Monday, June 27, 2005


A Pastor Niemoller moment

Just in case anyone believed the Bush Administration believed in private property, your assets can now be seized without due process because you do business with a company they don't like, whether or not you know the company is embargoed. You sell the wrong person a ream of copy paper and that's it: the US Government owns your store. I wish I were just being ridiculous, as so many people were in exaggerating Clinton-era actions. This is from The Washington Post It starts with the creation of a list. The list is beyond judicial review, so it's basically under Our Dear Leader's authority. None of the companies have faced sanctions nor is there any real proof they are involved in WMD activities: The effort would begin by targeting just eight entities, seven of which are suspected of working on missile programs, and not on chemical, biological or nuclear weapons. According to a government list obtained by The Washington Post, three companies identified are North Korean; four are Iranian, including the country's energy department; and one is a Syrian government research facility. Three of the eight companies have been targeted previously by U.S. sanctions as have most Iranian government agencies. None is subject to any international sanctions, and the entities freely conduct business with companies around the world. This is what is called a dangerous precedent. Sure, North Korea, Iran, and Syria are unpopular. The companies named might even be engaged in something untoward, in which case they ought to be sanctioned or even attacked militarily. But what happens if Our Dear Leader decides to add, say, any company run by a Democrat to the list? After all, this Administration says regularly that there's no real difference between Democrats and terrorists. There is nothing to stop him from this sort of totalist action. Once the precedent is established, stopping the freight train gets very, very hard. Furthermore, this is a sweeping order. But the draft executive order goes far beyond previous measures by threatening the U.S. assets of individuals or companies, including foreign banks, that do business with those on the list. Sell the wrong company a ream of copy paper, and they can take title to everything you own. Definitely a Pastor Niemoller moment.
I don't know what is worse -- the idea that this would be done because somebody really does think it's a way to fight terrorism, or if the somebodies are just plain power-mad.

This is just the sort of thing that right-wingers should be up in arms over, big time. This is even more destructive to the notion of personal property than was yesterday's Supreme Court ruling.
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