Hail to the despot

What’s all this fuss about the feds spying on dangerous local pacifists? Does this come as a surprise?

Everywhere I turn, folks are in an uproar about the No Such Agency circumventing the legal process to tap phones, monitor e-mails, bug the light fixtures of suspected dissidents in the United States. And maybe you saw the New York Times piece on the homeland-spying FBI, which busies itself infiltrating groups of vegans (anyone who eschews cheese is un-American), Catholics ("semi-Commies") and, of course, the People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (for aiding and abetting terrorist llamas).

One local peace activist tried to start a conversation about the FBI story on the local anti-war listserv.

“Government spying on its own citizens while they exercise their rights and duties as citizens is basically offensive and violates my civil rights,” wrote Chris Good, an activist who’s likely to be high on the government’s shit list. “What a huge waste of resources while real people are presumably planning real terrorist attacks on America. They should stop wasting time surveilling peace groups and go after, oh, I don’t know, maybe Osama bin Laden?”

Perhaps you grimaced when President Bush defended domestic spying on Monday, claiming the legal authority to do whatever the hell he wants—darn that constitution anyway, the Founding Fathers didn’t have to deal with pesky critics “shamefully” leaking confounded secrets to the goldurned media.

Of course, Bush is right, as usual. He does have the right to do whatever he wants. He proved that by winning two elections and by invading two nations. He’s convinced that he has divine authority to fight the bad guys. Bush believes that “'God put me here to deal with the war on terror,'” according to a former administration official interviewed by Seymour Hersh for a New Yorker story this month.

And if it looks like God’s side is losing? Bush refuses to face the facts. Hersh interviewed a CIA officer who’d met with legislators to talk about Iraq and how “things were fucked up.”

The truth wasn’t welcomed, however, at the administrative level. Want to keep your job? Keep your criticisms to yourself.

“Bush is a believer in the adage that ‘People may suffer and die, but the Church advances,” Hersh wrote, quoting a former defense official. “[The official] said the president had become more detached, leaving more issues to Karl Rove and Vice President Cheney. ‘They keep him in the gray world of religious idealism, where he wants to be anyway.'”

Again, no shocking revelation. We know Bush is God’s lone cowboy and that before long U.S. soldiers will be wearing “Gott mit uns” on their belt buckles. We know the feds are listening to our phone calls. That’s what happens in this kind of government.

I watched Bush publicly lie, again, on Sunday night.

Democracy in Iraq? Try imbalanced theocracy. More than 1,000 Sunnis have already lodged complaints about the recent elections.

And wiping out entire families of civilians doesn’t create terrorists? Sure. If the Canadians invaded and killed your wife and kids with a stray bomb, I’m sure you would never consider fighting back. (Just hypothetical. I love Canadians.)

But this was the Bush line that sent me wretching for the toilet: “I see a global terrorist movement that exploits Islam in the service of radical political aims—a vision in which books are burned, and women are oppressed and all dissent is crushed.”

My mom used to say that immature people often point out the faults in others that they don’t recognize in themselves. If you don’t see my point, just substitute the word “Christianity” for “Islam” in the above Bush quote.

Happy holidays or, if you’re in the vicinity of a bugged houseplant, Merry Christmas.