Wednesday, July 09, 2008

We Are About To Make A Terrible Mistake

For the last hour or so I've been watching the eloquent speeches of Senators Feingold, Dodd, Bingaman and Specter (with minor notes from others) denouncing the current FISA bill. Those few that have read the bill know that what the President signs will inevitably shred the Fourth Amendment and do (more) irreparable harm to our Constitution and our country. Those that vote against the amendments and for the bill will say that they are doing the right thing, but whatever comes out of their mouths will be lies they hope you will swallow, like these two below.

From Get FISA Right:

MYTH: Opposition to the compromise bill is because of the desire to punish telephone companies
Source(s): A good-enough spy law, Nancy Soderberg, Los Angeles Times, July 5, 2008; Flip-flop accusations get too much mileage, Ruth Marcus, Erie Times-News, July 5, 2008
Soderberg says, "the compromise bill's opponents -- mostly Democrats -- want also to punish the telecommunications companies that answered President Bush's order for help." This is a gross misrepresentation of the reasons for opposing the "compromise" bill. Arguing before the US Senate for maintaining the balance struck by the original FISA bill, Russ Feingold said, "Based on the history of, and potential for government abuses, Congress decided that it was not appropriate, not appropriate, for telephone companies to simply assume that any government request for assistance to conduct electronic surveillance was legal." (Audio)
FACT: Opposition to the FISA compromise is based on concern for fundamental civil liberties

MYTH: Telco immunity covers wiretapping suspected terrorists
Source(s): President Bush can still dream, can't he?, Kathleen Parker, South Bend Tribune
Parker says, "The bill effectively grants immunity to phone companies that wiretap suspected terrorists." The compromise bill grants broad immunity to telephone companies for any wiretapping done at the request of the government, including numerous alleged instances of wide-net gathering of all communications, both foreign and purely domestic. To suggest that immunity only covers "suspected terrorists" is a laughable statement, unless you accept that all Americans and foreigners are suspected terrorists.
FACT: Immunity covers all illegal wiretapping, including purely domestic communications

In a few minutes from now the Senate will vote on the amendments to strip retroactive immunity and the bill itself. Senator Dodd is trying to shame his fellow Senators at the moment for ignoring the Constitution and he is dead on. It is a shame that any Senator who should represent Americans before telecommunication corporations to vote for this bill. These men and women will sign their names to one of the worst pieces of legislation in recent memory.....and they will be held accountable, even if they think no one is paying attention....they would be wrong, because we are watching them.