a Hydra. You watch one head, two others rip at you. You cut one head off, it grows back somewhere else.

Aside from the war, here are some issues that I am worried about.

The McCain-Feingold campaign finance law. This law may be absolutely unique in that both the ACLU and Rush Limbaugh oppose it. That alone means we should take a very close look at it. A Federal court has recently ruled that the FEC will have to find a way to apply it to electronic communications, especially blogs. San Francisco isn't waiting, the Board of Supervisors enacted a tax on poltical blogs, although the tax hasn't been enforced yet. The Congressional Black Caucus is pushing to repeal the Federal law, with some members publicly regretting that they voted for it in the first place.

The USAPATRIOT Act, which is up for renewal because the sunset clause is fast approaching. Most people don't realize that if existing law had been enforced, at least nine of the 9-11 hijackers would have been deported. The provisions of the Patriot Act had been kicking around in bill form for years. Before 9-11, the justification was the War on Drugs. Before that, the justification was Organized Crime. Before that, the justification was international Communism. One of the scariest parts of the Patriot Act is a section that requires public libraries to turn over their records without a warrant from a judge. Of course, we've been told that those sections have never been invoked, but since the Patriot Act makes it a crime to talk about which records have been accessed, we don't know for sure.

Civil forfeitures started as a tool to help in the "War On Drugs." The idea was to hit the major drug dealers and sell the things that they used to sell illegal drugs. However, since the "big fish" are usually better armed than the local police and have very good lawyers, the forfeiture laws are used against people who can't fight back. They have also become a major funding source for local and state police agencies. This used to be called extortion.

Juries are no longer being advised of their power, right, and obligation to judge the law as well as the accused. Before trials start, juries are stacked to eliminate any juror who might ask questions or might know the history of jury nullification.

The Real ID program, which apparently started as a lobbying effort by a consortium of technology companies. There are serious abuse problems now with the current systems, and some security experts have said that the Real ID program will only benefit identity thieves.

The same Congressman who introduced the Real ID program also introduced a bill which makes it a crime not to report any crime immediately. In some circles this has become known as the Snitch Act.

Homeland Security has become the biggest collection of pork in United States history, and no one knows how effective it is. There are definite signs of "mission creep."

The Faith Based Initiative worries me, not because I am not Christian, but because in order to get the money, churches and religious organizations have to comply to Federal guidelines. That means that the Federal government now has the power to decide what is and is not acceptable for a church. If public education funding is any guideline, this will only become worse as time goes on.

More and more cities are using traffic cameras, despite their high and largely unreported error rate. There are very few ways to challenge a ticket issued by a traffic cam. Cities are becoming dependent on the cash generated by the cameras, which are often privately operated. Studies have shown that the traffic cameras do no make streets any safer, and in fact some municipalities have changed speed limits and the time between yellow and red to increase revenue.

You may be pacifistic and very anti-gun, but you should be concerned with the growing push to criminalize gun ownership. With the stroke of a pen, people become criminals overnight just because of something they own. Not how they use it mind you, but the fact of ownership. If you are familiar with history, you know that can lead to armed raids and death, just as it did with Prohibition and the War on Drugs.

Speaking of the War on Drugs, one of the latest trends is to go after doctors who the Federal government has decided prescribe too much pain medication. Combine this with the Medicare "drug benefit" and the implications are truly frightening.

Then there is the push to decide what can and cannot be said or shown in a broadcast, even if that broadcast is encrypted and you must pay a subscription to access it. As a red blooded heterosexual American male, I object to the government hiding that most pleasing portion of human anatomy, the female breast. And not just Janet Jackson's. There is also a push to regulate the speech and topics of radio shows carried by services like Sirius.

Folks, it doesn't matter if the Hydra heads are called Republican or Democrat, the threat to you is the same. They want your freedom, they want your money, and they don't want you asking questions.

UPDATE: Added links.

A slightly different version of this entry appeared in some lists I belong to.
Posted: Sat - June 4, 2005 at 05:52 PM

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