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The administration and Republicans on Capitol Hill are launching a new onslaught against our civil rights, attempting to leverage Chertoff's "gut feeling" into a vague and as yet undefined "new threat" that may or may not occur this summer, all in attempt to get a bill passed this week making significant and unwarranted changes to FISA. Another likely motivation is to try to take some of the heat off of Gonzales and distract the House Judiciary Committee from considering beginning an investigation into his impeachment.

The changes include allowing warrantless wiretapping of Americans on American soil, so long as someone on the other end is a target in a foreign country.  Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell misleadingly states that the problem is that they need "to obtain court orders to collect foreign intelligence about foreign targets located overseas" and that's too cumbersome.  Well, they can surely already do that under the law -- that is, unless the target is talking to someone in the U.S. and the wiretap is in the U.S.

According to the national security experts at the ACLU, what they are really looking for is getting at Americans' conversations without a warrant. The White House wants to be able to intercept any conversations -- both e-mails and phone calls -- between a foreign target and any U.S. person so long as their "primary purpose" is not obtaining the U.S. person's conversations. If their purpose is significantly, or substantially to obtain those U.S. persons' calls, the NSA would be able to intercept and retain those calls with impunity.

The administration is also pushing for a provision that would give immunity - from criminal prosecution as well as civil liability - for the telecom companies' participation in any future warrantless wiretapping program. That provision isn't included in the legislation they are trying to ram through this week, but McConnell has stated his intention to bring it back up in September.

Thus far, the Democrats in Congress are for some reason playing along. They may not take the entire White House proposal, but they seem to have accepted the argument something has to be done immediately and that they have to rush legislation through before the August recess. How much of the 4th Amendment will they give away in order to avoid being tagged with being soft on terror?

These changes, which Republicans are trying to sell as "technical fixes" go far beyond what might be necessary to update FISA. Those fixes are addressed by two pieces of legislation--the Schiff/Flake NSA Oversight Act (H.R.11), which would modernize the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) to respond to changes in technology and new threats, but would retain court supervision over domestic electronic surveillance. In the Senate, Feinstein and Specter have proposed legislation that would streamline the legal process for obtaining warrants. These are truly technical fixes that are reasonable responses to the need to help our intelligence services become more nimble, without sacrificing the 4th Amendment.

The GOP proposed legislation is absolutely unnecessary and absolutely should not be rushed through just on the word of this administration. Given the current stonewalling from Gonzales and the administration regarding warrantless wiretapping, they have no credibility on this issue. Particularly when all they've got for evidence is Michael Chertoff's gut.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Tue Jul 31, 2007 at 01:30 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  how does McConnell plan to do this? (0+ / 0-)

    He can't bring anything up.

  •  The legislation is an attempt to paint Democrats (44+ / 0-)

    as soft on terrorism so they can use it to distract next election. If Democrats fail to pass it and some terrorist incident happens they will use the failure to pass it like a club in the 2008 election.

    Pop-gun president lying with impunity, soundbyte policies and photo opportunities

    by Dave the Wave on Tue Jul 31, 2007 at 01:23:31 PM PDT

      •  mcjoan... one correction... (9+ / 0-)

           It is my understanding that the immunity proposal is not only for "future" protection. It is also set to cover all past wiretapping that they have done. The programs that are still going on at 15-20 sites with AT&T where the phone lines are split into a seaparate room where only the NSA has a key.

        Eisenhower- "We cannot mortgage the material assets of our grandchildren without risking the loss also of their political and spiritual heritage."

        by NC Dem on Tue Jul 31, 2007 at 02:08:17 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  That's my thought (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          praedor, NC Dem, kyril

          Make the law to cover what you are doing. That is what is the rush. They know it is just a matter of time and they will be exposed for what we know they are doing but can not prove as yet. So when the proof comes, they are covered. They are pushing this fast so they must expect the truth to come out very soon.

          Gore '08 , he won it once, he can win it again!!!

          by BarnBabe on Tue Jul 31, 2007 at 02:19:00 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  And who's granted immunity besides Telcos? (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          mcmom, Mary2002

          How many government officials will find their Get Out of Jail Free card in an artfully vague subcodicil or reference to a reference to a clause in some other bill?

          Democrats ought to go over this proposal with a fine tooth comb, or simply throw it out and "fix" FISA on their own.

          They should also make crystal clear to McConnell, Bush and everyone else that nothing moves on FISA until they get a full accounting of all "other intelligence activities" in closed session.  Bushco has to put its chips on the table if it wants to play this game.

          Prematurely anti-Bush since 1999.

          by Dallasdoc on Tue Jul 31, 2007 at 04:16:49 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  This, from Dave the Wave, (0+ / 0-)

        If Democrats fail to pass it and some terrorist incident happens they will use the failure to pass it like a club in the 2008 election.

        gives me a very unpleasant "gut feeling?"

        Thanks a lot, DICK!!!

        by Rumarhazzit on Tue Jul 31, 2007 at 04:14:42 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  My oh my (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      The Dems are getting alot of mileage out of that 'excuse'

      To some of us, who dare not say it on this site, it appears that Mr. Nader (who in reality is a rotten scumbag worthy of nothing but our derision) might have been edging towards the truth about the relative differences between the parties  . . . (but only in an alternative, non-reality based universe, of course) . . .

      •  Difference between parties (6+ / 0-)

        Of course, Nader was making that claim in the context of a run for President.

        It's entirely clear that a Gore or Kerry Presidency would have been nothing like the Bush Presidency, in terms of competence in combating terrorism, foreign policy, or civil liberties.

        Yes: there is less difference between a 45D-55R Senate under a Republican President and a 51D-49R Senate under that same President, than we would like.

        But the ego-driven Mr. Nader would never consider running for a lesser office, to actually affect government.

        •  Why is this "entirely clear"? (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          fugue, NC Dem, Thomas Twinnings

          The Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996, signed into law by Bill Clinton, greatly rolled back federal habeas corpus rights.

          The Democrats haven't shown a great willingness to protect Fourth Amendment rights for decades.  Their willingness to go along with the more draconian aspects of the War on Drugs (such as so-called "civil forfeiture") is outrageous.

          It is no accident that Russ Feingold was the only Senator to vote against USA PATRIOT the first time around.

          The Democrats are unquestionably less bad than the GOP on these issues. But that's simply not enough. And the Democratic record, taken on its own terms has been disgraceful.

          There's plenty of reason to think that a Gore or Kerry presidency would have been less bad than this one on civil liberties issues.  But there's no reason whatsoever to think that they'd have been "nothing like" this one.  

          The Bush administration is simply a more exaggerated version of bipartisan trends in the way the major parties have dealt with law and order issues over the last several decades.

          For a different perspective, check out Green Commons!

          by GreenSooner on Tue Jul 31, 2007 at 01:55:21 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Oh gee! (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            Help me  Rhonda

            Impeachment is not a Constitutional Crisis. Impeachment is the Cure for a Constitutional Crisis.-John Nichols

            by wishingwell on Tue Jul 31, 2007 at 02:29:34 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Less Bad is Not Good. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            Let's let our good friends in Congress know this.

            Peace is a family value.

            by Thomas Twinnings on Tue Jul 31, 2007 at 03:20:26 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  "Nothing like" (0+ / 0-)

            Roberts, Alito.

            I stand by nothing like.

            Yes, only Feingold opposed the PATRIOT Act, which really sucks -- several Senators from each Party should have opposed it simply on the basis of its hokey, half-witted, "Boy Americans are Stupid" name.

            That's my point. When the Congress -- and maybe especially a Democratic Congress, for better or worse -- faces a President from the other party, it is much weaker than it should be.

            The Nader campaign didn't address that problem at all.

        •  If 9-11 had happened on Gore's watch (0+ / 0-)

          Yes, I realize that that's an unlikely premise but if it had happened I suspect that his response would have made Mr. Bush cabal's response look like the doings of a bunch of boyscouts, both domestically and internationally.

          Heck, Mr. Gore was a self-proclaimed hawk who was hyping his role in the first gulf war as late as September 2002

          The Democrat went to some lengths, however, to emphasize his credentials as a "hawk" on foreign policy issues, especially Iraq. He noted that he was "one of the few Democrats in the Senate" in 1991 who crossed party lines and supported the war resolution introduced by the current president's father.


          Keep in mind that this was a decade after it came out that the first gulf war was every bit as strongly built on a foundation of lies as the current war.

          Yet Gore still was bragging about his role in it. And can we forget that he was a part of the administration that killed half a million Iraqi kids, even without the provocation of 9-11 (but thank God that was worth the price!).

          So, if Mr. Gore had been president on 9-11 with the right wing noise machine shrieking at full volume, just what do you think his response would have been?

          Perhaps, a hint might come from previous efforts to appease the WSJ pundits . . .

          •  Baloney. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            The First Gulf War followed the invasion of Kuwait. I've seen pictures.

            •  Umm, meaning what exactly? (0+ / 0-)

              Of what do you have pictures?

              Maybe of April Glapsie's tacit go-ahead to Saddam approving his invasion of Kuwait?

              U.S. Ambassador - We have no opinion on your Arab - Arab conflicts, such as your dispute with Kuwait


              Or maybe these pictures of the Kuwaiti Ambassador's daughter lying to Congress about the "babies-being-thrown-out-of-incubators that was instrumental in drumming up support for the favorable vote for the war?

              Or something else?

              •  The English language is dangerous (0+ / 0-)

                in the hands of fools and liars.

                You lied and said that GW I was "every bit" as much driven by lies and deception. I know the April Glaspie story; there certainly was incompetence at best.

                But you're peddling lies here, useful to no one.

                •  The bottom line is the Gulf War 1 WAS (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  every bit as manufactured of a war as Gulf War 2.

                  Since you obviously don't even consider the links I provide, I won't bother giving any more - but there are NYT articles (yeah, how reliable are they, but anyways, back then they were a tad more on the level) about the deliberate suppression of diplomatic efforts to resolve the conflict by the first Bush.  Instead, his adminstration hired PR firms to lie to congress and sell the war to the American public.  You can say that I'm am lying when I say that, but it is well verified. I really don't know why so-called 'progressives' are so adamant about denying undisputed facts (are you really claiming the Kuwaiti Ambassador's testimony to Congress wasnt a sham - and you call ME a liar, WTF?).

                  Have a nice life being a war-monger, I'm sure Hillary will nicely oblige you when she's president . . .

              •  Gulf War I was very different than the current (0+ / 0-)

                war, which is why Arab countries and African countries that often oppose the US were fearful enough about Saddam's expansionist plans that they supported that war and in many cases participated in the alliance.  It was largely about oil and geopolitics, but in a case where many countries joined the US in not wanting to see Saddam's power increased and his further ambitions (which he certainly had) encouraged.  You can argue for or against the first Gulf War, but you can't reasonably say it was the same as the unilateral invasion of Iraq in the service of Cheney's oil-thievery and PNAC visions of unchallenged global dominance.

                There is absolutely no evidence in any of his prior behavior that Gore would have invaded Iraq, pretending it was a response to 9/11.

                •  But, don't you find it just a bit odd (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  trevzb, dirtfarmer

                  and maybe even allows you to garner the tiniest amount of sympathy for Saddam - who was encouraged to invade two of his neighbors by the Reagan/Bush gang.  In the case of Iran, he was rewarded with personal visits from Rumsfeld and a bountiful supply of chemical weapons.  In the case of Kuwait, he was villified as Hitler II.  One lesson to be learned, I suppose, it doesn't pay to get in bed with the American neocons . . .  they won't hesitate to fuck you over as soon as it suits their purposes.

                •  If the Arab countries were so concerned (0+ / 0-)

                  about Saddam's expansionist plans, why didn't THEY take care of his invasion of Kuwait, instead of waiting for us to do it?  Lord knows we've equipped the Saudi's and the Gulf states with enough weaponry over the years to take care of their own regional problems - although it would dirty their hands and muss their hair a bit.

                  And of course now we're gearing up to sell those same Saudi's $20 billion more weapons - not to mention Egypt and Israel - and for what?  They won't be using them to "keep peace" in the region.  These arms sales will certainly do one thing, though: prove to Iran that the ONLY way they'll be able to protect themselves is by actually creating those atomic weapons.

                  EVERY DAY it's another fine mess this White House is planning.  I can almost not stand to get out of bed anymore.

                  "In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican." - H. L. Mencken

                  by SueDe on Tue Jul 31, 2007 at 08:38:59 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

            •  Baloney is right (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              Impeachment is not a Constitutional Crisis. Impeachment is the Cure for a Constitutional Crisis.-John Nichols

              by wishingwell on Tue Jul 31, 2007 at 02:30:12 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  Elwood, you rock ! (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          Impeachment is not a Constitutional Crisis. Impeachment is the Cure for a Constitutional Crisis.-John Nichols

          by wishingwell on Tue Jul 31, 2007 at 02:27:09 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  If I hear this one more f'ing time (15+ / 0-)

        if you really think that there was no difference between Gore and Bush, especially now with hindsight, then you seriously don't belong here.  Yeah, Democrats have problems, and they are nowhere near perfect.  Hell, I'm pissed at them half the time.  The alternative is worse.  We're living it.

    •  Reframe: "Wiretap All Americans Act" (18+ / 0-)

      or "Take Away Americans' Rights Act"
      or "Americans Have No Privacy Act"
      or "Terrorize Americans in their Homes Act"

      Considering Bushco's complete lack of credibility and devastating track record, this pathetic attempt at grabbing more of our rights should be laughed at and thrown back in their faces. And they should be called out for what they are trying to do.

    •  The other reason for "right now" (10+ / 0-)

      is that the Dems are closing in on Fredo's midnight visit to Ashcroft. If we're talking about "fixing" FISA, that will play nicely into their "we're doing nothing wrong" and "it's necessary to protect you" meme. Lord, these Dems that fall for the Rove/WH schtick make my head hurt...and my heart ache.

      •  Legalization of what's been a massive felony (14+ / 0-)

        Wiretapping domestic communications without a FISA warrant is a felony, punishable by five years in prison for each offense.  I would calculate that Fredo and his bosses, Dubya and Dick, have more than a billion years in prison coming to them if they were ever prosecuted.  Each.

        How has warrantless wiretapping worked until now to evade FISA requirements?  Technically, it's been facilitated by implementation of the 1994 CALEA Act, and the outsourcing of NSA surveillance functions to private telecoms and IT companies by the 2000 Project Groundbreaker overseen by Gen. Hayden.

        Millions of Americans are wiretapped every day without a warrant.  That's been going on since the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act of 1994 -- -- mandated that the telecoms all install traffic diverters or recording equipment.  The Internet Service Providers, too.  The data is all vaccumed up by NSA from the the nodes (major switching stations) of the major telecoms and ISPs.  NSA also has all the domain registry information worldwide.  That much is widely known.

        Now put it together with this.  The NSA, DHS, DIA and CIA now have the technology to manipulate that data in various useful ways, including mass profiling.  The alphabet agencies of the US intelligence community have been developing    sophisticated computer programs to "harvest" all that data and to classify each and every one of us into risk categories for a number of crimes, including terrorism.

        This isn't just speculation and Science Fiction. These profiling systems are under development by various agencies:


        The Bush administration is itching to update a snooping law to encompass new technologies, even as a DOJ report shows the FBI is using data mining on a dizzying array of U.S. citizens' non-terrorist activities: Think auto insurance fraud and Medicare claims abuse.
           The report covers six data-mining initiatives. Their summaries, as quoted from the DOJ's report:

           The System-to-Assess Risk (STAR) Initiative, which is not yet operational, will be designed to help FBI analysts prioritize the risks associated with individuals who have already been identified as persons of interest in connection with a specified terror threat. The initiative will not label anyone a terrorist, but is designed to save time in helping to narrow the field of individuals who may potentially merit further scrutiny with respect to a specific terrorist threat.

           The Identity Theft Intelligence Initiative examines and analyzes consumer complaints about identity theft in order to identify commonalities that may be indicative of major identity theft rings in a given geographic area. The initiative helps identify possible offenders who are the subject of multiple, similar consumer complaints in a given geographic area. This initiative has been used to identify major identity theft trends and organizations as well as generate leads for FBI field offices since 2003.

           The Health Care Fraud Initiative examines summary health care billing records in government and private insurance claims databases to help the FBI identify anomalies that may be indicative of fraud or over-billing by health care providers. Introduced in 2003, this initiative has resulted in the initiation of more than 50 FBI investigations and nearly 200 referrals to state and local and other federal agencies, resulting in numerous criminal convictions and civil settlements for violations of health care fraud statutes.

        •  Poindexter's program (7+ / 0-)

          Was called what, TIA?  Total Information Awareness.  TOTAL.

          "Wiretapping" had always meant interception of voice communications, it was later extended to encompass traffic on the internet.  This communication, however, is still language-based.  Words.  Who's talking to whom and what are they saying?  What internet address are people connecting to?  Who exchanges email with whom?  I believe this is the only kind of intercepted (wiretapped) communications FISA addresses.

          The TIA program, though, is different.  Think how much you could learn if you could tap into just the credit card purchase activity of everyone in the nation.

          I think that's what this is.  They want to accomplish, through FISA updates, what they were forbidden from doing with TIA.  TIA was kept alive after Congress killed it, just under a different name and with different people in charge of it.

          •  All totally illegal and unconstitutional, but (7+ / 0-)

            new government powers tend, these days, to evolve out of what's technologically possible rather than what's legal and acceptable to the majority.

            I have no problem with law enforcement having the capability to carry out electronic intercepts, provided they can show proper cause and obtain a warrant, first, for persons inside the U.S.  FISA is a very rational system, and it worked well until the Bush-Cheney Administration decided it was going to unilaterally change the rules of the game and watch all of us, all the time.  When the White House decided to cut out the judges, that went over the line into criminal wiretapping of private communications, whether voice or e-mail, that was a crime and a breach of trust with the American people.

            Similarly, I had no problem with efforts to mine  commercial databases, comine them with classified databases, and monitor open source communications on the web to detect terrorism and other serious crimes.  After all, you have no reasonable expectation of privacy when you apply for a credit card or post something on a public board.  But, when that information was automated and turned into a point system that could get you, me or anyone labelled a terrorist sympathizer without any probable cause or a warrant, that's an injury.

            We are on the brink of a new concept of government -  automated criminalization without any human intelligence, and without any due process, or means to correct the record, or even any awareness that one has done anything to become a criminal suspect.  On the basis of unknown evidence, U.S. Citizens can simply be made to disappear.  In other words, secret law, secret evidence, secret police, and secret punishment.  That's a mortal threat.

            I won't tolerate that.

            •  I agree with most of that (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              leveymg, Simplify, dirtfarmer

              I disagree you don't have an expectation of privacy when you get a credit card.  I am against them mining commercial databases.  But we can agree to disagree on that.

              Automated criminilization: absolutely.
              Secret law and secret evidence: absolutely

              Secret law and secret evidence were codified into law by FISA over 30 years ago.  It's a big hill to climb to get that undone.

              The stripping of rights guaranteed by the 4th and 5th ammendments has been an ongoing process for 50 years in this country and both parties are culpable.  Another big hill to climb.

              I also agree the Republicans are more aggressive about stripping those rights from us.  Bush and Cheney have supersized the effort.

            •  Torture tech has really progressed too - let's (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              leveymg, Simplify

              make it legal to use more of it! 'Kay?

              Dems keep losing me on all the big and important issues.  Some smoke and mirrors on minimum wage isn't really a good trade off.  

    •  So what? (6+ / 0-)

      Let them use it and be damned.

      They have no credibility except among the DC elite.

      Look at the polls!

    •  What I find depressing about this thread... (18+ / 0-) that it is largely about pretesting the excuses we're going to hear around here when the Democrats inevitably vote in favor of a "compromise" "reform" of FISA (we can even anticipate the cosponsors, can't we?...Sens. Graham and McCain from the GOP side; Sens. Feinstein and Lieberman from the Dems).

      "The mean ol' Republicans are mau-mauing the Dems again!!!!"

      Can the excuses.

      This isn't about electoral tactics. This is about fundamental values.  

      When a politician faces a direct threat to our Constitutional liberties and thinks "how will this effect my chances for reelection" he's already made the wrong decision.

      So not only is it ridiculous for the Democrats to cave under this worn-out and no-longer-effective bit of Rovian politicking, for them to even think about it is disgraceful (as it was in the past).

      We're talking about fundamental liberties here. People who don't understand that shouldn't be serving in Congress.

      For a different perspective, check out Green Commons!

      by GreenSooner on Tue Jul 31, 2007 at 01:48:01 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  And if the Democrats (6+ / 0-)

      fall for that old trick -- again -- they'll lose my respect, just as the republicans have.

      Our Bill of Rights is far more important than any one of us, any thousand of us, any building, any bridge, any company, any property. Without it, we're just like any oppressed subjects of any despotic regime in the world.

      I'm sick of cowards who cave in every time the bush mob says, BOO!

      Okay, I'm here. Now, where's that free government cheese?

      by Executive Odor on Tue Jul 31, 2007 at 01:53:37 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  This is different (0+ / 0-)

        This is over 40 years of accumulated "wisdom" you're trying to buck.  That NSA knows best.  "Trust us" has been the NSA's catchphrase for decades.  With both Dems and thugs going along with it.  This predates Bush.

        •  You are correct. (0+ / 0-)

          But the bushies have made these problems exponentially worse.

          I like nothing better than bucking 'conventional wisdom', because it's often neither. And I'm not one who believes that we have to tolerate the status quo just because it is.

          Okay, I'm here. Now, where's that free government cheese?

          by Executive Odor on Wed Aug 01, 2007 at 06:14:41 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  I am so tired of this BS from "REPUGS" (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      We know they are pulling all they can, and we need to fight back.  So, besides us and other progressive website, what can we do? Some think it ill advised to "take to the streets", and I'll admit to some fear of being "arrested for giving comfort to the enemies" which we all know is BS.  But, we all saw how the people of Mexico protested their election, in thousands!  Why can't we do it, too?  Who will be willing to help those who are incarcerated?

      I can't seem to find one that hasn't be taken.

      by Harper on Tue Jul 31, 2007 at 02:11:39 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  That and to immunize themselves from prosecution (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      leveymg, Paper Cup, dirtfarmer, kyril

      just like with torture and the Military Commissions Act.

      The key text of FISA:

      U.S. Code: Title 50,1809 - Criminal sanctions
      A. Prohibited activities
      A person is guilty of an offense if he intentionally:
      (1) engages in electronic surveillance under color of law except as authorized by statute; or
      (2) discloses or uses information obtained under color of law by electronic surveillance, knowing or having reason to know that the information was obtained through electronic surveillance not authorized by statute.
      C. Penalties
      An offense described in this section is punishable by a fine of not more than $10,000 or imprisonment for not more than five years, or both.

      Jail time.  More than a few people in the federal government and its agencies are liable for a boatload of jail time, as we speak.

      Government and laws are the agreement we all make to secure everyone's freedom.

      by Simplify on Tue Jul 31, 2007 at 02:16:36 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Think they may have stepped on their cranks (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mcmom, Thomas Twinnings

      on this one though--most Americans are pretty much innoculated to this tired schtick, and raising it as an issue will just further piss off anyone having any libertarian leanings that's still a Republican.

      Be bold, and mighty forces will come to your aid.
      --Basil King, Canadian novelist, 1859-1928

      by dallasdave on Tue Jul 31, 2007 at 03:09:56 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Why can't paint Republicans as (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Fiona West

      soft on the Constitution, soft on personal privacy.  These guys never give up, do they?

      Peace is a family value.

      by Thomas Twinnings on Tue Jul 31, 2007 at 03:18:41 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Given the stonewalling (12+ / 0-)

    Republicans have been doing you are exactly right...there is no rush on something as ridiculous as, let's never get it to a vote.

    Yeah, I'm trying out this blogging thing, too.

    by MLDB on Tue Jul 31, 2007 at 01:24:16 PM PDT

  •  Isn't FISA already toothless? (4+ / 0-)

    I mean, didn't the GOP already push through legislation that made what the president is doing legal?

    And aren't the FISA court provisions already painfully loose? I agree that a warrant should be fairly easy to get, but after the fact?

    So what is it they're trying to change and why?

    Draft a challenger for Jim Inhofe! Draft Andrew Rice

    by droogie6655321 on Tue Jul 31, 2007 at 01:24:31 PM PDT

  •  Reid needs to stand firm (20+ / 0-)


    that's the operative word, Senator Reid.

    Don't let them even get it to a committee table.

    PEACE, through superior DIPLOMACY!

    by Walt starr on Tue Jul 31, 2007 at 01:24:43 PM PDT

  •  Snarky answer: (10+ / 0-)

    The rush is that the convicted shoe bomber is somehow speaking from his jail cell insisting that Allah is going to set him free.  Sounds like they want to spy on Allah while he's talking to Richard Reid or something.

    Not snark question:

    How many times in recent memory do people around here recall convicted terrorists having access to media?  Anyone?

    The Bush Administration is yet again engaging in craven and cynical fear-mongering to further erode our rights and consolidate their power.

    Any Democrat who assissts them is a fool.

  •  The rush, of course, is a race against time (9+ / 0-)

    That time being when Congress manages to find it's power and slap handcuffs on these fucking pirates and throw them in the slammer so hard they bleed from their ears.

    They want to fuck up as much of the rule of law as they can before this happens.

    I say arrest them today, warrant or no warrant.

  •  Seems like they're trying to make their (18+ / 0-)

    law breaking legal retroactively.

    That's something I fear more then terrorism these days.

    "In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act." George Orwell

    by zic on Tue Jul 31, 2007 at 01:25:22 PM PDT

  •  when you say "michael Chertoff's gut"... (4+ / 0-)

    all I can picture is that huge Scottish guy that Mike Myers played in "Austin Powers"  shouting


    There may be tyrants and murderers and...they may seem invincible, but in the end they always fail. Think of it: always.

    by Dania Audax on Tue Jul 31, 2007 at 01:25:35 PM PDT

  •  I heard that FISA is antiquated ... is that .. (8+ / 0-)

    some akin to "quaint"?

  •  Link this to defunding of the war so Bush will (7+ / 0-)

    have to veto it.

    Pop-gun president lying with impunity, soundbyte policies and photo opportunities

    by Dave the Wave on Tue Jul 31, 2007 at 01:27:43 PM PDT

  •  My understanding of FISA (6+ / 0-)

    is that it never was a court in the usual sense, in that the statements of the FBI were taken on face value, and by law must be accepted by the judge.

    The value is this.  That if the taps were used for political purposes it would be in the affidavit to obtain the warrant.  If this were false, if the warrant were to simply look at legal opposition, this could come out and would be a criminal action by those who made the false statement.

    It was always the weakest of protection, which was enough as long as we had trust in the executive.  If you recall right after 9-11, the public was outraged that it was the technicalities of due process that allowed the killers to remain at large.

    This is why Bush's refusal to submit to this minimal oversight is so frightening.
    If anyone is the mood for more Billo, I wrote a pretty interesting piecehere.  

  •  There's still an election to steal (7+ / 0-)

    They still know that eavesdropping on the Dems will help them out in many ways.  I think they're trying to build up fresh blackmail material they'll be able to use to quickly return to power after 2008 - unless they manage to maintain power (which I can't see happening).

  •  Cheney and Rove are smirking (7+ / 0-)

    at the thought of the GOP in Congress continuing to do the admin's bidding, which is legitimated by such a rush to allow the admin to consolodate power. Let's hope that the Democrats have learned the lesson from past mistakes and don't rush anything through without careful scrutiny and debate; oh, and that they don't lose track of impeaching Gonzo.

    Stop bitching and start a revolution!

    by Randian on Tue Jul 31, 2007 at 01:29:11 PM PDT

    •  like the word letitimated. (0+ / 0-)

      ought to send it to Cobert.

      "In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act." George Orwell

      by zic on Tue Jul 31, 2007 at 01:29:57 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I hate to dash your hopes..... (5+ / 0-)

      but I don't think that the Dems have learned many lessons, despite Schumers admissions that they were hoodwinked over Roberts and Alito (hey, weren't they also hoodwinked over Iraq (time and time again), the Patriot Act, No Child Left Behind, Medicare Prescription Drug Plan, and so on, and so on).

      I read this today:

      House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) said Monday that a strongly positive report on progress on Iraq by Army Gen. David Petraeus likely would split Democrats in the House and impede his party's efforts to press for a timetable to end the war.

      Clyburn, in an interview with the video program PostTalk, said Democrats might be wise to wait for the Petraeus report, scheduled to be delivered in September, before charting next steps in their year-long struggle with President Bush over the direction of U.S. strategy.

      Clyburn noted that Petraeus carries significant weight among the 47 members of the Blue Dog caucus in the House, a group of moderate to conservative Democrats. Without their support, he said, Democratic leaders would find it virtually impossible to pass legislation setting a timetable for withdrawal.

      "I think there would be enough support in that group to want to stay the course and if the Republicans were to stay united as they have been, then it would be a problem for us," Clyburn said. "We, by and large, would be wise to wait on the report."

      So despite the spurts of spinal development, I fear that the Democrats are not really committed to bold action.  They are still afraid of the Republican noise machine, and as long as that fear controls them, no progress will be made and we will fall further and further into the abyss.

      Any party that would lie to start a war would also steal an election.

      by landrew on Tue Jul 31, 2007 at 01:37:34 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Just what I am afraid of (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        wishingwell, mcmom, kyril

        the blue dog tail wagging the rest of the D dog. Thanks for this info, though.

        Stop bitching and start a revolution!

        by Randian on Tue Jul 31, 2007 at 01:46:11 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I'm almost at the point... (0+ / 0-)

         ...where I WANT the Democrats to just do the DLC thing and cave to the Republicans on everything.

         Because the ensuing electoral rout they'll suffer in 2008 will have a cleansing effect. Sure, it'll mean Republicans will control everything, but it's not like it's going to be a whole lot different than it is now.

        "Le ciel est bleu, l'enfer est rouge."

        by Buzzer on Tue Jul 31, 2007 at 03:25:54 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Playing along is making nice (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    GreenSooner, bablhous, kyril, dstavro

    The democrats are complicit in many of the dirty deeds in Washington. That's what spins my head.

    I'm still trying to guage just how complicit. Other than a few hearings and a few vague threats, I'd say they are completely in cahoots.

    I hope they prove me wrong.

    The same people who want Libby free are the same people who rule out amnesty for illegals.

    by MouseOfSuburbia on Tue Jul 31, 2007 at 01:29:36 PM PDT

    •  Can't impeach Gonzo, as that distracts from... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mightymouse, seabos84, kyril

      Pelosi's agenda.  Further gutting FISA, however, appears to be part of the agenda.  What's wrong w/ this picture?

      I really expected more from this Congress.

      Some men see things as they are and ask why. I see things that never were and ask why not?

      by RFK Lives on Tue Jul 31, 2007 at 01:38:38 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Folks, it's not Left vs Right (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        trevzb, Mary2002

        it's Rich vs Poor.

        I really expected more from this Congress.

        This is about what I expected- a couple of persons of integrity attempting to do their jobs, and a whole lot of folks attempting to cover their asses.

        Expecting any group ( that understands it's interests) to act against it's own interest is unrealistic.

        Protecting our privacy? Not in their interest.

        Stranger than fiction? At this point,the truth is stranger than japanese cartoons...

        by Remembering Jello on Tue Jul 31, 2007 at 05:20:01 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  It just never stops does it? (4+ / 0-)

    And I just can't for the life of me understand why the Dems seem to be agreeable to this. We keep hearing how much safer we are now, how there's not been an attack since 9/11, etc. etc. What's changed? Nothing. Just some made up info about an old lady's ice pack and some cheese and wires. Maybe the cheese is responsible for Chertoff's gut.

    William Arthur Ward "If you believe in prayer, pray; if you believe in serving, serve; if you believe in giving, give."

    by TokenLiberal on Tue Jul 31, 2007 at 01:30:25 PM PDT

  •  This is ridiculous (9+ / 0-)

    Even the Feinstein/Specter "technical fix" is an unnecessary waste of Congress' time.  There is absolutely nothing about FISA that is antiquated or overly burdensome.  The NSA can wiretap someone for three days without a warrant under FISA, but then must stop unless the court signs off.  I fail to see how the law is not adequate to meet the needs of surveilling al Qaeda and any other terrorist groups the NSA wants to keep an eye on.

    The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it. --George Bernard Shaw

    by Categorically Imperative on Tue Jul 31, 2007 at 01:30:26 PM PDT

    •  Ah, but impeachment is off the table (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      because we can't take time away from our Democratic legislative agenda... of allowing the Republicans to "legalize" the Bush/Cheney administration's lawbreaking.

      Government and laws are the agreement we all make to secure everyone's freedom.

      by Simplify on Tue Jul 31, 2007 at 02:33:33 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  4th amendment rights? (4+ / 0-)

    Might as well give them all up. It's not like we're using them anyway.

    [-6.25, -5.59] If it weren't for physics and law enforcement, I'd be unstoppable.

    by Phil N DeBlanc on Tue Jul 31, 2007 at 01:31:12 PM PDT

  •  There should be NO amendments to FISA (15+ / 0-)

    Until the subpoenaed records are handed over and until Congress gets some answers.  I've read Conyers' letters to Fielding and he cites the need for the requested info before they can make any changes to FISA.  I hope Conyers stands firm on this.

  •  The failure to Impeach erodes our freedoms. (6+ / 0-)

    once again, Democratic weakness is inviting another Republican attack on our freedoms.

  •  Terrorist warnings admitted as political tools (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ek hornbeck, kyril

    Just ask Ari Fleischer and Tom Ridge, they might know a thing or two about manipulated terrorist warnings.  Or google it.  Or remember that whole "WMD in Iraq" thing that Bush jokes about now.

    At this point, the Republicans would certainly be better off with letting a terrorist attack happening.  So here's what Congress can do in the meantime: IMPEACH!  Then actually see what intelligence is verifiable -- and not just scare tactics of the like that let them appoint US Attorneys indefinitely -- from an executive branch that actually follows the Constitution.

  •  Simple response (7+ / 0-)

    Harry Reid needs to PUBLICLY refuse to consider this bill until the GOP ends its filibuster against timelines.

  •  What We Have Here, Ladies & Gentlemen (12+ / 0-)

    is an attempt by Republicans on Capitol Hill, acting in response to prompts from the WH, to grandfather a legal loophole into existence for what the government has been doing illegally and for what AG Alberto Gonzales has been turning himself into a pretzel over during Judiciary Committee hearings to avoid blurting out.

    My diary from today, "Conyers" Not the Wiretaps but the Database? deals with just this perversion:  The illegal gathering of information not pertinent to terrorism by any stretch of the imagination, but that can be of use politically to the Republicans.  As in making The List for Attorneygate.

    They burn our children in their wars and grow rich beyond the dreams of avarice.

    by Limelite on Tue Jul 31, 2007 at 01:39:47 PM PDT

    •  And if they manage to get it passed (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      trevzb, Limelite, kyril, junta0201

      Then the debate about the past illegal wiretapping will turn into an endless repetition of the following talking point: "Well, even if what was done was technically outside the line at that time, do we really want to punish people for acting to protect this country when even the Democrats agree that these methods should be legal? After all, they voted to allow them."

      45% of Americans for impeachment of George Bush, 54% for Dick Cheney. ARG Poll

      by dconrad on Tue Jul 31, 2007 at 01:51:56 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Is This a Case Where All the Drafts On the Right (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mcmom, dirtfarmer, kyril, junta0201

    will be written by AEI, Blackwater and such like?

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Tue Jul 31, 2007 at 01:39:48 PM PDT

  •  Of Course the Democrats Are Playing Along (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lysias, Phil N DeBlanc, junta0201

    The leadership of the Democratic Party has been undermining the Fourth Amendment for at least two decades: first in the name of the War on Drugs, more recently in the name of the Global War on Terra.

    Look at the votes on the USA PATRIOT Act or even on the military commissions act.

    In order for the Democrats to act as defenders of the Constitution against the Unitary Executive Dictatorship, they first have to believe in the Constitution.

    And if the Republicans simply view the Constitution as quaint, the Democrats have shown that they consider it at the very least not worth spending Dry Powder® on, and at most a useful chit to trade away for (often mis-)perceived electoral advantage.

    My bet is that the Dems are going to sell America down the river on this one...and quickly!  

    And if they do, I hope folks around take it as an occasion either to reconsider their loyalty to that party, or, at the very least, recognize that the Democratic Party needs to undergo fundamental ideological change if it is to be a force for progressive change in this country.

    For a different perspective, check out Green Commons!

    by GreenSooner on Tue Jul 31, 2007 at 01:40:56 PM PDT

  •  "Democrats in Congress... (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lysias, mcmom, Phil N DeBlanc, kyril, junta0201

    are for some reason playing along. They may not take the entire White House proposal, but they seem to have accepted the argument something has to be done immediately and that they have to rush legislation through before the August recess. How much of the 4th Amendment will they give away in order to avoid being tagged with being soft on terror?"


  •  I'm new here, but...... (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Joe Bob, trevzb, dirtfarmer, dconrad, junta0201

    Would this rush to push this bill through now, keep Gonzales from having committed high crimes and misdemeanors in the past?  Meaning that the illegal wiretapping that he has already done which will come to light very soon, was just a necessary step to fight terror that was ahead of its time??

    How can one impeach someone for doing what now the law says is ok?

    Is this why they are rushing it?

    •  Gonzo is toast (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Joe Bob, kyril

      Even if FISA gets amended.  He still lied to Congress.  The push to amend FISA is to provide cover for the big stuff they're doing without anyone knowing.  Make no mistake, nobody in the administration gives a crap about Gonzo (well, Bush may care, but he's of no consequence to the guys really running the show).  Cheney and Co. are just trying to put up as many roadblocks as possible b/c if Congress and the public find out what they've really been up to, all hell's gonna break loose.  

      Personally, I'm waiting on hell to break loose.

    •  That's where I was headed (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      My starting premise is that the Bush admin, et al,. are worthy of indictment at least for deliberately and repeatedly violating the terms of FISA. Likewise, I assume that they have violated the civil rights of Americans in ways we aren't even aware of yet.

      I can definitely see the revision of the FISA statutes as a way to provide the guilty parties with some political cover as well as some legal maneuvering room. While they can't retroactively legalize wrongdoing they can muddy the water enough to make it possible to escape accountability.

      Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read. - Groucho Marx

      by Joe Bob on Tue Jul 31, 2007 at 02:02:17 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Gonzo's screwed. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      trevzb, mcmom

      This is to protect Bush, Cheney, Rove etc. from whatever info may be revealed at future Gonzo-related hearings, now that the "I" gauntlet has been thrown down and executive privilege might stop working as a magic smokescreen.

      We have never been at war with Eurasia. We have always been at war with Eastasia.

      by kyril on Tue Jul 31, 2007 at 02:31:36 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Gonzo is on the hook for the USAs (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mcmom, kyril

      Most of the heat on Gonzo is due to the US Attorneys scandal, which is separate.

      But even if they legalize what you did after you did it, that doesn't (technically) help you. Just ask Genarlow Wilson.

      This is about consolidating the power to wiretap, making the Dems accomplices-after-the-fact, and scoring a political victory.

      Also, it's important to remember that "high crimes" doesn't necessarily mean crimes; as Jerry Ford once said, high crimes and misdemeanors are whatever a majority of the House thinks they are.

      45% of Americans for impeachment of George Bush, 54% for Dick Cheney. ARG Poll

      by dconrad on Tue Jul 31, 2007 at 02:44:30 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Guts (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SharaiP, kyril

    We all know about Chertoff and his gut. The way I look at it, as long as Russ Feingold and his guts are in Washington, there's a chance Congress might be constrained from doing something really stupid.

    The Bush Family: 0 for 4 in Wisconsin

    by Korkenzieher on Tue Jul 31, 2007 at 01:53:54 PM PDT

    •  comments (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I liked the way Feingold addressed this on FNS last weekend.  If they're really in a hurry and need the one change they keep talking about, fine, done deal, we'll give them that and nothing else.  But as usual it's more of a trojan horse, slipping in the unpalatable as afterthought.

      It's like the phrase "give them an inch and they'll take a mile" was invented for these guys.

  •  Addington, Cheney want post hoc justification ... (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lysias, mcmom, JML9999, kyril, junta0201

    My gut, and I spend many years on The Hill, says that the Gulag Gang of 2 have been doing something very close to what the Congressional Cult of Bush is now proposing, and I would not be surprised if Abu and others that briefed the Gang of 8 were in the dark as well (plausible deniability,thanks Ollie North) .... I  think this factor is driving the push exemplified in Chimpy's radio address this weekend- anyone catch the fact that some anti- Dem. rhetroic  was deleted- wish I could remember the link...anyway, while I agree that this fits the Rovian 'paint them as soft' playbook, used in normal times, these aren't normal times, and as the Thug Firewalls are being breached  , what better way to take the winds out of the discovery
    of the real spying program, not "the program the President disclosed" , or data mining or 'other intelligence activities' than to be able to say "You guys just approved what we had been doing because it was necessary for national security ....

    Chertoff's gut isn't driving this train - it is the  gut of the R-Thug Scandal Alumni Society (Cheney, Fielding et al) - maybe they can't learn from a science text, but the Compendium of Cover Ups          is required reading to get a job in this 'Administration' , even if you 'gradulated' from Regent or Liberty ....pass the Pepcid AC, please

  •  The Democrats must not fall for the pol fallacy (7+ / 0-)

    The politicians' fallacy (as I've heard it called):

    • Something must be done.
    • This is something.
    • Therefore, this must be done.

    This is basically the rationale that Debbie Stabenow sent me re the Military Commissions Act. The Republicans are going to push the "something must be done" line very hard on this, and the Democrats are agreeing with that because they want to Look Serious(TM) on security. From there, the slide down the rest of that slippery slope is short and fast.

    45% of Americans for impeachment of George Bush, 54% for Dick Cheney. ARG Poll

    by dconrad on Tue Jul 31, 2007 at 01:57:47 PM PDT

  •  Democrats Will Inherit the Tyranny (6+ / 0-)

    the Democrats in Congress are for some reason playing along

    The reason Democrats are playing along is patently obvious. Democrats want the House, the Senate, the White House, and all Bush/Cheney's tyrannical powers. Without that tricky Iraq War guilt that gets them caught.

    Democrats aren't as bad as Republicans. But mainly because Republicans are overachievers in their mutual game of doing the least for the people while doing the most for themselves (and select bribers). When Democrats inherit these powers, it will be too late to stop them. Certainly without completely destroying the country, without any opposition party to check or balance them.

    Democrats must impeach Cheney/Bush/Gonzales now. Before it's too late to stop them. By "them" I mean either Republicans, or Democrats who will be the new tyrants on the block in a year and a half.

    "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

    by DocGonzo on Tue Jul 31, 2007 at 01:59:32 PM PDT

    •  This is a salient point and the most (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      trevzb, DocGonzo, dirtfarmer

      trenchant reason to implement impeachment hearings. Power, whether constitutional or tyrannical, is extremely difficult to wrest from those who have it, be they Democrats or Republicans, particularly if that power is inherited through a legitimate election process. The illegal domestic spying program, the litany of unconstitutional activities that have been discussed here in depth, the lying to the citizenry initially to get us into this war and continually to perpetuate it, and the diurnal usurpation of civil liberties, the governmental balance of power, and anything resembling veracity must be held to account before the next election or those accountabilities will be forever lost to history. I am not, however, hopeful that anything approaching justice will ever touch this very-close-to omnipotent Executive Branch. In May, the perpicacious Nat Hentoff wrote an op-ed entitled Where FISA Reform Meets '1984':

      There is not yet universal individual surveillance, but as reporter Dan Kennedy wrote in the Boston Phoenix: "It's not that you're being watched. It's that you might be, and that you have no way of knowing whether you are or not." For one of many examples of how this administration reminds me of the slogan of the fabled and feared 19th-century Pinkerton Detective Agency "We never sleep," then-Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld instituted in 2002 the Counter-Intelligence Field Activity office (CIFA) to keep an unblinking eye on terrorism groups and foreign intelligence services inside the United States. CIFA, however, was barred by law from domestic spying on Americans.
         But CIFA's database in 2003 began to ignore that prohibition, gathering information as Mark Manzetti reported in the April 25 New York Times on "antiwar groups, churches, student activists" and other Americans who had been taught at some point in school that they had a First Amendment right to dissent from government policies.
         The Pentagon pictorially and vividly named this Pentagon CIFAdatabase "Talon" (a claw of a predatory animal). Much of what we have learned about Talon's extralegal activities came from a Freedom of Information Act request by the American Civil Liberties Union for documents that were released, under that law, by the Pentagon last year.
         Among Talon's trophies likely to have been shared with the databases of other intelligence agencies was an entry in 2005 that a "church service for peace" was about to be held in New York City. Presumably, Talon, through its liaisons with local enforcement agencies, informed the New York Police Department (long known for its "excesses" in surveillance) that this churchservice should be observed maybe with plainclothes officers in the pews.

      Do they really need more legal incentives and parameters to spy on us? How about if we just put that scary crypt keeper Chertoff in a box until September; or get him some Prilosec O/C.

  •  Giving in to bush's demands IS being soft on (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lysias, RickD, Simplify, kyril

    terror...why can't they understand that?  They're letting their fear of the GOP get the better of them.

    Once in a while you get shown the light in the strangest of places if you look at it right.

    by darthstar on Tue Jul 31, 2007 at 02:03:38 PM PDT

  •  And we can just take their word .,, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kyril, junta0201

    of honor on this, can't we?

    White House wants to be able to intercept any conversations -- both e-mails and phone calls -- between a foreign target and any U.S. person so long as their "primary purpose" is not obtaining the U.S. person's conversations

           More bullshit as usual.

    "Our enemies are innovative and resourceful,,,they never stop thinking of ways to harm our country and neither do we" G W Bush

    by irate on Tue Jul 31, 2007 at 02:04:16 PM PDT

  •  They better change anything.... (0+ / 0-)

    He can't add a signing statement to the current law, even though he ignored it, but he got caught.

    No matter what they send him he's going to attach a signing statement saying he can ignore this change!

    I say leave it alone until a Democrat is in the White House.

  •  What the fuck is wrong with these people? (8+ / 0-)

    And yes I mean the Democrats, too.  Any FISA related legislation should revolve around rolling it back to the Watergate era legislation just after we went through the last round of wiretapping, spying, bullying, and attempts to radically subvert our democracy.

    "Going along with it"


    Question authoritarianism.

    by m00nchild on Tue Jul 31, 2007 at 02:05:22 PM PDT

  •  Democrats voted for the Patriot Act... (7+ / 0-)
    without reading why would they stop now?  

    I'm only about 60% snarky here.  Why aren't Democrats taking any sort of (serious, operational ) lead now?

    •  I heard on Fox News tonight (they may of course (0+ / 0-)

      be lying) that the Democratic leaders in Congress plan to enact a FISA reform this week, before they go on recess.

      Doesn't give them much time to study the legislation, does it?

      Katrina was America's Chernobyl.

      by lysias on Tue Jul 31, 2007 at 03:58:25 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Spector on Blitzer just now... (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Blutodog, trevzb, wishingwell, kyril, junta0201

    let's fix FISA "FIRST", then address Gonzo....

    something smells funny to me....

    You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it think...

    by left my heart on Tue Jul 31, 2007 at 02:06:30 PM PDT

  •  FISA does NOT need "reforming". (7+ / 0-)

    FISA simply needs to be enforced.

    That means when it's violated, people need to be prosecuted, fined and jailed.


    The distinction that goes with mere office runs far ahead of the distinction that goes with actual achievement. H.L. Mencken

    by BenGoshi on Tue Jul 31, 2007 at 02:08:01 PM PDT

  •  Why the rush is obvious (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    trevzb, lysias, Simplify, kyril, junta0201

    Bush's FISA violations represent the most solid core of any potential impeqchment proceedings.  He knows that and is seeking to expunge that.  Tragically I have to go further and say taht the fact taht FISA represents the core of any potential impeachment against Bush may have something to do with the Democrats' concupiscence in the matter.

  •  This diary isn't angry enough (8+ / 0-)

    Why aren't we shouting this from the rooftops? The administration was spying on us ILLEGALLY before, so now since we know about it and they refuse to stop the program they're trying to make it legal by changing the law? They pulled this off with the torture bill, and now they sweep past transgressions (and current blatantly immoral practices) under the rug because they're now legal (even though they weren't at the time). We can't let them do that this time.

    How about you change the program, Rethug fuckheads? There's a REASON the law is the way it is. There's a REASON why what you were doing was ILLEGAL. It's called the CONSTITUTION. Try reading it sometime.

    And Dem congressmen, with all due respect, why in hell are you not standing up and shouting this from the rooftops yourselves? Remember that oath you swore? " support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic..."????? You going to break your oaths? How many of you are going to go along with this?

    We have never been at war with Eurasia. We have always been at war with Eastasia.

    by kyril on Tue Jul 31, 2007 at 02:09:38 PM PDT

    •  Edit: I forgot, some Dems in Congress (4+ / 0-)

      already broke it by voting for the clearly unconstitutional Patriot Act, the torture bill, etcetera. But I thought things were different now that you guys are the majority. I thought you weren't going to let the big bad Repugs shove you around anymore. Did you lie to us when you said you weren't going to be a rubber-stamp Congress? Huh? Because that's the biggest problem with the Rethugs: they LIE. Are you liars too?

      We have never been at war with Eurasia. We have always been at war with Eastasia.

      by kyril on Tue Jul 31, 2007 at 02:17:43 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  It's absurd that we're even talking about giving (6+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Blutodog, lysias, Simplify, drmah, kyril, junta0201

    ...Bush more power, when he's abused every power he has (and power he doesn't legally have) for over six years.

  •  Specter- Please Grow Some Cajones (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mcmom, kyril, junta0201

    When he finds out he's been had- and a program known only to the 4th Branch has been run, (see my detailed comment) providing Abu with 'Ollie North-Ronnie Rayguns plausible deniability ' maybe he'll get a shot of testosterone - I for one am weary of his 'Damn With Faint Praise' actions, while he worries about the PA primary voters who almost tossed him in 2004    

  •  Can Someone You Tube (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kyril, junta0201

    The speech by Howard Beale in "Network' Get up out of chairs, and yell it loud, I'm mad as hell, and I'm not going to take it any more"- and email it to the entire friggin Hill leadership

  •  Let's hope that Schumers new found wisdom (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lysias, Simplify, mcmom, kyril, junta0201

    on the Scotus applies here too, and that he can spread it to the others.

  •  We'll amend FISA as soon as Bush & Cheney (6+ / 0-)

    plead guilty to the violations of Title 50 United States Code, Chapter 36, Subchapter 1, Section 1800 et seq. ALREADY committed.

    That seems fair.

    "we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex" Dwight D. Eisenhower

    by bobdevo on Tue Jul 31, 2007 at 02:34:27 PM PDT

  •  alternative method (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    The administration seems to be tackling this problem from the wrong angle.  If federal judges were available, say, on a rotation schedule, at CIA headquarters or where ever this stuff is going on, they could be briefed on a situation and issue a warrant within half an hour of information coming in.  The briefings could then all be reviewed at a later time by a second judge and if it is apparent the first judge was purposely mis-informed in order to get a warrant, the government official responsible would be fined or sent to jail.

    I honestly don’t believe the federal government plans on using warrant-less wiretapping as some sort of evil secret way to collect information on political dissidents or sell valuable private sector secrets on the black market.  People don’t go into the CIA or FBI to make money or become high-profile witch hunters, believe me, and the temptation in the private sector to do some illegal and nefarious wiretapping is probably much greater than in the federal government. The motives of the administration really are national security.  However, messing with the fourth amendment is a very bad way of solving the problem.        

  •  Corner the Leaders at Yearly Kos! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Make them come to their senses in Chicago. We'll not let them leave the room til they do.

  •  No Reform till Sept. it looks like (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    According to the Hill, things may just have to wait till after the vacation.

    House Democrats canceled Tuesday’s planned hearing with Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell, prompting a rebuke from Republicans who want Congress to proceed quickly on updating a key surveillance law.

    The cancellation of the hearing comes amid an uproar in Congress over Attorney General Alberto Gonzales’s perceived lack of candor about a warrantless surveillance program and the Bush administration’s insistence that reform of the court process governing the eavesdropping program is needed in the face of a heightened terrorist threat.

    -8.63 -7.28 Ask " The Question "

    by OneCrankyDom on Tue Jul 31, 2007 at 02:46:24 PM PDT

  •  so should (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Remembering Jello, kyril

    so should we start every conversation we have on cell phones etc with " Can you here me now? How a about now gov goons?"

    Generals gathered in their masses Just like witches at black masses.. Evil minds that plot destruction Sorcerers of deaths construction..........

    by pissedpatriot on Tue Jul 31, 2007 at 02:48:12 PM PDT

    •  I think we should start every conversation (0+ / 0-)

      by reading the 4th Amendment, followed by the oath of service:

      Amendment IV
      The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

      I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter.

      Get that on record a few hundred million times.

      We have never been at war with Eurasia. We have always been at war with Eastasia.

      by kyril on Tue Jul 31, 2007 at 02:54:31 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  FISA Needs Update (0+ / 0-)

    FISA was created in the 70's.  A lot has changed since then.  I think it's a smart idea to update it.  

  •  They need to change the rules (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Blutodog, kyril

    Look at what they want to change-they are already doing it.  

    They've done this in the past-change the rules so what we are already doing is legal.

  •  This is strange (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Government intelligence gathering is already authorized when both ends of the conversation are foreign.

  •  It may be worse than just his gut (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lysias, junta0201

    Since it appears our intelligence is mostly outsourced now, who knows what data we can now trust, and which we can't?

    Over the past six years, a quiet revolution has occurred in the intelligence community toward wide-scale outsourcing to corporations and away from the long-established practice of keeping operations in US government hands, with only select outsourcing of certain jobs to independently contracted experts. Key functions of intelligence agencies are now run by private corporations. The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) revealed in May that 70 percent of the intelligence budget goes to contractors.

    For all practical purposes, effective control of the NSA is with private corporations, which run its support and management functions. As the Washington Post's Walter Pincus reported last year, more than 70 percent of the staff of the Pentagon's newest intelligence unit, CIFA (Counterintelligence Field Activity), is made up of corporate contractors. Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) lawyers revealed at a conference in May that contractors make up 51 percent of the staff in DIA offices. At the CIA, the situation is similar. Between 50 and 60 percent of the workforce of the CIA's most important directorate, the National Clandestine Service (NCS), responsible for the gathering of human intelligence, is composed of employees of for-profit corporations.

    So this corporate intelligence says 'be afraid!' and suddenly there is a new FISA law that will make all of the illegal domestic spying that has been going on... legal.  

    Banana republic anyone?

    •  This is the biggest angle (0+ / 0-)

      the Bushies want to hide.

      Perhaps they want to modify FISA so they can hand over responsibility for some of the intelligence gathering and analysis to non-US entities.

      Like Haliburton after they relocate to Dubai.

  •  The real problem is Bush and Cheney are fascists (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Blutodog, junta0201

    and Al Queda really does want to kill us.  The facing of two evils, enemies foreign and domestic, dooms a real debate.

    So do we "temporarily" give up some constitutional freedoms even if it wasn't BushCo in charge?  Even if it were Kerry or Gore or Hillary or Obama, who, as beaurocrats would likely push for some of the same changes?  

    I have, and will, say "No, we can do this within the laws as they stood before 9/11" But by focusing on the evils of BushCo and not placing the evils of AQ, AQI, the Saudis, the Iranians, etc... on an equal footing, we open ourselves to wingnut criticisms and lose some edge in this debate.  The problems can't be seperated, they must be (always) acknowledged.

    •  Al Qaeda may want to kill us, but their capacity (0+ / 0-)

      to do so is distinctly limited.

      Bushco's designs on our liberties are a much more immediate danger.

      Katrina was America's Chernobyl.

      by lysias on Tue Jul 31, 2007 at 03:54:50 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  They're both immediate dangers. (0+ / 0-)

        But I agree that BushCo is a longer lasting threat.  I hate to admit I had very mixed feelings about Roberts.  Also, if AQ could do another 9/11 they would, but because we can't trust any statements from BushCo we don't really know what that threat level is.

    •  No, they don't (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Al Queda really does want to kill us

      No, Al Queda wants US troops out of Muslim holy lands.

      Stranger than fiction? At this point,the truth is stranger than japanese cartoons...

      by Remembering Jello on Tue Jul 31, 2007 at 05:28:52 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Who cares why they want to kill us. (0+ / 0-)

        Do you think we should leave "muslim holy lands"?  Is that a valid reason for terrorism and the murder of thousands of people? (please don't link to the Iraq war, I don't think that is valid either)

        •  They don't want to kill us. They want us (0+ / 0-)

          to leave.
          I have no idea why we're acting as security guards for the House of Suad, so yes, I think we should curtail our very costly acivities in the Gulf.

          Is that a valid reason for terrorism? Not to me, but I've never attacked anybody.

          I won't link to the Iraq debacle, as the Trade Center incident had noting to do with Iraq. I will link those attacks to our activities in Afghanistan during the Afghan-Soviet conflict, and to our role in the increasing militarization of the Gulf.

          I mean, folks, if yer gonna call somebody " the Enemy", you should really know who they are.

          Stranger than fiction? At this point,the truth is stranger than japanese cartoons...

          by Remembering Jello on Wed Aug 01, 2007 at 05:51:40 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  More Fear mongering for Power (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    If the Demos. are so weak kneed at this juncture as to allow the BV$HIviks to make them cower under another phony terrorist threat, shame on them and shame on us for voting these cowards in. I'm sick of gutless Congresscritters giving away my Civil Rights just so a bunch of crazed fascists and they're enablers can start another WAR. WAKE the FUCK UP don't you people get it yet? Or a you like a bunch of Palovian dogs and every time BV$HCO rings the bell u run for cover?

    "It's better to die on your feet then live on your knees" E. Zapata

    by Blutodog on Tue Jul 31, 2007 at 03:35:45 PM PDT

    •  The terrorist threats are real. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      and quoting guerrilla heros and pretending the Islamisist threat is all bull, makes the left sound full of bull.  The threats from both sides (fascist and islamisist) are real and we need to deal with this reality.  Not with some faith based stupidity that got us in this mess in the first place.

      •  The Terrorists are Real (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        trevzb, junta0201

        Should we continue to allow our Fascist Gov't take away our rights because of them? If we allow them to do this the Terrorists have won.

        "It's better to die on your feet then live on your knees" E. Zapata

        by Blutodog on Tue Jul 31, 2007 at 04:25:53 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Absolutely not. (0+ / 0-)

          The threat from BushCo is a longer lasting threat than AQ et. al.  but both threats are immediate and real.   I also think that the perpetual anarchistic revolution of people like Zapata is as bad as the theo-monarchistic ambitions of BushCo and OBL.

          •  Zapata (0+ / 0-)

            Emilano Zapata was a great man and he was not an anarchist. He was a simple man trying to get the Mex. peasant a little land. Unfortunately, he failed. Today most of Mexico is still in the hands of a tiny aristocracy that can trace its roots back to Cortes. Zapata was not a Trotskyist or Maoist as your trying to portray him, he was a socialist revolutionary and agrarian reformer trying to get meaningful land reform. He was murdered for his efforts. Please don't try and kill his memory with mis-conceptions and historical half-truths.

            "It's better to die on your feet then live on your knees" E. Zapata

            by Blutodog on Wed Aug 01, 2007 at 06:43:55 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Zapata is a Mexican hero. (0+ / 0-)

              But, the result of his revolution is a perpetual state of violent opposition to redress the appropriation of land by the wealth few (I think you're wrong about Cortez, BTW).  Despite any validity of the cause I don't condone violence as the answer.  In any case, I'm more a satyagraha kind of guy.  A cause loses moral ground the moment they kill.

              •  I agree...kind of (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Mike Erwin

                Self-defense against violent fascists is necessary and its moral. Had Gandhi or King tried using their methods against Hitler or Stalin they would have been shot. This kind of resistance only works in societies that are quasi-sane. You cannot compare the British in India and the Southern sheriffs or even the South Afrikaners with Nazis and Communists. Zapata obviously was dealing with proto-fascists and tyrants with an inclination to settle political disputes with a gun.

                "It's better to die on your feet then live on your knees" E. Zapata

                by Blutodog on Wed Aug 01, 2007 at 08:37:22 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  The power of the ruling elite (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Mike Erwin

                  depends upon the support of the middle and working classes.  Passive moral resistance to moral wrongs gains the support of those classes and forces change in the higher eschelons of power.  Violent resistance gives those in power the excuse and support to continue or escalte their own violence.  

                  I can't fully agree that "non-sane" societies ruled by people such as Hitler and Stalin are good examples.  The first was overthrown by their expansionist tendencies.  Would either passive or violent internal resistance have been effective without the external forces at play there?The second, like Orwells dictatorship, relied on external wars to supress the non- and outer-party membership, so the internal-external argument is further clouded.  Also, the "axis of evil" is in current use as an argument for involvement in the affairs of other nations.  A very slippery slope.  

                  In the end, there are probably more examples where violent resistence has effected change than there are of peaceful protests.  But I would still maintain that using the less moral path for a moral cause detracts from the morality of the cause and leaves a residue of "bad" no matter the result or goal. The "bestest" was is never the "easiest" and using the ruthless politik of Atwater/Rove to defeat the same is not the "bestest."

                  •  The American Revol./Civil War (0+ / 0-)

                    I'm not sure either of these two situations could have been solved peacefully considering the groups involved. But, both probably had a better chance for resolution then ever coming to terms with Hitler or Stalin. That we avoided coming to blows with Stalin probably because he died.

                    "It's better to die on your feet then live on your knees" E. Zapata

                    by Blutodog on Wed Aug 01, 2007 at 03:38:33 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Why couldn't the American Revolution (0+ / 0-)

                      have been implemented with passive resistence?  It's true that the concept wasn't yet developed (maybe it was?) but there's no reason to believe it would have been ineffective it were.  The same could be said for both the American Civil War and Zapata's agrarian reform efforts.  Wouldn't sit down strikes by slaves and the refusal to transport Southern Cotton have had less casualties than the war where as many as 700,000 soldiers, or more than 2% of the nations entire population, died?
                      The difference from the Hitler/Stalin cases is that those were hegemonistic and involved external nation states.  It's primarily when we talk about stable societies and internal stresses then the path of passive resistence applies.

                      •  Questionable on the strikes (0+ / 0-)

                        I can just see the reaction to sit down strikes by slaves! Remember their "owners" didn't even consider them fully human. As for passive resistance as regards both the American Rev. and the Civil War I disagree. These were indeed Nat'l struggles for Independence. The South wanted to form and did form a new Nation. We did the same in 1776. If it was just about Slavery or just about the Stamp act, maybe. But it was about much more then any single issue. We are seeing today that in many respects the South is still fighting a rearguard action. BV$H is with out a doubt a "southern style" Pres. in the old 19th Century Ante-bell um mold.

                        "It's better to die on your feet then live on your knees" E. Zapata

                        by Blutodog on Thu Aug 02, 2007 at 11:37:21 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Interesting (0+ / 0-)

                          The South's cessesion was a "national struggle for independence"?

                          As for dumya, I think he's much closer to a dumbass plutocratic version of Machiavelli.

                          •  Southern Independence (0+ / 0-)

                            It was from their pt. of view. Even today thats how its taught in many southern states. We called it secession they called Independence. They lost but had they won today we'd have two American republics.

                            "It's better to die on your feet then live on your knees" E. Zapata

                            by Blutodog on Thu Aug 02, 2007 at 06:03:31 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  They can teach it however they want (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:

                            that they seceeded is a fact, they were in the Union so they seceeded.  They did it for slavery and the consequential economic benefits for the elite few slaveowners, despite some euphamistic declaration of "states rights".  If they won, the South would have become a pariah state (even if it took decades), slaves would have eventually revolted. If we were lucky, we'd have a post apartheid South Africa below us.  If not, god only knows what bloody mess there would be.

                          •  We agree (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Memory Corrupted

                            I was just pointing out how "they" or some of them view the Civil War. Its even called by some in the south "the War of Northern Aggression!" Whatever, I agree it was largely fought over slavery, because slavery is what produced the enormous profits for a small elite of plantation owners. Nevertheless, even after hundreds of thousands of soldiers died the South in defeat was able to marginalize and segregate its African-American pop. for over 100 yrs. and even today for the most part this segregation exists. Racism is dying hard. It still resonates today in the Repuke party which after the mid-60's became the final bastion for southern resistance to racial progress.

                            "It's better to die on your feet then live on your knees" E. Zapata

                            by Blutodog on Fri Aug 03, 2007 at 09:34:12 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  It's good to have a 10% disagreement (0+ / 0-)

                            In a way, your last observation supports my contention that peaceful protest is the more powerful tool.  The South was militarily defeated but not morally defeated.  Even the Northern carpetbaggers helped in the further repression of the former slave population.  I still believe if the slaves had rebelled and held the moral high ground, the ubermench mentality of the klansmen would probably have never taken hold and we'd be living in a much better society.  So. Africa and India are good examples, I wish there were more.

                          •  Progress (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Tropical Depression

                            "I still believe if the slaves had rebelled and held the moral high ground, the ubermench mentality of the klansmen would probably have never taken hold and we'd be living in a much better society."

                            Unfortunately, Gandhi and King's notions of peaceful resistance to oppression hadn't developed so any rebellion would have been met with the fury of a much larger reaction then the Klan. The real failure ironically was that of Pres. Grant himself. The man who wore down the South for 3 yrs. at a terrible price in blood and treasure in the end was worn down himself by southern resistance to reconstruction. He has been quoted as saying that the North couldn't impose its will on the South as regards the ex-slaves and having not responded ( militarily) to Klan violence in a huge and murderous killing spree in Louisana during his 1st term, he finally simply let the south do as it pleased as long as it didn't threaten rebellion again. In other words the ex-slaves and their children were shamefully thrown under the wheels. I think it was the shame of this non-action and not the so called corruption of Grant's cronies that marred this man's Pres. career. But, it hasn't come down to us that way because plenty of shame also would have been distributed to many others in the North that did nothing as well. The time had passed to do anything more for people of whom many believed were at a min. "inferior" and more then a few considered sub-human. It would be left to another time and generation to fight the fight for "Civil rights." Ironically today the ROBERTS Court is a return to the Plessey Court of the 1890's in many ways. This Court has already shown it will over turn every piece of Civil Rights, Labor and Personal Liberties precedents it can and I fear we will have to fight many of these battles over again in the future. In other word another generation in the future will be handed these battles once again. Nobody said social and political progress was going to happen in a straight line! Tyranny never sleeps and the "conditioning of a million years" which is what some call "human nature" isn't changed overnight.

                            "It's better to die on your feet then live on your knees" E. Zapata

                            by Blutodog on Sat Aug 04, 2007 at 09:17:01 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  a) We have to agree to disagree on the 1st part (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:

                            but I agree 100% with the rest.  Grant was a destroyed man by the time he was President, a tragedy on many levels.  And I think the more difficult path always requires the more capable leader.  There was no way he could have led such a damaged populace down a path of reconciliation.
                            b) I experienced some serious Schadenfreude when I heard about Roberts going to hospital. My first thoughts were; the Dems can hold off Bush long enough to get to choose the replacement.

                          •  We'll never know (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Tropical Depression

                            On the 1st part we'll never know the answer. We do know the record of horrific repression that followed the collapse of the reconstruction in the south. The lynchings and the destruction of whole towns by the Klan and their allies all with the tacit approval of the larger society. We saw this kind of murderous repression carried out to its ultimate end in Germany and the Soviet Union and China among many others.
                            Right now we have taken many steps back in the fight and I'm afraid the Roberts Ct. is poised to take us much further back. If we can keep the other side from using the "new" means at their disposal ( computerized voting) and other forms of election fraud from stealing more of our elections we might be able to stem the tide and even reverse it in the future. The jury is out on this however. The forces of repression are very strong and well funded and well organized. The core of the resistance to justice and freedom in this country lies within the Corp. elite itself. These men hate anything that gets in the way of their profits and their control. They use the religious elements on the right to strength the repression and give it a pious cover. We are back in an age of almost unfettered wealth and power. We have few Unions to protect our rights as workers and we have evn fewer judges to do the same. America is a dark place these days and growing darker by the hr.

                            "It's better to die on your feet then live on your knees" E. Zapata

                            by Blutodog on Sat Aug 04, 2007 at 11:26:16 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I don't see the future so darkly (0+ / 0-)

                            but I can't disagree with what you're saying.  

                            I'd like to reinforce that I believe in peaceful protest but not to the irrational exclusion of more agressive techniques.  Peaceful protest requires a stable and (mostly) rational society.  Stalins Russia and Hitlers Germany do not meet those requirements.  Pogroms and genocide, as in Rwanda and ex-Yugoslavia, are not controllable except by stronger force.  Post-Civil War and Contemporary America did/do.

                            Hope you had a great weekend...

        •  terrorists (0+ / 0-)

          and if we dont they have won.

  •  Michael Chertoff's gut? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    He didn't know the levees of New Orleans are broken for three days after the city was 20 feet under water.  His gut is as incompetent and negligent as Bush.  

  •  Chertoff's gut feeling is BS (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Blutodog, JML9999, junta0201

    Besides, why aren't any of the Dems screaming about Bush's failure to pursue Osama and his failed policy in Iraq causing Al Queda to be stronger than ever.  Why can't they point the blame right now, before anything happens, that if we are attcked again, it's because Bush failed in every possible way to counter terrorism. Fact is he created a worldwide monster.
    Screw this FISA legislation.  It's designed to cover the administration's ass and the Dems must not fall for it.  If they do, they are a disgrace to anyone with a shred of common sense.

    •  Chertoff should try Tums/Mylanta/Pepcid AC (0+ / 0-)

      maybe his gut will stop trying to turn this place into a police state.

      Be carefull what you shoot at, most things in here don't react well to bullets-Sean Connery .... Captain Marko Ramius -Hunt For Red October

      by JML9999 on Tue Jul 31, 2007 at 04:08:43 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  FISA and the Republicans' Constitutional Crisis (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Blutodog, JML9999

    From the beginning, the administration's amen corner has aggressive claimed that the 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) and the wartime Commander-in-Chief powers give President Bush the statutory and constitutional basis for sidestepping the FISA process for domestic electronic surveillance. But most in the GOP are downright sheepish when it comes to the third argument that logically flows from their first two: FISA itself is unconstitutional. Their trepidation is well founded; as a matter of law and of politics, an attack by Republicans on the constitutionality of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act is bound to fail.

    For the details, see:
    "FISA and the Republicans' Constitutional Crisis."

  •  so f*cking tired of this bs (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Wake me when the Democratic leadership stands up to the Bush administration.

    Intentionally breaking the law is an impeachable offense. (Duh!)

    by RickD on Tue Jul 31, 2007 at 04:14:40 PM PDT

  •  What's the rush?! (0+ / 0-)

    I haven't read all the comments yet, but that has to be a rhetorical question.

    "Better to die on your feet than to live on your knees"--Peter Garrett, Midnight Oil

    by o the umanity on Tue Jul 31, 2007 at 04:16:12 PM PDT

  •  Move Over Obama Girl! Meet Brownback Girl!!!! (0+ / 0-)

    this is hilarious

  •  IF Fascists want it, it IS Bad. PERIOD. WTF (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    is so confusing?

    excellent diary mcjoan, however

    our DC Dems are really really really sinking to a new level of worthlessness if they are gonna keep getting rolled by these bastards ...

    NOTHING these fuckers want is any good for any of us.


    Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look; He thinks too much: such men are dangerous

    by seabos84 on Tue Jul 31, 2007 at 04:29:07 PM PDT

  •  How big is this law? (0+ / 0-)

    Strange question yes I know but is this another 9000 page document like the patriot act(s) that no one will have time to read?

    Be carefull what you shoot at, most things in here don't react well to bullets-Sean Connery .... Captain Marko Ramius -Hunt For Red October

    by JML9999 on Tue Jul 31, 2007 at 04:29:38 PM PDT

  •  "Subjugating's hard...hard work." (0+ / 0-)

    The cheney/bush criminal cabal are working feverishly to gut American democracy. Wow, what busy little beavers these hollow little souls are!

    Anyone have the heart to tell them it's a losing battle? Nahhh, it's too much fun watching them labor in the murk of their own delusions.

    "That which you will not resist and mobilize to stop, you will learn--or be forced--to accept." Impeachment for treason is an American value.

    by Enough Talk Lets Get Busy on Tue Jul 31, 2007 at 04:45:48 PM PDT

  •  It's Obvious Why They Are in a Rush (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    The Bush Administration is trying to make the case that FISA is outdated, so that he can justify the illegal activities they've already done.  Changing FISA now will give him the chance to say, "see, we had to change the law because it was outdated, so I couldn't just follow the old FISA law."  The idea is that it will take the steam out of prosecuting him for his previous criminal behavior if they can make what he did not against the law now.  

  •  The Rumsfeld show (0+ / 0-)

    Tomorrow 10am est. Runmsfeld just announced he will appear and testify in front of the committee investigating the Pat Tillman death.  Must see TV.

  •  Military Commissions Act.. This is a rerun (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    trevzb, Mary2002

    Someone else has touched on this above.  The MCA was a major retroactive CYA for this administration.

    A year ago, Bush addressed congress to hurry and put this forward.  It was a disaster, yet, 12 democrats went and voted for it.

    This reminds me of that 'success' very much, sadly.

  •  I received a warning email about a bill (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    trevzb, Fiona West

    The bill (HR 3138) offered by Representative Heather Wilson (R-NM) redefines the meaning of 'electronic surveillance.  Her new definition subtly would expand the NSA's access to the telephone conversations and e-mail communications of Americans who have no connection to Al Qaeda or terrorism: and one party doesn't even have to be outside of the United States.

    As long as you're not the subject of a search, you should feel relief, right? Wrong. According to H.R. 3138, as long as the government doesn't target a specific person with "electronic surveillance," it should be able to search anyone's phone and email conversations. This bill is being given a hard push before the August recess, with the assumption that any member of Congress who doesn't vote for it isn't willing to do all that it takes to stop terrorism, even though the Administration has refused repeatedly to provide key information to Congress on its NSA wiretapping program(s).

    This one is particularly chilling, if in fact it has anything to do with whatever Bush and Gonzo are already hiding (and of course, we don't know yet.) That anyone is willing to vote on anything right now, without knowing what the White House is hiding, would be Patriot Act knee jerk all over again (and we know that that plays out for the American people and the Constitution.)

    According to theemail from the The Bill of Rights Defense Committee, the Bush administration is warning that if the Democratically controlled Congress fails to take this action before recess, it 'will be blamed for any terrorist attacks that may happen while they are gone.'  

    Within the span of one month.  When we haven't had any terrorist attacks within the country since 9-11.  How strange to imagine terrorists actually sitting around waiting for scary Congress to leave town before striking.

    It seems obvious to me that if Congress is such an effective deterrent of terrorism, then they should cancel recess and stay in Washington.  Obviously if they stay in town, the blame for any terrorist attack will remain with the White House, where it belongs (after all we're fighting them 'over there,' right?)  

    Besides, they have the White House (almost, kinda) on the ropes.  They can charge forward and pursue the Constitutional crisis already in progress.

    I'm no lawyer, but I do know that I wouldn't turn my back on these neocons for a second.  And I certainly wouldn't let them bully me into passing a law 'forgiving' any behavior that hasn't even been investigated due to obstruction of justice.

  •  The Rethugs know that (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Fiona West

    they are on the way out, but they want to do as much as possible to make it difficult for any succeeding administration to govern effectively or to undo most of the damage done. Accordingly the administration will likely continue to push draconian laws, bad treaties and poor economic policies.

    That is why I encourage our Congress to as a rule approve no Bush initiated legislation, treaties or judicial appointees. There may be exceptions, but to date I have not seen one.

    Leave the matter of religion to the family altar.... Keep the church and state forever separate. U.S.Grant

    by shigeru on Tue Jul 31, 2007 at 05:46:17 PM PDT

  •  Tie this in with the latest EO (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    The penalty that good men pay for not being interested in politics is to be governed by men worse than themselves - Plato, philosopher (427-347 BCE)

    by garykephart on Tue Jul 31, 2007 at 05:47:32 PM PDT

  •  You Are Absolutely Correct (0+ / 0-)


    Another likely motivation is to try to take some of the heat off of Gonzales and distract the House Judiciary Committee from considering beginning an investigation into his impeachment.

    The house should stall the republicons in any way possible and not be deterred from investigating the most public way possible.

    "... this country needs to hold a massive intervention. November 2008 sound good to you?" Digby / You bet! But sooner would be better.

    by SherriG on Tue Jul 31, 2007 at 06:06:22 PM PDT

  •  We will never forget! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    This is simply a continuation of the assault on our constitutional rights which began in the first term of the old Bush the early 1980’s, it continued through his 3rd term ending in 1992 back then it was to protect us from drugs and fund illegal covert wars.  While this Bush administration was bringing drugs into this country and provoking the illegal wars.  

    Just another day at the office for the Bush administration and his republicans in congress. It is so peculiar everyone seems to blames Cheney who granted is a despicable crook but no one seems to blame Daddy?

  •  It can only mean... (0+ / 0-)

    ...that what they're trying to ramrod through before the August recess is already going on and they're trying to legitimize it.

    Same as before.


  •  This has got to be back-burnered (0+ / 0-)

    As you indicate in your title, there is NO RUSH.  This is a game, this sudden desire to get through a bunch of police-state domestic spying policies.  They are trying to slide through cover for their illegal activities back in 2001 (and probably before).  There simply must be NO spying on any Americans without a warrant.  Period.  NO free pass for telco companies that spy for the government or allow the government free and full access to the toobz.  Period.

    In any case, I STILL don't see the issue they claim to have:  you can listen first, seek a warrant later (7 days isn't it?) if you have probable cause.  How is that not more than enough "freedom" to listen in on "terra-ists" on the phone or intertoobz?  How is it that being able to act first, as contingencies require, and then get full official imprimateur after the fact not MORE than enough?

    I am sick and tired of the whole criminal/nazi Poindexter TIA shit coming back again and again and again.  No means NO!  NO full-bore spying on Americans.  NO full-blown datamining of Americans sans probable cause and a warrant.  NO secret files on Americans.  EVER.

    Reichstag fire is to Hitler as 9/11 is to Bush

    by praedor on Wed Aug 01, 2007 at 05:19:21 AM PDT

  •  Experts at the ACLU (0+ / 0-)

    Yeah, that sounds like a great place to get your information from. I can't imagine the ACLU accusing Bush of wanting to take your civil liberties away.

    We are never going to know the full story on the whole NSA wiretapping deal, because its classified.

    If you are not able to see all the information then how you can you say it's not justified? Are you privy to all the classified information that Congress is?

    It's not stonewalling when Gonzalez refuses to speak publicly about a program that is classified and was illegally leaked to begin with.

    The people who leaked the NSA story to begin with should be in prison as should those at the NY Times who reported it.

  •  Wire tap (0+ / 0-)

    Didnt Robert Kennedy help the FBI wire tap Martin King?

  •  Inslee's bill introduced, cosponsors here (0+ / 0-)

    Title: Directing the Committee on the Judiciary to investigate whether Alberto R. Gonzales, Attorney General of the United States, should be impeached for high crimes and misdemeanors.
    Sponsor: Rep Inslee, Jay [WA-1] (introduced 7/31/2007)      Cosponsors (15)
    Latest Major Action: 7/31/2007 Referred to House committee. Status: Referred to the House Committee on Rules. COSPONSORS(15), ALPHABETICAL [followed by Cosponsors withdrawn]:     (Sort: by date)

         Rep Arcuri, Michael A. [NY-24] - 7/31/2007
         Rep Becerra, Xavier [CA-31] - 7/31/2007
         Rep Blumenauer, Earl [OR-3] - 7/31/2007
         Rep Braley, Bruce L. [IA-1] - 7/31/2007
         Rep Chandler, Ben [KY-6] - 7/31/2007
         Rep Clarke, Yvette D. [NY-11] - 7/31/2007
         Rep Cohen, Steve [TN-9] - 7/31/2007
         Rep DeFazio, Peter A. [OR-4] - 7/31/2007
         Rep Ellison, Keith [MN-5] - 7/31/2007
         Rep Hooley, Darlene [OR-5] - 7/31/2007
         Rep Johnson, Henry C. "Hank," Jr. [GA-4] - 7/31/2007
         Rep McCollum, Betty [MN-4] - 7/31/2007
         Rep Moore, Dennis [KS-3] - 7/31/2007
         Rep Udall, Tom [NM-3] - 7/31/2007
         Rep Wu, David [OR-1] - 7/31/2007

  •  The real reason (0+ / 0-)

    The real reason for the changes is to make phone tapping which is already going on more legal.

    Just my gut feeling based on recent stories that the phone taps we know about are only the tip of the iceberg.

  •  "Six Degrees of . . ." Surveillance? (0+ / 0-)

    I found this post by Brad DeLong at his "Shrillblog" yesterday very interesting (hope it's okay to quote it in its entirety):

    Why Ashcroft Threatened to Resign

    Gavin McNett writes:

    I'm just going to say this for the record. Please include this in your investigations and calculations.... The program that Ashcroft nearly resigned over included a component that clueless reporters are calling 'data mining,' but that was based on modern social-networking tech.

    It worked legally and empirically like this: If Bin Laden's cousin's ex-chauffeur emailed the sister-in-law of someone who emailed John Kerry's campaign director, it was 'fair game' to read that campaign director's emails.

    I researched this last year with phone and notebook, and what I'm saying now represents the consensus of the intelligence community, circa '06.

    Prof. DeLong doesn't link to anything, so I don't know if this was in a personal email from Gavin McNett (and I don't know much about McNett other than he writes regularly for salon, and is an occasional contributor at the NYTimes and the New Yorker) or what, but this seems awfully important if true.

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