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Following up on Hunter's excellent post on why we care about FISA, I want to home in on one part of the whole debacle, and why keeping Barack Obama to his vow to try to strip immunity from the bill is important.

Here's Glenn in an important post on the larger issues behind this bill, and Obama's support of it.

It is absolutely false that the only unconstitutional and destructive provision of this "compromise" bill is the telecom amnesty part. It's true that most people working to defeat the Cheney/Rockefeller bill viewed opposition to telecom amnesty as the most politically potent way to defeat the bill, but the bill's expansion of warrantless eavesdropping powers vested in the President, and its evisceration of safeguards against abuses of those powers, is at least as long-lasting and destructive as the telecom amnesty provisions. The bill legalizes many of the warrantless eavesdropping activities George Bush secretly and illegally ordered in 2001. Those warrantless eavesdropping powers violate core Fourth Amendment protections. And Barack Obama now supports all of it, and will vote it into law. Those are just facts.

The ACLU specifically identifies the ways in which this bill destroys meaningful limits on the President's power to spy on our international calls and emails. Sen. Russ Feingold condemned the bill on the ground that it "fails to protect the privacy of law-abiding Americans at home" because "the government can still sweep up and keep the international communications of innocent Americans in the U.S. with no connection to suspected terrorists, with very few safeguards to protect against abuse of this power." Rep. Rush Holt -- who was actually denied time to speak by bill-supporter Silvestre Reyes only to be given time by bill-opponent John Conyers -- condemned the bill because it vests the power to decide who are the "bad guys" in the very people who do the spying.

This bill doesn't legalize every part of Bush's illegal warrantless eavesdropping program but it takes a large step beyond FISA towards what Bush did. There was absolutely no reason to destroy the FISA framework, which is already an extraordinarily pro-Executive instrument that vests vast eavesdropping powers in the President, in order to empower the President to spy on large parts of our international communications with no warrants at all. This was all done by invoking the scary spectre of Terrorism -- "you must give up your privacy and constitutional rights to us if you want us to keep you safe" -- and it is Obama's willingness to embrace that rancid framework, the defining mindset of the Bush years, that is most deserving of intense criticism here.

Glenn is absolutely right. This is a disaster of a bill designed to expand the warrantless eavesdropping powers of the president, to codify the lawbreaking of Bush/Cheney. He's also right that this doesn't need to happen, there's "no reason to destroy the FISA framework." It seems we have a Congress intent upon doing that, nonetheless. But there's a distinction between those bad provisions and retroactive immunity--immunity can't be undone. A President Obama and a Congress with a larger Democratic majority--if it had the political will to do so--could repeal the changes contained in the bill, except for amnesty. Of course, given Obama's willingness to support those bad provisions, too, that possibility is waning.

However, there's no repeal of retroactive immunity--once it's granted, that's that. The terrible precedent of letting these corporations off the hook for knowingly breaking the law can't be undone.

That's why, in addition to the fact that pitting the Constitution against AT&T did seem the most potent way to fight this politically, we have focused so largely on telco amnesty. That, and for strategic reasons, is why we should continue to press Obama, Reid, Dodd, Feingold and others who have said in response to this bill, or in response to Dodd's stand last winter, that they oppose amnesty, period.

Strategically, if immunity is removed, the bill is once again veto bait. Another stalling tactic, maybe, but one that might work to finally kill this damned thing once and for all this session. Delaying it past the Independence Day recess is the goal for now. Pushing it into the short remaining work period for the session in August would land in the middle of a packed schedule of "must pass" bills. There's the slimmest chance that time would once again work in our favor. Granted, that outcome is not likely. Our Congress, including our nominee, seems intent, as Hunter says, "to quite so cravenly negate their own oversight duties."

It's our job to try to stop them, and to convince our leaders that it's the right thing to do and they'll have our support in doing so. Here's how, again courtesy Glenn:

As the extremely pro-Obama notes today, Obama's spokesman, Bill Burton, back in in September, vowed that Obama would "support a filibuster of any bill that includes retroactive immunity for telecommunications companies." MoveOn believes Obama should be held to his word and is thus conducting a campaign urging Obama to do what he promised -- support a filibuster to stop the enactment of telecom amnesty. You can email Burton here to demand that Obama comply with his commitment not just to vote against, but to filibuster, telecom amnesty:

Incidentally, Chris Dodd made an identical promise when he was running for President, prompting the support of hundreds of thousands of new contributors, and he ought to be held to his promise as well.

In addition to Obama, contact Harry Reid (Phone: (202) 224-3542, Fax: (202) 224-7327), Russ Feingold (Phone: (202) 224-5323, Fax: (202) 224-2725) and Chris Dodd (Phone: (202) 224-2823, Fax: (202) 224-1083). Ask them to do what they can to derail this train.

Chances are this train is too far from the station to put a stop to. But our job as the left flank of this party, the activist wing, is not to throw up our hands in despair and accept this as a done deal with our bitter acquiescence.

Our job also isn't go off sulking in a fit of pique because our leaders let us down. Blustering, whining, refusing to play anymore is the least helpful and productive of avenues. I keep coming back to Howard Dean and his admonition to us at Yearly Kos in Chicago that we are working on a long term project here to take our party back. Making this party ours again is going to take a lot of work and a long time. We do that by staying engaged. We do that by telling our representatives, including our presidential candidate (who is STILL head and shoulders better than the alternative) what we expect of them and by making their decisions matter.

As long as there is a fight to be had, we're the ones to fight it and to help our allies in Congress fight it. It's our job. If we don't do it, if we don't stand up for progressive values, who will?

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 10:14 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

    •  The reason this is happening now (11+ / 0-)

      is that it will be impossible to justify after the election. The Democrats want the best of both worlds, capitulation with cover.

      What took them so long? Really, what was the delay all about?

      •  It's All Politics (10+ / 0-)

        In 2006 the Repubs rammed through the Kanagaroo Court aka Military Tribunals Act and enough Democrats caved in so the Repubs wouldn't run commercials accusing the Democrats of being terrorist sympathizers.  And in 2002, on the eve of the election, we had the Iraq War Declaration and the creation of Homeland Security.  Remember the Max Cleland Loves Osama Bin Ladin smear ad was based on Cleland's opposition to creating the Department of Homeland Security with a provision undercutting the civil service protections of federal employees.

        This is the same thing again.  They are afraid of Karl Rove and the Republican sound bites.  

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

        by Navy Vet Terp on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 10:30:11 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  They will run the hate lies regardless (16+ / 0-)

          of what the Democrats do, the Democrats don't capitulate, they support these policies.

          •  that is what I can;t figure out (10+ / 0-)

            they cave and get there head bashed in anyway. What don't they get about the repugs?

            •  They don't oppose the policy (19+ / 0-)

              this isn't about partisanship at all. Don't believe what they say, believe what they do and the motivations come clear. There isn't enough political liability to justify this vote, the only answer is that the Democrats want it too.

              •  I am wondering if you are right. (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                mcmom, robertlewiws, lgcap

                I don't know which explanation is more depressing.

                Let's at least hold a couple of them accountable.

                •  If you believe the myth, illusion or lie of a two (4+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  zett, DocbytheBay, lgcap, rella

                  party system, then you buy into this notion that it's about political jockeying for election victories.

                  That is the notion they all put forth to justify their actions and which the media helps foster and perpetuate, and which we've all been brainwashed into believing by our educational system.

                  If, on the other hand, you believe that it is a one-party system, with two right wings, with the two wings colluding together more often than not in their quest to serve the interests of the ruling class--including our corporate masters--and if you understand that the corporate class controls this one-party system, then you will see this as just a consolidation of power on behalf of the ruling class.

                  This way, as they pursue their imperialistic adventures abroad, and continue to economically squeeze the "little people" here at home, with the wealth continually going to the top, then "the little people" will never be able to mount any kind of meaningful resistance to their rule.

                  If you read Gleen Greewald's article, he takes apart Time magazine's LIES in its coverage of this issue, complete with his pointing out that Time has repeated this bullshit myth about electioneering politics.  

                  Time--and the rest of the corporate media--exist to foster the illusion that we have a real two-party system and that we actually have an altenative in our system.

                  Hell, your tagline talks about Chomsky.  Have you read Chomsky?  He is an equal opportunity critic of the Democrats as well as the Republicans, and points out who's interests they, and the corporate media, really serve.

                  •  Well, I disagree. Here's my letter to Bill (8+ / 0-)

                    I think there is some truth in what you say, Living, but that sort of defeatism doesn't get us anywhere. Better to believe we can change things:

                    Dear Bill,

                    I'll keep this short. First, fantastic job. On everything. Just amazing. The best campaign team I've ever seen. Fantastic job, Bill.

                    That said: Do not let him break his promise. Sept 07, Barack promised to filibuster any FISA bill that includes immunity:


                    My support of your candidate is based largely on his principled stance on the issues. He is a rare thing in that respect. If he continues to be as he seems, I will use all my vacation days in October for the final push.

                    But FISA is a test. Think Americans aren't paying attention?

                    Then, sir, you're the one who's not.

                    But ignore your candidate's promise for a moment. Ignore that it's the right thing to do; the best thing for the country. Ignore, too, that the people are paying attention. Instead, recognize that keeping his promise is just good politics. You're a prodigal light in our party, so I don't have to tell you why.

                    Please, Bill, ask your candidate to what he promised. To do what he knows is right. Spine sells.

                    The Republicans were right for a while, but now they're not: it's not the size of your balls, it's the strength of your spine. Therein gravitas—and all the votes you need.


                    Doug Stillinger


                    - Dick Cheney, Good Morning America, 3/19/08

                    There is only one presidential candidate.

                    by OutOfManyOne on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 12:00:52 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Hunter and OutOfManyOne, thank you! (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      OutOfManyOne, melpomene1

                      I sent Obama a FAX this past week, along with Hoyer and Pelosi, obviously without much effect.  Since you published Bill Burton's email address, I just wrote him a brief letter. I do feel like whining.  I rarely give up but sometimes I have to take time off and rest after the obfuscation said and done by those in Washington.  Supposedly Obama wants us to believe he's not like the others. I'm not feeling real high on Obama this week, and while he is better than what we've got now, that isn't good enough.  I have supported him with as much money as I can afford and will continue to do that.  However, as one who does not care that he isn't taking public financing, I do care that he is about to break a second promise made to America in a week.  That's too much--his FISA statement was weak, Clintonian, and a flip-flop from what he said last fall.  I don't think we should let it pass without raising a lot of hell.

                      When I have an opinion, it may be found here

                      by walkabout on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 05:10:38 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Just imagine.... (0+ / 0-)

                        If you feel this way about Obama and you were a supporter....

                        How does that make all of these undecided voters feel?  Independents?  Hillary Clinton supporters?  

                        Obama's spine has actually seemed to buckle a little since he has become the presumptive nominee and started to get hit with tougher attacks from all sides.  

                        I don't know what is going to happen.  But I do feel great concern that something needs to straighten out rather quickly or we could be in some deep stink soon.  


                        by dwakeman on Mon Jun 23, 2008 at 10:22:22 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                    •  Here's my letter (2+ / 0-)

                      Dear Mr. Burton:

                      Last September you promised that Sen. Obama would support a filibuster of any bill that included telecom immunity.  I am writing you today to ask you to hold Sen. Obama to that promise.  Let me tell you why this issue is so important to me.

                      I am a ward chair in Albuquerque, NM.  We have great faith in Sen. Obama, and my neighbors and I are working hard to make Sen. Obama our President, one whom we can be proud of after many years of being ashamed of our government.  We feel so abandoned by Congress's repeated capitulation to President Bush's repeated illegal, unconstitutional actions that we need Sen. Obama to do the right thing and vote against cloture on the FISA bill.  I know that Sen. Obama has a history of doing the right thing in the face of criticism from both sides.  (Introducing the bundling component of the Senate's ethics reform package comes to mind.)  Filibustering the telecom bill will send a strong message that Sen. Obama will neither abuse power himself nor tolerate abuses of power as president.

                      Voters who want businesses and the administration to break the law with impunity will never vote Democratic in November.  Let them squawk.  However, by supporting a filibuster now, Sen. Obama will inspire loyal base Democratic voters to come out and work harder to elect Sen. Obama.  Frankly, I need their help, and yours.  I'm not a great inspirational leader, but Sen. Obama is.  We need him to lead us now.

                      Donald F. Schiff
                      DPNM Ward 18B Chair
                      Albuquerque, NM

                      My brother told me last night that the spineless sumbitches have the votes for cloture, but that shouldn't stop real patriots from doing the right thing, which is to filibuster this betrayal of the 4th Amendment.  Obama needs to join the Feingold filibuster.  He's the only Senator with enough clout to stop it.

                      "The first rule is to have an untroubled spirit. The second rule is to see things the way they are, and act accordingly." -- Marcus Aurelius

                      by NM Ward Chair on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 10:36:15 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  And here's mine ... (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:

                        Last September you told us that Sen. Obama would support a filibuster of any bill that included telecom immunity.  I was deeply disappointed to hear that he doesn't intend to stand with Senator Feingold and fight this provision. I'm writing today to ask you to tell him that we need him to keep that promise.  The future of America needs him to keep that promise.

                        Granting the telecommunications companies retroactive immunity is a Pandora's box.  Once it's opened, we will never be able to put the troubles, such actions bring, back in the box.  The abuses this act would allow, are unfathomable.  I can only imagine how it might be used in the future, and that scares me to my very marrow.

                        Senator Obama said that once he is president he will monitor the program carefully.  Sorry, I haven't trusted any politician, no matter how much I support them (and I support Barack Obama), who says, "Trust me."  Call me a cynic, if you want, but I have become a cynic because my trust has been betrayed far too many times.

                        If these telecommunications companies committed no crime, they do not need immunity.  If a court finds that they have committed a crime, then they should be prosecuted for that crime, just as any citizen would be prosecuted.  They want to be considered "persons" for the purpose of contributing to political campaigns, well, then they need to be "persons" when it comes to prosecution under the law.

                        They all have vast legal departments and those legal departments should have advised them that what they were doing was against the law.  They should have advised their clients that just because the president says it, doesn't make it okay.

                        I am so sick of watching the Democrats cave in to Bush's bullying tactics.  We voted them into a majority, so that someone would stand up for our Constitution; so that someone would hold this out-of-control administration accountable.  I'd like to remind Senator Obama that he took an oath to defend the Constitution.  I expect him to honor that oath.  The Constitution has never been more in need of defending than now.

                        I applauded Senator Obama's stand on not taking money from lobbyists.  I was very encouraged to see him taking control of the party.  He, above all Democrats, has an opportunity to take control of this situation.  He needs to show us the leadership that I know he possesses.  The American people are waiting for a leader who will stand for liberty, freedom and all those ideals our Founding Fathers fought for.  I had hoped that Senator Obama would prove to be that leader, and not someone who would allow George Bush and Dick Cheney to eviscerate the 4th amendment.

                        While I recognize that there are extremists who aspire to do us harm, if we shred the Constitution and give up our liberties, what have we gained?  I stand with Ben Franklin.  I'm not willing to give up my freedom for a small bit of false security.

                        I had intended to make another donation to the Obama campaign this month, but unless he takes a strong stand on this issue and stands with Senator Feingold, that donation is going to Robert Wexler, Senator Feingold and Dennis Kucinich, instead.

                        (Old White Woman 4 Obama)
                        OWW40's Unite!

                        by Cyber Kat on Mon Jun 23, 2008 at 08:46:47 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                    •  I wish we could lose labels (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:

                      I think there is some truth in what you say, Living, but that sort of defeatism doesn't get us anywhere. Better to believe we can change things:

                      I agree with you, that no matter what the situation, we need to keep struggling towards our visions.

                      However, I don't think labeling Living's view as "defeatism" is helpful or interesting. He's not calling for defeat, he's saying the mountain is higher than we thought it was. And not to put our faith so much in one person that we don't hold him or her accountable. Don't be so open-minded that our brains fall out.

                      Actually, I don't believe it's Congress is totally bought and paid for, though if we don't stop things now, it will be. And I do believe there is not one ruling class faction. It's much more complex than that.

                      I also believe that the populace still can make a difference when they speak and act with strong voices. After all, the last 300-400 years has really been the age of revolutions for our species, and I'm sure we'll keep trying til we get it right.

                      But then, I'm an optimist. And my idea of a great society is a socialist utopia with a bad side of town.

                      "If religion is the opiate of the masses, then fundamentalism is the amphetamine." Miz Vittitow

                      by MillieNeon on Mon Jun 23, 2008 at 04:21:10 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                  •  "Have you read Chomsky?" (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:

                    That's a stupid question.

                    I mostly agree with your comment. None of it is news to me. I would disagree with your fatalism (at least implied fatalism. Correct me if I'm wrong.) A major goal of the netroots is to take control of one party from the grassroots up. The alternative is to give up. Your description is basically correct, in my opinion, but the point is to change that situation. Why don't you contribute to the campaign to run ads against Hoyer, Barrow, and Carney?

                  •  Their actions tell the story. (7+ / 0-)

                    The Dems in Congress were given a mandate in 2006 and absolutely nothing changed. All they did was talk a lot and blame everything else for their inaction. Bush makes a convenient scapegoat for the collusion.

                    Actions and the money trail -- that's where you find the truth.

                    •  They did increase the minimum wage. (0+ / 0-)

                      That's something.

                      •  no they didn't (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:

                        It passed because the Repugs didn't fight it.

                        If Bush had vetoed it, the Dems would have squealed, pissed their pants, and caved in just like they did on everything else.

                        Editor, Red and Black Publishers

                        by Lenny Flank on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 12:41:39 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Yes they did. (0+ / 0-)

                          The point is that the minimum wage increase would never have passed if Repubs still held the majority. Democrats suck, but they suck less than the alternative. Let's keep things in perspective. That increased minimum wage makes a lot of difference to a lot of lives.

                          •  no, they didn't (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            vigilant meerkat, SPD

                            the point is that the Democratic majority wouldn't have passed it either, if Bush had vetoed it.  It passed because the Repugs ALLOWED it to pass.  If Bush had said "No", the Dems would have rolled over and played dead just like they did on everything else.  

                            And if a party's sole argument for getting elected is "we suck less than the other guys", then it's time for a new party.

                            Editor, Red and Black Publishers

                            by Lenny Flank on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 12:57:24 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  "Repugs ALLOWED it to pass" (0+ / 0-)

                            That doesn't change the fact that if Republicans still controlled Congress, it would never have even come up for a vote in the first place. Increasing the minimum wage has a huge majority of public support. Republicans aren't stupid enough to actually vote against something that popular (or veto it in Bush's case.) But they have no problem simply never letting the bill make it to the floor in the first place, which is what they did since they took control of the House in 1995.

                            There is plenty to criticize Democrats about. But to pretend that there is no difference is just not realistic. The difference may be small, but that small difference affects a lot of people's lives. It's irresponsible to ignore that difference.

                            And if a party's sole argument for getting elected is "we suck less than the other guys", then it's time for a new party.

                            Good luck with that. But if your vote for Nader (or whoever) throws another election for Republicans, I'll be one of millions saying, "Thanks a lot, Asshole."

                          •  So, we have a couple dollar (5+ / 0-)

                            increase in min wage, when it's still not a livable wage and those jobs have no healthcare. We still have an illegal war raging and they're ready to ok another one with Iran. We have a constitutional crisis, with an all-powerful executive branch, a Justice Dept who blocks prosecution and has morons like Yoo who "legalize" torture or anything else at the whim of the president. We have a federal court system who backs them up, while they thumb their noses at international law and basic standards of human behavior in a civilized world. Nothing has been done to address climate change, energy policy and the coming disaster from that. Our entire economy is collapsing, because they emptied it out to corporations and passed legislation written by the corps.

                            But, they passed a min wage increase, that inflation already nullified. So, they're miles ahead of the Republicans.

                            We're living in a frickin Vonnegut novel. This is insane.

                          •  I think it's insane too. (0+ / 0-)

                            Unfortunately, there are a lot of people that think a few measly crumbs off of the table is caviar or filet mignon, and will settle for them time and time again, so desperate they are to be distracted, bought off, mollified and/or manipulated.

                          •  "caviar or filet mignon"? (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:

                            Ummm... no. They think a couple extra bucks an hour will help them keep their heads above water. Nobody thinks it's "caviar or filet mignon."

                            My original comment about the minimum wage was just to point out that, as much as Democrats suck, to say that they are exactly like the Republicans is factually incorrect. There are policy differences. These differences are important. You don't think the difference between $5.50 an hour and $7.50 an hour is important to a lot of people?

                          •  Most states had already acted (0+ / 0-)

                            They closed the barn door after the horse ran away.

                            It took no political courage, and had little impact.

                          •  You are out of your fucking mind. (0+ / 0-)

                            Georgia, where I live, does not have a state minimum wage. But I guess all the millions of minimum wage workers in Georgia and other states should just stay happy with making $5.50 an hour. I agree with you that it took little political courage. But to say that it has little impact is just retarded.

                      •  The increased in the minimum wage was in the (4+ / 0-)

                        same bill that continued to fund the Iraq War.

                        This is the Democrats' modus operandi, and thus represents one of the crucial differences between them and the Republicans.

                        To quote that radical, Gore Vidal from the early 1970s:

                        "[t]here is only one party in the United States, the Property Party...and it has two right wings: Republican and Democrat. Republicans are a bit stupider, more rigid, more doctrinaire in their laissez-faire capitalism than the Democrats, who are cuter, prettier, a bit more corrupt—until recently... and more willing than the Republicans to make small adjustments when the poor, the black, the anti-imperialists get out of hand. But, essentially, there is no difference between the two parties."

                        Seen in this light, the minimum wage increase was one of those "small adjustments" that the Democrats understand they have to make to preserve the status quo and keep on keeping on with business as usual--i.e., protecting and furthering the interests of the "property party."  It is a little crumb they throw to the people to mollify them, while pretty much keeping the bigger machine running smoothly.

                        Look, Nancy Pelosi knew about illegal wiretapping and torture before it became public.  She not only knew, she approved and said nothing about them publicly.  Then, when the Dems took control in 2006, one of the first things she said was, "Impeachment is off the table."  

                        Now, you can believe that that last decision was about political expediency if you want (in terms of trying to get an advantage over the GOP.)  I think it was really about the fact that Nancy Pelosi and other Democrats like her are behind the scenes on board with much of the Bush Administration agenda, or at least are not that bothered by it.  

                        I may get flamed for this.  But I submit that actions speak louder than words.  And I've been watching the actions of the Democrats since the time that Reagan got elected back in 1980.

                        Capitulation, after capitulation, after capitulation.  I can only chalk up these "capitulations" to fear and stupidity and ineptness for so long.  At some some point, I have to say that there is something else going on.  And, as I've said elsewhere, I don't believe the Democrats are a REAL opposition party.  They just PLAY one on TV and in the rest of the media.

                        •  I'm not sure what, (0+ / 0-)

                          if anything we can do about it. If it gets to the point in this country where the fat, dumb, happy masses can't eat or put gas in their SUVs, I still don't think they'll revolt. They may turn on each other, but they will never turn on this gov't. It's done too good of a job dumbing us down, making us feel powerless and filling us with fear and the need to have someone else tell us what to think and do.

                          The only hope, as far as I've ever been concerned, is that the powers behind the scenes realize that they're losing too much profit potential in the future by completely trashing the entire country. But, they can't see to think ahead when they are buried in this river of currency flow coming their direction. Eventually, there won't be enough left for them to bother with.

                          I also wonder how long the rest of the world will float us when there's nothing left in it for them.

                          We have some tough times ahead of us.

                          •  Yep. Third world country status is (0+ / 0-)

                            what I see  for us in  our future.

                            We'll continue to be dumbed down and distracted (the ancient Roman oligarchs and aristocrats called it "bread and circuses"), while the rich get richer, the government becomes more and more blatantly corrupt and lawless, and we waste the wealth of this country on imperialistic adventures that make the few at the top rich.  Meanwhile, the increasingly ignorant masses will continue to be happly distracted by things like Britney Spears' crotch . . . or Tim Russert's death.

                            But remember, this is a result that was intended all along.  The upper classes cannot stomach a well-paid middle class, especially when its existence gets in the way of them making even greater profits.  

                            Ultimately one or both of the following will occur:  1.  The U.S. will become so corrupt and top-heavy and internally rotted, that it will implode, or 2.  become internally weak enough that it will be subject to being supplanted by another major power.  Perhaps China?  Who knows.

                          •  What are you going to do about it? (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:

                            Our system is rigged for two parties. It sucks, but it's reality. We can either support Greens (or whoever) and watch as more Republicans win more elections, or we can infiltrate one of the two parties and take it away from the rich fucks keeping us down. One of those options seems practical. The other seems counter-productive. That leaves one viable option to challenge the system you are complaining about. What are you going to do?

                            I'm all for calling Pelosi out on her compliance with George and Dick's Excellent Police State. I don't see the point in pretending that  the minimum wage is a trivial issue.

                          •  Taking the Democratic Party away (0+ / 0-)

                            . . . from the rich folks is a pipe dream.

                            Ain't never gonna happen.

                            And the Green Party is useless.

                            Change doesn't come through electoral politics.  Rather, electoral politics are designed to prevent change--real, fundamental, systemic change--from ever occurring.

                            Oh, there are ways that are "political" that will effect change alright.  But they happen in such ways that they occur outside the system, and in ways that the system HAS TO respond to them.

                          •  "Oh, there are ways..." (0+ / 0-)

                            Care to enlighten us all about these "ways"?

                          •  Examples out of history (0+ / 0-)

                            Read Howard Zinn's "A People's History of the United States" and see how it's been done throughout American history.

                          •  Hmmmmm (0+ / 0-)

                            They may turn on each other, but they will never turn on this gov't. It's done too good of a job dumbing us down, making us feel powerless and filling us with fear and the need to have someone else tell us what to think and do.

                            I think the British (1776), French (1789), Russian (1917), Chinese (1949), Cuban (1959) Iranian (1979) aristocracy thought the same thing about their peasants.

                            Hey, looks like years ending in 9 are good years for revolutions . . . 2009 . . . hmmmmmmm

                            "If religion is the opiate of the masses, then fundamentalism is the amphetamine." Miz Vittitow

                            by MillieNeon on Mon Jun 23, 2008 at 04:32:58 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                  •  I'll see your Chomsky and raise you a Zinn. (8+ / 0-)

                    In Chapter 5 of his People's History (p. 99, 2005 printing), Dr. Zinn writes a couple paragraphs that are relevant to the present since Comcast is Steny Hoyer's #2 contributer and AT&T and Verizon are Rockefeller's #3 and 4, respectively.

                    The Constitution, then, illustrates the complexity of the American system: that it serves the interests of a wealthy elite, but also does enough for small property owners, for middle-income mechanics and farmers, to build a broad base of support. The slightly prosperous people who make up this base of support are buffers against the blacks, the Indians, the very poor whites. They enable the elite to keep control with a minimum of coercion, a maximum of law - all made palatable by the fanfare of patriotism and unity.

                    Okay, that's good enough on its own, but then here comes the kicker, as far as Pelosi's noxious gassing on about enforcement is concerned:

                    The Constitution became even more acceptable to the public at large after the first Congress, responding to criticism, passed a series of amendments known as the Bill of Rights. These amendments seemed to make the new government a guardian of people's liberties: to speak, to publish, to worship, to petition, to assemble, to be tried fairly, to be secure at home against official intrusion. It was, therefore, perfectly designed to build popular backing for the new government. What was not made clear - it was a time when the language of freedom was new and its reality untested - was the shakiness of anyone's liberty when entrusted to a government of the rich and powerful.

                    (emphasis added)

                    Zinn frames the Bill of Rights as an instrumen to pacify a restive, factionalized population and to build popular support for a Constitutional order designed to preserve extremes of inequality with a minimum of overt force.

                    Questions his remarks leave hanging are: What happens when the Bill of Rights is eviscerated by those entrusted to protect it? How does that evisceration affect the legitimacy of the government and the power relations it was designed to protect? Does the increasing evisceration of our rights mean that "the rich and powerful" are now so rich and powerful that that they no longer feel they need the fig leaf of the Bill of Rights? Isn't their freeing themselves from the need for democratic accountability to any given population what the internationalization of capital has been all about? Wealth and power without borders is wealth and power unaccountable.

                    So where do we go from here? Is the only alternative the one that mcjoan calls for - to stand and nobly fight for marginal gains in a rigged system? I suspect so. What else are we going to do? The only other options are either unacceptable - complete disengagement - or unrealistic - revolution.

                    (Apologies for duplication: posted this in a slightly different form late Friday night on another FISA thread, but it fits here.)

                    "A president who breaks the law is a threat to the very structure of our government....President Bush has repeatedly violated the law for six years." Al Gore

                    by psnyder on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 12:17:17 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  More and more, I do not believe that (7+ / 0-)

                      "change" can really happen through the ballot box in this country.

                      There are other ways that change can happen.  But I've pretty much lost all faith in our electoral system ALONE to bring it about.  

                      Rather, our electoral system is designed to take the desire for change, absorb it like a lighting rod, and then channel it into nothingness as it dissapates into the ground.   Without some sort of mass movement that exists outside of the electoral system--like militant labor unions, organized civil rights boycotts, or massive anti-war protests that shut things down--the electoral system will, at the most, promise change . . . while changing little or nothing in so far as furthering the interests of the "little people" it is supposed to represent..

                      In that sense, our electoral system consistently co-opts the desire for change--while actually changing very little on behalf of the people it ostensibly exists to serve, i.e., the people.

                      Thus, "change" is nothing more than an empty marketing slogan, that plays upon people's hopes and desires, and in the end maintains the status quo of business as usual.

                      Not much is going to change with the Democrats in control in D.C.  Oh, maybe they'll give the little people a few crumbs off of the table, but real change?  I no longer think it's possible.

                      Now I could be wrong here.  But check with me in four years and tell me how much of a presence we've really removed from Iraq, how much our military-industrial machine has been reduced, and how many more currently unininsured Americans have actual health insurance.

                      It will be interesting to see if I'm right or I'm wrong.

                      •  Forced to agree. (2+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        zett, monkeybrainpolitics

                        You're right: real change will not come through the ballot box. We got a stirring, sweeping, historical win in Congress in 2006. Has there been any real change? Have liberal lions like John Conyers stood up and roared? Has Bush been chastened in his power grab? Congress has not been quite as abject in its cowardice before the executive, but the Republican majorities that the Democrats succeeded had set a pretty low bar as far courage is concerned. The failure to pursue the only effective assertion of Congressional authority vis a vis the executive - impeachment - and the current terrible FISA bill both show that the Democrats are scarcely able to clear the low bar set by the Republicans. Ironically, the fact that nothing has changed shows that the system works. The system is fundamentally conservative, which means that it's primary purpose is to preserve inequality. So much for change at the ballot box.

                        Real change will come, but it will come from exogenous shocks - oil, food, water, climate, violence - our government's responses to which will more or less predictably accelerate our present decline into a banana republic. Maybe our response to those exogenous shocks and to the government's reactionary responses will eventually spur a mass movement, something in the nature, perhaps of a Velvet Revolution (although we are not a peaceable people), that will put sufficient extra-electoral pressure on the system to force it to change in a progressive direction. But I'm not holding my breath.

                        "A president who breaks the law is a threat to the very structure of our government....President Bush has repeatedly violated the law for six years." Al Gore

                        by psnyder on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 01:25:14 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  You do realize this is a federal republic, no? (2+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          mcmom, monkeybrainpolitics

                          It is not inherently good or evil. It's primary purpose is not to preserve inequality, it's simply that one of its primary strengths, and weaknesses, is that it is generally, as you say, conservative (little "c"). Unless you get enough people on board for radical change to vote radical changes through, it ain't gonna happen. Fortunately, there is still the Judicial system. IMHO the judicial branch is the only way where you will get actual quick-moving change, the masses won't do it for you. Even with exogenous shocks there will still be a fairly general resistance to radical change, unless the exogenous shock is something overwhelming and traumatic. Even then, I don't believe the people will ever really revolt. At this point, our economy and society encourage complacency as a standard response. I'm depressing myself. My point is that radical change may not happen, but getting good representation for our votes can get people who think and are strong-willed and push for great things, and at least accomplish some minor greatnesses on that path (people like Feingold, Kennedy, etc. come to mind). They have value and we need them to keep fighting. Yes they are still constrained by the system, but that doesn't mean we toss them out with the rest.

                          That being said, "fortunately" is a pretty tenuous adverb here. The current SCOTUS is teetering dangerously on the brink of being an agent of very bad radical change.

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

                          by eco d on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 03:51:43 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  Um, yes? (0+ / 0-)

                            Didn't say it was good or evil, but it certainly was designed to preserve social stability even in the face of extreme inequalities of social position such as existed here in 1789. It certainly was not designed to redress those inequalities, nor even to make redressing them a simple or easy matter.

                            You're probably right about the judicial branch being the ray of hope, although after its seeding with Federalist Society judges it has become dimmer. And as for the response to exogenous shocks, if you read again what I wrote, you will see that I did not really hold out a lot of hope for a mass uprising to the shocks themselves. If there's an uprising it would more likely be against excesses of the government's response to those exogenous shocks. Of course, that bit of hope is dashed by the underwhelming popular response to the overreaching of the current regime.  More likely we will remain pacified by the soothing rhythm of normal politics and thus slowly cooked like the proverbial frog.

                            I'm just depressed. Don't mind me.

                            "A president who breaks the law is a threat to the very structure of our government....President Bush has repeatedly violated the law for six years." Al Gore

                            by psnyder on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 07:24:49 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Didn't mean to sound petulant (0+ / 0-)

                            I'm pretty much where you're at the last part of your second paragraph.

                            I can't believe my hopes rest on the integrity of Anthony Kennedy (not that I have anything in particular against him, but until we get a dem prez i sort of have been viewing him as the last hope. ugh).

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

                            by eco d on Mon Jun 23, 2008 at 08:39:48 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                      •  Nothing of note has changed since (0+ / 0-)

                        the Voting Rights Act. Tho, there were large changes during FDR's administrations, which have been largely eroded.

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

                        by mcmom on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 05:09:31 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  And in both of those circumstances, you (0+ / 0-)

                          had major crises going on or "exogenous pressures" on the electoral system.  During the 1930s, you had the Depression and the threat of an uprising or revolution, and during the 1960s, you had the civil rights movment and its actions of peaceful civil disobedience that was inviting violent and brutal responses.

                          In both circumstances, the elites of this country, for whatever reason, decided that they were going to make some changes to accomodate the itnerests of the "little people."  But baring such crisis situations, everything goes on as usual.

                          Ultimately, the American people now are too ignorant, too dumb, and too complacent to put any pressure on the system to accomodate them.  Instead, they are largely dumbed-down, mass-media hypnotized, sheep, who's main function in life is to marry, reproduce, make money, spend even more of it, while they sit glued to the idiot box and learn about Britney, or Lindsey, or who's gonna win American Idol.  

                          It ain't too hard to rule, manipulate, and exploit a nation of people like this.

                •  I'm with you. Instead of a broad punitive sweep, (0+ / 0-)

                  which would be diluted and weak, why not single out one or two of these slime buckets and roast their asses.

              •  Occams razor is operative here. (8+ / 0-)

                For a long time now, I've tried to come up with complicated theories that show a justification for what the Democrats have been doing for some now. If I back up a long way and think about it a little I come up with the same thing.

                There isn't enough political liability to justify this vote, the only answer is that the Democrats want it too.

                You don't get anywhere by standing on the sidelines waiting for somebody else to take action. - Lee Iacocca

                by CanYouBeAngryAndStillDream on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 11:43:53 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  I think it is fear for their elected seats. (2+ / 0-)

                  They get scary "briefings" from the administration, showing how we are "close" to more terrorist attacks, and they are covering their butts should an attack occur. There is no other logical explanation. I don't believe it has anything to do with being progressive or conservative. It is simply self-interest.

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

                  by mcmom on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 05:13:41 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

              •  The Democrats want it to: (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                •  The Democrats want it to: (7+ / 0-)
                  1.  Cover their own complicity in Bush Administration policies;
                  1.  Protect and further the interests of their corporate backers (ncluding the Telecoms); and
                  1.  To further consolidate the power of the government to control the people and make sure that as the political and economic squeezes ahead continue to be more felt by "the people," the people don't get any RADICAL ideas about opposing the system that they cannot monitor.

                  This whole thing about the Democrats being "afraid" of how the Republicans are going to paint them if they don't play along, is one I don't buy any more.  It's a wonderful lie--this Democratic fear.  It gives them great cover and allows them to have the rank and file of their party to continue to believe in them, and when they betray them, have their base (like the people on DailyKos) say things like, "In their hearts they really want to do the right thing, but they're just too afraid to do so."  "I wish they'd grow a pair."  Etc.

                  It's all smoke and mirrors and one big illusion.  The Dems and the Republicans are in this thing together.  Because they are owned by the same interests.  

                  I've been watching the Dems too, too long and watching them capitulate to policies like this for DECADES.  I no longer believe they are a real opposition party.  They just play one on TV.  And the corporate media is more than willing to continue to foster the illusion, and thus distract the people from what is really going on.

                  •  yes they are the "power elite" (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    vigilant meerkat

                    in the political scene as well as the economic.  They all belong to the "moneyed interests"--they ARE among the money and power elite.

                    I thought this was why we didn't support Hillary and Bill...

                    Makes one wonder what it's going to take...

                    Finding your own Voice -- The personal is political!

                    by In her own Voice on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 12:20:49 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Well, to be honest, I always was suspicious of (4+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      zett, vigilant meerkat, DocbytheBay, SPD

                      Obama, even though I supported him over Hillary.

                      The fact is, when he used to come here and post, I thought his words were nothing but empty rhetoric about "coming together" and "not being angry" that were basically bullshit ways of justifying the game of "go along to get along."

                      I really became suspicious when I saw our CORPORATE MEDIA--and I emphasize the word CORPORATE, CORPORATE, CORPORATE--took him seriously and played him up as a viable condidate, while marginalizing the more populist/progressive and anti-corporate message of John Edwards.

                      Look, it's gotten to the point that whenever the corporate media tells me "black" I believe things are really "white" (no pun intended in Obama's case.)  Or when they tell me "up" I really believe it's down.

                      If the corporate media comes out and tells me candidate X is a "change" candidate and takes him seriously and floats him as a viable candidate, I get very, very suspicious.  (Corporate media, after all, is the mouthpiece of the ruling class in this country.)

                      I know from experience what the corporate media does to people and interests that truly represent a potential for change in the status quo.  It either marginzalizes them, ignores them, or, if they get too powerful, it assassinates their character.  Look at what they did to the Dean movement back in 2003-04.

                      •  You're swimming in my waters, here (0+ / 0-)

                        Yes, I had those same suspicions in the beginning.  And even though I am most of the time a realist in making judgments about politics, I consciously allowed myself to become lenient in my feelings towards supporting Obama.  And that lenience came mostly towards primary time here in Texas.

                        We have been under the oppressive forces of Republicanism for so long here (and nation-wide, I believe) that the hope of change message became a powerful one.  And the message was not coming to me so much from Obama as from the people I met for the first time attending a primary caucus here in Texas  How inspiring, how encouraging it was to see formerly more liberal babyboomers come out of their closet of cynicism to rally round and vote.

                        And especially, how wonderful it was to see the young people take charge.  There was a rousing of hope that here was a new generation who would take up the torch.

                        I hope my hope wasn't naive and unfounded...

                        Finding your own Voice -- The personal is political!

                        by In her own Voice on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 01:16:55 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Well, I remember Bill Clinton in 1992 (4+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          zett, mcmom, In her own Voice, SPD

                          When I first saw him, I thought he was a smooth talking snake-oil salesman.

                          But, I was so desperate for change after twelve years of Reagan-Bush, that I let myself get lulled into the illusion that he might actually be different and that things were gonna change in America.

                          So, I even walked the streets for a Democratic victory back in 1992.

                          Then I watched Bill in action during 1993, when I saw betrayal after betrayal, and sell out after sell out occur during that first year of his administration.  Oh, a few things did change a little.  But overall, I found him to be a grave disappointment.

                          It was that first year that made me declare myself to no longer be a Democrat.

                          See, Bill was a great speaker and very charismatic.  But, he was ultimately owned by the same interests--or at least he understood that he had to play along with  the same interests--that largely called the shots during Reagan-Bush.  (It was his decision, after all, not to investigate the crimes of Iran-Contra or go after and truly unearth the corruption that had prevailed during the previous twelve years.)

                          I've often said that Obama is the Bill Clinton of this generation:  Smooth, charismatic, likable, and having the ability to connect with people in such a way that they can project onto his words their hopes that things will be different.  Unfortunately, it looks like he's also gonna prove to be like Bill Clinton in another way:  the compromises and betrayals he's gonna have to engage in  once he's in office.

                          To be fair, what else can he do if he wants to be President?  Is he really gonna call out his corrupt fellow Democrats on thier FISA positions, when he will need their support to get elected in the fall, or to get anything done once he's  President?  I don't think so.

                          In the end, it makes no difference whether Obama really believes in the FISA copromise or not.  If he wants to be President, he had better not cross the interests of his corrupt, complicit, and bought off fellow Democrats.

                          •  same school of reasoning (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:

                            As I said, your way of reasoning is the same as mine.  That's why I said we're "swimming in the same waters"--maybe I should've said "in the same school of fish".

                            But the truth is, I will still vote for Obama, and I won't go back to my former closet of cynicism.  It is a depressive or cowardly cop out to my own survival.  And I'm not just talking about the survival or restoration of my integrity--I'm talking about how I see I need to be alert and aware on many levels, b/c I know no-one's "got my back".

                            And that doesn't mean I am depending on Obama to be a politician who is any "better" than Bill Clinton.  It just means I'm not going to be passive anymore.

                            And while I will keep abreast of what's "going on" and support those working for change at the national level, I will not rest.  I will also be covering my "bets" on the local and personal level.

                            Just curious--what did you become after leaving the Democratic Party?  (This coming from someone who has been fairly apolitical since 1968-72.)

                            Finding your own Voice -- The personal is political!

                            by In her own Voice on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 02:21:15 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I became an apathetic lefty independent. (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            In her own Voice

                            Then, during the 2000 election cycle, I began to wake up again.

                            By 2002, I was fully awake to the reality of imperialistic-fascism . . . . and came to appreciate more fully how complicit the Democratic Party was in Republican crimes.  The IWR "bi-partisan" vote pretty much made it clear to me that no one or hardly anyone respresents my interests at the national level and that I really don't have a voice in what goes on.  

                            Since 1993, I have never again called myself a Democrat.

                            To the extent Kos has progressives on it, I support it.  To the extent it is in the pro-Democratic Party camp, no matter what the betrayal by them, I don't respect it.  To the extent there are progressives on here that vote Democratic out of clear-eyed, and honest pragmatism, I am able to get behind it . . . so long as their posts have a certain kind of honesty to them.

                          •  GDI's (0+ / 0-)

                            Guess I've never really called myself a Democrat.  This is the first primary I've ever registered in.  A "lefty independent" rings pretty true, though I have easily taken on the "progressive" tag.

                            Of late, I really have been trying to identify myself politically as a more mature person.  I know I felt pretty radical in the late sixties, early seventies...never really was an activist--just more curious about and sympathetic to the counterculture.  I was too "practical" to become involved.

                            I am drawn to some of the Libertarian talking points, but can't really buy into the party b/c they represent some things that are reprehensible to me.

                            Not sure there is a category for me, LiR.  Which shouldn't surprise me, b/c I've never really found an "established" anything that I felt a fit with.  I guess I just want to make it up for myself--don't really like having to fit into someone else's mold.

                            In college some of us non-greeks used to call ourselves GDI's--goddamned independents.  But of course we were not all the same.

                            Sorry, maybe I'm just rambling here, but just saying I feel a sense of kindred spirit with you.

                            I'm going to the Netroots convention in Austin and looking forward to it.  I feel, at the same time, a need for sharpening my sense of political identity.

                            You going?

                            Finding your own Voice -- The personal is political!

                            by In her own Voice on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 05:39:57 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I suspect Obama is sweating this vote. (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            In her own Voice

                            He knows that the 1.7 million people who contributed to his campaign in the primaries are primarily from the progressive wing of the party (especially after Edwards quit). He has to be thinking of his fund raising ability for the general. Nothing moves a politician like money, or the potential loss thereof.

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

                            by mcmom on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 05:20:52 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Sweating like a (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:

                            Mcmom, no doubt he is sweating - "like a whore in church", as my grandmother used to say! And you know, of course, how to make a whore moan... :-)

                            (Sorry, I can be crude when scratched a little  below the surface...)

                            Finding your own Voice -- The personal is political!

                            by In her own Voice on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 05:43:20 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  At this point, thing being what they are, I (0+ / 0-)

                            don't think he has much cause to worry.

                            So what if he alienates a few hundred thousand money-giving progressives?

                            He's got the media and the establishment on his side now.  Plus, there are enough low-information Democrats and people wanting change out there, that they'll be taken in by all the marketing of Obama, and join in the money-machine.  Plus, you'll have much of the lefty blogosphere (like this site) continuing to support him because hey, he's a Democrat (whatever that is worth) and McCain would be so much worse.

                            Here's a wonderful thing Pete Townsend once said:  "Meet the new boss.  Same as the old boss."

                            Obama ain't gonna be that different from what we have today.  He'll give us a kinder, gentler, and more polished military-industrial-corporate imperialism.  He'll throw in a few good things to please the masses.  But as a whole, it's gonna be business as usual.

                            And did I mention that now, he'll have vastly expanded spying powers on the whole country?

                            Obama is going to be our next elected dictator, who'll rule with the advise and consent of a bought off Congress . . . . that is also largely beholden to that same military-industrial-corporate-imperialist agenda.

                          •  Unfortunately, I always though Bill (0+ / 0-)

                            was a snake oil salesman. He is a traditional southern, old-time populist spouting-self-aggrandizing pol. Had Hillary had the backbone to dump him, and his campaign pals, I would have been very receptive to her campaign.

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

                            by mcmom on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 05:18:12 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

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

                    Most Dems voted against it.

                    Or is that all part of their very brilliant cover.

                    With possible exceptions of Lieberdems, who may love the bill or want something worse, and others who may be complicit in some way, it's fear, pure and simple. But I know it's easier just to think everyone who does something you don't like is just plain evil.

                    Forward to Yesterday -- Reactionary aesthetics and liberal politics (in that order)

                    by LABobsterofAnaheim on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 12:47:27 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Do you always put words in people's mouths (0+ / 0-)

                      that they didn't say?

                      By the way, since you live in L.A., you might try listening to KPFK sometime to get a different take on what's going on in the world.

                      90.7 on your FM dial.

                      •  No, from what I saw, about HALF of the Dems (2+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        mjd in florida, mcmom

                        voted against it.

                        So, when you have all of the Republicans (a little less than half of the House) and half of the Dems (a little more than the majority of the House) forming a coalition together on things like this, you really have a very large and powerful majority working on behalf of a very pro-corporate status quo.

                      •  I wasn't responding to anyone in particular.... (0+ / 0-)

                        Just the overall tone of these comments, which I find severely manichean.

                        And don't talk to me about KPFK.

                        I grew up listening to their programs back when it was true Free Speech radio and not just a lefter-than-thou parade of mostly complete horse-puckey -- with a few exceptions, like Ian Masters who was great and still great last time I heard him (is he still on). They play Amy Goodman, who I disagree with a fair amount of the time, yes, I'm not quite the radical you undoubtedly but, but whom I respect for her reporting and her consistency, though I find her hard to bear on just a level of tone. Still, she's not KPFK.

                        I have spent plenty of time -- more than any sane human -- listening to a great deal of their programming and I can tell you that, I'm not surprised that you're a listener. The same things that get me angry at your posts can be heard there on a daily basis.

                        KPFK lost Marc Cooper, they lost Ella Taylor, they've lost every sane lefty in this town. They've lost me.

                        Forward to Yesterday -- Reactionary aesthetics and liberal politics (in that order)

                        by LABobsterofAnaheim on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 01:28:08 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  You are now revealing yourself as dishonest. (0+ / 0-)

                          Given the context, your were in fact responding to ME  when you put words in my mouth about thinking certain people were "evil."

                          "Evil" is your word.  Not mine.  

                          •  If it makes you feel better to think that. n/t (0+ / 0-)

                            Forward to Yesterday -- Reactionary aesthetics and liberal politics (in that order)

                            by LABobsterofAnaheim on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 05:32:09 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I should add that... (0+ / 0-)

                            While, no, you didn't actually use the word "evil," I guess I really was responding to you. My real sin is laziness and I didn't closely reread  your comment at the time I made my prior remark, and made a slighly wrong assumption about what prompted my earlier remark. Actually, now that I read it more closely I see I wasn' that far off. Just because you don't actually use the "e" word doesn't mean that wasn't pretty clearly implied by what you wrote.

                            You can say that makes me a liar but, believe it or not this is not about character assassination and is most definitely not about you, whoever you are, at all, but about a certain mindset that I've had it up to hear with which you, very nicely, epitomize on your posts.

                            Now I'm done.

                            Forward to Yesterday -- Reactionary aesthetics and liberal politics (in that order)

                            by LABobsterofAnaheim on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 06:02:40 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

              •  Another explanation (0+ / 0-)

                the bundled money for Flood relief, GI Bill.

                Obama still gets my vote, but my bumper belongs to Privacy '08.

                by ben masel on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 12:02:39 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

        •  Homeland Security was a Democratic Idea (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          zeke L, abarefootboy, CityLightsLover

          in the first place - Bush and the republicans warped it enough to support it but they were all oppose the original idea.

          •  "Homeland Security" (6+ / 0-)

            Is that a Nazi sounding name or what? Why didn't they just go all the way and call it "Defense of the Fatherland"?

          •  I hadn't heard this before. (0+ / 0-)

            It wouldn't surprise me but do you have a link or two handy that you can share? I want to keep them as reference.

            You don't get anywhere by standing on the sidelines waiting for somebody else to take action. - Lee Iacocca

            by CanYouBeAngryAndStillDream on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 11:45:33 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Yep, championed by some guy called Lieberman n/t (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ben masel, LABobsterofAnaheim, lgcap

            You can't have freedom of religion without freedom from religion.

            by zerone on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 11:48:22 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  so was the PATRIOT act (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            Most of the PATRIOT act's provisions were first introduced in the 1996 "Anti-terrorism bill" proposed by Bill Clinton.  Ironically, the Repugs in Congress opposed those provisions (the use of secret evidence, deportation without trial, increased surveillance, power to "detain" people indefinitely without trial) on "civil liberties" grounds and successfully fought to drop them, leading Clinton to whine that the Repugs had "watered down" his bill.  The PATRIOT act did little more than reintroduce, and pass this time, the same things that Clinton had originally wanted in his OWN (pre-9/11) "anti-terrorism bill".

            The simple fact that today, each party is yelling and screaming PRECISELY THE OPPOSITE of what it was screaming and yelling just a decade ago, indicates to me that (1) neither party actually believes what it is saying -- it's just partisan patter that changes according to convenience, and (2) both parties are equally willing to tear up the Constitution and sacrifice our civil liberties to "protect us from terrorism" -- and indeed both parties HAVE already done precisely that.

            The Dems and the Repugs share the same agenda.  The Dems are just as much in love with the idea of "The New American Century" (or "American Empire" or "American Exceptionalism" or "America Invicta" or "Amerika Ober Alles" or whatever else you want to call it -- it means "we run the world as we see fit") as the Repugs are, and are equally willing to carry out all the necessary things, domestically and internationally, to win that agenda.

            Until the Dems and the Repugs actually have different agendas, any argument between them is one over methods, not of goals.  The Dems want to be kinder and gentler about it, but they want the same goal.

            I don't support that goal.

            Editor, Red and Black Publishers

            by Lenny Flank on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 12:10:46 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  oh nooooooo! (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          (wets pants again)

          Editor, Red and Black Publishers

          by Lenny Flank on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 11:57:41 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  We buried them, but being vampires, (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        jds1978, lgcap, CityLightsLover

        ...they reanimated.  No wooden stake through the heart, you see.

      •  they delayed until after Obama won the nomination (16+ / 0-)

        and we had no choice but to back him against McCain. That way they could do it with his blessing to give them cover.

        And many of Obama's supporters are buying it. Had Bush said something like this:

        So I support the compromise, but do so with a firm pledge that as President, I will carefully monitor the program, review the report by the Inspectors General, and work with the Congress to take any additional steps I deem necessary to protect the lives -– and the liberty –- of the American people.

        people would be flying off the handle.

        But when Obama says it, it's OK. "Trust me alone to use this power wisely", is what he's saying. That is anathema to our system, which was created precisely because the founders did not trust any one person to use such enormous power wisely.

        •  Hillary wouldn't have been different (7+ / 0-)

          but you are right that it was impossible to passed through during the primary.

        •  Obama is not elected yet (3+ / 0-)

          If Move on and Kos have their way - he won't be. That's right - ratchet up the pressure on Obama. Say hello to president McCain.

          •  How dare we criticize Obama! (4+ / 0-)

            I see your low user ID. You've been around for far longer than I have.

            That being said, why are you fearmongering?

            But don't forget that most men without property would rather protect the possibility of becoming rich, than face the reality of being poor. (1776)

            by banjolele on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 11:13:04 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  LOL (8+ / 0-)

            Blind adoration isn't good for the nation regardless of the nominee.

          •  Isn't it great (3+ / 0-)

            how it's a choice between a candidate who makes a big deal out of standing up for the constitution and the rule of law, and then trashes both as soon as he's put on the spot, and a candidate who's senile and semi-psychotic?

            Democracy - a fine and beautiful thing.

            Or not. Because in a real democracy, the people wouldn't anoint yet another loser for four years of nothing, but would be in a position to set policy directly.

            This won't happen as long as neither the house, nor the senate, nor the president, lead lives at such a distance from the rest of the population.

            If I had a choice I'd extend public funding to direct public payment of political salaries through voluntary small contributions. Big buy-out donors and lobbyists would be banned. But if politicians were solely dependent on mass personal contributions for all of their income, you'd soon see some changes in voting patterns.

            "Be kind" - is that a religion?

            by ThatBritGuy on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 11:33:34 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  hey (4+ / 0-)

            I will not vote for anyone willing to sacrifice my rights for their own view of political expediency. I had an expectation that Obama would reverse this over reach of power when in fact he is acting complicitly in its favor.

            That is not the kind of change I was looking for...

            The President and the Telecoms violated OUR rights and this bill excuses them from these violations. I will not excuse them or ANYONE willing to to do so no matter what else they CLAIM to stand for. The only power I have is my vote and my voice and neither will be raised in support of Obama if he seeks to curtail any of my rights.

            Look I am all for compromise where needed to get things done. Therfe is just one thing you can not compromise and that is on Civil Liberties. Once they dissappear they NEVER come back. Once these guys are excused for their criminal activity these rights are completely torn assunder. Once precedence is established others will take more and more of our rights away under the guise of security. This must end now.

            Obama has time to right the ship here, but if he continues down the path he seems to be at the moment he can count me out!

          •  All of the "purists" on this site seem to forget (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Kitty, nicolemm, In her own Voice

            that Obama was not the favored suck up "corporate, MIC enabler" candidate with our complicit, DLC congresscritters and these corrupt asshats are certainly more interested in "covering their asses" than worrying about the winner of the November election or of our "shredded" Constitution.  On top of that, Obama needs these complicit asshats support to win the election this fall.  He is not the one that kept voting them into their "POWER" positions while they do no oversight or investigations  of the Bush/Cheney cabal.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                My Florida National Guard Staff Sgt. son and his military buddies that have served in Afghanistan and Iraq have been waiting years for the massive "War Profiteering" against our ruined military and the poor locals and the "Rummy Doctrine" of bombing civilian areas for expediency and paying the bad Taliban our tax monies to turn in innocents for renditioning.  How about Cheney's corrupt business with Pakistan vs. the deserving Afghan people?  We have complicit DLC, "DINO" Democrats in this game along with their Republican counterparts.                                                                                                                                                                                                  The "Guard" son and his friends are mostly registered "Indy" ( a few Republican registered) in Florida and they totally support Obama and his Middle Eastern policies.  His little brother, a recent FSU graduate switched his registration from "Indy" to Dem", along with three friends, while home on spring break in case if Florida did a primary re-vote.   Big sister, starting her Ob/Gyn residency and brother-in-law are huge "Democratic" voters and have always been Obama fans.    Go Obama!  He has Florida.                                                                                                                        peace, mjd

            Catholic, white woman over 50 for OBAMA!! (endorsed 12/06)

            by mjd in florida on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 11:54:09 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  I do not want a PLEDGE from ANY president (11+ / 0-)

          to secretly monitor the program that is secretly spying on everyone in America.  that is NOT 'change I can believe in" no matter WHO makes that kind of unconstitutional promise.

          I was all ready to HAPPILY vote in november, for the first time in YEARS I was going to vote with a smile on my face instead of begrudgingly... but no more.  Now I will do what I have always done... VOTE for the lesser of two evils.

          Change I can believe in went out the window When Obama boarded the 'we can compromise your constitutional rights away and you can't do anything about it but write ANGRY emails" express...and make no mistake about it....  WE are 'charlie brown' and Obama (with the most of the rest of the democrats) just pulled the football away AGAIN...  

          I am about to GIVE UP...  we can not effect any real CHANGE in WASHINGTON.  all we can do is watch as another POLITICIAN gets ready to take the oath of office.  I was really hoping this time we would get a LEADER, but we didn't...  all we got was broken promises and excuses for why WE no longer count except when its time to pander for our votes and our MONEY.

          I feel as foolish as if I had bought into the subprime mortgage BS...  but instead I bought into the well crafted CHANGE campaign and the only change I see now is the letter after the name of the person who is willing to continue to shred the constitution, for OUR own good of course <shrug>

          CHANGE would have been to STAND HIS GROUND and call BS on the BUSHIES....  but once again getting elected circumvents protecting and defending the constitution and THIS TIME the person knows better becasue he KNOWS what the constitution says and he is willing to compromise away our rights as citizens anyway...

          FEH!  a pox on ALL POLITICIANS,  they are ALL the same, when it comes right down to it... not one of them INCLUDING OBAMA cares about anything, when it comes right down to it, but getting elected.

          I am sick and tired of people making excuses for this crap.  OBAMA promised us he would stand against retroactive immunity but that was before he figured it was to late for us to take the nomination away from him, I guess <shrug>

          "Bomb Bomb Bomb Iran" is NOT a coherent Mid-East Strategy Mr McCain

          by KnotIookin on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 11:20:06 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yep, it sucks (3+ / 0-)

            Look at the bright side, you won't be as tied up in the election emotionally this way.

          •  If you were paying attention... (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            zett, KnotIookin

            All the way back in 2005 he voted to renew the sunset provisions of the PATRIOT Act. I'd settled for him last Feb, but never "Believed." My trajectory, Feingold>Gravel>Dodd>Gravel>Obama.

            Obama still gets my vote, but my bumper belongs to Privacy '08.

            by ben masel on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 12:10:51 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Change we can believe in.... (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              mcmom, limpidglass

              its a CAMPAIGN SLOGAN !

              coming to that sad realization has taken the wind out of my activist sails and made me very sad.  THIS time I fell for it, I believed we would see real change.  we wont.  not the kind of change many of us hoped for, believed in and have been working to achieve, not in MY Lifetime anyway and the way things are going, who knows what will last or America <sigh>

              as I have said in other postings i WILL still vote for Obama because McCain is not an option but I will begrudgingly vote for the lessor of two evils now, like always.

              my trajectory:  GORE-->Edwards (Dodd) --->  Obama ----> whatever

              "Bomb Bomb Bomb Iran" is NOT a coherent Mid-East Strategy Mr McCain

              by KnotIookin on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 04:42:11 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  But what does this have to do with the immunity (0+ / 0-)

          provisions that everyone seems to be complaining about. It seems that the consensus is that the unacceptable part of this bill is the telecom retroactive immunity but that immunity doesn't give any new power to the executive. Am I missing something here?

        •  That paragraph right there is what ticks me off (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          and it disgusts me no end that because it's Obama saying it that anyone, anyone would go "oh well".


          Kucinich did NOT bankrupt Cleveland.

          by zett on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 02:37:09 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  I am an obstructionist!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (3+ / 0-)

      It's the constitution, stupid

      by CTMET on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 10:31:42 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Not to Sound Like a Gloomy Gus, (18+ / 0-)

      but I have tried writing and emailing about this issue ever since it reared its ugly rear. Beating my head against a brick wall has done nothing but give me a big 'ol dent and a huge headache. They don't care what we think; they only care about covering their own political hides - on all sides of the political aisle - with very few exceptions.

      "Get a Roll of Stamps and, and Mail It In." Keith Olbermann

      by CityLightsLover on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 10:42:18 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  SIGN THE PETITION (7+ / 0-)

      On the first opportunity to lead an issue, Obama failed and fail miserably.  He should have shouted from any venue available his opposition to retroactive immunity for AT&T and Cheney/Bush last week, before the House vote, and he didn’t.  Instead he took the low road and his triangulated stance, just like the DINO’s in the House.  How hard will he "try" to strip immunity from the FISA bill in the Senate?  Is this the Presidency we can expect, triangulating issues and chipping away the Constitution and Bill of Rights?

      There’s simple petition to sign, asking Obama to stand in the Senate in opposition to immunity.  So far only 189 people have signed on.  Please sign & get your friends to sign also.

    •  I wrote to the Obama campaign a few minutes ago (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      proudprogressiveCA, mcmom, zerone

      This is what I wrote:

      A few days ago, the House passed a bill aimed at granting retroactive immunity to the Telecoms as well as expanding the wiretapping powers of the President in violation of the original form of FISA.

      Instead of standing up to those monied interests, as he has said he would do, Barack Obama said he agreed with the FISA law and gave what could be described, at best, as a tepid condemnation of the immunity contained therein.

      As an american concerned with the erosion of civil liberties under the current President, Obama's stance on this concerns me greatly. I have to date given $450 to the Obama campaign and have worked with friends and family to get them to contribute as well. I have volunteered for the first time in my political life as well, going door to door and spreading Barack Obama's message of hope and change.

      No more.

      Until Obama lives up to his promise to filibuster and block any bill which grants the Telecoms retroactive immunity, I simply will not lift a finger to aid his campaign. This is a travesty against the rights of Americans and completely gets at the core of his message to stand up for us.

      Obama wanted people to become engaged in the political process so that we could hold our representatives in Congress accountable. Well, I'm holding Barack Obama accountable as the democratic nominee, my future representative in the White House.

      Stop this bill.

    •  re: left flank (2+ / 0-)

      there are quite a lot of us, and let's not forget that the paultards on the other side are the same page with us on this issue.

      because this isn't a "left flank" issue. if anything a pure left stance would be marginally in favor of the expansion of government power. this is a libertarian vs. authoritarian issue.

      and ultimately a common sense issue.  do these politicians really think that ordinary americans are overwhelmingly in favor of making it much easier to listen to their phone calls?  not the ones i've talked to - and i've talked to hundreds at their doorsteps in the past few months.  

      no, this is more about the government (that is, the folks currently in the government) vs. the people.  as incumbents, many dems simply don't want to let the fact that the underlying reality is now approaching the paranoid hollywood version like enemy of the state. (the one difference that's not going to change is that the real government has no competence at zeroing in on you if they're not looking for you first, nor does it really have a clue how to interpret the mountain of data it collects.)  the fact is that they identify far more with king george the 43rd than they do with the likes of you and me.  and that will be the case as long as we continue to have a professional political class running DC.

      l'audace! l'audace! toujours l'audace!

      by zeke L on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 11:39:12 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  russ fiengold can put a hold on this (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      proudprogressiveCA, mcmom

      he is the man to do it

      "I didn't really say everything I said" Yogi Berra

      by surfdog on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 02:11:59 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  McJoan - thank you. I think capitulation has won, (24+ / 0-)

    but I am glad to see you still fighting.

    I will do my part making calls and sending emails (although I am in MA so my senators are voting against this bill, as far as I know).

    Then they came for me - and by that time there was nobody left to speak up.

    by DefendOurConstitution on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 10:18:10 AM PDT

  •  He'll vote against the (11+ / 0-)

    legislation and against the filibuster. It won't change my vote in November, but it crushes my enthusiasm.

    •  i don't think so (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mcmom, limpidglass

      He has come out in favor of the legislation. Says he'll vote for it.

      Capitulation We Can Believe In!

      by DFH on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 10:34:04 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  He'll toss some crumbs to the (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        base, he has to at this point. It won't impact the outcome, so it's a winner.

      •  Exactly (11+ / 0-)

        He will attempt to remove the immunity.  That will fail.  Then there will be a cloture vote on the whole ugly bill and he won't vote "for" the filibuster, thus allowing the the bill to be voted on, then he will vote against the bill, but it will pass anyway.  No, I take that back - He will vote against cloture as well, but it will still pass.  Obama will make all the right votes but to no avail.  

        What we want from Obama is to lead a loud coalition against the bill  - only that might change the script of this sad Kafkaesque play unfolding before us. and the only way to make that happen is to convince he needs to do it.  

        We must convince the Democrats that passing anything on this before the election will be VERY BAD for their chances in November - we can loose a few incumbents if needed.  I'd say we could support the Republican running against Hoyer if we gained two Dem seats somewhere else?

        This debate must continue until we have the votes in the house and senate to pass a good bill and a president who will sign it into law.  in the meantime, the old FISA law works just fine.

        •  well said David in Burbank (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          mcmom, lgcap, CityLightsLover, LarryO

          I don't understand why there is not now a concentrated effort by those Democratic Senator's who are against immunity ... to "educate" the American people on their Constitutional rights.

          The momentum is for change .... the tide is in our favor ... so why form the Democratic fleet into battle formation behind the Obama flagship ?

          I'm up at Priest Lake , Idaho now looking at a beautiful sailing day ... I suppose there to be some subliminal influence in my choice of metaphor.

          Slip your old moorings Democrats .... sail on ... sail on .. !

          Yes we can, for ... we are one.

          by abarefootboy on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 11:22:49 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •   .. oops ... i should proof my writing better ... (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            CityLightsLover, LarryO

            ... I meant to say ..

            " Why NOT form the Democratic fleet into battle formation behind the Obama flagship .. and force the Republicans to defend the Administration's abuse of the Constitution .. ?

            Yes we can, for ... we are one.

            by abarefootboy on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 11:26:32 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Hello, northern neighbor! (0+ / 0-)

            Ironic that our Republican/libertarian governor is right on the Constitution, isn't it? Only Republican who voted against the Patriot Act, when he was a congress critter.

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

            by mcmom on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 05:39:32 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  We want a Leader, Sen Obama. (3+ / 0-)

          I'll be casting a vote in Obama's direction regardless, come November. But the FISA-BushCo Immunity travesty has really knocked that vote a few ticks from the "for Obama" to the "against McCain" column. And that just hurts.

          This should be a frakking NO-BRAINER!

        •  better from behind the scenes? (0+ / 0-)

          I agree with you except on one point--that it should be Obama who stands up and leads the fight in the senate.  I believe that would detract from the whole of what he needs to manage as he campaigns against McSame.

          Someone else, perhaps could lead while he supports from behind the scenes?

          Finding your own Voice -- The personal is political!

          by In her own Voice on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 12:45:14 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  I think it is time to help "retire" Chris Dodd's (10+ / 0-)

    campaign debt.

    And to hold him to his word.

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

    by polecat on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 10:18:38 AM PDT

  •  To bburton (15+ / 0-)

    From 1981 through 1992, and again from 2001 through the present, every time the President said something, my intelligence was insulted.  It happened too often during Bill Clinton's term as well, but not as much.  I was hoping for better from Barack Obama.

    Passing a law that allows the Attorney General to declare that a law doesn't mean what it says it means, and, on his sole authority, to allow anyone he designates to ignore that law, is not a tool for fighting terrorism, it is a tool for surreptitiously repealing the Fourth Amendment.  Good for would-be dictators, good for plutocrats, bad for anyone who believes in the rule of law, and in government by the people.

    Granting retroactive immunity to telephone companies that broke the law does nothing to empower the true security of the United States.

    Please advise Mr. Obama not to say things that he, as a professor of constitutional law, knows to be untrue.  And if he, like so many other politicians, thinks we are all idiots, please advise him not to make it quite so plain.

    Too long, perhaps.

    •  I will email him Obama's statement (9+ / 0-)

      from January:

      I strongly oppose retroactive immunity in the FISA bill.

      Ever since 9/11, this Administration has put forward a false choice between the liberties we cherish and the security we demand.

      The FISA court works. The separation of power works. We can trace, track down and take out terrorists while ensuring that our actions are subject to vigorous oversight, and do not undermine the very laws and freedom that we are fighting to defend.

      No one should get a free pass to violate the basic civil liberties of the American people - not the President of the United States, and not the telecommunications companies that fell in line with his warrantless surveillance program. We have to make clear the lines that cannot be crossed....

      It's time for Washington to hear your voices, and to act. I share your commitment to this cause, and will stand with you in the fights to come.

      y el canto de todos que es mi propio canto

      by gatorbot on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 10:32:30 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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

        It's time for Washington to hear your voices, and to act. I share your commitment to this cause, and will stand with you in the fights to come.

        .............or not.

        A veteran is someone who, at one point in his/her life, wrote a blank check made payable to The USA for an amount of "up to and including my life." - unknown

        by AJsMom on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 11:46:16 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  mine to bburton (4+ / 0-)

      I am a lifelong Democrat. I have supported Barack since the early primaries. I wore a pin and worked in Colorado during the caucuses. What the hell are you thinking by supporting this capitulation of a bill? Please do not let me, and millions of Americans down. We will have your back if you go up against the FISA bill. We will give our money and our support. Supporting this bill is not only immoral, but also bad politics. The Obama brand is about change, not same-old. Any gain your candidate thinks he gets by pandering to the supposed "middle" on this bill is illusory. These are folks who will not vote for him REGARDLESS of his position on this bill.

      Please, please, do not abandon us, the Constitution, and common decency to support a bill which does not need to exist, and contains provisions which gut the Constitution. Have you no shame?

      Truth has a liberal bias.

      by debha on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 11:02:30 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  love the wry last line, a classic n/t (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
  •  I'll be pleasantly surprised if (15+ / 0-)

    retroactive immunity gets stripped.  I'm preparing myself to be unsurprisingly disappointed.  I'll be contacting Mr. Burton.

    Adopt a homeless cat and have a friend for life

    by dave1042 on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 10:22:12 AM PDT

  •  Yes, This Train has Already Left the Station (7+ / 0-)

    but Its clearly Off Its Tracks and its Destination is a Massive Train Wreck of The Rule of Law and the United States Constitution.

    Notice: This Comment © ROGNM

    by ROGNM on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 10:22:31 AM PDT

  •  I am looking forward to seeing what GG will do (5+ / 0-)

    with the so-called "money bomb."  Rep. Hoyer really needs to feel some pressure over this decision.  And maybe it will have the side benefit of inspiring the others.

  •  like a good activist, I will call and plead for (8+ / 0-)

    our constitution. Just hope, our voices add up to thousands and thousands of calls.

  •  Thanks for the penultimate paragraph (9+ / 0-)

    We have phoning and faxing and yapping to do. After that, we'll move on the next PFY, and the next.

    Your tenacity and persistence are priceless, mcjoan.

    Let the great world spin for ever down the ringing grooves of change. - Tennyson

    by bumblebums on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 10:23:35 AM PDT

  •  and we expats will never (13+ / 0-)

    be protected.

    every email, every post I make here, is legally scooped up by the NSA CARNIVORE program.  I have no recourse, with or without FISA, to being spied upon because of my geographic location outside the US.  A fact I had to accept long ago.

    ::hey NSA guys! Don't forget to check out the new additions to my porn collection if you're bored tonight ... and Fred, lay off those meatball sandwiches at 3AM, remember what your wife said about your high blood pressure::

    "I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend." - Thomas Jefferson

    by Jeffersonian Democrat on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 10:23:54 AM PDT

  •  McJoan (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    joliberal, greenearth

    please consider adding to your diary a reminder to help the netroots fight against FISA:

    McCain insisted [no union member] would [pick lettuce for $50/hour] for a complete season. "You can't do it, my friends."

    by grrr on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 10:24:44 AM PDT

  •  The constitution is important (12+ / 0-)

    Obama's word is important

    and I deeply appreciate the work against this horrendous bill that Hunter, Glem and McJoan have done so far...

    We cannot let this bill pass

    All of us here at DailyKos are on the internet constantly - and have no doubt that anything you write will/can be used against you

    Would you like a Bush III government with access to everything you write on-line -- we all hope and pray that Obama will win in November - but we also know that the GOP have enough tricks up their sleves to not make an Obama precidency a certaincy

    So do not give the GOP an inch regardless of if they are back in power this year - 4 years from now - or 8 years from now --

    we cannot afford to give the GOP this much opportunity EVER to spy on us

    "Proud to proclaim: I am a Bleeding Heart Liberal"

    by sara seattle on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 10:25:40 AM PDT

  •  Behind the scenes (6+ / 0-)

    There's something they're not letting on.

    It's the only way that the appearance can be real.

    Nobody wants to be spied on by the Goddamn President, especially a crooked Republican President when you're the Democratic challenger to the Presidency.

    Something is happening behind the curtain.

    And yes, it sucks.

    Spread the blame around though.

    Only the PTA? You know what the PTA stands for? Three things I respect and fear: Parents, Teachers and Associations [Rob Petrie]

    by eroded47095 on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 10:25:56 AM PDT

    •  The tradeoff (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Bush had announced he'd veto the Iraq supplemental if Dem favored domestic spending was attached. Behind closed doors he  agreed to sign the money bill if the Dems threw in the trillion dollar telco bailout.

      Obama still gets my vote, but my bumper belongs to Privacy '08.

      by ben masel on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 10:31:50 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Great point (3+ / 0-)

      We know what they want us to know.
      There are deals being made right now, bet your bottom dollar.

    •  Occam's Razor has been suspended? (6+ / 0-)

      Pelosi delivered to her corporate masters the amnesty they paid for.

      Obama sold out the Fourth Amendment to look "strong on terror".

      It's really not complicated.

      •  Occam's Razor is a bloody bore (0+ / 0-)

        But all things being equal, once again, Obama is agreeing to being spied on by bush.

        That's fascinating.

        Isn't it?

        [Message coming in through antennae via the RCMP]

        Maybe bush is threatening them with a Pearl Harbor III.

        Only the PTA? You know what the PTA stands for? Three things I respect and fear: Parents, Teachers and Associations [Rob Petrie]

        by eroded47095 on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 10:49:49 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  no, the reason is simple: this FISA "compromise" (4+ / 0-)

      wasn't a compromise between Dems and the GOP -- it was a "compromise" among Democrats. The GOP version of FISA "reform" had garnered enough votes to pass the House on a simple UP/DOWN vote. We've known that since May, since the letter from the 21 Blue Dog Dems to Pelosi telling her they were ready to vote for the GOP's version of the FISA bill.

      So Pelosi had three choices: 1. the "right" choice: use her leadership power to block -- on principle -- any up/down vote on a FISA bill at all. Thus infuriating -- and potentially permanently alienating -- the pro-FISA Blue Dog Dems, the wing of the Dem coalition already uneasy from Clinton's loss to Obama in the primaries, who did not want to go home and face their GOP opponents in November talking about how "the Dems", led by their ultra-liberal terrorist- and gay-loving speaker, Nancy Pelosi, were blocking an essential bill to protect America that A MAJORITY OF CONGRESSMEMBERS supported (think it's baloney? So do I -- go tell it to the Dem congressmembers from Missiouri, West Virginia, etc.); 2. allow Blue Dogs or the GOP to make their own coalition to introduce, and pass, the FISA bill, thus allowing even greater crowing from the White House that we currently see, and possibly opening the door for the Blue Dogs to support McCain in the fall; or 3. come up with a "compromise" and paint it with a positive spin.

      Did I want to see Pelosi (and Obama) pick #1? Sure. But I certainly didn't expect her to start an anti-FISA campaign accusing her fellow pro-FISA Democrats in Congress of being cowards and traitors for selling out the Constitution due to fear of the GOP or bundles of cash from telecoms. We don't have a Progressive Democratic Party with a majority in Congress, as much as we'd like it. The reason we have a Dem majority is because we are in coalition with plenty of "national security" Dems from more conservative areas. We can continue to work to change that by targeting some of those Blue Dog Dems in primary challenges, but what we've got now is what we've got.

  •  thank you for the rational, informed... (9+ / 0-)

    comments. Thursday, seeing the reality, I felt the air coming out of my sails. A letdown. But, today knowing the overall focus of electing Obama remains paramount.

    Yes, holding his feet to the fire is important, but with the hope once the general passes he will apply his Constitutional legal experience and affect the change we hope for.

    Perhaps, in my wildest dreams, we might see something coming from the Senate floor?

    Be convinced that to be happy means to be free and that to be free means to be brave. - Thucydides

    by JasperJohns on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 10:26:11 AM PDT

  •  A change in Congressional leadership (6+ / 0-)

    is our obvious need.

    I will certainly voice my views to Sen. Obama but he does not dictate to our congressional leaders and he did not craft this compromise.

    Under a President Obama I hope that a more dedicated congressional leadership emerges.

  •  While I think Barack should be pressed... (8+ / 0-) support the stripping of telcom immunity from the FISA bill, I don't think anything he has done here should be a hinderance to any support one would give him in the bigger fight against Bush clone (whether he or his apologists want to admit it or not) John McCain. Certainly, although I disagree with his decision to support the bill, I will still press hard for Barack against McCain and hope fervantly that Barack fights hard to remove telcom immunity from the final bill.

  •  Oh WHEN will footbal seson start... (6+ / 0-)

    so I can sink into my couch of apathy and ignore the endless parade of history defining political fights?


    All right, here we go again.

  •  If it can be delayed through next weekend (5+ / 0-)

    we can ambush Members at the 4th of July parades and picnics.

    Stock up on old reel to reel tapes. Great props, they make a bigger visual cloud than paper when tossed.

    Obama still gets my vote, but my bumper belongs to Privacy '08.

    by ben masel on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 10:29:15 AM PDT

  •  The FISA Act of 2009 will have to correct (5+ / 0-)

    deficiencies in this bill.

    This time it's personal.

    by apostrophe on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 10:29:40 AM PDT

  •  Switching from AT&T to CREDO (5+ / 0-)


    As well as contacting Senators.  I don't care what the excuse is to keep AT&T, it's not good enough.  Speak with your wallets, too.

    O 4 O: Oregon for Obama!

    by smugbug on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 10:30:34 AM PDT

  •  Yess indeed. nt (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
  •  Thanks, McJoan & Hunter for keeping (5+ / 0-)

    the fight on.  Plenty of diarieson this issue, but keeping on the front page helps.

    "Any dictator would admire the uniformity and obedience of the U.S. media." Noam Chomsky

    by LarryO on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 10:31:26 AM PDT

  •  yes! fighting it is better (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    flumptytail, CityLightsLover

    than just quitting in a fit of petulance. There is still time to contact senators, call Obama, write letters to media and all the other things that work in politics. Support for the holdouts is important too. Activists need to get active right now now quit.

  •  Thanks for the non hysterical reality (5+ / 0-)

    based approach to this.  We're not gonna win every fight - particularly with Pelosi and Hoyer running the house.  

    I have a lot faith in Obama and I'm not gonna lose it over this.

    To me this is a Pelosi/Hoyer power play.  They're terrified he's gonna take away their lobbyist money when the new breed gets some congressional muscle.  They know he needs them (and every democrat) for the coming election and can't afford to divide the party at this point in time.  

    I hope with enough noise from us we can scuttle this.  After next january he'd be in a position to veto it.  I think that goes toward explaining the timing of this.

    •  I don't expect Obama to walk on water. (12+ / 0-)

      But I do expect him not to insult my intelligence.

      His statement on this bill is pure bullshit, and he knows it damn good and well.  He is not a stupid man, he's not an ignorant man.  He knows exactly what the truth is on this, and he knows exactly how truth-free his statement is.

      At this point I will still vote for him, but how many strikes should he get?  Seriously, Barack, that's one.

      •  Gotta agree on the statement (4+ / 0-)

        I understand the support...I don't like it, and I'm hoping against all hope he and the Senate Dems have something up their sleeves. But seriously? That statment was LAME. I hope he didn't write that, and fired the handler that did.

        In the unlikely story that is America, there has never been anything false about hope.

        by alkalinesky on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 10:56:57 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I don't like it either (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        housesella, CityLightsLover

        but this hasn't played out yet.  I'm not much into preemptive impassioned ultimatums (reminds me of wingnuts to tell the truth).  Politics is messy and fucked up.  If he sticks with that crap when it gets into debate in the senate or actually comes up for a vote, then we'll see.  Right now there's only been a wind up.  The pitch hasn't even been thrown yet.  

        I'm not so skittish as to panic at a wind up.  I think we should be making whatever noise we can to scuttle this execrable bill and put a wee bit less energy into attacking our nominee who hasn't even voted on this yet.

  •  Excellent. Thank you. (6+ / 0-)

    I'm convinced that immunity is why the GOP powers that be really want this bill.  It has almost nothing to do with keeping us safe.  And pure electoral politics are motivating the Dems.  It is frustrating to be a Democrat, and agree with the critics who talk about how weak they are, with some notable exceptions.  OTOH, not voting for them is not one of my choices.

    Howard Dean is one of the Dems with a spine.  Granny is right.

  •  Guerilla theater (6+ / 0-)

    Go to the District Office in tech gear (Multi-pocket vest, lots of tools) and tell the staffers you're there to install the bugs. "Don't worry, they're so small you won't notice."

    Without waiting for response, walk in and start reaching under tables, into any nooks, etc.

    Obama still gets my vote, but my bumper belongs to Privacy '08.

    by ben masel on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 10:36:31 AM PDT

  •  Just sent this email: (6+ / 0-)

    Dear Mr. Burton,

    I hope that when Senator Obama promised that our $25, $50, and $100 contributions would enable him to hear the voices of the American people, he was right.

    I have been opposed to this Administration’s spying on the American people for far longer than I have been a loyal supporter of Senator Obama.  In fact, one of the main reasons I am supporting Senator Obama is that I believe he respects the Constitution, whereas the current Administration seems to regard it as an inconvenient obstacle to doing whatever they want to do.

    PLEASE, PLEASE make Senator Obama understand that this is more than changing his mind on campaign financing.  In fact, this is the REASON that I am willing to accept his turning his back on public campaign financing:  He is free to do what he thinks is right.  And since the Fourth Amendment and the FISA statute are not in the least bit ambiguous, he SHOULD HONOR HIS PROMISE TO FILIBUSTER ANY BILL THAT INCLUDES TELCO AMNESTY.

    Please tell him not to disappoint millions of us on behalf of a bill that we know he doesn’t agree with.

  •  Okay! (8+ / 0-)

    What a disgrace though.  Here we are in a situation where we should be fighting over ending the Iraq occupation, getting health care for all, etc... But instead we are clawing to preserve our constitution.
    What a sad state of affairs our nation is in.  I don't think I ever seen it as bad.  Even the Nixon/Vietnam years are starting to look good compared to this dark dreadful time.

  •  I Was Thinking (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Wouldn't it be really interesting if Hillary Clinton  came out strong against the FISA bill?  Wouldn't that be the ultimate "I told you (progressives) so"?

    (Disclaimer: I voted for Obama in the primary, and I liked both candidates.)  

  •  My email: (5+ / 0-)

    Dear Mr. Burton,

    In October of 2007, you issued this statement:

    "To be clear: Barack will support a filibuster of any bill that includes retroactive immunity for telecommunications companies."

    That opportunity is now available for the good Senator from Illinois.

    I hope that you will convey the message to Senator Obama that we United States Citizen took him at his word in October and expect him to make good on that word now.  The bill from the House, included de-facto immunity for the telecommunications companies, as it allows them to say "The president said it was OK" and get off the hook.

    While the letter of the law does not dismiss current civil suits against these firms, the current spirit of the law is to do so.

    I hope that Senator Obama will not disappoint his ardent supporters (of which I am one), and do the right thing by stripping any discussion of immunity (stated or implied) for telecommunications companies, who at George Bush's bidding, violated our civil rights.

    Thank you,

    US Citizen living in Canada.

    -6.5, -7.59. Dump Harry Reid. Put in someone who can rid us of Holy Joe Lieberman.

    by DrWolfy on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 10:42:56 AM PDT

  •  Thank you for being sane (4+ / 0-)

    I'm hoping we can start acting like sane adults again and start working toward killing amnesty and turning the whole thing into veto bait, which is what I've been saying we should do, and what I've been saying might have been Obama's plan from the beginning. Him voicing unenthusiastic support of the "compromise" gives him and Democrats political cover, so if/when they strip amnesty and send it over to Bush, Bush is suddenly the one who is making us less safe, not the Democrats, it flips the tables. I'm really hoping this is what Obama took so long planning. If this is what he has up his sleeves everyone owes him a big apology because it will have been a brilliant maneuver, if all goes well.

    Now we just have to make sure it all goes well. Let's sink this thing.

    John McCain's priorities: Endless war = Good; Healthcare for children = Waste of money.

    by THEpersonal ISpolitical on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 10:43:20 AM PDT

  •  Obama keep a promise to filibuster? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    zett, AJsMom, Joe Beese

    ha ha......lmao

    as the svelte pragmatists have taught me in the last 48hrs: you're stupid if you have the audacity to expect change....the chic pragmatists know that Obama winks after every stump speech....

    Obama isn't going to fight one damn second for this.....

    "The Audacity of Failure" - Barack Obama

    by proverbs for paranoids on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 10:43:55 AM PDT

  •  Thank you, mcjoan! (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    KLM, leisure, CityLightsLover, brushysage

    Your efforts on FISA have been invaluable, mcjoan; I can't thank you enough.

    The bill we are looking at now is head and shoulders over what we were looking at before.

    This time it's personal.

    by apostrophe on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 10:45:14 AM PDT

  •  Yes please. We have less than a week to act. (5+ / 0-)

    Call, Email, Fax. Do what ever you can to make your voice heard. This isn't about Obama, this is about you and your civil liberties.

    When liberty is taken away by force it can be restored by force. When it is relinquished voluntarily by default it can never be recovered.

    Thank you Mcjoan.

    John McCain "Beware the terrible simplifiers" Jacob Burckhardt, Historian

    by notquitedelilah on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 10:45:44 AM PDT

  •  I think a filibustering Senator Obama loses G.E. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cali Scribe

    And I wonder if we really think its worth it?  Besides a promise to work against the amnesty, Obama has indicated his direction as president if it passes.  Maybe we believe him, or maybe we don't.  But I think John McCain would be a worse president no matter what, and I don't think that ideologically, I think that based on a character that seems to have been sold for a cheap price.

    Anyway, I'm actually of the opinion this whole thing should have gone the other way - the FISA should have been left alone, and the telecos should get their immunity.  But now that Obama has come out in favor of the reverse, I'm proposing we ... support his efforts.

    Text says: Please write to Sen. Obama, and to your own Senator. This is our last chance to block this bill!

    This is an event at

    •  re I think a filibustering Senator Obama loses GE (8+ / 0-)

      No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no.

      This is the time for real leadership.  A good/great leader would do the right thing and frame it in such a way that everyone or most people understand why he's taken that position and believe it was the right thing to do.

      To be afraid of losing to McCain over this issue and thus caving is a -- I don't want to say "coward's" way out, but that's the only word I can think of now.

      No way, no how, never, never would I vote for McCain... but even McCain made a statement a while back that he would rather lose an election than lose the war.  Granted, that was.... well, you know.

      And I'm not saying Obama should say something similar here, but people admire when a person stands up for what's right, not what's convenient.  That has been Obama's message but it's not anymore.

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

        but maybe Obama is basing his campaign on a grassroots "we" rather than a grand "he."  Maybe we, if we care that much, need to go ahead and create the climate where he can stand strong.  He chucked public financing on the strength of 1 million-plus small donors... maybe he'll do what 1 million-plus active citizens mandate him to do.

        All I'm saying is - let's think different here.  Change we can believe in isn't about Obama. It's about us.  I like Move-on's message, and will make the call, but I also think we ought to hold ALL the Senators feet to the fire on this, and let Obama know 'we've got your back.'


        •  The grassroots need to step up to Obama (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          zett, gooderservice

          and demand he does this. While I support him and overall continue to feel better about him as the candidate he seemed to be shepherded into the senate by  a lot of the long entrenched members of the party judging by some of his safe votes on critical issues, such as funding the war without timetables.

          I think he'll listen and know that he is empowered by us so long as we continue to fax and call his office making it clear to him that this is non-negotiable and that he needs to position himself to try and stop this bill or at the very least not approve it without immunity stripped from it.

          We need to remind him which side his bread is buttered on.

          And I think and honest-to-god old fashioned filibuster, a big public discussion about this ugly bill would finally let the public at large look at all the details involved which so many of us here take for granted.

          You've got to be cou-ra-geous, to play the odds that love will win. Whatever city you're in. Was / Not Was

          by Noodles on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 12:49:13 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Is this a DLC attack? (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Cali Scribe, gooderservice

            I mean the whole timing of the bill and the push by Hoyer. Could this be a coordinated attack meant to derail Obama's candidacy? It puts him in a serious bind, in that he is getting all kinds of heat from us, some of his most ardent supporters, including me.

            Would the DLC branch of the Dem party be perfectly happy with a majority of both Houses, and a McCain president?

            So now he has to "cave", or essentially declare war on the old guard, DLC faction of his own party. I know I have been waiting for anyone to stand up to that crowd for a lot of years, and would redouble my support and efforts for Obama, if he were to choose the correct path.

            •  DLC or not it's the deeply entrenched at work (0+ / 0-)

              This one issue will not derail Obama. Personally I think Edwards would have handled it better than Obama or Hillary - but who knows? Maybe not. The Senators are under the gun as opposed to Edwards.

              Nonetheless, if the 'roots are displeased about this we need to let him know about it long and loudly. There are a few things where he'll have to stick to a progressive position. Other than that, politics is the art of compromise and some needs to be given on less crucial issues. The understanding has to go both ways.

              But my attitude is to wait and see. Perhaps he'll play an ace that we don't see yet. Simply insisting on stripping the amnesty aspect, and finding a few others to follow, will wreck some havoc on the bill. Enough to put off the vote. He has some muscle now. Let's see if he flexes it.

              You've got to be cou-ra-geous, to play the odds that love will win. Whatever city you're in. Was / Not Was

              by Noodles on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 11:23:55 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  Grassroots (0+ / 0-)

            What you said was very good, but I'm afraid it's too late.  How can he be against it and want to fight against immunity several months ago, now say he's going to vote for it, and then turn around, after a grassroots movement, and fight against it?

            I don't see how that's possible.  I mean it's possible, but he's in for a lot of bad press if he's had three separate positions on this.

            And I think and honest-to-god old fashioned filibuster, a big public discussion about this ugly bill would finally let the public at large look at all the details involved which so many of us here take for granted.

            I love your sentiment there, but I'm not hopeful that there is any one person courageous enough to do that... not even Russ Feingold.

            •  Well, that would be two courageous men to start (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              We could count Chris Dodd in. Perhaps Durbin, perhaps Boxer. It could possibly give Reid maneuvering room. Why isn't it time to throw some of this filibustering back in the faces of the GOP?

              You've got to be cou-ra-geous, to play the odds that love will win. Whatever city you're in. Was / Not Was

              by Noodles on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 11:27:57 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  Has anyone considered (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        SecondComing, gooderservice, cgirard

        what will happen if Obama doesn't fillibuster this, it gets passed and then he doesn't win the Presidency??
        How can he "closely monitor" it then???

        A veteran is someone who, at one point in his/her life, wrote a blank check made payable to The USA for an amount of "up to and including my life." - unknown

        by AJsMom on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 11:55:02 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  No, caving makes him look weak. (4+ / 0-)

      And Democrats will not win if they allow Republicans to set the terms of the debate.

      "Surrendering and fearful: that's the face of the Democratic Party. It's how they show they're not weak." -- Glenn Greenwald

      by expatjourno on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 11:28:33 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I think a leader who shows courage wins (3+ / 0-)

      People want change, fighting for our rights is certainly a new idea.

      •  Is this supported by the majority of Americans? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        People want change, fighting for our rights is certainly a new idea.

        I mean, I have been asking around, and most of the people I talk to don't care whether the government spies on the "bad guys" (not my phrase) or not.

        Do most Americans want this FISA bill to pass or not? And why or why not?

        Just trying to understand what "ordinary" people think about this, or is it that many people are not informed about it? Taking informal polls in my community today.

        •  If most Americans don't care (0+ / 0-)

          as you seem to believe, doing the wrong thing is all the more unjustifiable.

          •  It's not that they don't care, they just think (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Cali Scribe, CityLightsLover

            that the "loony left" is seriously overreacting and out of touch. I've tried to understand the outrage, but honestly, it doesn't make much sense to me. And I know that if I don't see the outrage, people much further from the left are going to think it's completely nutty.

            John McCain - Strange you can believe in.

            by Bitter Elitist on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 12:12:57 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  The outrage is the constitution (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              Either you get it or you don't. True conservatives also support it. to the extent that Americans follow this at all, there is certainly a split.

            •  The Jist I Get From Most People (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Bitter Elitist

              is that if you have nothing to hide, you shouldn't worry about the possibility of "being spied on." They really don't get that this scenerio could lead to snooping on "regular law - abiding" citizens.

              "Get a Roll of Stamps and, and Mail It In." Keith Olbermann

              by CityLightsLover on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 12:42:18 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  sadly, most people in the US (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                deep down inside, in their heart of hearts, don't really want "democracy".  They hate it, they fear it, and they won't lift a finger to defend it.

                Even more sadly, a people like that usually get exactly what they want.

                They, uh, tend not to like it once they have it.

                Editor, Red and Black Publishers

                by Lenny Flank on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 12:48:38 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  So if I agree with this bill, then I hate (0+ / 0-)

                  democracy? This is just the left wing version of "if you do XYZ then you are helping the terrorists. "

                  John McCain - Strange you can believe in.

                  by Bitter Elitist on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 12:56:34 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  well (4+ / 0-)

                    Either we have the rule of law and democracy, and it applies to everybody, or we don't.  There's no such thing as "democracy when we like it, and no democracy when we don't like it".

                    If I argue in favor of trial by jury for child molestores, would you yell and scream that I'm helping child molestors?

                    Would you argue in favor of DENYING trial by jury to child molestors in the name of "protecting our children"?

                    It's the very same thing.

                    The rule of law applies to EVERYONE.  If not, then it's not law at all -- it's privilege.

                    I won't live in a country where political leaders, of whatever party, get to revoke or restore civil liberties at their discretion.  I'll fight it in every possible way that is available to me.

                    Editor, Red and Black Publishers

                    by Lenny Flank on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 01:04:10 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  If you mean the telcom immunity, (0+ / 0-)

                      They received requests for the information from the President and were told that it was legal and required to prevent terrorist attacks. They acted in good faith by providing the information. In the post 9/11 period, this wasn't such an outrageous thing to do. Imagine if they had refused and it had resulted in an attack that could have been prevented? Yes, in hindsight it's easy to get indignant and self-righteous about this. But  I'm willing to give them a pass on it.

                      John McCain - Strange you can believe in.

                      by Bitter Elitist on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 01:24:30 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  ah, the Nuremburg Nazi defense (3+ / 0-)

                        "I was only following orders."

                        The US hangedpeople who made that argument.

                        "Indignant" and "self-righteous" about the Prez openly breaking the law?

                        You're goddamn right I am.

                        Give them a pass on it?

                        Why give a pass to people who break the law?

                        If I break the law, do I get a pass?

                        And just for your info -- the Constitution today is the very same as it was on September 10.  Not one single word has changed in it.  

                        Editor, Red and Black Publishers

                        by Lenny Flank on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 01:38:58 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  ok..So now they're Nazis? (0+ / 0-)

                          If you break the law at the request of POTUS or even just a police officer, then you do get a pass, yes. Especially in an emergency situation.

                          I never said Bush should get a pass nor do I believe it. He made a judgment to step outside the law. And he should be held responsible for that.  

                          John McCain - Strange you can believe in.

                          by Bitter Elitist on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 01:47:05 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  Do you even know what (0+ / 0-)

                            the Nuremberg defense was?

                          •  no you don't (2+ / 0-)

                            If you break the law at the request of POTUS or even just a police officer, then you do get a pass, yes. Especially in an emergency situation.

                            They have no authority whatever to order anyone to do anything illegal.  If a cop orders you to shoot someone in the head, the cop goes to jail right alongside you.

                            Dick Nixon tried to make the same argument you are making -- "when the President does it, it's not illegal".  He got impeached for it. He SHOULD have got JAILED for it. The people he ordered to do illegal things, DID go to jail for it.

                            Editor, Red and Black Publishers

                            by Lenny Flank on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 02:00:37 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  well...It's a matter of degree (0+ / 0-)

                            and that's what it comes down to. If a cop tells you to drive on the shoulder during a traffic accident, you won't be held responsible. And if you think that obeying the President in this situation was reasonable, then you wouldn't hold the telcom companies responsible.

                            John McCain - Strange you can believe in.

                            by Bitter Elitist on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 02:04:31 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  if you can't tell the difference between (2+ / 0-)

                            "a cop ordering you to drive on the soulder of the road" and "breaking the Constitution" . . . well . . . then you deserve whatever sort of government you get.



                            The telcoms ARE responsible.  Their own lawyers told them it was illegal.  ONE of them even had the guts to say "no" to the illegal request.

                            They deserve no slack whatsoever.

                            Editor, Red and Black Publishers

                            by Lenny Flank on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 02:08:08 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                      •  As incredible as it sounds, (2+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        zett, FirstValuesThenIssues

                        the President saying something is legal doesn't make it so. There were severe repercussions for those who said that legal searches require a warrant.

                        It is mind boggling that anyone would attempt to seriously argue that this has anything at all to do with prevention of terrorism. Wow, their bullshit works on someone after all. Who knew there were people out there who have the ability log onto the internets and type, and who believe insanity like that?

                        Did you know that 9/11 could have been prevented simply by acting on existing intelligence? Probably not.

                      •  No free pass (2+ / 0-)

                        All of these telecoms have huge, well-paid legal departments. The argument that they didn't know that what they were agreeing to was illegal is ridiculous.

                        However, I would be quite happy to let them all off the hook in exchange for "discovery", evidence of exactly whose records were searched, and what was found. I want to know what Rove, Cheney, et al, went fishing for, and what they found.

              •  The reaction would be different (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                it was domestic, but most people hardly ever make international calls. And most people believe it's reasonable to eavesdrop on them because, really,  terrorism isn't actually just a figment of the imagination.

                John McCain - Strange you can believe in.

                by Bitter Elitist on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 12:53:40 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  yes it is (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  FirstValuesThenIssues, lgcap

                  The supposed danger from "terrorism" is a big scare story.  More people die from falling in their bathtubs in one year, than have been killed by terrorists in the past 200 years. All of this hysteria is the result of twenty guys with BOXCUTTERS , for Chrissakes.

                  For 99.999% of the population, it IS, quite literally, a figment of the imagination.  The Muslims simply are not going to come and shoot you in your bed.

                  And it's long past the time when we should still be peeing our pants over it.

                  Editor, Red and Black Publishers

                  by Lenny Flank on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 01:09:29 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Well, human fears have never been rational. (0+ / 0-)

                    Otherwise, no one would ever get on a highway. The vast majority of people will never accept terrorist attacks as just part of life. Trying to promote that view will never achieve anything.

                    John McCain - Strange you can believe in.

                    by Bitter Elitist on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 01:17:21 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

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

                      but pandering to that fear WILL achieve something.

                      The last few nations that achieved it, called it "fascism".

                      Editor, Red and Black Publishers

                      by Lenny Flank on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 01:22:22 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  well, this is the point where you lose me (0+ / 0-)

                        (and probably most of the public). Because I just don't buy that this is going to lead to fascism. As I mentioned above, it takes a certain kind of mindset.

                        John McCain - Strange you can believe in.

                        by Bitter Elitist on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 01:26:49 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  it already has (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:

                          Or have you forgotten that we already have a government that lost the election but took power anyway through its own appointed court, which detains people indefinitely without trial based on secret evidence obtained by smuggling people to other countries to be tortured, and spies on its own people, that has delcared that laws don't apply to certain people, and that we have a never-ending "war" against an "enemy" that is everywhere, and that we must make "certain temporary sacrifices" in this "time of emergency".

                          If you list all the other nations in history that have done those things, you'll, uh, notice something similar about all of them . . . .

                          Your mindset -- that "following orders" for "the common good" is more important than democracy or the rule of law -- **IS** exactly that "certain kind of mindset".

                          Editor, Red and Black Publishers

                          by Lenny Flank on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 01:44:00 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  You have a very black & white mentality. (0+ / 0-)

                            Life is actually full of shades of gray.

                            John McCain - Strange you can believe in.

                            by Bitter Elitist on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 01:50:56 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  not black and white. legal and illegal. (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            zett, FirstValuesThenIssues

                            The question is simple, and it only HAS two answers.

                            Does the President have the authority, by his own say-so, to magically turn an illegal act into a LEGAL act?

                            Either he does, or he doesn't.

                            Which is it?

                            The telecoms KNEW that what they were being asked to do was illegal, whether Bush said it was or not -- their own lawyers told them so, and at least one company had the balls to say "up yours" to the illegal request.

                            They knew what they did was ilelgal, adn they did it anyway. So why should they be allowed to break the law with impunity?  I can't.  What makes THEM so privileged?

                            Editor, Red and Black Publishers

                            by Lenny Flank on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 02:05:37 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

        •  It's not their fault... (0+ / 0-)

          the media has not nearly adequately reported on the details and facts of spying on Americans.

          That's why I keep saying over and over again that it's up to a LEADER to do so.

          I believe, and can be proven wrong, that a LEADER leads on an issue, informs the public about it in simple terms, and then describes his position on it.

          I believe that many people don't know what this is about, and I don't doubt many people think, "Oh, it's okay if they spy on me, I don't have anything to hide."

          It's the leaders' duty/obligation to explain that no, it's not okay and explain why.

          I haven't seen any of that yet.  It's political posturing, after political posturing, after political posturing.... NOTHING in the way of addressing what this country was founded on and how people SHOULD be treated.

      •  In 1860 Abe Lincoln refused to support (0+ / 0-)

        abolition and was excoriated by those in the abolitionist wing of his party (Salmon Chase, etc.).  Three years later he issued the Emancipation.   Would it have been better for him to support the ethical position of abolition, lose the election but stand on principle.  

        And is immunity for telecoms more important than abolition was then?

        I just watched "Recount" the other night.  As disappointing as Gore was as a candidate in 2000, he's far superior to what we've had in the last eight years.

        •  we're not talking about "principle" (0+ / 0-)

          This isn't a disagreement about policy or political strategy or campaign tactics.

          We're talking about the rule of law. Either we have it, or we don't. Either people can break the law with officially-sanctioned impunity, or they can't.

          Which do you prefer?

          Editor, Red and Black Publishers

          by Lenny Flank on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 01:45:54 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  While I generally prefer rule of law (I'm an (0+ / 0-)

            attorney) I first of all, believe, in the different case of undocumented workers, that the rule of law should take a back seat to the pragmatic approach of legislating a new law to allow the 12 million or so workers to be able to naturalize outside the current contours of the law.  My point is the rule of law sometimes has to take a backseat to pragmatic considerations: i.e., the impossibility of deporting twelve million Mexican workers back to Mexico.

            As for slavery, it was neither approved of nor barred by the Constitution; it was far more repugnant than retroactive immunity is.  While I find immunity personally repugnant, if Obama and others opposed to it submit amendments and lose, I am not going to blame them but the ones who oppose the amendments.  I am certainly not going to claim Obama supports immunity if he proposes these amendments as he says he is.  If he breaks his word, I will condemn him.  

            My general point is Lincoln's initial refusal to support abolition may have, in the long run, been a wiser route.  I don't know.  But I certainly know a politician must be careful in assessing whether a perceived short-term good may undermine a long-term goal that is better.  

  •  First of all, let's elect Obama (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    maggiejean, brushysage

    With McCain in the WH we can bid farewell to America as we know it. He will make Bush seem like a leftist. And he will crap on us everyday.

    Conservatism = greed, hate, fear and ignorance

    by Joe B on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 10:46:29 AM PDT

  •  mcjoan, I have called (7+ / 0-)

    and will continue to call and nag, nag, nag for a nay vote on this disastrous bill.  Having said that, I want to very much thank you for the penultimate paragraph.

    "Just because you do not take an interest in politics doesn't mean politics won't take an interest in you!" -- Pericles (430 B.C.)

    by maggiejean on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 10:46:30 AM PDT

  •  This bill essentially (5+ / 0-)

    wraps the law around the illegal acts of the president. And in so doing suggests that what ever the president does in the name of national security (wink, wink) is legal and any laws contradicting the president's actions must be changed in the name of national security. And finally any thing the president does in the name of national security is top MF'in secret.

    Thus the president, at his whim, can override the constitution and the rights of all Americans.

    It might just be telecommunications now, but there are people and forces at play that will expand those powers outward and into every aspect of our lives. One more right-wing nutjob on the SCOTUS and we're fucked.

    Therefore, it will be essential that we watch very carefully the choices Obama comes up with as Justices start to retire. I fear that Obama will try to play both sides of the court (so to speak) in an effort to seem impartial. But we can not afford any more capitulation with regard to SCOTUS appointments.

    The bad guys are winning, and Obama and congress are abetting them and seem OK with that.

  •  But he promised us the Constitution (8+ / 0-)

    Once again we're in an abusive relationship with government where we forgive our partner current betrayals and grant him power based on promises of future virtue. How does the Obama who wooed me with Bill of Rights roses comport with this guy who just said he was throwing the Fourth Amendment in the garbage? I'm pissed and some people I know who are high in the Obama machine are pissed. This doesn't work for us.

    Who controls the past, controls the future. Who controls the present, controls the past. George Orwell

    by moon in the house of moe on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 10:47:30 AM PDT

    •  Does McCain work for you? That's the alternative (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      you know.

      Face it, Obama is the most progressive presidential candidate we have had and will have for a long long time.

      /Reality based progressive

      Conservatism = greed, hate, fear and ignorance

      by Joe B on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 10:50:30 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  When presented with a choice of evils (5+ / 0-) must choose the lesser.  One wishes one had a better set of choices.  And in 2008, up until now, one thought one did.  One is disappointed.

        •  Choice of evils... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          Politics is about a lot more than simply voting. The labor unions weren't organized by voting for lesser evil Democrats- but with mass picket lines, widespread boycotts, leafleting, and so on. The same with the civil rights struggle and the movement that forced the US to withdraw from Vietnam.

          Vote for whoever you think best, but also go marches, rallies, support alternative media. When thousands of people mobilize together, even Republican and Democratic politicians can be forced to do progressive things.

        •  Third choice (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          First Light

          I have been sleeping better since I decided that the lesser of two evils is not the only choice.

          Obama is just about to lose me, on this issue. Sorry, but I switched to Green after the Dems proved themselves incapable or unwilling to do anything after taking power in 2006. (Notice how they had that deer-in-the-headlights look about them after the election? I believe they neither thought nor hoped that they would win in 2006)

          This has just brought it into clearer focus. Same old same old will not get my vote.

          •  You are deluding yourself (0+ / 0-)

            Sophie could have chosen not to choose, because both alternatives were evil.  What would have been the result?  Both children would have died, sooner rather than later.

            If it matters to you what happens, either in 2008 or beyond, you need to recognize that because of the DNA of the US Constitution and the self-reinforcing web of political interests that make any substantial change in that DNA highly unlikely, we will always have two candidates who have a chance to win, and only two.  And that candidate three, whether that candidate gets 0.1% of the vote, or 10%, or 18%, the way Ross Perot did (with some seriously deep pockets), that candidate will have no power to influence the direction of the government that takes power following the election.  Ross Perot, in particular, despite depriving Bush One and Clinton One of a majority, didn't get diddly.

            The system is defined such that coalitions cannot be formed after the election, only before.  You join up with one of the great armies, or you're just a bandit on the battlefield, and the only time any of the soldiers, on either side, will do anything but ignore you or shoot you is when you happen to be causing harm to the other side.  And when the battle is over, they won't give you diddly, either.

            If you and a group of like-minded people join one of those "armies," you can exert some influence.  Trouble is, you'll have to get your hands dirty and fight a lot of small organizational battles, and progress will be frustratingly incremental.  Not everyone has the patience for that, but unless you're Bono or something, it's the way to have a practical effect.  The right-wing nutjobs did it that way when they took over the Rethuglican Party.

            If on the other hand you don't care what happens, if you are able to convince yourself that your own abstract moral purity is the only thing that matters, then sure, vote for Albert Schweitzer, the Dalai Lama, or Jesus Christ, and you'll have that purity angle covered.  As soon as you take even a single step down from there, though, you're just a price-haggle away from voting for someone who actually has a chance in hell of winning.

      •  That's what's known as a straw man argument (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        zett, AJsMom, leisure

        Obama's chucking the Fourth Amendment. That's non-negotiable. I'm voting for him but I don't think he's Jesus Christ any more. He's a dude who thinks the Constitution and the Bill of Rights are optional, just like the dude we're getting rid of and the dude he's running against. That being the case America's fucked.

        Who controls the past, controls the future. Who controls the present, controls the past. George Orwell

        by moon in the house of moe on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 11:00:20 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  All I can think is (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      88kathy, leisure, LarryO

      ...that he must have awakened with the head of a decapitated alien in his bed, with a cryptic note from AT&T attached to it.

    •  But this is giving us the constitution back... (0+ / 0-)

      I don't like letting the phone companies get away with this. But his is the fastest way of getting court oversight back in the process, which is what the constitution calls for, is this compromise bill.

      Maybe I'm just jaded but it seems to me that the telecom companies will get away with this one way or the other they always seem to get their way in the end. Look at how they've been allowed to merge back together like the T-1000. We're pretty much back down to two major phone companies, AT&T and Verizon. Let's face it some sort of fine or settlement with the phone companies is only going to give them an excuse to ratchet up their rates so that they make a profit off of the fine. It seems like the best way to punish the phone companies is to block all further telecom mergers, which can be done even with this immunity.

  •  It's not over yet (5+ / 0-)

    Let's stop it in the Senate!

    "Polls are like crack, political activists know they're bad for them but they read them anyways."-Unknown

    by skywaker9 on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 10:51:29 AM PDT

  •  Letter sent (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    zett, JeffW, CityLightsLover, Joe Beese, LarryO

    I expect Senator Obama to hold to his word and filibuster the awful FISA bill that's going through the system now.    
    Giving Bush (or Obama) any more spying and wiretap powers is unconstitutional and is an unacceptable limit to our 4th Amendment rights.                                                                                    
    Giving the telecom companies a pass is not just an insult to our liberties, but also gives the Bush administration a   pass for its abuses. If the corproations have been complicit, we the people need to be able to sue them in civil court in order to exercise OUR oversight powers-- and especially since the Congress seems unable or unwilling to exercise theirs.                                                                                                      
    Again, this is a test of Senator Obama's character. We've seen Senator McCain flip-flop all over the place on all kinds of issues. I've been told that Senator Obama is different and has much more integrity. I'd like to see him seize the opportunity to display some evidence of this claim.                                                        

  •  No. No. No. No. No. No. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    zett, lisastar, Joe Beese

    Both political parties are funding and waging a war of occupation in Iraq.

    Both parties are funding and waging a war of surveillance and impoverishment and monetary theft against the American people.

    Both parties are going to pass a resolution next week urging Bush to blockade Iran's gasoline and other industrial supplies, and board and search its ships.

    How dare you urge people to set out on a ridiculous quest to some day change one of these parties from within?

    Why is it not equally valid for dKOS to push an internal takeover of the Republican Party -- it makes exactly as much sense, and will take just as long, and will have exactly the same non result.

    This approach is just like the supporters of the Weimar Democrats in the 1920's and early 1930's, who kept saying just hang in there, and keep trying, while the economic powers behind the political parties were actively -- and publicly -- setting Germany up to operate as a police state.

    The Unitary Executive has been created, the Courts have been stacked, and the Congress has been blackmailed and bought off. The next 'Bush' in that office won't be a blithering idiot, he will be the real thing.

    And you will still be advising people to work within the system.

    Time to step out into the streets, and stop the wheels. Do it locally, do it nationally. Strike.

    Pick a day and say no more.


  •  Busy Planning Bush's Pardon Party (7+ / 0-)

     If we use the logic we are being fed about the Telecom Immunity we might as well begin planning for the Bush Pardon Party.
    We are being told that since Bushs Lawyers and Atty Gen. told him he could write a letter to the Telecoms granting them immunity, that just the fact that Bush gave them a letter no matter if it was a legal letter, then they should go free.

    The same logic will be than since the DOJ and the OLC told Bush it was within his powers, we can't blame or hold to account Bush just because the Lawyers were wrong.

    Prof. Turley named this the Mukasey Paradox.

    In his twisting of legal principles, the attorney general has succeeded in creating a perfect paradox. Under Mukasey's Paradox, lawyers cannot commit crimes when they act under the orders of a president -- and a president cannot commit a crime when he acts under advice of lawyers.

    President Theodore Roosevelt,"No man can take part in the torture of a human being without having his own moral nature permanently lowered."

    by SmileySam on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 10:54:04 AM PDT

    •  well, basically isn't that the crux of (0+ / 0-)

      this and every other skirting of the law and the Constitution by the Bush administration.  The pushing to the limits of 'executive privilege' which was the stated  goal of Cheney since the 60's, or whenever he first got the taste of power.  That has been the duty of the cabal of lawyers, (Gonzalex, Addington, Yoo and I've forgotton the other two) for their entire time in the admin, finnding ways to cover bush's arse.  They did a good job.  Besides which i am sure all this stuff is classified so the hands of even those who knew about it were/are tied.

      In order to trest this thesis the entire Congress, the administartion, the courts, the supreme Court etc would have to get into the act, case by case.  That could take thirty years, and probably wind up ambivalent.

      The Congress has been giving away power milligram by milligram to thr executive branch since Roosevelt and stacked courts.  Nothing new.

      Who is going to call them on it? Certainly not Obama, why should he. He will have the benefit of the ambiguity as his prize.

  •  Oh thank you, thank you. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I've been trying to understand why everyone is so focused on immunity and not the very black heart of the bill, but now I get it.  Thank you so much.

    IRAQ was a war of choice, ask John McCain. NEVER FORGET.

    by mrchumchum on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 10:54:07 AM PDT

  •  I think the netroots are being a bit righteous (3+ / 0-)

    There is more than one reasonable interpretation of the constitution. The FISA bill is not necessarily unconstitutional.

    Face it, surveillance is the future. The only think to hope for is transparency, so that we kno who spyes on us and why. See "The Transparent Society" entry in Wikipedia.

    Conservatism = greed, hate, fear and ignorance

    by Joe B on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 10:54:15 AM PDT

    •  But, but (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Now correct me if I'm wrong.  The bill is filled with exceptions that are, in effect, warrantless wiretapping and email collection. The AG can use the "reasonably determines that an emergency situation exists" clause and there is no legal recourse after the fact and no possibility even to find who or what was tapped.  So the AG effectively has the discretion to choose to wiretap without a warrant.  I'm racking my brain how that isn't in direct contradiction of the 4th Amendment (and 1st).  

      I think beijingbetty put it best:

         FISA: Warrant denied. You are wiretapping the President's political opponent, for reasons that are protected by the first amendment and fourth amendments.

         AG: OK, so sue me.

         FISA: ...

      In other words, it's just probably going to Boumediene all over again.  It's not an argument about how to make the granting of warrants streamlined and ensure recourse in cases of wrongdoing, it's a fundamental separation of powers argument (I think).

      IRAQ was a war of choice, ask John McCain. NEVER FORGET.

      by mrchumchum on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 11:17:25 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I disagree tremendously. (0+ / 0-)

      We will never know just what the Founding Fathers considered to be 'private'; perhaps a conversation between Jefferson and Adams in the middle of an open field in Virginia. The only thing making that private today are legal leashes on the Big Eyes, Big Ears and the Big Egos that control them.

      Active, militant sousveillance is good pushback, but privileged groups will never allow complete surveillance symmetry. Tech won't be the pixie dust that makes it all better because as we all know tools will always be abused by sociopaths. And in a civilized society we keep them in check with laws and norms. Things like FISA, the Constitution and Bill of Rights.

    •  Surveillance is not objectionable (4+ / 0-)

      That is a red herring if there ever was one.

      The issue is warrantless search.

    •  And the probable cause here is what exactly? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      zett, lgcap

      Without that nigglesome bit of business, it IS unconstitutional.

  •  Daily KOS should (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    change its name to daily FISA bill bitching. Really I love this site for if for the next 4-5 months of this election I see nothing but FISA bitching I'm going to debook-mark this site.

    If you dont like it KOSers vote McCain.

  •  No way Obama will change his mind... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:


    I can't imagine what his campaign is thinking.

    After that statement from Burton last year, and now to go back on that and support immunity is craziness.

    If Obama does now listen to the people and filibuster immunity, it will be his third position... and right on top of not taking public money.

    With Obama supporting immunity just to take the issue off the table so McCain can't use it against him is a big mistake.

    He could have spoken beautifully about why immunity is not acceptable and how he as President or any president will not and should not be above the law. If the President doesn't uphold the Constitution, we can't expect the American people to.   He really blew it.

    There are many issues that can be comprised on where we all get a little or a lot of what we want, but on some issues, compromise should be taken off the table... like this one.

    •  You are making shit up (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      He never says that he is in favor of immunity. In fact he said just the opposite.

      Conservatism = greed, hate, fear and ignorance

      by Joe B on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 10:56:54 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Oh, so this is another "present vote" (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        leisure, Joe Beese

        He doesn't get to support this bill, not fight against it, and say he's against immunity.  Unh-unh.

        •  Ding ding ding! We have a winner. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          "I oppose amnesty. But the President having absolute power to spy on you to keep you safe from the boogeymen is so important that I have to vote for the bill even if amnesty isn't stripped out."

          Change You Can Believe In.

        •  More trollish shit (0+ / 0-)

          "present" votes in Illinois have been fully "vetted" and there is nothing to see there if you are honest.

          And "Not Present" in the Senate on cloture is a vote against cloture, BTW.

        •  Whenever a bill has some things a Senator (0+ / 0-)

          supports and others he doesn't, he has a tough call to make which will piss of some of the people.  He says he will fight the retroactive immunity.  If he does fight it then what you wrote is blatantly false.  Should we judge you for making false statements when you probably know he has stated he intends to fight it?  

          •  Either I'm not getting what you're saying or... (0+ / 0-)

            you're just being an apologist.

            This is a tough call, I agree.  But a great leader stands up to the challenge.

            What I meant by a "present" vote, is to my understanding that in the State votes, "present" meant that you're in favor of a bill but the details are not conducive to what you support.

            That's what I'm saying here:  If he's AGAINST immunity, as the presumed next leader of our country, he cannot vote for this bill, even though he "says" he's against immunity.

            IMHO, a great leader will fight it, explain why he's fighting it to the point that the American people understand his position and many, if not most, can agree with it.

            That's who I thought Obama was... based on his campaign thus far.  If he supports this bill, but says he's "against immunity," then in my eyes, he's no different than any other politician, and thus becomes the lesser of two evils between him and McCain.

            Voting for this bill and not actively fighting against it is just another example of the "Washington way."  

          •  Yes, he stated he intends to fight it, (0+ / 0-)

            but from what I've read, he's ready to accept it and vote for it.  Maybe I'm not reading what you're reading.

            •  Originally on Saturday morning I heard his (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              surrogates say that while he found parts of the bill troubling, he would support it.  Later, yesterday afternoon I heard him say he would seek to eliminate the provision relating to immunity for telecoms.  My point is this: the bill goes to the Senate.  Let's apply pressure and see what he does.  Then we can judge his actions.

              •  OT (0+ / 0-)

                It really bothers me when elected officials or candidates "share" their feelings with us, like it's supposed to mean something to me about how they "feel."

                "Troubling" was used in your comment.

                That prompted me to think of all of Bush's, "I'm disappointed," "I'm pleased," "I'm happy," "I'm this or that.

                Obama and McCain both do it.  I think the most overused "feeling" is "disappointed."  Yuck.

                Just ranting a little.

    •  Troll (0+ / 0-)

      He is against immunity still = no change
      He agreed to Public financing with conditions and those conditions were not met = no change
      He blew it, but not for any of the phony shit you just made up.

      •  Thank you for your in depth analysis. (0+ / 0-)

        I've learned so much.

        Leaving the snark aside on my part, please explain to me how one can be "against" immunity but still vote for it, all the while being a "leader."  

        I seriously would like to know the answer to that.  But one answer cannot be that he's afraid that McCain will use this as an issue against him.  That's not acceptable.

        Please stop with the "troll" crap.  Just because someone disagrees with you doesn't make them a "troll."  If that were the case, half of the DKos members would be thrown out at any one time.

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

    Chances this train is too far from the station to put a stop to. But our job as the left flank of this party, the activist wing, it not to throw up our hands in despair and accept this as a done deal with our bitter acquiescence.

    Our job also isn't go off sulking in a fit of pique because our leaders let us down. Blustering, whining, refusing to play anymore is the least helpful and productive of avenues.

    Thanx for the reminder, thanx for the inspiration

    I do not agree with what you have to say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it." (Francois Marie Arouet Voltaire, 1694-1778)

    by Kairos on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 10:55:34 AM PDT

  •  My email to bburton...Are you with me? (0+ / 0-)

    I am writing to you to exhort you within Obama's organization to reconsider just what the result of Obama's broken "word" is going to have on folks like me.

    In the last week, I have seen Obama break his word on two important fronts.  As a result, I personally have decided that Obama's tactics are really no better than Bush's.  While Bush manipulated the general population via the emotion of fear, it appears Obama is doing exactly the same thing, via the emotion of hope.

    To go back on his strongly worded promise of using public finance for his campaign and his promise to back a fillibuster of the bill regarding the remake of the FISA law and teleco immunity, it is now becoming quite clear the nature of the man who will very likely be the next President.  His "word" is worthless and he really does not give two shits about doing what is right for its citizens; gaining power no matter what the tactic is his objective.

    I have been in Obama's corner ever since I listened to his speech at the 2004 Democratic Convention and I fell for his promises and now I know that it was all too good to be true.

    What is next?  Let me guess....after Obama comes back from Iraq, he is not going to support a troop withdrawal any longer?

    This race is not won yet and if Obama does not take care, he will lose.

    I for one, am seriously reconsidering my vote, a staunch supporter of the principles of our Democratic party - which does not include doing anything necessary to win, no matter how despicable.

  •  The strategy to remove the blue dog enablers (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    zett, doe, gooderservice, leisure

    as quoted today from Glenn:

    If, as a result of their destruction of the Fourth Amendment and the rule of law, they see that they lose seats -- that John Barrow and Chris Carney are removed from Congress and Steny Hoyer's standing in his district is severely compromised and that list of targets continues to grow -- then they'll conclude that they can't build their Vast and Glorious Democratic Majority by dismantling the Constitution and waging war on civil liberties. The Democratic Party in Congress is enslaved to the goal of winning more "swing districts" by supporting extremist measures -- such as the FISA "compromise" -- that please the right-wing. They need to learn that they won't benefit, but will suffer, when they do that.

    $300,000 and counting.  Contribute today!

    "Any dictator would admire the uniformity and obedience of the U.S. media." Noam Chomsky

    by LarryO on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 10:58:51 AM PDT

  •  Well... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SecondComing, flumptytail, rhutcheson

    ...I sent my email. Either I will add to some positive results, or I'm getting on somebody's tish list.

    Float like a manhole cover, sting like a sash weight.

    by JeffW on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 10:59:52 AM PDT

  •  I'll make my calls (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    just like I do everytime for something this important.

    But we are giving way too much leeway to our reps in congrees. There's a diary up suggesting we work on throwing out Pelosi and Hoyer and some folks are  poo poohing the idea. NEWSFLASH: They are not representing us.  

    Next thing you know, they'll be voting to attack Iran.

    All I needed to know about this bill is that Bush, the rethugs and blue dogs are pushing it cannot be good for America.

    If we cannot elect this man, we don't deserve him.

    by lisastar on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 11:00:31 AM PDT

  •  People should not fear their government... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    zeke L, temptxan, CityLightsLover

    Government ought to fear the people. -V For Vendetta

    Get Skinny For Barack! Skip Lunch! DONATE NOW!

    by ezdidit on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 11:02:29 AM PDT

  •  Get real. Obama made no "vow". (0+ / 0-)

    Obama NEVER made a "vow" to eliminate the telcom immunity from the FISA reform bill.

    1. a solemn promise, pledge, or personal commitment: marriage vows; a vow of secrecy.
    1. a solemn promise made to a deity or saint committing oneself to an act, service, or condition.
    1. a solemn or earnest declaration.
    1. take vows, to enter a religious order or house

    We need to stop inserting our own hyperventilated hyperbole for what Obama actually said. Obama did say he would fight to keep telcom immunity from the bill and that he would support a filibuster if one existed to achieve that goal but he NEVER made a VOW to remove  the immunity, particularly if it meant losing the bill itself with its GI Bill, its unemployment funding and its guaranteeing all wiretaps will require warrants.

    We saw the same disingenuous claims of an Obama "pledge" to use public financing. Obama NEVER made a PLEDGE to use public financing. He said he'd talk  to McCain and try and work out a way to use public finance. Since then McCain cheated on finance reform in the primary and publicly stated he and GOP would skirt campaign reform in the general election. End of that discussion.

    Obama is a progressive pragmatic political leader. He is going to make as much progress as possible in every issue to keep America moving forward vs. pointless stalemates that stop progress and reform.

  •  SIGN THE PETITION (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    On the first opportunity to lead an issue, Obama failed and fail miserably.  He should have shouted from any venue available his opposition to retroactive immunity for AT&T and Cheney/Bush last week, before the House vote, and he didn’t.  Instead he took the low road and his triangulated stance, just like the DINO’s in the House.  How hard will he "try" to strip immunity from the FISA bill in the Senate?  Is this the Presidency we can expect, triangulating issues and chipping away the Constitution and Bill of Rights?

    There’s simple petition to sign, asking Obama to stand in the Senate in opposition to immunity.  So far only 189 people have signed on.  Please sign & get your friends to sign also.

  •  E mails sent phone calls made. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    zett, MacJimi, leisure

    This purity troll, drama queen, and I am sure there were a few other names thrown in my direction in the past 36 hours, really appreciates and shares your passion for this issue mcjoan.  Thanks!

    •  Did they spit "Nader" at you too? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      That seems to be coming back into vogue now that Obama has shown how "progressive" he is.

      •  Litmus test (0+ / 0-)

        I am in the Purity, Nader camp myself. Gore's DLC, Lieberman-loving campaign didn't measure up, and I begged him to move Left.. He wouldn't and I voted for Nader. And I'm still not sorry.

        If anything, this latest crap from the Dem "leadership" justifies my actions.

        Now, I am begging Obama to uphold the Constitution. If he does, he gets my support and vote. If not, back to the Greens with me.

  •  Letter sent. (7+ / 0-)

    Thank you McJoan. Without your diaries on FISA, I would never have understood what is at stake.

    Too few Americans -- and Congresspeople -- read your diaries, it seems. ;-)

    The sleep of reason brings forth monsters.

    by beijingbetty on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 11:05:09 AM PDT

    •  letter sent (4+ / 0-)

      "In matters of style, swim with the current; In matters of principle, stand like a rock." - Thomas Jefferson

      My letters included:

      This is one of those fundamental moments – as important as standing up against the Iraq war – when we, the American people, need you to stand up.  You can bank on this; a legislature’s stance on FISA will not be easily forgiven or forgotten by the American voter.  I believe we need to elect people to office who are going to uphold the constitution.  In the words of Russ Feingold, this is just capitulation.


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

    My advisor, who has worked against the administration on its FISA attempts and especially in relation to the Gitmo stuff, told me yesterday to expect a new proposal on Gitmo to come out tomorrow.  Specifically, it will be a "National Security Court" of some form or another.

    "Polls are like crack, political activists know they're bad for them but they read them anyways."-Unknown

    by skywaker9 on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 11:06:49 AM PDT

  •  the most odious part of this is (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mrchumchum, Joe Beese

    that BushCo requested NSA driftnet spying in February 2001. People should not fear the government; government should fear the people.

    Get Skinny For Barack! Skip Lunch! DONATE NOW!

    by ezdidit on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 11:07:08 AM PDT

    •  Funny how Obama failed to mention that... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      ... based on when it started, all this terribly crucial domestic spying could have had nothing to do with 9/11 and the "grave threat" it represents. It's as if he expects us to be uninformed rubes or something.

      Meet the new gas tax holiday. Same as the old gas tax holiday.

  •  Has anyone seen a blog post ANYWHERE (3+ / 0-)

    that really goes through this bill and analyzes it by section with cites?  If so can you give me the link (or general direction)?

    Glen's post is conclusory.  The ACLU post that he links to is a summary of the ACLU's conclusions.  The closest I've found is David Kris over at Balkinization but his intent isn't really to analyze the constitutionality of the act.  

    I would really like to understand exactly how this act works and what the constitutional problems with each section are.  And frankly it is beyond me to do it on my own.

  •  Even Benjamin Franklin was a spy (0+ / 0-)

    The British Government referred to him has code number 72 and the nickname "Moses".

    Foreigners do not have 4th Amendment rights.  The US Government can and will spy on them.  It was done before and during the Revolution and throughout US History.

    I'm not sure I agreed with the ALCU because the FISA bill says no actives under FISA shall infringe on 4th Amendment rights.

    I certainly don't think Bush and Telecoms should have immunity.  And if FISA was delayed so the courts could see what was done, we would likely come up with a better bill.

    I'm not going to wrap this all around Obama's neck and hang him with it.

    Perhaps some scholarly people can provide good review of the current FISA bill and we can all drop the emotions of Bush betrayed us and Obama is letting him get away with it.

  •  It's important to remember that they started (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    building the infrastructure to spy on us MONTHS before 9/11.

      •  I'm talking about the Bush Administration (0+ / 0-)

        that started building the infrastructure in February '01.

        •  no, the CLINTON admin started building it (0+ / 0-)

          in 1996.

          Do a Google for "1996 anti-terrorism act".

          It will sound, uh, kind of familiar . . . . .

          Editor, Red and Black Publishers

          by Lenny Flank on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 12:26:21 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  WE are writing about two different things. (0+ / 0-)

            I'm talking about the Bush/Cheney administration conspiring with the phone companies to spy on us. Bush/Cheney were building the infrastructure by the Spring of '01, MONTHS before 9/11. Their spying on us had to do with their wish for a permanent majority, and removing Democratic Governors from office using the Justice Department.

            •  no, we're not (0+ / 0-)

              NOTHING Bush/Cheney did was new.  NOTHING.  Provision for warrantless domestic wiretapping was all done before, under the JFK, LBJ and Nixon administrations, and expanded provisions for warrantless domestic wiretapping had already been introduced by Bill Clinton as part of the 1996 Anti-terrorism bill.

              Bush did nothing that his Democratic predecessors didn't also do (or try to).

              Editor, Red and Black Publishers

              by Lenny Flank on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 12:52:23 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  This isn't correct. Are you looking for a hide? (0+ / 0-)
                •  (sigh) (0+ / 0-)

                  Go Google "1996 anti-terrorism bill"

                  Then Google "Church Report Intelligence Activities and the Rights of Americans".

                  Read it.

                  Read it twice.

                  Editor, Red and Black Publishers

                  by Lenny Flank on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 01:24:39 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Not in the same league (0+ / 0-)

                    Not attempting a coup. Not apples and oranges.

                    •  it is precisely the same (0+ / 0-)

                      what "coup"?  Did I miss the tanks?  Or do you mean the abject surrender by the, uh, Dem-controlled Congress?

                      Bush, JFK, LBJ, Nixon and Clinton all wanted to spy on citizens, without warrants.

                      All of them did (or, in the case of Clinton, TRIED -- if he actually DID, we haven't found out about it yet -- which, if one were paranoid, might indicate a reason why the Dems aren't all that anxious to probe the history of Bush's illegal surveillance).

                      Bush did nothing  -- absolutely nothing at all whatsoever -- that the Dems didn't do before him.

                      Indeed, the Dems did some things that even BUSH didn't have the balls to try (again, at least so far as we currently know --if one were paranoid, one might assume that there's been an awful lot going on that we haven't yet heard about, which might idnicate a reason why the Repugs aren't all that anxious to probe the history of Bush's illegal activities -- particularly if certain Congressional officials were aware of it and didn't pipe up).

                      If you want to believe that Bush is the Devil and the Dems are the Angelic Host, and Four Legs Good, Two Legs Baaaaad, then go right ahead and believe it.  But historically, it remains a simple fact that everything Bush did (that we know about), was done before.  By Democrats.

                      Sorry if you'd prefer that not to be true.

                      But it is.

                      Editor, Red and Black Publishers

                      by Lenny Flank on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 02:53:17 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

          •  You're correct, Lenny, as to Clinton's (0+ / 0-)

            role in building the infrastructure for spying on us but he actually began the process in 1994 when he signed CALEA- the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act, which required telcos and manufacturers of telco equipment to provide the technical capability for easy wiretapping in a digital age. If the telco networks had not been retooled as required by CALEA, the mega-wiretapping carried out by the telcos in recent years could not have happened.

  •  First, the law is Unconstitutional, in that (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LarryO, First Light

    it violates the Bill of Rights. Not that we can count on the Supreme Court to defend the Constitution.

    Second, retroactive immunity for the crimes is in effect a retroactive stripping of the People's right of redress no matter how you slice it. I don't know how we get that challenge into the courts, and again, the Supreme Court has several members who despise the Constitution, so....

    Until we break the corporate virtual monopoly on what we hear and see, we keep losing, don't matter what we do.

    by Jim P on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 11:14:58 AM PDT

    •  it will take MORE than Obama but WE THE PEOPLE (0+ / 0-)

      must decide that this is worth fighting for. I have no desire to hurt Obama's chances of being elected. However, before he gets there we need to have the matter our constitution settled. In that, the folks running understand that the American people understand that they have been stripped, and blindfolded by their representatives.

      We have every right and obligation to demand answers and change. NOW. (especially from the man who said he would bring it.)

      The greatest gift you can contribute to the goal of world peace is to heal.

      by wavpeac on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 11:38:55 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Forests and Trees. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    citizenx, soccergrandmom, ATFILLINOIS


    The myopia here is overwhelming sometimes.  If we target all of our efforts on elected, or unelected, officials, then we never get squat done.

    Is the FISA fight important?  Yes, but we are fighting it on the wrong turf.

    Let me use an analogy.  Im the father of a 4 year old little boy named Christopher.  Christopher has a fear of monsters sometimes.  

    What should my response be to get him into bed in a dark room?

    A.  "Shut up you fool.  Stop being afraid of nothing, there is statistically no chance of any harmful creature under your bed or in your closet."


    B. "Ok.  Lets go check together under your bed and in your closet to make sure nothing is there.  See?  nothing is there, nothing to be scared of.  Now lets read 'Go Away Big Green Monster' together."

    See.  Much of the country has been fed a steady diet of fear for the last 8 years.  They have been conditioned to be terrified of the "Monsters".  They turn on the TVs, they hear it on the radio and see it in movies.  This has been the Republicans great success, scaring the living shit out of the rest of the country.

    Now we know the truth, and we see it as it is, but much of the country has this implanted irrational fear.  We cannot expect our politicians to just dismiss and have disdain for the very powerful fears they have that Republicans are waiting to play on.

    Should we allow this FISA act to not pass, the Republicans will be telling the country about how the monster under the bed is going to eat them tonight and how the Democrats don't want to protect them.

    Think about it,  how many Americans have actually read the Constitution and the Bill of Rights?  Ok.. How many have seen "24"?  This is what our politicans are dealing with.  Bills like FISA have to be pass, in weakened states, then be quietly done away with until such time as the damage done by the current administration has passed and people are able to think rationally.

    We arent at that point.  And while we don't have to believe that the boogiemen are poised to strike at any minute, we have to understand that it is a gradual process for a good part of the population of this country, and we cannot just dismiss their fears and concerns out of hand and expect them to trust us or lead them.

    •  Once you give power it is much harder to remove (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      doe, okamichan13, MacJimi

      The greatest gift you can contribute to the goal of world peace is to heal.

      by wavpeac on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 11:33:50 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Nice view. (0+ / 0-)

      Couldn't agree more.

      "You can observe a lot by watching."  Yogi Berra

    •  So, because, as you imply... (0+ / 0-)

      most people are ignorant, we should be ignorant, too?  Human nature is such that if you give an inch they'll take a mile.  At least, that's republican nature.  And, after seeing cave after cave after cave,  I'm not so sure that the Democrats don't love giving it all away.  You're remedy seems to be "if we just relax and forget about it it'll just go away".  Man, how many times has that been proven wrong.

      •  because (0+ / 0-)

        The purpose of this site isn't to sit around and congratulate each other on how enlightened we are...  we are here to change this country and fix the damage done.

        That requires understanding the hearts and minds we are trying to win.

        •  why not appeal to all those poor scared voters (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          okamichan13, MacJimi

          . . .by advocating that we implant GPS chips in everyone's forehead upon birth, so we can track anyone anywhere anytime at any place?

          Dems will be TOUGH ON TERRORISM!

          We'll be TOUGH ON CRIME !!!

          It will PREVENT CHILD ABDUCTIONS !!!

          It will help us KEEP TRACK OF SEX OFFENDERS !!!!

          See? We're NOT wimps!!!  We ARE tough on crime!!!  We CAN win the War On Terror!!!!

          Sounds like a winning formula to me.

          As for the teeny tiny little problem of it being, well, illegal -- heck, we can change people's minds about that LATER.  When we, uh, have a filibuster-proof majority in Congress.

          Editor, Red and Black Publishers

          by Lenny Flank on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 12:31:55 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  ! (0+ / 0-)

            Its not an all or nothing proposition.

            You can do the right thing in something other than a bullheaded, obtrusive manner.

            Its not about being tough, or being more republican than republicans.  Its an acknowledgment of the real fears people have while at the same time trying to educate them about the realities of the situation.

            And you know,  the Constitution also grants the right to bear arms, yet I don't see the righteous outrage on any modern infringement or curtailing of that right.  Seems many of us, both the left and right, are very selective about our constitutional outrage.  Why, because most of us recognize that the world has changed since 1789, and some common sense changes or alterations are at times necessary for the common good.

            Some of you are so ridiculous I can take away 1st Amendment rights, and replace it with 2nd Amendment rights, and just copy and paste the rest on an NRA board.  Same arguments, same reasoning, same logic.

            This Bill does not take away our 1st Amendment rights, it does not allow for the government to spy on us willynilly for whatever reason they want.  Only in the most fantastical tin foil hat scenarios does anyone believe that the government, even the government under the asshole we have now, is going to us this bill to institute some Orwellian spy system on all Americans.

            Me?  I go berserk when someone violates my 3rd amendment rights, to hell with the other 9, amirite?  

            •  "the right thing" (0+ / 0-)

              is to uphold the rule of law.

              Anything else, for whatever reason-- good intentions or not-- is wrong.

              Democracy and the rule of law   *******IS*******   the "common good".

              Any other approach, leads inevitably to the DEATH of democracy and the rule of law.

              Editor, Red and Black Publishers

              by Lenny Flank on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 01:13:13 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Gah! (0+ / 0-)

              Which is easier to define:

              "Well-regulated militia" (Seen one of these recently?)


              "secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures"

        •  THAT'S RIGHT (0+ / 0-)

          sitting around congratulating each other is NOT what this site is about. We are trying to fix the damage done, and PREVENT more damage being done.  So some of us are trying to do what we can to stop anymore damage being done by FISA.  Apparently, in your view, the great unwashed masses are too stupid to understand what is happening in the rarefied halls of congress.   So we are trying to take the fight to the source... congress itself.  I don't know about you, but I'm not going to let other people's fear of the 'bogeyman' dictate my actions.  It seems to me that Fear is the cudgel that the Republicans keep trying to beat us down with.  They are counting on us to trade our freedoms for their bogus security.

          •  well. (0+ / 0-)

            "the great unwashed masses" arent too stupid, they just dont give a damn.  Apathy is a greater foe than ignorance.  

            If you can defeat apathy, you can kill FISA, but as long as only the blogosphere seems to give a damn about it, nothing is going to get done, no matter how much we scream, or threaten or cry.

            Dont tell me how we are going to punish the politicians for being politicians, tell me how we are going to educate the important part of our system of government, THE PEOPLE, about why they should give a damn.

            All power flows from the people.

            •  a few years of fascism (0+ / 0-)

              tell me how we are going to educate the important part of our system of government, THE PEOPLE, about why they should give a damn.

              would do the trick nicely.

              I hope that ain't what it takes.

              I'm afraid, though, that it is.

              But then, of course, the American public has already demonstrated that it doesn't care if the President is actually the guy who got fewer votes, doesn't care if our government tortures people, doesn't care if we spy on our own people, and doesn't care if we invade other countries whenever we feel like it.

              So, sadly, maybe even a few years of outtright fascism WON'T do the trick. . . . Heck, we might even decide that we LIKE it.  After all, even a police state doesn't "bother" people who aren't doing anything the authorities don't like, right?

              Editor, Red and Black Publishers

              by Lenny Flank on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 01:19:03 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  If you're convinced (0+ / 0-)

              that the blogosphere has had no effect on politics then why are you wasting your time here?  You seem to be an expert in what makes people tick... what makes a person come here to try to convince people that what they are doing is useless and is a waste of time?  To me, the bigger waste of time is doing nothing at all an justifying inaction by saying it's all so useless anyway.  The blogosphere is how many people find a way to connect with other like minded people and then radiate ideas outward either on the web, in person, or both.  I've turned people I've known personally onto politics.  They've done the same.  And they're many, many other people here doing that everyday on the blogospere and in the world at large.

              You and I are apparently arguing past each other so we should just agree to disagree but I won't be made to feel that what I'm trying to do is a waste of time and has no effect whatsoever.

              •  What? (0+ / 0-)

                When did I say that?

                The Blogosphere, BY ITSELF, has no effect.

                The danger is this place turning into an irrelevant echo chamber.  The energy, ideas, enthusiasm and passion of this place have to be channeled correctly in order to have effect.

                I assume that you agree when we say "People powered politics", we arent talking about just the people on this website.

                The vanguard of a charge is nothing without the rest of the army behind them.

                •  Your quote (0+ / 0-)

                  If you can defeat apathy, you can kill FISA, but as long as only the blogosphere seems to give a damn about it, nothing is going to get done, no matter how much we scream, or threaten or cry.

                  It seems to me, that dKos, Salon, Atrios and innumerable other entities that are apart of the blogosphere have helped to keep things like FISA from being slam-dunked months ago.

                  What have YOU done to help in the FISA fight?  What have YOU done to change the hearts and minds of people out in the "real" world.  Actually, don't answer.  You'll just give me some more confused BS.

                  •  To this? (0+ / 0-)

                    To FISA?

                    Nothing, because Im not fired up about it.  This equals the nonsense about the Right to Bear Arms in my view.

                    Ask what Ive done about issues I care about, and I can list what Ive done in a myriad of ways.  
                    Ask me about Darfur
                    Ask me about the Iraq War
                    Ask me about Voter registration
                    Ask me about Phone banks.
                    Ask me about the amount cash Ive donated over the years

                    On top of that Im an educator and every one of my students at least gets my damn best try to help become a socially aware and morally responsible individual.

                    So heres some confused BS, save your internet tough guy snark and shove it.

            •  If only we had a Leader (0+ / 0-)

              Who was an accomplished Constitutional scholar and orator.. Maybe that imaginary person would be able to, I don't know, give a speech or something. Is that the education of the masses to which you are alluding?

              Man, that would be sweet!

    •  Where is our Orator? (0+ / 0-)

      Gee, if only we had a Dem candidate who was a skilled orator, who might be able to communicate the importance of this critical issue.. That'd be nice, huh?


      Why do we have to beg him (unsuccessfully) to stand up for our basic rights?

  •  right on! mahalo for this. I don't feel so crazy (0+ / 0-)
  •  "Codifying" the Nuremburg Defense (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    doe, leisure

    A friend pointed out that this inanity of getting telcoms off the hook with the "I was just following orders" defense is an attempt to codify the Nuremburg defense.
    The recent SCOTUS ruling on the right of habeus corpus for Gitmo detainees indicates that rulings in favor of the constitution's guarantees can be found.  This also suggests that even this scary court holds that the Nuremburg defense is unlawful and unconstitutional.  Legislators may well smash it through but it will be challenged vigorously in the courts...skip civil suits - it's criminal.

  •  Sold out (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    doe, First Light

    How am I supposed to support anyone who violates their Oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution before they are even elected? The Republicans have abandoned the Constitution for power and the Democrats who support this bill have done the same.

    Too many people are thinking of security instead of opportunity. They seem more afraid of life than death. James F. Byrnes

    by DavidW on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 11:19:18 AM PDT

    •  You're supposed to do everything in your power (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      as an American to restore our liberty. We START by electing Obama - because McCain and his court appointees would be nails in the coffin of liberty.

      THEN, once we get Obama in, we lean on him to revoke and renounce all the illegal "laws" that violate our rights - and make sure he appoints ONLY Justices to the Supreme Court that are thoroughly dedicated to our civil liberties.

      When a government violates the unalienable rights of the people, it loses its legitimacy.

      by Rayk on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 11:40:56 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  That's all swell (0+ / 0-)

        But it's far too late at that point to hold any of these criminals accountable. That is the standard operating procedure, ala Clinton refusing to investigate the previous two administrations. But it is unacceptable to me, personally.

        I want investigations, prosecutions and prison sentences, if not outright war crimes tribunals. The rest is just hush money bs.

  •  I never got the feeling any dems in the senate.. (0+ / 0-)

    had their hair on fire on this FISA bill. This is such an objectionable piece of crap that I am mystified. There has to be a parliamentary maneuver to get this to next year.

    "A revolution without dancing is a revolution not worth having." --V

    by moondancing on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 11:19:32 AM PDT

  •  Thanks for all the info mcjoan, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    leisure, mrchumchum

    I'll be on the horn again with the numbers you've supplied.  Also thanks to Glen and his vigilance and activism, as well.  Democrats... hold the line!!!

  •  Pre-911 (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    First Light

    If noone in either house mentions this started prior to 911 I'll know it's a conspiracy. Obama included.

    Bush hired phone companies to spy on you before 911.

    by plok on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 11:25:24 AM PDT

  •  My email to Mr. Burton (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    KnotIookin, okamichan13, MacJimi

    Mr. Burton,

    I'll be honest with you.  Barack Obama was not my first choice for the primary, but I've come to accept him, and want to support him to victory in November.  I also want to be able to reach out and convince my friends that he's someone worth getting excited about.

    To do that, I have to believe in him.

    I have to see leadership actions corresponding to his words.  

    Please ask Senator Obama to do what he promised-- support a filibuster to stop the enactment of telecom immunity.  His own filibuster, if need be.

    But I'd also like him to consider withdrawing his suppor for the other part of the bill-- the one that gives legal justification to many of the FISA violations committed by the Bush administration.  As a Constitutional law professor and elected Senator, he has a duty to protect the 4th Amendment and preserve of our personal privacy.

    I'll work hard for anyone who's working hard to protect the Constitution.

    Thank you

  •  Isn't Qwest's ex-CEO facing jail... (0+ / 0-)

    ...because Qwest didn't go along? That's one of the conclusions I drew from your diary here

    So isn't the cave-in especially appalling? The Democrats not only want to make the spying Qwest objected to legal, they want to pardon the companies who broke the law while the Qwest CEO faces jail time as a result of his company standing up for the rule of law!

    "Surrendering and fearful: that's the face of the Democratic Party. It's how they show they're not weak." -- Glenn Greenwald

    by expatjourno on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 11:27:11 AM PDT

  •  Whistle blowers (0+ / 0-)

    Any mention of what retro immunity will do to the poor whislte blower? I guess they will have him dissappeared?

    Bush hired phone companies to spy on you before 911.

    by plok on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 11:29:53 AM PDT

  •  So I'm going to be studying abroad in France (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    for 7 months starting next Wednesday....I suppose I can reasonably expect that every single communication: phone calls, emails, instant messages etc to the US from France will be recorded by some Bush Spy?

    I guess I need to watch out what I say when I'm on the phone with my parents on election time, since they both abhor Bush and McCain...

    "People place their hand on the Bible and swear to uphold the Constitution. They don't put their hand on the Constitution and swear to uphold the Bible." --J.R.

    by michael1104 on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 11:30:17 AM PDT

  •  You can accuse people of "pouting," but... (0+ / 0-)

    So long as these guys know that you'll support them even if they sell you out, they will continue to sell you out, and a year from now, you'll be wondering why President Obama has decided that unbridled executive authority is a good idea.

    This isn't like having a different opinion about highway subsidies or education funding. This is the goddamn Constitution and the rule of law.  You either believe in it or you don't.

    So, at a minimum, if these clowns can't get their act together and block immunity and thereby leave the door cracked for prosecuting the thugs in the White House, then that's it for me.  The Democratic Party can go fuck itself, because I promise you they will screw us again and again if we keep giving them money and voting for them.  Sure, McCain will be worse, but just think of it as chemotherapy for a country that isn't ready to get well yet.

    I feel like an idiot for ever thinking Obama was any different from the rest of these twits.  Watch the motion to strip immunity go down in flames, then watch Obama line up with the rest of the corporate whores immediately thereafter.  Mark my words, but I would love to be proven wrong.

    Bill Hicks had a routine about Clinton.  He described how, after he was sworn in, Clinton was taken to a room and shown a clip of the JFK assassination. But it wasn't the Zapruder film; it was from a completely different angle that he hadn't seen before. Afterward, they raised the screen and asked him if he had any questions.

    My guess is Obama has already seen the film.

    Excuse me, I need to run off and pout with my toys now.  I must be a Republican troll or something.

    Americans like to talk about (or be told about) Democracy but, when put to the test, usually find it to be an 'inconvenience.'  We have opted instead for an authoritarian system disguised as a Democracy.  We pay through the nose for an enormous joke-of-a-government, let it push us around, and then wonder how all those assholes got in there.
                                                             - Frank Zappa

    •  yep (0+ / 0-)

      Once again, the Dems have pissed in our faces.

      Once again, they're telling us "it's raining".

      Once again, they're asking us to give them more money so they can buy umbrellas.

      And once again, we'll do it.

      The Dems treat progressives the same way that the Repugs treat fundies -- they take our money, take our votes, then don't do jackshit for us.  And we, having nowhere else to go, shut up and take it.    

      And it repeats itself every election cycle.

      We can't depend on either party.

      It's time to go OUTSIDE the parties to get what we want.

      Our grandparents knew how to organize for social change.  So did your parents.

      Have WE forgotten how?

      Editor, Red and Black Publishers

      by Lenny Flank on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 12:38:28 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks for this mcjoan! (0+ / 0-)

    Yes, wash away all the sugary coating from this bill and the irreducible core is blanket immunity for the GWB and cronies.
    Other aspects of this pig can be fixed with subsequent legislation but those get out of jail free cards are forever.

    And though of course we've called and emailed (yeah, me too) and spiked our BPs since Friday, I listen to the radio and watch the TV and hear only about the "much needed FISA overhaul". GWB's real work is done. I expect no justice at all.

  •  PLEASE call and write BO on this. Make (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Yes WE Can kill this monstrosity
    happen.! (If you already did something, do it again.)

  •  It's my dream to have Bush veto this bill. (0+ / 0-)

    This bill is a violation of our unalienable rights, and can never be truly legal in America - for the gov't to pass it, the courts to approve it and the president to carry it out would simply de-legitimize the government itself.

    We could hold this gov't to many of same charges as the British whom we fought a revolution with to achieve our liberty.

    When a government violates the unalienable rights of the people, it loses its legitimacy.

    by Rayk on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 11:38:51 AM PDT

  •  Sen. Reid and Feingold's voicemails are full, but (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    leisure, DefendOurConstitution

    I managed to get thru to Sen. Dodd's voicemail and I left him a detailed voicemail regarding most of our feelings on this bill.  Also sent one to Bill Burton  Hope some of you got thru.

    "You can observe a lot by watching."  Yogi Berra

    •  Probably Dodd and Feingold are our best chances.. (0+ / 0-)

      They've made a real effort before...and nobody else in the Senate has...

      When a government violates the unalienable rights of the people, it loses its legitimacy.

      by Rayk on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 11:42:32 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  This is why stripping immunity is important (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    my squirts

    Picture a bright blue ball just spinnin' spinnin' free. It's dizzy with possibility.

    by lockewasright on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 11:39:18 AM PDT

  •  The faulty bit of legalese will be struck down by (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    SCOTUS on violation of the 4th Amendment when it gets there. It gives them a structural problem, and they will not lightly deal themselves out of the three branches of government.

    The only provision that may be allowed to stand is amnesty. But amnesty may also be limited to the telco's only, for amnesty absolutely fails the smell test since BushCo requested NSA drifnet approval in February 2001, BEFORE 9/11. This shredded arguments for the driftnet vis a vis "exigent circumstances, invasion, rebellion or the like;" it's all in the suspension clause.  

    I would think that SCOTUS would not permit any part of this bullshit to stand. SCOTUS is the only arbiter between the political branches, and it will hold itself Supreme when it needs to.

    SCOTUS has said no on suspension of habeas THREE DAMN TIMES! It will rise again in spite of Scalia, Thomas, Alito and Roberts.  

    Get Skinny For Barack! Skip Lunch! DONATE NOW!

    by ezdidit on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 11:47:26 AM PDT

  •  Thanks mcjoan (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Just finished reading Greenwald's insightful essay on his blog when I discovered your follow-up with action-info.  Perfect.  Thank you.

  •  Obama and FISA (0+ / 0-)

    hope you all are happy with your candidate; first deciding not to use the public funding system, now this. you pushed and pushed his candidacy and this is what you got.  I can't wait to read the posts on this site explaining to me and others how we misunderstand this latest position by Obama.  I WILL NOT be voting for Obama. really, tell me again the dif between McCain and this politician from the Chicago machine. and let's not forget he is from Illinois, the biofuels state. can't wait for that energy policy to appear. how fast can we burn our food?

  •  We know our DINO's are hypocrites, so why don't (0+ / 0-)

    they just do the right thing, even if Bush did get them to tacitly sign off on his FISA violations.

    What's a little more conventional treachery between the parties anyway? They have nothing to lose, and they even may make more money from Obama's coattails this time around.

    Get Skinny For Barack! Skip Lunch! DONATE NOW!

    by ezdidit on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 12:01:05 PM PDT

  •  Thanks, McJoan, for setting us straight! (0+ / 0-)

    I sent my email to Move-on!

    Finding your own Voice -- The personal is political!

    by In her own Voice on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 12:15:14 PM PDT

  •  The filibuster is not a practical option (0+ / 0-)

    The Senate has cloture rules, which means that a filibuster can be cut off if 60 members of the Senate wish to do so. There was an attempt to filibuster an earlier (and even worse) version of the FISA bill in the Senate in February of this year. That effort failed completely as the proponents of the bill succeeded in invoking 60 plus votes for cloture on every occasion on which it was needed.

    The amendment to strike the retroactive immunity protections for the telcos?? It drew 31 votes in February. . .

    In other words, the Senate contains a sizable number of Democratic members who have aligned themselves with the Bush administration and the telcos on the wiretap issue.

    This is the backdrop against which Obama and all other members of the Senate will be making decisions as to how to handle the FISA bill. Chris Dodd?? He is trying to get his housing bill to the Senate floor to try to help out with the foreclosure crisis. In that context, he may have simply concluded that fighting the House FISA bill is a quixotic venture . .

    Those who want to continue the FISA fight in the Senate can buy some time through dilatory tactics such as not agreeing to time agreements and forcing cloture votes. These tactics can chew up time and forestall a final decision but I don't know that they can take us to the end of this session of Congress.

    IMO, delaying final action for the remainder of this Congress would require intervention in the FISA debate by an outsider such as Bernie Sanders or the willingness of a Russ Feingold to become an outsider. I say that it would require an outsider because it would require a willingness to burn the relationships that are required to get things done in the Senate in other contexts (it's a log-rolling type institution).  Based on the performance of Senate Democratic over the last 20 years or so, I would question whether such a true outsider actually exists in this era.

    The FISA bill is a part of a package involving funding the Iraq War and some domestic priorities (like the new GI bill). The bills are not formally linked but there is an understanding that each will not receive final approval without the other. In other words, a senator who is willing to really upset the applecart and undo this broad understanding would have to step forward and probably would need an ally or two. Given the inability of the Senate to stop action on FISA or to remove retroactive immunity from the bill in February, the odds are the all Democratic senators, including those who oppose the FISA abomination, have made calculations similar to Obama's.

  •  Interesting that since blogger power (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SecondComing, SPD

    congress has taken to even more secretive dealings and tricks to dupe americans. This bill was put on hold. We all knew they were trying to negotiate a compromise despite the fact that the people didn't want it.

    What does that tell you. They put the bill out 24 hours before the vote. At first they tried not to put it out there at all. It was purposely done to prevent an uprising. THEY (pelosi, Obama, Hoyer) KNOW that we oppose it. They know that the majority of Americans if informed would be appalled and they tried to force it through quickly and without discussion. Our democratic senators helped this happen. THey helped this occur either by silence or out and out ignoring the wishes of the public.

    The greatest gift you can contribute to the goal of world peace is to heal.

    by wavpeac on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 12:17:55 PM PDT

  •  Every Person (0+ / 0-)

    who has come to an agreement with Bush, in the last 8 years, has been poisoned by the slippery slope effect.  One would think that intelligent people would finally figure it out and stay away from his inniatives.

  •  Fully agreed except for one thing (0+ / 0-)

    I don't think it makes sense to talk about telecom amnesty itself as "unconstitutional."  I could be wrong; I just don't see it.  I think that Congress has the right to pass telecom amnesty without violating the Constitution, just as it has the right to retroactively validate other behavior that had been made illegal by statute.

    The problem -- aside from its being stupid policy -- is that it enables other unconstitutional behavior.  But I think that there is an important distinction to be made between an act that is itself unconstitutional and an act that makes unconstitutional acts easier to accomplish.  If the latter were unconstitutional, it would be unconstitutional for Congress to reduce the number of people enforcing laws against those who would violate the equal protection and due process clauses.

    I bring this up only because the logicial follow-up from an opponent to the declaration that this grant of amnesty is unconstitutional is to ask "on what grounds?", and "the Fourth Amendment" is not a satisfactory answer.

    John McCain's Court will overturn Roe; don't kid yourself.

    by Seneca Doane on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 12:29:50 PM PDT

  •  I like this activist approach, McJoan, much more (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    than the moaning and the threatening to quit the Obama campaign.

    You inspired me to write this note to the Obama staff through his web site.

    Dear Obama campaign staff,

    I think that Senator Obama is making a big mistake by not working harder to defeat the bill coming to the Senate this week that will grant the executive branch more power than FISA already allows and, as well, offer retroactive immunity for FISA violations by telecomm companies.

    Sure, we want to survey international and other telephone chatter to catch potential terrorist threats. There is no question that this is necessary. But, the existing FISA law is sufficient. It can be used to grant broad eavesdropping power via broad-sweep warrants and, in emergencies, warrant-free monitoring of calls is allowed.

    Then, there is the telecomm immunity provision. It is not so much that the telecomms need to be punished. It that the Bush admin members who broke FISA in giving the telecomms the ok need to be prosecuted.

    Mr. Obama said through his spokesperson Mr. Burton in September that he would filibuster any bill that granted retroactive immunity. Senator Obama's current stance is not as strong as this.

    I urge Senator Obama to show his fighting spirit on this issue by working hard privately to strip the telecomm immunity provision. I urge Senator Obama to make public statements castigating those who want to allow retroactive immunity and that say why he is against it.

    Finally, I think senator Obama should be against this FISA revision bill. Be strong against the terror threat. But, do it through FISA or in a way that does not violate the 4th amendment in the several ways that the current bill does.
    I am an Obama supporter and frequent contributor. But, I contribute when I see the Senator fighting hard and taking good stances - like he did in opposing the gas tax holiday and in opposing off-shore drilling. Here's an issue where the Senator needs to take a stronger stand.

    •  On Immunity (0+ / 0-)

      Then, there is the telecomm immunity provision. It is not so much that the telecomms need to be punished. It that the Bush admin members who broke FISA in giving the telecomms the ok need to be prosecuted.

      Thanks! I would settle for that, for now. The rest can actually be revisited later. Immunity cannot.

  •  Ben Smith has "MoveOn demands filibuster from (0+ / 0-)

    Obama" on the politics front page, at Politico....and he then links to this blog.

    I'm not sure that's a good thing.

    •  Ben Smith report appears to be untrue - no MoveOn (0+ / 0-)

      MoveOn has sent no FISA-related email since the House vote and Obama's statement Friday.

      For all I know, the article was designed to get the Obama campaign to bigfoot MoveOn before any such effort got underway.

      The ACLU site says a Senate vote is expected as early as Tuesday (tomorrow).  So call your Senators, on the chance that an immunity-stripping amendment is offered.  There's no guarantee that one will be, except for the need for Obama to go on record as opposing immunity while it goes into irreversible effect.

      There is no sign of any filibuster.

  •  Letter written and sent (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Not one thin dime

    Mr Burton,
    I'll vote for Senator Obama for the presidency, and am proud to let you know that through informing and cajoling my friends - I garnered him four additional votes and perhaps as many as seven in the primary.

    Although I have a working grasp on realpolitik and can understand that this miserable FISA bill leaves the Senator in an unfortunate position and subject to attack from the fear and smear merchants if he takes the high-road and stands up for the Constitution.

    He must stand up and oppose at least the most egregious portions of this miserable and illegal piece of "legislation" if he wants any financial contributions from this citizen.

    The Senator might be rightfully concerned that the right will twist such a stand as being "soft on terror" or some other inane nonsense - But by the same token - "Soft on the Bill of Rights" is much, much worse.

    Not long ago, you made a statement that Senator Obama would oppose any bill giving the telecoms retroactive immunity for spying upon innocent American citizens.

    I expect him to keep his word, and fight for the 4th Amendment.

    Respectfully yours...

    Perhaps someday, we can get humanity right

    by SecondComing on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 12:53:17 PM PDT

  •  Obama needs the left to be outraged (0+ / 0-)

    so he can say, "Most liberal Senator?  Look how the left attacked me over FISA.  Clearly the left has no control n my acrtions.  I will be a President for all Americans".

    Obama is the consumate politician.

  •  I hope Mr. Burton responds to my email! n/t (0+ / 0-)

    Never confuse kindness and patience with stupidity and weakness!!

    by Joes Steven on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 01:36:26 PM PDT

  •  Who are you really angry at? (0+ / 0-)

    Obama has said he does not support amnesty, both now and previously. He and Reid have stated they will try to get it stripped out but are not hopeful.

    An earlier, even worse, version of this bill already passed once with enough support to defeat a filibuster. So what, precisely, is it that you want Obama to do? Wave a magic wand and cause all the Senate Dems to fall in line?

    This is not going to happen. Not now, not when he is President. He has more clout than he did before but that does not mean the Congress will follow him like sheep. If he was president and vetoed the damn thing it still would probably pass.

    If you feel you have to take out your wrath on someone, aim it at Rockefeller and the Blue Dogs in the House. Take it out on Pelosi, who by taking impeachment off the table effectively removed any chance of holding the Executive accountable. By all means, hold Obama's feet to the fire and make sure he does indeed support a filibuster, doomed though it might be. But don't focus your anger on him just because he didn't put as much red meat in his statement against immunity as you wanted.

    "Mom, baseball, apple pie, and a unified Democratic juggernaut.

    by Purplepeople on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 01:37:36 PM PDT

    •  I think a respectful appeal to Obama is fine (0+ / 0-)

      without threatening to not vote for him or voting for McCain, we can still let Obama know that his base wants him to stop this Bill.

      Frankly, I think Obama is unlikely to do what we want him to don this one. He too is a political animal and he will get to wield this power if he becomes President.

    •  He's the goddamn Party leader, for Chrissakes (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      His entire spiel has been "change, change, change, change, change".

      If he can't change things in his OWN GODDAMN PARTY, then what's the point in electing him?  How the hell is he going to "change the direction the nation has taken" if his OWN GODDAMN PARTY will be opposing him in Congress right alongside the Repugs?

      Editor, Red and Black Publishers

      by Lenny Flank on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 01:52:09 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Has he ever promised it would be easy? (0+ / 0-)

        "Mom, baseball, apple pie, and a unified Democratic juggernaut.

        by Purplepeople on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 03:29:28 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  it's "not easy" for him to (0+ / 0-)

          set the agenda for HIS OWN GODDAMN PARTY ???????????????????????

          And we're supposed to believe he's gonna bring change to the WHOLE COUNTRY ?????????????????

          What the hell kind of "leader" are we supposed to be putting our faith in?

          This is getting surreal.

          Editor, Red and Black Publishers

          by Lenny Flank on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 04:07:54 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  What you are asking... (0+ / 0-)

            ... is that, within weeks after he is nominated, not even elected, he assert absolute control over the rank and file of the party, including powerful members like Rockefeller and Pelosi and the fairly conservative Blue Dogs.

            That is Not. Going. To. Happen.

            After he is elected, after we elect more people like Donna Edwards, after the strength of grassroots politics shows itself more clearly, then we will start to see change in Washington and the country.

            Or to put it another way: getting Obama nominated was only the first step on a very long road.

            "Mom, baseball, apple pie, and a unified Democratic juggernaut.

            by Purplepeople on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 07:26:01 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  Gore & Kerry (0+ / 0-)

        didn't gain absolute control over every member of the part by becoming the nominee.  

        Barak has to clean up four or more decades of DC corruption.  It is going to take years.  And he isn't going to win every fight.  

    •  I'm angry at all of them (0+ / 0-)

      Obama is the only one who is at all receptive to my ire. He is the leader of the Dem party at this point, and so he gets to take the heat. He actually does need our support, and I am willing and able to give it. But he has to show his true colors first.

      If I thought I had any recourse to the betrayal of Pelosi, Reid, Hoyer, et al, I would jump at the chance. They are, unfortunately, beyond any of our reach. They don't give a flying f*ck what you or I think. Obama still has to care, a little, what we think. So I apply pressure where it does the most good.

      He didn't orchestrate this showdown, but he must have known it was going to happen. His slowness in responding, his lack of enthusiasm in the defense of my basic constitutional rights, and his actions this next week will determine the level of support I will give him. Frankly, he will have to work pretty hard for my vote at this point.

      Anyone want a used bumper sticker?

  •  At the Grassroots, many on the Right agree (0+ / 0-)

    and you could change the whole dynamics of this debate, by dropping the 'evil greedy telcos' rhetoric and focusing on how FISA proponents in Congress are helping the terrorists to "Car-Bomb the Constitution" in ways they never could otherwise.

    Lets face it, AT&T, Verizon, etc., got bullied into going along with this by the NSA, CIA, FBI, DHS, etc. with documents from the Bush Administration's Justice Department - there was no profit in it for them, only fear of [what was presented to be] legitimately urgent requests from "law enforcement", critically affecting the "national security". Yes, they should have refused, and, Yes, they should be liable in Court for Damages as a consequence.  Yes, Telco Immunity is the stand that should be made, BUT...

    A lot of conservatives at the grassroots, who are leery of the government intelligence bureaucracy, fear these alphabet soup agencies running amok more than they do the phone company, as well they should. This fight is over protecting our Constitution, not cheap opportunity to flog Corporate America just because your last cellphone bill was too high.

    At the end of the day, its not about President Bush or his Administration or the giant telecom companies, its about The Bureaucracy vs. The People, and whether or not the U.S. Constitution stands between them, as it was intended to do. Administrations change, companies get bought, merged or dismemberd, but the intelligence bureaucracy of the national security state goes on forever.  Its bipartisan, its immutable, its answerable to no one. IT is 'the Dark Side of the Force' that we are really fighting in this FISA debate; never forget that.

    Frame this debate properly - over whether the Fourth Amendment properly protects us from the Spooks, or, instead, we surrender that part of our Constitutional way-of-life to the terrorists, and you can drastically alter those numbers in the House and Senate in this FISA debate.

    "Extremism in the Defense of Liberty is No Vice; Moderation, in the Pursuit of Justice is No Virtue." - AuH2O

    by Press to Digitate on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 01:48:10 PM PDT

  •  feet of clay (0+ / 0-)

    I am willing to wait to see how obama plays this out.  

    Where is Hillary on this?

  •  When they know we will still vote for them anyway (0+ / 0-)

    and give them money anyway, what's the motivation of any MOC or Dem pres. candidate to change?

    I will fax Byrd's office. I think it's beyond useless to fax Rockefeller's...I'll fax Obama's. I'll even fax Feingold and Dodd to and ask them find old Senate rules and use them to monkeywrench the process or anything else they could possibly do to try to delay this thing.

    But other than Feingold and Dodd, I have no illusions that I'll even be heard.  And even with Feingold and Dodd trying, this thing is going to pass.

    I keep reading that immunity, once it's in, cannot be reversed - and I am not a lawyer - but once upon a time, we (humanity)didn't have habeas corpus, then along came the Magna Carta.  Once upon a time, African slaves had no human rights at all, then they had some.  Once upon a time England could quarter her soldiers in colonists' home and commit other abuses, then there was a Revolution.

    As despondent as I am now, and as broken as I think the US political system is now, I don't believe in anything that can't be changed.  However, things are never changed easily, or without price in blood in many cases.

    Kucinich did NOT bankrupt Cleveland.

    by zett on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 03:50:46 PM PDT

    •  they already lost my vote (0+ / 0-)

      If they lose, they can go ahead and blame me if it makes them feel better.  (shrug)

      And next time, they can offer me a candidate and a platform that I can vote for.  Or they won't get my vote, again.

      Sooner or later, they'll get tired of losing elections, again.  And they'll start acting like an OPPOSITION party.

      Editor, Red and Black Publishers

      by Lenny Flank on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 04:11:32 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  No more Repubs will win and things will get (0+ / 0-)

        only worse.  Do you believe if Al Gore had won, he would have made the moves Bush did?

        •  good (0+ / 0-)

          If things continue to get worse, maybe THEN the Dems will FINALLY grow themselves a pair of ping-pongs and start acting like an opposition party, instead of acting like Republicans-Lite.

          When they're ready to start fighting Republicans, I'm ready to start helping.

          Editor, Red and Black Publishers

          by Lenny Flank on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 05:04:34 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  BTW (0+ / 0-)

          Al Gore did win.

          Editor, Red and Black Publishers

          by Lenny Flank on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 05:05:57 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yeah but he needed one more vote on the Supremes (0+ / 0-)

            and he didn't get it so now women are closer to losing the right to choose, hundreds of thousands are dead in Iraq and the planet is closer to being devastated by global warming.   Everything that Ralph Nader campaigned on has gone 180 degrees in the other direction.  Corporations have more power than any time since 1932, the environment is worse and regulation necessary for safety has been reduced.  

  •  Democratic Institutional failure (0+ / 0-)

    My message is simple. If this bill passes, every penny I donate in this election cycle is to someone challenging an incumbent. (Well, I will make a few honorable exceptions such as Russ Feingold and Donna Edwards), but that's my message on the phone. It's not entirely true that I don't have anywhere else to go. Maybe my vote doesn't, but my dollars do.

  •  need help here (0+ / 0-)

    I'm very poor, have no long distance to call anyone, and the doesn't work for me. It just takes me to and I can't find a link on the site to write to him. Really wanna do this, help me out here?  thanks

    •  url or e-mail (0+ / 0-)

      Are you trying to use this as a Web-site address rather than an e-mail address? That's the only reason I can think of that you're having these results. I just sent an e-mail to Mr. Burton at that address, and I haven't gotten any error message. E-mail addresses, even if incorrect, should not redirect you to a Web site.

      Good luck, cgirard!

      Sorry, can't think of anything clever to say today. G'Obama!

      by Jools on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 05:50:05 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  It's also possible that without the immunity (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SS Eye

    Bush will veto the damn thing anyway -- and then the Democrats can point to that and say, "Well, we were willing to compromise in order to protect the American people, but Bush has shown the only people the Republicans are interested in protecting are his friends in the telecom industry."

    And as you said, if we can ditch the immunity, Congress can revisit this issue early next year and come up with an even better FISA bill. Nothing other than the immunity would be set in stone.

    "Old soldiers never die -- they get young soldiers killed." -- Bill Maher

    by Cali Scribe on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 05:41:17 PM PDT

    •  "if we can ditch the immunity" (0+ / 0-)

      How do we do that? These semi-dems will make a minor show of stripping that from the main bill, get voted down, and then go along like good little sheep.

      And at that very second, I will go back to throwing away my vote. Greens or Nader, whichever.

      It was fun believing there was an alternative to normal politics, for these last few weeks. I actually thought Obama would live up to my expectations. Reality comes crashing in..

      If their operatives are watching any of these discussions:

      Bottom line. FISA goes through this way with retro immunity, my support for Obama suddenly stops in its tracks, and I go back to the Greens. I'd rather throw away my vote on a party I can believe in, than another bs, Clinton-esque fantasy.

  •  Rope-a-dope? (0+ / 0-)

    I'm hoping that this is just a piece of rope-a-dope strategy by the Dems. Let the opponent waste his energy by agreeing to stuff, then slow-walking it, let it die, etc.

    Time will tell. I'm hoping - I'm not "optimistic".

    The FISA stuff is incredibly weird, however. There's some calculus afoot that no major media outlet has explained to my satisfaction. Frankly, only definite spying on Democrats explains the weird behavior I'm seeing. Well, so does kissing the asses of telcom lobbies while refusing to commit to a politically unpopular poliicy. It's so hard to tell what the fuck they are doing, and that's frustrating.

  •  For what its worth (0+ / 0-)

    I emailed Bill Burton re Obama, I called Harry Reid, Russ Feingold, and Chris Dodd.  To beseech Harry and to thank Russ and Chris for what they have done in the past and hopefully could just do now.  We need a REAL filibuster.

    No need for me to call my two Republican senators, Saxby and Johnny.  Johnny votes in lockstep with Saxby and Saxy has never met a Bush proposal that he didn't bow and scrape to.  Waste of time, as I have contacted them many times along these lines beginning with the MCA in 2006.

    Thanks, Joan, for setting a positive example for all of us.  But, wouldn't it be nice to know, after all is said and done, exactly WHY the Democrats have done this.  

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