We have exited the honeymoon, even before any actual coitus has taken place. Well, other than that sneaking adventure into our rectum the Congress offered us yesterday — which, I guess, wasn't actually that sneaky, preceded by any number of obvious signals by hamfisted, Hoyer-regimented collaborationist jagoffs in recent months of their intentions to punch a whole in the Constitution and pump us right through it like randy Hasidim. Okay, look, fuck the analogies, the Senate in approving the FISA "compromise" ushered us into a realm of non-law yesterday, creating a selective bubble where the Constitution of the United States does not apply.
Normal people, of course, workaday citizens, you and I, cannot enter therein; nope, it is a velvet roped club, reserved for wealthy criminals, who have bought their way out of criminality. And those vested with looking out for the rest of us are working the fucking door, including our ostensible last best candidate for the presidency.
This obviously has and will be weighed more thoughtfully and exhaustively elsewhere, but, that said, there is not enough outrage to be expressed, not with every foul, razor-sharp, laser-focused string of words I might direct at the co-opted heaps of inveigling, besuited bloatum who acceded to the bill, not with flaming bags of shit or Molotov cocktails left at their campaign offices. What these people have done, with all their fancy titles and badges and pledges under their belts to preserve, defend and protect that constitution, has been to, in fact, subvert the latter, to render it inert. Long the loneliest voice in defense of The Rest of Us and rule of law that makes us Us, Wisconsin senator Russ Feingold, the man who goddamn well should be The Candidate right now, minced no words about it. "This is a terrible piece of legislation," he said. "It’s one of the greatest assaults on the Constitution I think in the history of our country. We are going to have to fix it, but it is a dark hour for the Constitution."
The bill not only provides super-citizen status to giant corporations who wittingly broke the law on orders from a criminal administration to spy on U.S. citizens. It effectively, in a stroke, ends lawsuits against them, assuring there will be no reckoning nor even means to legally scrutinize their actions. It goes further to give the Imperial Presidency, whomever occupies that single seat, sweeping powers to wiretap citizens without the court-issued warrant that, in a civil society, might assure there are grounds to supersede Fourth Amendment protections, without which, the Fourth Amendment ceases to be applicable.
Senator Obama — whom I have supported since John Edwards bowed out, who explicitly vowed to support a filibuster of any bill that included telecom immunity and who, too obviously now, fucking lied — qualified this as "compromise," speaking for the phalanx of triangulating right-wing enablers in his party. It has yet to be explained to me to any measure of logic how any reasonable trade-off is involved in giving someone proven wrong countless times everything they want to continue doing wrong things. Maybe I missed that rhetoric class. Constitutional lawyer Glenn Greenwald has eviscerated these defenseless defenses with persistent and meticulous precision over at Salon, and I encourage you to devour as much of it as you can in a sitting. If you prefer a more digestible audio format, Greenwald effectively dismembered a former Clinton administration flunkie and current collaboration apologist on WNYC here.
Greenwald and others have ravaged the inevitable Vichy Dem rationalization that, with Obama all-too-conspicuously taking the same position as McCain, this "compromise" takes "national security" zealotry off the table in the coming election. To sum up as pithily as possible: most American citizens don't agree with them, as salient polling has long shown. Whatever tactical calculation was involved in Obama's decision — and not only that but his abject lack of principled leadership on this issue — it seems either rooted in a profound misreading of the principles of the American people and their ongoing leftward shift, not to mention of the proper functioning of American jurisprudence, or it represents a complete disavowal of the notion of equal protection under the law. There is no "art of the possible" here, just artless, ball-less concession to the Gonzalesque notion of the social compact as a "quaint" anachronism to be sneered at by men of great power.
Greenwald cut to the quick in his July 3 column: "A typical line in Barack Obama's stump speech throughout the primary season was that 'the era of Scooter Libby justice . . . will finally be over.' But this new FISA bill — and the immunity it bequeaths — is the very essence of 'Lewis Libby justice': ensuring that our highest political officials and other well-connected elites can break our laws with total impunity."
This is not, as Obama has stated, simply a matter of where a radical left faction, myself and much of the netroots who got him to this point, might have a reasonable difference opinion on a single issue. It has to do with whether this nation or any other can long endure by denuding the core laws that make it a nation. This is not a quibble on church crackhead recovery programs, this is where you draw a fucking line in the sand, and you stand, ready to throw if it comes to it. That's what some of us do anyways. The ACLU will challenge the new law in the courts. You can lend your name to its opening salvo, a print campaign calling out the collaborators, by signing on over at FireDogLake.