You Are Dumb, which is not a blog, posts new columns every weekday, except for a couple of days each month when it doesn't. It is also a Twitter feed, @youaredumb, with content in a similar vein but much shorter. My spinoff food site, Forkbastard, can be found easily enough by the clever.
Memo to America: GIVE A SHIT.
Sometimes, it becomes necessary to ask of you the impossible. But once again, you are going to be put to the test. It's the week before Christmas. You're tied up in the holiday. Your travel plans, your presents, your lawsuit against the ACLU. Maybe even a church service, if your suburban megachurch isn't planning to take Sunday off. You're busy, dammit, and complicated questions of liberty are way outside your comfort zone right now.
Of course, the question isn't terribly complicated, much like the man responsible for it. But even so, Dubya is counting on your holiday torpor, the national tryptophan of lights and furry fat men, to let him get away with what I do not lightly call the most brazen pile of bullshit in the past five years.
You see, a year ago, the President got caught authorizing the NSA to spy on Americans without warrants. The NSA can't spy on Americans without warrants. I can't put it any plainer than that. CAN'T. It's against the law. It's in violation of the Constitution. PERIOD. Inarguable. You know why? Because if it were legal, if it were constitutional, it wouldn't have taken a secret executive order issued shortly after 9/11 to make it happen, that's why. They'd have just done it. And it's incredibly easy to get warrants. There's a whole secret court that's existed for almost 30 years. All it does is issue warrants, even retroactively, for what Bush wanted to do. But for some reason they didn't want to do that, so Dubya said they could go ahead anyway, even though they can't. And he got caught.
He got caught about a year ago. By the New York Times. The reason you didn't hear about it then is because the government talked the New York Times into not telling us all what they'd caught the President doing. Which is a whole other can of perfidious worms I can't even open more than a crack because of all the rest of the obscenity. But I'll tell you this, the NYT isn't saying whether "a year ago" means before or after the 2004 elections. Which means it was before.
So the New York Times puts this out just in time to help scuttle the extension of the Patriot Act, which is a law full of a bunch of OTHER shit they probably shouldn't be doing, but doesn't begin to cover the shit they were doing anyway. So stop cheering the filibuster. It's nice, but since it obviously doesn't matter whether this stuff is legal or not, one law ain't gonna make much difference either way, is it? It is not.
Caught. Red-handed. Hand in the tyranny jar. So what's the defense? What possible defense could there be for bypassing every check, balance, and safeguard we've had here for two hundred and twenty nine years? ACTUAL MOTHERFUCKING BASTARD IN CHIEF QUOTE TIME!
"This authorization is a vital tool in our war against the terrorists. It is critical to saving American lives. I intend to [continue] for as long as our nation faces a continuing threat from al-Qaida and related groups. - President George W. Bush, lover of democracy, leader of the free world.
That's really fucking comforting. Not just al-Qaida, but "related groups". Basically, as long as anyone, anywhere, is pissed off at the US, the man causing most of them to be pissed off in the first place can do whatever he wants.
They say the program is narrowly targeted. They say the program is periodically reviewed and painstakingly monitored. They say it's only the people who would otherwise have blown us up who have anything to fear from this. They always say that, and it is NEVER EVER TRUE.
After all, they said the same things about the Pentagon's TALON database, and now they are shocked, SHOCKED, to find a bunch of tiny college anti-war groups identified in it as threats to America.
The reason this shit is illegal, the reason this shit is expressly forbidden by our founding document, is that we CANNOT BELIEVE THEM when they say "we can be trusted to do this, and it's in your best interests that we do so". The fuck it is. The honest truth is, it's MORE in my best interest to get my ass blown up on the bus than it is to believe that Dubya's super-double-secret surveillance will keep it from happening.
And they are brazenly admitting it, because they know you won't care. They KNOW IT. And I know it too. It's Christmas. You don't wanna explode. You hate brown people. You don't think you're being spied on. So who gives a shit? Not you. Not ever. You are dumb.