So, the gubmint’s amassing a database of every phone call placed or received in the US.  I don’t mean they’re just curious as to whether you or I are calling the terr’ists, I mean they’re curious as to whether you or I are calling you or I.

Of course, only terrorists could possibly object, right?

Red-blooded Amurkins with nothing to hide have nothing they care to keep private, right?

This boils my mountain-born blood.  This is the sort of thing that could make me start to wonder whether those Libertarians have got something worth listening to.

And of course, President Smirk sits on his tall, white horse and shakes his itty fists and swears that they’re not just trolling for any ol’ information.  They’re trying to keep us safe!  We’re at war!  A War Preznit needs his powers of war, dang it, or the terr’ists have already won!  Only islamofascist running dogs of the brown-skinned extremists would possibly care whether anyone is keeping track of who calls whom, 24/7, domestic or international, local or long-distance.

And what makes me even more sick is that only Qwest had the gonads to stand up to them, to ask that they get a FISA warrant before they start handing over that information, and as soon as Qwest mentioned FISA then the NSA said, “Oh, well, we don’t know that they’d actually let us do this,” and then they walked away and never mentioned it again.

The only explanation I can come up with is that the people collecting this data are cowards and criminals who knew their request was unreasonable.

That is the only explanation.

If it were a reasonable request, it would have been a simple thing for them to get a FISA warrant.  It would have taken hours.

They didn’t even try.  They just clammed up and walked the second FISA got mentioned.

They are cowards and criminals.

But will anyone get impeached for this?  Will anyone be cost anything, politically?

I don’t think so.  I don’t think anything will happen in Washington.  I can’t imagine this playing very well among certain of my relatives, certain elements of my home town – that network of hills and hollows where families lurk for generations, where life and change are slow, where privacy is not some luxury reserved for times of peace but a basic requirement of life, where a respect for privacy is a fundamental element of sociable human behavior not a nicety.  But come November (’06, ’08, forever) there will always be bigger, more hot-button issues that can be played to curry just enough favor, just enough less revulsion, to string votes out of expected constituencies so that real change – ever feared – is kept at bay.

And so my heart sinks just a little, and a little more of our privacy and our expectation that the government follows its own laws and my trust for authority are eroded away, and we all get used to one more thing the government shouldn’t be doing but is.  Sure, Congress could pass a law, but then Bush could just refute it with his signing statement and go about his merry way – or, hell, he could just ignore it altogether.  I am reminded of one of my favorite things The Boyf has ever said:  “As late as the 3rd or 4th century CE you could probably still find Senators who thought they ran the Roman Empire.”

The next person elected President is going to have to do something drastic in their inaugural speech.  I am serious when I say I want to see this, and I will vote for any candidate who promises to do so.  I want the next President, standing there on the stage, with Bush shaking off his DTs behind them and the nation watching, to say:  “Everything is going to change.  We are going to be more open.  Gitmo will be closed down.  Warrantless spying on our own citizens will stop.  The color-coded alert levels are over.  The Era of Fear is at an end, and we will be held accountable, and in addition we will hold an accounting of others.”

But will either party make that claim?  Is there any candidate interested in being President – for which, surely, a job requirement is a lust for power – who will look at all the crazy fucked-up shit Bush has gotten away with and then say to themselves, “No, I will not use this same power.  I will give it back, or give it up.  I will apply a brake to the Executive and I will not rule as a despot, but lead as a President?”

A part of me wishes it were so, and a part of me finds it doubtful.

All of a sudden I want to draft Jimmy Carter.