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February 22, 2008

Check out the GOP’s latest scare tactic on FISA. It’s the kind of brazen fear-mongering that President Bush has honed to a fine art. Reminds you of a certain Kiefer Sutherland vehicle on primetime, no?

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Glenn Greenwald nailed this smear piece in Salon today, writing:

Just by the way, the whole premise of the ad is that we’re all about to be slaughtered because the Protect America Act expired. It expired because George Bush threatened to veto any extensions and House Republicans unanimously voted against any extension. Our blood, to be gushing shortly like a volcanic eruption, will be on their loving, protective hands.

By now you’ve likely heard of House Republicans’ theatrical walkout-to-a-planned-press-conference-on-the-House-steps shenanigans last week. Such a stunt, ostensibly to protest House Democrats’ refusal to rush the White House-approved FISA bill through a vote, was the Republicans’ attempt to blame Democrats for weakening the country’s spy capabilities. (It was also, one outlet noted, the GOP’s way of diverting attention from the contempt vote against White House stooges Harriet Miers and Josh Bolten.) What Dems did, in fact, was stand up for all Americans’ civil liberties, and we’d like to applaud them for that.

But before that, we’re asking House Dems to take a stand once again next week, when the White House and Republicans apply the full-court press to push through the Senate version of the FISA bill that grants immunity to phone companies and allows the government to spy on you, that’s right, you, without a warrant. We’d like to run this ad (right) to keep pressure on the Democrats not to cave to White House fear-mongering. Please help by making a contribution and, if you haven’t already, contact your House member and let them know spying without warrants and telecom immunity is un-American, and unconstitutional.

Republicans are refusing to negotiate with the Democrats on FISA. They’re taking an all-or-nothing position on this FISA bill. In a nutshell: President Bush is more concerned about protecting Verizon and AT&T than the American people: he’s willing sacrifice new FISA legislation and Americans’ safety on the altar of the telecommunications lobby.

House Dems maintain that everything-no immunity, individualized warrants-is on the table right now. We’re hoping they will propose some amendments to the Senate bill that will bring this FISA legislation back in line with the Constitution’s Fourth Amendment, and back in line with the desires of most Americans.

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