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October 28, 2007


Your reasons are all excellent, and I have no idea what planet Joe Klein is from.

When I worked for the Bell system, even though I didn't work directly with customer records, I (like everyone else) received training in the basic legal requirements to be met before releasing customer records. It happened as orientation training when I started work and as I recall, it was repeated periodically along with other basic work requirements.

These people surely knew what they were doing was against the law. They should be willing to face the consequences for their choices. There may be mitigation or justification, but this is much like the torture argument. Making it retroactively legal with out even knowing what "it" is sends the wrong message. You can't just excuse them without any knowledge of the circumstances or type of information they released. They made a choice, they should be able to justify that choice and/or live with the consequences.

Three points:

The first is that, in asking for immunity, the administration is de facto admitting to there being illegality involved.

Secondly, it is also admitting that the telephone companies involved would have been aware of this, as there is a "good faith" argument which has already been dismissed.

Thirdly, and perhaps most importantly, IIRC some of the legal actions currently in place involve behavior prior to 9/11. Since the adminsitration already has acknowledged they really weren't into terrprism at that time, what possible reasoon could they have had to ask the telecom companies for records?

If retroactive immunity is granted, and I am beginning to doubt it will be, despite the tons of monies the telecom companies have given to people such as Rockefller, we will never know the full answer to what and why.

The telecom immunity issue (on which I agree with you) has become emblematic of the more general failure of the Democratic Congressional majority to respond to the mass of the voters who elected them. On this one, as on so much else, they seem to be listening to some other interest. One tends to assume in this case they are listening to their donors, the public be damned... but that is unproven.

A couple of women at the antiwar demonstration yesterday created a succinct visual representation of the Dems behavior about the telecoms. Yes, it is work safe. :-)

f retroactive immunity is granted, and I am beginning to doubt it will be, despite the tons of monies the telecom companies have given to people such as Rockefller, we will never know the full answer to what and why.

And given the way this administration and a large number of judges seem to be ruling on the state secrets grounds, we may still never know what and why. You'll see a lot of requests for dismissals based on that very ground, I'd be willing to wager.

A flip side to the argument is that in order for justice to be carried out the President must be willing to accept the penalty himself. I think that may be both to noble and to honest though. A pity.

agreed - regardless of disputes about other issues, i don't see any political vulnerability on this (everyone hates these companies). plus - it's the right thing to do.

I think #2 is particularly interesting (discovery), though it may yield less than we think. unless they're idiots, the companies would have lawyered up all their opinion memos, emails, etc. on the legality, thus making them privileged.

But still, in the age of email, i'd be shocked if a few didn't slip through

Do we really want to create a situation in which the President can ask people or corporations to violate the law...

do we ? no.

but we have no say in this.

they'll get their immunity, or equivalent - probably in a fight where the Dems offer to drop this in return for giving the administration something it really wants.

No immunity without cooperation...

telecom executives need to disclose the full details of their actions to the relevant congressional committees; only then should there be any discussion of immuity...

legal question: can the president pardon only persons or companies also? In other words, if Congress doesn not grant the immunity, could Bush do it instead? Corporations are legal persons, aren't they?
I doubt that something like that has been tried yet but Ianal and there has been a lot of Red-Queen logic around in the last few years.

Call it AMNESTY, not immunity, although either set a terrible precident.

"No Amnesty for Illegals!" really? Then why do you want to give AMNESTY to FELONS committed CRIMES against INNOCENT AMERICANS?

Want to get GWB on the other side of the telecom amnesty debate? increase the penalties for FISA violations; make it a capital offence. If Georgie gets to scrag a few people, he'll be much less likely to veto.

the Dems offer to drop this

by which i meant "the Dems offer to drop [their opposition, such as it is, to] this"

I meant to say something about that post. You have become the sensei of cynicism. Its hard to be cynical enough but you have managed it.

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