Monday, January 28, 2008

The state of the 4th amendment

Tonight is not just the State of the Union. It’s the state of the 4th amendment. We almost lost it today. And, to break party ranks for a minute, every single Republican (except Arlen Specter) is for this, along with Jay Rockefeller and Harry Reid. Senator’s Clinton and Obama are also for it, but will actually leave the campaign trail to vote for a filibuster in which Senator Chris Dodd (keep reading for a thank-you video) is Filibustering a bill written by a Democrat and endorsed by the Democratic leader the aforementioned Harry Reid.

Thus, to recap. Jay Rockefeller and Dick Cheney’s office wrote a bill that squashes the 4th amendment to the constitution that they all swore to uphold when they got into office.

Not just that, but Rockefeller wrote into the bill amnesty to the phone companies that have been secretly helping them break the 4th amendment.

It gets better. Guess who are the two leading democratic recipients of contributions from phone companies? If you said Jay Rockefeller and Hillary Clinton, you’re right! Note: ALL Republican senators are for this already — they already got paid off.

But, as the State of the Union comes off, it will be the top of the news cycle. So there's nothing to see here. Just a Senate that’s about to squash the 4th amendment, and offer immunity to companies that pay them off. They need immunity because they broke the law when Bush told them to.

As Glenn Greenwald writes
Of all the creepy post-9/11 phrases to which we've been subjected ("The Patriot Act" - "Protecting the Homeland" - "enhanced interrogation techniques" - "Department of Homeland Security"), I think the creepiest and most Orwellian is the phrase "good patriotic corporate citizen," used to describe companies which broke our laws because the President told them to. It's now apparently a Patriotic Duty to obey the President even if he tells you to violate the law. The accompanying claim that companies should never "second-guess" the "judgment of the President regarding what's legal" -- which I just heard from John Cornyn and Saxby Chambliss -- is equally creepy, and is the crux of the authoritarian case for telecom immunity.
So much for a nation of laws.

That’s the state of the union. Last year, Habeas Corpus. This year, the 4th amendment. Enjoy the speech. BTW, this is the thank-you to Chris Dodd for getting us even this far.

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