Sunday, December 25

Unspeakable Facts

In America there are words so true and powerful that the government thinks that we should not speak them aloud, lest our Security be Threatened.

Our Fearleader-in-Chief tells us that it is a "Shameful Thing" for a media outlet to have run a story that indicates that the Men Behind The Curtain may be breaking the law, illegally spying on American citizens, allegedly to keep us all safe.

News reports indicate that the intelligence services have been secretly set to the task of surveilling American citizens by casting a digital dragnet, broadly snooping through millions of innocent people's phone conversations and emails.

The Men Behind the Curtain say that they have enacted safeguards - it's not what it looks like, honest! Surely they wouldn't misuse a powerful tool to protect us from terrorism for crass political purposes. Pay no attention to the fact that the NSA reports to the Pentagon, the same bunch that has been caught this week improperly running a domestic investigation into "terrorism" targetted against Quakers and other anti-war groups. According to the database, the Pentagon thinks that a college campus gay group sponsored "kiss-in" is a "credible threat" of terrorism.

So, America's fate in the War on Terra as well as the fate of our civil liberties rests in the hands of a bunch of morons who think that gays kissing and Quakers peacefully demonstrating represents a credible threat of terrorism.

Comforting, huh?

Can there be any doubt now that American has been dragged to despotism's doorstep by this administration?

How different in attitude our Fearleader-in-Chief is from The Last Good Republican President, Dwight Eisenhower:

“If all that Americans want is security, they can go to prison. They'll have enough to eat, a bed and a roof over their heads.”

We have been enjoined by our Fearleaders that all Americans, "need to watch what they say, watch what they do." We must not say words that would imperil our efforts to git the Terriss; we are not even allowed to approach the subject with the critical mindset of a comedian. "This is not a time for remarks like that; there never is," said the Mouthpiece of the Men Behind the Curtain when a comedian had the nerve to challenge the Holy Propaganda that the Terriss were cowards, noting that it took some intestinal fortitude to go through with being a suicide bomber.

Back in the early days of The Catalyzing Event, the Fearleaders telegraphed to us the new terms of our rights to free speech and transparency in government. From an article published by the New York Times in October of 2001 there is this gem:

It is a sign of the times that Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld stood at a Pentagon podium last month and cited Winston Churchill's famous words that "in wartime, truth is so precious that she should always be attended by a bodyguard of lies." Mr. Rumsfeld, who has repeatedly said from the same podium that disclosing classified information is not only dangerous but against federal law, added that he did not "intend to" lie to the press about present and future military operations.

It is a more bizarre sign of the times that Mr. Rumsfeld told reporters three times as he uttered Churchill's words that he did not want to be quoted — as he was appearing live on CNN.

Was Don Rumsfeld's statement that he did not want to be quoted while speaking before a television audience a gaffe? Probably not. It was more like a wink. Later in the same article:

Mr. Fleischer acknowledged that the officials were not always forthcoming, but said the public liked it that way.

"It's not what government officials are saying that's the issue," he said. "It's the type of questions that reporters are asking that's the issue. The press is asking a lot of questions that I suspect the American people would prefer not to be asked, or answered."

Wink, wink. The American people like being mushrooms. The American people like sausage but wish to be spared the infelicity of knowing how it's made.

Have these people no shame?

Where the hell is Congress? Do they like being irrelvant?

Lawrence Wilkerson, formerly Colin Powell's chief of staff, said recently, "the people's representatives over on the Hill in that other branch of government have truly abandoned their oversight responsibilities [on national security] and have let things atrophy to the point that if we don't do something about it, it's going to get even more dangerous than it already is."

The article that I found that quote in compares the number of House Government Reform Committee subpoenas of the previous denizen of the Oral Office with our current Dear Leader; the score is 1052 to 3.

Where the hell are the Democrats? Don't they know that one of the roles of the opposition party is to, um, oppose?

If the Democrats, our slim reed of hope, won't do their job, where does that leave us?

It seems to me that these things happen in cycles. America has been dangling over the abyss of a despotism several times before (Alien and Sedition acts of 1798, the Red Scares of the 20's, McCarthy, Nixon, Iran-Contra). The unsettling thing about the process is that the despotic acts have often been popular and enthusiastically supported by large numbers of american citizens until a tipping point came in public opinion.

I think that we may be near one of those tipping points now, and that it may be more up to us as citizens and shapers of public opinion to get us out of this, rather than the spectacularly useless Democrats who have been neutralized by their fear of being labelled as "soft on terra." Surely some Democrats will have be prodded, kicked and dragged screaming into doing their jobs, but it's up to us to raise a ruckus and provide some cover for them and the few Republicans with principles that might stand up on their hind legs and defend America from creeping executive royalism.

We should also be notifying the useless Congressworms who will not stand up for freedom and civil liberties and against this administration's sham "War on Terra," that the grassroots gravy train is leaving the station without them and may even work to promote primary challengers from the democratic wing of the party. People like Joe Lieberman and Hillary Clinton among others need to be sent a clue.

Often in the past in the aftermath of an episode of governmental overreach there is a high-profile public attempt to put things right, create legislation to limit the chance of BadThings(tm) being done again and restore public confidence in government. I think that at the moment that this current government is reined in, due to the vast scale of the criminality of this administration and the party apparatus around it, there will be an opportunity to correct quite a lot of things, restoring checks and balances, media reform (and preventing the government from using the media to disseminate disinformation), stopping government intrusion into privacy, lobbying reform and reform of the election system.

The stakes are high. I wonder if our Fearleaders will go down without a struggle or more Catalytic Events. Well, there's only one way to find out. Stay tuned.

"It is a universal truth that the loss of liberty at home is to be charged to the provisions against danger, real or pretended, from abroad." -- James Madison

"Lead this people into war, and they'll forget there was ever such a thing as tolerance. To fight, you must be brutal and ruthless, and the spirit of ruthless brutality will enter into the very fibre of national life, infecting the Congress, the courts, the policeman on the beat, the man in the street." -- Woodrow Wilson

“A preventive war, to my mind, is an impossibility. I don’t believe there is such a thing, and frankly I wouldn’t even listen to anyone seriously that came in and talked about such a thing.” -- Dwight Eisenhower

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