Just when I think George W. Bush can't get any more insulting, condescending, arrogant, and despotic, I hear this, about telecom immunity:
"Now the question is, should these lawsuits be allowed to proceed, or should any company that may have helped save American lives be thanked for performing a patriotic service; should those who stepped forward to say we're going to help defend America have to go to the courthouse to defend themselves, or should the Congress and the President say thank you for doing your patriotic duty? I believe we ought to say thank you.""Thank You?!?"
Jumping Jesus on a pogo stick.
It's times like these that, I swear to God, I would vote for a stinking, sweaty, soiled jock strap if that jock strap were the alternative to Bush.
"Defend America?" We need to defend America from the likes of Bush and Co. We need to defend the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, which this administration has treated like Charmin.
What is it about the Bush family that insists upon gratitude from those it screws over? This is a consistent pattern with them. They seem to feel that not only are they entitled to destroy, steal from and trample on anyone they choose - but their victims must be grateful into the bargain!
From the invasion of Iraq (Bush: "I think the Iraqi people owe the American people a huge debt of gratitude"), to the imposition of his will upon poorer countries (Bush, during his visit to Latin America:“I don’t think America gets enough credit for trying to help improve people’s lives”), to the suffering of those left homeless by Katrina (Barbara Bush:"And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this--this is working very well for them."), the hallmark of the Bush family seems to be imperialism. This assumption of superiority is evidenced in every word that spews out of Dubya's pie-hole. His smug, smirking frat-boy bonhommie turns into annoyed petulance in a flash if he does not receive what he considers his 'due' from anyone he perceives to be below him, which pretty much amounts to anyone who isn't a Bush or a member of his 'base', the "haves and have-mores". To be fair, that was a joke told at a fund-raiser; Al Gore was also in attendance and poked fun at himself in a similar manner. Nevertheless, it's a joke with more that a grain of truth - more like a wheelbarrow-full. As the scion of four generations of wealthy international power-brokers and string-pullers, his sense of entitlement is simply gargantuan. He has always attempted to mask it with his faux-Texan bumptiousness, but his Eastern-elite prep-school peevishness surfaces every time he is crossed in any way.
Bush's attitude of "L'etat, c'est moi" is painfully obvious. When he says others should be grateful to America, what he really means is that they should be grateful to him. There is no distinction in his mind between America's interests and wants, and his own. His interests are America's, so by proxy, anyone who opposes his will opposes America. He truly carries the 'White Man's Burden'. Like imperialist Britain, he believes that those he tramples upon are his inferiors, who should be thankful for the opportunity to be of service to him.
He is also a bully, and those that have the temerity to oppose his will must be not only vanquished but humiliated in the process. It is not enough for him to get his way; like a dog, he lifts his leg on those that he triumphs over. Witness the craven and embarrassing John McCain 2000 embrace after Bush used the lowest, most loathsome dirty tricks to smear him in South Carolina. With Bush, it's all about dominance and submission. It is not enough to obey Big Brother; you have to love Big Brother.
In the words of the ultimate frat-boy (sorry, Chris!): "Thank you, sir - may I have another?"
And here we are, on the brink of giving Bush a 'get out of jail free' card. Four simple words: Telecom immunity=Bush immunity.
He knows it; we know it; everyone knows it. This business about "punishing the telecoms for keeping Americans safe" is a gigantic, stinking sack of horseshit. Don't tell me that these obscenely wealthy corporations don't have the best lawyers that money can buy - no doubt better than the lackeys in the government - and somehow didn't know they were being asked to do something illegal - even before 9/11! And they "won't be so cooperative if they're going to be sued"? More shit. If they had a warrant, they wouldn't have a choice - and would be immune to prosecution!
The most secretive, unaccountable President in American history - the man who told reporters in the haughtiest manner imaginable that
"I don't email, however. And there's a reason. I don't want you reading my personal stuff. There has got to be a certain sense of privacy. You know, you're entitled to how I make decisions. And you're entitled to ask questions, which I answer. I don't think you're entitled to be able to read my mail between my daughters and me."feels perfectly entitled to deep-six the most basic privacy that ordinary Americans are guaranteed under the Bill of Rights. Guess what, asshole? I don't want you reading my personal stuff, either. But I'm just a citizen, a lowly peon, not the Divinely-Ordained King of America™.
My 'personal stuff' is fair game, to be stolen and sold without my knowledge or consent.
This 'personal stuff'? It's called data. As in data-mining. Information about me has a monetary value as well as a personal value. Big businesses pay huge sums to buy lists that have every transaction I make, every person I call or e-mail, every place I travel to, my school records, my medical history, my financial and credit history, my political preferences and every single detail about my life, in a nice, organized, cross-referenced file. This file can be used by companies to increase their business, target their advertising, fine-tune their audience and in a host of ways, add to their bottom line. It can also be used to deny me medical coverage, jobs and a home, throw me in jail, and it can be sold to other 'interested parties' for still more profit.
And this treasure-trove, that makes others wealthy - where did they get this from? Did they purchase it from me? Do I receive even a penny of the money that my 'personal stuff' is generating?
Hell to the no.
In fact, not only is it taken from me without my knowledge and without compensation, to be used against me, but here's the kicker:
I am paying them!
Yes, friends, you heard me right.
You and I pay these companies to steal information which brings them even more profit, and can be detrimental to our own interests. Do these companies share any of their ill-gotten wealth with the parties they took it from?
Hell to the no.
They use that information to their benefit and my detriment. And when they sell, not give (remember, the oh-so-imperative and life-saving wiretapping was cut off at one point for non-payment! And Al-Qaeda didn't manage to swoop in and take over America during that time?), that information to the government, again without our knowledge, permission or compensation, what does the government buy that information with?
Tax dollars. Our tax dollars.
I know I harp on this a lot, but I think it bears repeating: we are paying - on both ends - to be stolen from and spied upon! And on top of that, we're supposed to be grateful for it!
But even that, as grotesque as it is, is only a smokescreen. FBI director Robert Mueller inadvertently tips the White House's hand when he opines that telecoms should be granted immunity even if they acted in bad faith! The real issue is that Bush is immunizing himself and his thugs from culpability for crimes they have knowingly committed. They began immediately upon seizing office, when Dick Cheney convened his energy cronies to decide how to divvy up the future spoils, and told the American people, "Go fuck yourself. It's none of your goddamned business." They sealed Presidential records, lied us into an illegal, but hugely profitable (for them - it has been devastating to the rest of America, and the world) occupation of a sovereign nation, and generally told America to STFU and do as we're told.
Right now I couldn't care less about the goddamn primaries, or who said what about who. I don't care about delegates, or super-delegates, or super-duper-delegates. Not when the Kommander-in-Thief, the Kowboy Koward of Krawford, is about to neatly let himself off the hook, aided and abetted by this shameful excuse for a Democratic Congress.
Telecom immunity=Bush immunity.
"I believe we ought to say thank you"?
I believe we ought to say, "Go to jail. Go directly to jail. Do not pass Go. Do not collect 2 trillion dollars."
But I'm not holding my breath.