Tuesday, February 12, 2008

FISA Amendments

The FISA fight begins this morning as the amendments hit the floor for a vote.

Over at dailyKos, mcjoan is doing a fine job of following the Senate vote on the FISA amendments. Thus far, the Feinstein amendment went down, the Feingold/Webb amendments went down, and the Dodd/Feingold amendment was voted down. As of this moment (9:58 a.m. MST) the Specter amendment has gone down.

From Senator Chris Dodd's floor speech late last night:
“This is our defining question, the question that confronts every generation: The rule of law, or the rule of men? How many times must we get the wrong answer?

“To those who say that this is just about a few telecoms, I answer: This is about contempt for the law, large and small.

“We are deceiving ourselves when we talk about the U.S. attorneys issue, the habeas issue, the torture issue, the rendition issue, the secrecy issue. As if each one were an isolated case! As if each one were an accident! When we speak of them as isolated, we are keeping our politics cripplingly small; and as long as we keep this small, the rule of men is winning.

“There is only one issue here. Only one: the law issue. Does the president serve the law, or does the law serve the president? Each insult to our Constitution comes from the same source; each springs from the same mindset; and if we attack this contempt for the law at any point, we will wound it at all points.

“That is why I’m here today: Retroactive immunity is on the table today; but also at issue is the entire ideology that justifies it, the same ideology behind torture and executive lawlessness. Immunity is a disgrace in itself, but it is far worse in what it represents. It tells us that some believe in the courts only so long as their verdict goes their way. It puts secrecy above sunshine and fiat above law.”
I can't begin to say how discouraging and disappointing it is to see the U.S. Senate offering unlimited protection to the Telecoms over the people of the United States and the Constitution they swore to uphold.

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