BLUE DOGS THREATEN TO BACK GOP ON FISA
Click to read the full page newspaper ads being run in northeast Pennsylvania
I don't know if Hoyer put this story out or it's an actual attempt by the Blue Dogs to force retroactive immunity down our throats. I suspect it's both. Yesterday CongressDaily reported that House and Senate leaders-- the House supposedly representing the "no retroactive immunity" position and the Senate buckling under to the treacherous Rockefeller position that all telecom executives and Bush Regime operatives who broke the law should get off scott free and be immune from any prosecution-- were trying to hammer out a deal. Although the House voted against retroactive immunity, many suspect that Hoyer has promised the Blue Dogs that he will deliver it in the negotiations. He made sure one of the most vile Blue Dogs accepting telecom bribes, Iowa Congressman Leonard Boswell, would be in on the negotiations.
When Iowa Democrats go to the polls June 3 they can vote to return their Blue Dog/Bush Dog congressman, Leonard Boswell to another term of treachery or they can vote for a progressive reformer, Ed Fallon. We contacted Ed to see what he felt about Boswell's role in this travesty of justice. "Through the PATRIOT Act, the Protect America Act, and numerous other actions, the Bush Administration has systematically deprived Americans of their civil liberties. The last line of defense would seem to be the courts, and now Bush and a handful of Blue Dog Democrats are determined to deprive us even of this last resort by giving retroactive immunity to the telecom companies for any assistance they gave the Administration in illegal eavesdropping. Some of these Democrats, including Congressman Leonard Boswell, receive significant donations from telecom companies. These companies are now counting on the lawmakers who they have supported to deliver for them. We need to make it clear to lawmakers that the Bill of Rights is not for sale."
Liberal lawmakers [and most Americans] want greater controls on how the government conducts electronic surveillance and they do not support giving blanket retroactive legal immunity to telecommunications companies that helped the Bush administration conduct electronic surveillance of U.S. citizens without warrants.
[So-called] moderate and conservative Democrats, including some Blue Dogs, have expressed support for a Senate-passed FISA bill, which would essentially dismiss about 40 lawsuits against the telecommunications companies.
Some Blue Dogs threatened to support a discharge petition that would force a House vote on the Senate bill if Hoyer cannot strike a compromise by the end of this week.
Another crooked Republican in the pockets of the telecom giants, Missouri Senator Kit Bond, sent Hoyer a proposed "compromise" that would allow the secret FISA court to determine if the telecoms should be granted immunity. Most progressives recognize that for what it is but, of course, Hoyer and the Blue Dogs are wagging their tails and drooling at the thought of huge bribes headed their way from the telecoms if this passes.
Representative Carol Shea-Porter has been targeted by shady Republican front groups for her consistent votes opposing warrantless wiretaps against American citizens and opposing retroactive immunity for criminals. Last night we asked her why she feels so strongly about this issue, even though hundreds of thousands of dollars in GOP attack ads are being used against her in New Hampshire. "'Retroactive immunity' merely inoculates the telecoms against the rule of law-- the foundation of our democratic government. It doesn't just chip away at this foundation, but gives it a massive blow. As John Adams said, we are a 'government of laws, not of men.' Our Constitution and laws protect our rights and liberties from the whim of any particular president. Immunizing the telecoms means suspending the Constitution at our convenience, and abandoning the rule of law that keeps us safe."
This morning Glenn Greewald over at Salon leads the way in explaining how Blue America has decided to help hold one Blue Dog/Bush Dog, Chris Carney, accountable for his support for unconstitutional actions by Bush. Carney has been a virtual rubber stamp for Bush's worst policies and proposals, a disgrace to the ideals of the Democratic Party. Here's the TV ad that will be running in his district over the next months.
If you'd like to see this ad keep running-- as well as newspaper and radio ads-- please contribute to our special Blue America FISA accountability fund. And if you want to help out candidates and members of Congress who do not support retroactive immunity and warrantless wiretaps, you can donate to any or all of the Blue America candidates, like Carol Shea-Porter and Ed Fallon.
Mark Schauer, the Blue America endorsed candidate running against far right extremist and Bush rubber stamp Tim Wallberg in suburban Detroit, certainly understands this issue and understands why it's important to stand up and fight for American freedom from tyranny. This morning Mark told us that "Tim Walberg and George Bush are more interested in protecting big corporations that have helped them listen to our phone calls, read our emails, and violate our privacy than they are about protecting law-abiding citizens. I believe our Constitution and our rights, including our right to privacy, are worth fighting for. If our government or big corporations break the rules, they should be held accountable."