Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Get Out of Jail Free

Well, it's happened. This afternoon around 3 CDT, the Senate voted to approve the FISA amendment bill with no amendments. Bush was last seen doing his happy dance in the Rose Garden with the AT&T exec that has been buggering him for the past 8 years. John McCain was seen far away from DC hoping no one pays attention to whether or not he supported it. And Sen. Obama voted in favor of the final bill...

Obama did, however, vote in favor of every amendment that would have stripped telecom immunity. Unfortunately, there were, on average, 15-17 Democratic senators willing to fight for the telecommunication companies -- among them my own Sen. McCaskill... According to Sen. Obama, the reason he voted in favor of the final bill is, in part, that it sets up Congressional oversight of any eavesdropping program via an inspector general -- something that should have been set in the original bill.

Oddly, contrary to what happened almost 5 months ago or two weeks ago, Sen. Clinton voted against the final bill. Kudos to her for finally taking a stand on this issue.

Final vote tallies:

I will update those vote tallies with the links to the actual votes so you can see where your representative voted on each thing when the Senate posts it.


no_slappz said...

john j, it's fascinating that you profess a high moral standard, yet you use a claim of homosexual anal sex to demean the president.

"Bush was last seen doing his happy dance in the Rose Garden with the AT&T exec that has been buggering him for the past 8 years."

I thought you approved of free sexual expression no matter what form it takes. Isn't that a law of the Democratic Party?

However, based on your comment, it appears you believe the catcher in these couplings is a lowly receptacle for his master's lust. I guess you're an anti-gay Democrat.

John J. said...

I don't care if AT&T's CEO is a man, woman, or donkey (I more expect the later) and I don't know which one has been doing what to whom. Either way, together they are screwing the American people and the Constitution.

Tom said...

In that case, maybe you should have said that the AT&T CEO and Bush were buggering the American Flag, or Uncle Sam. :-)

Either way, the vote results are very sad. I'm really sad that Claire voted the way she did. I'm surprised and happy that Clinton took a stand. I wonder why the change though.

Bill Stankus said...

FISA is just one more example of government-by-special interests.

The facade that average citizens matter is fast crumbling. For too long there's been a pop cultural myth of a benign government, more or less, doing the right things. The popular myths of democracy and civil rights as popularized and misinterpreted by those awash in apathy and ignorance is coming home to roost - and it is not what was expected by the peanut gallery.

We have the government we have because those that have vested interests (business, religion, war toys, etc.) have worked the halls of government on a daily basis. They are organized, financed and deliver their message with precision and authority. It goes without saying, elected representatives will do their job of representation - the complication is this: who delivers the goods when they lobby government?

Citizen groups tend to be under-financed, disorganized and, and while filled with zeal, tend not to have a one-voice approach when speaking to government. Nor do they offer much in the way of assisting elected representatives. Usually they are complaining, pleading and want some sort of change - things that are often difficult or near impossible for a single representative to deliver.

Quite possibly an elected representative will privately agree with the citizens groups but because of the need of a legislative majority, they are often helpless as a single voice. And knowing this, they tend to be wary of hot citizens and their causes. They are savvy people and they have their own agendas and they want re-election - it’s a gimme world so they are wary of causes and flash point causes.

The wealth and power of corporations in many ways is larger than that of government. Representatives know this and they then gravitate to the needs of the powerful. Plus, we now have too many elected people who came from special interest groups in the first place. They were initially elected when it was known that they were religious zealots, corporate or military mouthpieces.

Here’s a litmus test. In Blogland, how many people who write acid blasts about government or write critical comments to other bloggers are also active members of a group who stomp the halls of government? How many progressive, well intentioned people have ever visited the offices of their representatives? How many have set their regular life and career aside to lobby for a cause?

Personally, I don’t know if it’s too late to fix our governmental problems. After all it does work - just not in methods and conclusions favorable to many individuals.