“My kind of loyalty was loyalty to one’s country, not to its institutions or its officeholders…”
— Mark Twain
Washington – Jan. 20, 2005 – Welcome to the quadrennial circus – “The Presidential Inauguration.” This was a $40 million show funded by fat cat contributors to the GOP. Package deals for the four days of partying, including hotel accommodations and tickets to one of the nine inauguration balls, cost participates as much as $250,000. However, the massive security operation for the re-crowning of George W. Bush as President and Dick Cheney as V.P., also hit the taxpayers with a $17.3 million bill.
After arriving early by train at Union Station, I made my way to Pennsylvania Ave. & 4th Street, NW, on the north side of the official parade route. The parade route ran for 1.7 miles from the Capitol to the White House. The ANSWER coalition had secured a permit to stage a counter-inauguration protest there. As an irony, the plaza where they gathered to protest is named after John Marshall, one of the greatest chief justices of the Supreme Court and a champion of the U.S. Constitution, who strongly believed in the “sovereignty of the people.”
Brian Becker, a national coordinator for ANSWER, revealed how the permit rally process had been rigged by the President’s Inaugural Committee and the Interior Department to exclude from Pennsylvania Ave. individuals who weren’t on a Republican Party-donor list. He said the GOP wanted to “sanitize the coronation,” and create the false image that Bush & Cheney have “a green light” from the people to run the country for four more years. He said they had to “file a lawsuit” to get to the bottom of the matter.
Not since WWII has the nation’s capital experienced such a pervasive police/military presence, with over 13,000 cops/soldiers, from 60 different agencies, most in uniform, and some armed with assault weapons. They patrolled the skies in helicopters, the Potomac River with Coast Guard vessels, and the streets on foot. They blocked off pedestrian traffic and designated seven areas as “Free Speech Zones.” To get close to the Capitol itself, where the swearing-in ceremony was held, required an ID pass, going through metal detectors, gated checkpoints, passing around police dogs, and being subjected to uncounted surveillance cameras and a body search, too.
Police blamed 9/11 for all the extraordinary security measures, but not everyone attending this affair, with the temperatures hovering just above freezing, bought that dubious excuse. The parade route on Pennsylvania Ave. was made practically inaccessible to most protesters, especially if they had supports for their signs or posters. The plan of some activists to turn their backs on Bush and Cheney, as they passed by in their limousines, didn’t fully materialize either. Many were blocked, via barricades and police lines, from any possible viewing point.
Ramsey Clark, the former U.S. Attorney General, also spoke at the ANSWER rally. He called for the “impeachment of Bush and Cheney for high crimes and misdemeanors committed while in office.” Clark argued that the Bush Administration has conducted “a war of aggression against the people of Iraq that has taken over 100,000 lives.” He said that under International Law, and the precedents set at Nuremberg, that Bush deserves to be indicted by an international tribunal, as a “war criminal.”
A regime that has approved torture, repeatedly deceived the public, imposed assorted police state laws on its citizens, polluted the environment, cut taxes for the elite, exported jobs overseas, shredded the Bill of Rights and destroyed Iraq was literally being protected from experiencing the justified outrage of its own people for its four years of reckless wrongdoing. Everything that happened in D.C. today: from the wasting of the taxpayers’ money; to the shenanigans with the rally permit process; to the arbitrary corralling of the protesters; is connected to the evil mindset of the Bush-Cheney Gang, that has spilled the blood of thousands of Iraqis and 1370 U.S. troops. They were all sent to their deaths for lies.
There were many other anti-Bush demonstrations held around the city during the swearing in ceremony and official parade. Some of the other sponsoring groups were: DAWN, Critical Mass, Anarchist Resistance, the Green Party, Turn Your Back on Bush, the National Mourning Day Project, Redefeat Bush and Billionaires for Bush. There were reports, too, of some arrests and that the police had used pepper spray against a few of the protesters.
Additionally, as a result of this administration’s abysmal record on Constitutional issues, and its recent appointment of the crypto-Likudnik, Michael Chertoff, as Czar of the Department of Homeland Security, (DHS), civil liberties will remain under siege. Chertoff authored the Patriot Act. Putting him in charge of DHS, is like placing the fox in charge of the hen house. Also, he was the Rasputin behind many of A.G. John Ashcroft’s mad cap schemes. I suspect that a copy of every file now held on Americans by DHS will end up sooner or later in the database of Israel’s Mossad.
Finally, Sara Powell spoke up for the Palestinian people at the ANSWER rally. She is the PR director for the highly respected Washington Report on Middle East Affairs Magazine (wrmea.com), one of the most authoritative journals in that specialty. Powell demanded a “Free Palestine.” She also exposed the fact that many voters in the recent disputed election for a new president in Israeli-Occupied Palestine were “disenfranchised.” She predicted that the presidential winning candidate, Mahmoud Abbas, will probably be “marginalized” by the ruling Zionist clique in Israel. Powell told me that the next issue of the WRMEA will spotlight the “disenfranchisement” issue.
I sensed at this inauguration that a sea change has taken place. Instead of the government being a servant of the people, I see it emerging as a tyrant. And, representing all of that collective evil, are the prime subverters of the U.S. Constitution – George W. Bush and Dick Cheney!