Monday, December 19, 2005

Behold the Terrible Majesty of This Day
When you step back and look at it dispassionately, the profound awfulness of this administration, demonstrated by their actions on a single day, becomes positively breathtaking--and that's accounting for all the profound awfulnesses they've perpetrated before.

--He Who Shall Not Be Named stood up in front of the press this morning and said that open debate on the law is helpful to terrorists.

--In discussing the wiretaps on the Today show this morning, what the Attorney General of the United States told Katie Couric amounted to an assertion that HWSNBN can legally exercise dictatorial powers.

(Then Katie, a dim bulb who should never be permitted within 100 yards of a news story that wouldn't appear on the cover of People magazine, characterized the controversy over illegal wiretaps as legal scholars and Constitutional experts versus "Americans" who "don't want another September 11." In other words, real Americans support the president, and it's only college types who are upset about this. Which, I suppose, might actually be close to the truth.)

--And Dick Cheney's going on Nightline tonight to push the utterly false assertion that if we'd spied on people like this before 9/11, we might have stopped the attacks.

If you're reluctant to believe that the revelations of the illegal wiretap program doesn't represent a quantum leap in the administration's tactics, consider this: The wiretaps could have been legalized if the adminstration had just asked the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court, which approves something like 99.98% of such requests. That the wiretaps had to be done illegally, without the court's approval, indicates that there's more to them than we yet know. And so you have to ask: Who could they have been looking at, and what could they have been looking for, that was so far off the charts there was a risk that the most compliant court on the planet wouldn't approve?

On this, the seventh anniversary of Bill Clinton's bogus impeachment, it's become clear that the current administration is actively criminal in a way Bill Clinton could never have imagined. And it's clear as well that we've got to take Bush and Cheney down just as the Repugs tried to take down Clinton--while we still can.

Recommended Reading: The Huffington Post's blog might be the most frustrating blog on the Internet, because more than any other site, it encapsulates what's good and bad about the blogosphere in a single place. Great pieces from talented writers with interesting things to say, like Eric Boehlert and Robert Dreyfuss, share space with people who seem to get paid by the word--Cenk Uygur and Trey Ellis, I'm talkin' to you--who don't have anything especially original to say. So amidst the tripe, you may have missed a lengthy piece from novelist Jane Smiley on the idea that while lots of people tend to see Bush as a complete fuckup, perhaps everything is going according to plan after all.

And also: I was just wondering the other day what's become of Joe Bageant, who escaped his fundamentalist Bible-Belt raising to become a corrosively funny liberal commentator. It seems he's been working on a book, with the quintessentially Bageant-esque title Drink, Pray, Fight, and Fuck: Dispatches from America's Class Wars. And writing a piece at Smirking Chimp about the Left Behind series, NASCAR evangelism, and how the Democrats are clueless about all of it.

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