I ran into this
article from conservative Paul
Craig Roberts. Despite the growing excuses, I believe it
spells out a few interesting bits.
Americans have forgotten what it takes to remain
free. Instead, every ideology, every group is determined to
use government to advance its agenda. As the government's
power grows, the people are eclipsed.
We have reached a point where the Bush administration is determined to
totally eclipse the people. Bewitched by neoconservatives and lustful
for power, the Bush administration and the Republican Party are
aligning themselves firmly against the American people. Their first
victims, of course, were the true conservatives. Having eliminated
internal opposition, the Bush administration is now using blackmail
obtained through illegal spying on American citizens to silence the
media and the opposition party.
Before flinching at my assertion of blackmail, ask yourself
why President Bush refuses to obey the Foreign Intelligence
Surveillance Act. The purpose of the FISA court is to ensure
that administrations do not spy for partisan political
reasons. The warrant requirement is to ensure that a panel of
independent federal judges hears a legitimate reason for the
spying, thus protecting a president from the temptation to
abuse the powers of government. The only reason for the
Bush administration to evade the court is that the Bush
administration had no legitimate reasons for its spying. This
should be obvious even to a naif.
The years of illegal spying have given the Bush
administration power over the media and the
opposition. Journalists and Democratic politicians don't want
to have their adulterous affairs broadcast over television or
to see their favorite online porn sites revealed in headlines
in the local press with their names attached. Only people
willing to risk such disclosures can stand up for the country.
In particular I like his point about the no-fly list. It
always felt dumb to have the no-fly list in the first place
and all of the side effects we have heard from it are the
result of this dumbness. Maybe it was naivete on my part, but
this makes sense:
Consider the no-fly list. This list has no purpose whatsoever
but to harass and disrupt the livelihoods of Bush's
critics. If a known terrorist were to show up at check-in, he
would be arrested and taken into custody, not told that he
could not fly. What sense does it make to tell someone who is
not subject to arrest and who has cleared screening that he or
she cannot fly? How is this person any more dangerous than any
This is priceless:
If Senator Ted Kennedy, a famous senator with two martyred
brothers, can be put on a no-fly list, as he was for several
weeks, anyone can be put on the list. The list has no
accountability. People on the list cannot even find out why
they are on the list. There is no recourse, no procedure for
I am certain that there are more Bush critics on the list
than there are terrorists. According to reports, the list
now comprises 80,000 names! This number must greatly dwarf
the total number of terrorists in the world and certainly the
number of known terrorists.
He has a follow up article, on the State of The Union,
focusing in particular on the economy bits here.
On that note, Bilmes and Stiglitz claim
that the actual cost of the Iraq war will end up being between
one and two trillion dollars.
In the meantime there is a Sundance short that makes fun at
the actual state of the economy. I found it entertaining, but
it might not be appreciated by everyone (sorry, requires an
updated Flash): here.
Update: Robert's second article goes well with the
previous video link:
[...] The US trade deficit in ATP now exceeds the US
surplus in Intellectual Property licenses and fees. The US no
longer earns enough from high tech to cover any part of its
import bill for oil, autos, or clothing.
This is an astonishing development. The US "superpower" is
dependent on China for advanced technology products and is
dependent on Asia to finance its massive deficits and foreign
wars. In view of the rapid collapse of US economic potential,
my prediction in January 2004 that the US would be a third
world economy in 20 years was optimistic. Another five years
like the last, and little will be left.