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In the ongoing effort to protect the security of the telcos who spied on us, Bush and his lap dogs are holding their breath and kicking their feet.


Asked about a potential deal with Democrats, Bush said, "I would just tell you there's no compromise on whether these phone companies get liability protection." The administration says it needs the help of the phone companies for its post Sept. 11, 2001, surveillance.

And his puppet-on-a-string, Kit Bond:

"Last week, the House Democratic leadership had the opportunity to put national security first but they chose instead to leave town for a twelve day vacation. Today’s so-called bicameral staff meeting is nothing more than a partisan attempt by Democratic staff at the 11th hour to dismantle the bipartisan compromise that a majority of the Senate and the House support.

"The time for excuses and more meetings is over. House Democratic leaders have had months to work in a bipartisan fashion yet they have done nothing but stall. If they want to work in good faith they should give their members the opportunity to pass the bipartisan compromise that protects civil liberties and gives our terror fighters the tools they need to keep American families safe."

That's Republican compromise for you: Democratic capitulation. When the House Dems and their leadership didn't capitulate, the temper tantrums ensued.

Let's just point out again that it was the Democrats who offered to extend the Protect America Act to "keep us safe," and Bush and the Republicans who forced that law to lapse.

Let's also point out again that this is not about national security. It's about mega-corporation security with the bonus of a cover up of the administration's law-breaking.

Bush and his rubber-stampers are the ones who've said all along that not having the Protect American Act would make us less safe. By their actions, in their own formulation they put corporations and cover up ahead of American lives.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Fri Feb 22, 2008 at 11:08 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

    •  Nahhh (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      lastamendment, jjellin, TexasTwister

      They've got too many 'morals' for that


      "Ridiculous outbursts" sounds much more dignified

    •  I like "Tempter Tantrums" (9+ / 0-)

      It made me immediately think of the Telco lobbyist "tempter" who got her mitts on John McCain!  I don't care if he was in bed with her, but I sure as hell care that he was in bed with the Telecom industry!  The McCain scandal is not unrelated to this FISA amnesty mess--they're all whores to their corporate pals.

      "Do or do not -- there is no whine." Yoda's Mom

      by Helena Handbag on Fri Feb 22, 2008 at 11:13:43 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes, temper tantrums. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        sherlyle, pylonsound

        Irrational, purposeless, selfish.  His way or the highway.

        That is exactly what B*sh is doing, and exactly the right thing to call it.  Without question Bush is engaging in bad behavior.  Every parent knows that giving in to a temper tantrum only validates the bad behavior, and encourages the child to do it again.

        The best response a parent can have to a temper tantrum is a time out, where the child gets to stew for a set period of time.  At the end of that time, if the child can demonstrate that he understands that what he did was wrong, the time out can end; otherwise, he can have a little while longer to think about it.  If B*sh wants to extend his temper tantrum forever, he will still be blue in the face when he leaves office.

        The best thing about time outs is that it forces children to think about their behavior (their unwillingness to accept a fact they don't like is what causes a temper tantrum in the first place), and after a few time outs they start figuring out that acceptance is better than the alternative.

        Anyone who doesn't know that a man in power tends to channel his inner three year old hasn't been paying attention.

        Honesty is still the best policy.

        by oscarsdad on Fri Feb 22, 2008 at 11:31:02 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  He may be in bed with them... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        But it's all of us who are getting the shaft.

        You can't get away with the crunch, 'cuz the crunch always gives you away

        by dnamj on Fri Feb 22, 2008 at 11:32:53 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Not a temper tantrum, it's a clear argument: (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      If we allow telcos to be sued, they may stop breaking the law when we ask them to.

      Deranged neoconservative militarism isn't the solution to nuclear proliferation; it's a cause. -- Glenn Greenwald

      by factbased on Fri Feb 22, 2008 at 11:22:54 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Remember, it started BEFORE 9/11 (link) (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Cyber Kat, RUKind

      NSA sought call records BEFORE 9/11

      Just so we know that none of this had anything to do with 9/11, either.

      Happy little moron, Lucky little man.
      I wish I was a moron, MY GOD, Perhaps I am!
      -Spike Milligan

      by polecat on Fri Feb 22, 2008 at 11:56:54 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Like he said - BEFORE 9/11 - BEFORE 9/11 (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Is anyone paying attention? The "post 9/11" meme keeps getting repeated endlessly. A non-factual meme with a life like this one is better called The Big Lie. Before Karl Rove, before Lee Atwater, there was Joseph Goebbels. He practically invented The Big Lie.

        When are we going to stop buying into and reinforcing it?

        This shit started BEFORE 9/11!!!

        "He not busy being born is busy dying." R. Zimmerman

        by RUKind on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 12:06:46 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Stand Firm! (14+ / 0-)

    "Nineteen thugs with box cutters + George Bush's 'decidings' have destroyed the greatest military in the world."

    by Kdoug on Fri Feb 22, 2008 at 11:10:15 AM PST

    •  Remember, the turtle beat the hare, (9+ / 0-)

      and slow and steady will win the race, mcjoan. Keep at 'em.

      "This is not our America and we need to take it back." John Edwards.

      by mcmom on Fri Feb 22, 2008 at 11:12:02 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Call me cynical, (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Heartcutter, rlochow, Abra Crabcakeya

      but with 68 votes in the senate, the Republicans have every reason to believe they will get their way.

      If they don't I will be proud of my country for the first time in... well a very long time.

      •  Right now it isn't in the Senate (6+ / 0-)

        this is in the Conference Committee between the House and Senate bills--and the House is on recess and the Democratic majority in the House has made it known they aren't interested in Telco immunity.  The House version doesn't contain Telco immunity.  

        The House has made it plain that they are in no hurry either.  That's why the tantrums from Bush and Bond.  They are starting to worry that the House leadership isn't even interested in passing any bill this year.  Which might be the case as the underlying FISA bill is still active, and the enabling orders under the old "Protect America Act" are still in effect until anywhere from August to next year.

        The tantrums may just get stronger.  When the House refused to act on the PAA with immunity the House Democrats cheered.

        •  God, I hope you're right. nt (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          •  They are gonna strongarm all they can (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            to get it passed.  The House so far is holding firm.  We'll see next week when the House comes back in regular session (Peolsi and Reid had a skeleton crew on Tues and Thurs this week so Bush couldn't make recess appointments).  

            Bush's lame duck status doesn't help him at all.  They are increasingly ready to wait for next year.  They can read the voting numbers like we can.  They can read that primary win by Donna Edwards for message just like we can.  Wait until next year is going to take hold, I hope.  As it is they only have to hold out until the end of summer and the Conventions and the General Election when business will shut down a lot more.  They may actually be feeling strong in which case they won't even be defensive about it.

        •  I expect that the tantrums will get stronger. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Rolfyboy6, drbloodaxe

          Bush is used to getting his way - by any means, fair or foul, but in his case mostly foul. There isn't much he's been denied these last 7 years.
          As mcjoan said Republican compomise has always been Democratic capitulation. It's a street that only goes one way, for the Repugs.
          That Democrats would not lie down and roll over this time both angers and frightens them.
          Throw in a little surprise there also.
          Democrats in the House can gain alot by holding firm on the immunity issue.

    •  The Same Republican Phony Crisis. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      drbloodaxe, TexasTwister

      Bush can get all the help he needs from the phone companies.  He doesn't need immunity.

      All Bush needs is a warrant.

      "At every crossroads on the path that leads to the future, tradition has placed 10,000 men to guard the past." - Maurice Maeterlinck

      by Tod on Fri Feb 22, 2008 at 11:37:49 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

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

        a warrant and cash... this is the free market after all.

        by jaimito on Fri Feb 22, 2008 at 11:47:47 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  You're right (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          If we don't pay our bills, the telcoms won't spy on us any longer.

          Hey, there is a way the Congress can stop the spying.  Just don't allow any money to be spent on funding the telcom's spying!

          •  It's a serious question (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Cyber Kat

            whether the telecoms have actually continued spying since their bills haven't been paid.  And the beautiful part of that is, it isn't Congress that's stopped payment, it's Bushco!  Guess the Prez forgot to tell them that he not only expected them to be "patriotic" -- he expected them to do it for free.  

            You'd think that Republicans, of all people, would have paid better attention to the holy profit motive in dealing with these mercenary swine, but they didn't.  If I were a telco CEO (and a mercenary swine), I'd cut 'em off in a heartbeat.  The publicity the telcos are getting now (such as it is) ain't exactly favorable.  

      •  Needs a warrant served on him , yep. n/t (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
  •  Bush is trying to hide something else. (24+ / 0-)

    My theory: Bush used the telcoms to spy on Dem candidates in 2004.  Tinfoil hat is on.  But I do wonder why this is such an issue for ole GB43

    Never give up on peace!!! What are you left with if you do???

    by Gator on Fri Feb 22, 2008 at 11:11:41 AM PST

  •  The Cover-Up is the Main Thing (20+ / 0-)

    The cover-up is the main thing for the Bush administration. Amnesty makes all those lawsuits and pesky discovery go away. The administration's wrong-doing goes down the black hole forever. Yes! High fives all around.

    As Glenn Greenwald says though, amnesty rewards companies that break the law and screws companies that obey the law.

  •  The more I hear about this issue (13+ / 0-)

    the more I'm convinced Bush sent the telecos off on their own wiretapping fishing expedition/frenzy...  "listen to everything, tell us what we should investigate," instead of asking for select information.  If Bushco knew what they were looking for, they wouldn't have needed "cooperation," just legal standing.

    Ahhhh DKos in primary season... it's like the hunting scene in Bambi and the end of Old Yeller all rolled into one never-ending movie.

    by jhop7 on Fri Feb 22, 2008 at 11:14:23 AM PST

    •  It is true we could increase our security (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Cyber Kat, jhop7, TexasTwister, rhutcheson

      by serendipitously catching a conversation between terrorists that you weren't already looking for.  You can make the same argument to say we should tap everyone's phones because we might identify sexual predators, or bank robbers.  Crime rates could be dropped considerably--or at least, people would stop using phones to discuss and/or make their nefarious plans.

      Unfortunately, there is nothing that can be done to limit the use of such powers of "serendipity" to fighting terrorism.  Whether B*sh and his Nixon-era cronies are currently using indiscriminate eavesdropping for personal political gain or not, someone will.  And that is far more dangerous to our country than another 9/11-style attack.

      This is why the Constitution protects our right to privacy in the first place, because our democratic system of government depends on it.

      Honesty is still the best policy.

      by oscarsdad on Fri Feb 22, 2008 at 11:42:20 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  have you been watching "The Wire" (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Abra Crabcakeya

        "or at least, people would stop using phones to discuss and/or make their nefarious plans."

        only stupid criminals - like Bu$hco cronies use email for their crooked activities.

        •  No, what channel is "The Wire" on? (0+ / 0-)

          Nevertheless, it is exactly those stupid criminals who want to tap the phones to find terrorists.

          Some terrorists are stupid, too.  Look at the ones that wanted to blow up the building in LA, or the ones with the bridge plot.  Both of those groups looked pretty stupid to me.

          Also, I believe the plot that was foiled in the UK, the plot to steal planes headed for the US, used wiretaps as well as infiltration to bust that one up.  So yes, it really can help.

          As I said, though, that "solution" is far more dangerous than the terrorist plots it might help foil.

          Honesty is still the best policy.

          by oscarsdad on Fri Feb 22, 2008 at 12:07:32 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  big brother IS watching. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        oscarsdad, Abra Crabcakeya

         Coincidentally, both my wife and I were somewhat paranoid about any display of displeasure with Bushco's aims and tactics following 9-11.  They went so far beyond the pale with rabid patriotic fervor we were in fear of being branded DeFacto-Terrorists.  Much as I try to be tongue-in-cheek, I agree with you wholeheartedly on this issue.  The healthy temperament of our democracy should not be subjected to such debilitating pathologies.  Justify it as you will... the suppression of our rights will leave us all the more vulnerable to truly fatal forces, like true fascism.

        Ahhhh DKos in primary season... it's like the hunting scene in Bambi and the end of Old Yeller all rolled into one never-ending movie.

        by jhop7 on Fri Feb 22, 2008 at 12:05:28 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  But oscarsdad , I LIKE making nefarious plans nt (0+ / 0-)
    •  Right. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I've been wondering why the administration claims that if retroactivie immunity isn't passed, then the telecoms won't cooperate in the future.  After all, they don't have a choice, do they, when presented with a government "request"?

      Look at this from the White House "press gaggle" this morning, with Scott Stanzel speaking for the administration:

      Q Can I go back to the immunity question. You're saying that without that retroactive immunity, you know, companies may not be willing to put their shareholders at risk and cooperate. So we're talking about voluntary cooperation, and it's not just the telecom, is it? I mean, how serious is that concern? I mean, what kind of -- what is the extent of the cooperation that -- and what other, outside of telecom context -- are you talking about, like, car rentals and hotels?
      MR. STANZEL: The DNI has said if we don't have cooperation from the private sector we don't have a program, period. So it's very serious. So that is -- our first and foremost concern is that immunity protection be provided so we have partnerships with the private sector, because without that -- this is not all information that the government, itself, holds. It's information that we need to work with the private sector to receive, and to administer the program. And without that, we don't have a program.
      Q But when you talk about the private sector, what kind of -- I mean, what kind of --
      MR. STANZEL: Without going into the broad details of the program, I think those are the types of questions that are best left to the intelligence professionals that do administer the program.

      So the administration sees itself using the new Patriot Act to set up spying "partnerships" with, not as giving limited legal orders to the private sector?

      •  Of course they have a choice. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        It's unconstitutional, if not blatantly illegal, for the Executive Branch to command, or even request, that any law be broken or circumvented.  Only courts, by issuing warrants, can do that.  That's why we have courts (and an ostensibly independent judiciary branch).  

        The telcos have lawyers.  They know this perfectly well, but they're hiding behind a certain public level of ignorance about it, as if to say, Yeah well, geez, what would you do if the PRESIDENT told you to?!?  

      •  Bingo... Great catch! (0+ / 0-)

        So it's actually the telecom companies' program... do they choose the places to look and who to listen to?  Certainly their proprietary information should be safe within the confines of a sensitive law-enforcement operation, and the FBI, CIA, NSA, etc have a compelling case to be fully informed as to the workings of the telecos' networks and systems so they can conduct their own operations. ( I also can't imagine a shareholder who would weigh a theoretical drop in share value as being more important than foiling international terrorists' plots... Who's in charge in this situation, anyway?)  Guess the federal government doesn't have the right or inclination to do the work themselves.  No wonder the telecos want amnesty.  Will they be granted amnesty from damages and criminal negligence charges if another terrorist attack occurs on 'their' watch?

        Ahhhh DKos in primary season... it's like the hunting scene in Bambi and the end of Old Yeller all rolled into one never-ending movie.

        by jhop7 on Fri Feb 22, 2008 at 01:09:50 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  There ya go (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SecondComing, Sychotic1, JeffW, CenFlaDem

    "If they want to work in good faith they should give their members the opportunity to pass the bipartisan compromise that protects civil liberties and gives our terror fighters the tools they need to keep American families safe."

    Hey, Kit - right shoe, wrong foot.

    You mispelled "families" -
    for Senate Republicans, it's spelled C-O-R-P-O-R-A-T-I-O-N-S.

    You're welcome! ;)

  •  You know the one funny thing about this (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LynChi, Sychotic1, jjellin, lgcap

    The American people don't even care. Normally this would be a bad thing, but in this case it's great. The Dems can keep stalling forever and FISA can go away.

  •  I love this stuff (7+ / 0-)

    every Republican temper tantrum makes it harder for a Blue Dog to just rubberstamp the GOP agenda without looking like a coward and a wimp.

    The second you make it all about the size of a Blue Dog's manhood, they suddenly become more partisan.

    Sometime this year, an eighteen year old soldier will die in a war that started when he was thirteen. -Anonymous

    by LeftHandedMan on Fri Feb 22, 2008 at 11:15:31 AM PST

  •  He spied on everyone (5+ / 0-)

    The testimony of the AT&T whistleblower is that he installed a signal splitter and routed ALL telephone and data lines into a secure room occupied by the NSA.  With that arrangement, Bush could spy on anyone, both telephone and electronic communication.

    You need more than one tin-foil hat.

  •  One of Kit Bond's motives (4+ / 0-)

    The largest employer in Overland Park is Sprint Nextel Corporation, containing the Sprint world headquarters. Its campus occupies 240 acres (1 km²) in the city, and employs about 18,500 people.

    From a Wiki article on Overland Park, Kansas.  Many of those employees live on the Missouri side of the line.  Sprint has a lot of influence with Missouri politicians.  

    "Cynicism is a sorry kind of wisdom"--Obama. "I'm trying to change!"--St. Louis Woman

    by St Louis Woman on Fri Feb 22, 2008 at 11:17:02 AM PST

  •  Forget candidate polls (4+ / 0-)

    What I'd like to see our National polls on how people feel about the FISA fight.  Do they actually believe Bush's attempt to fear-monger here or have peopekl wised up to the Republican 'blame it on the Dems!' spin machine.

    I just never really know what kind of perception your average Joe is taking away from media sound-bites on big issues like this.

    ...honor is a harder master than the law. It cannot compromise for less than 100 cents on the dollar and its debts never outlaw. - Mark Twain, a Biography

    by billd on Fri Feb 22, 2008 at 11:18:42 AM PST

    •  The impression I have (0+ / 0-)

      is that while few people know much about it, opinion among those who do know is overwhelmingly against the spying.  

      Really, the only ground for liking it is the belief that it does somehow protect us -- and I think you've got to drink an awful lot of Kool-Aid to believe that.  I don't think even Bush or Cheney believes it for a minute.  Do you?  

  •  How can I be reading this? By all GOP reasoning (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JeffW, Greasy Grant

    I should be dead.  Damn it I hate when reality intrudes on delusion.  

    "An entire credulous nation believed in Santa Claus, but Santa Claus was really the gasman." Gunter Grass

    by rrheard on Fri Feb 22, 2008 at 11:18:45 AM PST

    •  Don't worry... (0+ / 0-)

      if you support Obama your eveidentally still delusional.  Just like the rest of us. ;-)

      ...honor is a harder master than the law. It cannot compromise for less than 100 cents on the dollar and its debts never outlaw. - Mark Twain, a Biography

      by billd on Fri Feb 22, 2008 at 11:21:21 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  When the Heritage clock hits 90 days should (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      SecondComing, JeffW

      we throw an "I'm not dead, and the GOP is the fear-mongerging full of shit party" party?

      "An entire credulous nation believed in Santa Claus, but Santa Claus was really the gasman." Gunter Grass

      by rrheard on Fri Feb 22, 2008 at 11:22:13 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'd like to see that Heritage clock go until... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        12 Noon on January 20, 2009.  Since there is an automatic one-year extension on continuing investigations and the traditional FISA court for new ones I don't see anything wrong with just running out the clock on these bozos and let a new Democratic president work with an even stronger Democratic congress starting Jan. 20.  Just let the hysterical Republicans continue to cry wolf, claim the sky is falling, and complain of the vapors.

        Why did we bother to defeat the Soviet Union if we were just going to become it? -- Molly Ivins, RIP, January 31, 2007

        by dewtx on Fri Feb 22, 2008 at 11:40:38 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Your life got saved because... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      drbloodaxe, Abra Crabcakeya

      the Feds fished through my phone records to see how many photos of nude women I downloaded.  You should call Bush/Cheney to thank them ;-)

      "Some men see things as they are and say 'Why?' I dream things that never were and say, 'I need to quit drinking!'" - Greasy Grant

      by Greasy Grant on Fri Feb 22, 2008 at 11:30:49 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Kit, drunk and surly is no way to go thru life nt (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
  •  GWB's approvals have hit another new low. (5+ / 0-)

    Could be because something Ted Kennedy said has resonated with even more Americans (paraphrasing): "Bush will let more Americans die to protect the phone compaies."

    "Some men see things as they are and say 'Why?' I dream things that never were and say, 'I need to quit drinking!'" - Greasy Grant

    by Greasy Grant on Fri Feb 22, 2008 at 11:21:12 AM PST

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

    I don't know anything about when this bill "goes to Conference."

    BUT if the House leaders don't cave, is there any way immunity can be pulled out during conference?

    Thanks in advance.

    Why can't we use the 140 billion to jump-start Universal Health Care? If we don't advocate for this, who will?

    by gooderservice on Fri Feb 22, 2008 at 11:22:33 AM PST

  •  Let them kick and scream (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    After all, isn't that part of hanging them out to dry? Which is what they would do to us if the situation were reversed.

    The administration spied on more than just suspected terrorists - otherwise why would they be so concerned about what an investigation might turn up.

    Feet. Meet fire.

    I just pray the Dems keep their resolution. This could be the crack in the ice we've been looking for.

    Change the media ownership laws and reinstate the Fairness Doctrine

    by moosely2006 on Fri Feb 22, 2008 at 11:22:41 AM PST

  •  I was under the impression (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gooderservice, moosely2006

    that bush wants telecom immunity for both post post-9-11 and pre-9-11 domestic spying.  Am I wrong?

  •  Every time a Kit "Puppet" Bond... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SecondComing, moosely2006

    or the Preznit Bunnypants himself walks up to a mike, the Democratic counterparts must follow up - hold a press conference immediately afterwards - could be Rep. Reyes, Sen. Rockefeller, or Pelosi/Reid - who goes to refute this BS on TV.

    Hit back at every opportunity the Rethugs provide.

    Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts - Daniel Patrick Moynihan

    by Suvro on Fri Feb 22, 2008 at 11:24:42 AM PST

  •  Dems take break from Kit's whining (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    moosely2006, RickMassimo

    not just immunity from civil lawsuits; immunity from state lawsuits

    no way!

    This time it's personal.

    by apostrophe on Fri Feb 22, 2008 at 11:24:49 AM PST

  •  Where are the dems' voices? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I know Hoyer made a statement, but I truly wish the dems would get out there on the talk shows en masse and explain that the repubs refused to extend the "past" law.

    And while they're at it, offer to pass the current "bill" without the immunity and take that issue up separately.

    Why can't we use the 140 billion to jump-start Universal Health Care? If we don't advocate for this, who will?

    by gooderservice on Fri Feb 22, 2008 at 11:25:31 AM PST

  •  Roll over! Play dead! (7+ / 0-)

    "Mommy! The doggy's growling at me."

    "He's probably mad at you for beating him and peeing on him, dear."

    C'mon, Representatives, go ahead and bite. Teach the little punk a lesson.

    'But they'll burn ya out' The unsteady eyes dropped to the ground. "I know. They done it before" - Steinbeck

    by SecondComing on Fri Feb 22, 2008 at 11:26:00 AM PST

  •  Frame it this way (7+ / 0-)

    If national security were truly the primary concern for Republicans, they would have approved the the PAA renewal without the immunity and then introduced a separate immunity bill.

    Also lost by some in the debate is the fact that telco immunity is the key domino to allow or prevent a court from deciding if Bush violated FISA.

    The end result is Republicans put protecting Bush and the telcos ahead of protecting our country.

  •  Magic words that never get said (10+ / 0-)

    "I would just tell you there's no compromise on whether these phone companies get liability protection."

    The response to this, from Reid, Pelosi or any other Democrat who wants to step up, is simple:  "That's not for you to say."  

    The president does not get to make this call (no pun intended.)  Legislation is the province and responsibility of Congress.  The president may sign legislation or not sign legislation.  He may request legislation.  But he cannot demand legislation.

    "That's not for you to say."  Six little words.  Use 'em a lot -- they apply to a whole host of things this administration has done.

    "The Romans brought on their own demise, but it took them centuries. Bush has finished America in a mere 7 years." -- Paul Craig Roberts

    by Roddy McCorley on Fri Feb 22, 2008 at 11:27:51 AM PST

  •  Run! Rubber Stampede! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Abra Crabcakeya

    Bite us, Repelicans :P
    Bite us, Telephonies :P

    This time it's personal.

    by apostrophe on Fri Feb 22, 2008 at 11:28:22 AM PST

  •  The media (0+ / 0-)

    needs to hang the walkout of the vote around the GOP  necks like a dirty toilet seat...

  •  Ummm, WHAT cooperation? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ellicatt, drbloodaxe

    The telco's kicked out the FBI for not paying the bills, right?

    By the way, I'd love to know what the monthly rate is for an unwarranted wiretap.

    You can't get away with the crunch, 'cuz the crunch always gives you away

    by dnamj on Fri Feb 22, 2008 at 11:32:00 AM PST

    •  Enh (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      rlochow, Abra Crabcakeya

      Dnamj -- You think you're getting this great deal spying on your own citizens, but then you actually read the fine print. Your night and weekend spying minutes don't come into play until way too late at night. I mean, seriously, how much spying do you do after 8 PM vs. spying in the middle of the day?

      Same thing with the rollover minutes they promise. It sounds like you'll have all these unused spying minutes building up from month to month, but trust me: you'll still be paying extra fees tacked on at the end of the month.

  •  and the world didn't end... (0+ / 0-)

    "And we are here as on a darkling plain Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight, Where ignorant armies clash by night." Matthew Arnold

    by Cantinflas on Fri Feb 22, 2008 at 11:33:00 AM PST

  •  I liked the (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sherlyle, RickMassimo, One Opinion

    February 15 exchange between Hoyer and Price on the House floor:

    Mr. HOYER...

    all of you on your side of the aisle thought that we would take whatever the Senate gave us because we would be fearful; we would be fearful of not pursuing substantive legislative process to discuss this very important issue. I agree with you. Every one of your Members thought, in your words, we would blink. The question is not blinking. The question is substantively getting to a result that furthers the protection of our country and the protection of our Constitution...

    ...we believe the country is protected. We believe that in terms of all of those al Qaeda objects that you make reference to, I hope and presume, I do not know, I have no secret information that I'm disclosing, but I would be shocked and dismayed and deeply disappointed if at this point in time the administration did not have in place orders that covered at least from now until August of this year, which is when we last authorized this bill, the Protect America Act, and under which the administration could have gotten authority which would have lasted for a full year. So those orders are still in place, they will not lapse, and it will be no impediment to further interception of those communications...

    Mr. PRICE or Georgia... It's not that we thought you would blink. We could not believe that the majority would not live up to its primary responsibility, which we perceive as making certain that this Nation is protected. That's what we believed.

    So Hoyer got the Republican Price to admit that the administration engineered and then lost a legislative game of chicken.

  •  Plus let’s not forget, (0+ / 0-)

    these house members are all up for reelection. Who would the republicans/bush administration want to wiretap more than the democrats in congress?   Granted many are in on the some of the thousands of felonies committed by the bush administration.  But I’m an eternal optimist and believe some like Kucinich are not and even those that are probably do not want their private phone conversations taped.

    Just a thought.. hope everyone has a great weekend..    

    We will never forget the crimes and atrocities committed by the Bush administration!

    by Freedom Loving American on Fri Feb 22, 2008 at 11:37:09 AM PST

  •  "Our terror fighters" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    For crying out loud, is this the United States Senate or a bad video game?

    Well, I know the answer to that question; does Kit Bond? I thought you had to be 25 years old to be in the Senate.

  •  Petition for No Immunity (0+ / 0-)

    Please sign this petition.  Let them know how you feel!

    And CALL, WRITE, EMAIL your elected officials to tell them NO IMMUNITY - past or future!

  •  No compromise is fine with me (4+ / 0-)

    The Democrats seem all too willing to compromise away the Bill of Rights, especially the Fourth Amendment.  If Bush won't compromise, maybe that will stop the Dems from compromising.  It's a win-win.

    "Everything's shiny, Captain. Not to fret."

    by rmwarnick on Fri Feb 22, 2008 at 11:39:53 AM PST

  •  POST 9-11? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    saralee, lastamendment, rhutcheson

    Were they not going to the telecoms in February of '01 about setting up their little spy program? Why aren't any dems bringing that up?

    People don't wanna see the news-it's boring. People wanna see animals. Close up. With a wide angle lens.

    by PLCOT on Fri Feb 22, 2008 at 11:41:07 AM PST

  •  this is the lie we need to expose (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lastamendment, drbloodaxe, rhutcheson


    The administration says it needs the help of the phone companies for its post Sept. 11, 2001, surveillance.

    They started spying on us WELL BEFORE Sept. 11th

    Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the War Room! - President Merkin Muffley

    by AlyoshaKaramazov on Fri Feb 22, 2008 at 11:43:54 AM PST

  •  It is encouraging that the MSM (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    has been largely silent. They are not letting Bush use them as his megaphone on this one. Even McConnell's Tour O' Lies on the sunday talkies went by without much fanfare. I'm not naive enough to think that that means the MSM are finally seeing through the lies, but i am hopeful that it is a sign of a greater disinterest in the we're-going-to-die mantra that the Bushies have as their only remaining card.

    Guil: So there you are. Ros: Stark raving sane. - T. Stoppard, Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are Dead

    by eco d on Fri Feb 22, 2008 at 11:47:05 AM PST

  •  If they have to (0+ / 0-)

    keep it away from a vote until late January of 2009, so be it.

    Telcos can squirm for a year more until they find out there will be no immunity.

    Got a problem with my posts? Email me, and let's resolve it.

    by drbloodaxe on Fri Feb 22, 2008 at 11:47:57 AM PST

  •  Another Stall (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    eco d

    Let's just point out again that it was the Democrats who offered to extend the Protect America Act to "keep us safe," and Bush and the Republicans who forced that law to lapse.

    Let's also point out that it was the Republicans who stalled the process during the last two week extension.  They refused to deal with the Democrats until the last couple of days before the extension was to run out.

    Can we dare to hope that the Democrats have finally found their spine?  There is no reason for them to capitulate this time.  The tide has turned on the Republicans and a vast majority of the American public has the Democrats back.  I just hope they see it and capitalize on it.

  •  When appropriate to grant telecom amnesty: (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I'm not totally against the idea as Bush presents it. It just has to be balanced with someone else taking responsibility to running roughsod over constitutional rights since 9/11 wsithout benefit of statute or oversight. Say, the administration?

    Which is to say I would support granting retroactive telecom amnesty the very minute impeachment articles are passed and a trail is moved to the Senate. Really, Bush needs to answer for what he has asked the telecoms to do, but I suppose I'd settle for Cheney.

    Have you heard? The vice president's gone mad. - Bob Dylan, 1966

    by textus on Fri Feb 22, 2008 at 11:49:08 AM PST

  •  "A bad idea" Miami Herald (4+ / 0-)

    "As for retroactive immunity, that simply is a bad idea. Telecommunications companies that comply with lawful requests are, and always have been, immune for those actions. The lawsuits that have been filed seek to discover how these companies aided and abetted the government in unlawful surveillance. If they get immunity, no company would have any reason to refuse to comply with illegal requests in the future."

    This time it's personal.

    by apostrophe on Fri Feb 22, 2008 at 11:51:05 AM PST

  •  i STILL don't understand (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JG in MD

    why the dems don't make the republicans OWN it!

    stand our ground and make the responsible party take responsibility.

    either that or let them hold their breath until they turn blue...after they pass out they'll start breathing again and have the mother of all migraines not to mention kill off a few thousand brain cells.  jeez, dealing with raising 4 boys was easier than watching congress eat itself.

    canya tell i'm so frustrated with congress that i HOPE they eat each other and just get it over with so we don't have to put up with this gradeschool posturing?

    sorry for the rant...carry on (sigh)

    Just once in a while let us exalt the importance of ideas and information. -- Edward R. Murrow

    by labwitchy on Fri Feb 22, 2008 at 11:51:56 AM PST

  •  When Barack decides that Democratic compromise (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    is to tell the Republicans to shove it, I'm going to be supportive of his actions.

    You can't compromise with Republicans. That's why we need so many more good Democrats for the down ticket.

    This is going to be a great year to run for the first time for the Congress.

  •  Dead people cannot blame anybody (0+ / 0-)

    So the President wants to save lives and it is called a temper tantrum.

    Let's have a little honesty here. If President Bush favors something, the democrats automatically oppose it. Then the democrats will propose the same thing, and embrace it.

    It is one thing to disagree on principle, but if there was an attack tomorrow on American soil, democrats would be all over the President for not keeping us safe.

    Why not just admit that hating his guts requires disagreeing with him for existing?

    If he were to come out and say we should not kill innocent puppies and kittens, many of his critics would insist that we should.


    aka the Tygrrrr Express

    •  Kid, please. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      rlochow, Abra Crabcakeya

      "If President Bush favors something, the democrats automatically oppose it."

      Um. What?

      Since 06, the dems have rubber stamped everything Bush wants. Name me a time in his regime when Bush has had to fight hard against the Democratic party for anything.

      Go back to trolling school and brush up on your basics.

      •  Trolling? (0+ / 0-)

        Trolling is going on message boards, picking fights, and hurling insults, such as comparing President Bush to Hitler.

        Going on message boards and offering a divergent view with the attempt of promoting dialogue in a calm reasonable manner is not trolling. It is discussion.

        If you were to research my blog, you would see that liberals are welcome. Plenty who disagree with me say that I am the most openminded conservative blogger out there.

        The democrats have not rubber stamped everything.

        The entire democratic party is Anti-Bush. It won in 2006 without offering anything resembling a policy. That worked because the republicans got full of themselves.

        Yet the republicans were guilty of straying from their plan. The democrats were guilty of not having a plan at all. They are a great opposition party. They simply cannot govern until they develop an actual agenda.

        Disliking Bush is not a program.

        Or perhaps you can tell me what democrats actually stand for?


        eric aka the Tygrrrr Express

  •  Need to get our talking points out there (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    beemerr90s, rhutcheson

    This is a losing proposition for us as long as the other side can say "we need to give them liability protection in order to gain their co-operation moving forward."  This strikes a lot of Americans as pretty reasonable, mostly because they don't hear the reasons why this is bogus.  

    So as I understand them, the reasons this is bogus are:

    1.  There is already an exception for "good faith" reliance on government directives.  Therefore, this should be referred to as "bad-faith immunity," something most Americans won't agree with.
    1.  There is already immunity in place for things that happen prospectively.  Concerns about the possibility of incurring new liability for new activities has already been the subject of legislation.
    1.  There's no need get in the "good graces" of the telcos.  They are subject to our legal jurisdiction, so if the government needs them to provide access to data or anything else, the government has compulsory legal processes to force compliance.  

    So we should call this the "bad-faith giveaway" act, no?

    •  I disagree. (0+ / 0-)

      I think both Bush and the telcos, for separate reasons, are wildly unpopular.  

      Further, I think the spying is unpopular too, if only because it's not only the work of those two thoroughly villainous parties, but is typical of what people hate about both of them.  

      Finally, I think people are hipper than you think to the telcos' utter lack of good faith in this whole affair.  

  •  Stalemate Favors Democrats (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    So the state of play is that the PAA has expired, returning the law to just the 2006 version of FISA (the one Bush has repeatedly violated). There's no amnesty in there.

    It's true that by this Summer the existing spying orders will expire, and there is a possibility that enemies could go unmonitored. Of course, all spying would have to expire, and be restarted under the older FISA. Which would exclude quite a lot of spying on people other than "terrorists".

    Of course, all that action requires Bush not violate the law, and of course that's a wet paper barrier. But more violations mean more convictions. And without Bush in office to threaten to veto, without even 49 Senate Republicans to "filibuster", without even 40% of the House Republican to walk out as a PR stunt, it will be easier for Democrats to rewrite FISA to reduce abuse, rather than encourage it, with all the new data on how it gets abused.

    But of course, all that action would require Democrats not to want to inherit Bush's tyrannical powers. There is some evidence that perhaps they don't, especially with Obama as Executive. But though running out the clock works both ways, this time against Bush, restarting the clock also works both ways.

    In the long run, the stalemate between the people's rights and our government's power is bad for both. I hope the stalemate is truly a feature of just partisanship, and not a permanent feature of our government in the Info Age.

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

    by DocGonzo on Fri Feb 22, 2008 at 12:11:41 PM PST

    •  Good post Doc (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Personally, I'm in favor of the Dems just dropping the whole damn issue and letting it sunset naturally.  This allows the Teleco lawsuits to move forward and perhaps we get a little insight into what the hell was going on with this blatantly illegal program.  

      I don't see the rank and file Americans getting bent out of shape for poor old Georgie Porgie on this one, what do we give a damn if the phone companies (that spend 90% of their effort figuring out new way to screw us) get a little comeuppance?  It's just not going to resonate.

      This way we can also return to the issue next year with Obama as president and (hopefully) a more Democratic congress.

      How ironic, the best thing the Dems could do for this issue would be to do nothing.  They have more than enough practice there, can they do nothing when it counts?  ;)

  •  I might also mention that (0+ / 0-)

    W is out of the country.  Remember how Terry Schiavo's case was so important that he came back from Crawford vacation to sign that abomination of a bill?  But the disaster from Katrina didn't warrant cutting his vacation short?  And now that we are in such danger because FISA gutting bill hasn't been rubberstamped, where is he?  Dancing in Africa.

    How can we take any of this seriously anymore?


    I'd rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy.

    by beemerr90s on Fri Feb 22, 2008 at 12:20:23 PM PST

    •  But we are NOT in danger.... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Abra Crabcakeya

      Never were in danger of anything as a result of the original FISA legislation which provides for legal search warrants and for getting warrants after-the-fact if a genuine emergency arises.

      The only "issue" with the current legislation is retroactive immunity for Telcoms who did illegal warrantless wiretapping BEFORE 9/11 (as well as after) on Georgie's (and/or Dickie's) orders, and if the retroactive immunity is granted by Congress Critters, then it also legalizes the crimes they've already committed, and they can't be charged with the crimes they committed BEFORE 9/11.

      The monetary damages the telcos may be ordered to pay in civil lawsuits are almost incidental (besides which, Congress would likely bail them out with money anyway, if it did cut into the corporate profits to pay money after civil litigation).

      It's the criminal liability and retroactive immunity for both telcoms and Georgie and Dickie (and/or possibly their criminal cohorts in the administration) that hangs in the balance.


      by NonnyO on Fri Feb 22, 2008 at 01:30:07 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Post 9-11 spying? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rlochow, NonnyO

    There is testamony from a telecom exec. that the govt. asked the companies to spy on us six months BEFORE 9-11, why is this tid bit constantly left out of stories & discussion ? I also have never heard anyone ask the President or Congress why the telecos need amnesty if their actions were legal.

  •  Republicans will run on this issue (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    The Republican administration will run on this issue.  Absolving the telecoms absolves Bush and legitimizes his crimes.  If the Dems cave in on this issue it will be very difficult to run against the Republicans.

  •  One minor question (0+ / 0-)
    I've had about the program is whether the telecoms must do it 'cost-plus' or just bill whatever they want for their domestic spying services.
  •  mcjoan, a query (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Rachel Griffiths

    Is there any way we could organize some sort of push for Democrats to shelve this legislation, blame it on Republican obstructionism, and not return to it until the next Congress is in session?

    I'm all in favor of just letting it expire, once the "cooks" start messing with this soup, it's bound to turn sour.

  •  Immunity demand proves Bush violated FISA (4+ / 0-)

    Follow the logic:

    If telco's comply with a legal government request, immunity is automatic in FISA.

    But Bush is demanding telco immunity, meaning the telco's are not given immunity under FISA.

    Therefore, the telco's must not have followed a legal goverment request.

    This means Bush violated FISA.

  •  Excellent as Always :) (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Rachel Griffiths

    Excellent commentary as always, mcjoan! :)  Your FISA diaries are the reason I joined this blog in the first place.  Thanks for all your hard work and for keeping us mobilized and informed!  (I now keep 2 long address lists of my Senators on speed-mail thanks to you - one contains all 50 members and the other is a complete list of the Democrats and Independents only.  I save the phone calls for my locals, the Presidential candidates, and individual Senators I want to thank for going the extra mile in defense of our Constitution.) Anyway, it's nice to know somebody "gets it" when it comes to Bush's gutting of American Democracy, but it's rarer and far better to come across somebody who actually has a strategy for fighting back.  Speaking as one who does not have the time or educational background to sort these legislative issues out all by myself, you have my deepest gratitude for the steady research, communication, and suggestions you provide.    

  •  The terrorists are in the White House.... (0+ / 0-)

    WHY IT IS URGENT: public safety.

    Bush is frustrated and spreading total lies all over the Democrats in this deal.

    If Dems capitulate now, they run the risk of acknowledging complicity or shgaring the blame in future security failures for any terrorist attacks on our shores that may ensue.

    It is only by exposing Bush's lies that we are less safe without telco amnesty that they can avoid any complicity and turn the tables, placing the onus upon the Bush administration to keep us safe.

    We are only as 'safe' as Bush will let us be. The terrorists are in the White House, and a new Pearl Harbor would play to their advantage in screwing us and deploying the fascist state that they have been spoiling for.

    First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win. -Mohandas Gandhi

    by ezdidit on Fri Feb 22, 2008 at 02:15:35 PM PST

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