Thursday, October 18, 2007

Rockefeller And Senate Leadership Are Traitors To The Constitution And Country

Senate Democrats have decided to sell out their country and Constitution by collaborating with George Bush and Republican leadership to allow wholesale privacy invasions in violation of the Fourth Amendment and to grant blanket immunity to telcom companies for their participation in the illegal and unconstitutional domestic surveillance programs of the Bush Administration. In terms of honoring and upholding the Constitutional principles this country was founded upon, and grounded in ever since, there arguably has never been a lower and more pathetic time in our history. Fresh off the Washington Post:

Senate Democrats and Republicans reached agreement with the Bush administration yesterday on the terms of new legislation to control the federal government's domestic surveillance program, which includes a highly controversial grant of legal immunity to telecommunications companies that have assisted the program, according to congressional sources.

Disclosure of the deal followed a decision by House Democratic leaders to pull a competing version of the measure from the floor because they lacked the votes to prevail over Republican opponents and GOP parliamentary maneuvers.

The collapse marked the first time since Democrats took control of the chamber that a major bill was withdrawn from consideration before a scheduled vote. It was a victory for President Bush, whose aides lobbied heavily against the Democrats' bill, and an embarrassment for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who had pushed for the measure's passage.

The draft Senate bill has the support of the intelligence committee's chairman, John D. Rockefeller IV (D-W.Va.), and Bush's director of national intelligence, Mike McConnell. It will include full immunity for those companies that can demonstrate to a court that they acted pursuant to a legal directive in helping the government with surveillance in the United States.

Such a demonstration, which the bill says could be made in secret, would wipe out a series of pending lawsuits alleging violations of privacy rights by telecommunications companies that provided telephone records, summaries of e-mail traffic and other information to the government after Sept. 11, 2001, without receiving court warrants. Bush had repeatedly threatened to veto any legislation that lacked this provision.
The Fourth Amendment has been under attack by the authoritarian Republicans and their insidious hatchet groups like the Federalist Society for over twenty five years now. It began with the characterization of hideous and substantive Fourth Amendment violations of fundamental search and seizure law under the Fourth Amendment as "mere technicalities". Soon conservative authoritarian politicians andprosecutors started shading their duties and principles under the law to find creative ways around Constitutional protections in order to further their oppressive and often racially tinged agenda. Then the authoritarians proudly proclaimed how they had protected the "law and order for the citizens" by "clamping down on criminals" and "elimianting the criminal's use of technicalities". The more they talked the talk, the more they belligerently walked the walk.

The sad result over time is the situation we now find ourselves in where the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution be damned, the government and justice system is to be used as just another partisan tool for monitoring and controlling the citizenry. The Last Attorney General, Alberto Gonzales, dismissively branded the Geneva Conventions as "quaint" and inconsequential. George Bush has belligerently said of the Constitution that "it's just a damn piece of paper". The Executive Branch acts, and thinks, like Article II of the Constitution (the one delineating and defining the Executive Branch) is the only portion that exists or matters. This is what happens when political goals of the few in power trump adherence to the due process principles of the system.

Well, today, the evisceration of the Fourth Amendment is just about complete.  If the terms of this agreement that Rockefeller and Democratic leadership have entered into with Bush and the Republicans becomes law, you can also pretty much write off any thought of accountability on the part of the Bush Administration for any of it's sins.  Passage of this bill by the Democrats is nothing short of implicit ratification and approval of the criminal behavior of the Bush/Cheney Administration; ballgame over.

The atomic clock for due process and privacy is about to strike midnight. Time is fleeting fast; but there is still time. Place phone calls to the critical Senators. If any of them have an office in your town, go to their offices and demand to make a personal statement to the highest ranking soul in the building. Cause a ruckus, make a scene, take a stand; then do it again. This is incredibly important to the integrity of our Constitution and right to privacy; leave no card on the table and no ounce of effort unspent. This post from FireDogLake contains all the contact information necessary for the battle. Step up to the plate. Make it count!