Bush to America: “I Dare You to Do Something About It”

I am guessing that some of this blog’s reader’s saw Doug Ireland’s excellent call for the initiation of impeachment proceedings against George W. Bush: “A Time to Impeach” (http://www.zmag.org/content/print_article.cfm?itemID=9376&sectionID=72). As Ireland notes, “by ordering the National Security Agency — the N.S.A, so secretive that in Washington its initials are said to stand for ‘No Such Agency’ — to wiretap and eavesdrop on thousands of American citizens without a court order, Bush committed actions specifically forbidden by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA)……ctd.

… Passed in 1978 after the Senate’s Church Committee documented in detail the Nixon administration’s widespread use of U.S. intelligence agencies to spy on the anti-Vietnam war movement and other political dissidents,” Ireland continues, “FISA ‘expressly made it a crime for government officials “acting under color of law” to engage in electronic eavesdropping “other than pursuant to statute.”‘, as the director of the Center for National Security Studies, Kate Martin, told the Washington Post this past weekend. And the FISA statute required authorization of the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to make such domestic spying legal. Bush and his NSA sought no such authorization before invading American citizens’ right to privacy — a blatant flouting of the law that made both wavering Democrats and libertarian Republicans mad enough to vote against extending the hideous Patriot Act, which thankfully will now expire at the end of the year.”

In the latest issue of The Nation, Jonathan Schell says the following: “the Administration of George W. Bush is not a dictatorship, but it does manifest the characteristics of one in embryonic form.” With “Bush’s defense of his wiretapping,” Schell elaborates, “the hidden state has stepped into the open. The deeper challenge Bush has thrown down…is whether the country wants to embrace the new form of government he is creating by executive fiat or to continue with the old constitutional form. He is now in effect saying, ‘Yes, I am above the law — I AM the law, which is nothing more than what I and my hired lawyers say it is —- and if you don’t like it, I dare you to do something about it’” (J. Schell, “The Hidden State Steps Forward,” The Nation [January 9/16, 2006]).

I’ve long had the same sort of thought about the Bush-Cheney-Rove Republican regime: that they are quite literally DARING us to defend what’s left of constitutional and civic democracy in America. They are boldly testing the waters of how far they can push the authoritarian/proto-fascist envelope in the wake of the possible collapse of democratic institutions inside the U.S.

Actually, Bush recently told FOX News, he would have invaded Iraq even if he’d known Saddam Hussein’s regime did not possess weapons of mass destruction (WMD) — this despite the fact that Iraqi WMD were the single reason given for the invasion to the U.S. populace.

Don’t like it? Do something about it, if you can.

Today in the New York Times the ACLU published a full-page advertisement that included the following April 20, 2004 quotation from boy-King George: “Now, by the way, any time you have the U.S. government talking about wiretaps it requires —- a wiretap requires a court order. Nothing has changed, by the way. When we’re talking about chasing down terrorists, we’re talking about getting a court order before we do so. It’s important for our fellow citizens to understand, when you think Patriot Act, constitutional guarantees are in place when it comes to doing what is ncessary to prevent our homeland because we value the Constitution.”

And yes, Clinton was impeached for saying that he “did not have sex with that woman.”

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