Friday, May 02, 2008



Steny pledges his allegiance

Back in November, 2006, I got a call from Steny Hoyer. He was trolling for support for his bid to become Majority Leader. Pelosi knew what a backstabbing corporate tool he is and she was pushing for Jack Murtha, no angel-- or reformer-- himself. Hoyer's office had noticed that I warned anti-war progressives infatuated with Murtha off because of Murtha's ultra-reactionary voting record-- much worse than Hoyer's-- and because of his reputation for sometimes being willing to accept some... easy money. Anyway, if you don't want to read the post I did back then about my Hoyer call (at the link above), take my word for it: it wasn't complimentary. Sure, I warned people about Murtha, but I was sure to indicate that Murtha was probably even worse.

And if Jane, Digby, emptywheel, and McJoan were correct yesterday-- and these are all savvy sources-- I wasn't even close to how bad... and how dangerous.
According to the ACLU, there is rumor of a backroom deal being brokered by Jay Rockefeller on FISA that will include retroactive immunity. I've heard from several sources that Steny Hoyer is doing the dirty work on the House side, and some say it will be attached to the new supplemental.

This morning Glenn Greenwald's Salon column, What backroom conniving are Steny Hoyer and the Chris Carney Blue Dogs up to on FISA? spells it out very clearly. Glenn rues the rumors of Hoyer and the Blue Dogs reversing "one of the only worthwhile acts of Congressional Democrats since they were given control of Congress in 2006: namely, the refusal to vest the President with vast new warrantless eavesdropping powers and bequeath lawbreaking telecoms with amnesty." He warns us that Hoyer is leading the charge to put together a new FISA bill that will purport to grant something short of retroactive immunity for Bush Regime cronies inside and outside the government, particularly to executives of the telecom industry, "but which, in every meaningful respect, ensures an end to the telecom lawsuits."

Yesterday's Hill indicates that a gaggle of reactionary and less than courageous Blue Dogs, typified by our old friend Chris Carney (D-PA). Conservative freshman Democrats and non-freshman reactionaries "are growing skittish. These lawmakers expect campaign opponents to accuse them of imperiling national security if Congress does not enact new intelligence surveillance legislation." A GOP front group, Defense of Democracies Action Fund, has already started running ads in red-leaning districts trying to smear freshmen. Some, like Carol Shea-Porter (D-NH), have fought back, explaining the Bush Regime's treacherous policies and have enhanced the respect voters feel for them. Others, like Carney, are motivated by fear, conflicting motivations and confusion.
“A number of Blue Dogs are working on a compromise between the House and the Senate,” said Rep. Jane Harman (Calif.), a member of the Blue Dog Coalition and the former ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee. “I’m working with Hoyer and working with others.

“Some other Blue Dogs are involved,” she added. “Blue Dogs are 47 votes; 47 votes will determine how this comes out.”

Harman acknowledged, however, that there is a split in the Blue Dog Coalition and that some members support a Senate-crafted overhaul of FISA while she and others say it gives “blank check” immunity to telecommunications companies that turned over customer data to intelligence authorities.

Harman said that Hoyer, who has long-standing ties with the coalition, will be pivotal to recruiting conservative Democratic support for whatever bill emerges from House-Senate negotiations.

When we warn about supporting Blue Dogs and reactionary Democrats, and how they pull the Democratic caucus towards the right, this-- and tactics like the HeathShuler/Tom Tancredo anti-immigrants bill-- are exactly what we're talking about. The GOP is trying to use a discharge petition to force Pelosi to schedule a vote on the Senate version that does give retroactive immunity to telecom and Regime lawbreakers. The Republicans are concentrating their efforts on the Blue Dogs, many of whom are eager to show their constituents that they are as right-wing as a Republican.
Vulnerable freshman Democrats and Blue Dogs say the issue demands action.
“Overall, it’s very important,” said Rep. Chris Carney (D-Pa.), a freshman member of the Blue Dog Coalition who often votes against his leadership.

Carney said that a compromise should protect national security and also respect civil liberties. He was one of the 21 Democrats who signed the letter to Pelosi, making him a prime Republican target.
“I’ve been in favor of the Senate bill."

Yes, he was. In fact, he was one of the only House Democrats to vote for it and that was why Glenn's readers and readers of Firedoglake, Crooks & Liars, Digby, DownWithTyranny voted overwhelmingly to donate the $50,000 they had donated to running ads in Carney's northeast Pennsylvania district about this issue. Glenn points out today that Carney and other reactionary Democrats like him do more harm to the progressive agenda than Republicans in the minority do. Their "presence in Washington is worse than worthless: it's extremely counterproductive since they essentially eliminate the entire concept of 'opposition party' by continuously pressuring Democrats to enable the most radical aspects of Republican rule for their own perceived narrow political gain."

Glenn has called for more donations to the Blue America PAC's fund that will be used to fight retroactive immunity. So far over 900 people have donated. Please give what you can (right here)-- unless you want to grant the Bush Regime the power to tap your phone without warrants and to grant retroactive immunity for criminal activities to their cronies.

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At 8:16 AM, Blogger Aethlos said...

jesus this piece is incredible. wow.

At 10:00 AM, Blogger Bruce said...

Our country's future is about to get sabotaged by boot-licking Democrats again. You could even have film of Bush and his buddies shooting kids and their puppies. Assclowns like Steny Hoyer would STILL protect them. Hoyer is a modern day Nero, playing his fiddle (or his flute) while the country burns.

At 11:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I cannot believe this..We have been lulled into complacency by the continuing saga of Obama v Clinton

But what kinds of goods do the Bush goons have on Hoyer??

At 2:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do not worry...corporate America has your best interest at heart. Take the way they ship any decent paying jobs with good benefits overseas. They don't want you to have to worry about things like home ownership or ever living the American Deam....Just keep repeating





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