"The committee is, to put it bluntly, basically under the control of the White House," said Rockefeller. . .” (Senator John D. Rockefeller IV (D-W.VA.), after leaving the Senate Intelligence Committee meeting yesterday)
As Glenn Greenwald commiserates with appropriate vitriol and razor precision, this outcome of the Senate Intelligence Committee, despite our commonsense-defying and desperate hopes, was inevitable. What manner of coercion, threats, entreaties, bribes, admonishments, and heaping mendacity must the Bush Administration employ to keep its jackboot on the face of Congress? After all, they have the NSA, the FBI, and whatever other manner of black-ops available within their purview to dig up or manufacture evidence that puts the metaphorical gun to the head of anyone who would resist absolute compliance – all within a prescribed daedal ruse – to the grand scheme.
Meanwhile, one does not need to be a semiotician to read the signs amidst the extant posturing and belligerence of Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, Bolton, Bush, and their concomitant neocon think-tanks and priapic military (and, our Middle Eastern pit bull, Israel) preparing for an imminent attack on Iran. The American citizenry is as ignorant of the facts and as susceptible to the Bush propaganda machine on Iran as it was with Iraq; more so it would appear. Despite the fact that we actually will be in a perpetual war after that – at least one that will last into the next century - and despite the blatant hypocrisy of arming to the hilt with nuclear technology and fissile material one strategically located nation that already has nuclear weapons (although not a signatory of the non-proliferation treaty), while threatening “dire consequences” if Iran, who does not possess nuclear weapons, continues to enrich uranium for what ever their purposes may be. If the media had an ounce of responsibility (or sovereignty or courage) and laid out the facts, including who has nukes and who doesn’t, who is likely to use them and who isn’t, and attempted to reveal the true nature of the Persian culture to Americans before we vaporize them, perhaps the inevitable march to war would run into some obstacles. Unfortunately, as Glenn Greenwald says,
“…we have a President who not only breaks the law but claims he has the right to do so, while the media barely finds any of it worthy of much attention… [and] the Congress has completely abdicated its responsibilities at the altar of cult-like
obedience to White House decrees. That's just one of the many rotted roots in our government.”
Reasonable outcomes are not expected, nor are they prudent.
The issues that reach the public media are those that the Bush Administration plant as a distraction; Wolf (now reporting from Dubai like someone whose family is being held hostage) plays the obsequious fool, while everyone in talkingheadville performs the sleight-of-hand without even knowing they are complicit. While citizen bloggers like Greenwald, Hamsher, and Georgia10 and those who link and comment on their sites, attempt to extrapolate upon the most important domestic issue, the NSA warrantless wiretaps (which as L.A. points out with perspicacity, is concomitant with the Patriot Act (non) debate), the public media is steered toward the hyperbolic and inconsequential ports deal controversy. Let’s examine the issue, as delineated by Mr. Greenwald:
But there is a far bigger and more important problem. Congress already enacted legislation regulating the Government's eavesdropping activities. They called that law FISA. The Administration has been violating that law because they believe they have the power to do so, because they think that Congress has no power to regulate or limit the President's eavesdropping activities. Since the White House still believes it has this power, isn't passing another law facially moronic, given that the Administration has already said that they are free to violate whatever Congressional laws they want which purport to regulate eavesdropping?
And, just by the way, there is also another law passed by Congress more than 50 years ago called the National Security Act of 1947, which already requires the Administration to brief the full House and Senate Intelligence Committee on all NSA activities, a law the Administration also plainly violated.
I am not one of those who comply to the notion that the President and his lawyers believe that they actually have these inherent powers; they simply know that they can manipulate, obfuscate, and coerce their way through any public scrutiny (unlikely considering the dysfunctionality of the public media), and a jackbooted Congress, until these imperial powers are taken for granted. The other possibility – that the citizenry goes into upheaval in the form of a general strike - would suit the Administration even better; suspension of Posse Comitatus and declaration of martial law, perhaps suspension of the 22nd Amendment.
While Bush & Co. keep the NSA scandal from proceeding to its ultimate legal denouement (an eventuality that is inevitable through myriad determined legal avenues), or at least off the front pages, they are filling the capillaries of tactical information with the blood of fear and hatred for Iran (Argumentum ad Baculum). The propaganda machine is already humming; only their message on Iran is getting out. By the time anyone figures out the ruse, Iran will be burning, and its ancient Persian culture will be reduced to trinkets for sale on e-bay.
Pick your battle and stick to it:
•The NSA scandal (the Constitution and a free republic are at stake);
•Iran: illuminate the hypocrisy, danger, and hegemonic agenda of the Bush Administration’s belligerence and propaganda – the consequences here are a world at war for the remainder of this century and a geopolitical realignment that would confound Orwell and Huxley;
•The attack on a woman’s right to choose – this issue affects the privacy of every citizen, and has at its heart a repugnant and vileness against life as it purports the opposite (Petitio Principii );
•Iraq: where are the ubiquitous demonstrations and marches that galvanized other anti-war movements? The tragedy of this illegal war is unfathomable in its cost of human lives, an historic civilization, and its Sisyphean financial burden on our economy. Morality and ethics should dictate the response alone. However, these diurnal reports should eventually wear down even the most complacent citizen of the world;
•Poverty: Katrina may have provided a brief glimpse into the enormity of our economic disparity, based on class warfare, corporate greed, and social stratification beyond anything Jonathon Kozol feared;
•Shedding Light: the onslaught of lies and propaganda from the Whitehouse and the neocon cabal needs, at a minimum, an equal force of resistance. We can no longer count on the free press as described in the First Amendment and by Madison (June 8, 1789) thusly:
''The people shall not be deprived or abridged of their right to speak, to write, or to publish their sentiments; and the freedom of the press, as one of the great bulwarks of liberty, shall be inviolable.''
ADDENDUM: Please take a moment to read this post by Riverbend at Baghdad Burning; through the tears are smiles.