The Senate will be taking up the amendments to the FISA bill tomorrow. The big question on my mind is whether Claire McCaskill will vote for one of the amendments that grant the telecoms immunity or will vote for the Feingold/Dodd amendment that strips immunity.
The answer to that question is important because it will tell Missouri progressives whose will she serves – the will of the people of Missouri or the will of the Bush Administration, Sprint/AT&T and neo-Neanderthal Kit Bond.
McCaskill has telegraphed that she prefers the Specter/Whitehouse amendment, which substitutes the federal government as the defendant in the forty or so lawsuits filed against the telecom companies for violating the law and their privacy agreements. This “substitution” amendment is a false compromise because it effectively grants immunity to lawbreakers and makes the taxpayer liable for any damages awarded – if any. I say “if any” because this amendment also would increase the likelihood that the Bush administration would further invoke the old “state secrets” dodge as a way of hiding their illegal warrantless wiretapping.
Most of the blogosphere feels that tomorrow’s votes in the Senate are part of a carefully orchestrated Kabuki theatre that will give the Administration and the telcos what they’ve bought and paid for – our Senators’ votes and capitulation on this important civil liberties question.
If things go as expected, this week may mark the end of the Senate’s capitulation on FISA. Ultimately, each Senator is (or should be) accountable to their constituents for the votes that they make. Let’s all make one last push with Claire. E-mail her tonight or call tomorrow morning (Tuesday, Feb. 11) and tell her that we’ll be watching and remembering her FISA votes.
I’ll be calling and asking her to vote the following way:
– YES on the Feingold/Dodd amendment (strip telecom immunity)
– YES on the other Feingold amendments
– YES on the Feinstein “exclusive means” amendment
– NO on the Specter/Whitehouse and Feinstein compromise immunity amendments
– NO on cloture for S. 2248
– NO on both of Kit Bond’s amendments
Her contact info is as follows:
Toll free phone # (Capitol switchboard):
E-mail (web form):