Thursday, June 26, 2008

Who's Afraid of the Fourth Amendment?

The determination of Democrats in Congress to hand dictatorial powers to Smirky-Darth and amnesty to lawbreaking telecoms who spied on innocent Americans is far more complicated that it appears, as Glenn Greenwald makes clear.

But in addition to cowardice, corruption, political calculation, plain stupidity and old-fashioned bribery and blackmail, the FISA debate was for a moment or two distinguished by the rarest kind of passionate rhetoric in defense of American Democracy and the Constitution.

Chris Dodd went to the Senate floor last night to speak against the FISA bill and delivered one of the most compelling and inspired speeches by a prominent politician that I've heard in quite some time. He tied the core corruption of the FISA bill's telecom amnesty and warranltess eavesdropping provisions into the whole litany of the Bush administration's lawless and destructive behavior over the last seven years -- from torture and rendition to the abuse of secrecy instruments and Guantanamo mock trials -- with a focus on the way in which telecom amnesty further demolishes the rule of law among our political class.

That speech signals that the small minority in the Senate devoted to stopping this bill have made this a priority. Small, vocal, passionate minorities in the Senate -- backed up by vocal, passionate and engaged citizens -- can do much to prevent a bill's quick and painless passage. Dodd's speech can be seen and/or read here.

As salon commenter Wabanatta put it:

"Damn, a speech like that reminds me of when actual patriots roamed the halls of congress."

Cross-posted at Blue in the Bluegrass.