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Mother ship  II posted.

The debate to give the administration and telecoms retroactive immunity is underway on the senate floor now.

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Live Blog # 2 by gchaucer2

Live Blog # 3 greenchiledem

Live Blog # 4 by Remembering Jello  

Live Blog # 5 by RichM

Live Blog # 6 by Themomcat

Live Blog # 7 by Moody Loner

Live blog # 8 by jrooth

Kit Bond is explaining that there is no more important legislation than this one because immunity for the telecoms makes America safe. Rockefeller explained earlier that the telecoms are patriotic, which is why they betrayed the country by the release of private information to the government, without a warrant.

Bond and Rockefeller emphasise that retroactive immunity is bipartisan, but responsibility to the rule of law is only a Democratic cause. Rockefeller also complained that they worked hard on the Intelligence Committee version of the bill.

Reid supports immunity, but says he opposes it. There is no doubt that those who support the constitution will be defeated again today, but Dodd is reportedly going to force them into the light of day before they take this next horrific step toward fascism.

You may wish to call your senator to express your disgust.

Watch it and weep on C-SPAN here.

Update at 9:34

All the arguments have been predictable. The talking points for those supporting immunity are, "bipartisan" "terror" and "patriotic acts of telcom companies." They also warn that allowing responsibility is doomed because the President would veto it.

The only statement of interest so far came from Kay Bailey Hutchison who said the patriotic telecoms need immunity  "for these actions as well as those going forward". That's right, Hutchison says the bill includes proactive permission to break the law.

Update at 10:38:

Saxby Chambliss also demands prospective immunity.  

Update at 12:08

From Remembering Jello's # 4 Live blog:

Recap of debate so far:

Sen. Kit Bond (Judiciary member) was the first to speak. He says we need the Intelligence bill to protect the troops and protect us from another terrorist attack. (My interpretation: Protect the administration from further investigation.)

Sen. Russ Feingold (Judiciary Member) notes the differences between these bills is that the JCommittee bill protects the privacy of the citizens who are doing nothing wrong and reigns in the administration from having the oversight. Trust us is not enough. (I heart Sen. Feingold!)

Sen. Bill Nelson-FL (Judiciary Member) Bill crafted so that intelligence can do thier job yet protect the civil liberties of the US citizen. He will introduce the Nelson/Feinstein amendment that calls for FISC review to immunity. He will vote for immunity if that's what the final bill has in it. (So I guess this means he wont support Sen. Dodd's fillibuster.)

Sen. Rockefeller asks for JCommittee bill vote to be held at 2pm ET.

Sen. Hutchison-TX We have to pass this bill today. FISA expires in 9 days! Our enemies wont' expire in 9 days. We must be able to go to a company and ask for their help by granting immunity. (Scare! Scare! Scare! Fear! Fear! Fear!)

Sen. Brownback-KS Supports bi-partisan bill (intelligence committee) because the Prez has promised to veto the JCommittee bill and we don't have time to waste! We only have 9 days!

Sen. Durbin-IL He will support Judiciary Committee substitute. Years ago we (Congress) gave this government the tools but they took advantage and now we must act and support the substitute. Torture, unauthorized wire-taps, water boarding, etc. were all done because of the current FISA. Granting amnesty for people who torture is unforgivable. Quoting Gen. Powell - "Close this embarrassment!" Is there any more grievous sin than to mislead the public into a war?

Sen. Spector
( F#^ker)-PA (Judiciary member) We are engaged in the continuation of a historic debate. There is grave concern to have an appropriate balance. Administration has disregarded the statute and congress has been ineffective on oversight. Courts have filled the void. We consider today jurisdiction stripping vs. continued access to the courts. My view is an accommodation to keep courts open and allow electronic surveillance to continue. Sen. Whitehouse and I have a substitute that provides that. (This wasn't anticipated in the Tagris agenda for today. Must have happened overnight.)

Sen. Leahy-VT (Judiciary Chairman) Calling for real oversight.

Sen. Dodd-CT  Immunity in previous version may have helped this administration break the law. It is wrong because is shuts out our oversight. This administration has been overreaching. There is a pattern of behavior when it comes to rule of law and civil liberties. It would still be ongoing today if not for whistle blower. Objects to retroactive immunity for this admin and any admin. Concentrates power in one branch.
A dangerous, dangerous step. FISA was written precisely to prevent this but there has been abuse. These changes fix that. Intell committee bill offers a semblance of oversight but not real oversight. (I do hope he gets support to filibuster.)

Sen. Chamblis-GA Supports intel bill and says judiciary bill ignores needs of ... (of our prez to do anything he wants.)

Oh- and Orrin Hatch is a tool. Not a very sharp one, either... He made some mouth noises, but Orrin Hatch is a tool pretty much covers it.


The Judiciary bill was voted down by a wide margin with many Democrats voting with Republicans to table the bill.

Live blog volunteers:

# 2-gchaucer2

# 3-greenchiledem

# 4-Remembering Jello

# 5-RichM

# 6-Themomcat

# 7-Moody Loner

# 8-robroser

# 9- jrooth

# 10-kimoconnor

# 11-Volunteer needed

Originally posted to lgcap on Thu Jan 24, 2008 at 07:25 AM PST.

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