FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

FISA and the Decline of America

Jonathan Swift, the great Irish political writer and satirist, is not alone in observing that great nations rarely fall from outside threats or attack. More often they decline and fall from internal corruption. The Congress is deaf to this warning it appears, for last week they passed legislation that is advertised as reforming FISA.

The Denver Post, fast becoming a slavering lap dog of a newspaper, is also deaf to Swift’s warning since on its editorial page it wrote approvingly, if somewhat haltingly, of the legislation. FISA is the law that allows the government to snoop on us with blanket impunity. Among the so called reforms is immunization for giant telecom corporations from prosecution for criminal behavior for unlawfully spying on us, even before 9/11. The Congress and the Post’s editorial writer defended immunization of these corporate wrong doers as a reasonable tradeoff for other changes in FISA. Piffle!

FISA reform, or even better, repeal, does not depend on immunizing giant corporations from prosecution for willfully trammeling our rights to privacy under the 4th Amendment. The excuse, that the Bush crowd came to the CEO’s of corporations such as Verizen and AT&T and asked, is just that, an excuse. All of these corporations have fleets of lawyers, a few of whom must be marginally familiar with the protections guaranteed us under our Constitution. Moreover, there were some companies, such as Qwest, that said no to the Bush crowd. One might even wonder if that denial didn’t factor into the Nacchio prosecution.

But what is worst about the legislation’s immunization provision is that it almost guarantees that we will never be able to find out who did what for whom, what were the enticements, who was the kingpin in all this lawbreaking?

Transparency is the bulwark of our system of government. The Bush administration, endlessly invoking the “terror” rubric, has done much to destroy government transparency. The Congress has been richly complicit and continues to be as this legislation shows. For those planning to vote for incumbents who are running as agents of change in Washington, this vote complicates things since Dianne DeGette was the only member of the Colorado delegation, Republican or Democrat, to vote against this legislation. Perhaps not surprisingly, the previous day she was also the only member of the delegation to vote against another blank check for the continued prosecution of Bush’s War, a check that was almost $60 billion more than Bush had originally asked for in supplemental war spending.

Barack Obama, in a week of broken promises, has endorsed the FISA bill, to the bitter consternation of liberals and right-to-privacy, Fourth Amendment advocates. Earlier, when he was seeking the nomination, he had promised to protect the public’s rights of privacy.

Tom Waits, the American poet and troubdour, borrowing from Erasmus, has rasped that in the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king. Oh, for a one-eyed man.

PHILLIP DOE lives in Colorado. He can be reached at: ptdoe@comcast.net

 

 

 

 

 

 

More articles by:

PHILLIP DOE lives in Colorado. Doe is a co-sponsor of a public trust initiative that would turn the tables on the permitting process by making those seeking to use public resources, air, land, and water, to first demonstrate that the proposed use would not irreparably harm those resources–the reverse of the present permitting process. He can be reached at:ptdoe@comcast.net

Weekend Edition
December 14, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Andrew Levine
A Tale of Two Cities
Peter Linebaugh
The Significance of The Common Wind
Bruce E. Levine
The Ketamine Chorus: NYT Trumpets New Anti-Suicide Drug
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Fathers and Sons, Bushes and Bin Ladens
Kathy Deacon
Coffee, Social Stratification and the Retail Sector in a Small Maritime Village
Nick Pemberton
Praise For America’s Second Leading Intellectual
Patrick Cockburn
The Yemeni Dead: Six Times Higher Than Previously Reported
Nick Alexandrov
George H. W. Bush: Another Eulogy
Brian Cloughley
Principles and Morality Versus Cash and Profit? No Contest
Michael Duggin
Climate Change and the Limits of Reason
Victor Grossman
Sighs of Relief in Germany
Ron Jacobs
A Propagandist of Privatization
Robert Fantina
What Does Beto Have Against the Palestinians?
Richard Falk – Daniel Falcone
Sartre, Said, Chomsky and the Meaning of the Public Intellectual
Andrew Glikson
Crimes Against the Earth
Robert Fisk
The Parasitic Relationship Between Power and the American Media
Stephen Cooper
When Will Journalism Grapple With the Ethics of Interviewing Mentally Ill Arrestees?
Jill Richardson
A War on Science, Morals and Law
Ron Jacobs
A Propagandist of Privatization
Evaggelos Vallianatos
It’s Not Easy Being Greek
Nomi Prins 
The Inequality Gap on a Planet Growing More Extreme
John W. Whitehead
Know Your Rights or You Will Lose Them
David Swanson
The Abolition of War Requires New Thoughts, Words, and Actions
J.P. Linstroth
Primates Are Us
Bill Willers
The War Against Cash
Jonah Raskin
Doris Lessing: What’s There to Celebrate?
Ralph Nader
Are the New Congressional Progressives Real? Use These Yardsticks to Find Out
Binoy Kampmark
William Blum: Anti-Imperial Advocate
Medea Benjamin – Alice Slater
Green New Deal Advocates Should Address Militarism
John Feffer
Review: Season 2 of Trump Presidency
Frank Clemente
The GOP Tax Bill is Creating Jobs…But Not in the United States
Rich Whitney
General Motors’ Factories Should Not Be Closed. They Should Be Turned Over to the Workers
Christopher Brauchli
Deported for Christmas
Kerri Kennedy
This Holiday Season, I’m Standing With Migrants
Mel Gurtov
Weaponizing Humanitarian Aid
Thomas Knapp
Lame Duck Shutdown Theater Time: Pride Goeth Before a Wall?
George Wuerthner
The Thrill Bike Threat to the Elkhorn Mountains
Nyla Ali Khan
A Woman’s Selfhood and Her Ability to Act in the Public Domain: Resilience of Nadia Murad
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
On the Killing of an Ash Tree
Graham Peebles
Britain’s Homeless Crisis
Louis Proyect
America: a Breeding Ground for Maladjustment
Steve Carlson
A Hell of a Time
Dan Corjescu
America and The Last Ship
Jeffrey St. Clair
Booked Up: the 25 Best Books of 2018
December 13, 2018
John Davis
What World Do We Seek?
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail