Thursday, July 10, 2008

Obama and FISA: Fallout


The Campaign Trail of Tears--As predicted by many, Sen. Barack Obama voted "yea"--in-favor--of passage of the FISA bill (H.R. 6304) that grants retroactive immunity to the telecommunications companies who aid and abet renegade administrations and a free pass to any president who authorizes surveillance of any American citizen without a warrant. Surprisingly, Sen. Hillary Clinton voted against the bill, but she no longer has the Democratic nomination for president in her sights, while Obama has it in-hand...for now.

Had Sen. Clinton won the nomination, she would have assuredly voted for passage of this unconstitutional legislation. How much will they use it and abuse it? That's assuming these programs are anything new. They are not. Passage of a bill without the Dodd, Feingold, and Specter amendments can be expected to open a Pandora's box.

The Bush administration was more-than-willing to travel down the rabbit hole, just as the Roosevelt, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, and even the Reagan administrations did when they spied illegally on American citizens.


What we know about the passage of the bill today is that during the yearlong proceedings those who voted in-favor were receiving heavy donations from the very telecommunications companies who helped the president break the law.

Notably, John McCain did not vote for the bill, and
his comments yesterday criticizing the rival candidate raises the question of whether Obama has walked right into another "Roveian" trap.

We all knew that the wiretap lawsuits were going to go nowhere, and that this legislation was never necessary. But what happens if there is another successful attack on the continental United States anyway? Ted Kennedy did not vote on the legislation either, which is not to his credit, but also predictable. John Kerry voted against the bill. Unbelievably, Arlen Specter voted "yea."

Here's a rundown, mark it well:

Akaka (D-HI), Nay
Alexander (R-TN), Yea
Allard (R-CO), Yea
Barrasso (R-WY), Yea
Baucus (D-MT), Yea
Bayh (D-IN), Yea
Bennett (R-UT), Yea
Biden (D-DE), Nay
Bingaman (D-NM), Nay
Bond (R-MO), Yea
Boxer (D-CA), Nay
Brown (D-OH), Nay
Brownback (R-KS), Yea
Bunning (R-KY), Yea
Burr (R-NC), Yea
Byrd (D-WV), Nay
Cantwell (D-WA), Nay
Cardin (D-MD), Nay
Carper (D-DE), Yea
Casey (D-PA), Yea
Chambliss (R-GA), Yea
Clinton (D-NY), Nay
Coburn (R-OK), Yea
Cochran (R-MS), Yea
Coleman (R-MN), Yea
Collins (R-ME), Yea
Conrad (D-ND), Yea
Corker (R-TN), Yea
Cornyn (R-TX), Yea
Craig (R-ID), Yea
Crapo (R-ID), Yea
DeMint (R-SC), Yea
Dodd (D-CT), Nay
Dole (R-NC), Yea
Domenici (R-NM), Yea
Dorgan (D-ND), Nay
Durbin (D-IL), Nay
Ensign (R-NV), Yea
Enzi (R-WY), Yea
Feingold (D-WI), Nay
Feinstein (D-CA), Yea
Graham (R-SC), Yea
Grassley (R-IA), Yea
Gregg (R-NH), Yea
Hagel (R-NE), Yea
Harkin (D-IA), Nay
Hatch (R-UT), Yea
Hutchison (R-TX), Yea
Inhofe (R-OK), Yea
Inouye (D-HI), Yea
Isakson (R-GA), Yea
Johnson (D-SD), Yea
Kennedy (D-MA), Not Voting
Kerry (D-MA), Nay
Klobuchar (D-MN), Nay
Kohl (D-WI), Yea
Kyl (R-AZ), Yea
Landrieu (D-LA), Yea
Lautenberg (D-NJ), Nay
Leahy (D-VT), Nay
Levin (D-MI), Nay
Lieberman (ID-CT), Yea
Lincoln (D-AR), Yea
Lugar (R-IN), Yea
Martinez (R-FL), Yea
McCain (R-AZ), Not Voting
McCaskill (D-MO), Yea
McConnell (R-KY), Yea
Menendez (D-NJ), Nay
Mikulski (D-MD), Yea
Murkowski (R-AK), Yea
Murray (D-WA), Nay
Nelson (D-FL), Yea
Nelson (D-NE), Yea
Obama (D-IL), Yea
Pryor (D-AR), Yea
Reed (D-RI), Nay
Reid (D-NV), Nay
Roberts (R-KS), Yea
Rockefeller (D-WV), Yea
Salazar (D-CO), Yea
Sanders (I-VT), Nay
Schumer (D-NY), Nay
Sessions (R-AL), Not Voting
Shelby (R-AL), Yea
Smith (R-OR), Yea
Snowe (R-ME), Yea
Specter (R-PA), Yea
Stabenow (D-MI), Nay
Stevens (R-AK), Yea
Sununu (R-NH), Yea
Tester (D-MT), Nay
Thune (R-SD), Yea
Vitter (R-LA), Yea
Voinovich (R-OH), Yea
Warner (R-VA), Yea
Webb (D-VA), Yea
Whitehouse (D-RI), Yea
Wicker (R-MS), Yea
Wyden (D-OR), Nay

http://senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/roll_call_vote_cfm.cfm?congress=110&session=2&vote=00168

I want a Black president, just not this guy. It's time for a choice, a real one, and that choice is Ralph Nader. There are no long-shots in this political climate, no total wins for the public. What we must do is pressure the candidates. If they don't respond, we must take the responsible route and begin the work of creating third parties to apply pressure on our own terms.

You have to hand it to John McCain on this one, though it's even money that he supports H.R. 6304 wholeheartedly. Sen. Vitter voted "yea," but being the subject of wiretaps that were carefully suppressed for partisan reasons, he's just a tad biased. Of course the president "relishes" signing the legislation--he's not going to jail now. Wouldn't you? Barack Obama: he's probably already lost the race for the White House.

Ralph Nader had this--and much more--to say yesterday on the passage of H.R. 6304:

July 9, 2008
www.votenader.org
www.officialnaderstore.com


Listen to Ralph Nader's audio message on the Senate vote on FISA - here.

Good morning.

This is Ralph Nader.

Today is Wednesday July 9, 2008.

And I'm listening now to the debate on the Senate floor over legislation that will give President Bush new warrantless eavesdropping powers.

The bill will also grant immunity to telecom companies for cooperating with Mr. Bush in his illegal warrantless wiretapping on Americans - on any one of you.

We were taught as young children that in our democracy, under our system of justice, nobody is above the law - nobody.

But this bill puts the President and the telecom companies above the law.

It also conveniently assures a coverup of Mr. Bush's past crimes in this area - of wiretapping and surveillance.

On the Senate floor, Senator Feingold has just warned his colleagues that the Senate "will regret that we passed this legislation."

As my home state Senator, Christopher Dodd, said:

"If we pass this legislation, the Senate will ratify a domestic spying regime that has already concentrated far too much unaccountable power in the President's hands and will place the telecommunications companies above the law."

What does it say that Senators Dodd, Feingold, Harry Reid, and Patrick Leahy have led the valiant fight against this bill, but Senator Obama has said he will vote for it?

Again, this bill gives the President vast new warrantless eavesdropping powers and allows the government - for the first time ever - to tap into America's telecommunications networks with no judicial warrant requirement.

President Bush and the Democrats who support him argue that the telecommunications companies were only doing what they were told by the President and were acting as "patriotic corporate citizens."

This is pure hogwash.

First of all, corporations aren't citizens.

Second, the President can't order anyone - citizens or corporations - to break the law.

This legislation, which the Senate is debating right now, sets up a double standard of justice.

Break the law as a citizen, go to jail.

Break the law as a corporation, go to Washington and get immunity.

Remember, there were telecom companies, such as Qwest, that refused to follow President Bush's illegal wiretap orders and chose instead to obey the laws of the land.

The Senate is now posed to bury the rule of law.

What to do?

Join Nader/Gonzalez - the candidacy that will shift the power from the corporations back into the hands of the people.

Nader speaks at the Roxie in Santa Cruz, CA

We strongly oppose the wiretap surveillance legislation that Obama and McCain support.

We stand strongly with the American people and for the Constitution.

The Nader/Gonzalez campaign is now at six percent in the most recent CNN poll.

We're in the middle of a fundraising drive right now to put Nader/Gonzalez on the ballot in 45 states by September 20.

Help us get there now.

Go to votenader.org.

Donate to your heart's content.

For the Constitution.

For liberty.

For freedom.

For justice.

For shifting the power from the corporations, back into the hands of the American people.

"We the people" are the first words of the Constitution - we should always remember.

Thank you.

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