Democrats and Republicans cannot agree on a budget, how to avoid the fiscal cliff, gun control, or much of anything, but there's apparently one thing they can agree on—trashing the Fourth Amendment. Yes, despite Washington's all-consuming dysfunction, the parties have come together to renew the FISA Amendment Act and "preserve the government's right to constantly spy on everyone without telling anyone about it," writes Alex Pareene in Salon.
When FISA was set up in 2008, it was to expire within a couple of years, at which time Congress was supposed to debate the NSA's expanded powers. But since then there's been no debate—the NSA and much of Congress have refused to submit to oversight or divulge any information about how widespread the agency's tracking has been. "But look on the bright side," says Pareene, maybe when time FISA comes up for consideration again, "by then forced austerity measures will leave us unable to pay for a massive unaccountable national surveillance state." Read his full column here. (Read more FISA stories.)