Wednesday, December 21, 2005

The Emperor and His Enemies

Please accept my apology for the even-less-frequent-than-usual posting this past week. Since my readers have full lives of their own, I doubt that anyone was exactly pining away, but I do like to post something once every few days, ordinarily. In this case, there was an evil confluence involving giving and grading my final exam, more busy-ness than usual at the day job, and some computer issues at home.

Also, the dog ate my homework.

Meanwhile, there's the Bush junta's domestic surveillance scandal. There's so much folly and contradiction involved in this business that it's hard to know where to begin.

First, I'd like to suggest that the Wee Emperor probably shouldn't bear all, and maybe not even most, of the responsibility. Yes, he's evil, but he's also stupid and childlike ... and the alleged grownups who populate the U.S. Congress should have smacked him down a long time ago. Bush is like a visiting three-year-old who's using magic-markers to decorate your walls; he's nauseating, but your real anger should be directed toward his parents, who watch but don't stop him. When El Presidente's Monday press conference was broadcast on radio and he was chittering about the unfairness of those who accused him of failing to "connect the dots," but now don't want him to have all possible dot-connection power, I can almost sympathize (except that he remains a nauseating combination of murderous tyrant and clown). There has been very little principled opposition to the war, and to the whole American Imperial enterprise in general; I am sure that the vast majority of my countrymen wish to go on sodomizing the rest of the world, but they want a magic leakproof condom to keep them from suffering any consequences at all. Bush is being judged as a condom vendor, and found wanting. It's true that he's a ludicrously bad empire-manager. But nothing will really change until we Americans renounce our self-awarded position as dictator and lecturer to the rest of the world, turn our attention homeward, and figure out that America needs real borders, far less government, and some real education, leading (hopefully) to a renewed ability to manufacture -- at home -- a few things worth having.

Secondly: Prexy says he really, really needs that brand-new, fully-permanent "PATRIOT" Act. Can't let a minute go by without it, else the streets will be thick with dirty-bombers. That's obvious nonsense, but equally nonsensical is the idea that we'll be any more free by refusing to re-authorize the thing. I really don't see why Bush wants it. He's already demonstrated that he and his thugs will do whatever the hell they want, law or no law; after all, he's "Commander-in-Chief," so whatever he does is legal, apparently. And I think, deep down in that black thing he uses for a heart, he prefers it illegal anyway. To people like that, I really think it's a matter of: why settle for sex when you can rape? I suspect he's actually happy that his domestic-spy program became public knowledge; it gives him a chance to puff out his chest and say, yeah, I did it, I'm doing it, and I'm going to go on doing it -- what are you going to do about it?

Thirdly: even the Congressfolk who affect to be all upset about the surveillance deal go to great pains to say, there was a legal way to do this, and it would be all fine with us if the legal way had been used. It seems that everyone who has a little power thinks that the Constitution is satisfied if the double-secret-probation court gives the OK for sneak'n'peek, wholesale wiretapping, etc. This should serve as a lesson for those of us who still put our faith and trust in constitutions. The people with the guns still do whatever they want, wiping their butts, as necessary, on any piece of parchment that gets in the way. The only solution is to get rid of the people with the guns. And even that solution doesn't last very long. Maybe the Christians are right -- this is simply a fallen world.


Craig said...

It could be argued that FISA laws are unconstitutional. Retroactive search warrants are not permitted under the 4th Amendment, and a change (Amendment) to the Constitution would be required to override the 4th. So without a federal amendment, FISA is in itself illegal.

Anyways, yeah he broke the law. And Congress let him do it.

lemming said...

I always tell my students that they only have to take one exam; I get to grade all 10, 000 of them, reading the same topics over and over and over and over...

I agree with your assesement of blame in this case. I do think that Bush allows himself to be fed only the information he wants, and we've all read about his disinclination to believe anything which might run counter to his views.

The question then to be pondered becomes which of his handlers should be criticized. Since most of them were approved by congress, apportionment should go to their shoulders as well.

Then, of course, who to blame for Congress? Us. With the majority of enfranchised citizens not bothering to exercise that prerogative...

(ends rant before getting red in the face)