Happy Criminal's Day

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Memo to everyone concerned about illegal warrantless wiretapping: TOLD YOU.

Told you they were gonna get away with it. Told you that Dubya could admit publicly to breaking the law and all relevant authorities would roll over for him. But I'll admit the WAY it's going down has even astonished me.

I've got to say, the wiretapping hearings have provided a civics lesson that makes even a cynical bastard like me look like a rhyming scroll from Schoolhouse Rock. Based on the events of the past two weeks, culminating this past weekend, here's how I've determined our republic works.

First, Congress passes a law. Then, the President signs it into law. Later, another President breaks the law. So far, so good. Nothing too out of the ordinary.

The President gets caught breaking the law, and, as a defense, says "I'm allowed to break the law. You said I could." to Congress. Here's where it starts to get a bit tricky.

Congress, understandably cranky at having one of its laws broken, holds hearings of the Judiciary Committee. This committee's job is to decide whether or not to investigate the President for breaking the law. The police won't investigate because, well, that's the Attorney General's job, and he's busy making sure you're not masturbating to the devil pornography.

So the committee deliberates. And has people tell them why they think it's OK. And while they're deliberating, the President's chief of staff goes up to the Republicans on the committee, and tells them if they decide to investigate the president for breaking the law, they'll never see a dime of Republican money again. And everybody's fine with that, because blackmail and manipulation are Just Part Of The Process.

Finally, the glorious day arrives. The day of the vote. The day in which our elected Senators have to go on the record to decide whether to investigate the president for breaking the law. And the results of that vote are... that it DOESN'T ACTUALLY FUCKING HAPPEN.

You see, the chairman of the committee (a little toad named Pat Roberts) steps forward, saying he's brokered a deal with the president to change the law the president broke so that Dubya's crimes will be legal, even though, according to the president, it was always legal to begin with. And since back-room deals trump legislative action every time, the decision to investigate was tabled until March 7.

But wait, there's a twist! The president, realizing that if the crime he committed is made legal, people might think it was illegal when he did it, says there's no deal, never was a deal, can't be a deal because you don't need to change the law because the President can spy on anyone, anytime, without a warrant, as long as he says it was a terrorist.

So the senators spend the weekend arguing over how they should make the legal thing even more legal - either by letting the secret court the president should have been using this entire time oversee the illegal spying (the "moderate" position), or by saying "fuck it, it's legal" (the Bill Frist position).

So that's where we stand now, fellow citizens. The Republicans, who are in charge of everything, are now debating what the best way is to get the president out of his legal troubles. Whether it's because they're true believers, or because they know that if they ever admit the president committed a crime their bread will forevermore go unbuttered, they're gonna give Dubya the latest in a series of increasingly inexplicable passes.

And the only upside is that future social studies textbooks will join their biology brethren in new, lighter editions, free of pesky concepts like "checks", "balances", and "the legislative branch". Our future generations will have a spring in their step, their backpacks seeming to float as they effortlessly carry the pamphlet describing what's left of our government. Plus, that means more room for the NSA bugging gear!