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On Monday, the Senate will begin consideration of the deeply flawed FISA measure from the Senate Intelligence Committee that expands the government’s powers and gives undeserved amnesty to the telcos. Chris Dodd has promised to filibuster any bill that contains telco amnesty, and his fellow presidential candidates have promised to support his filibuster.

Call Senators Biden, Clinton and Obama and urge them to keep that promise. Call Senators Feingold, Sanders, Menendez, Brown, Harkin, Cardin, Akaka, Webb, Kennedy and Boxer, all of whom signed onto a letter asking Reid to proceed with legislation that specifically does not contain amnesty, and urge them to follow through by supporting Dodd's filibuster. Call your own Senators to ask that they join in. Use the whip count tool from Chris Dodd to contact your Senators. Fill up their voicemails and inboxes this weekend.

Surely 41 Democrats will be willing to side with the American people over the telco industry, over protecting our civil rights over the rights of these corporations to get of the hook for illegally spying on us.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Sat Dec 15, 2007 at 02:33 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Would do it (11+ / 0-)

    even if it wasn'ta snowy weekend, but it is with pleasure, determination, and a cup of hot cocoa, I will get to this.
    This has to be filibustered and hopefully defeated.

    "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter." Martin Luther King Jr."

    by Oke on Sat Dec 15, 2007 at 02:37:31 PM PST

  •  Remember By killing this beast (12+ / 0-)

    we're not protecting terrorists we're protecting all Americans some of whom are too foolish or scared to protect themselves and their constitution

    Be careful 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 Sat Dec 15, 2007 at 02:37:56 PM PST

  •  We can hope and pray (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    vanguardia, Oke, dkmich, JML9999

    And get on the damn phone.

    Blind faith in bad leaders is not patriotism - Rocky Anderson

    by librarianman on Sat Dec 15, 2007 at 02:38:04 PM PST

    •  Well I contacted Levin & Stabenow, (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Oke, StrayCat, North Country Dem

      but I am not optimistic about this bunch.

      •  Levin is a waste of time (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        dkmich, StrayCat, ImpeachKingBushII

        I have given up calling Carl Levin's offices.  I invariably get some bored, snotty-nosed 20 something who proceeds to tell me some misinformed dribble, I never get asked for my name so they can send a response, and it does absolutely no good.  Levin apparently has gone INCOGNITO in the fight for Democratic principles.

        Debbie Stabenow has a somewhat better record.  She did, after all, vote against the original authorization for use of force against Iraq.  But Levin has been in office too long, since 1978.  He apparently feels invincible.  He needs a good progressive challenger, even a token one, next year.

        •  Him and Sander Levin have both been around (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          North Country Dem

          way too long.

        •  I'm courteous but firm... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          North Country Dem

          ...As a full-time Dem activist I talk to congressional and Senate staffs all over the country. I'm short and to the point. I never make threats or argue with them, but I don't mince words and I always speak my mind. Never been hung-up on or yelled at. Mainly they just do a lot of listening, because I do my homework, stay on the cutting edge, and know what the hell(excuse my french but I'm stoked today for some reason) I'm talking about!

          Plus, it doesn't hurt to tell them that their reply just might appear in print here on the Front Page of Dkos or on the Editorial pages of the top 100 newspapers. They despise bad press more than they fear a pay cut or losing re-election!

          "Great men do not commit murder. Great nations do not start wars". William Jennings Bryan

          by ImpeachKingBushII on Sat Dec 15, 2007 at 04:02:52 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Will your birth state's Senator join in (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Pompatus, StrayCat

    a filibuster like he did in 2005?

    Or does he figure the stance is already out of the stall and so he doesn't care about civil liberties any more.

  •  We have to try (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Pompatus, JML9999
  •  This is so damned insane (14+ / 0-)

    We are praying for a successful rebellious Democratic filibuster to stop its own Democratic Leaderships bad move.


    Megan Meier, you deserved better than the cruelty that some so-called "adults" showed you. Rest In Peace.

    by LeftHandedMan on Sat Dec 15, 2007 at 02:39:28 PM PST

    •  Remember Pogo-We have met the enemy and (10+ / 0-)

      he is us.

      Be careful 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 Sat Dec 15, 2007 at 02:40:21 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  At some point the American people (5+ / 0-)

      are going to stop trusting anything that comes out of Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid's mouth no matter what it is, beginning with promises to be the ones to be stopping the war, and if we get to that point I really worry about what the fuck we are going to do to keep bolstering the Democratic majority because I believe these people are going to turn around and say:

      "It's all the extremist far-leftwing blogs fault we are being alienated from the American public" before they blame themselves for the trainwreck.

      I cannot believe they are acting the way they are acting on so many important fights.

      What were they dreaming about doing all of those years in the minority when the GOP was stepping on their necks? Longing for the day when they could step on their own necks too?

      I really believe that 2008 is going to be the last election where "Vote for Me, Because the Republicans Suck" is going to be good enough for anybody who isn't a Republican to win on.

      Megan Meier, you deserved better than the cruelty that some so-called "adults" showed you. Rest In Peace.

      by LeftHandedMan on Sat Dec 15, 2007 at 02:46:38 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  They act like they are afraid. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Little Red Hen, StrayCat

        They act like they fear for their very lives. As if perhaps they might get a letter containing a fine white powder if they don't do what Bush wants. How did they ever get that idea I wonder?

        "Freedom of speech isn't something somebody else gives you. That's something you give to yourself." - Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

        by brenda on Sat Dec 15, 2007 at 03:07:08 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  At some point? (5+ / 0-)

        I'm already there, seriously.  I watch Harry lean on that podium and spin out the promises in that soft voice and modulated tones, and then I watch him make all the moves that lead to breaking those promises.  Nancy does not tend to make promisess, but she's full of sweeping edicts that somehow end up being compromised.  Enough is enough.  I'm done with them.

        Things are going to get a lot worse before they get worse. ~ Lily Tomlin

        by vigilant meerkat on Sat Dec 15, 2007 at 03:14:41 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  If we lose THIS one... (7+ / 0-)'ll be time to pack our bags and give Congress back to the Repugs.

    This is SO black and white!  I fully expect to see ALL of our candidates from the Senate side, on the floor, doing what it takes.

    And, yes, even if that means missing a few days on the campaign trail.

    Lets see what these folks are made of!!!

    God, sometimes you just don't come through... --T. Amos

    by Kaos237 on Sat Dec 15, 2007 at 02:42:51 PM PST

  •  DUMP REID, while you're at it. (16+ / 0-)

    We didn't return the Democratic Party to power for the Majority Leader to pull this sort of crap.

    Elephants aren't the only thing with a long memory.  This one's not going to be forgotten.

    Bye, Harry.

  •  presidential candidates (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    StrayCat, mp

    No way do they take the time off the road to filibuster.  They hardly if at all take the time to vote these days.  

    NOTE: This communication may be audited by the United States Government without your knowledge or permission. If you don't like it, vote.

    by jalbert on Sat Dec 15, 2007 at 02:48:23 PM PST

  •  I don't have high hopes, mcjoan, but... (5+ / 0-)

    I will contact Senators Levin and Stabenow first thing Monday.

    If the Capitol Hill Democrats cave in on FISA again, I'm finished with them.

    "I'll rant as well as thou."--Hamlet, Act V, Scene 1.

    by Dump Terry McAuliffe on Sat Dec 15, 2007 at 02:55:02 PM PST

    •  Not Levin (0+ / 0-)

      He's really gone over to the dark side in the last few years -- he's drunk the neocon Kool-Aid.

      BOYCOTT THE NEW YORK TIMES AND THE WASHINGTON POST! "The truth is there is something terribly wrong with this country, isn't there?" ---"V"---

      by asskicking annie on Sat Dec 15, 2007 at 04:02:55 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  This may be wishful thinking on my part (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Pompatus, Geotpf, marina, dogheaven

    but do you think that Reid has the count, knows this will be filibustered by at least the required number, and this is essentially theater to highlight what it is the President actually wants?

    Maybe this is a chance to see Dems actually standing up to this bullshit, and after the fillibuster goes for a while, he'll pull this version, and go with the version that doesn't have immunity?

    Just wishing, I guess.

  •  Where have I heard this before? (6+ / 0-)

    Surely 41 Democrats will be willing to side with the American people over the telco industry, over protecting our civil rights over the rights of these corporations to get of the hook for illegally spying on us.

    There aren't 41 Democrats willing to side with the American people, and stop calling me Shirley!

    "People who enjoy sausage and respect the law should not watch either being made." - Otto von Bismarck

    by shaf on Sat Dec 15, 2007 at 02:56:23 PM PST

  •  please don't make me (0+ / 0-)

    call cornyn and bailey hutchison too.  i'll call the others, but damn please don't throw me inna briarpatch again!

    i would rather live on my feet than die on my knees -- emiliano zapata

    by labwitchy on Sat Dec 15, 2007 at 02:56:26 PM PST

  •  You want me to call Holy Joe??? I have to wait (0+ / 0-)

    until Sunday---and I will, but.....well, you know the answer to that one.

  •  we shouldn't have to do anything. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cdreid, Pompatus

    its the pathetic whacked out Democrats that got elected into office with their fraudulent claims of being anti-war who need to get to work.

  •  Harry Reid is a better Republican Majority Leader (9+ / 0-)

    than Bill Frist was.  He has done an even BETTER job of making sure Bush gets his way 100% of the time.

    Do we need to get rid of him?  Hell fucking YES.  Dumping him and Nancy Pelosi -- and also Rahm Emmanuel and Steny Hoyer -- is important enough that it should be considered Netroots Job #1.

    BOYCOTT THE NEW YORK TIMES AND THE WASHINGTON POST! "The truth is there is something terribly wrong with this country, isn't there?" ---"V"---

    by asskicking annie on Sat Dec 15, 2007 at 03:00:01 PM PST

  •  clammyc has a diary urging us (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    marina, clammyc, jnhobbs, dogheaven

    to help Dodd out

  •  Bizzarro world (3+ / 0-)

    All of the democratic Presidential candidates, the presumptive leaders of our party, are AGAINST this bill.  The base is against this bill. The aclu and every civil rights organisation is against this bill. There are even republicans who dont like this bill.

    But Pelosi and Reid once again come through for Bush and their corporate paymasters. UGH

    We need to Exterminate the DLC Vermin in our party and their bought and paid for servants.

    I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever TJ

    by cdreid on Sat Dec 15, 2007 at 03:07:34 PM PST

  •  this is the most disgusting thing (0+ / 0-)

    I think I've ever seen*.

    It's utterly wrong on so many levels that it makes me want to... uh, write a scathing comment on an internet blog.

    For months, good legislation has been held up by holds from Republican Senators. Despite not having any official force, it is unprecedented for a hold to be ignored. Now, on one of the most important and consequential battles against this Administration's egregious illegality and secrecy, with holds placed and four of the party's Presidential candidates vowing to filibuster, and numerous others of the party calling out in opposition, what does Harry Reid do?

    He ignores the holds and the traditions and comity of the Senate, takes a shit on the party and its Presidential candidates, and brings the Republican Party's, the Administration's, George W. Bush's bill to the Senate floor. Un-fucking-believable.

    I mean seriously, what the flying Finnish donkey-raping fuck? This is going well past mere cowardice and spinelessness, and into outright betrayal of his own party. Did Harry Reid get so used to the fact that Majority Leader = Republican over the years that he has trouble dealing with the reality even now? I just can't come up with any plausible explanation.

    In any case, this demands retribution. Is there any way to revoke Majority Leader status during the course of a session of Congress? We need to push for that, and/or primary him with all we've got out of sheer principle, whether or not we have a chance of succeeding. Because this is just fucking ridiculous.

    * possibly after this

  •  Can someone please explain a "hold?" (0+ / 0-)

    I know (or think I do) that Reid outmaneuvered Dodd's hold on the intelligence committee's version of this bill.

    But why then can't/doesn't Reid outmaneuver Graham on the House's intel bill that bans any use of torture?

    And a second puzzle for me:  I've read many diaries here and comments, and many contradict each other.

    So the question is:  What does the term filibuster mean on Monday?  Is it just that if we get 41 votes, that cloture doesn't happen... or is there really some sort of filibuster, if Chris Dodd starts it, that can actually beat this?

    Thanks for clearing this up, because I really am confused... after reading some contradictory comments the yesterday and today.

    Bush gives press conferences before the blogs or TM have time to research past comments & the next time he takes questions, reporters never revisit his lies

    by gooderservice on Sat Dec 15, 2007 at 03:08:43 PM PST

    •  A "hold" is a promise (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      gooderservice, dogheaven

      Senator "A" wishes to stop passage of a bill. Used to be that on option was for him, alone or with supporters, to filibuster said bill. These days a "hold" is a promise to filibuster without having to actually go through with it. It's a gentleman's (or woman's) agreement.

      I think I have that right.

      "Freedom of speech isn't something somebody else gives you. That's something you give to yourself." - Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

      by brenda on Sat Dec 15, 2007 at 03:15:08 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  A hold (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ferg, gooderservice

      as i understand it is a Senate nicety to avoid fillibusters. A member puts a hold on something and unless it is pushed it is left until some deal can be worked out. A nicety extended by the majority leader to the minority mostly in theory.

      A filibuster in the senate is a whole different ball of wax. The senate is a much less authoritarian body than the house. Every senator is allowed to speak on every bill or issue at length and at will. Thus a senator can literally stand up, begin speaking, and never relinquish the floor. It then takes a cloture vote to end that fillibuster. Senators have done everything from read the bible cover to cover, to giving out recipes to telling tales from their childhood.

      What Reid just did is shocking. He has in effect used his the powers his party  granted him to aid a GOP effort against his own members. FDR or Kennedy would have slapped him down like a dog for trying something like this.

      I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever TJ

      by cdreid on Sat Dec 15, 2007 at 03:18:41 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Cloture has already been invoked (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        cdreid, gooderservice

        Isn't that what happened on Friday? Dodd will get his 35min and Feingold will get his 15. Then at noon debate will be closed (cloture). That is what I understand happened.

        "Freedom of speech isn't something somebody else gives you. That's something you give to yourself." - Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

        by brenda on Sat Dec 15, 2007 at 03:29:03 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Havent been watching (0+ / 0-)

          mostly because i knew where this was going. It does require a vote to shut down the debate. We need to get rid of Reid, Pelosi and the clintonista/corporate wing of our party before we can even begin to repair our nation. even then we have to start with restoring the right to vote and freedom of speech (By overthrowing corporate personhood). Why is it always such a long, hard road for those seeking to move humanity forward?

          I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever TJ

          by cdreid on Sat Dec 15, 2007 at 07:37:17 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  a vote FOR cloture = ??? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    a vote to kill the fillibuster

    why can't I remember this ?

    there is something f'd up about the wording of how this 'vote for cloture' =


    thanks for the refresher


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

    by seabos84 on Sat Dec 15, 2007 at 03:11:32 PM PST

    •  I think Cloutre means an end to debate. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      So we want people to vote against bringing this bill to a vote. I think you need 60 votes for cloture. So if we get 41 to vote against cloture... it aint happening.

      There just has to be 41 votes against cloture on this... including Harry Reid's.

      •  FOR cloture = AGAINST fillibuster. NO on cloture (0+ / 0-)

        = FOR the fillibuster.

        if I am right, I might have FINALLY found a way I can remember this fucking bullshit.

        heaven forbid the worthless sons of bitches get anything done that benefit the 200 million plus of us who work for a fucking living.


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

        by seabos84 on Sat Dec 15, 2007 at 03:25:04 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  But there was something about 2/3... (0+ / 0-)

        I read in a diary in the past two days, at least I think I did, that Reid agreed to something about a 2/3 thing.  I admit I'm confused about this, but maybe the 2/3 thing was if 2/3 of the senators were there, then the number needed to pass cloture was different.... or something like that, or maybe I'm just plain wrong.

        I tried to find the original posting about that, but couldn't.  I'm sorry.

        Bush gives press conferences before the blogs or TM have time to research past comments & the next time he takes questions, reporters never revisit his lies

        by gooderservice on Sat Dec 15, 2007 at 03:28:31 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  2/3 applies to changing the rules of the Senate (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          Here is Rule 22, section 2, which deals with cloture motions:

          Notwithstanding the provisions of rule II or rule IV or any other rule of the Senate, at any time a motion signed by sixteen Senators, to bring to a close the debate upon any measure, motion, other matter pending before the Senate, or the unfinished business, is presented to the Senate, the Presiding Officer, or clerk at the direction of the Presiding Officer, shall at once state the motion to the Senate, and one hour after the Senate meets on the following calendar day but one, he shall lay the motion before the Senate and direct that the clerk call the roll, and upon the ascertainment that a quorum is present, the Presiding Officer shall, without debate, submit to the Senate by a yea-and-nay vote the question:

          "Is it the sense of the Senate that the debate shall be brought to a close?" And if that question shall be decided in the affirmative by three-fifths of the Senators duly chosen and sworn -- except on a measure or motion to amend the Senate rules, in which case the necessary affirmative vote shall be two-thirds of the Senators present and voting -- then said measure, motion, or other matter pending before the Senate, or the unfinished business, shall be the unfinished business to the exclusion of all other business until disposed of. [Emphasis added] Senate Rules

          The plural of paradox is paradise.

          by DanK Is Back on Sat Dec 15, 2007 at 03:55:45 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Actually, we don't exactly need 41 (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        taylormattd, gooderservice

        We just need to keep the other side from getting to 60. 3/5 of the full Senate (not just those who happen to be present) must limit the debate in order to kill a fillibuster.

        If all senators are present and voting, then, yes, we need 41. When you think of it this way, it gets a little easier.

        It also means that if Obama, Clinton and Biden do not show up to vote, we can still make it. But it would be better for them if they do.

        The plural of paradox is paradise.

        by DanK Is Back on Sat Dec 15, 2007 at 03:51:03 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  What if the telecoms don't get immunity? (0+ / 0-)

    What will or could happen to them?  

    •  The telcos will go bankrupt, out of business and (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ferg, Oke, Trial Lawyer Richard

      we will all have to get strings and cans.... and if you believe that I have a bridge to sell you.

    •  If the telcos don't get immunity... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Oke, Trial Lawyer Richard

      then they will have to explain everything they did and their compliance in spying on Americans in open court.  Then We The People will know what they have done.  We need to know... We have to know.

      Then, after that, so as not to collapse the entire telecommunications system in our country, I, for one, would be willing to compromise in a settlement of some sort.  Outside of paying damages to specific individuals, maybe, then perhaps the settlement could be that all of these complicit companies can only make a certain percentage profit for X numbers of years, therefore decreasing all of our fees currently being paid to them.  Now, I could be wrong on everything I just suggested, but...  

      Bush gives press conferences before the blogs or TM have time to research past comments & the next time he takes questions, reporters never revisit his lies

      by gooderservice on Sat Dec 15, 2007 at 03:35:15 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I'm thinking a deal is in the works to put some (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    amendment in place to cap immunity. I wouldn't care less if the telcos pay only 1 cent in damages as long as we found out what the government was up to.

  •  Dodd holds a much stronger hand than many think.. (4+ / 0-)

    I'm confused (and I strongly suspect I'm not alone here), but maybe someone (Kagro?) can confirm whether my amateur analysis at senate procedure is correct here.  In short, if Dodd (and Feingold, and others) are serious about stopping this garbage, I believe that Dodd and friends hold a much stronger hand than many appreciate.  To begin:

    1. As best we understand, Reid intends to call up the Bill which came out of Intelligence and was referred to Judiciary.
    1. Because the Bill came out of SSIC and was then serially referred to SJC, under "regular order" the original SSIC mark would be the "base" bill, with the SJC version automatically pending as an amendment in the nature of a substitute.
    1. The cloture vote now scheduled for noon Monday is on a motion to proceed, which would permit the Senate to turn to consideration of the Bill.

        a. If the cloture vote fails, debate on the motion to proceed continues indefinitely and the Senate can not (technically) even begin consideration of the Bill and amendments thereto.

        b. If the cloture succeeds, then it is "in order" to begin debating the Bill and any orderly amendments thereto.  At that point, the filibuster of the motion to proceed will have been brought to an end, and under Senate Rule 22 the clock starts to tick on 30 hours of debate prior to voting on the motion to proceed.

             i. As is always the case in the senate, Senators could agree by Unanimous Consent ("UC") to shorten the 30 hour period of debate.  Unanimous Consent means exactly what the words suggest, that all 100 Senators have to agree in order to waive strict application of the rules.

             ii. If Dodd is serious about attempting to stop this (rather than, say, merely grandstanding for us unwashed masses here in the dirty-smelly-hippie-land (and I have no reason to believe that he is anything other than genuinely committed on principle to protecting the Rule of Law)), he would object to any UC to shorten the 30-hour period for debate on the motion to proceed.  And after all, we now know how very, very, much  Senator Reid cares about maintaining "regular order" in the Senate rather than bowing to "political pressure" to act irregularly, so I'm sure he won't get the slightest bit upset at Senator Dodd for insisting on following the rules of the Senate to a tee.

        c. So this brings us to probably Wednesday (*)before a vote actually occurs on the motion to proceed (NOT a vote on the underlying bill itself or any of the amendments thereto -- oh, no, the fun is just beginning and that's still days away, assuming once again that Dodd is serious about stopping this thing (rather than merely grandstanding) and really intends to insist on his procedural rights).  (* in theory, if Harry decides he wants to play hardball, he could keep the Senate in session all night long Monday --> Tuesday so that the 30 hour clock expires at 6pm Tuesday afternoon).  Let's assume the motion to proceed passes on Wednesday.

    1. OK, it's now Wednesday, and having obtained an majority vote on the motion to proceed to consideration, debate on the Bill itself can begin.  Note that there's not yet any time limit on such debate.  The filibuster on the motion to proceed is dead; long live the filibuster of the underlying bill!
    1. We can expect Reid, if he hasn't given up yet, to file a motion for cloture on the underlying bill itself. Here's where it gets interesting...


    •  But in the end........ (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Excellent post Packerland.

      Being a cheezer as well I'm sure we can count on Kohl to go the corporate route and support immunity. I called his office and gave them an earful. I had a letter back in two days ! I let them know how infuriated the base was out here.

      Reid wants this draconian bill passed, pure and simple. Pelosi will then whine that the House is forced to take up this passed Senate bill. Bluedogs and Rethugs will put it over the top to become law. It's exactly the same machinations they used previously to pass FISA. Only, there's some procedural differences this time around.

      Our representatives represent corporate interests. Period. End of story. They don't give a shit about us or our "rights".

      One of our few hopes for change are national strikes because it hits them where they live. In the wallet. The other is a "Peoples Lobby" where we can get the 50 million uninsured and other dispossessed Americans to contribute $5 bucks a piece to out-bribe the other corps.

      You can call, fax, e-mail till your blue in the face. It hasn't worked so far and won't in the future. We're just blogging our way into a concentration camp.

    •  Dodd's Strong Hand, Part II (0+ / 0-)

      OK, now where were we?  That's right, we're up to Wednesday, and the Senate is finally able to begin debating the underlying bill itself, and Reid has just introduced a cloture motion on the Bill.  Up until now, everything's been pretty cut-and-dried: we can pretty much anticipate what Dodd and Feingold and others who take the constitution seriously will do, and we can similarly pretty well predict the behavior of Reid, Rockefeller, DiFi and the rest of those supporting the President on this issue.

      But now we're at an interesting decision-point.  WHAT does Reid move for cloture on?  The Base Bill, or the Judiciary's Amendment in the Nature of a Substitute?  It's also where I take a deep breath, and say (*gulp) that I think Glenn Greenwald, BooMan, drational, and others are wrong or at least unintentionally misleading when they suggest that Reid has been able to game the process so that telco-immunity can pass with only 41 votes.  To be clear: if Dodd walks the walk he's been talking, then immunity CAN'T be stripped from the Bill without at least garnering 51 votes in a vote on the narrow question of telco-immunity.

      How's that again, you ask?  On Wednesday (assuming that the cloture vote on Monday received at least 60 votes, and that the Wednesday vote on the motion to proceed itself has received at least 51 votes), debate begins on the Bill itself, and Reid has two options:

      6A. He files a motion for cloture on the SSIC Base Bill (i.e., the Bad Bill, with telco-immunity), or

      6B. He files a motion for cloture on the SJC Amendment in the Nature of a Substitute (i.e., the Tolerable Bill, with no immunity for telcos).

      Note that in either case, under Senate Rule XXII, the motion for cloture has to lie over for a day before it ripens, so we're looking at Thursday for a vote on cloture on whichever Reid has chosen.

      Let's take the two scenarios one at a time:

      7A. If cloture was filed on the base bill, then the Republicans have a very interesting dilemma, and it's by no means clear that THEY would vote for cloture under such circumstances.  Why should this be so?  Because if cloture is successfully invoked on the Base Bill itself, then that guarantees a vote, after up to 30 hours of debate, on the Bill and all pending (and "germane," but there's no question here that SJC's amendment in the nature of a substitute will pass the germaneness threshold) amendments.  Having invoked cloture by 60 votes, from here on out we're back in the normal world of majority-rules on the underlying Bill and pending amendments.

          7A(a).  So let's assume first that cloture passes (60 votes to bring an end to debate on the whole kit-and-kiboodle).  There's potentially another 30 hours of debate (taking us most likely to Saturday, i.e., 2 days before Christmas Eve when everybody's getting very antsy to go home for the rest of the year), although it's no longer so clear that Dodd needs to run out the clock, because the dynamic has possibly shifted quite dramatically by this point.  Because when time runs out, there's a "stacked" vote (there could be -- and likely would be -- more amendments, and perhaps amendments-to-amendments, but solely to simplify let's assume there are no other amendments that the SJC Substitute): FIRST the Senate votes on the SJC's Subsitute Amendment (i.e., stripping out the telco-immunity language), and THEN it votes on the Base Bill.  Both of these are normal votes, which pass with a majority and fail without one.

               7A(a)(i) If the SJC subsitute garners 51 votes (assuming all 100 Senators are there), then it replaces the Base Bill and it's as if the SSIC version with its telco immunity never existed at all; the subsequent vote on passage of the Bill is in fact a vote on whether to pass the Base Bill as so amended (i.e., the Tolerable SJC version).  Victory is Dodd's, our's, the Fourth Amendment's, as the Senate and House will now both have passed (still differing) versions of FISA legislation without telco-immunity, and it becomes exceedingly difficult for the telco-immunity language to creep back in in the resulting conference negotiations between the House and Senate.

               7A(a)(ii) If the SJC substitute loses by a simple majority, the Base Bill is not amended and the Senate then proceeds to vote on final passage of the (original SSIC version of the) Bill, telco-immunity language still intact -- passage of which is probably a foregone conclusion in such circumstances (hard to believe that if we can't even get 50+ Senators to vote in favor of Judiciary's bill that there would be any stronger opposition to the Bill as a whole, absent something else weird going on like the introduction of other "poison pill" language in other successful amendments).  And don't get me wrong, this is a dark outcome to be sure (although not the end of the road -- remember where we are at this point is we have two different versions of the legislation, one from the House (with no telco-immunity) and one from the Senate (with telco-immunity)) -- but to be clear it would happen only as a result of losing on a straight majority-rules "upperdown" vote on whether to replace the SSIC Bad Bill with the more tolerable, telco-immunity-free SJC Substitute.  The hurdle for the good guys is "greater than 50" not "at least 60".

          7A(b) Now, if instead cloture does not pass, then debate continues, and the filibuster continues.  And interestingly it might be the case that cloture fails as a result of pro-Bush Senators: if it's clear that the good guys have 51 votes in favor of the SJC Substitute (i.e., to strip telco-immunity out), then the bad guys might prefer to keep the debate going and use the ensuing confusion to get their friends in the mainstream media to start ginning up a story about how progressive obstructionism is endangering our lives.  The reality in these circumstances would be, of course, that it would be the R's and their pro-Bush D friends who would be obstructing, but if you think that Tim Russert and Chris Matthews and Joe Klein (x) are either smart enough to figure out what's actually going on procedurally at this point, or (y) in the off-chance that they are, that they would actually have the journalistic integrity to point this out rather than simply parroting the right-wing's talking points -- well, then, I want some of what you're smoking.  But regardless, the shrieks of the Beltway punditocracy notwithstanding, under these circumstances the filibuster nevertheless continues.

      OK, so having explored the first path, let's back up and take the second.

      7B. Cloture has been filed on the SJC Substitute Amendment on Wednesday.  Held over for a day, voted on on Thursday.

          7B(a) If cloture is successful, that's not the end of the world -- it guarantees an "upperdown" vote on the SJC Substitute.  So again, after a maximum of 30 hours of debate, there's a vote on the SJC Substitute (stripping telco-immunity).

               7B(a)(i) If the vote on the SJC Substitute passes by a normal majority, then the good guys have won: the original (telco-immunity-granting) language of the SSIC BAse Bill no longer exists, and what's now pending is a vote on final passage of the (now tolerable SJC version of the) Bill.

               7B(a)(ii) If the "upperdown" vote on the Substitute Amendment loses -- well, then again (see 7A(a)(ii) above for the same analysis), if the good guys can't get to 51 votes, then we lose, but we lose cleanly because we in fact lack an actual numerical majority of United States Senators who support the consitution, NOT because of any BS gaming of the 60-vote "requirement."  And now ultimate defeat IN THE SENATE AT THIS POINT IN TIME (again, remember there's still a good House bill without telco-immunity) is a foregone conclusion:  if we can't even get 51 votes for removing telco-immunity, it's all-but-certain we won't be able to get 60 to defeat cloture if we push it that far.  But Dodd would nevertheless be within his procedural rights to continue debating (i.e., filibustering) final passage of the Bill... and recall it's now Saturday, and no cloture motion has even been filed on the Base Bill.  If Dodd wanted to push it that far, he could force Reid to file for cloture on Saturday, which has to lay over a day, so vote on Sunday, which starts the 30-hour clock ticking, and we're looking at a vote on Tuesday, December, ummmm... 25th?  So realistically Reid would probably concede (temporary) defeat for now and wait to hold the cloture vote and vote on final passage in January.

          7B(b) If cloture on the Substitute Amendment fails (because there's not 41 votes in favor), once again expect Rs and their friends in the media to scream and shout about liberal dem obstructionism, but it's actually a victory for Dodd.  In more normal circumstances, if an amendment to a bill was successfully filibustered, it might be in everyone's interest to drop consideration of the amendment and move on to a vote on the base bill without amendment.  But there's no earthly reason why Dodd would agree to do that in these circumstances, and he'd be within his procedural rights to insist that the Senate must act on the pending amendment (i.e., the SJC Substitute) by voting on it before moving on to a vote on the underlying bill.  In short, in these circumstances it's no longer Dodd who's filibustering the Bad SSIC bill -- it's the Rs and their anti-Rule-of-Law D friends who are blocking Senate action on the bill by preventing it from taking up the Substitute Amendment, which it procedurally must do before moving on to the SSIC Base Bill.

      In short, things are not nearly so bleak as they might seem right now...

      •  questions... (0+ / 0-)

        actually, i have a ton... but i'll start with just a couple:

        1. after filing for cloture, isn't it two days - not one - before the cloture vote?
        1. why would controversial amendments (like the sjc version as a replacement) not require a 60 majority to pass?

        links and/or quotes from the rule would be most appreciated.

        thank you, great discussion. hope you will stick around to continue it.

        •  answers?? (0+ / 0-)

          thanks. I'm putting together a visual flowchart, and then will post as a diary, so hopefully we can continue the discussion over there.

          As to your first two questions:

          (1) Yes, you're right, my bad.  A cloture motion must "lay over" two calendar days, not one.  Senate Rule XXII says this, but using the very arcane and 19th-century-esque phrasing "on the following calendar day but one" to mean "the day after tomorrow":

          and one hour after the Senate meets on the following calendar day but one, he shall lay the motion before the Senate and direct that the clerk call the roll, and upon the ascertainment that a quorum is present, the Presiding Officer shall, without debate, submit to the Senate by a yea-and-nay vote the question:

          "Is it the sense of the Senate that the debate shall be brought to a close?"

          On the same point, see the CRS report I cite to in my answer to q.2 below, at the bottomw of page 9 to the top of page 10:

          The motion is read to the Senate, but the Senate then returns to whatever business it had been transacting. The Senate does not act on the cloture motion in any way on the day on which it is submitted, or on the following day. Instead, the next action on the motion occurs "on the following calendar day but one"—that is, on the second day after it is presented. So if the motion is presented on a Monday, the Senate acts on it on Wednesday.

          (2) If I understand your question, which is a very interesting one, I think it goes to the very heart of what the filibuster and cloture and the "60 vote requirement" is all about historically, and how that has been utter perverted in just the last 11 months.  If the drafters of the constitution had provided that "all bills in the Senate shall require a 60 vote supermajority for passage," then it would certainly make sense that all amendments to a bill would likewise require 60 votes for passage.  But that isn't what the constitution said, and (notwithstanding what the Inside-the-Beltway media would have us believe) it has never been the case that as a general rule bills require 60 votes for passage in the Senate.

          Rather, the general regime has been that, just like the House, the Senate transacts its business on a majority-vote basis -- with certain narrow constitutional and statutory exceptions (for instance, treaties require 2/3 approval of the Senate, constitutional amendments require 2/3 vote of each chamber (followed by ratification by 3/4 of the many state legislatures), certain budget-busting taxing or spending provisions can be subject to a Budget Act Point of Order which can only be waived by a 60-vote supermajority, etc.).

          But if a committed minority of Senators felt strongly enough about something, they could recognize their right to hold the floor to effectively talk a bill to death.  Cloture is designed to limit this so that the committed minority has to at least be a very sizable minority (41 or more in today's 100-member Senate) in order to do this.  If you don't like a bill (either in its current form, or in a form you think it's likely to have after amendment) you can filibuster, and if you can get 40 of your colleagues to agree with you, you can be successful in impeding Senate action.  But that's the point: the filibuster is all about shutting things down, and is a departure from the normal majority-rules order of things.  And if cloture is successfully invoked, then that simply means that we're back in a world where majority rules -- and once cloture has been invoked, the underlying bill still needs to get 50%+ to pass and amendments similarly need 50%+.  It's possible to filibuster an amendment separately (hence my description of the two different possible avenues), but NOT after cloture on the underlying bill has been invoked (otherwise cloture itself could be rendered meaningless and ineffective, if Senators opposed to a bill could simply make sure there were pending amendments to the clotured bill and filibuster those amendments).

          Hopefully what I've said immediately above wasn't too inarticulate (it's getting late here).  Anyway, here's a CRS (Congressional Research Service, a nonpartisan Congressional office that analyzes legal issues for Congress) report on "Filibusters and Cloture in the Senate" with discussion at pp. 11-12 which is marginally on point:

          Sometimes an amendment provokes a filibuster even though the underlying bill does not. If cloture is invoked on the amendment, the operation of cloture is exhausted once the amendment is disposed of. Thereafter, debate on the bill continues, but under the general rules of the Senate. On occasion, cloture has been invoked, in this way, separately on several amendments to a bill in succession. Alternatively, cloture may be invoked on the bill itself, so that debate on the amendment continues under the restrictions of cloture on the overall measure. If the amendment is not germane to the bill, however, its supporters will oppose this approach, for (as discussed later) the cloture rule requires that amendments considered under cloture be germane. If cloture is invoked on a bill while a nongermane amendment is pending, the amendment becomes out of order and may not be further considered. In such a case it may be necessary instead to invoke cloture on the amendment, so as to secure a final vote on it, and then, after the amendment is disposed of, move for cloture on the bill as well.

          •  thanks - and more Qs! (0+ / 0-)

            very late here too, i'm only awake due to insomnia... but will return to this thread in the morning for further discussion - hope you will too, as there is no senate parliamentarian to consult with and i really, really want to figure out what's going on with this one. maybe we can hash it out tomorrow when we are both rested - either here or in your diary... if in a diary, please leave a link here and i will follow you over.

            for now, though, i'll try to engage my remaining brain cells for a bit.

            1. on the timing...

            1a) so that may move the timing out - when cloture is (probably) invoked on wednesday (regardless of whether it is on the underlying bill or amendment), that means the cloture vote will be friday morning.... meaning the vote on the bill (or amendment would then be either saturday night or sunday. that pushes things out towards christmas even more.

            but that is only if the entire 30 hours is used. isn't 30 hours the maximum? and aren't there limits on how much time one senator can use? (just an hour or two, iirc, but i'm too tired at the moment to look it up (will do so tomorrow). i think this is why dodd can't do it all on his own - he's going to need help... and if he doesn't get it, it could all be, i think, over by tuesday.

            1b) if the intention was to run up against the holiday, why wasn't there an objection to the consent request (on friday) to have the cloture vote on the motion to proceed on monday - when by rule 22 it should be tuesday? i know the original plan that reid was discussing on thursday was for the vote to be monday - but that was because he said he was planning on the senate working on saturday (which would have made monday the second day).

            1. whew.. this one is tough. if i understand you correctly, you are saying

            2a)  that the only way to require 60 votes on an amendment is to bring the amendment up first? invoke cloture on it, vote on the amendment and then move to the underlying bill? which can go through cloture or not. or;

            2b) if the underlying bill is brought up first and cloture is invoked, then all the amendments only require a simple majority to pass and they are dealt with prior to the final vote on the underlying bill?

            do i have that right? is it laid out clearly (or even not-so-clearly) anywhere?

            i have more thoughts and  quesitons, but they will have to wait... i'm barely awake enough to type, let alone think. more after some sleep. thanks much for the great discussion.

            p.s. i wrote a diary in august on the process that was used in the house to get the PAA fisa bill passed. as you can see, i'm a bit anal about the details. i don't know anything about these procedures, but trying to understand one in detail is a great why to learn.

            •  Diary is up now (0+ / 0-)

              here's a link to it.

              Short attempts at answers, then I'm off to bed:

              (1)(a) My general understanding (and I'll try to find something to back me up in the morning) is that, yes, the 30 hour limit is a maximum and is often not actually used up -- typically because once it's clear which way the votes will go, and once everybody has had their chance to make their floor speech if it's an important issue, Senators are generally willing to agree to a Unanimous Consent request to shorten the time period.  Furthermore, there's no actual requirement that the Senate literally spend a straight 30 hours talking about the subject of the cloture motion - they can and very often will turn to other matters while the clock is ticking.  And although technically it's out of order to, say, bring some other litigation up for debate and vote during that 30-hour window, it's typical to do so, again by UC (which in this case is less obnoxious to Dodd's cause -- if Senate hammers out an agreement on tax legislation, for instance, Dodd doesn't need to object and it doesn't prejudice him vis-a-vis the pending cloture vote, to not object to a UC request to take up the tax bill for a couple hours of debate and a vote, all of which to count against the 30 hours).

              (1)(b) Agree that if Dodd's really playing hardball -- and if he's got his eye on the ball --he should have objected to the UC request on Friday to effectively shave a day off the 2-day period.  Perhaps he wasn't in the chamber at the time and/or had assumed that the Senate would be in on Saturday so that it wouldn't make a difference?  Or (and I hope not) perhaps it means he's not really expecting to go to the mattresses and drag it out until Christmas, so why bother?

              (2)(a) Yes, that's my belief and understanding of how the rules operate.

              (2)(b) Yes, with the following caveat: Filing of a motion for cloture impacts not only timing but also the procedural viability of amendments.  In particular, once cloture is filed on a bill, any "first-order" amendments (amendments to the bill as introduced) have to be filed by the next day, with any "second-order" amendments (proposing to amend said first-order amendments) must be filed in writing at least an hour before the start of the cloture vote on day 2.  Also, "non-germane" amendments are not in order (a departure from the usual Senate rule that anything goes -- unlike the House, in the Senate, it's not out-of-order to introduce an amendment on, say, medicare to an underlying bill to set aside new national park land -- unless cloture has been invoked, in which case the non-germane medicare amendment would now be out of order).  But so long as amendments are timely filed and germane, then they are subject to a simple majority vote -- and as long as they are "pending" they will be voted on in a certain prescribed order (i.e., a second-order amendment is voted on first before the first-order amendment it seeks to modify, and then there are other rules about what goes first as between an amendment in the nature of a substitute versus a "perfecting" amendment versus a couple of other kinds of amendments) before the vote on final passage of the underlying bill itself (as amended, if at all).

              But now I'm off to bed, for real this time...

  •  Dump the traitor Reid (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Little Red Hen

    Why in the hell is Reid allowing the Intelligence Committee bill on the floor?  This man has shown repeatedly, time after time, that he either is incompetent, complicit, or in outright opposition to what the Democratic party should stand for!

    Surely there must be enough support in the Senate for a vote of no-confidence in Harry Reid, or can a vote to replace him be done midterm??  

    I disagree with the diarist who opined that the reason the Democratic leadership was falling down to Bush is that they have some sort of grand electoral strategy in mind.  That would imply that Reid and Pelosi and their ilk are stupid, which they are not.  THEY ARE JUST NOT ON OUR SIDE, THEY ARE MILLIONAIRES WHOSE FAMILIES ARE FEEDING AT THE TROUGH OF THE MILITARY/INDUSTRIAL/CONGRESSIONAL COMPLEX.

    Surely they read the polls, which show that Congress's approval ratings are lower than Bush's.  Even if generic congressional preference matchups still show a lead for generic Democratic candidates, these polls do not mean that those polled will actually show up to vote next year!!

    Who do the complicit and back-stabbing Democratic leadership think are going to man the phone banks, go door to door, and get out to vote in nasty weather?  NOT THE BASE THIS TIME, NOT IF THEY KEEP ON WITH THEIR BETRAYALS.

    If the Democratic wing of the Democratic party in the Senate, the Kennedy's and the Boxer's and the Byrds and the Feingolds, if they don't begin a revolt against Harry Reid after this latest backstabbing I don't know what they are thinking.  This party is in desperate need of men and women of principal and courage and LEADERSHIP.

    If they don't act now, it may be too late for our party and our nation to stop our descent into fascism.

    •  I'm so concerned that you're right. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      North Country Dem

      Surely they read the polls, which show that Congress's approval ratings are lower than Bush's.  Even if generic congressional preference matchups still show a lead for generic Democratic candidates, these polls do not mean that those polled will actually show up to vote next year!!

      I fear, truly I do, that those unaffiliated with a party or true independents will have mustered so much disgust for these dems that they'll either not turn out to vote at all or they'll vote for a repub.  I'm concerned about "our own," too.  There are days that I get so angry and not having an immediate "fix" to my anger, one thing that pops in my head is "to hell with them," I just won't vote.  Of course I'll never vote for a repub, but that doesn't mean I won't stay home... if I'm thoroughly disgusted.  I can't help it.

      By the way, I do hold one itty bitty card:  one of my senators is up for re-election this year, Lautenberg.  At least I can call his office and tell them if he wants my vote and my volunteer time, I need not only the Senator to vote no, but to publicly and loudly come out against this bill.  

      Bush gives press conferences before the blogs or TM have time to research past comments & the next time he takes questions, reporters never revisit his lies

      by gooderservice on Sat Dec 15, 2007 at 04:13:57 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Yeah, 41 will make a difference (0+ / 0-)

    Seems to work pretty well for the Republicans.

    "Senate Rules" are obsolete. We couldn't even get a child health care bill out of that hefty-bag of just chock-full of "comity."

    Who are these people?

    When you stop caring - Sometimes it gets funny again.

    by SecondComing on Sat Dec 15, 2007 at 03:27:13 PM PST

  •  My letters back from Florida Senator Bill Nelson (3+ / 0-)


    Dear ____:

    Thank you for contacting me about Senator Feingold's resolution (S.Res. 398) that would censure President Bush.

    Congress passed the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) in 1978 and created a special court, which operates in closed session, to consider government wiretap requests in national security cases. Two Supreme Court cases had previously established that domestic wiretaps for national security purposes do not inherently violate the fourth amendment's protection against unreasonable searches, but do require judicial approval. Congress passed FISA to bring the law into conformity with those decisions.

    I am concerned about recent reports of potentially unlawful domestic surveillance activity without approval by the FISA court. Congress is actively looking into President Bush's domestic surveillance program and has held several hearings on this issue. I will continue to look carefully at the circumstances of this program, and I await the outcome of congressional investigations into the program before judging the appropriateness of any action, like, censuring the President.

    I appreciate hearing from you on issues that affect the nation. Please know that I will keep your concerns in mind.


    Dear Mr _____:

    Thank you for contacting me about the recent temporary changes made to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).  

    Most everyone agrees our government must have the ability to monitor the communications of foreign-based terrorists.  However, I believe this can be done in a manner that protects the constitutional rights of American citizens.  

    In the FISA debates before the August recess, I voted for a temporary, six-month fix to give Congress more time to craft a comprehensive measure that protects Americans’ civil liberties.  Once Congress takes the issue up again, I’ll work with my colleagues with an eye toward strengthening Americans’ rights to privacy.  

    I appreciate your taking the time to inform me of your views, and don’t hesitate to contact me again in the future.


    Dear _____:

    Thank you for contacting me about the Foreign Surveillance Intelligence Act (FISA).  

    The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, of which I am a member, recently passed an updated version of FISA.  The bill protects the constitutional rights of American citizens while allowing the U.S. government to intercept the communications of foreign-based terrorists.  

    During the FISA debates, I introduced an amendment to the bill which would have taken away retroactive immunity from the telecommunications companies that allegedly provided the National Security Agency with private communications and phone call data.  Although the amendment failed, please know I will continue to monitor this issue as the Senate Judiciary Committee begins its consideration of FISA.    

    I appreciate your taking the time to inform me of your views, and don’t hesitate to contact me again in the future.

    •  And my new letter on this same stinking FISA crap (0+ / 0-)

      Senator Nelson:

      FISA filibuster - Do it!!!

      Well, here we are again.  Same topic, because the Senate will not put a bullet in the brain of this monster.  You responded in March, August, and November to my letters on this same rotten spying on Americans.

      You have a chance to get it right this time.  Join the filibuster.  Say no to Bush and Cheney.  Say yes to our Constitution.

  •  yeah, right -- surely (0+ / 0-)

    Surely 41 Democrats will be willing to side with the American people over the telco industry, over protecting our civil rights over the rights of these corporations to get of the hook for illegally spying on us.

    Surely they would be willing to side with the American people to take steps to end the war, too.

    Ohhhhhh . . . . .

    Forgive me if I don't hold my breath.  And when they cave in again, forgive me for not being surprised (although if they don't cave in, I'll be utterly shocked -- and I'd like very much to be utterly shocked).

    Editor, Red and Black Publishers

    by Lenny Flank on Sat Dec 15, 2007 at 03:36:11 PM PST

  •  Just e-mailed Webb and Warner. Will call Monday! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Oke, gooderservice, jnhobbs

    "Great men do not commit murder. Great nations do not start wars". William Jennings Bryan

    by ImpeachKingBushII on Sat Dec 15, 2007 at 03:36:25 PM PST

  •  On Friday I called my two senators... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jnhobbs, timbuck

    In New Jersey, and neither staffer could confirm how the senators would vote, but looking at their past conduct, I'm pretty sure I can count on them to vote against immunity, and their staffers agreed with that sentiment.

    I further asked that the senators not only vote against it but that they strongly lobby and exert pressure on Reid not to bring the bad bill up for a vote in the first place.

    It's not enough just for my senators to vote  NO; they've got to be more verbal about it.

    And I'm going to call again on Monday.

    Bush gives press conferences before the blogs or TM have time to research past comments & the next time he takes questions, reporters never revisit his lies

    by gooderservice on Sat Dec 15, 2007 at 03:39:39 PM PST

  •  Immunity sends a dark message (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gooderservice, jnhobbs, timbuck

    Big Business can help the Administration flaunt the law and squash civil liberties....and never suffer any consequences.

    This is a very bad precedent.  This is dangerous for our freedom.

    Harry Reid is way off base supporting immunity.  What is he thinking?

  •  I just emailed both of my Senators.. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gooderservice, timbuck

    Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker..oh well,
    what the hell.

    " Freedom is about authority "...Rudy Giuliani

    by jnhobbs on Sat Dec 15, 2007 at 03:46:23 PM PST

  •  i believe my senators (cornyn and hutchison) . . (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gooderservice, jnhobbs

    are being slopped at the telco trough, but i'll call, email, hell, if i could i'd subpoena them, but no one in washington seems to honor those things anyway.

  •  Just Left a Voice Mail for Boxer (0+ / 0-)

    who I still have some hope will do the right thing. Feinstein is a lost cause.

    The plural of paradox is paradise.

    by DanK Is Back on Sat Dec 15, 2007 at 03:59:31 PM PST

  •  My complaint from May of 2006 (0+ / 0-)

    When I heard about this spying, I contacted my state's Public Utilities Commission.  

    This is the content of the web form I filled out: (along with providing my personal information)

    I understand that Verizon has been providing my telephone call record to the U.S. Government without probable cause, without a warrant.

    I would like to file a complaint against Verizon for doing so, and I would like -- no. I demand Governor Corzine and the State of New Jersey take appropriate action against Verizon's complicity in violation of
    current laws.

    Thank you.

    This is the response I received:

    Dear XXX

    This is in response to your e-mail concerning Verizon and the NSA. Please be advised that Verizon has issued a press lease denying that they provided customer records to the NSA.  In addition, since this would be a Federal issue, it would not be under our jurisdiction.

    I hope this information is helpful.  However, if you have any additional questions or concerns, please feel free to call me at 1-800-624-0241.

    Thank you,

    Douglas Dickson
    Board of Public Utilities
    Division of Customer Assistance
    Two Gateway Center
    Newark, NJ 07102

    Emphasis, of course, is mine. (And of course it's supposed to say "release" and not "lease."

    I never followed up with that, I'm sorry to say.  I should write Mr. Dickson and ask him what he's got to say about Verizon admitting what he said they denied.

    Bush gives press conferences before the blogs or TM have time to research past comments & the next time he takes questions, reporters never revisit his lies

    by gooderservice on Sat Dec 15, 2007 at 03:59:51 PM PST

  •  'IN' or 'OUT' Message for Demo-rats Mailboxes (0+ / 0-)

    I would HIGHLY recommend adding an ultimatum to your message to the Demo-rats.


    You get 'IN'line with the constitution and Dodd (v Reid)


    We WILL vote you OUT for a Re-thug in the next election, flushing EVERY Demo-rat out of congress for (at least) 1 term.

    I mean what's the diff?!  At least the Re-thugs are honest about where their black little hearts lie.

    It looks like it's the only way (the 2 by 4 approach) that will get their attention...

    Make it clear.  

    'IN' support of the constitution or 'OUT' you go!

  •  I wouldn't count it (0+ / 0-)

    RE: your comment; Surely 41 Democrats will be willing to side with the American people over the telco industry, over protecting our civil rights over the rights of these corporations to get of the hook for illegally spying on us.

    It's a nice thought, mcjoan.  But I wouldn't count on it as I'm sure you already know...

  •  There is no valid interpretation of Christianity (0+ / 0-)

    that does not involve self-sacrifice by an adult male.

    The GOP is about freeing the adult (white) male from having to sacrifice anything at all.

    Even people of modest intellect will eventually figure out when people are lying to them and exploiting them.

  •  Call Reid (0+ / 0-)

    Tell him what a turncoat he is!  He is not a Senator in good standing anymore.  He has turned on one of his own and the American People.  I guess he hates the Constitution.

    Not only did we beat the British now we have to beat the Bushes.

    by libbie on Sat Dec 15, 2007 at 04:35:29 PM PST

  •  I want answers! (0+ / 0-)

    Who is being given amnesty?
    Which Telcos will NOT need amnesty?
    What will they receive amnesty for, exactly?
    Who asked them to commit actions that may require amnesty and why?
    What information did they give to the government?
    Who got the information?
    If anything cannot be revealed to the American Citizens because of security, can we have the complete evidence that lead to that decision?
    Probably off topic, but it still bugs me...
    What's going on with the investigation into the anthrax attacks on American citizens?

    "I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do, because I notice it always coincides with their own desires." - Susan B. Anthony 1896

    by Everbody on Sat Dec 15, 2007 at 06:23:34 PM PST

  •  OK (0+ / 0-)

    so I clicked on the "whip count tool" of Dodd's and looks like a bullshit publicity stunt.

    Can anyone tell me why, in answer to the question "Will They Join Dodd's Filibuster?", the whip count tool says the following?:


    This is just a lie. The three other presidential candidates in the Senate all said they would support his filibuster long ago. Why is Dodd pretending like Clinton, Obama, and Biden haven't already said they would support his filibuster?

    This question is especially relevant when one considers what is going to happen procedurally. Because of Dodd's hold, Reid has agreed to have a cloture vote on the shitty version of the bill, and Reid thus needs to get 60 votes to cut off debate and pass Bush's FISA bill.

    In other words, all one has to do to "support" this fiibuster is not vote yes on cloture. In fact, the no votes don't even matter. Debate would not be cut if the vote was 59-0.

    I mean really, now that we know exactly what is going to happen, we should be targeting those people who haven't committed one way or another on this vote.

  •  Surely You Can't Trust the Dems (0+ / 0-)

    If all the Presidential candidates are lining up on the side of the telco retroactive amnesty, you can only presume that the Democratic party is now solidly Neocon Nuveau, and Hillary is the Artist in Residence. It is preposterous.

    The Democratic Party has become what it supposedly despises. Rangle's remark about Stockholm Syndrome was not in jest, it was laser-clear and a penetrating insight.

    The plain facts are that the vaunted presidential choices of the Democratic party are unconcerned about OUR constitional protections. The Senators can yap all they want, it is what they do that matters. The kind of creeping fascism we are witnessing is precisely what went on in Germany. I never thought I would see it. I think our experiment in Democracy is just about over.


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