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Beinhart's Body Politic 

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The black cloud from Mordor has lifted. Life has reappeared.
We've pulled back the curtain. The Wizard of Odds is revealed as just a man. Fallible. Defeatable. We believed in the Wizard. We believed that with a wave of his wand he could convince the whole world—or at least the United States—that black was white and day was night. With good reason. After 9/11 he sold the delusion that failure was strength and that hysteria was courage. He conjured up a "War on Terror," and all of the mainstream media, most of the House and Senate, and a majority of the electorate actually believed that there was one. And that he was waging it. He had convinced many of us that torture is necessary, useful, and good. At the very same time he maintained that Americans absolutely don't torture anyone. We believed that he could raise up vast armies of homophobic Orcs every election day. Even though he was ripping them off from Monday to Friday and on weekends and holidays too. We believed that he had vast sums of corporate money, a ruthless organization to transmit lies and other ones to purge the voter rolls. That even the Supreme Court would put in the fix for him. And if all of that failed, he could reach into the voting machines and change the numbers. Reality caught up. In the contest between salesmanship—illusion, true believer belief, a con job—and reality, the salesman always has the opening advantage. Once the sale is made, and you've bought the lemon, reality always wins. The recent election was not about Conservatives vs. Liberals. It was the True Believers vs. Reality. The Democrats were running on the side of reality. They won now because there was a perfect storm. Which began with Katrina. An American city was destroyed on live TV. The winds that tore the roof of the Superdome also tore the cloak of patriotism off the Bush Administration and revealed the idiocy, indifference, and incompetence. The media woke up. CNN suddenly started doing great and serious journalism. The New York Times editorial pages turned against the lies, deceits and failures. Republican house Majority Leader Tom "The Hammer" DeLay was indicted for money laundering. Bill Frist, the Senate Majority Leader, was accused of insider trading. Randy "Top Gun" Cunningham was caught taking bribes from defense contractors and pleaded guilty. Bob Ney, of Ohio, pleaded guilty to felony corruption charges and then refused to give up his seat in Congress so he could keep on collecting his salary on the way to prison. Then came Mark Foley. Followed by Ted Haggard, senior pastor of the New Life Church, head of the National Association of Evangelicals, doing crystal meth with a gay hooker—in a political movement whose success depends on hysterical homophobia. Rush Limbaugh making fun of Michael J. Fox was the cherry on top of all that whipped cream. It revealed that beneath the hearty Republican "har-har," there was a bully who would kick the crutch out from under a cripple. Enough of wallowing in the good news. What's to come? Here are my predictions for the coming year. There will be no bipartisanship from the White House. That's not really a prediction. It's already a fact. The first thing Bush asked Congress for after the election was a bill to authorize wiretaps without warrants. Next he asked for confirmation of John Bolton as Ambassador to the UN. Bolton was a recess appointment because Congress wouldn't confirm him in their previous session. That was followed by a set of judicial nominations: Michael Wallace, the first federal appeals court nominee in nearly a quarter century to be unanimously rated "not qualified" by the American Bar Association. William James Haynes II, part of the group that recommended torture and circumventing the Geneva Conventions. Terence Boyle, one of the most reversed judges in the federal system. He often gets reversed for making the same errors that he's made previously. The others have been taken out of nomination once; Boyle has been rejected by Congress twice. Kenneth Y. Tomlinson used to be head of PBS. He determined that Bill Moyers, along with the rest of PBS, was too liberal. He broke PBS rules and misused funds to get right-wing propaganda to "balance" it. He had to resign. So Bush put him in charge of the Voice of America. The State Department's inspector general charges that he misused funds there too and ran a horse-racing business out of his government office. Bush has now renominated him. Why, you may ask? I believe it is because his situation prevents himself from honestly expressing his feelings verbally. So he uses political appointments to say "F*** you." Notice that he's nominating people who have had to resign or have already been rejected, the worst of the worse. He's saying, in effect, "F*** you, two times!" As for the Democrats, Nancy Pelosi is right to offer constructive legislation and cooperation. Nothing else can put George Bush in a bigger bind. What can he do with a useful, thoughtful bill, offered in a friendly way? She is also right to say that impeachment is off the table. If the Democrats make impeachment a goal, they will look terrible. If you're an impeachment fan, don't despair. The Democrats have a duty to open investigations on the following: to find out the truth about 9/11; if the intelligence to go to war in Iraq was "fixed"; where the Iraq reconstruction billions went; if contractors defrauded the government; who screwed up in Katrina. How much torture does America engage in? Does it work? How much wiretapping without warrants was done? What did it cost? Did it catch anyone who couldn't have been caught legal? How much influence did the oil companies have on energy policy? And drug companies on the Medicare bill? Was the K Street Project, to force lobbyists to employ only Republicans and give money to only Republicans, tantamount to extortion. This has been, as Congressman Hinchey frequently says, the most corrupt administration in history. Also the most inept. There is no need for malice. An honest search for truth will produce vast amounts of scandal. They will also tie directly to Dick Cheney and the White House. The CIA, for example, has just acknowledged that there were presidential "findings" (permission slips) to engage in torture. At some point, and I think it will come quite early on, the executive branch will refuse to cooperate. My bet is that Scalia, Alito, and Thomas support the administration no matter what. Roberts is an unknown quantity. Without more specifics, I can't guess how the other five will vote. However, even if the president wins in front of the Supreme Court, an impeachment is likely. The facts that will be revealed, on the record, to demand impeachment.

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