If the Republic Had Not Died a Long Time Ago....

...This Would Indeed Be the Death of the Republic.

Senate Moves to Shield Phone Companies on Eavesdropping (NYT):
After more than a year of heated political wrangling, the Senate handed the White House a major victory Tuesday by voting to broaden the government’s spy powers and to give legal protection to phone companies that cooperated in President Bush’s warrantless [i.e., openly, flagrantly, boastfully illegal] eavesdropping program....

Beyond the immunity provision, the Senate measure would also widen the executive branch’s surveillance powers by allowing the National Security Agency and intelligence agencies to use broad orders — without getting court orders in advance — to eavesdrop on groups of overseas targets, rather than using individualized warrants.

What's more, as Glenn Greenwald notes, the bill goes out of its way to assure the Commander that he can also use other methods of warrantless (i.e., openly, flagrantly, boastfully illegal) surveillance against American citizens, if he in his great wisdom -- and arbitrary authority -- so desires.

We've been mourning the death of the American Republic here (and at other venues) for many years now, since Congress surrendered its Constitutional responsibilities  with the "Enabling Act" it passed on September 14, 2001, giving Bush a blank check for "all necessary and appropriate force" against any organization or individual that he alone declared was somehow connected to the Sept. 11 attacks. Three days later, Bush then declared that he had the right to kill anyone on earth anytime he felt like it and there wasn't a damn thing anyone could do about it. The many, many outrages that have followed -- the gulag, the torture program, the Hitlerian war crime in Iraq, the  Military Commissions Act (which stripped away the ancient right of habeas corpus and also officially enshrined the concept of the "unitary executive"/presidential dictatorship into law), right down to Tuesday's vote to "legitimize" Bush's illegal keyhole-peeping and the corporate criminals who abetted it -- have simply been further confirmations of the Republic's moribund state. Bush and the Democrats have been abusing the corpse over and over, like the sick and degraded moral perverts that they are.

I don't know what will come next. I don't know if the United States can crawl out of the filthy pit of empire and tyranny over the next few decades and claw its way toward some new manifestation of democracy -- or if it will just keep sinking, raging, rotting, mutating further into a war-and-torture state that must feed constantly on human flesh to survive. Of course, I hope for -- and will work toward -- the former, the new manifestation, although I honestly don't expect to see such a thing in my own lifetime. But whatever will be, one thing is certain now: the constitutional republic of the United States is a dead letter, a relic of history.

And nothing that happens in November -- when one imperial factotum or another gets their turn at the top of the greasy pole -- will change that basic fact. The Freedom Road is a long road -- and we're still a long way from taking even our first steps on that journey. We've got miles of wilderness to cut through yet. ***