Wednesday, March 12, 2008

New tactics in the FISA fight

By Libby

I'm with Sha on the time change. I'm foggy and cranky in trying to readjust and it's a work week so my posting has been off, but I'm still reading the news even if I don't have the energy at the end of the day to talk about it. Anyway, new developments in the FISA fight have been a bit confusing in my impaired state. I received a disturbing email yesterday from Jane and Glenn and the team that said we were about to lose. Then this morning, TPM posted this encouraging news.
As The New York Times reports this morning, the House leadership's draft proposal for a surveillance bill contains a provision that would reject giving retroactive immunity to the telecoms. Instead, it would give the courts authorization to hear the classified material at issue in the case -- in essence disposing with the administration's claim of the state secrets privilege. I had a senior House aide walk me through the proposal, which is sure to infuriate the administration.
A complete contradiction of the email that said this last night.
At this point it seems that all is lost on FISA. It looks like in the process of negotiating a compromise with the Senate, the House will be forced to have an up-or-down vote on retroactive immunity. We shouldn't expect that vote to go our way.
Of course, our indefatigable FISA fighters has already come up with a Plan B.
But rather than getting mad while we watch the Fourth Amendment go up in flames, we're going to start getting even.

We've picked out some of most reactionary Democrats, and are turning it over to progressive activists like you to decide who the worst offenders are. We'll then run ads and robo-calls in their congressional districts to let their constituents know how poorly their Representative is representing their rights.

Go here to cast your vote and chip in to the effort to hold Congress accountable.
Since the final votes haven't been cast yet on FISA, hopefully we can shame some of them into righting their moral compass and voting against retroactive immunity. If not, we'll make sure that each one of their constituents knows about it.
It appears to have worked already in light of the improved news this morning and amazingly, they raised $40,000 in one day even though only a few blogs had announced the efforts.

In some ways it's difficult for me to believe we've managed to stall telecom immunity for this long but I think this development is a clear sign that the progressive blogs have not only developed a voice loud enough to be heard over the din of conventional wisdom inside the Beltway, but have also organized to the point where perhaps we instill enough fear of a backlash, that our Congresslizards are no longer willing to bank on the false premise that we will forget, or back off, if they betray us and the priniciples on which this country was founded.

This morning it looks to me, like maybe we can make this system work after all.

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