Barack Obama made a mistake backing the FISA compromise. He is now on record supporting 1) additional powers to the president; 2) weakening the 4th amendment; 3) I can’t tell if his support of the compromise giving additional powers to telecom corporations which themselves have powers scarily like that of governments but with nearly no democratic accountability, is political expediency or principle. I hope it is not the latter, and am disappointed if the former.
Now it is one thing to deal with the customer services folks at Verizon and ATT making you wait in line for 2 hours before telling you they are not going to fix your cell phone. It is quite another to think these same folks (or folks just a little higher on the food chain) have the power to listen in on your private phone conversations because the president ostensibly told their boss we are in the midst of a perpetual war and the phone companies have a role to play in fighting the enemy. They can help the government spy on us with no warrants, to rhymes, no reason.
The founding fathers feared the tyrrannical power of King George III; they would have been even more fearful of unaccountable corporate powers, Verizon and ATT, which brings the discussion back to Barack Obama.
Now, I support Obama but believe that Obama, like nearly any president would be hard pressed to relinquish additional powers that a previous congress had allotted to the office of the presidency. As the next likely president this is where Obama sits, as the likely beneficiary of this FISA compromise.
here is my second concern.
Obama is showing, by his statements and by the persons he has recruited to be part of his economic policy team (disappointingly Chicago school) , that he has not yet cued into the dangers of privatization and outsourcing. The Bush Administration has outsourced war and other crucial/ fundamental components of the state, giving private firms nearly all the powers of government– which has a monopoly on the use of coercive force– and almost no responsibility and accountability. As a result, the likes of Boeing, McDonnell Douglass, Accenture, Unisyss, GE, ATT, Verizon and so forth are making decisions that affect fundamental rights and liberties affecting all citizens, and we know almost nothing about it.
This is scary, and threatens to undermine the “yes we can” power to the people, that the Obama campaign ostensibly stands for.