They Were Only Following Orders

by digby

Roy Blunt and Steny Hoyer are practically tongue kissing on the floor right now and congratulating each other on their mutual fabulousness in negotiating the rape of the constitution this morning. It's quite a love fest.

The lesson from this is that your Representatives really believe that if "the government" tells you to do something, you do it, even if it's illegal. The good news is that if you are a multibillion dollar corporation with massive access to to the private lives of ordinary American, you will never be held liable.

Greenwald quotes Kit Bond saying this explicitly:

This article from Dow Jones, celebrating that the telecom industry is completely off the hook as a result of this bill, has the full quote from Sen. Bond, which is even better (h/t C_O):
"I'm not here to say that the government is always right, but when the government tells you to do something, I'm sure you would all agree that I think you all recognize that is something you need to do," Bond said.
Even when the Government is wrong, even when it orders you to do something illegal, your role is not to question but to obey. That's what he is saying explicitly.
That used to be called the Nuremberg Defense, but that's as quaint as the Geneva Conventions these days.

A couple of months ago we thought we'd at least beaten this back until a new president could be elected and a new Justice Department could take a fresh look at what the hell went on here. That was not to be. For reasons they never adequately explained (during the debate today their explanations were specious and insulting) they simply had to give amnesty to these corporate lawbreakers right this minute.

It goes to the Senate next week where all indications are that it will pass. Nobody sees a filibuster on the horizon right now (although it's still possible.) They seem to want to get this neatly taken care of so they can get on with telling us all to relax and enjoy our freedoms.

Here's the latest on the Strange Bedfellows campaign from Glenn:

Our first ad, featuring Steny Hoyer, is almost finished and will run as a full-page ad in The Washington Post and in numerous newspapers in his district, aimed at his core Democratic base. We are excited that Color of Change -- the online, grass-roots African-American organization devoted to demanding more responsiveness from Washington officials -- has now joined our coalition and is directly working with us on this ad campaign against Hoyer. And we hope to expand our work with them to include the other campaigns we are doing, including -- just for now -- the ones against Rep. Chris Carney and Rep. John Barrow.

The total amount we have for this campaign is now almost $250,000. The response has been overwhelming. I know that many of you have donated as much or even more than you could, but the more we raise, the more of an impact we can make against the individuals responsible for this travesty. Making them know there is a real price to pay when they do this -- not by getting deluged with angry phone calls or merely having primary challenges, but doing everything possible to expose their real character, remove them office and put a permanent end to their political careers -- is the only real way to deter its repetition. Contributions can be made here.

Hoyer's constituents need to know what their Representative did here. He is a guy who believes in the rule of law when it comes to sentencing drug users and shop lifters. He has no problems seeing people go to jail for kiting a 100 check when they don't have any food in the house. But he's damned if he'll let multi billion dollar corporations have to spend a dime defending themselves when they knowingly violated the law -- "because the government told them to."

Oh, and as for the politics of this. It isn't working. Guess what the media are saying about all this:

House and Senate leaders agreed yesterday on surveillance legislation that could shield telecommunications companies from privacy lawsuits, handing President Bush one of the last major legislative victories he is likely to achieve.

...the negotiations underscored the political calculation made by many Democrats who were fearful that Republicans would cast them as soft on terrorism during an election year.

Capitulating to the most unpopular lame duck president in history because they are afraid of him. Makes you proud to be a Democrat doesn't it?