Over the past five-plus years, the American people have gotten a taste of what a triumphant George W. Bush is like, as he basked in high approval ratings and asserted virtually unlimited powers as Commander in Chief. Now, the question is: How will Bush and his inner circle behave when cornered?So far, the answer should send chills through today's weakened American Republic. Bush and his team -- faced with plunging poll numbers and cascading disclosures of wrongdoing -- appear determined to punish and criminalize resistance to their regime.
That is the significance of recent threats from the administration and its supporters who bandy about terms like sedition, espionage and treason when referring to investigative journalists, government whistle-blowers and even retired military generals -- critics who have exposed Executive Branch illegalities, incompetence and deceptions.
CIA Director Porter Goss, a former Republican congressman long regarded as a political partisan, has escalated pressure on intelligence officials suspected of leaking secrets about Bush's warrantless wiretapping of Americans and the torture of detainees held in clandestine prisons in Asia and Eastern Europe.
That's from Robert Parry's "Bush Brandishes Jail Time at Critics" (Consortium News) proving I'm not all talk. (Link takes you to a roundtable where I said Robert Parry was the online version of Seymour Hersh but that he gets far too little links.)
"So what's your beef?" That's what David Letterman used to ask Jay Leno when Leno was a guest on Letterman's show and not a host of The Tonight Show. Leno would go off on some topic. I bring that up because I'm about to go off on a topic.
Do you have a cell phone?
There was a time when a considerate person was someone who turned their ringer down low. (Better yet, put it on the vibrate option.) Those were the good old days.
Now days, something's new is happening and someone needs to note it so leave it to me and "my beefs" to cover it.
Everyone's got to have a tune on their ring tones. Everyone needs a song snippet that goes off every time the phone rings. Fair enough. If you've got a favorite song, go with it.
But here's something to remember -- a cell phone does not come with great speakers.
So when you have that thing up full blast and you think you look so cool, guess what? You don't. You sound like the fool with the tape deck in a Ford Pinto, blasting the music as loud as it will go, while everyone you drive past thinks, "What a crappy set of speakers."
That is reality, guys and gals. Your speakers suck. Unless you're going to hook up a set of speakers to your cell phone, turn the damn ringer down.
It doesn't sound cool. It sounds like crap. It's sound like a busted speaker and with all the crackling, it just makes people think, "You need a new sound system."
Maybe an elevator music version of "Hot in Here" isn't meant to be played full blast from your cell phone. Something to consider.
Let me offer one more tip. This is just for those of you using the walkie-talkie option on your cell phones. We all know you're desparately lonely and fear the world gets that you're a pariah. But hearing your friend, at full blast, respond, "Nothin', what you doing?" over and over does nothing to change our minds. In fact, we not only don't envy you, we wonder how lame you and your friend are that you have to talk, right then, at that moment, while you're on the train or in the grocery store, and yet you have nothing to say. You two don't seem exciting, we're not envious. We're just thinking, "What losers."
The Bully Boy and the NSA not withstanding, a phone conversation is supposed to be at least semi-private. Take that as a guideline.
Things to check out: C.I.'s "NYT: Taking a look at the pipeline, ignoring other things"; Mikes' "Law and Disorder, Iraq and more (including Jane Fonda quote)"; Rebecca's "flashpoints and the threepenny opera" and her "flashpoints (rita moreno) cover to cover with denny smithson (jane fonda)"; Elaine's "It's never up to an administration... It all depends upon what people force them to do."; Wally's "THIS JUST IN! THE DEALER IN CHIEF"; audio interview "Cover to Cover with Denny Smithson (Interviewing Jane Fonda)"; and audio, video or transcript of Amy Goodman interviewing "Antonia Juhasz on The Bush Agenda: Invading the World, One Economy at a Time."