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Where's The Change?

Monday, Jun. 23, 2008 3:53 AM

It's dismaying to see Barack Obama's 'change' manifest as 'more of the same,' as the Illinois senator and Democratic nominee voted in favor of a 'new' compromise on the FISA legislation that incorporates telecom immunity.

Let's recap. The Democrats actually manage to defeat the changes to FISA that contained immunity for the nation's telecommunications companies who may or may not have participated in the illegal, warrantless wiretap program authorized by George W. Bush. Cheers all around.

But somehow, Steny Hoyer gets it in his head that a compromise - surrendering the very thing Democrats fought against - is a better deal. Presto, we're back to holding the rights of corporations above those of individual citizens.

This isn't about our ability to conduct foreign surveillance; it never has been. The crux of the Bush Administration argument was that fundamental legal and constitutional protections were too much of a hassle (i.e., Alberto Gonzales didn't have time to file a warrant). It's about covering up illegal activities and thwarting accountability.

It's about perpetuating a climate of fear and the idea that we are under siege by forces so powerful, so insidious and omnipresent, that we must set aside the laws and principles which have served this nation through war, disasters, and economic depression. That somehow, those things that are fundamentally American aren't good enough to defend us, that we need to be more like those failed states we have opposed in years past.

Senator Obama had an opportunity to stand against the gibbering fear and destructive anger that others seem to have confused with patriotism.

He failed. It's not a deal breaker yet, but it certainly casts serious doubt on his promise to review the Bush Administration's laws and executive orders for their constitutionality.

(And, yes, I've already written to Senator Obama expressing my views.)

Farewell to comedian George Carlin, who passed away Sunday at the age of 71.

The damages to my car from last weekend's accident come to just under $10,000, including:

- both driver's side doors
- rear quarter panel
- rear suspension
- left rear and both right side wheels
- left rear and right front tires

The other driver's insurance company has accepted full responsibility for the incident. I'm in a rental car for about a month.

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