As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Jittery On FISA

This is such a useless action. The President has a single-issue agenda for the rest of his second term, and that's getting himself immunity from any repercussions to his illegal actions. For some reason the Democrats are aiding and abetting in that scheme, and they're using lobbyist-written legislation to do it:

Telecom companies have presented congressional Democrats with a set of proposals on how to provide immunity to the businesses that participated in a controversial government electronic surveillance program, a House Democratic aide said Wednesday.

Congress has been wrestling for months with an update to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, with the immunity issue the primary sticking point.

Many Democrats want the companies held accountable for participating in the program, which was initiated in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. The White House, however, has insisted that the participation of the telecoms is crucial to monitoring conversations between potential terrorists. President Bush has vowed to veto any bill that does not contain immunity.

House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.) said Wednesday a FISA deal is “still in flux” but he described the latest developments as “promising” and said he hoped to have a solution soon.

Stunning. There is no reason to pass anything at all. FISA is perfectly robust to handle any needed wiretaps. You can add a patch to finish off the technical fix allowing for international calls that go through a domestic circuit to be surveilled, but nothing else is necessary.

Hoyer is absolutely planning to sell us out on this, because he's interested in protecting the status quo and that includes George Bush. What a terrible House Majority Leader - you literally couldn't pick anyone worse.

We are such a long way away from having the government we need to meet the challenges of the 21st century. The leadership includes a lot of dead wood, the establishment opinion is respected above all else, the job of legislation is outsourced to lobbyists, and the people get screwed. And Obama's special awesomeness isn't going to wipe this rot away, either. We've got so much work to do.

UPDATE: Marcy Wheeler has an interesting post that tries to read Hoyer's mind on this and suggests that he's actually trying to create a kind of Church Committee that would investigate all of the Bush Administration's dirty laundry. I have absolutely no faith that this leadership would pull off such a committee in any kind of satisfying way, but considering that the lawsuits aren't likely to be satisfying either and the real goal is discovery and information, it shouldn't be dismissed out of hand. In addition, since the Administration wouldn't agree to such a committee unless they controlled it, and so it would derail the whole bill, perhaps it'll keep the process stalled until there's a new President, which in the final analysis is the best we can hope for.

Labels: , , , , ,