Thursday, February 14, 2008

A plague on both their houses: Senate Republicans, Democrats assault Constitution, pass bad FISA bill

Updated and bumped, Thursday at 10:50am: Good segment on Countdown with Keith Olbermann last night featuring Professor Jonathan Turley of George Washington University.

Turley: "The Senate is actively working with the White House to cover up a crime." Ouch.

Amnesty for mega-corporations and surveillance without a court order carried the day yesterday in the Democrat-led Senate. A majority of senators from both parties, who take an oath to uphold the Constitution when they are sworn into office, voted down all amendments that would have brought the FISA bill into line with that pesky ol' Fourth Amendment and would have held rich telecom companies responsible for breaking the law.

As we poke through the smoldering ruins, the burning question is, "How did Specter, Casey, and the three senators running for president vote?" Here's the breakdown:

The Dodd amendment: To strip telecom amnesty from the bill
Yeas: Casey, Obama
Nays: Specter, McCain
Not voting: Clinton
Failed, 31-67

Feingold-Dodd amendment: Ban on bulk collection, require individual court orders
Yeas: Casey, Obama
Nays: Specter, McCain
Not voting: Clinton
Failed, 37-60

Feingold-Webb-Tester amendment: Require a court order if the government knows one person is in the U.S., unless it is an emergency or a known terrorist
Yeas: Casey, Obama
Nays: Specter, McCain
Not voting: Clinton
Failed, 35-63

Final passage
Yeas: Specter, Casey, McCain
Not voting: Clinton, Obama
Passed, 68-29

Glenn Greenwald has more:
It's worth taking a step back and recalling that all of this is the result of the December, 2005 story by the New York Times which first reported that the Bush administration was illegally spying on Americans for many years without warrants of any kind. All sorts of "controversy" erupted from that story. Democrats everywhere expressed dramatic, unbridled outrage, vowing that this would not stand. James Risen and Eric Lichtblau were awarded Pulitzer Prizes for exposing this serious lawbreaking. All sorts of Committees were formed, papers written, speeches given, conferences convened, and editorials published to denounce this extreme abuse of presidential power. This was illegality and corruption at the highest level of government, on the grandest scale, and of the most transparent strain.

What was the outcome of all of that sturm und drang? What were the consequences for the President for having broken the law so deliberately and transparently? Absolutely nothing.

Now the ball is in the House's court, which is dealing with it today.

Andy in Harrisburg

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

And this is why it won't matter who wins the election in the fall. Neither party has shown any kind of backbone or desire to stand up and say "NO" to the fear-mongering.

4 (or 8) more years of the same are coming. And the American people don't give a damn because most are too ignorant to understand what's happening.

8:25 AM  

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