Wednesday, December 20, 2006

There's always room at the table.

What we know so far …

Thing 1: Today, we learned that Vice President Dick Cheney will testify in the perjury trial of Scooter “Take one for the Team” Libby. It is not news that Darth Cheney is no straight shooter.

He has lied at every opportunity to the American people, and the most recent example would defy the ability of anyone with a conscience to keep a straight face. He said that Donald Rumsfeld is the best Secretary of Defense in the nation’s history.

Certainly he was better than the lame-ass Dick who served from March 21, 1989, to the end of George H.W. Bush’s term. But how does he compare, for example, to George C. Marshall who served under President Harry S Truman? And Bill Cohen, for what it’s worth, did successfully prosecute a war in Kosovo in which the U.S. sustained negligible losses— according to official reports the alliance suffered no fatalities as a result of combat operations. Not bad for a Republican.

But I digress; the point here is that Dick Cheney is a congenital liar, if I may borrow a phrase from Bill Safire.

Thing 2: King George has been taking a lot of credit for an economy that he says is great.

It is great for his pals, if you exclude the ones who are going to jail like Jeff Skilling. F’rinstance, Goldman Sachs paid Lloyd C. Blankfein, its chairman and chief executive, a bonus of $53.4 million in 2006, the highest ever for a Wall Street chief executive. By the way, how was your Christmas bonus?

We also learned that inflation for the month of November was 2.0%. I’m no mathematician, but that sounds to me like a 24% annual rate. (If I were a mathematician, I would know that annualized, it is a 26.824% inflation rate.)

What the future holds...

Scooter is going down like a ton of bricks. Do not pass go, do not collect $200. In the process, it will be hard to avoid the conclusion that Dick Cheney committed perjury.

Meanwhile, we got a full plate of investigations going on in both houses of Congress. There’s a chance that they will discover that Bush is a genius, but it is about as likely as Laura Bush doing a strip-tease on the Capitol steps. The smart money is against either one. Somewhat more likely, they will conclude that Bush lied us into war, unlawfully spied on American citizens, paid ‘journalists’ to plant propaganda in the media, and lied to the public about a myriad of other things. Most egregiously, he has used “signing statements” to announce publicly that he has no intention of “faithfully executing” the laws of the United States. The evidence is mounting that King George is delusional, and I use that term advisedly.

For many Americans, none of this matters. They work hard all day, come home and watch “Deal or No Deal,” go to bed, and start all over. When it turns out that they are taking a 2% pay cut every month, things will change. Anger will grow, and who better to focus it on than the buffoon who kept telling us that the economy is going great?

Impeachment is off the table, we are told by the incoming House Majority Leader. There is a beautiful old expression in the African-American community: There’s always room at the table.

“… and tell ’em Big Mitch sent ya!”

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Terrorists in the least likely places

Harken back to yesteryear when the Bush regime was defending itself against charges that it had engaged in warrantless seizures of telephone communications in open violation of the FISA law and the Constitution.

The defense, boiled down to its essentials, was, “Yeah we did it. What are you going to do about it?” Of course, at the time, King George was speaking not so much to the American people, as to Congress, both houses of which were controlled by Republicans. And so it was that he could correctly predict that the answer was, “not a damn thing.”

In speaking to the American people, he used his favorite rhetorical tactic which is to say that his program was a necessary component of the war on terror. In particular, he used the following formulation: “If terrorists are talking to someone in America, we want to know about it.”

This formulation was well suited to King George, because, like him, it is simple. It overlooked the fact that the FISA law was specifically designed for the task of enabling the government to listen in on terrorists, and that therefore, the formulation really did nothing to explain why he should be allowed to break the FISA law with impunity.

More importantly, it overlooked the fact that the government was listening in on hundreds of thousands of conversations, and presumably not all of them involved terrorists. I argued here that the program of domestic spying was actually a program of domestic spying for political purposes.

Some may say the evidence I cited was weak, though it was more than the evidence that sent American troops into Iraq. Still, I have a heavy burden to bear if I am to convince an impartial world that the United States of America engages in spying for political purposes. What got me thinking about it today, was the latest news from across the pond.

According to The Guardian,
The American secret service was bugging Princess Diana's telephone conversations without the approval of the British security services on the night she died, according to the most comprehensive report on her death, to be published this week.
Who woulda thunk the Duchess of York was a terrorist?

“… and tell ’em Big Mitch sent ya!”