So, if you're wondering whether the U.S. will back off from attacking Iran, or whether corporations will no longer be given the ability to dictate Administration environmental policy, or whether domestic spying on U.S. citizens will cease, or whether Scalia might recuse himself on cases he's already pre-judged -- if you still harbor any or all of those illusions, forget about it.
But consciously, as they sense their time in power may be coming to an inglorious end and as they read their quickly-sinking poll numbers, they can't help themselves from issuing their traditional, in-your-face dare: "Stop me if you can, losers!"
This big-A "Attitude" started long before Inauguration Day, when Karl Rove & Dick Cheney were devising their strategy and theory of governance. It goes something like this: We need only one vote more than the other guys -- on the Supreme Court, in the Senate, in the popular vote totals in key states. Once we get our victory by whatever means necessary, we are then the "legitimate" rulers. We can claim The People Have Spoken and that we have a "mandate" for action and can do whatever we want. If you don't like it, tough. If you're foolhardy enough, you can try again at the next election and see where that gets you, suckers -- our side counts the votes!
THE POSITIVES & NEGATIVES
On the other hand, a determined prosecutor Fitzgerald is still out there, deeply knowledgeable about what really went down in the manipulation of pre-Iraq War intelligence. The military establishment is rebelling against Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld war policies, openly in the case of those generals who resigned to speak their minds, and covertly in the case of those actively serving who are leaking their opposition to Jack Murtha, Sy Hersh and others. More and more conservative and moderate Republicans are backing away from too-close association with BushCheney, and there have been a number of embarrassing defeats for the Administration in Congress. Revelations of one Bush&Co. scandal after another keep coming (Katrina, Abramoff, domestic spying, WMD lies, torture, Plamegate, Unitary Executive dictatorship, and on and on).
Given all that -- and one suspects that is just the tip of the criminality iceberg -- one would expect that Bush and Cheney would be approaching the impeachment dock shortly. But while a majority of the public is willing to consider or support making Bush and Cheney accountable for their lies and corruption and incompetency, the weak-kneed politicians simply refuse to even consider a censure resolution, let alone to pass one authorizing impeachment hearings. In short, the Democrats have chosen not to put up a real fight for either the future well-being of the Constitution or their own political survival, preferring instead to watch from the sidelines as the Republicans implode in corruption, scandal and disarray.
And so, with no effective opposition in their way, Bush&Co. simply keep moving forward. Next stop: Iran.
THIS IS NOT JUST SABER-RATTLING
Though there is some speculation that all this talk about Bush attacking Iran is so much saber-rattling to get the Iranians to back away from pursuing their nuclear ambitions, I don't buy it.
Bush&Co. want this war for a variety of reasons: to further their deeply-held goal (and Bush's sense of "legacy") of altering the geopolitical makeup of the greater Middle East; to control the vast oil reserves in the region; to provide yet another demonstration model to Muslim rulers in the area not to mess with U.S. desires and demands; and, of course, to wrap Bush in the warrior flag yet again as a way of deflecting attention away from his domestic and foreign scandals by counting on the public's fascination with footage of laser-guided "precision" bombs striking the "enemy's" buildings and radar batteries.
The propaganda barrage being laid down by Administration spokesmen these days is so utterly identical to the fog of lies that preceeded the attack on Iraq that it seems all Rumsfeld and Rice have to do is simply re-use the original press releases and change the last letter of the target country, "n" instead of "q." We even get ye olde "mushroom cloud" image hauled out again, supposedly warning us about Iran's non-existent nuclear weapons; this time, that mushroom cloud could well be one effected by the U.S. bombers and missiles.
Even the fantastical expectations are as out of whack as what we were told would happen in Iraq. There, we were promised, the American forces, in a "cakewalk," would be greeted as "liberators," with kisses and flowers. In Iran, we're told, much the same will occur, and the oppressed Iranians, chafing at the harsh rule of the fundamentalist mullahs running the country, will rise up and topple their repressive government. (##Seymour Hersh ( www.newyorker.com/printables/fact/060417fa_fact ) writes: "One former defense official, who still deals with sensitive issues for the Bush Administration, told me that the military planning was premised on a belief that 'a sustained bombing campaign in Iran will humiliate the religious leadership and lead the public to rise up and overthrow the government.' He added: 'I was shocked when I heard it, and asked myself, 'What are they smoking?'")