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Monday, December 17, 2007

(Updated) Sen. Harry Reid Caves to Telecom Lobbyists & BushFEAR

UPDATE 8:20 PM: We won this round! Reid was forced to table the bill until January. See my later post.

UPDATE 9:28 AM: Go to Thank You Dodd and participate in the effort to support the fight against the horrendous FISA bill passed by the Senate Intelligence Committee. To contact Sen. Bingaman:

Bingaman, Jeff- (D - NM)
(202) 224-5521
E-mail: senator_bingaman@bingaman.senate.gov
Oh, he's personally against extending amnesty to the criminal telecoms he says, but it would be so damned unfair if he didn't allow the Senate Intelligence Committee's version of the FISA bill to have the upper hand. After all, members of that committee, like Chairman Jay Rockefeller, might be implicated for their acquiescence to illegal operations because they sat on their hands when they found out some of the sleazy details of the law breaking in closed sessions way back when. We wouldn't want them to face any consequences for their actions. They're Senators! Very Important People! Lawbreaking is OK when they do it.

Reid got thousands of phone calls from citizens irate over his plan to help smother the Senate Judiciary's version of the FISA bill, which doesn't provide the immunity and does provide a semblance of court oversight on domestic data mining. This prompted Reid to ... cover his ass. He agreed to bring both versions of the bill to the floor today. The only problem is he'll treat the Intelligence version as the primary bill and force consideration of the Justice version as an amendment. We all know how that will turn out.

Well, our donor-ruled "leader" in the Senate DOES get lots of money from telecoms, as do many others who want to protect their lawbreaking. That's what counts most these days. Oh, and they wouldn't want to appear to be "weak on national security" and allow the Bushmongers to accuse them of being "for the terrorists" if they were to dare to stand up for the law and the U.S.Constitution!

Sen. Chris Dodd has asked for a "hold" on the FISA bills -- a request that is almost always honored in the Senate's odd tradition. This time, however, Reid feels the need to go forward NOW, despite the fact that the current abominable FISA law doesn't sunset until next February. Dodd is planning to filibuster the immunity for telecoms bill today. Last I heard, Senators Russ Feingold and Ted Kennedy will participate in the filibuster. The other Dem Senators who are candidates for president claim they are against passing telecom immunity, but what exactly that means is yet to be revealed.

Here's what Sen. Feingold has to say as the debate gets underway.

Firedoglake has a terrific post on this issue entitled, Who Will Stand with Chris Dodd for the Constitution?

If you want to make yourself even sicker, read this article on Raw Story that digs out info from a long New York Times article that reports Bush started his push for domestic spying using the telecoms within two weeks of taking office. I'm not kidding.

Can it get much worse than this? We have prominent Dem Senators leading a filibuster against their own Senate leadership. We have Reid and his allies sticking up for lawbreaking by the President, the telecoms and the NSA. Is this the "New Direction" they're always touting as their response to gaining seats in the 2006 election?

December 17, 2007 at 09:04 AM in Civil Liberties, Corporatism, Crime, Democratic Party | Permalink


Well, it turns out that 9 other Senators will stand with Chris Dodd.

Here is the Roll Call vote:

Leahy votes Yea. WTF? Bingaman votes Yea. Expected. Bernie Sanders not voting. Disappointing.

Clinton, Obama, Biden, campaigning, NOT serving. But let's get real, they'd all vote Yea, wouldn't they.

Posted by: | Dec 17, 2007 12:07:57 PM

There are many moves to go on this including striking to strip the telecom immunity.

Posted by: Kossian | Dec 17, 2007 1:29:54 PM

The good news is that Dodd won round one, Reid chose to pull the bill, move on, and bring it back up in January. Some of the Democratic Senator who stood with Dodd on this made some powerful speeches today, it was really something to see.

Posted by: VP | Dec 17, 2007 6:37:37 PM

I can't believe Reid backed down on this and has tabled it until January. Can we believe all the pressure from outside Washington and the excellent speeches by the Senators you mention today worked? Hot damn.

Posted by: Kossian | Dec 17, 2007 7:24:34 PM

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