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FISA: Take Action Today

Emptywheel is right:  what the GOP wants on FISA is failure, even more than unfettered power concentrated in a unilateral executive.   

The GOP hopes to use FISA as an electoral cudgel.  Allow me to detail their groundwork:  the Rove strategery for using national security for partisan political gain; planting this with Beltway press — The Hill, Time, and Newsweek, for starters (who miss the fundamental point that telecom immunity is bribery to keep the Administration’s lawbreaking secrets, undercutting the threat of economic sanction as hush money); trotting out Dick Cheney to sow the seeds of fearmongering; and the obstructionist GOP failure set-up just in time for the State of the Union. 

Add in a press which does not comprehend the details, you have a recipe for confusion — which is exactly the set-up for the SOTU that the Bush WH wants. 

Except yesterday, the GOP overplayed their cocky, cowboy legislation act.  From Sen. Russ Feingold:

The conduct of Senate Republicans yesterday was shameless. After weeks of insisting that it is absolutely critical to finish the FISA legislation by February 1…they obstructed all efforts to actually work on the bill. Now they want to simply ram the deeply flawed Intelligence Committee bill through the Senate. They refused to allow amendments to be offered or voted on….

…Monday’s cloture vote will be a test of whether the majority is willing to stand up to the administration and stand up for our rights.

The GOP’s conduct was insulting — to the Democrats, to the American public, and to the Congress as a whole. So much so that Sen. Jay Rockefeller is saying that he will not vote for cloture on Monday.

Every Senator needs a phone call, especially the Democratic ones — because cloture on Monday would be contrary to balancing fundamental questions of liberty against national security interests.  This is important business.  The contemptable way that the Republicans have treated this, brushing aside debate with a high-handed, "my way or no way" dismissiveness, echoes the Bush White House and ought to be publicly rebuked.

America deserves better.  Sen. Chris Dodd gave a fantastic speech this morning making that exact point (here he is yesterday on the floor).  Yesterday, sincere attempts at amendments to ensure fundamental liberties were shut down regardless of merit in a shameless political tactic by the GOP.  Let Senators know that standing up for the rule of law is what all of us want and expect, and that we will support those who do.

Let’s hit the phones and FAXes. Numbers for Senators are here.  Credo has a fantastic tool for contacting your representatives.  EFF has a great tool as well.  Toll-free numbers for Congress from Katymine:

1 (800) 828 – 0498
1 (800) 459 – 1887
1 (800) 614 – 2803
1 (866) 340 – 9281
1 (866) 338 – 1015
1 (877) 851 – 6437

Several Senators could use extra contact on this — tell them to vote "no" on cloture.  It is well past time that respect for the rule of law and the role of Congress in the balance of powers was restored:



Bayh (202) 224-5623 (202) 228-1377
Carper (202) 224-2441 (202) 228-2190
Obama (202) 228-4260 (202) 224-2854
Inouye (202) 224-3934 (202) 224-6747
Johnson (202) 224-5842 (605) 332-2824
Landrieu (202)224-5824 (202) 224-9735
McCaskill (202) 224-6154 (202) 228-6326
Mikulski (202) 224-4654 (202) 224-8858
Nelson (FL) (202) 224-5274 (202) 228-2183
Clinton (202) 228-0282 (202) 224-4451
Nelson (NE) (202) 224-6551 (202) 228-0012
Pryor (202) 224-2353 (202) 228-0908
Salazar (202) 224-5852 (202) 228-5036
Specter (202) 224-4254 (202) 228-1229
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Christy Hardin Smith

Christy Hardin Smith

Christy is a "recovering" attorney, who earned her undergraduate degree at Smith College, in American Studies and Government, concentrating in American Foreign Policy. She then went on to graduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania in the field of political science and international relations/security studies, before attending law school at the College of Law at West Virginia University, where she was Associate Editor of the Law Review. Christy was a partner in her own firm for several years, where she practiced in a number of areas including criminal defense, child abuse and neglect representation, domestic law, civil litigation, and she was an attorney for a small municipality, before switching hats to become a state prosecutor. Christy has extensive trial experience, and has worked for years both in and out of the court system to improve the lives of at risk children.

Email: reddhedd AT firedoglake DOT com