Your New America
Your U.S. Senate believes it is okay for you to be spied upon by your government, and for Bush to be able to define what that means, according to his whim. Your U.S. Senate believes that it was okay for the telecoms to break the law by allowing you to be spied upon when it was still illegal. Before today's votes, Glenn Greenwald wrote this:
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. The long, hard efforts by AT&T, Verizon and their all-star, bipartisan cast of lobbyists to grease the wheels of the Senate -- led by former Bush 41 Attorney General William Barr and former Clinton Deputy Attorney General Jamie Gorelick -- are about to pay huge dividends, as such noble efforts invariably do with our political establishment.
Dan Froomkin put it in these stark terms:
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?
You can read the roll call on retroactive telecom immunity here. Steve already listed the senators who betrayed us by supporting telecom immunity. These are the senators who supported Chris Dodd, and voted against retroactive telecom immunity. They deserve recognition and appreciation.
Akaka (D-HI), Baucus (D-MT), Biden (D-DE), Bingaman (D-NM), Boxer (D-CA), Brown (D-OH), Byrd (D-WV), Cantwell (D-WA), Cardin (D-MD), Casey (D-PA), Dodd (D-CT), Dorgan (D-ND), Durbin (D-IL), Feingold (D-WI), Harkin (D-IA), Kennedy (D-MA), Kerry (D-MA), Klobuchar (D-MN), Lautenberg (D-NJ), Leahy (D-VT), Levin (D-MI), Menendez (D-NJ), Murray (D-WA), Obama (D-IL), Reed (D-RI), Reid (D-NV), Sanders (I-VT), Schumer (D-NY), Tester (D-MT), Whitehouse (D-RI), Wyden (D-OR)
Not a single Republican or Lieberman voted against telecom immunity!
I would like to point out that of those Democrats who voted for retroactive telecom immunity, Bayh, Feinstein, Inouye, Lincoln, Mikulski, Nelson (FL), Pryor, and Stabenow have endorsed Senator Clinton, for president. Apparently, her experience was not able to change their minds on this issue.
I would like to point out that of those Democrats who voted for retroactive telecom immunity, Conrad, Johnson, McCaskill, and Nelson (NE) voted for telecom immunity. Apparently, his hope wasn't able to change their minds.
Even those Senators who voted with Dodd did not necessarily prove themselves leaders. As Jane Hamsher says:
This is kabuki. If Pat Leahy is so damn morally outraged at the thought of retroactive telecom immunity, why did he do the el-foldo when Reid substituted his Judiciary Committee bill (which contained no retroactive immunity) for the Intel bill(which did)?
Leahy has endorsed Senator Obama.
Of all the senators who had been previously in favor of retroactive telecom immunity, neither of the leading Democrats was able to change a single vote. This was a chance for them to show leadership, and neither did. Chris Dodd showed leadership. The best they could do was to follow. John McCain, of course, voted for retroactive telecom immunity.