Thursday, January 24, 2008

Sick and tired of telecom immunity

Look: the President has the ability to give the telecoms immunity right now. All he has to do is have his lawyers show the fully legal orders to the trial judges in camera - that is, secretly, so this crap about "state secrets" remains crap - and have the telecoms move for a dismissal. Cases dismissed, immunity granted.

Of course, this does depend on the President having been honest... he has said that the program was lawful and necessary. So he only has to request Congressional action if he lied, and broke the law.

See, it's all easy.

The telecoms should not receive immunity if they violated the law. We don't give soldiers immunity for breaking the law if they were ordered to do so; I've heard it said that a soldier should be willing to die rather than, e.g., obey an illegal order to kill someone. So why should we give the telecoms immunity if they broke the law?

What sickens me is this: the Democrats are going to roll over and play dumb and let Bush tar them with not passing a FISA update to remove the technical illegalities. He'll say that they're "holding it hostage".

They don't have the courage to say "We're passing all of the technical changes now; we'll consider the remainder as a separate bill. If Bush wants to hold these changes hostage to his special interests, he can veto the bill, but we'll send it right back to him."

You don't stop a bully by giving in, hoping he doesn't punch your lights out again. You stop a bully by taking a stand and refusing to give in, and being willing to fight as hard as you have to in order to do what's right.

I swear to god, this is about enough to make me support Republicans over any Democrat who votes in favor of the telecom immunity bill.

I know; a lot of lefties think we should instead have primary challenges, where cowardly Democrats are opposed by challengers from their own party. I don't think that's good enough. I don't think they're going to listen unless we tell the Dems "stand up for us or we *will* punish you for it, no matter how much it sickens us." I think we might be at the stage where we have to be willing to take the short term pain in order to save the party from itself.

Hey, the Dems are used to rolling over and being kicked around. They're used to caving in. Maybe - just maybe - they won't force us to carry out the threat. Maybe we can get them to start caving in to us.

But if they won't, are we really doing any good by rewarding them with continued incumbency? We'll be trading the tiny victories for the truly important issues.

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