Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Springtime for Dubya

You may be of the same mind as I am regarding tonight's State of the Union speech. It has a dead-skunk-in-the-road factor. It's going to be ugly to look at, but so, so hard to look away from.

As of January 31st in the Year of our Lord 2006, the mask has come off of the Bush presidency. No more pretence about compassionate conservatism. No more hokum about uniting-not-dividing. This administration is about absolute power, Machiavellian power that exists for its own purpose and an end for which all means are justified.

The true state of our Union is a sad one. America has become a theocratic military empire.

As of this morning, with the confirmation of Sam Alito to the Supreme Court, we are a one party political system, and that party exists for the sole purpose of supporting the emperor. If the legislature accidentally passes a law the emperor doesn't like, the emperor can simply interpret it in a way that suits him, and the Supreme Court will affirm the emperor's constitutional right to do that as a wartime commander in chief.

The emperor will always be a wartime commander in chief because we are in a war against terrorism, and there will always be terrorism, so we will always be at war against it.

War is the core tenet of all American foreign and domestic policy. Like nineteenth century Prussia, we have become a country that exists to support its military force. We spend as much on the Department of Defense as the military spending of the rest of the world combined. That doesn't even include what we spend on homeland security. Our economy is dependent on a half trillion dollar a year dump into the military industrial complex. Our civilian service secretaries, who control weapon systems acquisitions, are former senior executives of the country's largest defense contractors and will ensure that we never kick our fiscal addiction to the machinery of war. Our diplomacy, such as it is, merely exists to deliver official threats of military action.

All federal social and health services are being outsourced to government sanctioned religious organizations. It won't be long before the faith based mob runs all secular charities out of business, and the day is coming when you'll have to go through an ordained minister to get so much as a freaking flu shot.

We'll maintain some vestiges of representative government. You'll still get to vote, for example. But if you don't vote for whomever your minister tells you to vote for, you'll burn in hell. And your minister is going to tell you to vote for the folks who are pouring federal tax dollars into his collection plate, and those folks will all be personal friends of the emperor.

Scoff all you like, but don't say I didn't tell you.


  1. Is it time to start praying? And chanting, and chasing a chicken around the yard with a hatchet, and standing on our heads murmering 'OM' and sticking pins in hair stuffed dolls? Voting doesn't seem to work so good anymore. And when they shut down the public schools and the only healthcare is from a faith healer we will truly be in the Dark Ages again. Look on the bright side-there are always hordes of locusts to look forward to. And you guys always looked so handsome in the Crusades in your chainmail & armor. History repeats.

  2. Yeah. Yeah.

    My fear is that the only practical solution--an electoral reversal of power in congress--won't work either. The legislature may not be able to reassert itself if the executive and judicial branches are in total cahoots.

  3. I have no intention of watching the speech tonight, so I suppose I'm able to look away.

    As for the rest of the post - I hope you don't believe all that alarmist talk, Jeff. The pendulum always swings. It will swing back the other direction. If the Democrats pull their heads out by 2008 (I'm not sure they'll be able to do it before the mid terms) it'll probably start swinging by then.

  4. "The pendulum always swings."

    I'm not sure, Scott, I'm just not sure any more. And I don't think this kind of talk is alarmist any more either.

  5. I think it is alarmist. Look - all of this has operated prceisly within the system as it was set up to be. There hasn't been any usurpation of anything, there is no theocratic military dictatorship. There just isn't. If Americans go to the polls later this year and vote in ALL democrats, those democrats will take their seats in Congress. If they vote a Dem in in 2008, that Democrat will take the office of President. The idea that somehow the country has devolved from a representative democracy just because you don't like the representation that has been voted in strikes me as quite odd. It simply isn't the case.

  6. The pendulum will swing again, though it will be difficult if the Supreme Court has a say in any of it again like it did in 2000.

  7. Scott,

    You're just wrong. And it's ostrich behavior to think the people in power are anything but pure Macheavellians.

    "I'll talk to this Humongous, he's a reasonable man."

    No, he isn't.


    It appears to me that the neo-cons have are using the courts to put a governor on the pendulum.

  8. I'm with Jeff on this. I fear it isn't about parties or swinging pendulums, anymore. So what if a horde of Dems get "elected" in the next 4-6 years? The checks and balances don't balance or check anymore. "If there's a Dem president, they'll have the unitary executive power" -- that ain't no comfort.

    We'll have just as few rights, and they'll probably become fewer and fewer. They are above and beyond the law, and the rest of us aren't. Feel safer now?

    So it doesn't matter if the party in power is called Dem, Repub, or the Holy Roller Do-Gooders for Jesus® -- we'll be just as oppressed.

  9. Jeff: That's not different than it has ever been. We need a good third party if we want to move past that. Maybe the Libertarians, if they'd get some sensible leadership and not go over the edge on some of their ideas.

    Jeff H: I disagree. The reasons these people are in power, and in the position they are in, is because the people have been voting conservatives into Congress for the last 15 years and likewise the last two presidential elections. The fact that the people are voting for candidates you don't like is not the same thing as the power being taken from the people. As for rights, both parties want to take them - just depends on the rights. There are some where I'd rather have conservatives on the court (2nd amendment; the Kelo decision on eminent domain) and some where I'd rather have liberals (4th amendment; 1st amendment). I don't buy all this doom and gloom. The fact is, the views of the left-wing of the Democratic party are not shared by even close to a majority in this country, and the Democrats continued inability to distance themselves (i.e. their seemingly suicidal desire to appease a small but vocal extreme base) is killing them. It's exactly the same problem the GOP was having with their extreme base in the late 80s. They were publicly catering to exteme christian conservatives and people said "to hell with that." Last two presidential conventions, the leadership of the Christian conservatives were marginalized. They went from having a speech at the convention in the late 1980s (or was it 92), to nothing. The GOP managed to get the monkey off their back (at least temporarily - I think it is climbing back up there). Meanwhile, what do the Dems do? Put Michael Moore in the front row and hire Dean to run the party. It's insane, unless you want to continue losing.

    Anyway - sorry for the rant, but the Democrats frustrate the hell out of me. If they'd wake up and lose the nuts at the fringes of the party, they would get back into power.

  10. btw - scary thing about the court is that Bush could potentially get a chance at another nomination before he leaves office. I think Justice Stevens is 85 (maybe 86?). He could step down, become ill, etc.

  11. I just want to close my eyes and not watch. its like a scary movie. And i cant leave the damn theatre.

  12. Anonymous6:00 AM

    I'm not scoffing. Our military is run by a bunch of theocrats. Anyone who scoffs has been pickin' lint out of their belly button when they should've been doing their homework.

    There is no pendulum to swing. The average voter in this country is so damn dumb that by the time they figure out that the modern conservative bowel movement is nothing more than a load of crap, it'll be too late to flush it out.


  13. Anonymous6:06 AM

    Oh, regarding the faith-based mob? The day is surely coming when the hate that has been stoked among them will build into a nationalistic frenzy that will spell doom to any non-white, non-"Christian" living in this country. There is a bloodthirsty lust for revenge against the "liberal elite," whatever the hell "liberal elite" means.

    Americans love a good enemy, never mind if it's a neighbor.


  14. Kerstin:

    I think you're being a bit too paranoid. The extreme, hateful faith-based crowd is a very small part of the country, and any hatred they try to stoke falls, for the most part, on deaf ear. Which is why the GOP as a whole doesn't cater to them anymore, although Bush tend to pull things back in that direction (he won't be able to entirely, however).

    The Democrats made their first sensible move in a while by not putting Nanci Pelosi or someone of a more far-left bent on to give their rebuttal. They put on a Democrat governor from a red state. Anyone think that was by design? Of course it was. Maybe they've figured out what I've been saying for about 10 years now, which is that they need to marginalize the extreme wing of the party if they want to win elections.

    This "end of Democracy" and "end of our rights" nonsense is over the top. Same sort of thing I heard out of conservative buddies in the early 90s. Not going to happen. It pays to always be vigilant, of course, but if that vigilance isn't tempered with realism, I don't think it does anyone much good.

  15. Meribeth9:17 AM

    The doom and gloom is not far from reality.

    Not long after Bush was installed in the WH, I heard him described as "a profligate son-in-law who has run through the family estate and maxed out the credit cards."

    He has done that and more by arrogantly interpreting the law of the country to fit his whim and needs. It would take just a puff of wind to shift us to a dictatorship run by big business and the Christian right.

    And the people rising up to stop it? Not when they are under the narcotic of consumerism, fear and TV. It is to much effort to listen and think these days.


  16. In Hamdi v. Rumsfeld the court ruled There is no bar to this Nation’s holding one of its own citizens as an enemy combatant.

    Sounds like end of rights to me.

  17. Meribeth: No, I think it would take vastly more than a puff of wind to turn the U.S. into a dictatorship. And it won't happen. Bush will be out in '08 regardless of how much power he has tried to pull into the executive.

    Jeff: That's only part of the story of Hamdi, and a misleading impression. The Court said the U.S. can hold one of its own as an enemy combatant (makes sense if that person really is an enemy combatant. That status and citizen ship are not mutually exclusive), but the Court went on to say that if the person is a U.S. citizen then due process applies. The court said a citizen's due process rights cannot be taken away simply because they are labeled as an enemy combatant.

  18. You'll all have to excuse Fenris (R. Scott). He's a Freeper who hasn't yet come out of the closet.

    Don't believe me? Look at the ease with which he writes that the reason the Congress is stacked with Republicans is because We the People voted them in, yet fails to mention the years of district gerrymandering that enabled Republican shoe-ins.

    I particularly liked the hypocrisy a few threads down, where he chastises Democrats for "lying" about taking Abramoff money, when he is lying for saying so. Typical Freepee behavior. Newsflash, Scott: Democrats received money from Indian tribes. Republicans received money from Abramoff who ripped off the Indian tribes.

    Scott's also quick to call Democrats who oppose der leader as nuts, which is classic Freepiness. Never a word about the wacko religious base that supports Republicans, Republicans like Bill Frist who offered -- on the floor of the Senate -- a healthy diagnosis for a brain dead woman. Or the Congress who met in emergency session -- with their Presnit by their side -- to place themselves in the middle of that family's tragedy because of their 'culture of life'. An emergency session paid for by the tax-paying American citizens, Democrats included.

    And then there's this red-baiter gem: "...the views of the left-wing of the Democratic party are not shared by even close to a majority in this country." See, in Freeperville, 58% isn't a majority, and a President whose approval rating hovers at 40% or lower for 3-4 months is popular, is doing a heck of a job. Up is down, black is white, war is peace, you get the idea...

    Why not just admit your Freeper-self, Scott? We'll still respect you in the morning.

  19. William Bollinger10:54 AM

    As the old saying goes, "Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they're not out to get you".

    Are the republicans consolidating power and trying to force their political will onto the country? Of course they are. That's what they do. If the democrats were in power, they'd be trying to do the same.

    Will the United States become a third-world s#!thole led by a dictator. I doubt it. Too many people wouldn't stand for it. That, though, is the very nature of the problem. The divisiveness that our "great uniter" president is causing can result in permanent damage to our country.

    That swinging pendulum is being pushed higher and higher to the right, right now. We have two options. Try to ease it down, so it comes back relatively close to the middle, or allow it to swing free.

    If the republicans contine as they are doing, there will eventually be a swing hard to the left, where the democrats will feel justified to put their own bush in, and the right will be screaming about lost freedoms, and left will be reminding them that "the people" voted them out, so their opinions don't count. The divisiveness will continue to grow till it tears this country apart.

    Facsism or civil war, which do you prefer?

  20. William Bollinger11:01 AM

    Scott leans right, but he's far from being a freeper. I see too many of them on other blogs. Shrill and unreasonable trolls, whose arguements consist of absolute and unshakeable faith in republican talking points, and ad-homenim attacks on anyoue who won't join the chorus.

    That doesn't describe Scott.

  21. Cap is best ignored under these circumstances. She thinks anyone who isn't as out there as she is is a right-wing fascist.


    I lean right on some issues left on others. Left, for example, on 1st and 4th amendment issues. I favor gay marriage (not just civil union), I favor legalization of drugs and prostitution (which conservatives would oppose) and I'm pro-choice and pro right-to-die. I lean right when it comes to taxes, expansive federal government powers, and private property rights. I also support second amendment rights.

    I just try to keep things in a bit of balance. I'm not in to turning political disagreement into personal vilification (that's Caps game, and those like her).

    You're right - the U.S. isn't about to turn into a dictatorship. This admin will be gone in three years, one way or another. In the meantime, my primary hope (or one of them) is that there is not another Supreme Court vacancy. I don't like to see the court dominated by either the left or the right. Right now, even with Alito on, we've still got a fairly reasonable "swing vote" in Kennedy. If Stevens were to retire, then I'd be much more worried about a conservative justice taking his spot.

    Anyway - as I've told Cap (and others) before, I've never voted GOP in a national election. I've voted Dem plenty of times, and Libertarian a handful of times. Doesn't make me a very good freeper. Cap just can't distinguish the two. She's like the immune system of the body. It knows "me" and "not me," and apart from that it can't make distinctions. That's unfortunate.

  22. William Bollinger11:40 AM

    Don't get me wrong. I don't concider a dictatorship to be an absolute impossibility, but the existance of sites like this are my evidence that it is unlikely. As long as enough of us are vigilant and actively fighting it, it won't happen. That pendulum has to be slowed down, though, either way, or it will damage this country.

  23. William: I think you are right about that, and I think it will slow down soon, and may even be starting to already. We'll see in the midterm elections. The Democrats helped themselves, I think, by putting the governor of VA on in response last night (and the fact that his response was very good helped even more).

    The vast majority of people in this country are in the middle. Just because someone voted for Bush doesn't mean they support all his wacked-out right-wing ideas. Likewise, just because someone voted for Kerry doesn't mean they support all the ideas on the far left of the Democratic part (which is why I said most people in the country don't support the far left of the party - you can't just assume that everyone who votes Democrat supports all that).

    People try to choose the best choice from among two candidates, neither of which they agree with entirely. The GOP lately has been able to tilt more of that thinking in their direction. That isn't going to last forever, and was probably only possible because at the same time the GOP was pulling at those voters, the Dems were pushing them away. The Dems are going to stop pushing. They're getting it. And when they do, we'll see them get some power back, maybe as soon as the midterms this year.

  24. Anonymous2:01 PM

    Just wanted to plant a quick word of thanks to everyone who posted on this piece.