- A student at UMass Dartmouth requested a copy of Mao's Little Red Book via inter-library loan to do original research for a paper in a class on totalitarianism. Instead of the book, he received a visit from two agents from the Homeland Security Agency. Just think about that for a minute.
- Still trying to still think the best about our leaders, I try to hold on to the idea that our government's spying on its citizens without warrants is just a hamfisted reaction to 9/11 and not an organized plan to subvert the Constitution and our status as a nation of laws by hard line Republicans still bitter over Watergate and the Church Comission. But then Vice President Cheney said this yesterday:
Returning from a trip to the Middle East, Cheney said that threats facing the country required that the president's authority under the Constitution be "unimpaired."I absolutely hate it when I think I'm overreacting or even being paranoid only to discover that things are actually much worse than I thought.
"Watergate and a lot of the things around Watergate and Vietnam, both during the 1970s, served, I think, to erode the authority I think the president needs to be effective, especially in the national security area," Cheney told reporters traveling with him on Air Force Two. "Especially in the day and age we live in Â the president of the United States needs to have his constitutional powers unimpaired, if you will, in terms of the conduct of national security policy."
- Federal Judge James Robertson resigned as a member of the FISA court yesterday, reportedly in protest of the Administration's policy of conducting warrent-less searches in defiance of the FISA statute. This should really create fireworks, but I suspect that the joking response of the Editors at The Poorman will be closer to the reality:
Boy, is Judge Robertson ever going to feel stupid when he realizes that Presidential power is Constitutionally unchecked, that if Bush tried to follow the law we'd all be dead now, that the FISA statute was written using a Burroughs-esque "cut-up" technique, that the President doesn't have to follow laws, and that there's a war going on. And, basically, that rather than getting hysterical with Bush hatred, he should really be concerning himself with making sure that the people responsible for exposing this completely legal and mundane policy are found, tried, and executed.
Hopefully, judges will remember to do some research in the Wingnutosphere before they throw their career away on legal issues which - if I may be blunt - they clearly lack the background, the training, antemperamenterment to assess rationally. Hopefully, the President will appoint someone a bit more competent to replace him.
Oh, and Clinton did it, too.
I want to write about more than what I see in the back seats of cars (although the sight of a Steven Seagal video in the back seat of a Jag is still pretty remarkable, unless, wait a minute, maybe it was Steven Seagal's Jaguar! That would explain everything) every time I try to write something serious, like a review or a reflection on the death of my wife's parents and the accelerated decline of my own, those thoughts get pushed out by the craziness of our government and by the unwillingness of my fellow Christians to engage in these issues because we're too busy fighting bogus wars on Christmas while not even having worship on Christmas and deciding that the real battle is not with flesh and blood nor with principalities and powers but with Wells Fargo. I find this all to be very discouraging.
Well, tomorrow's another day. Maybe things will look better then.
Update - 12/22: Nope, they don't. But this is kind of fun.
Edited on 12/22 to get rid of odd characters and a few mistakes and typos, the kind you only notice well after something is published, and to add the additional comment.