Senate Dems cave even more to Bush, will give Verizon and AT&T immunity for helping the feds spy on you illegally

God love the Democrats in Congress. And they wonder why so much of the party, and the public at large, hates them. As one of our readers said in an email to me a good two years ago, what makes you think the Democrats aren’t going to continue being spineless once they’re in the majority? And she was right. The Democratic leader of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Senator Rockefeller (D-WV), reached a deal with George “24% in the polls” Bush that gives Verizon and AT&T; immunity for helping the government spy on you, their customers, illegally. They needed a court order, didn’t have one, but gave all of your personal info about your phone calls to the feds simply because they asked. Now, Verizon and AT&T; claim that the feds told them it was totally legal to give up all of your personal phone call info without a court order, so Verizon and AT&T; had no choice. Funny, but if my lawyer went to Verizon and AT&T;, demanded the phone records of other customers, and told the companies “hey, this is totally legal, you don’t need a court order,” Verizon and AT&T; would have told my lawyer to go to hell. But not so much when the government comes calling and wants to spy on our own citizens. Could Verizon and AT&T; have simply gone to a court to make sure all of this was legal? Uh, yeah, you’d think. So, the Republicans, being the big business gravy train they always are, are now here to bail out Verizon and AT&T; for illegally spying on you.

And why do Verizon and AT&T; need this immunity bill anyway? We were told by Bush that all of this spying was legal. Now it seems there’s growing concern, by Bush himself, that maybe he did in fact illegally spy on American citizens. Well, in that case, yes, the appropriate congressional response isn’t outrage and a massive investigation of just what rights were violated by illegally spying on innocent American citizens. No, according to Mr. Rockefeller, the appropriate response is to do what Democrats far too often do when confronted by threats from people who are at 24% in the polls: They cave.

Senator Rockefeller is the embodiment of why this congress is so hated by so many, and why Democrats have such a credibility problem on national security and other “tough guy” issues. Someone explained to me, right before the 2004 election, why they just couldn’t vote for John Kerry: “How is he going to defend my kids when he won’t even defend himself?”

If Rockefeller can’t bring it upon himself to run the Intelligence Committee any differently than his GOP-lapdog predecessor, then he shouldn’t be permitted to run the committee any longer. Republicans wouldn’t stand for this kind of insubordination, this kind of spineless pandering to the opposition. Why do we? And when our party leadership lets it continue, without exacting a price, why are we surprised that it happens again and again and again?


Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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