| Here’s another blatant example of how the president, the presidential candidates, the congress, and the media have yet again failed this country. And the saddest of all is how the people, the electorate, have failed themselves. Just a few days ago, right on schedule, president Bush, the most famous fear-mongering one-trick-pony of all time, paraded out in front of an incompetent news media and did it all again, as though from a tired, cynical script. The president threatened to delay his trip to Africa if the House does not extend the Senate’s version of the “warrant-less wire tap” law. This is the version of the law that explicitly gives blanket immunity to telecom companies that may have cooperated with the Bush administration in breaking the law. But what no one seems to be saying is that if the law expires, the government is still able to listen in on telecom conversations that are channeled through the US as long as the government gets permission from the FISA court to do so. According to sources familiar with the process, permission can be had within hours, and if that’s not fast enough, permission can be retroactive. When the government was asked if they’ve “ever” been refused permission, they couldn’t come up with a single case.
Why should the government get permission in the form of a warrant to listen in on private conversations of US citizens in the US? For the same reason they need permission to search your home, car, or office—there must be some reason for their suspicions that they can explain to a panel of judges. We know, from history, what happens when governments or monarchs are left without supervision, and do whatever they want, and are answerable to no one. We call such countries authoritarian dictatorships. That’s why we have the first amendment to the Constitution.
But right on schedule, Bush was at the microphones telling the country that if the House doesn’t allow him to be answerable to no one, the House will be responsible if the country is attacked. And right on schedule, the media sucked it up and repeated the president’s words with authority to a scared, dumbfounded public. No explanations, no clear to-the-point fact-checking, no hard questions, no authoritative sources to explain the process, the history, or the reality of the president’s claims. And the presidential candidates bent on a new, open, honest politics—not a peep.
President Bush claims that the telecoms have done nothing wrong, if not, why do they need blanket immunity? The president claims he’s done nothing wrong—if that’s the case, why is he worried that a law without immunity might intensify investigations into his administration’s possible illegalities. Isn’t the public tired of this? Isn’t this why the president’s poll numbers are so low? If so, where’s the outrage? And more to the point, where's the media and the democrats in the Senate who are complicit in the president’s refusal to be answerable to the people’s representatives?