Worst of all, Senator Obama, whose word is rapidly becoming more assured as the voice of the party, came out and said he accepted the compromise bill. He said he would fight the amnesty provision in the Senate, but I don't think this is anything but cover. Read his words:
It is not all that I would want. But given the legitimate threats we face, providing effective intelligence collection tools with appropriate safeguards is too important to delay. So I support the compromise, but do so with a firm pledge that as President, I will carefully monitor the program, review the report by the Inspectors General, and work with the Congress to take any additional steps I deem necessary to protect the lives -– and the liberty –- of the American people.This is a politician's bullshit. Notice that he doesn't say that amnesty is wrong any more. He sees that the bill gives the Presidency another little fillip of tyranny and he will not look that gift horse in the mouth. It's a sad day.
In my own Congressional District, I was very fearful that Adam Schiff would end up capitulating with the spineless. He did indeed vote for the bill, and I publish here the letter I sent to him quoting from his own letter to me back in the spring when I had written to him concerned about giving amnesty to the telephone companies who went along with George Bush's violations of the law. (Remember, Bush himself admitted he broke the law in a press conference and said that he would continue to do so. ) This amnesty provision will--unless there is a brave FISA judge out there--almost automatically dismiss any lawsuits permanently. It's a very sad day. My letter will sum up the reason for my sadness.
326 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
Re: Your Vote on the FISA and Telecom Amnesty Bill
Dear Congressman Schiff:
I have just reviewed the record of the vote. Your name was in the Yeas. Disturbing.
Let me quote from your letter to me of April 9, 2008:
On March 14th, the House voted to pass a bill—the FISA Amendment Act of 2008—that did not include immunity for the telecom companies. The final vote in the House was 213-197 and I voted in favor of this legislation.
However, the suggestion of the Administration that we can only [be aggressive in combating terrorism]by subverting the law and giving up our constitutional right is seriously misguided.
Yet despite this, the bill you voted for today—against your apparent position of understanding that the Administration was wrong—is not in the interests of the citizens of this country. I can anticipate receiving rhetoric from you to justify your vote, and further obfuscation that will essentially repeat the rationalizations of your ''seriously misguided” colleagues Hoyer, Emmanuel, and Speaker Pelosi. Some Democratic opposition you have become. Save the rhetoric, please.
It is clear that you now would let this administration escape liability for its unconstitutional acts. You now would let the predictable assurances of Attorney General Mukasy that a telecom company had “acted in good faith after assurances from the Justice Department” completely preclude any possible discovery proving that the Administration had broken the law. In short, you now have become a party to the collusion. All your talk now about wanting to preserve FISA as the exclusive remedy will not hold water. The fact is that telecom immunity could still have been excluded if you and other overly compliant congressmen had truly wanted to protect the Fourth Amendment. In other words, as Senator Bond said today, "When the Government tells you to do something, I think you all recognize, uh, that that is something that you need to do." A nation of sheep.
In all of our history,with its few instances of impeachment and threatened impeachment, this President alone has been more culpable than any other and liable for impeachment. Yet Congress has not had the courage to hold him accountable as the Constitution provides. In this one instance when we clearly know by his own admission that the President broke the law and would continue to break it, your action today has let him pass unscathed. The proof? Other telecom companies refused to comply!
I am deeply disturbed by your lack of courage and leadership on this matter. You have not only betrayed my trust in you but have betrayed your own principles. You have not done your duty.
To be sure, it's a sad day for the Fourth Amendment and a sad day for all of us who understand that this President has moved us further and faster in seven and a half years from a democratic republic than any one would have thought. Damn the Democrats who have gone along with this terrible capitulation to the politics of fear, paranoia, and vengeance.