Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

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Don’t forget the war on drugs

President Bush is about to call it a day. His advisers have told him that we can chalk up the invasion of Iraq as a big win for the United States, and so, later this week, there is a good chance Bush will announce victory in the Middle East and move on to his next big fight: the economy.

Mindful of the last Bush Administration, this son of a Bush won’t make the same mistakes. Americans rode high on the buzz of war in 1991, but then came the sobering reality that the American economy was in the toilet.

Well, history is about to repeat itself; the Bush administration has gone and done the only thing that makes sense in these tough times: punish women, children and veterans. Oh, and payback all those generous corporate and private contributions with a tax cut to the wealthiest Americans.

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In the same week the war in Iraq began, the Republican-controlled Congress cut veteran benefits by $15 billion. These cuts will take place over the next ten years to accommodate Bush’s proposed tax cut. This would be enough to make any patriotic American outraged, but I’ll let a spokesman for the Paralyzed Veterans of America say it for me.

“We know that forcing spending cuts on veterans in order to pay for other priorities, such as large tax cuts, would not be the priority of the American people.” ? Press Release of PVA posted March 20, 2003.

No, it isn’t the priority of the American people, it’s the priority of the privileged few running the White House, who clearly talk one way and walk another. As long as the rhetoric of war is cleverly used to blind the American people, business will be conducted as usual.

This is shameful considering how quickly President Bush is willing to blatantly wrap himself in the flag to make a point. I would love to see him end a speech to the troops at Fort Hood with this postscript: “If you get injured making the greatest sacrifice for your country in this time of need, I am totally unwilling to pay a dime for it. Remember, we can’t let the rich pay any more in taxes than they already do, so get your own health care, slackers.”

I told myself this article wouldn’t be about the war or Bush. I just can’t help myself sometimes.

Salon.com ran an article this week that should concern anyone who likes going to see music.

Last week Congress approved the National Amber Alert Act of 2003. It should shortly be signed into law by President Bush. After all, while Bush may not want to provide services for poor children (the current 2003 budget calls for drastic cuts in poverty alleviation, child care, foster care, adoption services and health care), he doesn’t want them kidnapped. That’s a relief!

Riding on the Amber Alert was a bill sponsored by Sen. Joseph Biden, D-Delaware, called the Anti-Drug Proliferation Act. This innocuous sounding piece of legislation should put an end to raves in this country as we know them. For two years it was known as the RAVE (Reducing American’s Vulnerability to Ecstasy) Act, and it was killed by Senators who sensed that it went just a little too far in pursuing our current war on drugs.

But thanks to the ability to tack a bill politicians don’t like onto a bill it would be political suicide to vote against, RAVE was resuscitated and is soon to be law.

The ADPA essentially makes club owners, festival promoters, heck, even house party organizers liable if they know drug use is taking place at their club, concert or party. According to Sen. Biden, “My bill would help in the prosecution of rogue promoters who not only know that there is drug use at their event but also hold the event for the purpose of illegal drug use or distribution.”

This is double-speak of the worst type. The purpose of the bill is to attack club owners and concert promoters who provide a forum for what the authorities perceive as dens of drug use and illegality. It will be a Billy club used to break up hip-hop shows, outdoor music festivals or gay-friendly venues. It is too broad, too powerful (20-year prison sentences and $250,000 forfeitures), and it is all too real.

It’s a shame that our civil liberties are being vanquished by one man because we are too preoccupied to notice. There was almost no debate on this bill in Congress, even after it failed a number of committees for being too controversial. Now, with almost no consideration in its passing, we’ll have to live with its consequences for years.

Just a little more collateral damage incurred in the fog of war.

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