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Corporate Hall Of Shame

Editorial for May 18, 2006

Corporate hall of shame

This is what happens when those entrusted with running our government don't seem to care about the rights of Americans to privacy, and who put "secrecy" at the top of their priority list. It's also a lesson in what happens when those holding power in Congress choose to look the other way -- regardless of the seriousness of the signs of corruption and illegality -- because the offenders happen to be members of the same political party.

That's backwards. It's supposed to be "America First," not "My political party first."

Equally disgraceful are the actions of several corporations, which quietly went along with the request of the federal government to allow access to the domestic telephone call records of many millions of Americans. These corporations deserve to have their names help up to the light so those who care about sending a message can cancel their accounts with them: AT&T, Verizon, BellSouth.

Only one corporation stood for principle and refused to allow the government to have access to its records without a court order: Qwest.

To send a message, Americans would be well-advised to cancel their AT&T or Verizon accounts and open new accounts with Qwest. If AT&T and Verizon pay a monetary price for selling us all out, maybe they will think twice before doing so next time. It would be understandable if a warrant was presented; we would expect them to go along in that case. Instead, no warrant was offered or requested. This sums up the attitude displayed by Verizon, AT&T, and BellSouth: "No warrant? No problem, here ya go, take whatever you want. We're happy to go along. Our customers will never know anyway."

President Bush said there was no violation of law and no attempt to violate the privacy of American citizens.

"Our efforts are focused on links to Al-Qaida and their known affiliates," Bush said.

Wow. We never knew there were tens of millions of Americans who are linked to Al-Qaida. Thank heavens our wise Congress, our strong president, and our brave corporations are there to protect us.

Every week, almost every day, some new disturbing revelation about our nation losing its way. To say America is seriously off track is an understatement. What next will be revealed?

While we wait for the next shock, sign me up for Qwest.

JB

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