Monday, February 11, 2008

If It's Tuesday, Then ...

Image credit: National Archives

If it's Tuesday, it must be time for Senate Majority non-Leader Harry Reid to have another go at pushing that travesty of a FISA bill through the Senate again. Here's text of an e-mail that Sen. Patrick Leahy sent to supporters on the subject:

Tuesday is a critical day in our fight to stand up for American values and preserve our freedoms while protecting our national security.

Tomorrow the Senate will vote on amendments to FISA, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, the law governing the use of wiretaps and other means to conduct surveillance of foreign threats.

Unfortunately, the new FISA bill we'll be voting on Tuesday still has many problems. I will do everything in my power -- including joining my colleague Chris Dodd in a filibuster against this legislation -- to fix it.

Now I need your help to encourage more of our House and Senate colleagues to stand with us.

Tell Congress that any new FISA bill must both protect our national security and preserve our civil liberties. Please email your home state Senators and Member of Congress now!

I strongly support surveillance targeting foreign threats and terrorists who wish to do us harm -- but we must take care to protect Americans' liberties in the process. That's what the FISA amendments we passed through the Judiciary Committee would have done.

[emphasis mine]

As you can see, Sen. Leahy has vowed to support Sen. Chris Dodd in a filibuster, if it comes to that.

After his last defeat, you'd have thought that Sen. Reid would get tired of trying to foist this thing on us, but apparently his motivation to make our government less free is bottomless. That means ours must be, too.

So, get on the e-mails and the phones.I imagine that the list of Senators who need special attention in this article is still valid. You might want to check Firedoglake this morning for updates.

UPDATE: Matt Browner-Hamlin, who used to work for Chris Dodd's Presidential campaign, has written a rather long article to explain what's likely to happen tomorrow. Sadly, he concludes:

At the end of the day, to defeat retroactive immunity and to uphold a filibuster, Chris Dodd needed more support for his efforts than exists in the Senate. He needs 40 other Democrats and the sad reality is that there are not 40 other Democrats who are opposed to retroactive immunity. Dodd was our strongest ally in the fight, but he couldn’t win it on his own. I respect and appreciate the work he has done and though I wish the outcome were different, though I wish he could have done something to else to stop this legislation from moving forward, the obstacles set by Harry Reid, Jay Rockefeller, and an all-too spineless Democratic caucus were too much for him to overcome.

FISA Process, Unanimous Consent, & Dodd’s Filibuster

I don't think this lets us off the hook just yet, though. As far as I'm concerned, any Democrat who votes in such a way as to allow this thing to pass will not have my support. Letting them know that, particularly the ones on that list I referred to earlier, is especially important. If there aren't forty Senators who are willing to stand up for the Constitution, we need to have a new bunch of Senators. I say we select them from Subphylum Vertebrata this time. At the risk of sounding biased, but it's quite my favorite.

UPDATE 2 (Feb. 12): Jane Hamsher reports:

Woo hoo! You lose. Dodd's amendment to strip retroactive immunity fails spectacularly, 31-67. I have to say that what constantly amazes me is just how damn little it costs corporate America to buy our elected officials. Pennies on the dollar, really, for what they get.

FISA Fiasco Live on CSPAN2

We all lost today. It's just that some of us are too foolish to know it.

UPDATE 3 (Feb. 12): I should have pointed this out directly, rather than counting on readers going to Firedoglake. They have an online petition for the House about FISA. If you haven't already, please sign it.


Bustednuckles said...

As hard as I try,I cannot for the life of me find a way to rationalize this behavior.
I have tried looking at this from several different angles to try and see what could possibly be motivating Reid AND Pelosi and I keep coming up blank.
I'm stumped.
The one thing I keep coming back to is money.Yet money alone can't explain it either.
It certainly isn't from altruism, I am way too cynical to entertain that thought.I have come to the conclusion that I am wasting my time trying to wrap my head around motives and am very seriously starting to think about political retribution.
This Liebermanesque enabling behavior is flying in the face of the will of the people and some members of their own part and I believe eventually they are going to pay a price in one form or another.
The fact that this is a blatant violation of U.S. Law does not factor into any kind of thought process for these two.

Cujo359 said...

As I wrote over at your place yesterday, Bustednuckles, I'm just astonished at how badly represented we are these days. That more than sixty members of the Senate, regardless of their party, would knowingly vote for this piece of trash is appalling.

That Democrats aren't united on this thing is bad enough, but that only one or two Republicans are willing to stand up for the Constitution they swore to protect is beyond the pale. Those douche bags are supposed to be the libertarians, aren't they?