Posted by Curt on 23 February, 2008 at 9:09 am. 7 comments already!

In this post yesterday I helped show the various shady dealings going on between Nancy, Hillary, and Obama with big pharma….that evil scourge, as they enjoy likening it to. But even worse is the shady dealings going on between some Democrats and the trial lawyers that are putting our country at grave risk.

The Protect America Act FISA enhancements expired last week and now we are back to the 1978 bill that was so out of date it took special action by congress to allow it to even recognize things like email and cellphones.

Mukasey:

Some have claimed that expiration of the Protect America Act would not significantly affect our operations. Such claims are not supported by the facts. We are already losing capability due to the failure to address liability protection. Without the act in place, vital programs would be plunged into uncertainty and delay, and capabilities would continue to decline.

President Bush:


Some congressional leaders claim that this will not affect our security. They are wrong. Because Congress failed to act, it will be harder for our government to keep you safe from terrorist attack. At midnight, the Attorney General and the Director of National Intelligence will be stripped of their power to authorize new surveillance against terrorist threats abroad. This means that as terrorists change their tactics to avoid our surveillance, we may not have the tools we need to continue tracking them — and we may lose a vital lead that could prevent an attack on America.

What does all this mean, Scott Stanzel, the White House Deputy Press Secretary, spelled it all out to the typically dim Helen Thomas in answer to her question which most certainly must of been written by a first grader:

Q Well, if it’s lawful, why would you not get a warrant? It still prevails, doesn’t it?

MR. STANZEL: Because it’s — in 1978, as we talked about, during that period, in 1978, the law, Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, was passed, and that law was designed to help us gain intelligence on foreign targets in foreign lands. What we’re not wanting to do here is to extend constitutional protections to terrorists in foreign countries.

So it’s important that this law was modernized. It was modernized in August. As we talked about then, that the law was significantly outdated. You could have sat in that chair in 1978 and not had the ability to make a phone call from a cell phone; today you can. Today, you can send an e-mail from anywhere in the world via a Blackberry. The law was outdated, so it needed to be improved. It was improved. But Congress set a deadline for it to expire so they could review it some more and that — they missed that deadline. We gave them a 15-day extension.

The Senate used that time to pass a bipartisan bill that received over two-thirds support from the United States Senate, has a majority of support in the United States House. But the House leadership, which seems to be beholden to class-action trial attorneys in this matter, refused to let it come up for a vote. So they are more interested in protecting the interests of one of their constituencies than in protecting the interests of Americans.

But Democrats constantly tell us that the lapse is causing no harm. Everything already in the system can keep on trucking for up to a year. But this ignores the whole point. It’s not what has happened already that the White House and Republicans are worried about, its what hasn’t happened yet that worries us. And with the lapse of these enhancements we are back to 1978 with a slow plodding process to get a wiretap to listen and/or read what terrorists are saying.

Why in the world would these Democrats allow this all to lapse?

Court records and campaign contribution data reveal that 66 trial lawyers representing plaintiffs in lawsuits against these phone companies donated at least $1.5 million to Democrats, including 44 current Democratic senators.

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Sen. Barack Obama (D.-Ill.), who is in the running for the Democratic nomination, was given $28,650 from trial lawyers listed as counsel for plaintiffs who are suing those companies because they turned over phone records as a part of President Bush’s covert phone surveillance program. $19,150 of that was donated in the last year. Sen. Hillary Clinton (D.-N.Y), the other main contender for the Democratic presidential bid, also accepted money from trial lawyers on the case. Records show those lawyers have poured $34,800 to her and her husband’s campaigns over the years. $12,150 of those donations were made to her within the last year.”

The other 22 senators who opposed the amendment and have taken similar donations are: Joe Biden (Del.), Barbara Boxer (Calif.), Maria Cantwell (Wash.), Ben Cardin (M.D.), Chris Dodd (Conn.), Byron Dorgan (N.D.), Dick Durbin (Ill.), Russ Feingold (Wisc.), Teddy Kennedy (Mass.), John Kerry (Mass.), Amy Klobuchar (Minn.), Frank Lautenberg (N.J.), Patrick Leahy (Vt.), Carl Levin (Mich.) Robert Menendez (N.J.), Patty Murray (Wash.), Jack Reed (R.I.), Harry Reid (Nev.) Charles Schumer (N.Y.), Debbie Stabenow (Mich.), Jon Tester (Mont.) and Ron Wyden (Ore.).

Since 1997, Senate Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid (D.-Nev.) accepted donations from three lawyers working the FISA case that amount to $10,000. The No.2 Democrat in the Senate, Dick Durbin, who is charged with whipping votes, has accepted $18,350 from 1996 through 2007 from lawyers listed as counsel against phone companies.

Records show that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D.-Calif.) accepted $3,750 in donations to her campaigns and PACs from these lawyers from 1996-2001.

It’s all very simple really. The Democrats have chosen to play politics as usual and as a result our country is at greater risk.

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