Monday, February 18, 2008

Which side is Rep. Price on regarding wiretapping?

Whenever Representative Price has been asked to support impeachment he has said that he is very concerned about the Administration's actions and that he is for resistance, but short of impeachment.  This past week Price, along with all of the State's Democrats and Republican Walter Jones (only Virginia Foxx voted no), did vote (on H Res 982) to cite White House Chief of Staff Joshua Bolton and former White House Counsel Harriet Miers for contempt, because they ignored subpoenas by Congress regarding the alleged politically motivated firings of US attorneys.  On the other hand, Price (and Butterfield, Etheridge, McIntyre, Shuler, and Miller) supported HR 5349, which would have extended the Protect America Act of 2007 (I think the final version is on as S 1927) for 21 days.  The 21-day extension, which was actually sponsored by the formerly pro-impeachment John Conyers, for domestic wiretapping failed to pass the House and so the program expired over the weekend.  My understanding is that investigations begun under the Act can continue, but no new surveillance can be started under that Act, but the government should have no problem doing whatever it is doing if it goes through the existing Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, if it is not doing anything illegal, and companies remain open to lawsuits for betraying their customers to the government.  

It looks like Price has bought into the Administration's criminality on this issue. 

Of course this week our Republican senators voted against a bill that among other things outlawed waterboarding (this relates to HR 2082, and it passed) and tried to grant immunity to the companies involved in domestic wiretapping (AT&T, Sprint Nextel, and Verizon Communications), by voting yes on S 2248, and no on an amendment to that bill.         

Friday, February 15, 2008

Discrediting the Senate

The N&O reports that the the Senate Ethics Committee"harshly criticized" Senator Larry Craig (R-IL), saying his actions "[constitute] improper conduct reflecting discreditably on the Senate."  Craig seems to have acted improperly, but the biggest discredit on the Senate is its refusal to stand up to the Administration.  They refuse to support impeachment and really they are about as bad as Bush and Cheney, so of course they do not support punishing the criminal acts they have helped the Administration commit.  Consider another item in the news, that the Senate wants to prevent lawsuits against telecommunication companies for collaborating with the government's warrantless spying on Americans.  Even the House did not give the companies immunity.  On top of all of this, the Congress has not ended this violation of FISA.  Don't expect them to do much if an attempt to burn down Congress or some other, more in fashion style of terrorism, is used to install full-blown fascism, which is already practically legal anyway.  The 6 members of the Ethics Committee are Chair Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Vice Chair John Cornyn (R-TX), Mark Pryor (D-AR), Ken Salazar (D-CO), Pat Roberts (R-KS), and Isakson (R-GA), and it would be interesting to see how they have voted on the major issues.  The Committee's website is