Voting on FISA Resumed (Updated at 630 pm EST)
Can't really say much about this right now. Just go here for the--very very depressing--update. Also you can read Dodd's statement on the importance of the House FISA bill by going here.
The Senate is voting again on the FISA bill. They've already thrown out Feinstein's exclusivity amendment (57-41), Feingold/Webb/Tester's amendment to protect communications involving persons inside the United States (35-63), and the Dodd/Feingold amendment to get rid of retroactive immunity for the telcos (31-67).
Here are excerpts of Dodd's speech on the Senate Floor:
“This is our defining question, the question that confronts every generation: The rule of law, or the rule of men? How many times must we get the wrong answer?
“To those who say that this is just about a few telecoms, I answer: This is about contempt for the law, large and small.
“We are deceiving ourselves when we talk about the U.S. attorneys issue, the habeas issue, the torture issue, the rendition issue, the secrecy issue. As if each one were an isolated case! As if each one were an accident! When we speak of them as isolated, we are keeping our politics cripplingly small; and as long as we keep this small, the rule of men is winning.
“There is only one issue here. Only one: the law issue. Does the president serve the law, or does the law serve the president? Each insult to our Constitution comes from the same source; each springs from the same mindset; and if we attack this contempt for the law at any point, we will wound it at all points.
“That is why I’m here today: Retroactive immunity is on the table today; but also at issue is the entire ideology that justifies it, the same ideology behind torture and executive lawlessness. Immunity is a disgrace in itself, but it is far worse in what it represents. It tells us that some believe in the courts only so long as their verdict goes their way. It puts secrecy above sunshine and fiat above law.”
So in short it looks like the Senate got it wrong again and our civil liberties and the rule of law remain at stake. Great job, guys. Represent for the people, or something.
So what's next? (Because, dear God, there's got to be something...) Well, Reid is expected to oppose cloture (closing of debate on the bill and moving forward to voting on its passage) and to oppose the bill's passage. Will stay updated. In the mean time, you can go to Daily Kos to read their liveblogging on the issue.
From DailyKos (excerpted. Go to the blogpost for the full update):
Senator Dodd just held a conference call with a number of reporters and bloggers. He was discouraged enough by the results of the previous votes to have decided that what makes the most sense at this point in the Senate debate is to wrap this up, after all opposing Senators have had the opportunity of their say, and to get this to the House and the conference committee as soon as possible.
Here's Sen. Obama's statement on his FISA vote:
"I am proud to stand with Senator Dodd, Senator Feingold and a grassroots movement of Americans who are refusing to let President Bush put protections for special interests ahead of our security and our liberty. There is no reason why telephone companies should be given blanket immunity to cover violations of the rights of the American people – we must reaffirm that no one in this country is above the law.
We can give our intelligence and law enforcement community the powers they need to track down and take out terrorists without undermining our commitment to the rule of law, or our basic rights and liberties. That is why I am proud to cosponsor several amendments that protect our privacy while making sure we have the power to track down and take out terrorists.
This Administration continues to use a politics of fear to advance a political agenda. It is time for this politics of fear to end. We are trying to protect the American people, not special interests like the telecommunications industry. We are trying to ensure that we don't sacrifice our liberty in pursuit of security, and it is past time for the Administration to join us in that effort."
Kia Franklin: Author Bio | Other Posts
Posted at 6:30 PM, Feb 12, 2008 in Corporate Abuse | Corporate v. Human Citizenship | Governmental Transparency | Legislation | Liability Immunity | Right to Access the Courts
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