Ricorso on the Potomac: The Murderers of Democracy Return

"....the thunderclap, the ricorso, which, in Vico’s famous philosophy of history, presages the end of democracy and the return of leaders claiming to rule by divine sanction."

Today the United States Senate voted by a wide margin to gut the Fourth Amendment and give the president dictatorial powers to violate the privacy of every American citizen, while also granting immunity to wealthy corporations who colluded with the president for years in a patently illegal program of warrantless surveillance. The vote was 69-28, with Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama breaking with the (slim) majority of Senate Democrats who voted against the measure and joining instead with the Republicans, who voted in their usual zombified lockstep with the president's wishes.

As is well known, Obama once vowed, unequivocally, to support a filibuster of any bill that included the immunity provision for the president's corporate co-conspirators; today he voted with the zombified Republicans to choke off any attempt at a filibuster, so the bill could proceed to the final vote of approval.

I have little to say about this shameful action, beyond repeating what I said almost two years ago, when the Senate passed the infamous "Military Commissions Act," which gutted the 900-year-old doctrine of habeas corpus, approved the principle of presidential dictatorship and authorized the use of torture. (This "law" has not been repealed by the Democratic-led Congress, by the way.) That 2006 piece was called "Thunder on the Mountain: The Murderers of Democracy." And although a few omissions are necessary in the reprise below, due to the differing details between the two bills, the sentiments expressed are exactly the same -- as are the sinister ramifications of today's vote.

“Shame on your greed, shame on your wicked schemes.
I'll say this, I don’t give a damn about your dreams.”
-- Bob Dylan, “Thunder on the Mountain”

Who are these people? Who are these useless hanks of bone and fat that call themselves Senators of the United States? Let’s call them what they really are, let’s speak the truth about what they’ve done today....

Who are they? The murderers of democracy.
Sold our liberty to keep their coddled, corrupt backsides squatting in the Beltway gravy a little longer.

Who are they? The murderers of democracy.
Cowards and slaves, giving up our most ancient freedoms to a dull-eyed, dim-witted pipsqueak and his cohort of bagmen, cranks and degenerate toadies.....

Who are they? The murderers of democracy.
Traitors to the nation, filthy time-servers and bootlickers....

Who are they? The murderers of democracy.
Threw our freedom on the ground and raped it, beat it, shot it, stuck their knives into it and set it on fire.

Who are they? The murderers of democracy.
If there was an ounce of moxie left in the American system, these white-collar criminals would be in shackles right now, arrested for high treason, for collusion with a tyrant who is gutting the constitution, pushing terrorism to new heights and waging an unholy, illegal war of aggression that’s killed tens of thousands of innocent people and bled our country dry.

There is no honor in them. There is no decency, no morality, no honesty – nothing but fear, nothing but greed, nothing but base servility. Cringing, wretched little creatures, bowing to the will of a third-rate thug and his gang of moral perverts. This is their record. This is their doing. This is the shame they will have to live with. And this is the darkness, rank, fetid and smelling of blood, that now covers us all.