It isn't so funny when political satire collides with reality. In a February 14 spoof, The Onion posts the "claim" that Bush Cuts Off Diplomatic Relations With Congress. Bush feels that Congress has "no concern for my national interests, and have left me no choice."
But things that sound like they should be satire – but aren't – are being issued lately by the Republicans, which prompts relatively sane folks like Jim Wallis to note in Time magazine that "Most people I talk to think that politics isn't working in America and believe that the misuse of religion has been part of the problem."
Certainly, The Anti-Defamation League isn't chortling over two wild and crazy guys – Georgia State Rep. Ben Bridges and Texas State Rep. Warren Chisum – who were distributing a memo written by Bridges which attributes the Big Bang theory to Kabbalah, or Jewish mysticism. Fair Education Foundation President Marshall Hall says he was authorized by Bridges to distribute the memo to legislators in several states (including California and Texas), but it sounds like he tends to agree with Wallis about the abuse of religion (only when performed by others, natch!), claiming that neither he nor his wife – who was Bridges' campaign manager – are anti-Semitic. Hall complains, "I think [the Anti-Defamation League] tar people with that brush a little too readily."
Ah, so! You can dish it out, but you can't take it, eh Mr. Hall? It's my humble opinion that you personify P. M. Carpenter's lament that "We are becoming a nation of idiots. It's not necessarily a matter of a majoritarian idiocracy, but it does seem that the idiots are disproportionately in charge of our collective future."
What else can one say about the specious argument that opposition to the planned expansion of the war in Southwest Asia to include Iran is intended to protect it, as White House Press Secretary Tony Snow recently claimed? It isn't like there is absolutely no good reason to oppose the Bush Gang in their latest labor, militarily dominating the world's oil supply for the sole benefit of Americans – the greedy 4.58% of the world's population who guzzle 25% of the total production [PDF]. We can't continue to defend that energy avarice. Most knowledgeable experts agree that there is no military solution for Iran, insisting that such a course would prove "disastrous for the United States", and which may well use up what non-nuclear national military might remains.
But there is no way the White House will listen to reason. Because it now looks like the entire Congress may at some point stop playing with non-binding measures and take up bills with more bite; there are reports beginning to circulate that The Onion's satire may well be taking solid form in our all-too-real world. With Bush "struggling for relevancy" while facing 71% of Americans who think Bush "a lame duck" and of whom 58% "wish the Bush presidency were simply over", it looks as though the Oval Office is about to abandon the Constitution, by bypassing the Congress and ruling effectively by fiat.
Much conservative pressure to do this is clearly an attempt by the Toppers (those whose incomes lounge in the top 1% category) to protect their generous tax advantages from Senatorial review. This alone should provide plenty of incentive for Dubya to act in defense of his "Havemore base", but the same methods can also quell rising unrest over growing evidence that his "War On Terror" is an abject failure. (Even American intelligence officials grimly admit that Al Qaeda is again growing stronger in Afghanistan – the first "democracy" on the Bush "mission accomplished" list – despite more than five years in a military and political campaign to weaken it.)
It also doesn't help that the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Peter Pace, openly makes statements that indicate we aren't being told the truth about the Administration's failing democratization effort in Iraq, any more than of the similar effort in Afghanistan. Information about actual events in Iraq isn't going to improve, with the Baghdad correspondent for McClatchy News, Mohammed al Dulaimy, declaring, "I think it is about time to say I have had enough … it isn't going to get any better."
And these PNAC Petroleum Pirate Posse Poltroons want to start yet another future failure of a war??? They ought to be impeached!!!
And yet, despite all of their other forecasting inadequacies, they seem to have thought ahead on this very daunting prospect. The numerous terminations of what has to be the most seriously dedicated US Attorneys in America has to be seen as an attempt to avoid the consequences of their illegal actions. By terminating these seven (one report says another "voluntary resignation" is pending, making the total eight) US Attorneys is intended to send a message to one specific US Attorney, Patrick Fitzgerald, whose prosecution of Dick Cheney's lackey Scooter Libby threatens to expose the Bush White House to further investigations which could lead to impeachment.
Since the terminations of other US Attorneys around the nation evidently haven't registered with Fitzgerald, the White House is yanking the leashes of their media pit bulls as a less-subtle means of making their point. Even this achieves the Oval Office goal. I doubt even waking up next to a horse's head would deter Mr. Fitzgerald from the swift completion of his appointed rounds, so there's no need for this farce to maim or injure an innocent equine. That advice is freely offered in case the Bush dirty tricks squad is contemplating just such an action.
But I digress.
One action they are desperate enough to pursue is positive distraction, – offering up "evidence" of a major oil discovery in Sunni regions of Iraq as a means to stifle restive and hostile militias in that region. The unfortunate fact of this little-known "discovery" is that it will in no way come close to matching the value of the reserves held by the other Iraqi factions. So the Sunnis are still left sucking hind wellhead and begging arms alms from their wealthy cousins, the Saudis.
But the Saudis face their own inconvenient truths. Matthew Simmons, an industry banker, shocked the oil world when he questioned whether Saudi Arabia would be able to continue to expand production at the very same time that Wood Mackenzie, an Edinburgh-based oil industry consultancy, calculated that much of the future production expansion is likely to come from expensive and environmentally damaging unconventional sources within 15 years. If this projection holds up, the Saudis would need every dollar, euro, and riyal to maintain their currently all-too-lavish lifestyles. There won't be any left over in the Wahhabi cupboard to care for Mother Bandar's poor little Anbar doggies. That will only mean that We, the People of the United States of America, will be expected to foot the energy trough feed bill with our blood and our bounty, and we already aren't very thrilled with that prospect as it is currently configured.
The White House certainly knows this. That is why they appear too willing to try out The Onion's idea, something which they have already initiated with the signing of Executive Order 12866 last month. This executive ukase intends to put political appointees in charge of federal regulatory agencies and limit the ability of Congress to perform its duties as the deliberative body of our government, such as it now is. With the White House giving itself much greater control over "the rules and policy statements that the government develops to protect public health, safety, the environment, civil rights and privacy", the United States no longer enjoys Constitutional government. It has become that dictatorship that Bush repeatedly claimed would be "a whole lot easier" to run – provided he was the dictator – than the republic the Founding Fathers established almost 220 years ago.
The longer it goes, the worse it grows. It's not funny, and I'm not laughing. There is but one conclusion to draw: It may soon prove to be time to follow Thomas Jefferson's sagacious arboreal advice, although whether we do so figuratively or literally matters little at this point. The Republic is in danger from within and must be defended.