“The first time as tragedy, the second time as farce. Thirty-five years ago, Richard Milhous Nixon, who was crazy as a bullbat, and J. Edgar Hoover, who wore women’s underwear, decided some Americans had unacceptable political opinions. So they set our government to spying on its own citizens, basically those who were deemed insufficiently like Crazy Richard Milhous.”
Oh Dick Nixon was quite the card, as those of us old enough to recall the Vietnam era surely recalls. So much so, in fact, that his reign was farce from first to last.
“For those of you who have forgotten just what a stonewall paranoid Nixon was, the poor man used to stalk around the White House demanding that his political enemies be killed. Many still believe there was a certain Richard III grandeur to Nixon’s collapse because he was also a man of notable talents. There is neither grandeur nor tragedy in watching this president, the Testy Kid, violate his oath to uphold the laws and Constitution of our country.”
To hear it from some less temperate internet voices, the Testy Kid has done what Nixon only dreamed of, ie. Paul Wellstone. But that’s floating off into the same netherworld where Vincent Foster’s suicide was a murder staged by his paramor, Hillary Clinton — who while a lesbian still had him as a lover. (See what I mean? This stuff gets to be gaudier than Passions) Moreover it marks Dubbya, like Nixon before him, as “exceptions,” rather than the rule — a mistake Noan Chomsky is only too glad to correct.
“The Testy Kid wants to do what he wants to do when he wants to do it because he is the president, and he considers that sufficient justification for whatever he wants. He even finds lawyers like John Yoo, who tell him that whatever he wants to do is legal.
Moreover he has all manner of agencies at his disposal. Take the Secret Service. Three years ago a pair of young female agents, accompanied by LAPD officers, weapons drawn, appeared at my door questioning whethr I wished to behead the POTUS, the phrase “Remove their heads and let them preach upon poles for trespass of their tonues,” having appeared in a comment I made on the “Table Talk” discussion board at Salon. First, I pointed out that said words were not mine, but rather a quote from Edward II by Christopher Marlowe. Second, I was commenting not on the POTUS but the press. They saw my point and departed.
So Big Brother (and his little sisters) are most definitely watching and have been for quite some time.
“The creepy part is the overlap. Damned if they aren’t still here, after all these years, the old Nixon hands — Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld, the whole gang whose yearning for authoritarian government rose like a stink over the Nixon years. Imperial executive. Bring back those special White House guard uniforms. Cheney, like some malignancy that cannot be killed off, back at the same old stand, pushing the same old crap. Of course, they tell us we have to be spied on for our own safety, so they can catch the terrorists who threaten us all. Thirty-five years ago, they nabbed a film star named Jean Seberg and a bunch of people running a free breakfast program for poor kids in Chicago. This time, they’re onto the Quakers. We are not safer.”
And Jean Seberg is dead. Happily so is Joyce Haber, the gossip columnist only too glad to do J. Edgar’s bidding. Today, of course, that’s all been ratcheted up. Why deal with mere gossip columnists when you can have the likes of Robert Novak and Judy Miller?
“We would be safer, as the 9-11 commission has so recently reminded us, if some obvious and necessary precautions were taken at both nuclear and chemical plants — but that is not happening because those industries contribute to Republican candidates. Republicans do not ask their contributors to spend a lot of money on obvious and necessary steps to protect public safety. They wiretap, instead. You will be unsurprised to learn that, first, they lied. They didn’t do it. Well, OK, they did it, but not very much at all. Well, OK, more than that. A lot more than that. OK, millions of private e-mail and telephone calls every hour, and all medical and financial records.”
Precisely. And a crystal clear indication of just how much they don’t care has been provided by Hurricaine Katerina — a natural disaster whose damage not only to New Orleans and the Gulf coast, but by extension to this entire nation far exceeds that of BushCo’s favorite boogeyman, 9/11.
“You may recall in 2002 it was revealed that the Pentagon had started a giant data-mining program called Total Information Awareness (TIA), intended to search through vast databases “to increase information coverage by an order of magnitude.”
From credit cards to vet reports, Big Brother would be watching us. This dandy program was under the control of Adm. John Poindexter, convicted of five felonies during Iran-Contra, all overturned on a technicality. This administration really knows where to go for good help — it ought to bring back Brownie.”
And they doubtless will, as BushCo is full time employment for the incompetent-but-loyal
“Everybody decided that TIA was a terrible idea, and the program was theoretically shut down. As often happens with this administration, it turned out they just changed the name and made the program less visible. Data-mining was a popular buzzword at the time, and the administration was obviously hot to have it. Bush established a secret program under which the National Security Agency could bypass the FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) court and begin eavesdropping on Americans without warrants.
As many have patiently pointed out, the entire program was unnecessary, since the FISA court is both prompt and accommodating. There is virtually no possible scenario that would make it difficult or impossible to get a FISA warrant — it has granted 19,000 warrants and rejected only a handful.”
Words to remember, that our bought-and-paid-for “mainstream” shills will doubtless disregard. For them truth and lies are mere “differences of opinion” offered by “sides” in a “debate.”
I don’t like to play scary games where we all stay awake late at night, telling each other scary stories — but there’s a reason we have never given our government this kind of power. As the late Sen. Frank Church said, “That capability could at any time be turned around on the American people, and no American would have any privacy left, such is the capacity to monitor everything: telephone conversations, telegrams, it doesn’t matter. There would be no place to hide.”
Well, as I’ve pointed out above, we’ve never had any privacy to begin with. I’ve known that as far back as high school (see Fun with Dick and George.)
“And if a dictator took over, the NSA ‘could enable it to impose total tyranny.’ Then we always get that dreadful goody-two-shoes response, ‘Well, if you aren’t doing anything wrong, you don’t have anything to worry about, do you?’
Folks, we KNOW this program is being and will be misused. We know it from the past record and current reporting. The program has already targeted vegans and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals — and, boy, if those aren’t outposts of al-Qaida, what is? Could this be more pathetic?
This could scarcely be clearer. Either the president of the United States is going to have to understand and admit he has done something very wrong, or he will have to be impeached. The first time this happened, the institutional response was magnificent. The courts, the press, the Congress all functioned superbly. Anyone think we’re up to that again? Then whom do we blame when we lose the republic?
Well high on the blame list already is the allegedy “Free Press” which the fearless likes of Jane Hamsher and John Amato (not to mention Atrios and a wealth of other notables in Better Blogistan) has shown to be in chains. Designer chains at that, what with the NYT keeping mum about BushCo’s unconstitutional antics for a solid year. And now we’re going to have comic relief in the form of an “investigation” of how they learned this information. An “investigation” certain to keep the ongoing war between factions within the CIA and their administration adversaries well covered.
And so, to quote Cher’s ex-husband, “the beat goes on. . .”