Spare the Flag, Just Burn All it Stands For

In a move that I’m sure you will find shocking… just shocking… for the second time this month, the (non-partisan) Congressional Research Service tells us that the Bush Administration’s domestic spying program (“Operation Big Brother”) violates yet another law, in this case a 1947 amendment to the National Security Act requiring notification of this sort of thing to all members of both the House and Senate Intelligence Committees, rather than simply to the Committee Chairs and Ranking Members, and the party leaders in each House (unless this was a “covert” operation, which, evidently, it was not.) This is on top of the FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) violations already noted by the CRS. Confirmation of the gross illegality of the Administration Acts came in the form of a denial of them and repudiation of those who dare question Dear Leader, by White House spokesman Scott McLellan.
Moving right along, we find that a human rights organization, in this case, Human Rights Watch, has concluded that… get this… based on statements of governmental officials, it seems that… well, I can’t believe this either, but… it seems that under the Bush Administration, the United States of America has been abusing its terror suspects in its custody. Confirmation of the contents of the report came in the form of a denial by Scott McLellan, White House spokesman. (Of course, readers of this very blog can get their fill of first hand accounts of the abuse of terror suspects by our government, and… stick around, they’ll be more coming…)
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court dodged a tricky one by sending a case involving New Hampshire’s parental notification laws for abortion back to the lower court, finding that the lower courts did not have to toss out the whole statute. The problem with this, of course, is that the statute was written precisely in a such a way as to be an “all or nothing”… I’m sure that future Justice Alito will not stand for this sort of thing! In a temporary state of sanity, the High Court did uphold the State of Oregon’s law permitting doctor assisted suicide, finding that the Attorney General of the United States is not a roving commission to invalidate state laws that will offend the Taliban wing of the Republican Party.
And Democrats in Congress issued their version of a proposal to combat governmental corruption; to coin a phrase, good luck on that. I fear that much of America has adopted the attitude of my home borough of Brooklyn (we don’t tolerate corruption; we demand it, especially if it’s by Bible-thumping Republicans.)
Oh my. Anyway, the joy of hearing about the spying on citizens, the tortures, the illegal detentions… is that none of these things are actually effective. What had been effective once, law enforcement actions, have been mocked and in many cases neutered in favor of the-infinitely-less-effective-at-everything- except-blowing-up-shit-Defense-Department acting as if its enemy is the American people (which, of course, in a dictatorship, it would very well be.) And yet, when it is pointed out just how ineffective the Bush Administration is at wielding power, it offers this as an explanation of why it need still more power…
This is all very tiresome. Let’s hope the ineffective Democrats get some traction on this corruption thing, and clean House. And Senate. As unappetizing a prospect as “divided government” may be for many, it may be the only hope for the continued viability of our Constitution, at this point.