FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Where Wittgenstein Meets Feinstein

“We will live within our means, even if we have to borrow to do so.”

We used to laugh when we saw clever lines like that in a 1984 or a Catch-22, little knowing that it would fall to us one day to hear them spoken seriously by our own public servants.

You’re asking about FISA? You know what year it was passed?, asked Bush when confronted with the government’s illegal wiretaps after the scandal broke. “In 1978”, he himself answered. Perhaps stunned that he would get the year so exactly right, no journalist present seemed to have thought to ask the obvious follow-up — what then was Mr. Bush’s opinion of laws even older than FISA? Like, say, the Constitution?

But wait a minute, there was no need to ask because this is the most transparent presidency in decades: Richard Nixon was obsessed with secrecy. George W. Bush does his lawbreaking in full public gaze. A devout man, he believes a president’s grasp should exceed his reach, or what are signing statements for? Heck, that’s been goin’ on a long time now.

So long, indeed, it has been perfected to a near-science. Here’s how it goes. Say you are president.

1. First you break a law X.

2. When this comes to light, and you are ‘nudged’ by Congress (the word, ‘confronted’, having abolished during sensitivity training), you reply, truthfully, that “law X is broken” You don’t add, ‘by me’. Nor do your questioners insist upon this, having learned the Supreme Truth in Diversity School that “your view is valid for you”. This little back and forth assuages three quarters of the 50% that is hemming and hawing (the other 50 is grumbling you haven’t broken this law enough).

3. Finally your opponents agree that Law X needs to be fixed. Pre-fab cliches may be bought at the Capitol Hill Supplies Store (We are now in the Internet Age — a great catchall — plus there’s the top-selling, We’re in a War on Terror. Self-proclaimed Conservatives are among the first to emphasize the dicates of modernity — everything must be renewed. Go figure.) You make a few speeches encouraging your opponent to work with you “In a Bipartisan Spirit” (the phrase is mandatory) to “fix the law” (so that you will no longer be in violation) to achieve “Comprehensive X Reform”.

Welcome to the New Revised Tractatus (or, as Mr. Bush calls it, Toys-R-Us). Wittgenstein, meet Feinstein.

It is important, lest you lose your voice railing at the TV, to realize that the opposition, or the vast public, feels no great discomfort with this syllogism. For one thing, few see anything terribly wrong. For a second, do they not use similar logic to promote their own causes? If your mortgage company says you haven’t paid your mortgage per your loan agreement, you answer…(wait a minute, you already know that). And if someone says illegal immigration is illegal, you answer that the system is broken (very good); what is needed is…(all together now), “Comprehensive..Immigration..Reform”.

Look at the Senate FISA vote yesterday — every Republican voted to change FISA to provide retroactive immunity and exculpate a rogue government. Is lawbreaking just a Democratic concern? If that, for nearly half the Democrats supported the Republicans!

As to the two ‘leaders’ of the Democratic Party running for President — they did not even show up to vote! These are the ones who hope to take an oath next January promising to ‘uphold’ the Constitution. When asked about her absence, Hillary Clinton answered helpfully, that she would, if she had been present, voted against the resolution. I don’t know what Barack Obama said. He probably pointed out that he had spoken out against the War in 2002, showing sound judgement.

What a travesty these two are! Barack Obama talks about enlisting the American people in a greater cause — what greater opportunity than yesterday, to rally them in defense of their Constitution! Instead, what was he speaking about? Some namby pamby garbage about hope. Wasn’t this this exactly the kind of pap that made Clinton an inconsequential leader, which he was according to Obama? Well, Hope for one, Bridge to the 21st Century for the other. In the meantime, the Constitution is in flames. The former Harvard Law Review Editor exhibits no urgency over this. Meanwhile Ms. 35 Years of Experience is down in Texas, busy defending her upcoming Alamo.

With their indifference yesterday, both have forfeited the right to ask for the people’s vote as defenders of the Constitution.

What is the solution? I believe the first step is to demand that any leader wanting to be President declare that he will follow the rule of law and the Constitution regardless of any situation, even if terrorists attack the USA. I realize that this is a ridiculous demand to state the obvious, but we live in ridiculous times. Further he or she will have to explain to the people and defend the notion that the Constitution trumps all exigencies, including wars, phony or real. If the two Democratic cndidates (it is laughable even to mention the unctous McCain in this context) do not say this out this loud and clear, and make plain their intent to restore the rule of law to its pre-9-11 condition, every sincere lover of the Republic should contribute, work (as of now), and vote for Ron Paul, persuading him to run with a running mate equally devoted to the Constitution. Kucinch? Nader? Even Gore?

NIRANJAN RAMAKRISHNAN is a writer living on the West Coast. He can be reached at: njn_2003@yahoo.com.

 

 

 

 

More articles by:

/>Niranjan Ramakrishnan is a writer living on the West Coast.  His book, “Reading Gandhi In the Twenty-First Century” was published last year by Palgrave.  He may be reached at njn_2003@yahoo.com.

April 24, 2018
Carl Boggs
Russia and the War Party
William A. Cohn
Carnage Unleashed: the Pentagon and the AUMF
Nathan Kalman-Lamb
The Racist Culture of Canadian Hockey
María Julia Bertomeu
On Angers, Disgusts and Nauseas
Nick Pemberton
How To Buy A Seat In Congress 101
Ron Jacobs
Resisting the Military-Now More Than Ever
Paul Bentley
A Velvet Revolution Turns Bloody? Ten Dead in Toronto
Sonali Kolhatkar
The Left, Syria and Fake News
Manuel E. Yepe
The Confirmation of Democracy in Cuba
Peter Montgomery
Christian Nationalism: Good for Politicians, Bad for America and the World
Ted Rall
Bad Drones
Jill Richardson
The Latest Attack on Food Stamps
Andrew Stewart
What Kind of Unionism is This?
Ellen Brown
Fox in the Hen House: Why Interest Rates Are Rising
April 23, 2018
Patrick Cockburn
In Middle East Wars It Pays to be Skeptical
Thomas Knapp
Just When You Thought “Russiagate” Couldn’t Get Any Sillier …
Gregory Barrett
The Moral Mask
Robert Hunziker
Chemical Madness!
David Swanson
Senator Tim Kaine’s Brief Run-In With the Law
Dave Lindorff
Starbucks Has a Racism Problem
Uri Avnery
The Great Day
Nyla Ali Khan
Girls Reduced to Being Repositories of Communal and Religious Identities in Kashmir
Ted Rall
Stop Letting Trump Distract You From Your Wants and Needs
Steve Klinger
The Cautionary Tale of Donald J. Trump
Kevin Zeese - Margaret Flowers
Conflict Over the Future of the Planet
Cesar Chelala
Gideon Levy: A Voice of Sanity from Israel
Weekend Edition
April 20, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
Ruling Class Operatives Say the Darndest Things: On Devils Known and Not
Conn Hallinan
The Great Game Comes to Syria
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Mother of War
Andrew Levine
“How Come?” Questions
Doug Noble
A Tale of Two Atrocities: Douma and Gaza
Kenneth Surin
The Blight of Ukania
Howard Lisnoff
How James Comey Became the Strange New Hero of the Liberals
William Blum
Anti-Empire Report: Unseen Persons
Lawrence Davidson
Missiles Over Damascus
Patrick Cockburn
The Plight of the Yazidi of Afrin
Pete Dolack
Fooled Again? Trump Trade Policy Elevates Corporate Power
Stan Cox
For Climate Mobilization, Look to 1960s Vietnam Before Turning to 1940s America
William Hawes
Global Weirding
Dan Glazebrook
World War is Still in the Cards
Nick Pemberton
In Defense of Cardi B: Beyond Bourgeois PC Culture
Ishmael Reed
Hollywood’s Last Days?
Peter Certo
There Was Nothing Humanitarian About Our Strikes on Syria
Dean Baker
China’s “Currency Devaluation Game”
Ann Garrison
Why Don’t We All Vote to Commit International Crimes?
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail