Saturday, February 04, 2006

If a Tree Falls in a Forest and Only the Squirrels Hear It….

In suspense movies and the thrillers you buy at airport bookshops, the discovery of one single significant piece of evidence—an incriminating letter, a tape recording, a computer disk—suffices to bring down the government. In the real world, the state of the evidence is apparently quite irrelevant. We know perfectly well that the current administration conducts aggressive wars on the basis of fudged intelligence, tortures suspects, taps phones without a warrant in direct violation of black letter law, engages in endless character assassination, buys television personalities, suppresses scientific information from public agencies, helps energy companies rip off states, and winks as its corporate supporters rip off the treasury through sweetheart contracts. Only a tobacco lobbyist could raise doubts about the reality of this pattern of wrongdoing. We’re not talking about vague allegations that the President was once seen with a dubious character. Ken Lay isn’t somebody Bush met once. Kenny Boy was Bush’s number one political supporter. And Ken Lay was only one of a host of felonious corporation capos who collectively make up Bush’s social circle. By the same token, DeLay didn’t just happen to drop in on an Albramoff family bar mitzvah once as a courtesy. The men are joined at the hip—I use a cliché to reflect the banality of a criminal association central to the success of the Republican Party over the last couple of years. And that’s not to bring up the cesspool that is Ohio politics or the election rigging in Florida or many other things. Corruption deluxe, currently holding the World and Olympic records.

We would be better off if the Republicans operated in secret. As it is, the demonstration that a political party with enough control over the courts, prosecutors, and media can get away with anything must surely encourage further excesses. Is there any behavior that would outrage Chris Matthews or Teddy Russert? The precedents are not encouraging. Meanwhile, like dogs, most people only hear the tone of their master’s voice. In the absence of audible signs of a guilty conscience, they won’t dare to draw any conclusions, at least publicly and all the more so because an appropriate proportionate response to the crimes of this administration would be drastic. In a rational world these guys die in prison.

I suppose one could be charitable and claim that something so enormous as this enormity is hard to identify because no one can’t fit its boggling bulk into a single eyegulp. Like the sailors in an old story, we can’t find the whale because we’ve beached our rowboat on its back. I don’t believe that for a minute. There are plenty of people who have seen the whale, excuse me, the elephant; but they apparently aren’t the ones that matter.

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