For more than five years, AT&T and other telephone companies broke the law and violated their customers’ privacy rights by sending billions of private domestic internet and telephone communications and records to the National Security Agency.
Now, after months of pressure from the Bush Administration, the full Senate is poised to grant retroactive immunity to these companies, which would effectively ensure that the full extent of their complicty will never be known.
The critical make-or-break vote is being held Monday– contact your Senator immediately and urge them to oppose telecom immunity!
Senate lawmakers must support Senator Chris Dodd and other heroes in allowing a full debate to proceed on Monday, and they must vote to strip telecom immunity from the bill.
The Senate should not let the telecoms off the hook. Granting immunity sets a dangerous precedent, sending the message that lawbreaking is acceptable and that the rights of Americans can be freely infringed by private companies in defiance of the law. And though the debate about the proper process of collecting foreign intelligence is complex, the issue of telecom immunity is not. The facts are simple enough: the telecoms broke the law, so the Senate should let Americans have their day in court.
Last fall the American people gave this Congress a mandate to change the direction of the country and restore America’s security by ending the war and restoring our Constitution and standing in the world. Unfortunately, time and time again, Congress has been unable to fulfill that mandate. But our country can no longer afford to continue down that road; we need to restore the Constitution, protect our civil liberties and ensure that no one is above the law. It’s time for us to stand up and lead; not just say ‘enough is enough, but act on it.
And you know what? Damn right, and I don’t want to hear any bullshit about how it’s so quixotic and a lost cause and whatnot, and how we need to go along with the leadership, and get this out of the way, I don’t want to hear anything about how we need to help them cover up their crimes. I don’t want to hear about how it looks bad, for a Democrat to be filibustering in a Democratic Senate, because the lines being drawn now aren’t remotely about Republican vs. Democrat, they’re about who cares enough to say fuck it, I’m talking now, and who doesn’t.
I don’t care, because for God’s sakes, there are times you stand up or you spend the rest of your life making your whole world about why you didn’t stand up. We spend so much time making excuses, cats and kittens. So much time talking about how we’d be so much better, if not for this, that, or the other thing. We spend so much damn time figuring out how we can get out of feeling bad about how much we suck. So much time, when it just takes a minute, to rise from your seat, and open your mouth, and fuckingrise.
When I write my senators, this is what I say to them: Be great instead of being ashamed. Be the people you wanted to be when you grew up. It’s not up to anybody else. It’s not up to circumstance and it’s not up to “if only” and it’s not up to all the stuff you put up there to get in the way of what is so fucking clear it makes the road to Damascus look lost in the haze, it’s not up to anyone but you to fucking listen when history’s calling your name.
No retreat. No surrender. No backing down, no apologizing, no equivocating, no compromising, no bullshitting on the Sunday shows about how it’s all too tough and you had to explain it to your district, and you had to get re-elected, and isn’t it awful how politics just isn’t worthy of the likes of you, and oh, good, you brought your checkbook because I have telemarketers to pay. No knuckling under. No benefit of the doubt. No bipartisan weaseling. No complicity. No cover-ups. No excuses.
Not. One. Fucking. Inch.