I hate to get my hopes up when it comes to anything that has to do with a positive move by Democrats, and I understand (as Glenn Greenwald very negatively points out) that this is probably just temporary, but Chris Dodd’s filibuster has – for the moment – been successful, and the Protect America Act has not been sent to George W Bush with telecom immunity or warrantless wiretapping in it. Even more surprising than that (and even more surprising than the fact that a Republican – Arlen Specter – came to the Democrats side) is that both Hilary Clinton and Barrack Obama showed up to work yesterday and voted with their team. After the filibuster worked, the Republicans put a cloture on the floor – basically ignoring everything and voting yes or no on the actual bill – and it failed 48-45, with Clinton and Obama staying at work and once again voting with their side. Everything is a bit murky now, but what looks as though it’s going to happen is (since the House has work today and then the rest of the week off) a thirty-day extension will be suggested. Bush has vowed that an extension is unacceptable and that he will veto it as soon as it appears on his desk. If he does that (assuming the Democrats don’t back down at the last second and pass the bill out of fear) then George Bush – the man who says that we will certainly be attacked without warrantless wiretapping capabilities – will have let the PAA expire. I’m pretty sure that both the White House and the media will find some way to spin this to make it look like the Democrat’s fault; it’s important that we not only pay attention to what’s really happening, but also let other people know the truth. For the first time in a long while, politicians (not just seemingly honest ones like Chris Dodd, but ones that don’t usually listen, like Obama and Clinton) heard what we the people had to say in our letters and phone calls, and reacted accordingly by doing their jobs. Like I said before; I don’t want to get my hopes up, and in the end all of this probably won’t mean anything more than a couple headlines, but for this moment it’s pretty exciting.
Another reason to be happy (but also something else that might not end up like we think) is that George Bush gave his final state of the union address last night. He is a lame duck president who is simply trying to secure his spot in history; although what that spot is, is up for debate (with 67% considering him a pretty poor president and the rest being legally insane). He considers himself a war president with orders from Jesus Christ to defeat the axis of evil. He talked about Iraq and what a great job we’re doing over there, he reminded us that Iran wants to destroy us with their nukes (completely ignoring – and assuming (probably correctly) we have forgotten – a report by the NIE a couple months ago stating that Iran hasn’t been working on nuclear weapons in years), and he completely left out North Korea; the lone non-brown members of the axis. The thing that annoys me the most about the annual state of the union address (whether it is a Republican or a Democrat up there) is the politeness and partisanship during the speech. I went to a debate last night between the three men and woman running for the soon to be vacant House of Representatives seat for the district I live in, and during the debate they got a bull card. With this bull card they were able to call out their opponent when bull was spewed. George Bush (and all presidents before him) have let fly a lot of bull, especially during their state of the union speeches, yet there is never any negative response. Not one elected member of either branch of government responsible for checking the president ever boos or yells the truth. This wouldn’t bother me as much as it does if he did not get just under 70 standing ovations last night. If anyone can name 70 positive things that bush has done in the previous 2,565 days that he has spent in office, I will give you my life savings. Barring any unforeseen incidents over the next 366 days, next year at this time we should be watching the first state of the union address in this nations history, delivered by either a woman or a black man.
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