So there you have it. Bush shrugs and smirks and then commutes the easy soft-focus sit-on-your-ass-all-day-and-knit white-collar prison sentence of a hollow political lackey who, in turn, took a bullet for his sneering mafia thug of a boss, Dick Cheney, who in turn was complicit (along with lead flying monkey Karl Rove) in the appallingly illegal outing of a CIA operative, which itself was a tiny but particularly nasty link in the giant chain of lies and deceptions undertaken to lead our wary and tattered nation into an unwinnable impossible costly brutally violent war that will now last, if current estimates are correct, until the goddamn sun explodes.
You have to laugh. You have to laugh because if you do not laugh you will likely be overcome with a mad desire to stab yourself in the eye with a sharp feral cat and/or shoot yourself in the toe with a high-powered staple gun, over and over again, all while tearing out pages of the United States Constitution and crumpling them into tiny little balls and hurling them into the smoldering firepit of who-the-hell-cares as you shiver in the corner and swig from a bottle of Knob Creek and wail at the moon. Or maybe that's just me.
But really, you do have to laugh at the vicious antics this administration, and perhaps Dick Cheney in particular, that most nefarious molester of U.S. law and ignorer of all political integrity and deeply homophobic father of a creepily lesbian daughter and overall gruntingly guff sneerer at all moral principle, masterful mocker of everything you somehow still manage to think, even in your most despondent and ethically disillusioned state, that American politics is somehow supposed to be about.
For it was Cheney, you well know, who yanked Bush's puppet strings in order to get Libby off the hook. It was Cheney who whispered sweet, oozing nothings into Dubya's ear to convince him to screw the goddamn law and mock the American jury system and further lock down America's standing as the most corrupt and least accountable nation in the entire developed world.
What, are you surprised by all this? Of course you're not. It is, of course, all about the cover-up, all about preventing Libby from revealing the real criminals in all this, about Cheney's nefarious role in the Plame case, all about ensuring the cabal remains intact and unassailable and throbbing with misprision.
It was so cute as to be actually damaging to the soul. Bush actually ambled forth and said that, while he "respects the jury" in the Libby case, the 2.5 year sentence was simply "too harsh." Baby, if 30 months in a comfy well-stocked rape-free Martha Stewart-decorated facility for compromising national security is too harsh, I've got a draconian little thing called the Patriot Act to sell you, cheap.
Here's a swell side note: You know who gets harsher sentences than 30 months in white-collar prison, George? Pot dealers. That's right. The average sentence for a convicted marijuana dealer in California is 3.3 years. In real prison, George, not that namby-pamby Club Fed where Scooter would've played badminton and sipped tea for two years. Hell, in places like Oklahoma and Alabama, you can get a life sentence for possessing a single marijuana bud, which is ironic indeed, given how if you live in Oklahoma or Alabama, there is nothing that would serve your miserable id better than to be deeply and thoroughly stoned every single day and twice on Sunday. But that's another column.
Just a hint of perspective, George. See, we all know you drank like a monosyllabic fish and were rumored to enjoy your share of premium flake during all those years you were skipping poli-sci class in college as you snorted money from the silver spoon you were born with, so maybe you can appreciate this viewpoint. Or, you know, maybe not.
You know who's now done more jail time that Scooter Libby? Paris Hilton. Paris Hilton has now accomplished more in the eyes of the law to pay her debt to society than the VP's former chief of staff ever will for assisting BushCo in corrupting the soul of the goddamn nation. Isn't that cute? Cute enough to cause sharp stabbing pain in your abdomen requiring great amounts of scotch and marijuana to anesthetize? You bet it is.
Lest we forget, Dubya's latest abuse of law follows hot on the heels of Dick Cheney declaring himself a unique and unassailable branch of government, free to ignore the law and refuse to hand over detailed reports of how he's handled classified information to the federal, Bush-approved oversight agency in charge of making sure people just like Dick don't take too many liberties with power and ego and dictatorial megalomania. Whoops, too late.
Just another appalling notch in the belt for Dick, really. To be added to the collection, right alongside the bit where he endorses torture, or how he initiated the secret detention of foreigners in brutal Easter European prisons, or his love of military tribunals, or the hard-on he gets for detaining foreigners illegally, for years, at Guantanamo Bay, or the way he works to derail freedom of the press, or how he abuses environmental law and rearranges the federal budget as he sees fit all while sucking up Halliburton kickbacks, and...
Oh my. The list is long indeed. And it is, in its way, far uglier and more dangerous than that of his bumbling, inept boss. But you already knew that, right?
All in all, you could say it's much like a very bad episode of "The Sopranos," all thick-minded thugs and boorish mafia tactics and the childish calling in of violent favors, all about ruthless loyalty at the expense of, well, everything else: humanity, integrity, decency, the will of the people. And there is Bush, the hollow figurehead, the smirking decider, with Cheney as the henchman, the hangman, the guy at the door with the black gloves and the baseball bat and the black van waiting outside.
Except wait a minute; in this endless episode, there's no deeper sense of existential angst, no smart-tongued therapy sessions full of humor and revelation, no hint of greatness, no darkly heroic Tony Soprano character who transcends it all and suspects there is more to life than this world of blood and violence and war and even craves, somewhere in his soul, to find it.
OK, check that. It's not "The Sopranos" at all. It's more like an particularly noxious episode of "Mama's Family," all Neanderthal redneck inbred imbeciles doing bad accents and idiotic pratfalls and slapping each other in the face to the tune of an insufferable, forced laugh track, all centered around a laughably dreadful character who blurts out sarcastic one-liners so stupid and inept they make your skin crawl.
Except no one's laughing. And tens of thousands of people are dying. And the country is rotting at its core. And the world, oh the world, the world knows this degrading, deeply humiliating show cannot be cancelled fast enough.
Thoughts for the author? E-mail him. Mark Morford's Notes & Errata column appears every Wednesday and Friday on SFGate and in the Datebook section of the San Francisco Chronicle.
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