Thursday, January 24, 2008

Filibuster, Kill the FISA Bill

This is Davos, Switzerland.

Pretty nice, hunh? It gets better, check out all the cool people that hang out at Davos during the World Economic Forum.

Sweet. Jolie is totally hot.

This is Dick Cheney.

He has ordered Harry Reid to force through not just an extension of the unnecessary and certainly unconstitutional FISA bill (S.2248) and Harry means to do just that, so he can go to Davos.

Mr. REID. Mr. President, for all Members here, we are on the Indian health bill now. I hope we can complete that bill tomorrow. The Republicans are having a retreat. They are having theirs tomorrow; we are going to have ours in 10 days or so. There will be activities on the Senate floor tomorrow, but there will be no votes. If there are any votes tomorrow, it will be after they finish their retreat, after 6 o'clock tomorrow night.

So we hope some work can be done on this bill tomorrow. We know the Republicans will be absent, so that makes it very difficult.

We have to finish FISA this week. Everyone should be aware of that point. We have to finish it this week. I know there are important trips people want to take. We have the very important economic conference in Davos that Democrats and Republicans alike would like to go to.

Lets be clear about what all this means. This bill basically allows for blanket, or in the legal phrase "basket", warrants. Which means its a free-for-all. The government and it's lackeys, the telecom companies, can eavesdrop on anyone, or actually everyone and it requires NO judicial oversight. Previous to this sorry assed bill the government had to get a warrant from a FISA judge. Who had only turned down requests a couple of times over 20 years.

There was never any reason to enact this bill in the first place. You could even go to the FISA courts and get a warrant after the fact. So, this is bad right? right. Except it gets worse. Here is Dick explaining things.
The unfortunate aspect of the Protect America Act is a sunset provision, which makes the law expire on the first of February –- just 10 days from now. That leaves Congress only nine days in which to act to keep the intelligence gap closed. And with the day of reckoning so close at hand, we’re reminding Congress that they must act now to modernize FISA.

Congress to update FISA and especially to extend this protection to communications providers alleged to have given such assistance any time after September 11th, 2001. This is an important consideration, because some providers are facing dozens of lawsuits right now. Why? Because they are believed to have aided the U.S. government in the effort to intercept international communications of al Qaeda-related individuals.

Actually Dick is lying here. No shock to you I am sure. The protection extension he mentions is worse than even I first thought. They don't just protect the telecoms. They provide immunity for anyone involved. Like George W. Bush and Richard Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz, Condi Rice, Scooter Libby and a cast of thousands.

So, in the bill they want to pass, they want to make what is illegal legal, they want an amendment stating that what they did illegally now is immune from any prosecution. Its like passing a law that I can rob banks legally, and the banks I have already robbed are now retroactively covered, those armed robberies are now "withdrawals". Its pretty nice when you can write your own laws and force them through. Its no coincidence that Cheney and Bush have 360 some odd days left under the protection of their offices. I would be thinking about covering my ass too. Don't believe Dick when he tells you they need to protect America by eavesdrop on terrorists. Letting this bill die will not hamper our counter terrorism efforts in the slightest.

This bill expires on February 1st. The Senate leadership should filibuster this bill and let it die. This is more important than the election right now. This is more important than the fight between Bill Clinton and Obama, and it's more important than going to Davos Switzerland. Don't get confused with all the senatorial rules of order mumbo jumbo. If Harry Reid wanted this bill dead it would never have come out of committee. Call your senator and have them help filibuster this bill. Defend the constitution.

Call, Fax, and Write

UPDATE: Watch Dodd talk about the situation at The Raw Story

UPDATE II: Reid has separated the 2 parts here, the base bill and the amendments. We just lost on letting the bill expire. 60 to 34. Neither Obama or Clinton showed up. It appears tomorrow is when we hear debate on the immunity section of the bill. Please keep the pressure up.