There was a time, a time of continual war (Cold), when illegal wiretapping was such an offense to the ideals of American liberty, that the President of the United States lost his job over it (and the hotel that it happened in became synomous with scandal). That was then. And the outraged nation demanded legal protection against such despicable spying behavior. It got that in FISA, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.
This is now. This is a time of continual war (on Terror) when illegal wiretapping is considered such a fundamental necessity for American "liberty", that all candidates for the Presidency of the United States feel it's politically necessary to legislate crippling changes to FISA, grant amnesty to telecom companies complicit in illegal spying, further legalize warrantless eavesdropping, and spit on the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution.
For coverage of this bullshit, see here (nytimes), here (aclu), here (dailykos), here (commondreams (salon story)), and here (salon blog). The bill passed by a vote of 69 (a popular reference to a kind of fucking) to 28 (which happens to be Bush's approval rating. 28. You cowered and caved to a lame duck with a 28% approval rating).
For a list of cowards and non-cowards see here:
Democrats voting in favor of final passage of the FISA bill: Bayh - Carper - Casey - Conrad - Feinstein - Innuoye - Kohl - Landrieu - Lincoln - McCaskill - Mukulski - Nelson (Neb.) - Nelson (Fla.) - OBAMA - Pryor - Rockefeller - Salazar - Webb - Whitehouse.
Democrats voting against final passage of the FISA bill: Akaka - Biden - Bingaman - Boxer - Brown - Byrd - Cantwell - Cardin - Clinton - Dodd - Dorgan - Durbin - Feingold - Harkin - Kerry - Klobachur - Lautenberg - Leahy - Levin - Menendez - Murray - Reed - Reid - Sanders - Schumer - Stabenow - Tester - Wyden.
For a civil libertarian's explanation of what this means see here:
Obama also voted for cloture to prevent any filibustering against it. In October, the Obama campaign said that he would support any filibuster of the bill. I guess that's what you say when you want to get the Democratic nomination and this is what you do when you want centrists and moderate Republicans to elect you to the presidency. Shame shame shame, Barry. No principles. You've got some audacity, alright.
In other, unrelated, political shamefulness, global leaders met at the G8 Summit recently and discussed the global food crisis. They met, they discussed it, and then they chowed down! Amy Goodman reports: Shortly after saying they were “deeply concerned” about soaring global food prices and supply shortages, world leaders attending the G8 summit in Hokkaido sat down to an eighteen-course gastronomic extravaganza, courtesy of the Japanese government. The dinner was themed “Blessings of the Earth and the Sea,” and the global food shortage was certainly not evident. The meal included delicacies such as caviar, milk-fed lamb, sea urchin, winter lily bulbs, truffles and tuna, with champagne and wines flown in from Europe and the United States.
YAY USA! YAY WORLD!