October 22, 2007

Congress Puts Me In Mind of a Jellyfish

Immunity for Telecoms May Set Bad Precedent, Legal Scholars Say
Retroactive Protection Could Create Problems in the Future
By Dan Eggen -- Washington Post Staff Writer

When previous Republican administrations were accused of illegality in the FBI and CIA spying abuses of the 1970s or the Iran-Contra affair of the 1980s, Democrats in Congress launched investigations or pushed for legislative reforms.

But last week, faced with admissions by several telecommunication companies that they assisted the Bush administration in warrantless spying on Americans, leaders of the Senate intelligence committee took a much different tack -- proposing legislation that would grant those companies retroactive immunity from prosecution or lawsuits.

The proposal marks the second time in recent years that Congress has moved toward providing legal immunity for past actions that may have been illegal. The Military Commissions Act, passed by a GOP-led Congress in September 2006, provided retroactive immunity for CIA interrogators who could have been accused of war crimes for mistreating detainees.
Retired Rear Adm. John Hutson, dean and president of the Franklin Pierce Law Center in Concord, N.H., said he is concerned about the precedent that a new immunity provision might set.

"The unfortunate reality is that once you've done it, once you immunize interrogators or phone companies, then it's easy to do it again in another context," Hutson said. "It seems to me that as a general rule, retroactive immunity is not a good thing. . . . It's essentially letting Congress handle something that should be handled by the judiciary."
Click here for the complete text.
Once again our invertebrate Congress does its thing.
Although both it and the court system have been deeply wounded by this administration, is that sufficient reason to simply roll over and play dead?


an average patriot said...

two crows
Both parties are in on this crap. they don't want to help us. They want to help themselves. It seems that these Politicians know Bush is going to declare martial order and they are jockeying for positions.
I was stunned today when Arnold was on saying how horrible things were and he was declaring a State of emergency when the chief idiot broke in. He never mentioned California burning but said he wanted 46 billion more for his wars and Congress better give it to him by November then he just left.
I am stunned, Bush never said a damn word, I told you, it is just one more excuse to declare martial order, they are adding up! Things will start hitting the fan and Bush has yet to do his greatest damage.

two crows said...

hey, AAP--
the more I see what is happening, the more I think you may be right.
more and more people are amassing more and more evidence from several different sources. the fact that we have this network allows us to put the facts together more easily.
of course, seeing it coming doesn't mean we have the power to stop it.
of course, once the bars have clanged shut, one of the first casualties will be the internet. the LAST thing they'll want is an educated and interconnected populace.

PoliShifter said...

"if you got nothing to hide you got nothing to fear"

Why does that right wing logic only apply to the American People?

Should it not also apply to Corporations and the Bush Administration?

Why are they given exemptions?

If they did nothing wrong, why do they need immunity?

sumo said...

Thank you for the heads up about Stark...I took advantage of it on his site to let him know I supported his actions.

Mary Ellen said...

I agree with an average patriot. This isn't just the GOP, the Dems hands are just as dirty.

I don't like what I'm seeing in this country. Our politicians are working for themselves and it's the hell with their constituents. I'm wondering why I even bother to vote anymore. Honestly, after reading all the blogs today, I'm getting so depressed....and that's not easy for me, I'm usually pretty upbeat.

two crows said...

hey, Poli--
the gov't has always exempted itself from following the rules and laws it set for the rest of us.
the latest example is simply the logical extension of what they've been doing for _at_least_ 50 years.
the practice just keeps getting more and more extreme.

I wish I could give myself immunity before I went running to the nearest bank and robbed it.
wouldn't that be the equivalent of what our gov't has been doing systematically for years?

two crows said...

thanx Sumo--
I hope they _all_ got the message yesterday morning when they got to work to find overflowing voice mail and email in-boxes.

two crows said...

hey, M E--
it's depressing, all right.
still, I look back on our very bumpy history and hold a tiny flame of hope.

IF we can get past the next inauguration day without martial law being invoked and the Constitution being completely suspended, I think we might survive.

I remember:
the systematic slaughter of the buffalo in order to starve out the native americans who were here first;
the children working in the mines [and dying there] in the 1800's so the robber barons could make huge profits;
the company towns and company stores that were used for the same ends;
the deliberate infecting of black men with syphilis and letting it run its course in their bodies done in the name of 'research' -- and this was AFTER the Nazis did the same during the third reich;
the refusal of our gov't to give benefits to our troops who had inhaled agent orange -- calling them 'attention seekers' and 'cry babies';
the current ignoring of the 1st responders to 9/11 who now have black-lung disease;
the list goes on and on -- in this country that calls itself the 'greatest country in the world.'

but-- each of those atrocities came to light and the people have, by and large, protested them to enough of a degree to get the gov't to back down.

so, if we can get past january, 2009 without soldiers in the streets we might, at least, get back to business as usual --
we'll still have to pay close attention and stop the abuses our gov't perpetrates as they come to light.

but-- we did survive those.
maybe we'll survive this one, too.
or maybe my middle name should be 'Pollyanna'.

TomCat said...

We're not quite dead on that one yet. I called Rockefeller's office and asked if I could have retroactive imminity too.