The author of and brings you up to date on everything you missed over the happy, happy holidays.

Goddamn it. Fuck the New York Times. Those assholes have known for over a year that Bush has been taping our phone calls and we're just finding out about it now? Good thing we weren't making any important decisions 14 months ago. The next person who starts bitching about how hard the so-called "liberal media" is on the president is gonna get a jackboot upside the head. And don't get all excited that the Times finally did get around to telling us about this little caper. They only printed it because they found out they were about to get scooped by their own reporter. All the news that's fit to print on my ass.

And even after the Times got around to telling us that Bush has been pissing on the Constitution for years now, that asshole just mutters the magic word-Nineleven-and all those pesky laws disappear. Luckily, we live in a republic, so our elected representatives sprang into action and talked about maybe, possibly, holding hearings on this emperor act. If they can fit it into their busy schedules. Perhaps when the forecast is a little less patriotic.

You'll forgive my lack of enthusiasm about the Democrats' semi-realistic impression of vertebrates over the holiday break. These fuckers are so bad off that they're calling a five-week extension of the PATRIOT Act a victory? Please. Do you really think some little law is going to stop the tipsy Texan from reading your mail? Well grab hold of the reality train, assholes - it's time to start paying attention to the man behind your curtains.

The insane thing about all this spy shit is that Bush could easily have eavesdropped on us without actually breaking the law-that smirking sonofabitch is actually going out of his way to thumb his nose at the courts. That's right, Bush is totally within his rights to be tapping into our calls. All he needs is a rubber stamp from a double-super-secret court that turned him down exactly zero percent of the time in 2004, when he bothered to ask. And get this-he doesn't even need to wait for a warrant before he starts listening in. He can legally tape you talking to Aunt Louise about her recipe for exploding meatloaf and get permission later. It's like they told him he could hold an election and then figure out the rules for counting votes after the polls closed.

That sounds so familiar.

Anyway, there is one way to make sure the spooks don't listen in when you're having phone sex with Fatima: speak fucking Farsi. The FBI's got a backlog of untranslated audio that would choke a hippo. And no wonder- for a while there they were telling their translators to stop, um, translating so fast. What's next? Demotions for dogs that find too much cocaine? Maybe I'm missing something here, but I kind of figured since we have only four people who can speak Muslim-ese on the government payroll, we'd want them reading through the transcripts as quickly as possible. Turns out, not so much.

But luckily for those of us who speak American, they'd never use anything they hear unless it's about terrorism, right?

Right, except the government defines "terrorist" as anyone to the left of Ann Coulter. Want more bike lanes? Well, hello, Mr. Bin Laden. Been caught kissing at a protest? You are, I shit you not, a "credible threat" to the country. Hell, they even sent spooks in to infiltrate the Catholic Workers Group because it has, and I'm quoting a government agent here, a "semi-communistic ideology." Since when are the semi-communists dangerous enough to warrant their very own undercover operative?

This isn't a slippery slope, it's a greased cliff with a vicious downdraft and parachute made out of fucking elephants.

Hang on a minute, are we still fighting fucking communism? I thought we won that war. Remember? Reagan said some shit about a wall, and then poof! Eastern Europeans got all hopped up on freedom fries and kicked out the Soviets and their damned secret prisons. Thank goodness for that, too-otherwise where would we have found room for our secret prisons?

And don't even think about going all vegan on us, you little America-hater. The feds have agents all over those fennel-fanatics at PETA. The soy soldiers keep saying they're trying to save the llamas, but we all know that's just code for stabbing flag-waving patriots in their sleep. Like you didn't know Pamela Anderson had her boobs done for Al Qaeda.

And can you guess who else the feds are training their eagle eyes on? Quakers. Seriously. There's no joke here-I just want to point out that if they're watching the Quakers, they sure as fuck are watching you.

And when they do catch your little Benedict Arnold ass, don't think for a second you'll be getting the Martha Stewart treatment. It's coach-class to Kazakhstania for you, you traitorous little fuck. And you'd better get those seat backs in the upright position tout suite if you don't want to find out if that seat cushion really can be used as a flotation device.

And how does Bush respond when someone points out that he's broken federal laws a couple thousand times in the last few years? Well according to him, the Times was "helping the enemy" by tipping off those wily terrorists about our wiretapping ways. Uh huh. Up until a few weeks ago Bin Laden was making calls on his Verizon FamilyShare plan, but since he found out that Bush has that cell tapped, he's gonna start using his decoder ring? Whatever. That fuckhead's CIA-trained, asshole. He's probably personal friends with the guy listening in on the other end of the line. Can you hear me now, you little infidel bitch?

But it's not like there's no oversight at all over at Spy Central. The Peeping Toms have to get the go-ahead from their shift supervisor. Fan-fucking-tastic. So the NSA interns aren't allowed to read our e-mail all on their own-they have to ask Inspector Clouseau to sign off. And for an added level of safety, all these programs have to be approved by the Attorney General. Yeah, that's right: Alberto Gonzalez, the one who helped cover up the Iran-Contra Affair and thinks the Geneva Conventions are "quaint."  And remember, this has been going on since 2002, so for most of that time, the go-to guy for domestic spying was deathly afraid of calico cats and naked nipples.

Is anyone else tired of living in a parody of a real country?

And now Cheney claims that if they'd been sticking their noses in our phone calls back in 2001 they could have stopped 9/11 from happening in the first place. Hello? Does this asshole think we've already forgotten that they knew about the whole flying planes into buildings deal in advance? Please, somebody unplug that fucker before he starts stretching bunny rabbits in the name of national security.

Speaking of Cheney, maybe before we get too pumped up about impeaching our sorry excuse for a president, we might want to consider that order of succession thing, hmmm? Don't think for a second that the hack from Halliburton hasn't done that fucking math. Every one of Dick's wet dreams starts with George getting dragged before the Senate. And we do not want that fucker mainlining presidential power. If you think it's bad now, imagine if we didn't have that time lag between Cheney's lips and W's "brain."

(Sorry. That was just mean and unnecessary. I promise never, ever to make you read the words "Cheney's lips" again.)

Let's say, just to play out Bush's little fantasy, that these phone taps do lead to capturing some terrorists. Like, I don't know... al Zarqawi, that asshole who keeps blowing up Hummers full of our boys in tan. What makes him think we'd actually keep hold of that fucker for more than a couple hours? Yeah, I know, likely scenario. Except unlike Cheney's pipe dream, this one actually already happened. Turns out the Iraqi police-training handbook somehow got mixed up with Catch and Release: Trout Fishing for People Who Think Fish Don't Feel Pain.

And, oh man, it gets so much worse. Now we've stopped turning captives over to the Iraqi government becauseŠ try not to cryŠ they're not living up to our standards of care for prisoners. Sorry? No kneepads for their naked human pyramids? Jesus Christ, what the hell are the Iraqi security forces doing in their prisons that the people who are getting ready to microwave Baghdadians en masse are calling them inhumane?

Yes, you read that correctly. Smart bombs get all the good press, but any day now the Marines are going to start doing crowd control with the kind of modern technology you and I use to pop our Orville Redenbacher. You think those Abu Ghraib photos pissed the Iraqis off? Wait until we start treating them like Double Cheesy Hot Pockets.

But we've stopped all that torture shit, right? Especially now that John McCain is on the case. I mean, he endured years of torture himself, there's no way he'd cave on that issue. Well, not according to all the journalists who can't stop blowing sunshine up his ass. Yes-Bush agreed to say that torture is bad. And in return? McCain agreed that if they do string you up by your thumbs, there isn't a goddamn thing you can do about it. In fact, the bill he voted for calls for us to provide lawyers for the torturers. Nice. Maybe this isn't the John McCain we've been hearing about all these years. Is he that same sweet, aw-shucks grandfathery pile of integrity who once joked:

"Why is Chelsea Clinton so ugly? Because her father is Janet Reno."

Ha! Yep, that's him. What a fuckhead.

And while we're dealing with Republicans that Democrats can't stop getting wet for, fuck Colin Powell. He's been off the team for a year-isn't it about time we stopped making excuses for him making excuses for George? When are liberals going to stop looking at this asshole through rose-colored contacts and start seeing red when he sides with this pissant potentate? He could have just kept his mouth shut, but no, he had to come out swinging last week to back up Bush on this wiretapping bullshit. I know, I know-he was the "voice of reason" in the W West Wing all those years, but that crew would make Genghis Khan look like Dennis fucking Kucinich.

In a couple years when the McCain/Powell 2008 committee opens its first field office in Iowa, just remember this: If they walk like ducks, and they talk like ducks, they're fucking right-wing Republican assholes in duck costumes.

Sorry-where was I? Oh yeah, our shiny new police state. There is this one teeny tiny problem with doing all this wiretapping on the sly: The few actual terrorists we may have caught so far might get off scot-free because of it. That's the thing about judges, man; they're pretty serious about people breaking the laws. And when it's the government doing it, well, they get pretty fucking mad. Like let-the-accused-off-because-the-evidence-against-them-was-gathered-illegally mad. That's right-while Bush plays Mister Monarch, his little war on terror is actually going backward. I feel so much safer now.

So happy fucking New Year, America. While we're definitely way up shit creek without a goddamn canoe, there is one ray of hope: November 2006 is duck-hunting season in congressional districts across this great land. Lock and load, motherfuckers.