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The passage of the unconstitutional FISA legislation to expand federal wiretapping powers to political opponents and dissidents did not happen in a vacuum. There is a context that needs to be examined.

At a National Gay and Lesbian Task Force conference over a decade ago, Urvashi Vaid warned the audience of a "creeping fascism" and gave a series of examples and arguments to build her case. At the time, the idea seemed novel, but it merely registered in my mind as something to pay attention to in the future.

In 2008, the creep has gone quite far. Here are some examples:

- Restrictions of domestic political activity at the state and federal level under NAFTA and the GATT agreement that started the World Trade Organization. The unconstitutional nature of the agreements and their enforcement was a bad sign as well. (They function as treaties yet did not get the required 2/3 Senate vote treaties need.)

- Unconstitutional Warrantless wiretapping

- Roundups based on religious beliefs

- Illegal detentions without charges at Guantanamo Bay

- The Unpatriotic Act

- Kidnapping of uncharged, alleged terrorists and sending them to foreign countries to be tortured. ("extraordinary rendition")

- Routine use of torture

- Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan without the constitutionally mandated Declarations of War

- Executive branch "signing statements" which attempt to nullify laws they don't like (expanded dramatically under Bush)

- Hate based religious patronage systems which violate state/church separation, discriminate against atheists, and amount to incumbent administrations bribing preachers for political support

- Concentration of television and radio station license holders of frequencies owned by the American people, not the corporations that license them

- Supreme Court decisions falsely claiming that campaign contributions are "speech," undermining democracy and ceding greater powers to the wealthy and to corporations over the government.

- Restricting freedom of assembly through "free speech zones" and other means

I'm sure you can come up with more. The point is that when people don't raise enough hell over one attack on our freedoms as Americans, more follow. Things are moving in a terrible direction, and we should be less willing to accept it.

During the 18th - 20th centuries, the US was transitioning to a more representative democracy where constitutionally mandated civil liberties were gaining more respect. The nation went from a situation where only landowning white males had suffrage and the Bill of Rights was largely theoretical to a place where every adult had the right to vote and courts, legislators, the media, and the public were strongly defending our freedoms.

That is all being unraveled by money, power, and religious extremism.

 

1 Responses to What the FISA Passage Means - Part 2 - Moving Towards a Different Form of Government

  1. Mauigirl Says:
  2. It's definitely a sad day...this never should have passed.

     

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