mistakes unmade – maybe
The Democrats finally found some backbone on spying and the House voted today to reject immunity for telecoms who colluded with the NSA and the president, and to add more restrictions onto the Bush illegal spying program. Here’s Glenn Greenwald:
One Democrat after the next — of all stripes — delivered impassioned, defiant speeches in defense of the rule of law, oversight on presidential eavesdropping, and safeguards on government spying. They swatted away the GOP’s fear-mongering claims with the dismissive contempt such tactics deserve, rejecting the principle that has predominated political debate in this country since 9/11: that the threat of the Terrorists means we must live under the rule of an omnipotent President and a dismantled constitutional framework.
It is possible that the House will ultimately end up capitulating to the President, but I have real doubts about whether that will happen. They have defied the standard GOP Terrorism-exploitation attacks for weeks, allowed the Protect America Act to expire (once the President refused to extend it), and now passed a very good bill even in the midst of intense GOP/media attacks. They did so as a result of a shrewd strategy and a willingness to frame and engage the debate aggressively. … It’s hard not to believe that there’s not at least some significant sea change reflected by this.
Republicans convinced Democratic leaders to convene a secret session of the House on Thursday evening to discuss classified intelligence related to the phone companies’ role in the N.S.A. program. Republicans said the session was critical to understand what role the companies had played, but Democrats accused their counterparts of political grandstanding. It was the first secret session since 1983, when the House met behind closed doors to consider funding for the contra rebels in Nicaragua.