Holding the Phone for Helms

Holding the Phone for Helms

The U.S. Senate has decided to postpone today’s vote on the telecom surveillance bill until tomorrow so senators may attend this afternoon’s funeral for the late Jesse Helms. Mr. Helms himself has not replied to telephone calls from the press.

The bill under consideration in the Senate is a fitting tribute to Mr. Helms, since it amends the Foreign Intellegence Surveillance Act (FISA) to allow the government to protect us from foreign enemies through uncontrolled spying on Americans in the U.S.A.  Mr. Helms prepared himself to be Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee by never, ever living anywhere outside Raleigh, NC except for his stints in Washington, DC.  

The Senate bill, like one which passed the House, would allow the executive branch to ask telecommunications companies to assist in conducting warrantless wiretapping, telephone and computer surveillance of American citizens in violation of the U.S. Constitution, your right to privacy,  and the rule of law, particularly the FISA Court process. Since the government and phone companies have actually data-mined all our calls and emails already, the bill would also grant retroactive immunity to the giant telecom companies for their previous illegal actions. 

The phone companies don’t have any lawyers so they can’t decide if warrantless wiretapping is legal for themselves. Because your phone bill is so low, telecoms can’t afford to pay civil damages for breaking the law.

Mr. Helms’ funeral will be at 2:00 p.m. at the Hayes Barton Baptist Church in Raleigh, North Carolina (919-833-4617).

 

Image: Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com 

 

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