Monday, January 28, 2008

FISA. Today.

Jane Hamsher at firedoglake breaks the good news that both Senators Clinton and Obama will be on the floor this afternoon to vote against McConnell's cloture vote on the Intelligence Committee's pro-telco amnesty FISA bill.

This is good news for keeping the fight going, and good news for us. Citizen action, our pressure, is making a difference. The massive push back from the left has actually succeeded in throwing a monkey wrench into the works. That's not yet an out and out win, but it's movement in the right direction. Defeating this cloture vote is more movement. Forcing either a short-term extension of the PAA or letting the bill lapse altogether buys more time, and more opportunity, as Glenn Greenwald explains.

Even just a two-week or one-month extension will allow more time to marshall the opposition to telecom immunity and a new FISA bill and to do what's possible to encourage the House to stand firm behind their bill -- in exactly the way that the Dodd delay in December prevented quick and easy resolution. The longer this drags on without resolution, the more possible it is to push the opposition to a tipping point, and sometimes unexpected developments or even some luck (such as McConnell's overplaying his hand on Thursday) can prevent it all from happening.

As the events of the last two months demonstrate, if citizen opposition is channeled the right way, it can make a genuine difference in affecting the course of events in Washington. Defeating telecom immunity will keep alive the lawsuits that will almost certainly reveal to some extent what the Government did in illegally spying on Americans over the last six years or, at the very least, produce a judicial adjudication as to its illegality. And, in turn, the effects from that could be extremely significant. Because victories are so rare, it's easy to get lulled into believing that none of these campaigns are ever effective and that citizens can never affect any of it, which is precisely why it's so important to remind ourselves periodically of how untrue that proposition is.

So keep pushing, all the way to until 3:30 this afternoon (CST).

The Senators we need to convince are those who voted with the Republicans to table the Leahy substitute amendment, the version of the bill that contained all of those protections and did NOT allow telco amnesty. One of them, Rockefeller, has already said he'll vote no on cloture. Call the rest of the Senators and tell them to stand with their majority on today's cloture vote and vote no.

  • Bayh (202) 224-5623
  • Carper (202) 224-2441
  • Inouye (202) 224-3934
  • Johnson (202) 224-5842
  • Landrieu (202)224-5824
  • McCaskill (202) 224-6154
  • Mikulski (202) 224-4654
  • Nelson (FL) (202) 224-5274
  • Nelson (NE) (202) 224-6551
  • Pryor (202) 224-2353
  • Salazar (202) 224-5852

In addition, call or e-mail your own Senators. Both CREDO and EFF have great tools to make it easy.

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