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FISA Bill Vote Today, With Telco Immunity 465

Posted by kdawson
from the freedom-on-the-march dept.
Bimo_Dude writes "Today (June 20), Steny Hoyer is bringing to the House floor the latest FISA bill (PDF), which includes retroactive immunity for the telcos. The bill also is very weak on judicial review, allowing the telcos to use a letter from the president as a 'get out of liability free' card. Here are comments from the EFF. Glenn Greenwald, writing in Salon, describes the effect of the immunity clause this way: 'So all the Attorney General has to do is recite those magic words — the President requested this eavesdropping and did it in order to save us from the Terrorists — and the minute he utters those words, the courts are required to dismiss the lawsuits against the telecoms, no matter how illegal their behavior was.'"
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FISA Bill Vote Today, With Telco Immunity

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  • "This is good for the bottom line. That's good for AmeriKKKa!"

    • by Jeremiah Cornelius (137) * on Friday June 20, 2008 @12:28PM (#23874643) Homepage Journal

      My Quote Chain:

      "Ah, this is obviously some strange use of the word "safe" that I wasn't previously aware of."
      --Arthur Dent

      "He that would make his own liberty secure must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates this duty he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself."
      --Thomas Paine

      "In the 1980s capitalism triumphed over communism. In the 1990s it triumphed over democracy."
      --David Korten

      You feel a whole lot more like you do now than you did when you used to.

      • by Jeremiah Cornelius (137) * on Friday June 20, 2008 @12:32PM (#23874687) Homepage Journal

        Section 802(a) provides:

        [A] civil action may not lie or be maintained in a Federal or State court against any person for providing assistance to an element of the intelligence community, and shall be properly dismissed, if the Attorney General certifies to the district court of the United States in which such action is pending that . . .

        (4) the assistance alleged to have been provided . . . was --


        • (A) in connection with intelligence activity involving communications that was
          • (i) authorized by the President during the period beginning on September 11, 2001, and ending on January 17, 2007 and
            (ii) designed to prevent or detect a terrorist attack, or activities in preparation of a terrorist attack, against the United States" and

          (B) the subject of a written request or directive . . . indicating that the activity was

          • (i) authorized by the President; and
            (ii) determined to be lawful.
        The rest of this Orwellian missive is available as a PDF file. [house.gov]
        • IT'S NOT ILLEGAL (Score:5, Informative)

          by Jeremiah Cornelius (137) * on Friday June 20, 2008 @12:37PM (#23874761) Homepage Journal
          • Re:IT'S NOT ILLEGAL (Score:5, Informative)

            by Bimo_Dude (178966) <bimoslash@nOSPAM.theness.org> on Friday June 20, 2008 @01:18PM (#23875445) Homepage Journal
            That's one of the main points of the bill. The weird thing is that this morning, there was an editorial in the Washington Post [washingtonpost.com] indicating that the newspaper supports the bill.

            It was my hope that the article would be posted in time for people to contact their representatives, but also, the scumbags passed the bill [washingtonpost.com] at just about the same time that this article made the front page of /.. The roll call is not available on Thomas yet though.

            • Re:IT'S NOT ILLEGAL (Score:5, Interesting)

              by Jeremiah Cornelius (137) * on Friday June 20, 2008 @01:22PM (#23875529) Homepage Journal

              WaPo is more Psyop garbage. Like reading PRAVDA in 1976.

              How do you "compromise" to allow violations of 4th amendment protection?

              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                by Bimo_Dude (178966)
                The only compromise I see here is that the legislators are so willing to compromise the rights of the citizens. The house approved this as a payoff to Bush for not vetoing their war spending bill. What a freakin compromise! They just said, "Hey! Don't veto the war funding that you requested, and we'll be happy to tear up the fourth amendment, too!"
              • by hedwards (940851) on Friday June 20, 2008 @01:45PM (#23875875)

                That's what I've been trying to figure out. What the telcos were doing was illegal when they did it. Granting immunity, on the hopes that they'll know it's illegal and behave better next time is asinine.

                They were well aware that they weren't being provided appropriate paperwork the last time otherwise, they'd be itching to have their day in court. Letting them off the hook for what was obviously illegal is hardly teaching them a lesson for the future.

                Really, what ought to happen is the people at the top making the decision to comply with the illegal orders should go to prison.

                • Re:IT'S NOT ILLEGAL (Score:5, Informative)

                  by GuyverDH (232921) on Friday June 20, 2008 @03:47PM (#23877641)

                  In the military, we are given a class during basic training on how to respond to superiors who give illegal orders.

                  Examples are given of what constitutes and illegal order, and what the proper phrasing of the response should be. Granted, you will probably end up at some kind of punitive action review, if not full court-martial for disobeying or refusing to obey a superior officer, yet, you have your out. However, if enough evidence or witnesses are available to show that the order that was given was in fact illegal, then the superior who gave said order is brought up on charges. At least that's the way it's supposed to work.

                  Now, if all the telcos that did this activity, were to show that they were authorized or requested by the president to do this illegal activity then wouldn't that potentially be fuel for the fire to have criminal charges brought against the President? ie - add to the charges of impeachment?

                  Regardless of his reasoning, committing an illegal act is still committing an illegal act, and 9/11 did not change the constitution.

                • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

                  by sgt_doom (655561)

                  From reading almost everything out there on this subject - the best item to date is the legal deposition [eff.org] filed by the expert witness on behalf of the EFF (F. Scott Marcus) which is indicative of a substantially large Narus box network at AT&T and other telecoms. (Most probably extant in at least 20 cities throughout America.

                  This provides the Bush Crime Family with an awesome capacity to spy on everyone for both financial intelligence and political intelligence and election-rigging (along with the exis

            • Re:IT'S NOT ILLEGAL (Score:5, Informative)

              by KevinKnSC (744603) on Friday June 20, 2008 @01:25PM (#23875571)

              The roll call is not available on Thomas yet though.
              It's up now: Roll Call 437 [house.gov]
              • Re:IT'S NOT ILLEGAL (Score:4, Informative)

                by dave562 (969951) on Friday June 20, 2008 @02:56PM (#23877005) Journal
                If you're so inclined to go http://www.house.gov/ [house.gov] and use the applet in the upper left hand corner to find your representative. Let them know how you feel about their vote. I told guy who picked up the phone at the office of the bastard who represents the 46th Congressional district that I'm exceptionally disappointed in his support of a blatant violation of my 4th amendment rights. I told him that everyone in that office should be ashamed for supporting such an unconstitutional piece of legislation.
        • by Kjella (173770) on Friday June 20, 2008 @01:37PM (#23875749) Homepage

          (B) the subject of a written request or directive [from the Executive Branch] indicating that the activity was
          (ii) determined to be lawful.
          Now, there's nothing wrong with the Attorney General making a legal opinion - that's pretty much his job:

          The original duties of this officer were "to prosecute and conduct all suits in the Supreme Court in which the United States shall be concerned, and to give his advice and opinion upon questions of law when required by the President of the United States, or when requested by the heads of any of the departments."
          What happens when you instruct the courts to drop any case against any action that has been "determinaed to be legal"? Folks, you have the wonderful choices of:
          a) the Legislative branch instructing the Judicial branch to obey the Executive branch
          b) an Executive branch that essentially makes its own law on what's legal and not
          c) creating government-sponsored thugs outside the law, free from the restrictions of the government
          d) all of the above
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Abcd1234 (188840)

          authorized by the President during the period beginning on September 11, 2001, and ending on January 17, 2007 and

          Good Christ, are you serious? If that isn't clear evidence that something shady was going on during that period, I don't know what is...

        • by Fallen Kell (165468) on Friday June 20, 2008 @03:35PM (#23877443)
          We still might get the lawsuits. If you read that, the section 4(B)(ii) requires it to be "determined to be lawful", only the Courts can determine that the acts are lawful, not the President. As such, if the Court decides that the act was not lawful, the Telecom is still not immune to the activity.
        • It's pretty simple. They have to pass this bill. Otherwise the telcos will roll the administration in court to prevent losing the cases.

          It will reveal that a lot of things were done to put a lot of money into the hands of a few people. And the bottom line is that we need to take that money back, since it was obtained dishonestly.

          However, it's been part of the game as long as governments/businesses have been around to declare war and game the system. The problem is that they infringed upon rights, they b

      • by InvisblePinkUnicorn (1126837) on Friday June 20, 2008 @12:33PM (#23874711)
        "In the 1980s capitalism triumphed over communism. In the 1990s it triumphed over democracy."

        Corrupt government officials passing legislation favoring corrupt companies is the antithesis of capitalism.
        • Four More Fears! [wikimedia.org]

          • I'm not sure how to interpret your post... I'm not in favor of McCain or Obama...
            • No implication that you are. :-)

              Searching on "It's not illegal when the President does it" turned this image up. There's a gestalt realisation for the people of the US in the image.

        • by Gat0r30y (957941) on Friday June 20, 2008 @12:41PM (#23874827) Homepage Journal
          It sounds like fascism to me. Just my .02$
          • by Hyppy (74366) on Friday June 20, 2008 @01:14PM (#23875357)
            "Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power."
            -Benito Mussolini
            • by bsDaemon (87307) on Friday June 20, 2008 @01:33PM (#23875693)

              Mussolini never said nor wrote that, nor did Giovani Gentile, so I'm not sure where this quote comes from.

              Likewise, in Italian Fascism, "corporation" means a vertical trade union, like a syndicate, and is akin to guild socialism. The people at the top of the corporation are the "masters" and the people at the bottom are the "apprentices" with varying levels of competancy in between.

              Votes for the Chamber of Deputies are then done by occupation -- so the transportation syndicate is comprised of airline and rail workers, for instance. They then vote for members to represent them in the parliament.

              Only people who are experts in their field craft laws and regulations, which are then given to approval. The "dictator" then has ultimate responsibility to carry it out.

              Frankly, it sounds a hell of a lot better than our current popularity contest that leads to lawyers from dairy country trying to pass laws regarded IT policy, for instance.

              Not that I'm a fascist, I just read everything about them I could get out of my university library 'cause i didn't have tv.

        • Hmmm (Score:5, Interesting)

          by copponex (13876) on Friday June 20, 2008 @01:28PM (#23875621) Homepage

          Corrupt government officials passing legislation favoring corrupt companies is the antithesis of capitalism.
          And that is the inevitable result of free market capitalism, or fascist states where the government is "the shadow of business cast over society."

          Well regulated markets work the best. Without regulation, you cannot assign cost to environmental damage, or prevent greed from wrecking society. Hierarchies will always get top heavy with power and corruption. If that hierarchy is in a corporation, there's nothing the public can do about it. If they are in a functioning democracy, at least the public can vote corruption out during the next election cycle.

          So, a healthy but limited government keeping corporate power in check will yield many of the benefits of capitalism. I think in order to do this we need to introduce the separation of business and state.

          Public officials should not be allowed to seek employment after their service with any firm that does business with the government. If you don't like it, don't run for office. You're running because you want to participate as a proud citizen of our democracy, not so you can enjoy power and kickbacks. Right?

          • Re:Hmmm (Score:5, Informative)

            by InvisblePinkUnicorn (1126837) on Friday June 20, 2008 @01:59PM (#23876125)
            "And that is the inevitable result of free market capitalism, or fascist states where the government is "the shadow of business cast over society.""

            That is not capitalism, but corporatism [wikipedia.org].

            "Without regulation, you cannot assign cost to environmental damage or prevent greed from wrecking society."

            What is this based on? Do you have any supporting evidence that "greed wrecks society", or should we just accept what you say?

            "Hierarchies will always get top heavy with power and corruption."

            Corruption only becomes a concern to the public when it is backed by force, something which only the government can apply.

            "If they are in a functioning democracy, at least the public can vote corruption out during the next election cycle."

            And that official will be replaced by another corrupt official. As long as the government is able to manipulate the economy, individuals and businesses will flock to them to get manipulation in their favor (otherwise they risk seeing unfavorable legislation forced against them).

            "So, a healthy but limited government keeping corporate power in check will yield many of the benefits of capitalism."

            The ends do not justify the means, ever. A few temporary positives are not worth giving up all your rights.

            "I think in order to do this we need to introduce the separation of business and state."

            I can agree with that, although you seem to think the fault lies with the businesses, whereas for me, because the state is the entity actually applying the force on the public, I see the state as to blame.
            • Re:Hmmm (Score:5, Interesting)

              by Tacvek (948259) on Friday June 20, 2008 @03:01PM (#23877059) Journal

              Corruption only becomes a concern to the public when it is backed by force, something which only the government can apply.

              [snip]
              And that official will be replaced by another corrupt official. As long as the government is able to manipulate the economy, individuals and businesses will flock to them to get manipulation in their favor (otherwise they risk seeing unfavorable legislation forced against them).

              The problem is that even if the state cannot manipulate the market, there will still be business interests attempting to manipulate the government to effectively enforce said business's
              monopoly. You do correctly identify the end problem though being the state. The state must not be corruptible, or corporations will work tirelessly to corrupt it. It is as simple as that.

              And please do note that the state does not have a monopoly on force. Physical force, sure, but sufficiently large corporations have a surprising amount of market force, which can sometimes be just as effective as physical force.
              (Consider a cabal of the worlds largest 30 or so corporations, and how they would be able to manipulate completely unregulated markets if no general regulation (such as anti-trust laws) were also present.).

              Properly working regulation may keep corporations in check, but it still requires a state that the businesses really cannot corrupt. So the state is to blame for being corruptible, but the corporations are to blame for exploiting that fact. End result though is that the state needs to change.

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by copponex (13876)

              I wanted to add this before I responded: I am thinking in the context of a real democracy, not America. In my opinion, it's a fascist state nearly beyond repair.

              That is not capitalism, but corporatism.

              Which, again, is the end result of free market capitalism, because people are and always will be greedy and corrupt. Corporations get so large that they hold power to coerce government, so it matters very little that they can't use guns to enforce their will. They use lawyers and politicians instead, who do have access to them.

              What is this based on? Do you have any supporting evidence that "greed wrecks society", or should we just accept what you say?

              Without a law, expla

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by tom's a-cold (253195)

          Corrupt government officials passing legislation favoring corrupt companies is the antithesis of capitalism.
          Don't know much history, do you? Unless it's just a vocabulary problem and by "antithesis" you meant "epitome."
      • by DaedalusHKX (660194) on Friday June 20, 2008 @12:42PM (#23874855) Journal

        You forgot the most important quote that should be on your chain:

        "Any government big enough to give you everything you want, is big enough to take everything you've got." - attributed to Thomas Jefferson

        To translate for those hard of reason: "Any government big enough to redistribute the fruits of other people's labor to YOU by force, is big enough to take everything it wants from you, also by force. It is also big enough to run your life, and kill you or enslave you on a whim or a trumped up charge. It can also watch you and make a panopticon of your daily life. And you will like it, and clamor for it to change only enough that you won't notice the ubiquity of the abuses. Yes indeed, you will... like it." - Me

        • by nuzak (959558) on Friday June 20, 2008 @12:56PM (#23875085) Journal

          "Any government big enough to give you everything you want, is big enough to take everything you've got." - attributed to Thomas Jefferson

          Doesn't sound anything like him. Mark Twain perhaps.

          Thing is, most of the "smaller government" people want government out of the places they want their private craven, corrupt, superstituous, hateful ideologies to rule instead. They consider it "judicial activism" when the courts say that government should stay out of proscriptive definitions of marriage, for example.

  • Treason (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Conspiracy_Of_Doves (236787) on Friday June 20, 2008 @12:27PM (#23874625)

    As far as I'm concerned, every single member of Congress who votes in favor of this bill is guilty of treason.

    • Re:Treason (Score:5, Insightful)

      by jeiler (1106393) <go,bugger,off&gmail,com> on Friday June 20, 2008 @12:36PM (#23874743) Journal

      Which is satisfactory evidence that you do not know the definition of the word in United States law. Start with the Constitution [archives.gov]--article III, section 3.

      This is a monumentally stupid move, and (IMO, IANAL) illegal, but it is not "treason."

      • Then the definition of 'treason' needs to change.

        • Re:Treason (Score:4, Informative)

          by jeiler (1106393) <go,bugger,off&gmail,com> on Friday June 20, 2008 @01:04PM (#23875209) Journal

          What, you--a "technolibertarian," whatever that is--wants the government to do something for you? That's called hypocrisy where I come from, but maybe "technolibertarians" use language differently from normal people.

          Treason is defined as it is in the Constitution precisely to prevent the "conviction by whim" that you seem to propose.

    • Re:Treason (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 20, 2008 @12:37PM (#23874757)

      That's fine, but are you going to do something about it or just bitch online? You yanks always make a big deal about your right to keep and bear arms. Well, that right isn't worth much if once in a while you don't start actually putting bullets through the brains of those treasonous authoritarian fucks.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by BoberFett (127537)

        The reason us "Yanks" still have that right is because we're intelligent enough to use it only as our last option. Apparently you are in a hurry to use violence at every opportunity. Maybe it's why your rulers didn't see fit to give you that right.

        • Re:Treason (Score:4, Insightful)

          by MSG (12810) on Friday June 20, 2008 @05:38PM (#23879513)

          Maybe it's why your rulers didn't see fit to give you that right.

          Rights aren't granted by government, they're taken away. Rights exist in the absence of government.

          Which is to say that "his rulers" saw fit to strip their citizens of that right.

  • by sponglish (759074) on Friday June 20, 2008 @12:30PM (#23874665) Homepage

    Well if Glenn Greenwald said it, I agree with him. Glenn is always right and he's very smart and has LOADS of integrity. Yay Glenn!

    Signed
    Not a sock-puppet.

  • by InvisblePinkUnicorn (1126837) on Friday June 20, 2008 @12:31PM (#23874675)
    What right does the government have to say that an individual or company who violated your rights cannot be held accountable. Has the government gone so completely backwards that now they're endorsing rather than preventing rights violations?

    It's like a rapist asking God for forgiveness. Only the victim has the right to forgive.
    • by freedom_india (780002) on Friday June 20, 2008 @12:38PM (#23874767) Homepage Journal

      You all talk here and you leave out streets and the congressmen.
      I bet a month's salary (to be donated to ACLU) that the bill WILL pass.
      Because none of you guys protested like your dads and moms did during Vietnam War.
      Sitting on your collective asses will not achieve anything.
      God save you guys from your president.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      They don't have the right. The constitution actually forbids it.

    • Um, yes... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Joce640k (829181)

      The US (and other) gov. has been endorsing and even encouraging this for years. Look at Echelon, Carnivore, etc., etc.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 20, 2008 @12:31PM (#23874677)

    I've been writing and calling my Congressman, Elliot Engel, on this issue for months. Yesterday I received an email from his staff stating he was happy to tell me there was no telecom immunity as of the March FISA vote. Upset that this completely neglected to mention how he planned to vote on this bill today, I called his office. The staffer said she'd never heard of FISA or telecom immunity. I called a different office, and they said they didn't know where he stood on the issue but they'd be happy to call me back once he voted. Talk about a joke. This has really been eye-opening to me.

  • by the_macman (874383) on Friday June 20, 2008 @12:32PM (#23874695)
    Done and done. The house just voted to pass the bill. Kiss telco prosecution goodbye, kiss accountability goodbye, kiss your civil liberties goodybye.

    I was watching it live on CSPAN, pretty disgusting. Just remember who voted for this when elections come up.
  • by maynard (3337) <j@maynard@gelinas.gmail@com> on Friday June 20, 2008 @12:33PM (#23874699) Journal

    On both sides of the isle. Both parties have lost their way and are now off in despotic cuckoo-land. Whatever we have become, if they have their way we will certainly be no Republic any longer. The only option is to boot every damn representative who votes for this bill regardless of party. They clearly do not represent a constitution of a nation ruled by laws and not men.

    I say we start with Representatives Pelosi, Hoyer, and Bond.

  • Good Luck with that (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Phrogman (80473) on Friday June 20, 2008 @12:33PM (#23874707) Homepage

    As a Canadian, I have come to expect the worst from the US Government in most cases, and in most cases it has failed to disappoint. I sincerely hope your representatives listen and this bill is defeated, but I expect it will pass with flying colours. After all the US has "the best government money can buy" :P

    Whatever happens down there south of the border, we can expect the Tories to enact similar legislation up here sooner or later. Finlandization is well underway, sadly...

  • by Spacepup (695354) on Friday June 20, 2008 @12:35PM (#23874727)
    Since both presidential candidates are in congress, they way that they vote on this bill should be the tipping point for anyone on the fence between the two. Unless of course they both vote for this, then they should both be tarred and feathered.

    Heck, we should tar and feather them anyway...every presidential candidate should learn what it feels like before they reach that office.
    • by oodaloop (1229816) on Friday June 20, 2008 @12:42PM (#23874867)

      Heck, we should tar and feather them anyway...every presidential candidate should learn what it feels like before they reach that office.
      Um...tar and feathering is lethal. Not that I'm against it. Just saying.
      • by oodaloop (1229816)
        OK, let me be the first to correct myself. SOME forms of tar and feathering are lethal, while others merely severely burned. I read recently how the dipping or covering in boiling tar killed most people, however wikipedia lists far more variants than with which I was previously familiar.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by zappepcs (820751)

      Heck, we should tar and feather them anyway...every presidential candidate should learn what it feels like before they reach that office.

      Hazing, as such, is generally seen as bad, not legal, and one of those things you are not supposed to do but in this case, I agree.

      I think starting their term with 30 days in county jail, and a required 30 days service year in any of the lower ranked civil service jobs available in any district. Yes, that was 6 work weeks. It might help them stay just a little more humble and in tune with the people that they are representing. If you have to eat your PB&J with joey who has three kids and a mortgage, an

    • by nurb432 (527695) on Friday June 20, 2008 @01:06PM (#23875229) Homepage Journal

      Sounds like anti-American terrorist talk to me, attempting to incite/support violence against a standing congressman.

      Please come with us, we have a few questions for you.

  • by mbone (558574) on Friday June 20, 2008 @12:41PM (#23874831)

    As the new de facto leader of the Democratic Party, and as a Senator, Barack Obama could stop this with a word. What will he say ? Will he stand up for liberty ? Or betray it before he even gets elected ?

  • by Guppy06 (410832) on Friday June 20, 2008 @12:45PM (#23874905)

    H.R. 6304

  • You Deserve It (Score:5, Insightful)

    by geggam (777689) on Friday June 20, 2008 @12:48PM (#23874949)
    You gave up your weapons to feel safe because you don't want the responsibility.
    You gave up your rights to feel safe because you don't want the responsibility.
    You feel safe because you abdicated your responsibility to ensure the govt did not run over the people.
    Look ! Its American Idol. You can quit reading now.
    You are safe.
  • by Goobergunch (876745) <martin.goobergunch@net> on Friday June 20, 2008 @12:49PM (#23874959) Homepage Journal
    YEA 293
    NAY 129

    The full breakdown, showing which way each representative voted, will be available at Roll No. 437 [house.gov] in roughly an hour, when the Clerk of the House posts it.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by goathens (924972)
      I called my representative and his clerk assured me he would reject the bill. The role states that he supported it. Is it bad form to call his clerk back and inform him he's on my s**t list and I'll be voting for whoever isn't him next time?
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Abcd1234 (188840)

        No, that's a really *really* good idea, actually. And I'd advise you to tell the people you know about the stunt he/she pulled.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by NiceGeek (126629)

      Interesting that Ron Paul didn't bother to vote.

  • nixon is not dead (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TheGratefulNet (143330) on Friday June 20, 2008 @12:53PM (#23875047)

    he's alive and well. in spirit, at least.

    didn't FISA come from nixon era wiretapping?

    so all the 'progress' we made since the nixon days has been overturned.

    so, would that make bush the 'new nixon'?

  • by crazytisay (1283264) on Friday June 20, 2008 @01:00PM (#23875163)
    This type of encroachment on civil liberties was commonplace during the Red Scare and through the Vietnam era. There was backlash, some high profile scandals, and we got the FISA. 9/11 was the impetus for changing the balance of power back to the state. Since the passage of the PATRIOT Act, the government has been steadily grabbing at more (unconstitutional) powers to surveille its citizens. Hopefully there will be public backlash, but the power structure of the country is quite a bit different from previous eras. I would argue the US is more corporatist than in any previous era, and now we're fighting on two fronts. Hence the telco immunity provisions. Corporations and the state are getting a bit too cozy for my taste, and capitalism be damned, I don't want to end up in a facsist state.
  • Upshot of immunity (Score:5, Interesting)

    by nuzak (959558) on Friday June 20, 2008 @01:03PM (#23875199) Journal

    Now they can be subpoenaed as a material witness against the Executive, and they'll enjoy far less protections against their having to produce evidence. No fifth amendment protections for one, since it couldn't incriminate them.

    Not that this will actually happen, but it's a nice fantasy.

  • New laws (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Verteiron (224042) on Friday June 20, 2008 @01:17PM (#23875423) Homepage

    I think we need a constitutional amendment. It should read:
    "Any bill that comes before the Congress to be passed into law must be able to be summarized accurately and without loss of detail into 50 words or less. Once this is accomplished, the original multi-thousand page document shall be thrown out, and the 50-word summary presented for passage into law."

    And perhaps another one:
    "Anyone who attempts to add text to a bill that is completely at odds with or irrelevant to the bill's title shall be considered guilty of treason and put to death immediately in as brutal a way as possible."

  • Good. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Rombuu (22914) on Friday June 20, 2008 @01:45PM (#23875891)

    I'm glad to see this finally happen.

  • Who voted how: (Score:3, Informative)

    by Guppy06 (410832) on Friday June 20, 2008 @02:06PM (#23876235)

    http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2008/roll437.xml [house.gov]

    Yes, I'm kharma whoring.

  • by Opportunist (166417) on Friday June 20, 2008 @02:14PM (#23876361)

    Comfortably provided. It's at http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2008/roll437.xml [house.gov]

    Check the names under "Yeahs" and you know who is the worst enemy of democracy and freedom in the United States of America.

  • Blackwater (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Hektor_Troy (262592) on Friday June 20, 2008 @03:04PM (#23877085)

    Granted, so far it's "only" about illegal wiretaps against U.S. citizens. But essentially this says "If the PotUS says 'do task A for me', then the company that does task A cannot and will not be held liable, even if it breaks the law."

    So far that task has been (and might still be) "spy on U.S. citizens"

    What's to stop the next task from being "rough up U.S. citizens who mouth off against the government"? Or "kill U.S. citizens who are a pain in the ass"?

    Sure, that's a big slippery slope, but then again, I'm sure if you went back to say ... September 2000 and asked people on the street, they'd probably say that the U.S. government would NEVER allow such a thing. Of course, they'd probably say the same thing about torture (or whatever phrase you'd like to use instead), suspension of habeas corpus and a lot of other things that have happend in less than a decade. Even "small" stuff like purposely revealing the name and occupation of an active CIA agent working abroad.

  • by plasmacutter (901737) on Friday June 20, 2008 @04:23PM (#23878327)

    Obama Officially Supports This [talkingpointsmemo.com]

    He seems to view giving retroactive immunity to corporations for horrendous violations of US law and the constitution as something "disagreeable but potentially acceptable".

    I think i'm going to vote for Mccain. I'm left by canadian standards, but my position means jack if the candidate lies to you. Mccain is honest.

    I know he doesn't give a flying crap about me and is in bed with corporations. I know what to expect from him.

    • Okay, I like Obama's stance on a lot of the issues, but this is just retarded.

      "Under this compromise legislation, an important tool in the fight against terrorism will continue, but the President's illegal program of warrantless surveillance will be over. It restores FISA and existing criminal wiretap statutes as the exclusive means to conduct surveillance - making it clear that the President cannot circumvent the law and disregard the civil liberties of the American people."

      So Bush's wire taps were illegal, meaning they were/are in violation of existing laws. So we're going to make a NEW law that makes it illegal for Bush to break the existing law?

      He already broke the law, why would he care about breaking the law that would prevent him from breaking the law?!!?

      Laws are designed to govern people that follow them. People who place themselves beyond the law will not be effected no matter how many laws

Never put off till run-time what you can do at compile-time. -- D. Gries

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