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Jayne Lyn Stahl Headshot

In Pursuit of Power

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Just when he thought it was safe to come out of his cave, the National
Security Agency, previously busy eavesdropping on thousands of
Internet, and cell phone, conversations of ordinary Americans for the
past five years, announced that it is finally able to trace the cell
phone from which bin Laden's video appears to have been made. (AP)
Well, not really. In fact, about the only thing the NSA has been able
to trace is its own ineptitude which presents itself magnificently in
the high drama Houdini escape of Al Qaeda's finest.

Funny thing, we may not remember when Osama last appeared live, but he
does, right before the mid-term election in 2004, and right around the
time Congress finalized the USA Patriot Act which, you'll recall, was
intended to keep U.S. safe from bin Ladens, and other radioactive
lunatics. Fat chance. As a federal judge in New York decided
yesterday, about all the Patriot Act accomplished has been to ensure
the continuity of this administration's gang rape of the First and
Fourth Amendments.

How appropriate that the president's enemy twin, who has managed to
elude capture for about as long as we've been occupying Iraq, should
invite American heathen to "embrace Islam." What a dynamic duo, these
two Apocalypso dancers; what an unlikely team, an American president
and the leader of Al Qaeda, both of whom "embrace" kamikaze rapture,
and an ideology designed to inflate when the futility of militarism
becomes obvious. Indeed, why doesn't the president invite Osama to
join the Christian brothers in the 82nd Airborne? Different
ideologies; same appetites.

And, who better to keep track of Mr. Bush's approval ratings than Mr.
bin Laden? Except, of course, for Mr. Cheney. Who better than Osama to
devise an exit strategy for Iraq? Arguably, the gravest threat this
video poses is to show that, while we in the states have been feasting
on the Larry Craig headlines, Osama has been reading Noam Chomsky.
Wouldn't we be in better shape if John Ashcroft, Karl Rove, and Dick
Cheney had read Chomsky first!

While Al Qaeda's leader may have been in freeze frame for nearly four
minutes, (AP) no technical problems have been detected when, on
Wednesday, the National Security Archives, an independent think-tank
in Washington, D.C., announced its suit against the White House
seeking to recover "more than 5 million" e-mails from executive branch
computers which were deleted between the spring of 2003 and the fall
of 2005, right around the time of the midterm elections; right around
the time bin Laden last appeared; right around the time Iraq was
invaded, and Katrina evaded. (NSA)

National Security Archive director, Tom Blanton, pulls no punches when
he asserts that "The Bush White House broke the law and erased our
history by deleting those e-mail messages." But, can one sue, or press
criminal charges, against a sitting president, or an elected official?
Would not such an action require their removal, voluntary or
otherwise, from office? Isn't that among the many reasons Alberto
Gonzales had to step down, as we now know, so that the Justice
Department can look into its options vis a vis prosecuting him on
charges of perjury, and obstruction of justice.

What happens when the executive branch attempts to neutralize the
judiciary? What happens when there are no longer any boundaries
between the attorney-general and the president; when checks and
balances become victims of planned obsolescence? When the Bill of
Rights is sent to recovery, and the Constitution is seen as if it were
a 12 step program instead of a blueprint for democracy.

U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero's response, in New York, yesterday
was to demand that a court approve any governmental demand for
Internet records without first informing customers. There must be more
federal judges like Marrero to come forward, and stop this
administration's unfettered attempt at warrantless surveillance of
ordinary American citizens in the name of a war on terror which any
idiot can see could clearly be won if this president, and his
homeboys, did a little target practice.

What a scary world when America's most wanted fugitive spends more
time talking about global warming, and failed foreign policy than our
own chief executive. Moreover, bin Laden, a man who comes from among
the world's richest countries, and families, entreats us to "liberate"
ourselves "from the deception, shackles, and attrition of the
capitalist system.," (AP) and does so in a way that would make Marx
blush with envy. While his nemesis, on the other hand, still thinks
Marx is something one gets in school.

When it comes right down to it, we must ask: will the real lunatic
please stand up! Why is the obvious always the toughest thing to see,
how it is that we are all victims of those who, in pursuit of power,
strive to dehumanize in the name of ideology.