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Jun 20 2008

Time to Tie Up the Phones

The vote to immunize telecoms and eviscerate our civil liberties could come as soon as noon EST today. Time to make some calls. The louder we howl, the more likely it is we’ll get heard.

Need motivation? Try Digby:


Pace Godwin, the idea that it’s a good principle to indemnify corporations from law breaking when its done at the behest of the government is getting close to the definition of fascism — the joining of corporate and government power, beyond the scope of law, in the name of national security. We should not go there.

We really shouldn’t. Here’s another motivator:


The new agreement broadens the authority to spy on people in the U.S. and provides conditional legal immunity to companies that helped the government eavesdrop after the 2001 terrorist attacks, according to congressional aides in both parties.

The deal, if adopted, would bring the spy activities of a controversial National Security Agency surveillance program permanently under the law. That would allow the government, in certain circumstances, to eavesdrop on U.S. citizens without a specific warrant. It would also expand government spy powers to monitor communications between the U.S. and overseas to collect intelligence on topics beyond terrorism. [emphasis added]

Does this shit scare you? It terrifies me. Especially that last bit. Everybody say hello to Big Brother, and remember that in America today, torture is not only condoned, it’s encouraged.

Carpetbagger adds a good sharp jolt:


Shaping the law this way is madness. Proponents are characterizing this as establishing some kind of condition for retroactive immunity — the telecoms aren’t off the hook, the argument goes, because the White House would still need to show that Bush & Co. initiated the illegal surveillance. But given that the White House and the telecoms already have endorsed this “compromise,” it’s pretty safe to assume they know this is a threshold they can meet. If they didn’t have the piece of paper to show to a judge, they wouldn’t have endorsed the deal.

Laura Rozen added: “Doesn’t that actually endorse and extend to private actors the Nixonian view that if the president says it’s legal, it’s legal, regardless of what the law says and the Constitution says? Wouldn’t that set an awful precedent that an administration could get private actors to do whatever they wanted including breaking the law?”

Why, yes. Yes, it would.

Who wants the President to decide which laws to follow? Who wants the President to be able to create all the secret spying programs he wants, without oversight, knowing Congress will roll over and give it a patina of legality later on? Who wants corporations in bed with the White House to this extent? Anybody aside from the extreme right-wing nutjobs?

If you want to put a stop to this, get on the phones:

Call Barack Obama and urge him to make a public statement reiterating his opposition to telco amnesty. His opposition could kill this deal: Phone (202) 224-2854, Fax (202) 228-4260

Call Steny Hoyer and tell him this is a bad deal: Phone (202) 225-4131, Fax (202) 225-4300

Call Nancy Pelosi and urge her to pull the bill from the House schedule: Phone (202) 225-4965, Fax (202) 225-8259

Call your representative and tell them to vote no on the FISA rewrite tomorrow today.

Office of the Speaker: (202) 225-0100. Ask for the Speaker’s comment line.

Call Harry Reid and tell him to develop a backbone: (202) 224-3542

Finger too jittery to stop dialing? Ready to do more?

Here are the Blue Dogs who supported the House’s good FISA bill, the one that did not include amnesty. Call them and ask them to hold tough and vote against this bill tomorrow today:

Rep. Leonard L. Boswell, D-Iowa — Phone: (202) 225-3806, Fax: (202) 225-5608
Rep. Marion Berry, D-Ark. — Phone: (202) 225-4076, Fax: (202) 225-5602
Rep. Mike Ross, D-Ark. — Phone: (202) 225-3772, Fax: (202) 225-1314
Rep. Earl Pomeroy, D-N.D. — Phone: (202) 225-2611, Fax: (202) 226-0893
Rep. Melissa Bean, D-Ill. — Phone: (202) 225-3711, Fax: (202) 225-7830
Rep. John Barrow, D-Ga. — Phone: (202) 225-2823, Fax: (202) 225-3377
Rep. Allen Boyd, D-Fla. — Phone: (202) 225-5235, Fax: (202) 225-5615
Rep. Joe Baca, D-Calif. — Phone: (202) 225-6161, Fax: (202) 225-8671
Rep. John Tanner, D-Tenn. — Phone: (202) 225-4714, Fax: (202) 225-1765
Rep. Jim Matheson, D-Utah — Phone: (202) 225-3011, Fax: (202) 225-5638
Rep. Brad Ellsworth, D-Ind. — Phone: (202) 225-4636, Fax: (202) 225-3284
Rep. Charlie Melancon, D-La. — Phone: (202) 225-4031, Fax: (202) 226-3944
Rep. Dennis Moore, D-Kan. — Phone: (202) 225-2865, Fax: (202) 225-2807
Rep. Zack Space, D-Ohio — Phone: (202) 225-6265, Fax: (202) 225-3394

These are the Blue Dogs who were with the Republicans on the last vote. Tell them it’s never too late to redeem themselves and vote against this bad bill:

Rep. Dan Boren, D-Okla. — Phone: (202) 225-2701, Fax: (202) 225-3038
Rep. Christopher Carney, D-Pa. — Phone: (202) 225-3731, Fax: (202) 225-9594
Rep. Jim Cooper, D-Tenn. — Phone: (202) 225-4311, Fax: (202) 226-1035
Rep. Lincoln Davis, D-Tenn. — Phone: (202) 225-6831, Fax: (202) 226-5172
Rep. Tim Holden, D-Pa. — Phone: (202) 225-5546, Fax: (202) 226-0996
Rep. Heath Shuler, D-N.C. — Phone: (202) 225-6401, Fax: (202) 226-6422

We may not win, my darlings, but it won’t be for lack of fighting.

To the phones!

Update: if you can’t get through to Rep. Hoyer’s office, you can email him here. Let him know that the “compromise” he negotiated is a capitulation!

1 comment

  1. 1
    Cujo359

    I think the House was just jealous, because they hadn’t won a Beggie, but the Senate had.

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