Friday, February 01, 2008

FISA And Telecom Immunity...It's Not Over

Glenn Greenwald has a post about FISA and Telecom Immunity. Looks like there will be a vote on Monday and it's not as good as it sounds.

"In the Senate, Democratic and Republican leaders have, according to Congressional Quarterly and others sources, reached an agreement as to how to proceed on the FISA vote this Monday. There are currently numerous amendments pending to the Cheney/Rockefeller Senate Intelligence Committee bill, almost all of them introduced by Democrats (with one co-sponsored by Arlen Specter) and most of them (if not all) unacceptable to the White House and the GOP."

"Senate Democratic leadership sources are trying to claim that this is some sort of victory for Senate Democrats, and echoing that sentiment, even some of the most insightful and knowledgeable around -- such as McJoan at Daily Kos -- are hailing the agreement as evidence that "Dems didn't cave" and that "they held tough." Unless there is something I'm overlooking, I don't understand that perspective at all.
It seems rather clear what happened here. There are certain amendments that are not going to get even 50 votes -- including the Dodd/Feingold amendment to strip telecom immunity out of the bill -- and, for that reason, Republicans were more than willing to agree to a 50-vote threshold, since they know those amendments won't pass even in a simple up-or-down vote."


"The amendments the GOP likes (i.e., the Bond/Rockefeller amendment to change the Intelligence bill to match Dick Cheney's demands by increasing eavesdropping powers further still), as well as those that can't get 50 votes, are subject to the requirement of simple majority. The ones that can get 50 votes but which the GOP dislikes must get 60 votes. If you're Mitch McConnell, what's not to like about any of this?"

Of course the usual Republican talking points are being dusted off...

"Two other related points: Marcy Wheeler noted that Dick Cheney appeared on the Rush Limbaugh Show yesterday and claimed that Democrats were opposed to telecom immunity because they're beholden to "trial lawyers." This has become one of the most common -- and one of the most transparently dishonest -- talking points of amnesty proponents."

And trial lawyers, the GOP keeps talking about? Their the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

"He's welcome [John Boehner] to come and visit our offices and if he still thinks that we're rich plaintiffs' attorneys after he's visited our little tiny Mission Street offices, then I have a bridge to sell him. We're a small, struggling non-profit with a very tiny budget - and we're doing this because we're committed to protecting people's privacy in the digital age."

I've walked by the EFF office, and I can tell you, this is not a bunch of rich trial lawyers.


Chris Dodd

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