Since last we met, George W. Bush has been enthroned in near-absolute power by a whopping, er, 21 percent of the American electorate, which narrowly voted in a slate of congressional Republican rubber-stamps–who bid fair to outdo Baghdad’s parliamentarians in their cringing obedience to the all-wise Leader.
Now, you might think that a government unsupported by a full 79 percent of the voters–the 60 percent who opted out altogether plus the 19 percent who held their noses and voted for the tub of wriggling, gutless jellyfish the Democrats put on offer–could hardly claim a “mandate” for its extremist program of permanent war, environmental destruction, tycoon coddling and savage rapine of the nation’s liberties. But you, boychik, would be wrong.
After all, the Bush junta had already seized the White House against the clearly expressed will of the people. They certainly wouldn’t blanche at claiming a mandate from God after capturing Congress as well, even with a vicious campaign of unprecedented sleaze (and record-breaking oodles of fat-cat boodle) that, among countless other things, smeared a war-crippled Vietnam veteran as an Osama-loving traitor (for lack of proper zeal in supporting the Oval One), threatened black voters in Baltimore with jail or eviction if they dared cast their ballots, kept tens of thousands of illegally “purged” voters off the rolls in Florida (again!), and romped home to several “surprising upsets” by razor-thin margins in places using new computer voting gizmos owned–and programmed–by private companies run by Republican donors who refuse to allow any public scrutiny whatsoever of the “proprietary” software that processes the now-paperless, recordless votes.
No, 21 percent means Mandate City for the mud-slinging mullahs, and they are now advancing their extremist agenda on every front: a Blitzkrieg designed to gut the remaining vestiges of genuine democracy and install a monolithic state based on militarized nationalism and the spoils of empire. In addition to giving even more tax cuts to the rich, rolling back even more environmental safeguards and lining up even more bagmen and religious cranks for the federal judiciary, they’ve also been busy knee-capping an international treaty outlawing torture–wouldn’t want to upset the eager viceroys in Egypt, Indonesia, Pakistan, etc., who “vigorously interrogate” prisoners for the Regime. (Like his corporate cronies, Bush likes to move his more dubious activities to off-shore havens).
Then of course there’s the new penchant for “targeted assassination.” Brays of teeth-baring triumph greeted the killing of a carload of alleged al-Qaeda operatives in Yemen by a remote-controlled CIA drone. (Yes, we know there’s a remote-controlled CIA drone currently residing in the Oval Office, but this was a different one.) This adventure in extra-judicial, extra-territorial execution is only the beginning, excited security officials told an enthralled media. There was, of course, one little problem: the missile blast apparently left all the victims burned beyond recognition; even the identity of the primary target, an alleged bin Laden lieutenant, was disputed by witnesses.
As for the other five men in the car–including, apparently, an American citizen, although nobody knows for sure–who cares? In fact, that was the general consensus all around. Either it was bin Laden’s guys or it wasn’t, either they were hardcore gangbangers or they weren’t–guilt or innocence is beside the point. The point is that Bush can now aim and fire his drones anywhere in the world he damn well pleases, and nothing–certainly not law, or that stinking rag, the U.S. Constitution–is going to stop him.
There was also the final scene in the drawing-room comedy being played out in the UN, where Bush pretended to consult with the Security Council and Council members pretended they were acting to “prevent war and preserve the UN’s credibility.” Meanwhile, the Bush boys were backstage twisting arms and issuing threats over oil deals and debt servicing. The whole pantomime was merely a time-killer, something to do while the Generalissimo continues his massive build-up for the already-announced “optimum invasion window” of late December to mid-February.
Finally, if that don’t float your boat, try this: The Pentagon announced last week that it’s building a computer system to give government spies and federal cops “instant access to electronic information from Internet mail and calling records to credit card and banking transactions and travel documents — without a search warrant,” the New York Times reports (italics added). This global eye will be aimed not only at international terrorists but also at the United States–whose citizens will at last be stripped of their remaining rights to privacy.
But rest assured, the spy program “won’t be abused,” says the Pentagon honcho in charge of the plan. And who is this comforting, fatherly figure? None other than Vice Admiral John Poindexter. That would be the same John Poindexter who was convicted on five felony counts in the Iran-Contra affair–including lying, under oath, to Congress and the American people.
Poindexter was a key operator in the Reagan-Bush scam that funneled deadly weapons to the terrorist-succoring regime of Ayatollah Khomeini, in exchange for blood money which the Reagan-Bush team then used to pay off the terrorist army it was running in Nicaragua–an army schooled with CIA manuals on torture and assassination. Poindexter and the other thugs also threw some drug-running into the mix, just to keep the kitty flush.
But hey, we’re sure the convicted oathbreaker is telling the truth this time. How sure, you ask?
Oh, about 21 percent sure.
CHRIS FLOYD is a columnist for the Moscow Times and a regular contributor to CounterPunch. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org