Wednesday, February 13, 2008

FISA Update #4 - Don't Let the Fat Lady - Or The Fat Corporate Cats - Sing!


We did two posts yesterday (that you can see here and here) on the collapse of our democracy, with the U.S. Senate caving in to give the Bush Grindhouse their Stay Out of Jail Card, passing the Protect American Act, which included immunity for the telecommunication companies that bought the "It's legal" bullshit.

Scarecrow, from Firedoglake, gets our spotlight today;

"The Fourth Amendment has been handed down to us unchanged for over two centuries:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Almost none of that is left if today's bill stands. In an age in which "bipartisan" has come to mean weak Democrats joining unanimous Republicans to vote against the Constitution, the Fourth Amendment would be eviscerated by a bill that provides a virtual blank check for the executive to invade the privacy of Americans ..."

In the post, Scarecrow offers a link to a petition that Firedoglake has started, to urge the House of Representatives to reverse this action by their cowardly brothers, when the two houses meet in conference to bang it out.

Tell House Members to Stand Firm Behind the RESTORE Act!
The FISA bill passed by the Senate is a disgrace. By legalizing warrantless spying on Americans and granting retroactive amnesty to lawbreaking telecoms, the Senate seeks to ensure that the Bush administration's illegal spying programs are never investigated or subjected to the rule of law. The Senate bill is a profound betrayal of the votes of millions of Americans who voted in 2006 to put Democrats in control of Congress in order to increase, not eliminate, checks and oversight on this administration, and to restore the rule of law to our country.

The House's RESTORE Act is an infinitely superior bill. It provides real safeguards on the President's spying powers while providing him with the surveillance powers he needs to protect the country. It enables the issue of the legality of the President's spying programs to be decided where it belongs -- in a court of law. And it preserves the crucial balance that has existed for decades between enabling necessary surveillance on Americans and ensuring that our political leaders do not abuse that power.

In the wake of the discovery of the Watergate crimes and decades of surveillance abuses, the Congress of the mid-1970s acted on a bipartisan basis to put into place safeguards to ensure that even our highest political officials must adhere to the law and can only exercise eavesdropping powers with real safeguards. The RESTORE Act continues that tradition, while the Senate bill eviscerates it. We urge Democratic House members to stand firm behind the bill they passed and not capitulate once again to the bullying, manipulative demands of the Bush administration for ever-greater unchecked power, as embodied by the warrantless eavesdropping and telecom immunity provisions of the Senate bill.

Go here, to Firedoglake, and sign the petition and take part in, hopefully, getting this thing straight.


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