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ACLU Warns of Next Pass At Telecom Immunity 201

The ACLU has reportedly uncovered another pass at telecom immunity and is urging concerned citizens to speak out against what they call a "dangerous backroom deal." "But now, word comes that House leadership may be working hand-in-hand with Senator Jay Rockefeller, the Democratic Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, who has spearheaded efforts to give immunity to law-breaking phone companies that provided mountains of customer data to the government without warrants. As discussions continue, it's critical that House leadership avoid buckling to pressure from the White House or Senator Rockefeller at all costs. House leadership — and every representative — need to draw a line in the sand, by rejecting any compromise that would undo the achievement we fought so hard for in February."
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ACLU Warns of Next Pass At Telecom Immunity

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  • 1984.... (Score:0, Insightful)

    by etinin ( 1144011 ) * <alexandrebfarias ... m ['ail' in gap]> on Monday May 05, 2008 @07:27PM (#23306152)
    Your government will begin with this, soon they'll be deploying cameras in people's houses. It is totally absurd for any government agency to have access to private data without a court order. If things are going to work like that, then a corrupt agent will be able to browse through a lot of confidential information without having to pass through any bureaucracy...
  • For how long? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by grasshoppa ( 657393 ) < minus caffeine> on Monday May 05, 2008 @07:27PM (#23306156) Homepage
    Seriously, how long are we going to be able to keep up the fight? It's obvious the current administration and the telcos will just keep making one run after another until one gets through; and don't bother suggesting that we will actually hold them accountable at some point. That's laughable.

    So the question becomes, how long until we burn out?
  • Re:For how long? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by east coast ( 590680 ) on Monday May 05, 2008 @07:35PM (#23306216)
    The current administration? Given the current balance of power this isn't as much a move by the current administration but by both parties working in unison. Sure, some will use it as a token "it's not me" vote but in the long run this isn't just Bush & Co or even the Republicans...

    Wake up from your dreaded party politics dream and you'll see the real nightmare.
  • by Aaron England ( 681534 ) on Monday May 05, 2008 @07:47PM (#23306310)
    This is not a troll, but can anyone tell me what does it matter? Have the telecos been successfully sued in court for their indiscretions? Are we pursuing them in court? If the answer is no to both counts, then what does it matter if we grant them immunity.
  • Re:For how long? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by whoever57 ( 658626 ) on Monday May 05, 2008 @07:48PM (#23306316) Journal

    Until the next administration.
    Last time I looked, Congress passed laws, not the President. Also, last time I looked, the House was controlled by the Democratic party which was also the majority part in the Senate. So how is a new administration going to make any difference?
  • Re:For how long? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Delwin ( 599872 ) * on Monday May 05, 2008 @07:52PM (#23306340)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 05, 2008 @08:04PM (#23306436)
    What's at stake here is that an entire sector of corporation (allegedly) broke the law in secret, and once exposed, is now trying to make what they did suddenly legal.

    What's at stake here is the public's right to discover who in our government (allegedly) requested that the law (allegedly) be broken.

    What's at stake here is nothing less than the rule of law itself and whether the law is controlled by the People or by the corporations.

    Think about the consequences if fucking telecommunications companies for God's sake get away with (allegedly) violating our rights to privacy guaranteed by the FISA laws...

    Think about the consequences if the (alleged) pressure to break the law from our own government never is fully exposed...

    Think of the consequences if justice is not served to those who deserve it...

    If they get away with this, the grand experiment that is America has failed.

  • by Frequency Domain ( 601421 ) on Monday May 05, 2008 @08:30PM (#23306654)

    Personally, I am for immunity for the telecoms. What they did was wrong, but the Bush administration said it was legal. Companies should be able to take the government at their word for what is legal or not. Going after the justice department would be a much better solution, though a harder one. The problem is that if we set a precedent that the government cannot be trusted by big corporations, than we will run in to problems later. ...
    I think you have it completely backwards. The USA is supposed to be run by laws, not by personalities. It seems to me the law was unequivocal in this case, but the telecoms went ahead and violated it on the say-so of the executive branch (which has no say-so on interpreting law, by the way). The telecom's lawyers should have told them that they were opening a big can of liability, and the fact that they're pushing so hard for retroactive immunity indicates that they know it, and are getting very concerned at the prospect of a change of administration. That's a huge tell - if they thought the law was on their side, they wouldn't worry about the next administration taking power.

    If they are granted the immunity, it basically gives future administrations a precedent for saying they're above the law. Who cares what those pesky laws say, we'll immunize you if you do our bidding.

  • by NotBornYesterday ( 1093817 ) on Monday May 05, 2008 @09:13PM (#23307008) Journal
    Republicans used to be the party in favor of lower taxes & smaller government & farmers. Foreign policy tended to be hawkish. They'd let you have guns and God, but not porn or gay sex. Right wing.

    Democrats used to be the party in favor of civil rights & bigger social programs & friendly with labor. Foreign policy tended to be dovish. You couldn't have guns or put up a Christmas tree on public land, but you could have porn and/or gay sex. Left wing.

    Now they both tax the crap out of us, spend us into a world of deficit, screw the working/middle class and infringe on our rights while cutting social programs. Or maybe it has always been that way, and I'm only starting to notice. Hmm ...

    Seriously though, although the Republicans are generally right of center and Dems are generally left of center, since there are only 2 parties each party covers a lot of ideological ground and there is some overlap in the middle. With both parties being mindlessly poll-driven, I feel like most of them are simply parroting the feel-good position of the day as it comes to them from their handlers, making both sides sound remarkably similar overall. Mostly they just argue over who gets the blame or the credit, depending which way the poll numbers are going.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 05, 2008 @09:42PM (#23307244)
    Shear nonsense. As pointed out above it is a minority of the majority party siding with the minority party under white house pressure. I'll agree there isn't much difference between the DLC types and Republicans but members of the progressive wing are very different from conservative Republicans.

    Its the media that likes to focus on petty issues instead of real solid differences that gives the appearence of the two groups being the same.
  • Re:For how long? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Toonol ( 1057698 ) on Monday May 05, 2008 @10:09PM (#23307480)
    Until the next administration. If its a democrat, you have a chance.

    That much foolish naiveté in an adult is unpardonable. If you're a child, then it's forgivable, as you may yet learn about the nature of politics, power, and corruption as you grow.
  • There are indeed valid, substantial questions regarding Jay Rockefeller's campaign contributors and the FISA Bill's telecom immunity clause. My questions about him go back farther to when he was minority committee leader, and was being pussy-whipped by Sen. Roberts (Can's-Ass) about Robert's promise to have the Intelligence Committee investigate the administration's use of pre-Iraq War intelligence, and even get around to issuing subpoenas, so Feith and Wolfowitz would get their asses hauled down to assert their 5th Amendment rights under oath while being televised nationwide. There are several Democratic Senators whose defense of civil liberties is very questionable.

    However, your intimated assertion of a partisan parity is absurd, and a wild flight of fantasy from reality.

    Let's investigate reality without the rosy-tint of you blurry lens:

    Senate Roll Call Vote #20 on February 12, 2008, The FISA Amendments Act []

    • Vote Total: 68 Yeas - 29 Nays - 3 NoVotes
    • Yeas by Party: 48 R - 20 D - 1 I (Lieberman)
    • Nays by Party: 0 R - 29 D - 1 I (Sanders)
    • NoVotes by Party: 1 R - 2 D - 0 I

    Clearly, The Democrats are The Lamer of Two Evils.

  • by mweather ( 1089505 ) on Monday May 05, 2008 @10:51PM (#23307788)
    We must all hang together or assuredly we shall all hang separately.
  • by postbigbang ( 761081 ) on Monday May 05, 2008 @11:15PM (#23307990)
    There are a few bad apples on SCOTUS. There are a few bright moments, too, including some handed to the Bush administration. All is not lost, but it certainly isn't balanced well, we'll agree. Nonetheless, it's the law of the land. Civility demands respect, even if we don't agree. It's then incumbent upon us to vote to ensure our sentiments are hopefully followed on the next appointments. Sometimes, they are.
  • by MorePower ( 581188 ) on Monday May 05, 2008 @11:30PM (#23308082)
    SCALIA: And you say he's punishing you? What's he punishing you for? ... When he's hurting you in order to get information from you, you wouldn't say he's punishing you. What is he punishing you for?

    Damn! I mean DAMN!
    It should be blatantly obvious, he's punishing you for not giving him the information he wants!
  • It is absurd that a person who refused to accept the democratic vote of his own party in the primaries, and then reentered the election as an independent who accepted major contribution from the other main party, and pulled all party support out from under their own candidate, would be referred to as being democratic.

    Liegberman subverted the democratic process of his own chosen party, The Democrats. He aligned with the Dem. side, because the Senate rules force third party and independent members to pick one or the other, and all committee assignments come from affiliation. Lieberman would have aligned with the Republicans if they would have offered him a good enough deal on committees, but the didn't care about the weasel to toss him a decent bone. They know he's a solid pro-Iraq vote, and is a firm believer in giving extra-power to the government. He has at least been consistent in this, contrary to the Republicans who believe in empowering and supporting Republican President's overreaches, while castrating Democratic Presidents before he even has been inaugurated.

    When even Bob Barr can no longer stomach being a Republican, you know the GOP has sunk far below the horizon on the field of honor. Moral Relativism is The Rectaltude of Republican Intent manifest obscenely in reality. What else can be expected from The Party of Public Potty-Peepers, who claim after their performances of soft-shoe routines at TeaTyme has become public knowledge, that they are not gay.

  • by rohan972 ( 880586 ) on Tuesday May 06, 2008 @04:12AM (#23309534)
    So I could paraphrase what you're saying as "Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed."?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 06, 2008 @01:34PM (#23314216)
    I see Scalia's point: He's saying if torture was punishment then it would be administered after it's been decided that a person is guilty of something, with the sole value of reprimanding someone for something they've done. He's also saying the use of torture in the Abu Ghraib case is seen as a means to an end (confession), therefore it is not a punishment but an interrogation technique. Stahl just needs to switch the conversation to a different theme, e.g. 1. torture doesn't work or 2. torture is immoral.

"my terminal is a lethal teaspoon." -- Patricia O Tuama