FISA & the Dream of Total Omnipotence

(8:15PM EST – promoted by Nightprowlkitty)

Niemand sieht mich, wenn er mich sucht;

doch überall bin ich, geborgen dem Blick.

Perhaps the commenter August Adams put it best, following upon a Robert Parry article on the Democratic capitulation on telecom immunity for illegal Bush administration wiretapping:

So we are a Capitalist State

So, fascism is led by a dictator, so how does a “super” capitalistic state, one where the President and the Congress and the Senate are all in lock Step, differ from a Fascist state where the Dictator simply seizes power.

I guess we live in a State where the leaders simply use the Corporate Controlled Capitalist Media to spin propaganda and the “electoral” process is manipulated to select our rulers.

Once elected, the House and the Senate know now that they must be in lock step with the Corporate powers that paid their way or they will be funded out of office.

So we have the best Corporate Government money can buy.

Looks like we need a new definition for our country. It’s not a democracy of by and for the people. It’s a corporate government of by and for the Super Capitalists. And it looks like things are a whole lot worse and more entrenched then we ever imagined.

Soon, our Representatives won’t even need to pretend to pander to the people during the election cycles – they do whatever they want anyway.

It’s all so clever – and virtually complete – I just wonder – what’s next?

So we all go along with pretending there will be “Change” in November, what happens when it is just more of the same corporate controlled nonsense?

The “compromise” over wiretapping was engineered by Democratic Senator Jay Rockefeller and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, and blessed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who announced she would not in any case obstruct the “compromise”. Even Barack Obama got into the act, calling the amnesty (legal amnesty for the telecoms, political amnesty for Bush) the best “we” could hope for at this time. If the trashing of Fourth Amendment protections against unlawful search and seizure were not enough, it is the validation of the counterfeit “terrorist” meme that is most disturbing. Here’s Obama on FISA:

“Under this compromise legislation, an important tool in the fight against terrorism will continue, but the President’s illegal program of warrantless surveillance will be over. It restores FISA and existing criminal wiretap statutes as the exclusive means to conduct surveillance — making it clear that the President cannot circumvent the law and disregard the civil liberties of the American people. It also firmly re-establishes basic judicial oversight over all domestic surveillance in the future….

“It is not all that I would want. But given the legitimate threats we face, providing effective intelligence collection tools with appropriate safeguards is too important to delay. So I support the compromise, but do so with a firm pledge that as President, I will carefully monitor the program, review the report by the Inspectors General, and work with the Congress to take any additional steps I deem necessary to protect the lives — and the liberty — of the American people.”

Obama reveals what an ordinary politician he really is, mimicking the Bush demagogy about the “fight against terrorism” and “legitimate threats”. He rewrites history with the best of his compatriots, talking about a restoration of FISA. Except FISA, i.e., legally established courts to review national security requests for covert surveillance, was always the law. Nothing is “restored” here, unless it be the concept of a monarchy that exists above the law, and its corollary, a rubber-stamp legislature that neurotically polices itself for lèse-majesté.

Of course, it is the Bush Administration that is most ecstatic over their victory. They proved to themselves yet again that there is almost nothing they can do for which they will be held to account, and that their ostensible opposition is in thrall to them. Those who are not remain marginalized and even maligned by the larger majority that cannot see past the lies of the corporate media, and are pledged to an incremental vision of “progress” that loses ground as quickly as Achilles in his race against the tortoise.

At the opera the other day (I must be a true “elitist,” after all), I was struck at how the dream of the dwarf Alberich in Wagner’s Ring of the Niebelung to be all-powerful, all-seeing, and everywhere at once, and able to totally observe and discipline his enslaved followers, matches that dream which quickens the deadened souls of our own enfeebled national leadership.

Alberich has fashioned a special device that allows him to change shape at will, to become invisible, if need be, and to transport himself anywhere he wishes instantaneously. He tells his interlocutor:

Now he is watching you


repose and rest

is refused you:

you must work for him

though he is unseen;

expect him

when you do not perceive him;

you are his vassals for ever!

Hoho! Hoho!

Listen for him, he is near,

the Lord of the Nibelungs!


No one can see me,

though he search for me;

yet I am everywhere,

hidden from sight.

Also posted at Invictus


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    • Valtin on June 23, 2008 at 8:51 pm

    are motivated by fear and avoidance of insecurity. Even the power of loving instincts is not enough to free us from the anxieties of death and fear of the unknown. Over and over in history it has meant fashioning societies of omnipotent control over the individual, whether that control be exercised by a totem, a shaman, a chief, a King or Queen, a despotic Father, or an all-knowing State.

    We tried to break free from history, those of us who joined under the Marxist banner. We tried to show that Stalinism was proof of the difficulty of breaking from human animal origins, not a problem with the theory.

    We are very far away from a truly just human society, one that embraces all human beings, not just the lucky few in upper-middle class and upper class America. Instead, we are sinking into a morass of barbarism, an accelerated descent fueled by fear of the unknown Other, labelled “terrorist”, and safeguarded by ignorance and fear.

    • pico on June 23, 2008 at 10:15 pm

    the dwarf Alberich is exactly what William Gaddis uses to highlight the American post-war political/corporate clusterfuck of supercapitalism, in his novel J R.  Serendipity, or have you read the novel?

    The opera is (bafflingly) part of a student production headed by their adviser Bast.  There’s a great scene where the little kiddies refuse to pretend there’s really Gold at their rehearsal, so one of the girls grabs a bag of money that Bast has been carrying around for a field trip, and puts it on the table as a prop (“so we can really pretend, see?”).  Which leads to this disastrous scene:

    Faster, Bast played now as though hurrying to catch a train, straining toward the crescendo of its arrival till this, with pain that streaked to his elbow sharp as the chord he struck, was all he heard, and the cry of the dwarf was lost, -Hark floods!  Love I renounce forever!… lost, if it was ever made at all, the figure running down the aisle reaching the piano crashed with the Rhinegold motif that brought the pile of chairs cascading to the stage and scattered the Rhinemaidens in disheveled pursuit of the dwarf, who seemed indeed to know his part, and had got off with the Rhinegold.

    The kid playing Alberich made no mistake about what a sack of money on a table meant to him.  He’s also the title character of the novel, and soon-to-be head of a corporate empire.

  1. bristled at your posts, they confuse me with your heavy Germanic overtones. Like heavy metal and Wagner I’m  repelled yet if the content is right I read and listen. You have seen the enemy and it is not the ‘terrorists’ it is us. The surreal election ignores what is happening and focuses only on political fictions. Collection tools alone bristles the hairs on my body and soul. I will not be collected.    

  2. As ever, Paul Krugman has realized what was going on better than any other pundit:

    What we’re seeing isn’t the rise of a fairly broad class of knowledge workers. Instead, we’re seeing the rise of a narrow oligarchy: income and wealth are becoming increasingly concentrated in the hands of a small, privileged elite.

    I think of Mr. Bernanke’s position, which one hears all the time, as the 80-20 fallacy. It’s the notion that the winners in our increasingly unequal society are a fairly large group – that the 20 percent or so of American workers who have the skills to take advantage of new technology and globalization are pulling away from the 80 percent who don’t have these skills.

    The truth is quite different. Highly educated workers have done better than those with less education, but a college degree has hardly been a ticket to big income gains. The 2006 Economic Report of the President tells us that the real earnings of college graduates actually fell more than 5 percent between 2000 and 2004. Over the longer stretch from 1975 to 2004 the average earnings of college graduates rose, but by less than 1 percent per year.

    There’s something happening here. What it is ain’t exactly clear, but a good guess is that we’re now seeing the next stage in the evolution of a new American oligarchy. As Jonathan Chait has written in The New Republic, in the Bush administration ”government and business have melded into one big ‘us.’ ” On almost every aspect of domestic policy, business interests rule: ”Scores of midlevel appointees . . . now oversee industries for which they once worked.”

    Honesty in corporate accounting isn’t a left-right issue; it’s about protecting all investors from exploitation by insiders. By blocking reform of a broken system, the Bush administration is favoring the interests of a tiny corporate oligarchy over those of everyone else.

    This is already too long, or I would quote from and link to his op-ed columns about how the chimp-in-charge is turning the U.S. into a banana republic.

    • geomoo on June 24, 2008 at 12:14 am

    How shortsighted of me to take comfort in the knowledge that there are others who feel as I do, that the FISA vote marked the end of all hope that the fascist juggernaut might be stopped.  But I appreciate not being completely alone in the terrible knowledge.

    I’m through speculating why seemingly decent people would give carte blanche control to known war criminals with a long history of disdain for the constitution and a proclaimed desire to create a one-party “system” in the U.S.  It’s now enough that they’ve done it, and I’m working on relinquishing whatever of illusions I nursed of exercising some control.

    In the end, no man will control matters.  Mother Earth and the basest instincts of human nature will have the final say.

  3. Let’s present the sheeple with a totally false “debate”, a really mindlessly hollow and ineffectual non-issue in the real scheme of things.  Let us only confine ourselves to the infinitesimally insignificant idea of whether or not the government needs a warrant to listen in to your phone calls.  Get rid of the cell phone.

    Companies on a routine basis view all emails, filter their internet access and I even have the pdf that basically says the company “owns” it’s employees.  Yes employees may be held legally liable for damages to the company.

    This while countless corporations are mining your personal data, correct or incorrect without your knowledge or consent.  It is a digital world and digital records ar permanent and instantly transferred, mined, index and stuck into their proper data boxes.  The methods of monetary exchange have become so insecure one has to pay to hire companies like


    To answer the question “Did I Steal Myself”.

    How fucked up is that!

    Another psy-op of the most Satanic kind is found in the so called HIPPA laws.  Basically the world can have your personal medical data but your loved ones can’t.


    All digitally indexed of course.  DARPA’s Life Log is reality and is a trillion dollar industry.  The salvation of man lies in a properly built EMP device.

  4. is used to justify whatever they want to do just as “communism” was used in the past. The bugiman has changed but its purpose remains the same, control of the masses. It’s becoming apparent that Obama has, for whatever reasons, bought into this as well.

    Democracy barely exists in America. Our national elections are largely for show. No matter who we elect the wars to gain control of the world’s valuable resources – oil, food and water are destined to continue, all justified by “terrorism”, by 19 dudes with box cutters.

    I wish this were merely a nightmare, that we could wake up and begin anew but we’ve traveled too far on this trail already. There will be no turning around until it all blows up in our faces.

  5. (BTW, that’s the nicest way I can phrase it.)

    Valtin, you will appreciate this, whether you like Henry Waxman or not:

    Waxman: “I Don’t Think We’ve Had a Situation Like This Since Richard Nixon”

    By Kate Klonick – June 20, 2008, 12:04PM

    The White House pulled out the old executive privilege trump card at the last minute today to avert a House government oversight committee vote to hold Administration officials in contempt of Congress.


  6. (BTW, that’s the nicest way I can phrase it.)

    Valtin, you will appreciate this, whether you like Henry Waxman or not:

    Waxman: “I Don’t Think We’ve Had a Situation Like This Since Richard Nixon”

    By Kate Klonick – June 20, 2008, 12:04PM

    The White House pulled out the old executive privilege trump card at the last minute today to avert a House government oversight committee vote to hold Administration officials in contempt of Congress.


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