"It is unfair and unjust to threaten these companies with financial ruin only because they are believed to have done the right thing and helped their country." --President George W. Bush today in his Saturday attempt at an address. (Whitehouse.gov)
Washington D.C.--I know, life is so unfair, but that's how it goes on the frontier (unless daddy sends help through the Pony Express). With continued impotent threats, bickering, and foot-dragging, the president and the GOP have dragged-out the whining over their Protect America Act not getting a renewal. The reasons for no renewal are simple: while there was little opposition in the Senate against retroactive immunity for law-breaking telecommunications companies, the House had already passed similar legislation without the immunity. The Sheriff won't let us steal horses anymore, and it just ain't fair.
The president appears surprised at the fact that he isn't getting his way for once. And somehow some Americans are surprised when rockets and mortars hit the interior of the American Green Zone in Baghdad, or when a $1.2 billion dollar "Stealth"B-2 fighter-bomber crashes at our air fields on Guam. American soldiers on both sides of the Civil War were surprised to find that they were eating spoiled provisions, and that they had virtually no clothing. But when you're ignorant, everything is new, everything is a surprise, daily...and usually a horrible, catastrophic one. When you refuse to learn who you are, or where you've been, one can expect the worst.
In that spirit, the president is frequently "surprised" by the resistance he's met in his "fighting" of the phantom-like "war on terrorism." Instead of a "war of words," we've gotten a "war on words." It should be written and said again-and-again: you cannot have a war on a word or a concept, it doesn't work, it isn't real. Americans like to think that the world is black-and-white. It isn't, and many of these so-called "terrorist-networks" were created by the very people now calling for their destruction. Our curse is the ailment of the ages: a seemingly indestructible Manichean world-view where we're the "Sons of Light," while those who aren't like us are the "Children of Darkness." The narrow-minded insanity of this view speaks for itself.
But fighting against ghosts, puffed-up enemies, and phantasms has been America's stock-in-trade since her inception, and the profits have been extraordinary. The war on terrorism was never meant to work, and it was only concocted by our Congress and the executive branch to ensure some strange economic certainty for an American Empire that is dying and has been dying for several decades. Nothing succeeds like failure, and one can never have enough enemies, the truest of American creeds.
"When Congress reconvenes on Monday, members of the House have a choice to make:They can empower the trial bar, or they can empower the intelligence community," Bush said in his Saturday radio address. "They can help class-action trial lawyers sue for billions of dollars, or they can help our intelligence officials protect millions of lives."Bush has promised to veto any surveillance bill that does not protect the companies from civil lawsuits that allege violations of privacy and wiretapping laws under the warrantless wiretapping program. ("Bush Chides Democrats Over Intel Bill," AP, 02.23.2008)The president--being a blackguard and an outright liar--almost has a tone of astonished surprise here, but we can all rest assured that there's a mountain of calculation here. The facts: George W. Bush is the current President of the United States. As president, it is his responsibility under federal laws to obtain a warrant in any investigation, including related surveillance of suspects within the continental United States.
In multiple-cases, President George W. Bush authorized an NSA surveillance program that did massive sweeps of the private communications of millions of American citizens without a warrant. How did they do this? The telecommunications companies. They not only allowed the Bush administration and the NSA to connect to their switching stations, but many of them actually gave the government under George W. Bush more than his representatives even asked for. That's not helping protect Americans at all, it's just-the-opposite.
The fact is, retroactive immunity is not needed at all, and the telecommunications companies and their allies need to face the music for aiding-and-abetting a criminal administration--and that's leaving-out the war crimes. Most importantly, what the White House and her allies fear most are the even more startling revelations of corruption and incompetence that will come out during the upcoming trials in the 40 lawsuits that have been filed against the the telecoms.
This is the reason for all the begging-the-question, the fear-mongering, and the feeble attempts to push the House into what happened in August of last year with the unfortunate passage of the Protect America Act: the Bush administration fears further exposure of their criminal acts through telecom trials, period. In addition to this, the damage faced by the GOP overall for supporting such an administration unquestioningly could end any presumptions that they're competent as a party in national security. This is outside of their own illegal activities with lobbyists, creating what one would hope will be a self-inflicted blow to the GOP's future as a national party. The president blathered on:
They can put our national security in the hands of plaintiffs' lawyers — or they can entrust it to the men and women of our government who work day and night to keep us safe. As they make their choice, members of Congress must never forget: Somewhere in the world, at this very moment, terrorists are planning the next attack on America. And to protect America from such attacks, we must protect our telecommunications companies from abusive lawsuits. Thank you for listening. [Ed.-I didn't.] (Whitehouse.gov, 02.23.2008)Frankly, I'd prefer putting our national security in the hands of lawyers and the legal system--meaning judges and public officials who weren't appointed by George W. Bush. It's the best legal system in the world, but you wouldn't know that from the rhetoric emanating from the president and his party. Strangely, many of them were lawyers, so what are they really saying? Being the GOP, not much. Does Congress "have to act now?" There's no law that says so, and the president can keep vetoing the bill into the last seconds of his disastrous tenure in office.
Not every Democrat is rolling over--at least not in the House. House Judiciary Chairman John Conyers of Michigan has been giving the Bush administration tit-for-tat for a long-time. Unlike Senator Jay Rockefeller, he doesn't have much enthusiasm for retroactive immunity of the telecoms, and isn't as closely-connected to them as the senator is in his relationship with A.T.&T. It's all about criminals buying time, trying to keep the forces of law and order at bay. This can occur only so many ways, and the president is reacting as all criminals do: by making demands denials, and stonewalling. Conyers and the Democratic leadership in the House don't appear to be accepting these demands entirely.
John Conyers says current surveillance laws are adequate to address any emerging threats. In the Democrats' weekly radio address, the Michigan congressman said "there should be no question in anyone's mind" that U.S. intelligence agencies are able to take any action necessary to protect the American people. He added that suggesting otherwise would be "irresponsible and totally inaccurate." ("Conyer says lapse of intelligence law is no security threat," AP, 02.23.2008)"Irresponsible and totally inaccurate." That would describe nearly every assertion and action by the GOP and the Bush administration since the events of September 11th, 2001. Chide away. And while you're at it, let's empower all of those litigation attorneys and the courts that are still independent. There's no rush on the Protect America Act if it includes retroactive immunity, no rush at all. Besides, retroactive immunity is what pardons are for. Perhaps the time has come to get rid of them? Yes. "It is unfair and unjust to threaten these companies with financial ruin only because they are believed to have done the right thing and helped their country," said the president today. It appears only those who were involved want to believe so badly.
"I have isolated the specimin!": www.whitehouse.gov
"Conyers says lapse of intelligence law is no security threat," 02.23.2008: http://www.kgan.com/template/inews_wire/wires.national/3b83d6f7-www.kgan.com.shtml
"Bush Chides Democrats Over Intel Bill," 02.23.2008: