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Hullabaloo


Thursday, January 24, 2008

 
Telcom Buddy System

by digby


They're debating FISA on C-SPAN right now. Kit Bond, one of the biggest neanderthals in the Senate, is telling America that they should trust the intelligence committee to protect their rights. No need for that pesky constitution.


Russ Feingold was interviewed about the situation this morning:

In an interview with the Huffington Post on Thursday morning, Sen. Russ Feingold, who opposes granting immunity to those companies, expressed disappointment that his party's leader, Sen. Harry Reid, was not doing more to help strike the provision from a newly considered version of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

"Of course I have great respect for the Majority Leader," said Feingold. "He is a good friend of mine. But I really do disagree with his way of proceeding."

At issue is the likely passage of a version of FISA that contains retroactive immunity over one that doesn't. Reid has said he supports the former, but legislatively, the path has been paved for the passage of the latter. In addition, there is debate over an amendment offered by Sen. Chris Dodd, to strip immunity from any FISA bill. If that fails -- and it seems likely -- Dodd has threatened to filibuster the whole bill. On Wednesday, Reid was interpreted as saying any such filibuster will be the standing and talking variety as opposed to an agreed-upon 60-vote minimum threshold. Feingold, who supports Dodd's stance, took slight issue with that approach.

"We should have a normal process were this is debated based on a majority vote in the senate," said the Wisconsin Democrat. "That's the way it should have been done and I regret that it's not being done that way. Of course, I support Senator Dodd. He and I were principally involved in making sure this didn't get jammed through before the holidays and I will be supporting him again. But this decision does make it harder."

Speaking on the Senate floor Thursday morning before the debate, Reid addressed these concerns. He noted that he himself supported the Judiciary Committee version of the FISA bill, which would not give telecom companies a free ride from potential lawsuits. That measure, however, is likely to be tabled by Republicans and many Democrats. And in that case, the Majority Leader argued, the Senate would consider the Intelligence Committee version, which grants immunity. Senators who objected to any amendment -- such as the one to be offered by Dodd -- would have to stand and argue for as long as they could.



That about says it all. They're scheduled to vote on the good bill, that doesn't include retroactive immunity, at 2 pm.

Meanwhile, Harry Reid is getting some attentionon this in his hometown paper:

Sen. Harry Reid angered liberals in his party last month as he sought to shield telecom companies from liability for their role in the Bush administration’s domestic spying program.

As the Senate debates the surveillance issue this week, the criticism of Reid shows that his role is putting him at odds with his party’s base.


Not that such things will matter, of course, since everyone --- the Democrats, the Republicans and media --- all agree that the base of the Democratic party is a bunch of losers who should be treated like dirt whenever possible. Reid will, I'm sure, be cheered by all the chatterers for being a wise and sage leader for not being held captive by the unhinged left.

If any of you crazed DFH's feel like doing something to irritate your betters today, here's a new action tool from the Electronic Frontier Foundation. It's fun for the whole family.

Stop the Spying!


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