Democratic Leadership Caves to the White House and Telecommunication Lobby on Immunity

The democratic leadership is preparing to move a final bill giving immunity to the telecommunication industry after months of waiting for public interest to wane. The new bill would give President Bush and the powerful lobby would it has long sought: immunity from violating federal law and the privacy of customers.

The legislation is incredibly disingenuous. It pretends to create a legal process of review that the members know would be instantly satisfied by the companies. It calls for a federal district court determine whether the telecommunications companies received signed orders authorized by the president asking them to place wiretaps to detect or prevent a terrorist attack. Dozens of lawsuit filed by public interest and civil liberties groups would then be dismissed — at the direction of the democrats in Congress.

I will be on Countdown tonight to discuss the legislation but I am positively baffled by this decision. There is zero public interest value to this legislation. It is a move to shield obvious unlawful conduct and to defeat civil liberties cases by changing the rules in favor of these companies. It is an continuation of a pattern of democratic leaders running on defending civil liberties and then actively undermining such efforts in Congress.

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24 thoughts on “Democratic Leadership Caves to the White House and Telecommunication Lobby on Immunity”

  1. While the Congress may have caved on Telecom Immunity, the ACLU/EFF’s case is moving briskly through the ND Ca. The brief filed by the plaintiffs in opposition to the Government’s Motion To Dismiss is found here and seems very well conceived and executed. We all know that it’s going to end up at the corner of E. Capital Street and 1st Street in DC eventually but it’s nice to dream that some black robe along the way might do the right thing.

  2. More proof that the Democrats and Republicans are one political party with two faces. “impeachment is off the table”

    Welcome to the fascist police state!

  3. disillusioned and puzzling,

    I agree. Mr. Obama claims that, as president, he will determine the balance between our rights and our safety. I don’t want a president to determine what my rights are, that’s what is happening now. Our rights are determined by the constitution. Our safety is in holding to it. I have had many doubts along the way with Mr. Obama. I am voting for Cynthia McKinney if she gets the nomination.


  4. If the Republicans ask for Policy 1 and the Democrats for Policy 2, the “voices of reason”, “moderates” and “bi-partisan cooperation” framework put forth by the media generally conclude that policy 1.5 is necessarily a rational, reasonable and productive compromise.

    We rarely hear serious discussion about Policy 3.

    This whole concept of an opposition party doesn’t seem to be working. Many of the real opposition parties won’t even be on most ballots in November, never mind a part of the so-called debate among the “serious” contenders entitled to unfettered airtime.

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