Important Vote on Spying Wednesday Night

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Will the real Democrats please stand up … and filibuster?

Ad 2: The Senate just adjourned for the night and will take up the FISA legislation Thursday morning. Obviously, there are some important people who have some thinking to do.

But not before taking a test vote:

Senate Nears End of Surveillance Bill Debate

One of the most important votes in the history of the United States Congress will take place perhaps tonight. Since you will not see coverage of this on CNN, you better watch the blogs and C-SPAN 2.

As we reported last Friday, the cowardly Democrats who control the House of Representatives voted with the Republicans in favor the new domestic surveillance bill, granting a back door form of legal immunity for the telecom giants. They made it where a judge can grant the companies immunity – based solely on a piece of paper showing President George W. Bush authorized the illegal spying on Americans in the wake of 9/11 himself.

Scott Horton writes today at Harpers.org: Will the National Surveillance State Prevail Again?

His buddy Glen Greenwald at Salon.com, owned by the Washington Post, carried this detailed account: FISA A Significant Victory for the Democratic Party? Not…

One blog commenter says:

Victory is still possible in the fight against warrantless spying and immunity for the telecom companies that collaborated in previous illegal spying. There are signs of significant divisions in the Senate that we may yet be able to exploit to defeat the Senate version of HR 6304.

The divisions are deep enough that there still isn’t a Senate version of the House bill, or a bill number, and there are still multiple ways we could win this fight.

One strategy is to find a Senator willing to filibuster, and thereby block a vote. The aggressive progressives found one:

Senator Feingold Will Filibuster FISA

Then, the Washington Independent has now verified that House members may have been swayed by donations from the telephone companies such as ATandT and Verizon. Surprise! Surprise!

Telecom Donations Tied to FISA Vote

According to the Daily Kos, the Senate may vote tonight or there may be a filibuster.

Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wis., took to the Senate floor this afternoon to talk about the FISA bill and to detail, point by point, the failure of the Hoyer/Rockefeller capitulation. Here’s the statement he and Sen. Dodd released yesterday announcing their intent to filibuster:

“This is a deeply flawed bill, which does nothing more than offer retroactive immunity by another name. We strongly urge our colleagues to reject this so-called ‘compromise’ legislation and oppose any efforts to consider this bill in its current form. We will oppose efforts to end debate on this bill as long as it provides retroactive immunity for the telecommunications companies that may have participated in the President’s warrantless wiretapping program, and as long as it fails to protect the privacy of law-abiding Americans.

“If the Senate does proceed to this legislation, our immediate response will be to offer an amendment that strips the retroactive immunity provision out of the bill. We hope our colleagues will join us in supporting Americans’ civil liberties by opposing retroactive immunity and rejecting this so-called ‘compromise’ legislation.”

Another good place for good blog journalism on this issue is the TPM Mukraker.

In a related story, the Washington Post this morning carried a story about the ISP Charter Communications’ plan to spy on customers and sell the information to advertisers.

Charter Halts Plan to Track Surfing Data

Are newspaper editors just not paying attention to this battle? They are either AWOL or just on the wrong side of this fight. The telephone and cable companies are as much of a threat to newspapers as bloggers and craigslist.org. Why won’t they fight back?

But the big question for the day is:

Will Senator Barack Obama, who promised we are “not a country where wiretapping is done without warrants,” before we made him the Democratic Party’s nominee for president, stand up and join the filibuster? Will Senator Hillary Clinton stand with us?

If not, we may just have to crash the convention in Colorado in August and put someone else in there. Hey Al Gore? Hey John Edwards? Want to be president?

© 2008 – 2016, Glynn Wilson. All rights reserved.

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