For the record, this was what was at stake (from here)…
“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”For the uninitiated, I should point out that the preceding text is, in its entirety, the fourth amendment to the United States Constitution.
And here is further explanation (from the Wikipedia article)…
The Fourth Amendment specifies that any warrant must be judicially sanctioned for a search or an arrest, in order for such a warrant to be considered reasonable. Warrants must be supported by probable cause and be limited in scope according to specific information supplied by a person (usually a peace officer) who has sworn by it and is therefore accountable to the issuing court.Well, as of about an hour ago, the craven, ignorant and morally bankrupt 110th Congress did something that previous congresses in our nation’s history were wise enough to avoid (even the 109th), and that is to act in such a manner as to totally invalidate and remove the force of law from the text that you just read.
Oh, rest assured that I’m not being melodramatic. If you don’t want to believe me, fine. Believe constitutional scholar Jonathan Turley here (from yesterday with Rachel Maddow on “Countdown”).
This Washington Post story tells us that the final vote was 69-28 (no word on a vote breakdown yet, but I know that’s coming). And this Daily Kos post tells us the votes on the three amendments that preceded it, which all lost: the Bingaman amendment would have delayed telco immunity until the inspectors general had completed a report on Dubya’s illegal spying; the Specter amendment required the cases to be dismissed if a court determined that the warrantless wiretapping programming was legal; and the Dodd amendment stripped the immunity provisions outright.
I’ll have more to say about this, I assure you (as will my “A” list betters, I can imagine), but for now, there are two people I’d like to communicate with directly.
The first is our Democratic senator, Bob Casey; even though I don’t know yet whether he voted for the final bill, I want to compliment him for voting on all three amendments (Specter voted for his own and Bingaman’s, but not Dodd’s of course; Comcast buys a lot of influence…doesn’t it, Patrick?).
The second is a certain Democratic senator from Illinois currently running for president.
If you’re going to carry the mantle as the presumed head of our party, Sen. Obama, you should at the very least act the part (by the way, Hillary Clinton at least had the good sense to vote No, that much I do know as of now). You can support this garbage bill (which I’m sure President Brainless will sign into law with the requisite fanfare at the earliest possible moment, and stick in another shot at the Democrats for good measure in the process) as an act of political calculation knowing that people like me would never seriously consider voting for John W. McBush, and who knows; you may be right, and you may win in November in spite of this.
But you owe us now. And one day, you’re going to need us, on legislation, on a matter of redefinition of an issue due to a truth twisted by our corporate media, on fundraising…you name it. And unless you, as president (if you get in) undertake the now-enormous task of trying to re-right this almost inconceivable wrong, it is highly problematic as to whether or not we will be there for you.
If you don’t believe me, take a look at the right nav column of this home page. Yes, I put back the links for Patrick Murphy even though he supported this disgrace also, but he at least bothered to stand up and offer a spirited defense of his actions, and he has been steadfast against the war also (also, Tom Manion has not presented himself as a serious congressional alternative, and I do not expect that he will).
So now have your bacchanal, you pretenders of the 110th Congress. Eat, drink, and be merry, knowing that you have forever besmirched that most sacred of instruments upon which we base our up-to-now successful experiment in democracy begun just about 232 years ago. And know that you have now granted imperial power to the democratically elected head of our government, thus codifying his lawbreaking and accelerating what had been our slow-motion decline into fascism into what now is a full-fledged gallop.
The most appropriate act you can do now is to travel to the locations where men who once pledged their “lives, fortunes, and sacred honor” when they founded our nation do now reside, towers of courage and intellect who are surely now dust. And when you get there, dig open their graves and piss all over their earthly remains.
God damn you all.
Update 8/27/08: I hope they choke on their "pigs in a blanket" and get sick to their stomachs from champagne and chablis (here).
Update 6/18/09: Kudos to the New York Times for this (don't know where else to put it at the moment).