Monday, June 23, 2008

FISA & the Dream of Total Omnipotence

Niemand sieht mich, wenn er mich sucht;
doch überall bin ich, geborgen dem Blick.
Perhaps the commenter August Adams put it best, following upon a Robert Parry article on the Democratic capitulation on telecom immunity for illegal Bush administration wiretapping:
So we are a Capitalist State

So, fascism is led by a dictator, so how does a "super" capitalistic state, one where the President and the Congress and the Senate are all in lock Step, differ from a Fascist state where the Dictator simply seizes power.

I guess we live in a State where the leaders simply use the Corporate Controlled Capitalist Media to spin propaganda and the "electoral" process is manipulated to select our rulers.

Once elected, the House and the Senate know now that they must be in lock step with the Corporate powers that paid their way or they will be funded out of office.

So we have the best Corporate Government money can buy.

Looks like we need a new definition for our country. It's not a democracy of by and for the people. It's a corporate government of by and for the Super Capitalists. And it looks like things are a whole lot worse and more entrenched then we ever imagined.

Soon, our Representatives won't even need to pretend to pander to the people during the election cycles - they do whatever they want anyway.

It's all so clever - and virtually complete - I just wonder - what's next?

So we all go along with pretending there will be "Change" in November, what happens when it is just more of the same corporate controlled nonsense?
The "compromise" over wiretapping was engineered by Democratic Senator Jay Rockefeller and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, and blessed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who announced she would not in any case obstruct the "compromise". Even Barack Obama got into the act, calling the amnesty (legal amnesty for the telecoms, political amnesty for Bush) the best "we" could hope for at this time. If the trashing of Fourth Amendment protections against unlawful search and seizure were not enough, it is the validation of the counterfeit "terrorist" meme that is most disturbing. Here's Obama on FISA:
"Under this compromise legislation, an important tool in the fight against terrorism will continue, but the President's illegal program of warrantless surveillance will be over. It restores FISA and existing criminal wiretap statutes as the exclusive means to conduct surveillance -- making it clear that the President cannot circumvent the law and disregard the civil liberties of the American people. It also firmly re-establishes basic judicial oversight over all domestic surveillance in the future....

"It is not all that I would want. But given the legitimate threats we face, providing effective intelligence collection tools with appropriate safeguards is too important to delay. So I support the compromise, but do so with a firm pledge that as President, I will carefully monitor the program, review the report by the Inspectors General, and work with the Congress to take any additional steps I deem necessary to protect the lives -- and the liberty -- of the American people."
Obama reveals what an ordinary politician he really is, mimicking the Bush demagogy about the "fight against terrorism" and "legitimate threats". He rewrites history with the best of his compatriots, talking about a restoration of FISA. Except FISA, i.e., legally established courts to review national security requests for covert surveillance, was always the law. Nothing is "restored" here, unless it be the concept of a monarchy that exists above the law, and its corollary, a rubber-stamp legislature that neurotically polices itself for lèse-majesté.

Of course, it is the Bush Administration that is most ecstatic over their victory. They proved to themselves yet again that there is almost nothing they can do for which they will be held to account, and that their ostensible opposition is in thrall to them. Those who are not remain marginalized and even maligned by the larger majority that cannot see past the lies of the corporate media, and are pledged to an incremental vision of "progress" that loses ground as quickly as Achilles in his race against the tortoise.

At the opera the other day (I must be a true "elitist," after all), I was struck at how the dream of the dwarf Alberich in Wagner's Ring of the Niebelung to be all-powerful, all-seeing, and everywhere at once, and able to totally observe and discipline his enslaved followers, matches that dream which quickens the deadened souls of our own enfeebled national leadership.

Alberich has fashioned a special device that allows him to change shape at will, to become invisible, if need be, and to transport himself anywhere he wishes instantaneously. He tells his interlocutor:
Now he is watching you
repose and rest
is refused you:
you must work for him
though he is unseen;
expect him
when you do not perceive him;
you are his vassals for ever!
Hoho! Hoho!
Listen for him, he is near,
the Lord of the Nibelungs!

No one can see me,
though he search for me;
yet I am everywhere,
hidden from sight.

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