February 12, 2008

My back still hurts, but this hurts even more--updated again

Glenn Greenwald details just how bad our Democratic led Senate has acted today. As he notes:
"The Senate today -- led by Jay Rockefeller, enabled by Harry Reid, and with the active support of at least 12 (and probably more) Democrats, in conjunction with an as-always lockstep GOP caucus -- will vote to legalize warrantless spying on the telephone calls and emails of Americans, and will also provide full retroactive amnesty to lawbreaking telecoms, thus forever putting an end to any efforts to investigate and obtain a judicial ruling regarding the Bush administration's years-long illegal spying programs aimed at Americans."
What is more, they tried to pass an amendment that would force Bush to at least limit his warrantless wiretapping to through this bill. Democrats couldn't muster the 60 votes necessary to even get that. The Dems split on most votes, but the Republicans voted lock-step every time.

I am forcing myself to get up and around to try to get the muscle spasms so I pulled out the Senate phone book and made few calls--telling the staffers very politely, that I was a concerned Democrat from a very red state and simply wanted to know why Democrats worked so hard to get the majority if they were going to give bush exactly what he wanted already. Most of the Dems who crossed over to vote with the automaton Republicans didn't have anything to say. "I haven't spoken with the Senator, I don't know." But two told me that they thought their Senator's point was that the telcoms had acted in good faith and so should not be prosecuted. I asked (again, politely) "how would the senator know this?" After all, the most galling thing about this is that the President, Vice President and assorted lobotomized lemming Republicans won't even say what the telecoms did. Bush and Cheney talk about what they "might" have done to protect our country.

That's justice for a certain few in America right now. Say you authorized waterboarding? No investigation because you thought you were doing something legal. A telecom opening up conversations, billing records, emails, text messages, (who knows?) for this rogue President? No problem and we won't even inquire further. I wonder if any of us would get that kind of consideration. For anything.

I called several and made their staffers say they would pass on my objections to their Senator. I don't know if that will really happen, and know even less if it makes any difference. I suspect those telecoms are pumping in large buckets of cash to these political coffers. All I could offer was outrage.

But following Glenn Greenwald's suggestion, I signed an online petition to urge the House to not fold like a rented suit as did our Senate Democrats. Please follow suit, even if it is an empty gesture.

Talking Points Memo: by Joshua Micah Marshall | If You Can't Beat 'Em, Join 'Em: "TPM Reader RL throws in the towel:

I actually like the idea of a unitary executive, because it implies that there could be a unitary citizen. I have begun to consider myself a unitary citizen. I am allowed (by virtue of the definition of a unitary executive) to pick and choose the laws I would like to follow, kind of Thoreau like.
I also like the idea of retroactive immunity paired with the unitary citizen. I could decide not to follow a stupid law and then forgive myself afterwards.

But it begins to sound like (horrors) anarchy. Maybe that's what we now have as a form of government: unitary anarchy. I like it. It works for me!"

Update 2:
Froomkin is equally unimpressed with the logic protecting telecoms:
"Here's a White House ' Fact Sheet' on telecom immunity: 'Companies should not be held responsible for verifying the government's determination that requested assistance was necessary and lawful -- and such an impossible requirement would hurt our ability to keep the Nation safe.'

But isn't that the very definition of a police state: that companies should do whatever the government asks, even if they know it's illegal?"

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