Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Democracy to Dictatorship in 5 years or less...

Democracy to Dictatorship in 5 years or less…

Charlottesville, Virginia
December 19, 2005

Brothers, Sisters, Citizens, Comrades!
    I think by now that my thoughts on freedom, democracy, respect for individual liberty and the inherent, inalienable rights of all people, not just those lucky enough to be born in our great country would be plain for all who are regular readers of this blog (all 2 of them). Alas, the news that the continuing criminal enterprise that constitutes the administration of George W. Bush has engaged in blatantly illegal domestic spying on our own citizens comes simultaneously as no great revelation and yet another outrage against our constitutional form of government.  It’s not enough that George II conducts illegal wars of aggression dressed up in the language of democracy and liberation, or that he bankrupts our country at the expense of his rich buddies, or that his environmental policies will make the planet an unlivable place to live for our children and generations to follow. No, apparently that is not enough. It’s not enough that “terror suspects” are captured off the streets of other sovereign nations, and sent to secret prisons to be mercilessly tortured (is there any other kind?), whether or not they actually had anything to do with terrorism or even have committed any crime at all.
     No, now it appears that we are living in a dictatorship, where the actions of the political elite are now considered above the law. I am not sure which is worse: The cheap political hacks that are running this country into the ground, or the mainstream media that eagerly does its bidding. My outrage and indignation at the level of incompetence, mediocrity and outright lies of the current administration is matched only by my disgust of the whores of the media-industrial complex, all too eager to please the powers that be for “access” to the highest levels of idiocy that now constitutes our federal government.  How could such a state of affairs exist in our once grand democratic republic?
     Now comes the news that our own government is now spying on us based on not on the legal findings of a judge (as set forth in a rather quaint document called The Bill of Rights) but on the capriciousness and whims of one man. And a rather stupid one at that. To those who say that we should let the president do what he thinks best in the “Global War on Terror,” my response is, would you feel the same way if Bill Clinton (or, God forbid, perhaps even Hillary someday) decided to engage in the same type of criminal behavior? Why, the pundits and pinheads at Fox News, Newsmax, Free Republic , The Wall Street Journal and others of their ilk would fall into fits of apoplexy of such anger and derision as to require the administration of large amounts of tranquilizers, administered at short range with a dart gun, to prevent the amassed  blowhards of various stripes from running amok in the streets, spewing out their collective hot breathed rantings at the blatantly illegal and unconstitutional acts of the Commander in Chief.
  I pulled the following article off the MSNBC/Newsweek website. I think it speaks for itself:
Dec. 19, 2005 - Finally we have a Washington scandal that goes beyond sex, corruption and political intrigue to big issues like security versus liberty and the reasonable bounds of presidential power. President Bush came out swinging on Snoopgate—he made it seem as if those who didn’t agree with him wanted to leave us vulnerable to Al Qaeda—but it will not work. We’re seeing clearly now that Bush thought 9/11 gave him license to act like a dictator, or in his own mind, no doubt, like Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War.
No wonder Bush was so desperate that The New York Times not publish its story on the National Security Agency eavesdropping on American citizens without a warrant, in what lawyers outside the administration say is a clear violation of the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. I learned this week that on December 6, Bush summoned Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger and executive editor Bill Keller to the Oval Office in a futile attempt to talk them out of running the story. The Times will not comment on the meeting, but one can only imagine the president’s desperation.
The problem was not that the disclosures would compromise national security, as Bush claimed at his press conference. His comparison to the damaging pre-9/11 revelation of Osama bin Laden’s use of a satellite phone, which caused bin Laden to change tactics, is fallacious; any Americans with ties to Muslim extremists—in fact, all American Muslims, period—have long since suspected that the U.S. government might be listening in to their conversations. Bush claimed that “the fact that we are discussing this program is helping the enemy.” But there is simply no evidence, or even reasonable presumption, that this is so. And rather than the leaking being a “shameful act,” it was the work of a patriot inside the government who was trying to stop a presidential power grab.
No, Bush was desperate to keep the Times from running this important story—which the paper had already inexplicably held for a year—because he knew that it would reveal him as a law-breaker. He insists he had “legal authority derived from the Constitution and congressional resolution authorizing force.” But the Constitution explicitly requires the president to obey the law (emphasis mine…SKDRED) and the post 9/11 congressional resolution authorizing “all necessary force” in fighting terrorism was made in clear reference to military intervention. It did not scrap the Constitution and allow the president to do whatever he pleased in any area in the name of fighting terrorism.
What is especially perplexing about this story is that the 1978 law set up a special court to approve eavesdropping in hours, even minutes, if necessary. In fact, the law allows the government to eavesdrop on its own, then retroactively justify it to the court, essentially obtaining a warrant after the fact. Since 1979, the FISA court has approved tens of thousands of eavesdropping requests and rejected only four. There was no indication the existing system was slow—as the president seemed to claim in his press conference—or in any way required extra-constitutional action.
This will all play out eventually in congressional committees and in the United States Supreme Court. If the Democrats regain control of Congress, there may even be articles of impeachment introduced. Similar abuse of power was part of the impeachment charge brought against Richard Nixon in 1974.
In the meantime, it is unlikely that Bush will echo President Kennedy in 1961. After JFK managed to tone down a New York Times story by Tad Szulc on the Bay of Pigs invasion, he confided to Times editor Turner Catledge that he wished the paper had printed the whole story because it might have spared him such a stunning defeat in Cuba.
This time, the president knew publication would cause him great embarrassment and trouble for the rest of his presidency. It was for that reason—and less out of genuine concern about national security—that George W. Bush tried so hard to kill the New York Times story.
© 2005 Newsweek, Inc. Jonathan Alter, reporting

     So then. What is a patriot to do? Write my congressman? Pen a letter to the editor? Confront those in power and tell them to go to hell? Have a protest? Refuse to pay taxes? March on the White House leading an army of White Trash and Proud Negroes, Freaks, Geeks, Stoners, Nerds, Aging Hipsters, Angry Young Punks, Brothers, Sisters, Gay, Straight, Unaffiliated, armed with slingshots, baseball bats, motorcycle chains or perhaps shotguns loaded with rock salt and bacon fat, take over the reigns of our government and restore our once grand constitutional democracy by mob rule? What is the course that we must follow? Are we to let our great nation, founded by the likes of Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, James Madison (fine Virginians and patriots all, despite their profound faults and prejudices), protected and defended at great cost in blood and treasure over the past 230 years, only to be turned into a parody of a brutish police state by a cheap, two-bit authoritarian regime, who’s efforts would be laughable if they weren’t all too real?
    Friends, I don’t know what the answers to these questions are. I think we are all going to have to look within ourselves and find our own course of action to take. But I want to end this short communiqué with a quote from another great American (and Virginian) Patrick Henry. “Give me liberty, or give me death.”

Your most humble servant,

Subkommander Dred


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Blogger pismobear said...

Puff Sulzberger and the rest of the People at the times should be charged with treason and hung or shot for divulging secrets of our country.

10:41 AM  

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