One of the things that concerns me about Bush is how well he and Rove and Cheney have been able to constantly redefine what truth is. And they are so very effective at calling on American exceptionalism to shore up their troops, so they reaffirm the notion that America is unique and special and right. So, any fundamental alterations in how our system works go largely unnoticed by those who still believe Bush consults God for every major decision.
For example, this ABC report suggesting that the administration is using phone numbers to root out leaks.
"A senior federal law enforcement official tells ABC News the government is tracking the phone numbers we (Brian Ross and Richard Esposito) call in an effort to root out confidential sources.
'It's time for you to get some new cell phones, quick,' the source told us in an in-person conversation."
Remember, this same administration found it conveninent to out a CIA agent who was working to stop nuclear proliferation to fucking Iran. That's right, they used a leak to send a political version of a horses head to a critic of the war. But when their own inhumanity is exposed--when we find out about torture, or gulags, or wiretapping--those leaks must be exposed, And along the way, why not wipe out the free press? Make sure that those few who actually do reporting are so intimidated or imprisoned that the media becomes exactly what Colbert suggested--people who write down what the President says and prints it.
My experience with Americans on this suggests that they will look at this and A) assume that Clinton must have done just as bad, and B) decide that the news media is so biased against conservatives and Christians that it needs to be intimidated, or C) just not care because America is still the greatest country where you can be free....
One more note in this rant. I am a big fan of the Law & Order, so have picked up a few of the legalese phrases. One of my favorites is the "fruit of the poisonous tree," which means evidence that may have been gathered legally, but was found because of some illegal search or other violation. In other words, it is finding the bloody glove with OJ's DNA, but having to throw it out because they tortured a guy to find out where the glove was.
From a conservative standpoint--and I mean a truly conservative standpoint where you actually believe the Constitution--all of these actions are very dangerous because they ultimately undermine the very judicial system that makes us unique. If this administration was not so arrogant, it might recognize that dotting a few i's and crossing a few t's to ensure oversight and legitimacy could go a long way for them politically and for us systemically. The Data mining of phone records might be a great idea, but it should not be a unilateral decision by King George. Evesdropping on terrorists calling from Yemen is a great idea, but not without some oversight. How do we know, given what we know, that Bush and Rove haven't already used this technology to spy on political opponents?
Democracy is a fragile thing. It is worth nurturing and protecting. Bush isn't doing that. In fact, he has written over 750 times that he doesn't have to protect and nurture that--he is above the law. He is bigger than democracy. He answers only to God.