We Lost. The Telcos Won.

The telecom industry, including AT&T, will be given retroactive immunity for their collusion with the U.S. government to spy on American citizens. [TPM Muckraker]

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20 Responses to We Lost. The Telcos Won.

  1. semiotix says:

    Well, there’s still the House yet, and the Senate again after it comes out of conference. I’m not saying it looks good, but it’s not a done deal yet.

  2. Stefan Jones says:

    Comfort yourself in how safe we’ll all be from . . . uh . . . how ahhh . . . hmmm.

    You know, even if we can’t sue or try the bastards, we should make the CEOs of these firms admit everything they’ve done to a national audience. And publish their home addresses so we can keep an eye on them and make sure they’re safe.

  3. Andrew M. says:

    Yeah, this isn’t over yet. Call your congresscritter and ask them to support the RESTORE Act.

  4. Dustin Driver says:

    My congresscritter has been very good on this issue. My senatecritters have been very, very bad, however. On this issue and many others. Bad senatecritter! *swats with newspaper, rubs nose in mess*

    The term “representative democracy” saddens me because I never feel that my political/ideological/scientific views are being represented in almost any area of government.

    But it’s a beautiful sunny day today!

  5. Dillenger69 says:

    I think George Bush said it best at Ground Zero when he dedicated the new freedom tower…

    Six years ago patriots brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in security, and dedicated to the proposition that all are potential terrorists.

    Now we are engaged in a great war on terror, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

    But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate — we can not consecrate — we can not hallow — this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under GOD, shall have a new birth of security — and that government over the people, by the corporate, for the money, shall not perish from the earth.

  6. Dustin Driver says:

    Oh! I get it. Stop any threat to the current power structure using any means possible. Got it. *salutes*

  7. ducksauce says:

    The law itself is unconstitutional (any sort of ex post facto law is), so even if it does get passed it will not provide total immunity. The founders knew that little good could come from protecting criminals after a crime had been committed.

    I don’t think it will be brought to trial, though. The law passing process just expresses in concrete terms the protection that most of our congress was already set on providing to these corporations, anyway.

    As long as politicians’ self interest outweighs the interests of the American people and no system of ethics is consistently enforced among those with legislative power, the system will continue to be corrupt.

  8. lev3k says:


    Ex Post Facto only applies to laws which increase punishment after the fact. This bill will reduce penalties (to zero) and as such is considered legal.

  9. noen says:

    What this bill really did was to open every American to surveilance. The “outside party” can be a switching box and can be used as an excuse to spy on you. Privacy is no offically dead, torture is sanctioned and congress no longer makes the laws, the DoJ does. This will go very bad very fast. I expect the administration to start rounding up political opponents soon.

  10. A New Challenger says:

    We really should switch to cable internet and phone and get off AT&T… and find a new cell provider as well, I suppose.

    Should there be any further legal action against individuals responsible, I hope they hold off on prosecuting any of those responsible until January 21, 2009, to avoid any 11th hour reprieves.

  11. dculberson says:

    We need to start a nationwide free WiFi with voip-911 support.

    Apparently, though, we can’t have it sponsored by Honda and disclose that fact.

  12. Songe says:

    Is this what TOR is for? I feel like I should be running it on principle.

  13. Anonymous says:


    Too lazy to create an account, here is a petition to sign. Maybe it isn’t too late?

  14. SpeckledJim says:

    Lazy summary, poorly written, linking to a thin article.

    Try http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-fisa13feb13,0,6684959.story

  15. dculberson says:

    It makes me so upset, I can’t even post a meaningful comment. Why did I bother to vote for democrats?

    Oh wait, the Ohio people appear to have voted yea. Well, at least, they aren’t listed as having crossed over and voted no.

  16. whoknew says:

    @ 7 AND 8
    Ex post facto also only applies to criminal punishments, not civil ones.
    Many states have prohibitions on laws that target specific people or companies. This is different from the ex post facto prohibition, and there is no such limitation on Congress (although the Constitution prevents them from interfering in private contracts).

  17. theophrastus says:

    maybe i’ve got my bills crossed (cf. that one special episode of the venture bros.) …but i think “we won” thanks to the house:
    but for how long? ..for ..how ..long?

  18. theophrastus says:

    oh crap. nevermind. we did lose. damn congress. -sigh-

  19. Avram says:

    Wait, Theophrastus, as I understand it, the House refused to pass the bill. Therefore, the “Protect America Act” has expired, and the proposed new bill into which the Senate put telecom immunity has not been passed.

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