It's been a dynamite week for thundering impotence and pain.
One major story led with a ... well, however expected, let's just call it a disappointment: "Leaders of the Senate Intelligence Committee reached a tentative agreement ... with the Bush administration that would give telephone carriers legal immunity for any [grossly illegal] role they played in the National Security Agency's [more grossly illegal] domestic eavesdropping program."
Naturally, the millions in past and future campaign contributions coughed up and transferred from said carriers to said leaders provided only access for case pleading. Perish any suspicion of bribery, subtle or otherwise.
But then the news item took a hard right turn that left me, as Mr. Mencken once described his similar feelings about democracy, "paled and palsied by mirth." The abovementioned debate clubbers, you see, had "review[ed] classified documents related to the participation of the telephone carriers in the security agency program and came away from that early review convinced that the companies had" -- brace yourself -- "'acted in good faith.'"
Let's see -- who was it who provided the "classified documents" that argued for "good faith"? When they arrived at that one, the oxymoronic Senate Intelligence leaders must have had in mind that famous video of George stumbling over the "Fool me once ..." proverb.
Visiting the House for a moment, we find even fewer signs of intelligent life.
As yesterday began, Democrats were sure they had the legislative wherewithal to finally clamp down on some of the grossly illegal surveillance being conducted on American citizens by the pillaging Bush administration. And they did have it. But then the Republicans went and pulled a loose thread, yelled "Boo!," and it all unraveled.
The latter had submitted an accompanying resolution that stated whatever loathsome constitutional reaffirmations the Democrats had in mind, "nothing in the broader bill should be construed as prohibiting intelligence officials from conducting the surveillance needed to prevent Mr. bin Laden or Al Qaeda 'from attacking the United States.'"
And that was all she wrote. Rather than laughing at the Republicans' latest and truly laughable indulgence in political demonology, the Dems, paled and palsied themselves, but by fear, pulled the measure from the floor. Which reminded me of another video -- the "Blazing Saddles" clip of Rock Ridge's future sheriff, Cleavon Little, holding a gun to his head, threatening personal destruction at the hands of an invisible foe. Lordy, lord, won't somebody please help those poor Dems?
They had an excuse, of course. "Democratic leaders realized that they were at risk of losing the votes of a contingent of more moderate Democrats who did not want to be left vulnerable for voting against a resolution to stop Al Qaeda." Pardon me, excuse me, but both moderation and vulnerability were absent yesterday. Present was epic cowardice in the face of a farcical demagoguery that very few are buying anymore.
One of the spookers, Republican Heather Wilson, said Speaker Nancy Pelosi had "underestimated the intelligence of the American people and the bipartisan majority in the Congress to understand what matters most: preventing another terrorist attack." But the mis-underestimation lay elsewhere. The American people would kinda like to have their Constitution back, Heather, before you and Mr. bin Laden permanently walk away with it. That's the intelligence in play and at (the) stake in 2008, if only the Dems could lock in to that simple and expanding reality.
Meanwhile, back to the Senate, where sits and testifies a Holocaust-citing Constitution Denier. Retired federal judge Michael Mukawsey, batting for Alberto Gonzales, yesterday "argued that the White House had constitutional authority to act beyond the limits of laws enacted by Congress.... He suggested that both the administration’s program of eavesdropping without warrants and its use of 'enhanced' interrogation techniques for terrorism suspects, including waterboarding, might be acceptable under the Constitution even if they went beyond what the law technically allowed."
Technically and legally speaking, in any real constitutional environment the good judge would be handed his walking papers after that. But, to cite yet one more video scene, this one from "Patton," his confirmation no doubt will go through the Senate "like crap through a goose." Said crap will then sit over at Justice, and the crap will just keep flowing downhill.
As I said, it's been a dynamite week for impotence. And we await more of its pain.
First permit me to say, I'm mortified. It seems many of the thanks I have sent out in the past through Paypal's dandy reply system never arrived. I am so sorry. I did not ignore your contribution. I did express thanks to each of you wholeheartedly, yet those thanks -- or some, at least -- seem to have gone into the ether. Again, I apologize for Paypal's technical hang-ups.
Having said that, on with the here and now ...
Underemployment continues to plague this humble scribe, so once again I must ask for your help. I realize you are implored by all sides and sources for financial assistance, and that you have your own financial difficulties. But if at all possible, if you can contribute $10, $20, $50 or whatever amount, and haven't already done so in the last year, it would go a long way in ensuring the consistent and, I trust you'll agree, thoughtful and occasionally entertaining offerings of this site.
The quickest method of lending your support actually and still is (believe it or not) through Paypal. You can click the button below ...
... and I hope you will now.
Many, many thanks in advance. I wouldn't ask if it weren't exceedingly necessary.