August 06, 2007

Some Notes

Herewith a few thoughts on a couple of topics, which I decided to offer in this form for two reasons: they don't fit all that well into other essays I'm working on, and I might postpone mentioning them so long that I finally don't write about them at all. But I think they're worth discussing (at least from my own perspective, your mileage may vary).

Impeachment Is Now Definitely Off the Table: In this latest post about the FISA legislation, I explained in further detail why impeachment of any of the criminals in the Bush administration is now unlikely in the extreme. Several of the key arguments for impeachment have been entirely destroyed by this atrocious bill. If I were of a conspiratorial turn of mind (which I most definitely am not for the most part: I am a strong advocate of Occam's Razor, and the simplest explanation is usually the correct one, particularly when confirming evidence lies all around you), I might think that the Democrats ensured passage of the FISA bill precisely to make certain that impeachment would thereby become all but impossible.

The Democrats' own conventional wisdom on this point is that pursuing impeachment would be "divisive," which alleged evil the Democrats shun more than anything else (see John Murtha) -- more than the destruction of the Constitution, more than the possibility of an attack on Iran and spreading war, more than the possible imposition of martial law, etc., etc. But that's not their primary concern. Their primary concern is that impeachment might diminish what they hope will be an overwhelming Democratic electoral victory in 2008. Make your own judgment as to the moral character of a person who would place the outcome of an election above the frighteningly numerous possibilities for disaster before that election takes place; I trust my own judgment is clear. I myself think that a strong case for impeachment might rally huge numbers of Americans to the Democrats' side. But that would require that the Democrats lead: that they present a sustained argument as to why impeachment is required, and that they make understandable to the public the numerous reasons that justify impeachment. The Democrats would have to demonstrate their commitment to principle, and their ability to make a morally confident case.

But the Democrats can do none of those things. They could not do it with regard to the Military Commissions Act, which destroyed the ultimate foundation of liberty, habeas corpus, and also approved the government's use of torture; they cannot do it with regard to the monstrousness and criminality of an attack on Iran in the present circumstances; and they cannot do it with regard to any of the other literally life-, nation- and world-altering issues that confront us. As I explained in "Blinded by the Story," the major reason they cannot is that, on the deepest and most fundamental level, their loyalties and convictions are no different from those of the Republicans: the ruling class, across the board and apart from ultimately irrelevant party designation, is devoted to the consolidation and expansion of the corporatist-authoritarian state. Most people get distracted by the various battles between the parties, and believe those battles signify major differences in political theory and practice. But they don't: those battles are no different from the battles between two rival gangs fighting for the same territory. Here, that territory is power and control: power and control over the vast machinery of government, and power and control over you.

Given these facts and this context, an impeachment of the Bush criminals would finally amount to nothing more than a constitutional partisan brawl. Even in those circumstances, I would probably support it, if it might slow down the exceedingly dangerous maniacs in the executive branch. But as with every other issue, the Democrats would almost certainly handle it exceptionally badly. They would convince no one of the justice of their cause and, if no convictions were ultimately obtained, they might make the situation even worse. They have managed to do exactly that ever since they've been in control of Congress, and I see no reason to think impeachment would be different in that respect.

In any case, the Democratic leaders have gotten their wish: impeachment is gone. Unless events that cannot be predicted or foreseen at present alter the situation dramatically, Bush and all the other criminals leave office in January 2009.

The Timorousness of the Democrats and the Progressives: I've recently been pondering one the most curious contradictions of the calamitous state of our domestic politics. The Democrats and the liberal-progressive bloggers endlessly talk about the "unprecedented" and "unique" dangers represented by the Bush administration. They detail at great length the long list of the specific damages wrought by the Bush criminals. They tell us over and over and over again that the Bush administration is a threat of a kind never before seen in the history of the republic, and that it will be a miracle if we survive until 2009 without still further and even worse damage being done. (While I certainly agree that the record of the Bush administration is an abomination, as I have detailed in many essays here, I do not agree that this particular gang is "unique" or "unprecedented" in the way most Democrats and progressives use those terms. I will be explaining my reasons in considerable detail when I continue the "Cosmic Dualism" series. I have now read Glenn Greenwald's new book, so that series will be lengthier and more complex than I had originally planned, with a lot of history I haven't covered before thrown in. For the moment, I only note -- with a very full case to follow shortly -- that Greenwald's major thesis is fundamentally wrong. It is not only wrong, but dangerously wrong.)

And what are the Democrats and the progressives doing to prevent the possibility of disaster over the next 18 months? Absolutely nothing of any consequence. Not only are they doing nothing, but they actively help to expand and institutionalize the damage -- by allowing passage of the MCA, by passage of the FISA legislation, and in other ways as well. The dangers are of a kind never before seen, and yet they pursue politics as usual. They wait for 2008 and their hoped-for overwhelming electoral victory.

So what of all the talk about the "unique" and "unprecedented" dangers? At this point, one can justifiably conclude that they don't genuinely mean it -- if by "mean it," we intend to signify a conviction so important that it impels one to action. They don't act as if they believe what they themselves say. Are they lying? Perhaps some of them are, but I don't think that's the explanation for the most part. It is hardly an original observation to note that language today, especially in a political context, is debased beyond recognition. In general, I think that the criticisms made about the Bush gang by Democrats and progressives are simply politics as usual. They're just making the worst criticisms they can think of -- but the words carry no deeper meaning. If they did, the Democrats and progressives would be taking preventive action of some kind -- particularly when the very real prospect of nuclear war is just around the corner, made still more likely by the endless warmongering engaged in by the leading Democratic presidential candidates. If Clinton and Obama actually believed the Bush administration were as dangerous as they say it is, they would shut up entirely about "keeping all options on the table" with regard to Iran. To call their comments profoundly irresponsible is to be ridiculously generous -- especially given the demonstrated proclivities of the White House gang.

If you looked up and saw the entire top of the huge cliff directly above you crumbling and about to bury you beneath tons of fatal debris, would you just stand there and talk about your plans for this fall -- or, which would be still more insane, your plans for the fall of 2008? I certainly hope not. Yet that is what the Democrats and progressives now do every single day. Cognitive dissonance doesn't begin to capture the magnitude of the problem.

Well, I have still further assorted notes, but I think that's enough for this installment. Back to some other essays that await...

P.S. For the reasons detailed above, my post entitled, "Still Another Call to Activism," is the last appeal of that kind I intend to make for the foreseeable future. I kept hoping that at least a few of the "major" bloggers would take up some of the suggestions I offered many months ago, and improve and build upon them. I kept hoping that someone with an audience much, much larger than mine would do something. But none of them is going to do a damned thing. So to hell with it -- and to hell with them.

[Added: I am thinking about some other ideas and different plans of action, which I'll certainly let you know about when their shape and details become clearer to me.]