Thursday, February 14, 2008

Senate Leads the Way, Wiretapping

When the Framers wrote the Constitution and laid out the terms of office for the Congressional bodies they had some ideas of the consequences. They invisioned a House with short tems that was responsive to the immediate concerns of the voters and innovative in outlook. The Senate, on the other hand, with its six year terms was to be the deliberative and reflective body, the conservators of Constitutional law and source of stability. This was stood on its head this week.

The President, George II, was on the air this morning stating that the "Senate leads the way" on wiretapping and immunity and that it is critical pass this bill before it expires. There are two pieces of nonsense involved in this statement and the reporter's deferential treatment of his statements. The first is that the expiration involves no change in the underlying FISA law which allows up to 72 hours of emergency wiretapping preceding a warrant granted by a Secret Court whose level of resistance to such activities is suspect at the least. The second piece is his stated willingness to veto any bill lacking immunity for the telecoms, an extremely odd view to hold in the face of his fear mongering. The supposed financial well being of some telecoms who cooperated with the government, note that Qwest and a couple others did not, and broke long established law and privacy policies trumps the fear he's peddling. Money is more important than your "security." The President even offered to delay his African visit, he might not go on a vacation, might not if the House gets moving.

The head of BushCo claims the experts in his security apparatus all agree this is critical, a claim that was met with silent assent from reporters. There is serious evidence that what the White House and telecoms got up to was not anything like a targeted terrorist list being listened in on, rather a blanket listening program, simply sweeping up everything. This bunch that is supposed to be taken seriously on an extaordinarily sensitive issue concerning the Bill of Rights is the same group of people who authorized torture and secret prisons by the US. There are a few other balls they managed to drop while "protecting" us, Iraq WMDs, 9/11, Iran bomb research, in fact virtually every piece of fear they've touted. I'm disinclined to trust my liberties to torturers and data manipulators (um, that would be liars).

The Republicans just walked out of the House in protest of the Democrats not scrambling on the Senate version of the wiretap bill. The House had already passed a version lacking immunity. John Beohner (R-OH) is claiming a Democratic stunt, "their hands slapped away" from taking "resonsible" action. We're "at risk" and the House Republicans "will be here" until this bill is passed. Anybody know of a more partisan pol than John Boehner? Mr "Obstruct All Costs" Boehner, whose publicly leaked agenda is to block all Democratic actions, is accusing Democrats of playing politics? Less than 1/4 of our Senators give a rat's patoot about your civil liberties and commercial complicity in their violation, a whole 21 of them aren't craven traitors to their oaths to the Constitution. For some obscure reason Republicans, the supposed upholders of small limited government, have become the tools of authoritarian usurpation. In case you've missed it, their version of conservatism involves leaving the putocrats open season on the wealth of the nation and one that stomps on any behavior they find "immoral." If the NRA hadn't traded its political influence for right wing crap they'd be after our 2nd Amendment rights as hard as they're after the rest. (Republicans just walked back into the House - got their 15 minutes of camera time) Since the House has already passed a bill lacking immunity will they have the nerve to stick to their guns? With the Senate rolling over it doesn't look good, a storm of protest might...

Let's look at a couple realities regarding immunity, the BushCo claims future cooperation would be endangered by current lawsuits. What is for sure endangered is obvious violation of the law by private enities acting on the government's behest. If certain arms of the government made false representations to the telecoms there are plenty of fiscally beholden legislators to allow them suits against the goverment. If no such representations were made, if no one told the telecoms what they were getting up to was legal, they deserve to be handed their heads. This immunity process is not about protecting the telecoms, it is about protecting BushCo. Telecoms will fight tooth and nail to protect their wealth in court and if there is responsibility to be shifted on George II's regime they'll toss it overboard in a hearbeat. There may be some folks looking at actual prison time for federal felonies, that could conceiveably include the kinglet.

At some point Americans are going to have to either get along with the idea that liberty is a risky business or just give it up. BushCo is not the first to make grabs on our Rights, but they may be the most egregious offenders. I am pretty certain Americans only take this kind of thing seriously when it involves their pet Rights and by the time it does, they'll just roll over. Some won't, but they'll just be labeled loons and be ignored by lemming majority. The saving grace in this assesment is that the American Revolution was started by a cadre of loons.

3 comments:

KISS said...

YEAs ---68
Alexander (R-TN)
Allard (R-CO)
Barrasso (R-WY)
Baucus (D-MT)
Bayh (D-IN)
Bennett (R-UT)
Bond (R-MO)
Brownback (R-KS)
Bunning (R-KY)
Burr (R-NC)
Carper (D-DE)
Casey (D-PA)
Chambliss (R-GA)
Coburn (R-OK)
Cochran (R-MS)
Coleman (R-MN)
Collins (R-ME)
Conrad (D-ND)
Corker (R-TN)
Cornyn (R-TX)
Craig (R-ID)
Crapo (R-ID)
DeMint (R-SC)
Dole (R-NC)
Domenici (R-NM)
Ensign (R-NV)
Enzi (R-WY)
Grassley (R-IA)
Gregg (R-NH)
Hagel (R-NE)
Hatch (R-UT)
Hutchison (R-TX)
Inhofe (R-OK)
Inouye (D-HI)
Isakson (R-GA)
Johnson (D-SD)
Kohl (D-WI)
Kyl (R-AZ)
Landrieu (D-LA)
Lieberman (ID-CT)
Lincoln (D-AR)
Lugar (R-IN)
Martinez (R-FL)
McCain (R-AZ)
McCaskill (D-MO)
McConnell (R-KY)
Mikulski (D-MD)
Murkowski (R-AK)
Nelson (D-FL)
Nelson (D-NE)
Pryor (D-AR)
Roberts (R-KS)
Rockefeller (D-WV)
Salazar (D-CO)
Sessions (R-AL)
Shelby (R-AL)
Smith (R-OR)
Snowe (R-ME)
Specter (R-PA)
Stevens (R-AK)
Sununu (R-NH)
Thune (R-SD)
Vitter (R-LA)
Voinovich (R-OH)
Warner (R-VA)
Webb (D-VA)
Whitehouse (D-RI)
Wicker (R-MS)

NAYs ---29
Akaka (D-HI)
Biden (D-DE)
Bingaman (D-NM)
Boxer (D-CA)
Brown (D-OH)
Byrd (D-WV)
Cantwell (D-WA)
Cardin (D-MD)
Dodd (D-CT)
Dorgan (D-ND)
Not Voting - 3
Clinton (D-NY)
Graham (R-SC)
Obama (D-IL)

Dimmo traitors...Would Merkley be one?

Chuck Butcher said...

McCaskill (D-MO) made the arguement tonight that the onus belongs on the government rather than the companies. Companies "with the fist of the government around their neck," shouldn't have to take the heat...BS, I covered that. The fact they would get stung doesn't bother me in the slightest, they knew better.

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