Monday, July 07, 2008

Your FISA summariza

(Title a shameless ripoff of inspired by The Editors' Your FISA Advisa)

The vote has been postponed until Wednesday to make it easier for Senators to attend Jesse Helms' funeral. So keep the calls and letters coming. Thomas Nephew has a splendid roundup of resources, and more how-to.

I talked to a legislative assistant today to get a reading on Webb's vote, and found that they haven't discussed it yet. He protested that none of the amendments is in final form. Although true, typical, and unsettling, that's not an excuse to duck taking a position; the amendments' basic outlines are known. This is especially so for the Dodd amendment, S.Amdt.5064, that will simply strike the telecom immunity provisions from the bill. So we'll talk again tomorrow.

The Webb aide did say that Judge Walker's recent ruling in the Al Haramain case is "changing the game a little" for members of the Judiciary Committee. I expressed the hope that the change was in the direction of eroding support for the bill, since the main effect of that ruling was to expose as a sham the Democratic leadership's claim that exclusivity was a big part of what was "won" to make this bill an acceptable "compromise". This might, though, mean that Specter's amendment is shape-shifting -- something to keep an eye on.
Update: July 8, 10:30 am - As so often, Glenn Greenwald drives home the fundamental issues at stake here. Worth reading especially to see the full-page ad in the Washington Post placed by the liberty-and-law-defending rabble, and news of a fundraising push for Accountability Now (the rabble's PAC) set to "explode" on August 8, the anniversary of Nixon's resignation. I was among the crowd celebrating outside the White House that evening. Ah, 1974-75: our own little Prague Spring.

Update: July 14, 5:00 pm - Just for the record: Roll call votes on the Dodd amendment (full text: "Strike Title II" [immunity]), the Specter amendment, the Bingaman amendment, and the bill itself. All went wrong by bigger margins than I'd expected. Webb voted only for Bingaman and the bill; I never reached his aide again before the vote.

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