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To: House Dems Who Voted for Telecom Immunity

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The modern Republican: defender of the 2nd amendment, with no thought to its conditionality and destroyer of the remainder of Rights, including the 4th amendment. I guess I can see why they’ve spent so much time and energy on the 2nd now. With searches no longer hinging upon probable cause, maybe we all should have guns to defend our property, physical and electronic. The government, purposefully wrecked by Republicans, obviously has no interest in doing so any longer.

Is the House vote the end of the world? Obviously not. I’m angry the vote happened the way it did. Just as Pelosi and Hoyer learned that they needed to quickly schedule this vote to avoid hearing from constituents, activists will learn from this event as well. There are other things need attention too. FISA is definitely important, but only one facet of a larger war going on. Longer-term goals need to be established, fought for, monitored, and “audited”. I’m going to transform my emotions on this vote into continued action to make a difference. It’s what got me started as an activist and maintaining that drive to improve my country will be fed by this capitulation. As part of this, I’m no longer going to use an AT&T/Cingular cell phone. They charge too much and now I know where all that extra money is going. Instead, I’m going to do business with CREDO mobile. They didn’t lobby Congress to absolve telecoms of admitted lawbreaking. It’s an easy choice.

The fact that FISA isn’t the only story we should are about doesn’t mean we should be quiet and simply accept blatant political maneuvering. I think back to my participation in a Politics West roundtable: when Dems do something I consider wrong, I will not hold back my criticism of those actions. As a Dem, I expect more from other Dems than I do of Republicans. I’ve written before about the role of elected officials: they are our employees. Any time an employer gives an employee a task or project and the employee doesn’t perform to the employer’s standard, it is the responsibility of the employer to do something about it. And do something we must. Displeasure left uncommunicated festers and destroys relationships. We have the opportunity to let those officials know how we feel about their performance. Take it.

Democrats who voted for retroactive immunity say they helped fashion a compromise, to which I reply b.s. The only thing you compromised was the Constitution. And I would further reply that this vote, when taken in context with numerous other votes since 2001, will go a long way in determining who I support in primaries in 2010.

To casual observers, or the newly active, this might seem like the outrage of the day, but it’s part of a larger, disturbing, unacceptable pattern. Patterns that started under Nixon and his enablers. Actions that went unpunished 30+ years ago have grown worse in magnitude and effect. This situation demonstrates they could also go unaccounted for and perpetrators left unpunished. Well, what’s next then? Which violation of the Constitution will awaken the American public from its political slumber? I can only say that I’m awake and I know others are too. I will heartily support any progressive Democrat who understands, believes in, and fights for the rule of law. Corporatist Democrats: it might not happen this cycle or the next, but your days in Congress and other positions of power are numbered.

As others have discussed, neither Bush nor Obama should be trusted to make sure this program is monitored properly. It doesn’t matter which party the President belongs to, or what their particular belief system holds: monarchies decide things by one person’s control; democracies decide things with transparency and accountability. As the House decided and as Bush and his fellow criminals desire, there is too much dangerous power placed in one branch’s control. Small government Republicans should be raising hell right now. I hear crickets.

So, an underlying lesson here is that progressive infrastructure is in its infancy. Obviously there remain too many Dems who are more scared of ads calling them cowards and traitors than upholding their oaths to the Constitution. There’s obviously much more work that we need to do. This is an important battle that we’ve lost some ground on. Potential actions remain in the Senate. Sens. Feingold, Dodd, Biden, Sanders, Schumer and Wyden, among others, have indicated displeasure with the immunity portion of the bill. The Senate was sent an unworkable bill less than one week before their scheduled July 4th break. That puts them between a rock and a hard place. Also, potential repairs exist under a possible Obama administration. Although we shouldn’t assume Obama will be elected. No, the solution lies before us today: scrap this bill this year. Americans will continue to be wiretapped without warrants and corporations will be enabled to break more laws in the future.

Once something is written into law, it’s hard to get it changed. You need look no further than Social Security. The Republicans have been working since its introduction to rid us of its “nasty socialistic roots”. Have they done it? No. Will Democrats, or even sensible Republicans be able to undo what the House version of this bill did? I think it will be hard. AT&T and the other law breaking telecoms spent tens of millions of dollars lobbying to protect their past and future actions. If it makes it into the law books, you can bet they’ll fight to keep it there. What do we, the citizens, have to combat that?

As of this blog post, Hunter has written three pieces on legislators that think “common citizens” are just plain stupid: Rahm Emanuel, Nancy Pelosi, and yes, even Barack Obama. I dislike having to write that about Obama just as much as Hunter does. But Obama’s excuses for rolling over on this issue as he bends right for the general election deserve nothing less. It’s plainly obvious who holds more importance: millions of dollars worth of corporate lobbyists. Citizens’ rights, even those provided for by the Bill of Rights, are of secondary concern to today’s politicians. Fine, I get it and it sucks. But they should have the fortitude to tell that to our faces rather than hide behind flowery language.

If Obama does indeed become president, here is another problem with the expanded executive powers Bush et al. put in place for themselves: if Obama uses one of those powers, you can be sure that Republicans will not hesitate to impeach him. The Vast Right Wing Machine will go right back to attacking a Democratic President every minute of every hour of every day until Obama is rendered impotent. And then will Democrats issue more releases on why they thought those expanded powers were such a good idea?

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2 thoughts on “To: House Dems Who Voted for Telecom Immunity

  1. Where can I find a compete list of everyone who voted to support telecom immunity? I want to know who not to vote for in the future.

  2. Howard, the House clerk website would be a good place to start. As of 11A on the 13th of July, their website appears to be down, however. Once it’s back up, I’ll post the url.

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