Thursday, March 13, 2008

Bush & Phone Companies DEMAND Immunity

In a political reality game show of Big Brother Survivor, Teleco's or phone companies, AT&T, Verizon et al, are pleading with President Bush to find the immunity trinket for them buried somewhere inside the Bernini bedecked halls of Congress. It was part of the government branch troika Bush kept bamboozled until about a month or so ago, despite the 2006 elections. Behemoth telecoms and phone companies were blindly dispensing your information to the US government on demand without a FISA court warrant. The House marked up its own wiretap bill, without the Bush immunity clause that has telecoms terrified, um vomit inducing worried, about their dastardly gained cha-ching billions lost from lawsuits brought on by class action suits from their American customers/hostages who want their rights and expectations to privacy back.

A whiny president trilled and trolled that national security is at stake and al Qaeda has an advantage without his law - they do. Bush gave it to them by invading Iraq and failing to read his super secret presidential newspaper published by the CIA on August 6, 2001, that told him exactly what was happening with Osama bin Laden - except al Qaeda was annoyingly interrupting his Crawford, Texas vacation at the former pig farm again. Bush tried to kick sand on the Joint Forces Command findings from the Pentagon report outlining al Qaeda not in Iraq when Saddam was in power because it reinforces the era of incompetence under Bush.

President Bush vowed to veto the House Democrats' version of the terrorist surveillance bill, saying it would undermine the nation's security.

House leaders said they would vote on the bill Friday, just before taking a two-week recess. The bill would then have to be approved by the Senate.

Bush opposes it in part because it doesn't provide full, retroactive legal protection to telecommunications companies that helped the government eavesdrop on their customers without court permission after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

FISA oversight, sorry - lack of oversight, must be legislated his way no matter what and you had better listen Congress because then he's going to stomp his Stride-rites and hold his breath or something. Congress has two basic legal questions for the president - why circumvent the judicial system granting an industry blanket immunity and what are they immunizing with out knowing? To quell the incessant executive branch tantrum, and Congress' detractors, like me, for their repeated bowing and scraping to the imperial president in capitulation after but kissing on this issue, the House of Representatives is invoking the closed door session rule for the first time in 25 years to discuss whether they should give away retroactive immunity to telecom corporations. This time there is something new. Over 60 lame senators, wingnut Republicans and a fair few wussy Democrats voted to give Bush what he wanted down to the hearts on the i in FISA, eviscerating the rule of law and America's best hopes for preservation of civil liberties.

While the House bill would not grant immunity, it would allow phone companies to present their defense in a closed-door U.S. district court, with the judge given access to confidential documents about the surveillance program.

"I think that is the proper way to decide whether they should have immunity or not -- not members of Congress' voting on it," Pelosi said.

Republican leaders "believe they have information relevant to the debate on FISA that cannot be publicly discussed," said House Democratic Leader Steny Hoyer.

The House bill would revamp the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), which requires the government receive secret-court approval to conduct electronic surveillance on foreign targets in the United States.
The House and Madame Speaker did not immediately go along, shocking the Bush White House. Immediately, the al Qaeda bogeyman was duly trotted out in two Bush radio addresses and a press briefing by the lame duck that nobody remembers.

For real details on how much was missed by the 9/11 Commissions, read the book from the reporter who spent years covering the commission and got eleven members and more staffers to speak on the record. The book goes to show how much information of everyones down to the keystroke is picked up by Carnivore and other programs run by the stealthy techno-spy-gadget NSA. The 9/11 Commission received an unprecedented historic opportunity to go through the massive data at the NSA that holds a treasure trove of intelligence. Guess what happened. Read Philip Shenon's jaw dropping The Commission: The Uncensored History of the 9/11 Investigation.

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