Today’s opining on the public discourse.
The Democratic-led Congress this afternoon voted to put an end to the NSA spying scandal, as the Senate approved a bill — approved last week by the House — to immunize lawbreaking telecoms, terminate all pending lawsuits against them, and vest whole new warrantless eavesdropping powers in the President. The vote in favor of the new FISA bill was 69-28. Barack Obama joined every Senate Republican (and every House Republican other than one) by voting in favor of it, while his now-vanquished primary rival, Sen. Hillary Clinton, voted against it. John McCain wasn’t present for any of the votes, but shared Obama’s support for the bill. The bill will now be sent to an extremely happy George Bush, who already announced that he enthusiastically supports it, and he will sign it into law very shortly.
Haven’t we learned by now that anything that makes Bush and Cheney happy is bad for the country?
The ACLU and EFF are already gearing up to challenge the law’s constitutionality in court. The Accountability Now PAC is organizing a money bomb set to go off on August 8th. Ads are already running against some of the most egregious offenders. Enough people are going to see their political careers destroyed to demonstrate rather eloquently that the Constitution is not a document you eviscerate lightly.
And letting the President get away with committing felony after felony isn’t too popular, neither:
In other words, when Bush contravened the FISA law by authorizing warrantless wiretaps through the National Security Agency, he broke the law. Turley said last night that this is an “inconvenient fact” for many in Congress to admit:
Nobody wants to have a confrontation over the fact that the President committed a felony – not one, but at least 30 times. That’s a very inconvenient fact right now in Washington.
Not as inconvenient as it was yesterday, I’m sure. FISA had provisions allowing lawbreakers such as Bush to be punished by prison and fines. No more. Still, if we’re lucky, there’ll be that one thing Bush and his cronies didn’t think to immunize themselves against that will lead to their arrest and conviction. Make no mistake: they deserve to rot in prison for what they’ve done to this country.
In the midst of all this fuckery, there’s one piece that’s guaranteed to give us a chuckle, even now. You may have heard about that list of 300 economists who support McCain’s economic plan. You know, the one without numbers. Now, you may recall another list put out by DIsco dancers a while back, and what happened when someone dug into those supposed “supporters.”
It’s the funniest thing, but it seems like McCain’s list has exactly the same credibility:
On Monday, the McCain campaign triumphantly released a joint statement from 300 economists who “enthusiastically support” the senator’s economic plan. Almost immediately, the statement looked a little sketchy, given they only endorsed his plan after taking out two of the more transparently stupid centerpiece ideas of the plan — the gas tax holiday and his promise to balance the budget by the end of his first term.
Today, the press stunt looks even worse. Alexander Burns and Avi Zenilman found that many of the 300 economists “don’t actually support the whole of McCain’s economic agenda” and at least one of McCain’s 300 economists “doesn’t even support McCain for president.”
In interviews with more than a dozen of the signatories, Politico found that, far from embracing McCain’s economic plan, many were unfamiliar with — or downright opposed to — key details. While most of those contacted by Politico had warm feelings about McCain, many did not want to associate themselves too closely with his campaign and its policy prescriptions.
Howard Beales, an economist at George Washington University, explained that he signed the letter as “an expression of support for [McCain], not necessarily each and every detail of his plan, which I may not have had time to study closely.”
Constantine Alexandrakis, a professor at the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth, not only supports Obama, but also rejects the notion that Bush’s tax cuts should be made permanent (a key facet of McCain’s plan). “I would describe myself as an Obama supporter,” he explained. “Maybe I shouldn’t have rushed into signing the letter.”
Today’s lesson is this, kiddies: don’t hand the Republicons anything they’re asking for, because they’ll just use it to screw you over. Every fucking time.