A quick observation about changing motivations…posted by Bill Arnett @ 2:49 PM Permalink sparked by this WaPo article, "House Passes New Surveillance Bill":
The House on Friday narrowly approved a Democratic bill that would set rules for the government's eavesdropping on phone calls and e-mails inside the United States.I am proud that House Democrats, unlike those in the Senate, have called a spade a spade, a liar a liar, and have refused to knuckle under to the Neanderthal, knuckle dragging, mouth-breathing Republicans who would bring back the Spanish Inquisition if they thought they could get away with it.
The bill, approved as lawmakers departed for a two-week break, faces a veto threat from President Bush. The margin of House approval was 213 to 197, largely along party lines.
Because of the promised veto, "this vote has no impact at all," said Republican Whip Rep. Roy Blunt of Missouri.
The president's main objection is that the bill does not protect from lawsuits the telecommunications companies that allowed the government to eavesdrop on their customers without a court's permission after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.[…]
Without that provision, House Republicans said, the companies won't cooperate with U.S. intelligence.
"We cannot conduct foreign surveillance without them. But if we continue to subject them to billion-dollar lawsuits, we risk losing their cooperation in the future," said Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas.
The government does have the power to compel telecommunications companies to cooperate with wiretaps if it gets warrants from a secret court. The government apparently did not get such warrants before initiating the post-9/11 wiretaps, which are the basis for the lawsuits.
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Silvestre Reyes, D-Texas, said the bill is meant to fix that. It would let a judge determine whether lawsuits should be dismissed, rather than having Congress make that decision.
"I believe that the nation is deeply concerned about what has gone on for the last seven years, and I want to restore some of the trust in the intelligence community," Reyes said.[…]
Then the House went off script. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) responded to Bush's appeal, all but calling the president a liar.
"The president says Democrats in Congress should not be deceived. They are not deceived. They know the law. They know the Constitution. We understand our responsibility to protect the American people. What the President is trying to do is something that we think should be stopped," she said, adding, "I am stating a fact. The president is wrong, and he knows it."[…]
Republicans agreed the secret session proved to be deflating, not because of the quality of the evidence but because of the Democrats' unwillingness to listen. Rep. Peter Hoekstra (Mich.), the ranking Republican on the House intelligence committee, said he referenced 25 different documents deemed secret, the lowest level of classification, but classified nonetheless.[…]
Republicans maintain that telecommunications firms must be granted strong, retroactive legal protections to guarantee their ongoing cooperation with intelligence efforts. They say the House legislation seeks to criminalize the intelligence community with unwarranted investigations and would add onerous levels of bureaucracy to wiretapping efforts that require split-second responses. [By now everyone knows that the government can start a "split-second response" phone tap and obtain a warrant at a later date, so NOTHING bush is stating is true. Bill]
Democrats counter that they cannot offer immunity without knowing precisely what actions they are forgiving. By turning the issue over to the courts, they said they have compromised with the White House's position. And they say they their [sic] legislation grants Bush all the authority he needs to conduct surveillance.
By the terms of the FISA laws bush does indeed have all the authority lawfully required to carry out surveillance and he knows it. This entire B.S. argument of bush and the Rethugs is simply to cover-up the wrongdoing of companies that have plenty of highly paid attorneys that should have advised them that what bush wanted immediately after 9/11 was illegal, but they voluntarily broke the law at the request of the most law-breaking president in history and they should not, therefore, get a free pass.
Chicken Little bush must by now be aware that Earth has not spun off its axis, no plagues have been visited upon America, except those imposed by Rethugs, that bush, with his magic surveillance powers could not and did not stop the ELF domestic terrorist attack in Washington state, and that telephone company cooperation may be had simply by getting the proper warrant.
Besides, at this late stage, it should be a new president with a new congress that should be deciding the course of the nation, not the same old people spouting the same old nonsense espoused by a GOP that cares not for anything but corporate profits and how to protect them at all cost, no matter how detrimental to our society, culture, and country.