When the obituary is written on the failed experiment of Constitutional America, corporate connections to our demise should be front and center. They won't be, of course, but they should be.
The nation's biggest telecommunications companies, working closely with the White House, have mounted a secretive lobbying campaign to get Congress to quickly approve a measure wiping out all private lawsuits against them for assisting the U.S. intelligence community's warrantless surveillance programs.
The campaign...which involves some of Washington's most prominent lobbying and law firms...has taken on new urgency in recent weeks because of fears that a U.S. appellate court in San Francisco is poised to rule that the lawsuits should be allowed to proceed.
Among those coordinating the industry's effort are two well-connected capital players who both worked for President George H.W. Bush: Verizon general counsel William Barr, who served as attorney general under 41, and AT&T senior executive vice president James Cicconi, who was the elder Bush's deputy chief of staff.
Working with them are a battery of major D.C. lobbyists and lawyers who are providing "strategic advice" to the companies on the issue, according to sources familiar with the campaign who asked not to be identified talking about it. Among the players, these sources said: powerhouse Republican lobbyists Charlie Black and Wayne Berman (who represent AT&T and Verizon, respectively), former GOP senator and U.S. ambassador to Germany Dan Coats (a lawyer at King & Spaulding who is representing Sprint), former Democratic Party strategist and one-time assistant secretary of State Tom Donilon (who represents Verizon), former deputy attorney general Jamie Gorelick (whose law firm also represents Verizon) and Brad Berenson, a former assistant White House counsel under President George W. Bush who now represents AT&T. Link
It really is quite difficult, I would suggest, to tell who is an elected official and who is the corporate representative. This blurring has reached, I believe, a "perfect storm" situation that can't be remedied.
Reviewing: Bush orders many illegal infringements on the "probable cause" minimum set forth in the 4th Amendment, all based on national security, naturally.
Bush receives, apparently, complete cooperation from the major telecommunications corporations, no shrinking violets amongst them. Because Bush violated the Constitution and FISA these telcos are also implicated in the wrongdoing. Court cases are proceeding that may not only expose Bush's lawlessness but the telcos complicity in the lawlessness.
What to do? In today's America there's nothing sacred, just or righteous that can't be compromised if only....how shall I phrase this?.....there's enough money being offered. The land of opportunity has become the land of mobsters.
America is now being governed and ruled over by Tony Soprano's people. Yeah, these folks don't talk all East Coast gangster and so forth, but the process is EXACTLY the same as Big Tony's.
Is there any doubt, really, if the 4th amendment can be bought and sold so easily, that ANY American liberty, freedom, opportunity or guarantee can and will be sold out to the highest bidder, if need be, for political ass covering or in the pursuit of even more power?
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