This morning during a CNN Wolf Blitzer interview, that smug and consummate self-congratulating moralizer, Second Lady Lynn Cheney, assured the American public that all of the Bush-Cheney admin’s alleged law breaking (e.g., using NSA and the Pentagon to spy on American citizens or using torture to gain information from detainees) has, legal or not, kept us safe. That’s kind of like the wife of a mafia don observing how little violent crime there is in that part of the city controlled by her husband. The Bush Protection Plan for America is increasingly based on the adminstration’s demands for larger and larger civil rights kickbacks. In other words, Bush will protect us just so long as we keep giving up our constitutionally protected civil rights. If we bellyache about it, it’s suggested it might be bad for our collective health–courtesy of either terrorists or admin goons operating off the books. So we allow fear to dominate our lives, to buy one more day of peace, to keep our families out of harm’s way, no matter what it costs to achieve that. In the old days, they called it a “protection racket.” Am I missing something here? Even Bush apologists George Will and Cokie Roberts (interviewed by George Stephanopolous on ABC today) are getting extremely alarmed at Bush’s “capacious” (Will’s word) reading of executive power. On the same program, Sam Donaldson pointed out that the powers claimed by Bush are beginning to look more and more like the power claimed by Saddam Hussein, not like the power reserved for the executive by the Founders, who loathed the depredations of the monarchies they rebelled against. We have a president. Accountable to the citizens and two other branches of government. We do not have a king or a mafia don in charge of our nation. Or do we?