President George W. Bush this week sounded just like a liberal.
Yes, you read that right. Bush. Liberal. Same sentence.
At the new U.S. embassy in Beijing on the opening day of the Olympics, he said, "All people should have the freedom to say what they think."
Without even blinking, he also told the world, while directing his comments at the Chinese, "We strongly believe societies which allow the free expression of ideas tend to be the most prosperous and the most peaceful."
The day before, in Tibet, he boldly said, "America stands in firm opposition to China's detention of political dissidents and human rights advocates and religious activists." He said he was speaking out "for a free press, freedom of assembly, and labor rights, not to antagonize China's leaders but because trusting its people with greater freedom is the only way for China to develop its full potential."
There was only one problem with the President's comments. His actions the past seven years have proven he doesn't believe what his speech writers told him to say.
In Charleston, W. Va., at a Bush speech on July 4, 2004, non-violent protestors were handcuffed and arrested.
In Pittsburgh, a retired steelworker was arrested for carrying a sign; in Michigan, it was a student, In Hamilton, N.J., it was the mother of a soldier killed in Iraq who asked the wrong question of Laura Bush.
Almost 2,000 peaceful protestors at the 2004 Republican convention in New York City were arrested and subjected to what can only be called "primitive" prison conditions for several days—until the courts threw out almost all of the arrest warrants.
As Texas governor, Bush had ordered peaceful protesters away from the governor's mansion. As president, he directed there be zones as much as a half-mile from any Presidential cavalcade or speech for anyone protesting his policies.
For those who refuse to enter into these remote and generally obscure "free-speech zones", police arrest them for trespassing or disorderly conduct, and then detain them until the President or Vice-President is out of the area and the media leave.
When challenged, law enforcement officials claim the separation is for security reasons. Persons carrying pro-administration signs are allowed to be in the line of sight to the President and Vice-President. Anyone wishing to harm the President needs only to carry a sign praising the President or not to carry one at all.
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