Sunday, July 08, 2007

Patriotism (slightly updated, July 31)

Sometimes, it's difficult to be a patriotic American. But that's only because "patriotism" has been carjacked by the White House.

The Bush administration and their ilk have made dissent a dirty word. If you disagree with them, you're either un-American, or worse, you're "endangering the troops."

Personally, I like to judge people by their actions, not their words. And when you look at the actions committed by our White House, you don't see anything that resembles a normal definition of "patriotism."

As the cost of the Iraq debacle increasingly spirals out of control, running us about $12 billion dollars per month at the moment, it's becoming increasingly apparent that we can't afford to stay in Iraq. Not that George W. Bush sees this as a problem. After all, he's managed to build up our national debt to nine trillion dollars, or seventy percent of the economy. Which puts the American economy at risk from hostile foreign governments.

(Let's make an analogy that hits closer to home. George Bush is spending his entire paycheck every month, and paying the bills with credit cards. Do you see how that might be a bad idea?)

The more human cost of White House policies, the price in American lives, is now approaching 3600 dead servicemen. Again, not a problem for Bush & Co. None of them has even bothered to serve in the military, nor are any of their relatives. The White House doesn't feel that "sacrifice" is an important component to a war. (Of course, if you ask Laura Bush, nobody is suffering as much as they are. So they've got that going for them, I guess.)

Meanwhile, we have an executive branch which has no interest in following the law. If the president doesn't like a bill passed by Congress, instead of vetoing it, he'll write a quick (and probably misspelled) paragraph explaining why he's going to ignore it. Meanwhile, the vice president isn't even clear which branch of the government he's in.

(On the other hand, by ignoring the court system and the appeals process, and commuting the sentence of Scooter Libby before he spent even a day in jail, George Bush apparently decided he's part of the Judicial Branch, as well as the Executive Branch. So between the two of them, Bush and Cheney have all three branches of the government covered. Cool, huh?)

And less than a month after telling a group of high school students that "the United States does not torture and... we value human rights," he signed an executive order that essentially lets the CIA do whatever the hell they want (except sexual abuse) to a prisoner.

So, what's Bush's latest trick?
Bush administration officials unveiled a bold new assertion of executive authority yesterday in the dispute over the firing of nine U.S. attorneys, saying that the Justice Department will never be allowed to pursue contempt charges initiated by Congress against White House officials once the president has invoked executive privilege.
In case you've been living in a cave these last few weeks, this particular mutation of the law is meant to protect Harriet Miers, to keep her from squealing like a two-bit loan shark in a Mafia druglord trial.

Basically, what Bush is saying is "I told her not to tell you what I've been doing. And so, if she lies to you, it must be legal. If she refuses to talk to you, it must be legal. Because I said that it is.

And that's not all. The White House set up a secret plan to run the government in case of terrorist attack. (You remember the terrorists, right? The boogeymen that they've been waving over our heads for six years?) Well, you'd think that sort of thing would fall under that overarching title "Homeland Security," right?

So a couple of the constituents of Rep. Peter Defazio (D-OR) asked him to look into the plan, thinking that there might be some kind of nastiness buried in it. Seems reasonable, right? After all, he is on the U.S. House on the Homeland Security Committee. So Defazio went through the proper channels, and asked to go into a secured room and read the plan. And was refused permission.

No, that doesn't look suspicious at all, does it?

And now, as if to prove that Bush is either corrupt, willfully ignorant or both, the White House has asked Congress to approve a $20 billion arms deal to Saudi Arabia and other Arab states. Now, let's be clear here: nearly half of the insurgents captured in Iraq come from Saudi Arabia. And let's not forget the White House's favorite topic of conversation for the last six years = 9/11. Fifteen of the nineteen hijackers were from Saudi Arabia.

What is it about Saudi Arabia that makes George Bush trust them? (Oh, yeah. They have oil.)

At this point, the only true patriot in America is one who opposes the White House.

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