Saturday, December 17, 2005

America, 1776 - 2001, R.I.P.

America has died. To borrow the words of a great Republican, government of the people, by the people and for the people has perished from the earth. It has been replaced by tyranny - a government over the people. George Bush killed it.

Writing these words, I know that many readers will think I'm going off the deep end, that I'm being overly dramatic in a silly over-reaction to a news story that came out on Friday and will be forgotten by most of us by Monday.

And I know that the sun will rise, and we will still be wildly wealthy, and I know that Democrats will still argue with Republicans about tax cuts, and America as we know it will not undergo a lot of visible changes. "Normal", non-questioning, compliant, silent majority Americans will be just fine. Just as most Cubans don't find themselves in prisons, and just as most Iraqis would go through their lives unmolested by Hussein. The "silent majority's" suffering comes only late in a tyranny, when the country as a whole is worn down by the mistakes of its leadership.

Bush has taken the tragic events of 9-11 and used them to make himself above the law. He was bred for the moment - a spoiled boy who got into Yale by bloodline, a fortunate son who hid in the TANG, a drunk whose family kept him shielded from consequences, an election-loser whose connections on the Supreme Court made him president.

When he was appointed President, Bush swore to uphold the Constitution. The Constitution forbids unreasonable search and seizure. Spying on Americans without a warrant, as Bush has not only authorized once but dozens of times, sweeping hundreds of Americans (no less Americans than you or Bush himself - was I included? I traveled abroad, I read news from sources other than Fox , , ,) is illegal and unconstitutional. And Bush is unapologetic about it, lashing out instead at the people whose consciences forbade them to blindly support his lawlessness.

This is not funny. This is a man who is using the power of our government against our citizens. This is a man who is ignoring our Constitution because he sincerely believes that circumstances have raised him above the law. He believes he can do whatever he feels is best. He believes he is king.

Perhaps my title is hyperbolic. The American people disapprove of the man, and their disapproval may erupt into action upon this unprecedented assault. The Senate and House are viewing him with suspicion, and this illegality is precisely the sort of big-brother-government that gets under the skin of principled conservatives. If, by chance, this story is not dead by Monday, this may be the act that gets Bush impeached in disgrace. While I don't relish the thought of President Cheney, I would gladly support him as President of the United States rather than tolerate Bush as President of something much less than America.


Blogger antimedia said...

For once we're in complete agreement. It's only a matter of time before Americans begin dying on their own soil again.

I hope the left is happy.

12/18/2005 12:27 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

Great work there, AM. Thanks for the well-presented insight.

12/18/2005 11:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Me again. . .

While I agree with you that Bush appears to have overstepped his authority, and certainly acted without regard to our usual notions of civil liberties, this is hardly the end of the world.

One of the beauties of American government is that the Founders assumed that such things would from time to time take place ("If men were angels, no government would be necessary; if angels were to govern men, no controls on government would be necessary . . . " to loosely paraphrase Madison). Just as Nixon's abuse of power and imperial presidency did not lead to the collapse of the Republic, neither will Bush's. The Constitution itself provides a mechanism for putting an end to such abuses. There will be hearings; Bush will be admonished, and the wrongful acts will come to an end (if it is determined that is what happened). If truly without authority and illegal (and I would note that it is less than absolutely clear that is the case), Bush's actions could be impeachable offenses. Just as violation of the law brought Clinton to impeachment (but not removal), so it could Bush. And this time, the cry that it was only about an affair (a misleading at best argument) won't be there to save him at Senate trial, again, assuming that after investigation and hearing it is determined that Bush's actions were illegal.

Yes, Bush may have abused his powers. But the sky is hardly falling. You've hit on the corrective action yourself. Government in the US is bigger than any one man, even a president. I would note in passing that no less than Lincoln did the much same, and realized what he was doing as he did it, writing that he felt he had to violate the constitution in order to save the Union - and no, I'm not comparing Bush favorably to Lincoln. I'm simply pointing out that the act is not without precedent, yet the republic goes on.

And if push comes to shove, there are some 100 million of us "normal, silent majority Americans" who are armed. It's clear the founders considered that to be a necessary check on government. Want to rethink your position there?

12/19/2005 9:22 AM  
Blogger emawkc said...


You're absolutely spot on. I'm just surprised you didn't see it coming. If you had seen it coming, you would have done as I have. I'm currently living in a small wodden shack in Montana. You're welcome to join me, but you'll have to bring you're own ammo. And don't even try to bogie my organic twinkies.

12/19/2005 10:25 AM  
Anonymous dolphin said...

While I agree with anonymous (and your final paragraph) that America CAN bounce back from where Bush has taken us (I just thought back over all that has happened under the Bush Administration and realized that there are precisely 3 Amendments of the Bill of Rights that have not been in someway violated by this administration), I'm worried that we won't in this instance. I just finished watching Bush tell reporters that this domestic spying will still going to happen, and he refused to describe HOW such a thing could be anything but a direct and blantant violation of the 4th amendment. His "assurance" was that we should just "trust him."

While the tides may be turning, I'm still worried that far too many Americans are willing to just "trust" him. Trusting the government spells death for democracy. As members of a democratic society it's our responsibilities to watch our leaders like hawks and make sure that they are accountable for assuming powers hat we, the people, did not give them.

I am truly concerned that the level of apathy in this country may well mean that we are on the road to our demise. It CAN happen here, and it's DANGEROUS to believe it can't. Can we bounce back? Certainly. Will we? That, I'm more concerned about.

12/19/2005 10:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

dolphin -

Your post contains almost (almost) as much panic and hyperbole as Dan's - please, try to remember, the republic has survived and flourished with far worse than what is alleged here.

As to the rest. Would you like to specify a bill of particulars as to exactly how - your words - "there are precisely 3 Amendments of the Bill of Rights that have not been in someway violated by this administration"? While not always a fan of this administration, I fail to find anywhere close to such an outrageous statement. It's not even clear that this latest revelation is a 4th amendment violation - or a violation of the law at all. It may be. I'll have to do more reading and research on that point.

If you can specify the others, I'm listening. Otherwise, I'll have to chalk it up as more "the sky is falling" BS.

12/19/2005 4:46 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

I'm calming down, as it appears that, as anonmymous predicted, that the republic may be righting itself. Impeachment calls are ringing, and the Bush apologists are even more pathetic than ever. He may be impeached. As I hoped, some of the conservatives with principles are just as upset about this as I am.

Anonymous, I hear what you're saying, but I don't think I would be all that effective with a .22 and some camoflage.

And, Emaw, thanks for the invitation. I won't be much help in defense, but I'm a hell of a homebrewer . . .

12/19/2005 5:04 PM  
Anonymous Spalding Smails said...


As unbelievable as it may sound, I think you may be a bigger hypocrite than I had previously thought. Your selective memory and emotional rationalizations continue to discredit you with many of us that read your blog.

Bill Clinton-2/9/05: "The Attorney General is authorized to approve physical searches without a court order"

Jimmy Carter-5/23/79: "Attorney General is authorized to approve electronic surveillance to acquire foreign intelligence information without a court order"

I'm certain that you had and continue to have the same outrage over these statements.

As someone who views themselves as an intellectual elite, I would encourage to familiarize yourself with history and the conetents of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978.

While I hate to bring it to you Dan, the government could care less about your conversations with your "invested in defeat" brethren.

12/21/2005 11:22 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

Spalding - I don't delete comments, but yours tempts me to do so. You've got some nerve to call me a hypocrite without checking on my opinions about other invasions of privacy. And you've got some nerve to parrot the discredited right-wing talking points. Read up at little on what Carter and Clinton did, and you'll see that they remained within the law. Bush has elevated himself above it.

It appears from your sentence structure that you are claiming to be a member of the intellectual elite. Good luck with that. If, on the other hand, you were merely ungrammatical, and you were attributing that status to me, no thanks. I don't claim to be intellectually elite.

It may or may not be that the government is invading my privacy. We probably will never know.

12/21/2005 12:13 PM  
Anonymous JW said...

We don't live in the country we thought we did. We can't trust Cheney either. Who benefits most from this war? Halliburton, the company he used to run. Privatize the benefits, socialize the costs. Crossing the Rubicon will open your eyes...

12/23/2005 9:12 PM  
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