Strong opinions, weakly held

You call yourselves an opposition party?

Note to Senators — you people make me sick. No guts, no principles.

The context of these comments is the vote today that granted immunity from prosecution to telecommunications companies that in all likelihood illegally threw their networks open for wiretapping, even before 9/11.

Ten Democrats and no Republicans stood up for the Constitution. 76 others voted for cloture to end Senator (and Presidential candidate) Chris Dodd’s filibuster of the bill. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama didn’t show up to vote.

Update: The bill is off the table until next year, thanks to Chris Dodd.


  1. This is a point in time that some future historian will highlight: “in the later years of the first decade, the United States stopped being a nation of laws.”

    So let’s see…we no longer have

    • Habeus Corpus – citizens can be snatched and imprisoned at will, for no reason (see, Mr. Padilla)
    • Courts and Congress have no jurisdiction over the rest of the government, except in non-important matters (i.e., abortion, flag burning, “immigration,” etc.)
    • The executive operates under the veil of secrecy – citizens are not allowed to view its day-to-day workings except in the most trivial of instances (i.e., White House visitor logs)

    My prediction: they will probably never touch the junk like the first & second amendments. Freedom of speech means nothing if they can tap one’s communications and later chunk the more ‘dangerous’ radicals into prison. The second amendment is fool’s gold: the sheep believe their pitiful little pea-shooters will be effective against the military. The government knows better, and, while they probably would rather disarm the populace, this ‘crust of bread’ is better off being left in place.

    What is really sad is the way the ‘cons have reshaped the message—repeating the same lies over and over, playing to people’s fears, etc—of safety over freedoms and laws.

    Maybe the stuff will hit the fan when a “lib” gets into office and starts using the draconian powers to crush opposition. That’s the beauty of granting the government unlimited powers – at some point, someone you may not like can get into office and use those very same powers against you. This is what the founding fathers tried to prevent with the old checks ‘n’ balances.

    I’m afraid the only way this will get better is to have it get worse, first. I agree that the Dems are effectively useless, by their own hand. They certainly didn’t have the guts to force Joe (DINO) Lieberman to side with the neocons to make this bill go through. Instead, they continue to play the losing endgame of being quiet and cowering in the corner, hoping daddy won’t beat them again for speaking up.

  2. Yes to Rafe and mostly yes to Bryan, but point of order – I could not let this pass: privacy, freedom, and bodily integrity for half the population is not a “non-important” issue. Once the state asserts control over your body, the state has control over your life.

  3. Hi Medley

    Too late, I’m afraid.

    You cannot proscribe your own medicines (I have to get a doctor’s note to get a refill of the same drug I’ve been taking for the last year and will take for the foreseeable future).

    Certain drugs are “illegal,” so you cannot use them even if you would harm no one or only yourself.

    Children are required to submit to vaccinations, no matter how useless (Hep B at birth? C’mon….) or dangerous (= mercury laden) they are. [I’m not sure what a good alternative looks like, tho]

    Etc, etc.

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