Here’s why publicly financed, clean elections is not just a goo-goo issue:
From Glenn Greenwald
The fact that this was completely predictable does not make it any less reprehensible:
Senate Democrats and Republicans reached agreement with the Bush administration yesterday on the terms of new legislation to control the federal government’s domestic surveillance program, which includes a highly controversial grant of legal immunity to telecommunications companies that have assisted the program, according to congressional sources. . . .
The draft Senate bill has the support of the intelligence committee’s chairman, John D. Rockefeller IV (D-W.Va.), and Bush’s director of national intelligence, Mike McConnell. It will include full immunity for those companies that can demonstrate to a court that they acted pursuant to a legal directive in helping the government with surveillance in the United States.
Let’s just describe very factually and dispassionately what has happened here. Congress — led by Senators, such as Jay Rockefeller, who have received huge payments from the telecom industry, and by privatized intelligence pioneer Mike McConnell, former Chairman of the secretive intelligence industry association that has been demanding telecom amnesty — is going to intervene directly in the pending lawsuits against AT&T and other telecoms and declare them the winners on the ground that they did nothing wrong. Because of their vast ties to the telecoms, neither Rockefeller nor McConnell could ever appropriately serve as an actual judge in those lawsuits.
There are those close to me who think the good ship USA has taken too much damage to stop it from sinking. My oppostion to that pessimism is weakening.
I recall Jay Rockefeller’s very publicized concerns about domestic spying he expressed in a handwritten letter to Vice President Cheney in 2003. Re-reading it reminds me that the letter was as feeble then as his leadership of the Senate Intelligence Committee is today.
The Senator realizes that “ya dances with them that brung ya.” And it wasn’t the American people who did.