Wednesday, January 23, 2008



Will Harry Reid and Telecom bribe-taker Jay Rockefeller be able to help Republicans push through the Bush/Cheney plan to grant retroactive immunity to their cronies in the telecom industry who violated basic constitutional laws by spying on Americans without a warrant? We'll probably find out tomorrow when Chris Dodd filibusters. As Glenn Greenwald explained today, "Harry Reid-- who has (a) done more than any other individual to ensure that Bush's demands for telecom immunity and warrantless eavesdropping powers will be met in full and (b) allowed the Republicans all year to block virtually every bill without having to bother to actually filibuster-- went to the Senate floor yesterday and, with the scripted assistance of Mitch McConnell and Pat Leahy, warned Chris Dodd, Russ Feingold and others that they would be selfishly wreaking havoc on the schedules of their fellow Senators (making them work over the weekend, ruining their planned "retreat," and even preventing them from going to Davos!) if they bothered everyone with their annoying, pointless little filibuster."

The leading Democratic candidates for president all oppose the Bush-Cheney retroactive immunity plan-- but are they will to tell Reid to back off and let Dodd and his allies-- which they also claim to be-- keep this from passing? I doubt it. Edwards, who, obviously has no vote in the Senate, had the strongest statement on the matter:
In Washington today, telecom lobbyists have launched a full-court press to win retroactive immunity for their illegal eavesdropping on American citizens. Granting retroactive immunity will let corporate law-breakers off the hook and hamstring efforts to learn the truth about Bush's illegal spying program.

"It's time for Senate Democrats to show a little backbone and stand up to George W. Bush and the corporate lobbyists. They should do everything in their power-- including joining Senator Dodd's efforts to filibuster this legislation-- to stop retroactive immunity. The Constitution should not be for sale at any price."

Sounds good. Obama and Hillary both seemed to have gone along when questioned by Markos at DKos. Obama: "I strongly oppose retroactive immunity in the FISA bill. No one should get a free pass to violate the basic civil liberties of the American people-- not the president of the United States, and not the telecommunications companies that fell in line with his warrantless surveillance program [… T]hat is why I am proud to stand with Sen. Dodd and a grassroots movement of Americans who are standing up for our civil liberties and the rule of law." Let's see if he actually does stand with Dodd, not theoretically, but in person and in the well of the Senate when push comes to shove.

Hillary also claims she will "support" Dodd's filibuster. I guess tomorrow we see if these candidates' words have any meaning in the real world.


“…the Senate should support the Judiciary Committee’s product. Let me repeat what I said at the outset: The differences between these two bills have nothing to do with our ability to combat terrorism. They have everything to do with ensuring that the executive branch adheres to the rule of law and doesn’t unnecessarily listen in on the private communications of Americans. The fact that the administration is so strongly resisting these commonsense protections says a lot. And it ought to give pause to those who are considering opposing it. It is time for Congress to stop being an enabler when it comes to this administration’s indifference to the rule of law, and instead start being a protector of the rights and freedoms of citizens.”


Obama and Clinton both ducked the Senate vote on FISA today. That's just disgusting. I mean, this is about our Constitution and they should both know better. I'm ashamed for them both. The other Democrats who joined up with the GOP today to sabotage Democratic efforts to defeat retroactive immunity were Telecom tool Jay Rockefeller, of course, plus a motley assortment of the reactionary and the bribed: Bayh, Mikulski, Pryor, Salazar, McCaskill, Nelson (FL), Carper, Nelson (NE), Landrieu, Inouye and Johnson. Landrieu is up for re-election Her reactionary and corporatist voting record make her the only endangered Democratic incumbent. It will be hard for most Democrats to root for her to be defeated-- but not for me. Ditto for Pyror.

From the ACLU, which has been leading the fight to prevent warrantless wiretaps and retroactive immunity:

The Senate took its first step towards legitimizing the president’s warrantless wiretapping program today by voting against a substitute amendment to the FISA Amendments Act of 2007.  By a vote of 60 to 34, senators rejected replacing the base bill with an alternate version authored by the Senate Judiciary Committee.
The base bill will now continue to be the legislation passed out of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, which strongly resembles the disastrous Protect America Act and authorizes year-long programs of warrantless wiretapping. The bill also allows for surveillance dragnets that can sweep up Americans’ communications and includes immunity for telecom companies who aided in domestic spying.  The Judiciary Committee’s bill would have provided stronger protections for Americans’ privacy and sought greater judicial oversight of warrantless wiretapping. The American Civil Liberties Union emphatically condemned the vote.
“It appears the Senate is buckling under pressure from the White House. The Judiciary Committee’s alternative included vastly improved privacy protections for Americans over both the Intelligence Committee bill and the Protect America Act.  By rejecting the Senate Judiciary Committee’s language, the Senate has rejected the constitutionally superior bill. 
“Under Democratic leadership, the Senate will now continue its debate on surveillance with a bill that resembles something from the administration’s playbook. Six months after being hoodwinked into passing the Protect America Act, Americans are still waiting for Congress to grow a spine.
“Instead of capitulating to the administration, senators should listen to their constituents who overwhelmingly oppose warrantless wiretapping and telecom immunity. As the FISA debate moves forward, we urge the Senate to wake up and realize it is a co-equal branch of government.”

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At 4:15 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Thank You Sen. Dodd for heading back to Washington and taking your stand on this all important issue. Thank you for upholding your sworn oath to defend our Constitution. Most Constitutional Law Scholars believe the NSA warrant less spying program violated the Fourth Amendment of The Bill Of Rights concerning Unreasonable Search and Seizure. In no way, should any Bill be passed giving retroactive immunity to the phone companies. They were accomplices to law breaking.

We need to send a clear message to future Commanders in Chief that if you engage Corporations into becoming accomplices in law breaking, there will be a price to pay, for both the President, and the guilty Corporations. I only wish more of the Presidential candidates would have left Iowa for one day, and stood with you. You Sen. Dodd,Sen Feingold, and Rep. Kucinich seem to be of the very few in Washington who have the courage to take the correct stand for "We The People."

The FISA courts were set up in 1978, necessary, due to the Nixon administration and it's abuse of Executive Branch Power. We don't want history to repeat itself, do we? Back during Watergate, the Republicans in the House and Senate understood the importance of loyalty to your Country, above loyalty to your political party. Even the Republicans were prepared to Impeach. Nixon resigned instead, to avoid himself the embarrassment.

I'm not sure if these new Republicans of today will ever do the right thing. Supporting spying on innocent Americans, torture, suspension of Habeas Corpus, The Patriot Act, Guantanamo Bay...... Anyhow, Thank You once again Sen Dodd for taking the defending of our Constitution seriously. I would like to now take this opportunity Sen. Dodd, to nominate You, as "Today's Best Person In The World!" You'll earn it today.

Jeff Morris-Saugerties, N.Y.- DeJaVu57

At 6:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...



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