February 12th — Happy Amnesty Day

Maybe the Corporate States of America will declare February 12 a national holiday. February 12 may go down in history as the day the Corporate States had their independence from the Constitution of the Unitied States declared for them.

The Senate will vote on a FISA bill today to give telecoms retroactive immunity for spying on Americans, hiding their illegal activities forever from scrutiny. As we thanked Chuck Schumer and Dianne Feinstein so heartily for giving us Michael Mukasey, so we thank Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Intelligence Committee Chair Jay Rockefeller for standing up for the American people their corporate masters with such resolve and resilience.

Tom Toles, as usual, sums it up in his pithy way:


And Glenn Greenwald marks how far we’ve fallen:

How far we’ve come — really: disgracefully tumbled — from the days of the Church Committee, which aggressively uncovered surveillance abuses and then drafted legislation to outlaw them and prevent them from ever occurring again. It is, of course, precisely those post-Watergate laws which the Bush administration and their telecom conspirators purposely violated, and for which they are about to receive permanent, lawless protection.

What Harry Reid’s Senate is about to do today would be tantamount to the Church Committee — after discovering the decades of abuses of eavesdropping powers by various administrations — proceeding in response to write legislation to legalize unchecked surveillance, bar any subjects of the illegal eavesdropping from obtaining remedies in court, and then pass a bill with no purpose other than to provide retroactive immunity for the surveillance lawbreakers. That would be an absurd and incomparably corrupt nonsequitur, but that is precisely what Harry Reid’s Senate — in response to the NYT’s 2005 revelations of clear surveillance lawbreaking by the administration — is going to do today.

Here’s the hard lesson, learned perhaps too late for America but worth noting for historians. It’s not and never was about electing people who will come in and save the day. This is America, and despite the rhetoric of campaigns such as 2006’s midterms, America is not a comic book and politicians don’t wear capes. But it’s neither, as Ralph Nader unhelpfully and — as history has shown — horrendously used to say, that “there’s not a dime’s worth of difference” between the two major parties.

Politicians don’t have capes, but they have ears, and our job is to tune their ears to our frequency or elect politicians whose ears are tunable to the public good. Reid, Rockefeller, and company have proven their tone deafness in a most reprehensible manner. It’s time to change leadership. 

Chris Dodd, you hearing this?

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