Monday, May 15, 2006

Presidential Loophole

So you thought you had good grounds for the impeachment of King George Bush, did you? Lying. Incompetence. And worst of all, violation of his oath of office.

Well, here's the bad news: George W. Bush has not violated his oath of office. I know, I know... you're hoping that I don't know what I'm talking about. Unfortunately, I do, but I want you to know that I feel as badly about this as I'm sure you do. But let's walk through the evidence together, shall we? Here's the oath of office King George swore upon assuming the office of President of the United States:

I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States.

There. Do you see the problem? The exact phrase is to the best of my ability. A loophole big enough to drive a truck through. Or even a mobile bioweapons laboratory. The best of his ability. Let's have a show of hands. How many of you think that George W. Bush isn't a moron?

(hmmm.... one... two... no, wait; that person's just stretching... ah, over there! two, three...)

I count three, and it looks like one of those three is Neil Bush. Wait... the other two are Barbara and Jenna!

So there you have it. Dubya really is preserving, protecting, and defending the Constitution to the best of his ability. God help us all.

Friday, May 12, 2006

More to Come

So first we learned that the NSA was listening in on phone calls... to or from overseas, we were assured. "If al Qaeda is calling you, we want to know about it" said King George. And it seemed like there might be more, especially when Attorney General TortureGuy couched his non-answers about the NSA wiretap program to make it clear that he wasn't not answering questions about some other program, that it was the NSA wiretapping of calls to or from overseas that he was not answering questions about.

And now we learn that the NSA is compiling a database of every single phone call (except for those handled by that pesky Telco, Qwest) made in the United States. Every single one.

News flash: That lone ant crawling across your kitchen floor isn't the only one. The cigarette/joint/beer/glass of booze you just caught your kid with isn't the first. That guy trying to get you into bed doesn't really have a week to live, hasn't had a vasectomy, and isn't shipping out for Iraq tomorrow. (We can only hope that last one isn't true...) The check is not in the mail. Those pants really do make your ass look big.

There's more to come. Not everyone in the Bush administration is evil, and more of them will find the courage to speak out in the coming days and weeks and months. More of them will tell us how bad it really is, what's really going on, that no matter how bad we think things have gotten, they're really far, far worse than we thought.

And then, God help us, King George will rain death and destruction on Iran and kill a few thousand people who had the misfortune to have been born in the wrong place, all to distract us.

At least in the darkest days at the end of the Nixon adminstration his closest advisors had the good sense to take the keys away from him. We can only hope the same thing happens to King George.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

A Uniter, At Long Last

Here's the good news, kids: Your phone company owes you a thousand bucks. Owes you a thousand bucks, that is, if their name happens to be AT&T or Verizon or BellSouth. If it's Qwest, you have my sympathy.

ThinkProgress has the goods. You see, the phone companies -- everyone but Qwest -- violated the law when they turned over our phone records to the NSA. The Stored Communcations Act, to be specific. And as it happens, there's a stiff penalty for violating that law: not less than $1,000 per violation. Can you say Class Action Suit? I knew you could.

But wait! It gets better! Sure, the phone companies are going to try to get out of paying you that thousand bucks, and Comrade Bush is going to do his best to help them. But this time, they're in way over their heads. Think about it: do you want to be the person to tell one hundred million Americans that they're not going to get that one G note? One hundred million Americans who, thanks to the Bush administration's woeful economic policy (steal from the poor, give to the rich) have been treading water for the last five years? One hundred million Americans whose gas bills have just doubled, to the tune of... oh, maybe a thousand bucks extra per year?

I'm thinking there just might be a March on Washington of unprecedented scale if word got out that most of America was entitled to a four-figure check and King George was going to stand in their way. And if that happens, ol' W will have turned out to finally be a uniter, not a divider, in the end.

The Final Throes... of Freedom?

It might have been a bad dream from the old cold-war days, that dream where I wake up and find that I’m living in the Soviet Union. But it wasn’t a dream; it was real. The latest item in the unending stream of the inconceivable is the news that the NSA isn’t just spying on some of us, the ones who make or receive long-distance calls. No, they’re spying on almost all of us, everyone except the fortunate few who are served by Qwest.

And all the while those who are sworn to faithfully defend the constitution stutter and stammer and assure us that all is well, that our Big Brother has our best interests at heart and shouldn’t be questioned or investigated or even talked to in anything other than a reverent tone. Be afraid. Freedom isn’t just a slogan. It’s something that has to be defended every moment, protected from friend and foe alike, something that can disappear in the blink of an eye. Or the ring of a phone.

Concerned about NSA Spying?

One of Jack Cafferty's questions of the day today was "Does it concern you that your phone company may be providing your phone records to the government without your knowledge or permission?"

Since I'd like to remember what I said, and I don't have time to ask the NSA for a transcript, here's my contribution to that discussion:

Does it concern me that the NSA is compiling a record of who I've called and who has called me? You bet! I can assure you that bin Laden hasn't been calling my house, nor I his, and we haven't had Zawahiri over for dinner. Is this program helping the Bush administration fight terror? Last time I checked, all the "name guys" -- bin Laden, Zawahiri, Zarqawi -- were still at large. But that's to be expected. This is the kind of program that is far better at letting the administration keep track of their internal enemies. You know, the American people. Want to know who called USA Today to spill the beans on this? I bet it's in the NSA's phone record database. Want to know who's organizing the next pro-Bill of Rights rally? I bet you that's in the NSA's phone record database too.

Serious trouble? Double true, dat.