Five years ago today, I think it is, a small plane crashed in Minnesota, killing everyone aboard, among whom were Senator Paul Wellstone, his wife and daughter, and three close aides. He was eulogized on the floor of that august chamber where he’d labored for twelve years as “the conscience of the Senate.”

It was Paul Wellstone who said:

“If we don't fight hard enough for the things we stand for, at some point we have to recognize that we don't really stand for them.”

It is apparent that in the United States Senate and in the House, among the Democratic party leadership which promised America that its election would change the Hell-bent policies of the Bush Regime, that point has clearly been reached.

But I digress. An old friend is fond of telling me, if I mention the ‘inconvenient truth’ which didn’t win an Oscar – the one about who murdered the President back in ancient history – that it has nothing to do with what’s happening now. There is no relationship between Dallas and, say, the imposition of unconstitutional police procedures against Americans, or various foreign adventures, or the fact that an election gets itself stolen here and there and nobody does shit about it.

No relationship at all.

Well, here’s one thing we may be able to agree on. When evil people, sociopaths with an interest in great political power, discover that they can get away with terrible acts, that the media will go to sleep and the congress will take vacations, and nobody seems interested in stopping them, then they figure, what the Hell, we can do anything at all. And they do.

The Attorney-General designee declines to say whether he believes torture to be torture.

A private mercenary army hired by multinational corporations who are sweeping up billions of dollars in Iraq is able to shoot people on the streets with impunity.

We are told that getting young men and women blown up by roadside bombs is “supporting them,” while trying to end the madness and bring these kids home is “unpatriotic.”

Massive public scams in nearly every available field, from the Savings and Loan travesty to the mortgage disaster result not in prison sentences for the perpetrators but government bail-outs.

It is now in the news, albeit buried, that the National Security Agency, the NSA, tried to force Quest Communications to assist it in spying on Americans at least eight months before 9-11. Does that suggest anything to you?

“If we don't fight hard enough for the things we stand for, at some point we have to recognize that we don't really stand for them.”

Paul Wellstone died five years ago. The conscience of the Senate and of the Democratic Party died with him. I don’t recall who said it, an observation by someone who knew him, after another inconvenient United States Senator was shot to death while trying to save his country: the stone is at the bottom of the hill.