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Sunday, December 18, 2005

Intellectual Dishonesty


Hey, Wingnuts. This is your conscience. If you want to defend the Preznit because you value maintaining power over every principle on which this nation was founded, then that is your right. But be intellectually honest about it.

Don't lie to yourself. You are doing it for power and the party and no other reason. And don't try lying to the rest of us -- we aren't buying it.

Glenn Greenwald has a superb post up about a particularly assanine lie that has wormed its way through the wankersphere.
Defenders of the Bush Administration are resorting to outright distortions and deliberate falsehoods about the Foreign Intelligence Security Act (FISA) in order to argue that the Administration's warrantless eavesdropping on U.S. citizens complies with the mandates of that statute. To do so, they are simply lying -- and that term is used advisedly -- about what FISA says by misquoting the statute in order to make it appear that the Administration’s clearly illegal behavior conforms to the statute.

This is a real case study in how total falsehoods are disseminated by a single right-wing blogger who is then linked to and approvingly cited by large, highly partisan bloggers, which then cause the outright falsehoods to be bestowed with credibility and take on the status of a conventionally accepted talking point in defense of the Administration.
This particular right-wing circle jerk needs to be called for what it is: complete bullshit. And if it were an argument being made in a court of law, the lawyer making it could be subject to sanction for doing so, because it is an entirely misleading statement of the law.

But it isn't just the right wing wankosphere that is perpetuating this crap. Atrios posted a particularly ludicrous bit from Dana Rohrbacher, wherein the blowhard representative from California makes an utter ass of himself by arguing that the Preznit should be able to do whatever the hell he pleases, the Constitution be damned. The amusing portion of it for me was that Bob Barr, an equally conservative blowhard, was apoplectic at this assertion.

And herein we find the lesson: it is possible to maintain some level of intellectual honesty in all of this on both sides. Certainly, some spying within the United States on citizens is expected, needed even, in a time of war. There are certainly threats both outside and within our borders.

But by throwing the Constitution out with the rest of the Bill of Rights and all those other inconvenient things we call laws, the Preznit and all of those people who prop him up on this foundation of falsehoods are just as culpible as Bushie himself.

What you have in this life is your own integrity. If you are willing to sell it so cheaply for a fleeting moment of power, that is your choice. But don't come crying to me the next time someone wiretaps your phone, searches your house and business without a warrant while holding you at gunpoint, hauls you off to an undisclosed location without any access to legal representation, applies coercive interrogation methods to get you to confess to a crime you didn't commit in the first place, and holds you for years before letting you go without ever actually charging you with a crime, all because you fit a certain profile based on your ethnic background or political beliefs.

If you think it can't happen in America, think again. We have laws in place for a reason, and when you allow the President to start selectively ignoring them, it sets a precedent for every other law enforcement official in the nation. We fought a revolution in this country to prevent just this sort of behavior -- we are a nation of laws, and not of imperial whim.

The question is whether you have the fortitude to say enough, or whether you are the sort of wanker who says "whatever you want, so long as I get to keep my "influental" piece of the pie. This is the time for true patriots to stand up and show their true colors, so don't lie to yourself about your craven motive of maintaining power above every other consideration. It's unbecoming and intellectually dishonest.

And speaking of wankers, here's the roster for talking head shows today.

UPDATE: Should have checked first thing when I posted this morning, but better late than never I suppose. Crooks and Liars has the Rohrbacher/Barr clip up -- definitely worth a watch, just to see Taliban Dana squirm. (And if you don't know what I mean by Taliban Dana, see here.)

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