“We the People”? How quaint.

| October 3, 2007 | 2 Replies

Glenn Greenwald’s column at Salon.com shows how business is really done in the bowels of Washington D.C.   Yes, it’s always been ugly.  But has it ever been this ugly?

Speaking of the disease of the Washington Establishment, yet another report, this one from the Washington Post, indicates that “Democrats on the Senate Intelligence Committee have said there is consensus that the [telecom] companies should have some form of relief” for past lawbreaking with regard to allowing the Bush administration’s warrantless eavesdropping on their customers in violation of the law.

The same article details the generally commendable effort of some House Democrats at least to compel the telecoms to disclose what they actually did here, but the Democrats on the Senate Intelligence Committee — the Dianne Feinsteins and Jay Rockefellers — are pronouncing a “consensus” that telecoms should receive amnesty even though they have no idea what the telecoms actually did and have little interest in finding out. I’m in the process of trying to work with the ACLU and other groups and bloggers to determine what, if anything, can be done to derail this absolute travesty, but as is often the case when there is bipartisan Beltway support for some corrupt Establishment-protecting measure, outside pressures are irrelevant.

The behavior of telecoms and their bipartisan cast of lobbyists and advisors, meeting in secret with key Democratic Senators and administration officials to concoct their amnesty scheme, becomes an impenetrable process. This is a perfect microcosm of the Beltway disease.

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Category: Corruption, Politics

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich and his wife, Anne Jay, live in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where they are raising their two extraordinary daughters.

Comments (2)

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  1. Erich Vieth says:

    More from Glenn Greenwald on the incestuous relationship between the federal government and the telecoms:

    documents were released last week, and there are two critical points that become crystal clear from reviewing them:

    (1) The cooperation between the various military/intelligence branches of the Federal Government — particularly the Pentagon and the NSA — and the private telecommunications corporations is extraordinary and endless. They really are, in every respect, virtually indistinguishable. The Federal Government has its hands dug deeply into the entire ostensibly "private" telecommunications infrastructure and, in return, the nation's telecoms are recipients of enormous amounts of revenues by virtue of turning themselves into branches of the Federal Government.

    There simply is no separation between these corporations and the military and intelligence agencies of the Federal Government. They meet and plan and agree so frequently, and at such high levels, that they practically form a consortium. Just in Nacchio's limited and redacted disclosures, there are descriptions of numerous pre-9/11 meetings between the largest telecoms and multiple Bush national security officials, including Paul Wolfowitz, Condoleezza Rice, NSA Director Gen. Michael Hayden and counter-terrorism advisor Richard Clarke.

    http://www.salon.com/opinion/greenwald/?last_stor

  2. Erich Vieth says:

    The lead Editorial in The New York Times this morning is devoted to lambasting Harry Reid and Jay Rockefeller for their active efforts to ensure passage of the Cheney/Rockefeller FISA bill. After failing to do so the first time around, the House in November passed a decent bill that contains no immunity and has numerous safeguards on eavesdropping powers, and — at least as of now — appears unlikely to capitulate. The only reason any of that happened is because enough citizens were sufficiently intense and active to catapult this issue to the fore and prevent the quiet and easy enactment of telecom immunity and new warrantless eavesdropping powers. In the absence of that, this would have all been over with, easily and without trouble, back in December.

    Glenn Greenwald, at Common Dreams: http://www.commondreams.org/archive/2008/01/25/66

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