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The Democratic establishment is out in full force now, providing justification for the crappy FISA Amendments Act that's about to become law. While they haven't learned how to fight like Republicans (who have redefined "compromise" to mean "capitulation") they've learned how to lie like them.

Case in point, Nancy Soderburg, who was Clinton's deputy national security advisor and an ambassador to the UN. She pens a truly deplorable op-ed in today's LA Times, in which she tries to rewrite not only the history of the Bush administration's lawlessness, but also this law.

I can't write a better take down of this nonsense than Glenn, so be sure to read his whole piece. But here's this part that's particularly salient:

It's notable because the political establishment is not only about to pass a patently corrupt bill, but worse, are spouting -- on a very bipartisan basis -- completely deceitful claims to obscure what they're really doing. This is what Soderberg says is what happened:

The Senate is dragging its feet because the compromise bill's opponents -- mostly Democrats -- want also to punish the telecommunications companies that answered President Bush's order for help with his illegal, warrantless wiretapping program. That is the wrong target.

In the aftermath of Sept. 11, the White House directed telecommunications carriers to cooperate with its efforts to bolster intelligence gathering and surveillance -- the administration's effort to do a better job of "connecting the dots" to prevent terrorist attacks. In its review of the effort, the Senate Intelligence Committee concluded that the administration's written requests and directives indicated that such assistance "had been authorized by the president" and that the "activities had been determined to be lawful."

We now know that they were not lawful. But the companies that followed those directives are not the ones to blame for that abuse of presidential power.

I would really like to know where people like Soderberg get the idea that the U.S. President has the power to "order" private citizens to do anything, let alone to break the law, as even she admits happened here. I'm asking this literally: how did this warped and distinctly un-American mentality get implanted into our public discourse -- that the President can give "orders" to private citizens that must be complied with? Soderberg views the President as a monarch -- someone who can issue "orders" that must be obeyed, even when, as she acknowledges, the "orders" are illegal.

That just isn't how our country works and it never was. We don't have a King who can order people to break the law. I have no doubt that people like Nancy Soderberg are spending the July 4 weekend paying shallow homage to the Founding, all the while being completely ignorant of or indifferent to the principles they pretend to celebrate.

This line of thinking is not only patently false, it's absolutely dangerous. Political expediency has been put ahead of principle, which happens all the time in politics. Politicians are always going to be politicians and they are always going to be basing their actions on the next election.

In this case, it wasn't even smart strategy. There are basically three groups who care about this legislation--us, The Villagers, and the Bush/Cheney cabal. Voters aren't clamoring for the Democrats to cave--Bill Foster's win proves that. So in a valiant effort to appease The Villagers, they piss off the activist base. As usual.

But this time is different. This time it's the Constitution we're talking about, the core principles of our founding--separation of powers, rule of law, all those "quaint" phrases that have kept this country going for 218 years.

Now the phrase we get is "it's good enough." Literally, Nancy Soderburg says this bill is "good enough." Sorry, but some of us have slightly higher standards. One of the reasons the Republican establishment is about to be thrown out by the American people is because we're sick of being lied to. Dems should take that as a cautionary tale, and realize that we're just not that stupid.

That goes for our soon to be President, as well. We have a much better chance of continuing this battle, repealing this legislation, and having the information related to this program declassified with a President Obama than we do a President McCain, and I relish the opportunity to do just that.

That's why I'm supporting Obama fully in this election. He's got my vote. But truthy talking points are not going to fool us--we will not sit by while Dem leaders lie to us about what this bill does and and watch them confer the king-like powers on the office we hope he takes.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 04:15 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

    •  Remember Nuremberg. This is beyond sad. (39+ / 0-)

      This is beyond lacking courage.

      Democrats are capitulating to authoritarians while forgetting history. Just following orders is no excuse. When Democrats to spout "just following orders" as an excuse for lawlessness it's beyond sad.

      It's capitulation to traitors.

      "It's the planet, stupid."

      by FishOutofWater on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 04:30:19 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Obama Has My Vote (19+ / 0-)

      But my wallet is closed to him and all other Dems seeking re-election until FISA is blocked.

      My money will go to "BETTER Democrats" running for open seats, or against Republican incumbents.

      Yes, there are more than a few 'good' Dems in the House and Senate, but they have been chumps to the DLC Dems for too long any way.

      RMD
       

      The Bushiter's Iraq 2004 - 1268 Dead, about 25K Medivacs and 9000 Maimed... It's the Bushiter Way, wasting other people's money and lives. And it's worse now.

      by RedMeatDem on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 04:42:12 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  You know, in the Nancy Soderburg piece, if (7+ / 0-)

      you change that one word "order" to "request" or "appeal" then I think that Glenn's argument deflates.  (The President can issue "directives" to the telecoms -- who can then tell him to get stuffed.  Of course, then they might turn out like the guy from Qwest did, but in any event it's different from an "order.")

      This is exactly why we're losing this, and Soderberg's indefensible choice of the word "order" shouldn't prevent us from understanding it.  People -- not just elites, but average people, to the extent they think about it at all -- no doubt believe that a request from the President that involves national security affects people (and corporations) pretty much like an "order," and that relying on a legal opinion from the President's lawyers that an act is lawful ought to be a reasonable approach.

      Those understandable instincts have the effect of weakening deterrence under FISA, which is why I oppose retroactive telecom immunity.  (I would not have opposed substantial capping of the damages below statutory levels, or else indemnification of carriers who went along with the government in good faith, because there is something to the argument that relying on the President's word should not leave one this badly exposed, and what I most want is for the historical record to be clear on what happened, which might be more likely with lesser penalties that the telecoms have less reason to oppose.)  But I expect that Soderburg can imagine herself as a corporate counsel being told by the government that what the company was asked to do was legal and giving in.  A crime, yes, but one committed under substantial duress.

      If this really is all about retrospective immunity, then it doesn't end up mattering as much as people say.  It's BAD, but it doesn't dissolve the Fourth Amendment.  Only the prospective effects of this law -- both the loss of deterrence (which is partly offset by the "don't let this happen again" reiteration of the rules) and the prospect, about which I may be wrong, that this does offer prospective immunity for future lawbreakers, would made this as tragic as we portray it.

      As for why the party Democrats are playing it down: look, if someone in your family had to do something really unsavory to keep a job or something, your family would probably be inclined to downplay how unsavory it is as well.  That's no surprise.

      John McCain's Court will overturn Roe; don't kid yourself.

      by Seneca Doane on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 04:47:50 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  No Mr. President i won't suck your dick. (7+ / 0-)

        I don't care if you say it's a matter of National Security.



        The 4th Amendment: It's not just for dope dealers anymore.

        by ben masel on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 04:54:52 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  but would a member of your family who is (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ben masel, 3goldens, willibro, Skid

        compromising him or herself be willing to take it a step further than just "downplaying it", by making their boss' demands that s/he lick his shit-kickers every day in order to keep that job, seem like a fucking blessing?

        How is this

        "Mr Bush says I can keep working at the sewage treatment plant if I just make sure and lick his overshoes clean every night before I come home, honey! Now that's a great outfit I work for!"

        different from Soderburg's (and numerous other Dem capitulators) regurgitating this talking point from their GOP "bosses?"

        "I'm not here to say that the government is always right, but when the government tells you to do something, I'm sure you would all agree that I think you all recognize that is something you need to do," Bond said.

        because the Sorderburg quote above is nothing more than that Kit Bond quote, regurgitated.  And all the other capitulators are either explicity or implicitly agreeing with her.

        No wonder we're all vomiting.

        "Well, yeah, the Constitution is worth it if you can succeed." -Nancy Pelosi, 6/29/07.

        by nailbender on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 05:36:14 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I don't defend her use of the word "order" (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          nailbender

          which is, I think, as close as her statement gets to the execrable Bond quote.  Glenn and mcjoan are right to call her on that.  I'd like to think that she would recognize that they were right and back away from that implication, at that point.  Maybe, maybe not.  At any rate, her argument does not depend on it being an order.

          As for Bond, I'd go along with him this far:

          "I'm not here to say that the government is always right, but when the government tells you to do something related to national security, I'm sure you would all agree that I think you all recognize that is something you need ought to do consider."

          Maybe I'm getting soft in my old age, but I don't have a problem with the notion that if the government asks you to do something related to national security, you ought to consider it seriously.  (Indeed, this is why I think that people should take seriously government efforts to get us to conserve energy, for the sake of our collective security.)  I also think that, except when the law compels you to comply, you can refuse -- and when they're asking you to do something illegal, you should.  But the problem here is more with the government asking something illegal than with people being cowed into complying.

          I think that, once you take away the word "order," Soderburg's position is pretty close to that.  So, by all means, beat her up for using the wrong word, but don't equate her whole statement with that of Kit Bond.

          As for the shit-licking point, I think there's a difference between being asked to lick boot shit daily and deciding that the wrongful actions of corporations taken under duress can be forgiven.  But I've never done either, so I don't know.

          John McCain's Court will overturn Roe; don't kid yourself.

          by Seneca Doane on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 05:55:42 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I guess I'm not so sanguine about it. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            kayak3k

            This is all so far beyond the pale that I can't get my head around the difference between happily licking shit off someone's boots to save your lousy job and blithely declaring the 4th amendment irrelevant in order to preserve your electoral advantage.

            Frank Church is spinning in his hallowed grave.

            "Well, yeah, the Constitution is worth it if you can succeed." -Nancy Pelosi, 6/29/07.

            by nailbender on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 06:04:56 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Far beyond the pale (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              nedog, Simplify, Badmoon, kayak3k

              We progressives still haven't quite viscerally accepted the notion that the right wing in the country has, in effect, attempted a coup against the constitutional order and that a great number of Americans either supported it or were OK with it.  If Iraq had gone as planned, our system may have been destroyed for good.

              Obama talks about getting out of Iraq as carefully as we went in carelessly.  I think that much the same could be said about our extricating ourselves from this continuing Constitutional crisis.  Do any of us imagine that it will be easy to go back to the days when one didn't have to worry that the President was unconstrained by law?  It will be hell.  But it has to be done.  Frank Church would understand.

              John McCain's Court will overturn Roe; don't kid yourself.

              by Seneca Doane on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 06:10:27 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  don't know if I'd agree with that last statement (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Badmoon

                Frank was willing to convict an Impeached Nixon.

                Willing and ready and anxious, even.  That he and his cohorts weren't allowed that opportunity by Nixon's resignation is in large part why we are where we are today.

                I disagree that it would take us as much time to extricate ourselves from our Constitutional crisis as it will from our FP crisis.  To wit: the rules are clear, there are no armed camps ready to sabotage the process and this isn't a foreign country with customs we can't or don't want to fathom.  This is America, not Iraq, and we have a 230 year old constitution that has stood us in good stead, not a cobbled together system set up under foreign occupiers' guidelines.

                It just isn't that complicated: they've violated their oaths of office egregiously and the failure to Impeach is the blueprint for the next despot to use.  

                And now that Obama is acquiescing to the constitutional status quo (his vague "promises" to fix things notwithstanding), you have to wonder whether he's looking forward to the limitless latitude that Bush and Cheney have accumulated unto themselves.  That would square with the theory that the Dem leadership is anxious to pass FISA in order to hide their complicity with Bush on warrantless searches.  That was Jonathan Turley's contention, which scared the shit out of KO, just before Nixon's Dean came to his rescue and convinced him that it will all be fine because the bill doesn't limit criminal prosecutions.  

                As it turns out, Dean was wrong.  We need to revisit Turley's warning.

                "Well, yeah, the Constitution is worth it if you can succeed." -Nancy Pelosi, 6/29/07.

                by nailbender on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 08:40:05 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  I think that you're overly optimistic (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Badmoon

                  We just came within one Supreme Court vote of allowing suspension of habeas corpus in violation of the Suspension Clause -- while torturing the captives, no less!  We are in deep danger in losing our system of government -- the population at large barely knows or cares and the media is if anything complicit -- and figuring out how to work our way out of this mess, ideally so it can't be repeated, is going to take the nerves and skill of a top surgeon.  It may not be a complicated problem, but it sure as hell requires a complicated solution.

                  John McCain's Court will overturn Roe; don't kid yourself.

                  by Seneca Doane on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 10:53:24 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

          •  When the Stasi asks you to spy on your neighbors? (0+ / 0-)



            The 4th Amendment: It's not just for dope dealers anymore.

            by ben masel on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 06:38:54 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  It depends on which administration asks (0+ / 0-)

            If it is the Third Reich, very likely it is not something you "ought" to do. If President Carter asked me nicely, I would definitely consider it.

            If it were against my morals, I would still refuse.

            •  I didn't say "ought to do" (0+ / 0-)

              I said "ought to consider seriously."  I stand by that.  The notion that your Administration happens to the the Third Reich or the agency acting happens to the the Stasi justifies rejecting the demand; you engaged in "serious consideration" that they could not be trusted an acted accordingly -- even if it took you a half-second to come to the conclusion.  Beyond that, I have no problem with your reply.

              John McCain's Court will overturn Roe; don't kid yourself.

              by Seneca Doane on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 10:56:04 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  This is what makes me so irritated (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Black Leather Rain

        People -- not just elites, but average people, to the extent they think about it at all -- no doubt believe that a request from the President that involves national security affects people (and corporations) pretty much like an "order," and that relying on a legal opinion from the President's lawyers that an act is lawful ought to be a reasonable approach.

        This is the point where a capable, intelligent and communicative opposition party, like the "democrats", might make an effort to educate the 'people'.

        And maybe if we had a Constitutional scholar for a presidential candidate, with a knack for giving great speeches, we might be able to reframe this issue.

        But no. They have no interest whatsoever in doing this. It's just not an important issue.

        •  Yeah, this is a "teachable moment" (0+ / 0-)

          and I expect that Obama will do his share of that teaching during the debate.  I hope that they do -- for multiple reasons.

          That this is so, however, is analytically separate from the question of whether making that point by bankrupting the telecoms (or imposing however large a dent that the statutory damages would impose) is so necessary that it overrides all other considerations.  Obama's position is that this is wrong, but that it is not so wrong as to lead him to vote against the overall bill.  Senators make such calculations all the time.

          John McCain's Court will overturn Roe; don't kid yourself.

          by Seneca Doane on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 10:47:21 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  It's The Most Disheartening Part Of Our Fight - (24+ / 0-)

    Democrats who either aren't real Democrat (and have no regard for our Constitution or the rule of law) or who refuse to recall the lessons of our history out of fear for their insignificant political hides.

    "You can tell the truth but you better have a fast horse." - Rita Mae Brown -8.38, -5.54

    by majcmb1 on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 04:21:19 PM PDT

  •  Congress can't destroy the Constitution (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    nedog, duha

    But the Patriot Act comes closer than FISA.

    If all this energy were expended toward having the Supreme Court overturn The Patriot Act, that would be a hundred times better than using FISA to stymie the Obama campaign.

    Oh, and we're murdering Iraqis, still, as we speak.

    The majority has spoken on FISA, BTW.

    The House of Representatives passed it.

    It will be what it will be.

    Thanks for voting for Obama anyway though.

  •  Is There ANY Chance in Hades (12+ / 0-)

    that voting for FISA in the Senate could be delayed again?

    "I'm a rude dude, but I'm the real deal. Lean and mean. Cocked, locked and ready to rock; rough, tough and hard to bluff." George Carlin

    by CityLightsLover on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 04:24:07 PM PDT

  •  Miserable weak-sucks (14+ / 0-)

    I'd be ashamed to be a Democrat if there was a viable alternative.

    Instead I'll just work toward fixing the Party.

    There are no stupid questions, but stupid people are everywhere

    by SecondComing on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 04:25:02 PM PDT

    •  Maybe We Should Institute Statutorily Required (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Roxy Hope

      "after-action" reports on every elected official.

      It'd be a report card of sorts that focused on their oath to uphold the Constitution and the votes they cast during their most recent term.  They'd have to publicize relevant votes on any of their campaign literature, not be allowed to claim that they upheld the public interest if their score was less than 80%(?), etc.

      I never thought terms limits more than insure the citizens' interests would always be entrusted to rookies.  We're all trying to find a way to hold the individuals we elect accountable to a well-known (and well-loved) set of general principles.

      Maybe legally requiring candidates like Lieberman to refrain from making false claims about their record or at least requiring that their election literature regarding any particular issue also include their previous voting record would help.  

      "You can tell the truth but you better have a fast horse." - Rita Mae Brown -8.38, -5.54

      by majcmb1 on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 04:50:29 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I vote Democratic (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      vacantlook, Badmoon

      but I won't register as one and this wuss nonsense is why.  
      They are all primarily POLITICIANS,  more concerned with holding power (or throwing it away, more correctly)and showing off their new school clothes on the opening day of the session.
      Now after Obama news becoming more disconcerting by the day (join up, abortion rights should be revisited, government bucks to the local church); I find it difficult to believe he'll use the FISA amendment acts as a fulcrum to bring criminal charges against these mobsters that currently hold the reigns.
      And still I have to vote for him.
      I'm getting a bit insecure even about who he might appoint to SCOTUS...
      McCain would sink us for sure, though.  That's nearly the only reason why my choice remains clear.

      •  I'm there too. (0+ / 0-)

        I will vote for Obama for no other reason than he's not McCain.  I hate it though, but that's where I'm at.  But just because I'll vote for him doesn't mean I'm going to shut up over things that I dislike about him.

    •  Pick a card, any card (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Black Leather Rain

      Oh, you lose again. But pretty close that time! Go again? Double or nothing?

  •  Here's a few lesser known FISa facts. (13+ / 0-)

    5 out of 22,990

    From WIkipedia:

    The act created a court which meets in secret, and approves or denies requests for search warrants. Only the number of warrants applied for, issued and denied, is reported. In 1980 (the first full year after its inception), it approved 322 warrants. This number has steadily grown to 2224 warrants in 2006. In the period 1979-2006 a total of 22,990 applications for warrants were made to the Court of which 22,985 were approved (sometimes with modifications; or with the splitting up, or combining together, of warrants for legal purposes), and only 5 were definitively rejected.

    In 28 years the FISA courts said "no" 5 out of almost 23,000 times.

    And we're acting like this court is actually meaningful oversight?

    One more factoid:  The Cheif Justice of the Supreme Court appoints the FISA Court judges.  That's right folks...John Roberts is appointing the watchdogs.

    Okay...now you can go back to telling me how FISA is the only thing keeping our Constitution safe.

    Fuck your purity.

    by snout on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 04:25:09 PM PDT

    •  I'm also curious (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      snout, greenearth, geejay

      about these "king-like powers" being established by the act. Truthiness, indeed...

      Have you ever voted for a Democratic nominee? Yes? Then you've voted for one more conservative than Obama.

      by Stroszek on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 04:30:56 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The thing is... (8+ / 0-)

        I think Obama voted wrong too.  I honestly think that FISA has always been toothless, but there is something to be said for standing for abstract principle.  But all of this outrage suggests that people really think FISA's been a great champion of their 4th amendment rights all these years.  Perhaps it's stopped some really egregious acts from being attempted, but looking at the numbers does not paint a picture of a whole lot of inhibition going on.

        Ultimately all this sturm and drang is about theoretical safeguards. I think theoretical justice is important - often it leads to real justice.  But let's at least acknowledge the lay of the land.

        Fuck your purity.

        by snout on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 04:41:16 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  totally agree (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          snout, greenearth, geejay, ETF

          the bill is shit and the concession irritates me, but FISA was always just a thin veneer for abusing our privacy rights.

          Yet, somehow, FISA has been elevated to the level of the fourth amendment itself. Astounding! And you would think this bill actually did something more than... grand civil immunity to telecoms.

          I've asked before, and I'll ask again:

          Who dies because they can't sue the telcoms?
          Who falls into poverty because they can't sue the telecoms?

          I want to know, because unless someone points out who, anyone throwing their vote away over this esoteric issue strikes me as someone who doesn't personally have anything at stake in this election...

          Have you ever voted for a Democratic nominee? Yes? Then you've voted for one more conservative than Obama.

          by Stroszek on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 04:46:36 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  This is an outgrowth of the impeachment wars (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            geejay, Stroszek, Roxy Hope, ETF

            Folks here want blood. I'm all for accountability too, but my lust for it is less pronounced than my lust for a better government going forward.

            I want a Dem in the White House with a Dem congress.  If the cost of getting that is a few less Bush cronies in jail, I can live with that.

            Fuck your purity.

            by snout on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 04:49:50 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Despite the fact that impeachment is deserved (0+ / 0-)

              what will it accomplish except more bitterness?  Congress does very little now for the welfare of the people; why tie it up for months and give it an excuse to do no work except that of punishment?  Why push partisanship to become even more extreme?  It is time to move forward and actually accomplish something positive.

          •  P.S. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            geejay

            Yet, somehow, FISA has been elevated to the level of the fourth amendment itself. Astounding!

            This is it in a nutshell, isn't it.

            Well said.

            Fuck your purity.

            by snout on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 04:52:56 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  $10,000 in Statutory Damages (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            KLM, TracieLynn, Skid

            under the Wiretap Act would lift some people out of poverty.



            The 4th Amendment: It's not just for dope dealers anymore.

            by ben masel on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 05:04:21 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  People are just realizing (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            mdgarcia

            that their 4th Amendment rights have been trashed. How many of us even knew about FISA 8 years ago?

            So, yes, there is outrage over the theoretical loss that the current bill creates by expanding the warrant-less surveillance possibilities. Still, I'm outraged about the original FISA bill and the history of the FISA court. I'm hoping that it gets enough attention that we look at the whole thing and start over.

          •  Who dies? (9+ / 0-)

            The soldiers and innocent civilians in a war that might not have been authorized in a political climate in which Dems didn't repeatedly cave in to demands by the GOP to authorize horrible and illegal policies. That's who. It's the overall culture of capitulation to lawbreaking that's the issue here, not this or that bill.

            Sic transit gloria mundi - ancient Roman proverb

            by kovie on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 05:29:20 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  BTW (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            vacantlook, 3goldens, Simplify

            The court cases against the telecoms are just a step in putting the evidence against George Bush on the record. If you think it's important to hold him accountable for the hundreds of thousands of deaths he's responsible for, then I don't think you would want to stand in the way of having these cases go forward.

          •  The FISA Veneer (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            3goldens, Badmoon

            I'm not expecting them to find much. Frankly, I don't think the intelligence agencies are out there trying to break the law or find a bunch of Americans to wiretap willy-nilly. So, I wouldn't expect there to be many rejected, and those that were are more likely simply bad data than intent.

            That isn't the point.

            The point is that someone from the courts are reviewing them. It's part of the safeguards not just for our rights but for the process. It represents independent review.

            If you don't have court and congressional review of the process, then you only have the internal operations of the executive to prevent someone from infiltrating that service and turning it for the use of private or foreign interests.

            So, defeating this isn't just about protecting our rights, though that's sufficient in and of itself. It's about protecting our country.

            FISA may be a veneer, and not a very good one with secret courts appointed by Roberts, but where there are independent interests reviewing its operation that's far better than one in which those reviews go away.

            Remember that the people who want this are the people who were wiretapping the Democratic campaign during Watergate. They've been working on this for decades and they will take any victory they can get. We, on the other hand, need to stop them. This is as good a time as any.

          •  The point of the "compromise" isn't the Telecoms (0+ / 0-)

            They are the "poster child" but the insidious part of the bill is that is endorses the President's claim that he can make up his own laws when he doesn't like the ones that Congress passes.

            FISA may or may not be a good law. It certainly isn't the picture of openness in government. But what FISA is, and now 3 judges have rule to be true, is the "exclusive means" under which the government can perform electronic surveillance of US persons.

            The Bush Administration thought they knew better so didn't follow the law...they violated the law, they committed a crime, they violated their oaths of office and the Constitution... and now a Democratically controlled Congress is going to give them a pass, let them off without any recourse.

            So don't be distracted, this isn't about the Telecoms, its about the return of the Imperial Presidency.

            4113

        •  This doesn't seem like a huge number to me (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Liberal Thinking, 3goldens

          to warrant the thinking that FISA never protected our 4th amendment rights.  2,224 out of 350 million people in the U.S.? The prior legislation keeps the sheer number of the warrants down to manageable levels--which is a check on law enforcement spying in and of itself.

          What the new bill does really, is legalize spying on millions of Americans without a warrant or even probable cause, and no check on it whatsoever. I'd say this is a significant departure from the original intent of FISA legislation and the court, and leaves the FISA court knitting or playing backgammon at the bench.

          "We, two, form a multitude." --Ovid

          by CanyonWren on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 05:47:19 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  King-like powers: (11+ / 0-)

        The ability of the Executive to declare that something is legal and have it treated as law simply as a result of their having put it in writing.  The ONLY reason for the existence of this bill is to immunize the telecoms for having obeyed the commands of a dictator.

        The President is not "the government," and the President does not constitutionally have the power to create law by royal decree.  But that's what Congress is signing off on.

        Prosperity ripened the principle of decay; the causes of destruction multiplied with the extent of conquest... Gibbon

        by Dinclusin on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 05:02:01 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Snout. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Skid, ultraslacker, limpidglass

      You were right by accident once - you probably should've quit while you were ahead.

      Ceux qui peuvent vous faire croire à des absurdités peuvent vous faire commettre des atrocités.

      by Orange County Liberal on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 04:32:07 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Just the fact that it is there prevents people (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TracieLynn, Skid, limpidglass, Roxy Hope

      from asking for things that they know won't be approved. If you take it away its a free for all.

      It's the constitution, stupid

      by CTMET on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 04:52:10 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  It's not that the existing version of FISA (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      KLM, TracieLynn, 3goldens, Skid, Roxy Hope

      is great, just that this new one is far worse. And I can only assume that if there were no FISA, there would have been many, many more that 23k attempts to wiretap. One of the reasons that FISA has approved so many requests is because the DoJ has generally made sure to only submit ones that it was sure would get approved--they have lawyers too, I hear (sorry, couldn't resist). Remove even this weak protection, and they can pretty much wiretap anyone for any reason with no meaningful oversight at all.

      Sic transit gloria mundi - ancient Roman proverb

      by kovie on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 05:27:08 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yeah but... (0+ / 0-)

        22,900 in 28 years works out to be 817 per year EVERY year. Does that really suggest the level of prudence your are giving them credit for?

        I don't completely disagree with your point, but my argument is that we're all getting awfully emotional about safeguards that were likely little more than theoretical.  

        Fuck your purity.

        by snout on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 06:49:56 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  817/year is orders or magnitude less (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          snout, 3goldens, Roxy Hope

          than the number of wiretaps that they'd like to have, and have had, since they started ignoring FISA. Plus this begs the question of why, if FISA is just a rubber stamp, they chose to ignore it anyway? No, FISA is not the only or ultimate safeguard, obviously, but it's something. Every point that you cede adds up, in various ways.

          Sic transit gloria mundi - ancient Roman proverb

          by kovie on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 06:59:23 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Reportedly (0+ / 0-)

            The largest reason the Bush folks sidestepped FISA was that the process was too slow for them.  I'm sure that's only part of the reason, but I don't doubt it was true in a good percentage of the cases.

            Obviously the Bush folks wanted no oversight at all.  But the judiciary hasn't been a big obstacle for them throughout their reign.

            Again...I'm not happy about this bill either.  I think your last point is well taken.  My point is that the level of hysteria around this issue is not in line with the issue itself.  Certainly it's not worth the potential to damage our chances of landing the White House.

            Fuck your purity.

            by snout on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 07:27:47 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Many reasons they bypassed FISA (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Rolfyboy6, 3goldens

              One was, perhaps, the alleged "slowness" of the process, which is really a straw man since it allowed for a 3 day retroactive warrant request period after initiating a wiretap.

              Another was that in this "new age" of Really Really Dangerous Bad Guys Who Threaten Us Like No One Has Ever Threatened Us Before, the existing FISA structure was simply not up to the task. I've yet to come across any justification of this straw man.

              Yet another was that FISA was an unconstitutional limitation of the president's Article II and AUMF powers. This, too, was proven to be bullshit.

              And yet one more insult to our collective intelligence was that they feared that if they approached congress to get it to update FISA to deal with these "changes", they would be denied. Well, we know how that's worked out.

              But the real reasons are, I think, quite obvious.

              One, they felt like bypassing FISA, because they could.

              Two, it was their way of saying fuck you to congress, the courts and the constitution, and asserting a "fact on the ground" sort of prerogative.

              And three, they knew that nearly all of their non-FISA wiretaps would have been denied.

              I think it's quite clear that there were no valid reasons for bypassing FISA, and lots of very invalid ones. Do we really need to both make that easier and forgive all this?

              I don't. I see zero reason to, any every reason not to.

              Sic transit gloria mundi - ancient Roman proverb

              by kovie on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 07:56:48 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  If you were Rove (0+ / 0-)

                in 2001, who would be your first targets of 'scrutiny' be? I would pick pretty much all of Congress, and any other likely presidential candidates, fishing for whatever dirt I could find, to either keep them in line (R's) or scare the crap out of them (D's).

                But that's just cynical. That could never really happen..

                Luckily, with this new Happy Happy No Backsies FISA bill, we'll never have to look into that! Yay!

    •  It's about civil suits, silly. (0+ / 0-)

      If you have any interest in holding these fascists accountable, you are not in favor of this FISA bill. It strips away civil suit accountability, and criminal suits will be far beyond the statute of limitations.

      So, they all walk, and your town gets a brand new Bush International Airport to commemorate our Dear Leader's time in office.

      That's just swell.

      Purity fucks you right back.

    •  Weren't those 5 rejected under Bu$hitCo's reign? (0+ / 0-)

      The only thing the Dems leadersheep should be delivering to Bush is articles of Impeachment.  Not get out of jail free cards to cronies and expansions of his power.  

      You don't negotiate with fascists, you defeat them in the name of democracy. --Ambr. Joe Wilson

      by FightTheFuture on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 07:20:38 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  This is exactly why... (19+ / 0-)

    ...the Democrats are not capitulating to the Republicans, they are collaborating with them. They have their own moneyed interests, and the desire to protect them from dissenters. That, among many different reasons, is why they're behind this. We need to recognize this, and kick their asses in the political arena.

    With the first link, the chain is forged. The first speech censured, the first thought forbidden, the first freedom denied - chains us all, irrevocably.

    by Andrew M on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 04:25:29 PM PDT

  •  fisa (11+ / 0-)

    If the president does it, then it's legal. I am not a crook. LOL. Too bad (for him) Nixon is not around to see this.

  •  Pelosi and Reid have got to go. (10+ / 0-)

    I hope you folks at NN make this perfectly clear en mass in a few weeks!

    Support democracy at home and abroad, join the ACLU & Amnesty International http://www.aclu.org and http://takeaction.amnestyusa.org Your voice is needed!

    by tnichlsn on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 04:27:20 PM PDT

  •  Ordering private citizens (9+ / 0-)

    I stumbled across a program on C-Span's BookTV early this morning: Professor Eric Muller discussing the Japanese internment camps, and specifically the "loyalty tests" drawn up by various U.S. government agencies to determine the loyalty of American citizens. Not just resident aliens, remember: citizens. That's a period of our history we should all be reviewing right about now.

    Sculpture is like farming. If you just keep at it, you can get quite a lot done. Ruth Asawa

    by BrooklynWeaver on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 04:28:06 PM PDT

  •  The effort to monitor private communications (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TracieLynn, bablhous

    is not new with the Bush/Cheney administration.  Ditto for our industrial/commercial reliance on government/military back-up to "level the playing field"--i.e. get a leg up on global competition.

    Recall that the Clinton gang were keen on "preventing industrial espionage" and protecting the patent rights and copy rights of Americans from foreign intrusion.

    The "national interest" has been defined in terms of the industrial/commercial sector for some time.  Remember how Jimmy Carter was berated for trying to move human rights to the head of the line.

    How do you tell a predator from a protector? The predator will eat you sooner rather than later.

    by hannah on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 04:28:39 PM PDT

  •  I was told that 0/11 changed everything (7+ / 0-)

    I saw some people selling Obama stuff at the beach and I asked why Obama was for FISA and was told that 9/11 changed everything.  He sounded like Bush.  When people are given a choice of voting for a real Republican or someone that sounds like one they usually pick the Republican.

  •  Even Obama said that it was (2+ / 0-)

    the best deal we could get.  I know from reading accounts that Obama's team went over the bill, so what's going on?  

    Do they mean that this is the best we can do if we want to win this next election?


    The religious fanatics didn't buy the republican party because it was virtuous, they bought it because it was for sale

    by nupstateny on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 04:29:09 PM PDT

  •  fuck it (20+ / 0-)

    At this point in time, I don't see any difference between "us and them".  Washington is firmly in the grip of corporate america.  

    It should now be obvious to everyone that in 2006 all we accomplished was switching "our" lobbyists for "their" lobbyists.  

    The CEOs and congresscritters that run this country keep getting richer wheeling and dealing, while generations of ordinary americans continue to grow old and die, buying into all the bullshit (at a younger age), and then buying out of all the bullshit (at an older age), all the while blaming the other side, and growing older till we don't matter anymore anyway.

    Corporate america has artfully played this game for 40 years.  And when a John Edwards happens along, they stamp him into the ground as fast as they can.  Either Obama or Clinton would have been fine with corporate america. But it's obvious corporate america loves Obama the most right now.  He has brought them the greatest gift they could ever have received...an entire new generation of voters that won't catch on for 10 or 20 years.

    And net neutrality will be next. Within the next 4 to 8 years Pelosi and Reid will grant cable companies the right to begin controlling the internet, and we will have to pay to buy an internet package that carries DailyKos.

    •  take heart (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      3goldens, greenearth, mdgarcia, CanyonWren

      the crisis that's about to hit America will derail the corporate gravy train. In the midst of a total economic breakdown, massive food and water shortages, etc. Obama and our Congress will be exposed to all as the faithful servants of the moribund, entrenched corporate interests that are running this country into the ground.

      Once the magnitude of the crisis becomes apparent, and it becomes obvious that business as usual cannot continue, this country will face a choice.

      Either the Republic will be restored, or we will fall into a totalitarian dictatorship--and I give us an even chance either way, given how badly damaged our Constitution has been. But at least it's an honest choice, unlike the one  we face now.

      It's not much of a consolation, but it's the only one I can honestly come up with.

    •  Yeah they'll make the "best deal they can get" (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Skid, greenearth, BentLiberal

      for Net Neutrality.... because you need 60 votes toget anything done in the Senate.

      It's the constitution, stupid

      by CTMET on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 04:59:37 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  The Edwards of 2008 (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      echatwa, ETF
      was a totally different person than the Edwards of 2004.  Ask Russ Feingold about it.  He's one of your Constitutional heroes, right?  The fact is, Edwards pandered to the netroots base in 2008.  It was a strategy that did not work.  He supported the war in Iraq in 03' and 04' and didn't speak to the truth of issues like Dean did.  That is why I was suspicious of him this election cycle in 08', as were many other people.  Obama, on the other hand, keeps things on a relatively even keel over the years and through most of his political decisions.  What you see is pretty much what you get with him.  He ain't tryin to fool or pander to anybody like Clinton was tryin' to do.  Just try and get off the ledge a bit and get some perspective.  We got a pretty damn good candidate and all is not lost.
    •  40 years? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mdgarcia

      Try 70. In 1938, the corporate interests of the U.S. finally pushed back against the New Deal and regained the ascendency they had lost in FDR's first term. It took a depression (actually, The Depression) to wrest control from them for nearly six years. Outside of that anomaly, corporate control is the American way.

  •  Thanks, mcjoan, for the link. (11+ / 0-)

    Glenn gets to the heart of this. I was expecting  him to respond to the bolded sections by discussing law. Instead, he responds by discussing democracy. Far more powerful. And scary, really, that it's come to this.

  •  I guess . . . (0+ / 0-)

    but I'm  not yet sold on the idea that what I REALLY want is the GC over at AT&T making descisions about the constitutionality of executive orders. (though s/he couldn't do any worse than these particular white house occupants)

  •  Sounds like we just give in (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Liberal Thinking, Perfektion

    So that's it, huh?  Obama will fix it when he's President.  Oh well.  Not with my vote.

  •  No one will hand your rights back to you (14+ / 0-)

    No one.

    Thomas Jefferson warned us to not trust even him because it is more difficult to govern a free people:

    Daniel Webster on the occasion of the one hundredth anniversary of George Washington’s birthday.

    Other misfortunes may be borne or their effects overcome. If disastrous war should sweep our commerce from the ocean, another generation my renew it. If it exhaust our Treasury, future industry may replenish it. If it desolate and lay waste our fields, still, under a new cultivation, they will grow green again and ripen to future harvests. It were but a trifle even if the walls of yonder Capitol were to crumble, if its lofty pillars would fall, and its gorgeous decorations be all covered by the dust of the valley. All these might be rebuilt. But who shall reconstruct the fabric of demolished government? Who shall rear again the well-proportioned columns of constitutional liberty? Who shall frame together the skillful architecture which unites national sovereignty with State rights, individual security, and public prosperity? No. If these columns fall, they will be raised not again. Like the Colosseum and the Parthenon, they will be destined to a mournful, a melancholy immortality. Bitterer tears, however, will flow over them than were shed over the monuments of Roman or Grecian art. For they will be the remnants of more glorious edifice than Greece or Rome ever saw: the edifice of constitutional American liberty.

    I don't doubt that what is happening will continue to happen. I'm glad to stand with those who can at least say that they tried.

    Even we would who have stayed informed, called out against the statements that insult our intelligence, understand that we will indeed vote for something verses nothing. But make no mistake, the next time and each time in the future, we will further cement the idea that we are not to be listened to.

  •  YES! YES! WE GET IT ALREADY!! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ETF

    For God's sake, can we drop this??? Yes ... it sucks, Democrats suck, Obama sucks ... they have no spine, Bush is a criminal ... ENOUGH ALREADY!!!  The horse is out of the barn ... can we move on?  Is anyone SURPRISED at this whole thing?  Geezus Christ ...

    Dear Democratic Party: Win This One or Just Disband

    by Tuffie on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 04:35:53 PM PDT

  •  Glenn utterly destroyed her argument (10+ / 0-)

    If she is capable of feeling shame, she will take her phone off the hook and won't emerge from her house for a month.  In fact, if I had made such a dishonest, shallow argument, I would seek to get admitted into the op-ed protection program, where I would be moved to another state, given a different name (e.g. Nancy Pathetaburg) and $250 cash.

    "Mr. President, I'm not saying we wouldn't get our hair mussed." General Buck Turgidson

    by muledriver on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 04:37:01 PM PDT

  •  Sadly, this crap is common in the LA Times now (5+ / 0-)

    The LA Times has endorsed the FISA capitulation several times now. They have repeatedly peddled the pro "compromise" propaganda and never ever have room to print a contrary view. When it comes to holding corporate America accountable, they know where their bread is buttered.

  •  I'm sure Mike Godwin will excuse me. (0+ / 0-)



    The 4th Amendment: It's not just for dope dealers anymore.

    by ben masel on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 04:40:16 PM PDT

  •  The politics is better than the policy thats for (0+ / 0-)

    Sure. Everyone wants to be seen as doing what is best to keep the country safe, that is the premise of the whole thing, republicans will go along as is their natural habitat to talk about keeping the country safe and democrats will go along because they dont want to be tagged as weak on national security.

    Case closed.

    McCain/(Hagee+Parsley) '08 "We Hunt Jews and Muslims So You Dont Have To. Straight Talk"

    by DFutureIsNow on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 04:40:33 PM PDT

  •  Doormatism. Sell Outs, Incompetents, Mix of both? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    714day, bablhous, greenearth

    I keep Incompetence versus the fascists as an possible root of evil so that I can keep some personal HOPE that these doormats will beat the fascists.

    I don't expect sell outs to stop being sell outs. I can hope that incompetents might learn to be competent.

    When I see a coordinated message from the doormats,

    INSTEAD of coordinated message against anyone of the fascists incessant lies and stealing,

    well,

    how can there be any option other than sell outs?

    Primaries Primaries Primaries.

    For Barack I will spend the time on Tues. 4 Nov to check the little box next to his name.  

    Before then, I will NOT spend time or spend money on any of these f$$$ing sell outs. I've been listening to the same excuses for losing since a B-24 pilot lost in '72 when I was 12.

    rmm.

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

    by seabos84 on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 04:40:45 PM PDT

  •  Do You Think It's Possible (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    CTMET

    ...is that the telecoms actually believed that when the President comes knocking, they get hopping?

    Do you think it's possible that they thought that you must do whatever the President asks you to do?

    How do you say "no" to the President's Men?

    Pluto now orbits Overnight News Digest ʍou sʇıqɹo oʇnld

    by Pluto on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 04:42:03 PM PDT

  •  I think the main problem (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    GN1927, geejay, Roxy Hope, ETF

    with the FISA debate is that so many people on the democratic side are pretty much trying to tank Obama's chances in Nov over this Bill.

    I know that this bill is important but I'm just so shocked that so many people would could cut off a toe in order to prevent a Bush 3rd term can all of a sudden cause so much of a fuss that they are willing to throw the rest of the party and rest of the country under the bus to try to teach Obama a lession.

    I know FISA is a big deal but dont make me sit through another Bush term so you can try to prove a point.

    A lot of progressives tried to prove a point in 00' in voting nader and loot where it got us.

    "I love my progressive brothers/sisters but they cannot be counted on."

    by AdamND on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 04:42:41 PM PDT

    •  Maybe I missed it (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Rolfyboy6, KLM

      but I read, mostly, that people will still vote for him. How are they tanking his chances?

      (And I don't buy the argument that vehemently disagreeing with him, loudly and often means that you are offering up the election to McCain.)

    •  Why did Pelosi and Reid pick this fight? (0+ / 0-)



      The 4th Amendment: It's not just for dope dealers anymore.

      by ben masel on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 06:51:48 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Ah, the Nader argument (0+ / 0-)

      I was wondering when it would appear.

      Nader was right about just about everything in 2000. If  Gore had just tacked a tad to the LEFT, he might have won. But no, he was firmly in the Lieberman, DLC pocket at that point. It made it incredibly hard to stomach.

      I'm still queasy. Obama does not have my vote yet, by a longshot. He made his calculations, and I was not in his numbers, so fuck me.

      Go Greens!

      •  Gore actually ran as a progressive populist (0+ / 0-)

        See my sigline. In 2000, Lieberman was a moderate Democrat who was strong on the environment, civil rights and abortion etc and he also pledged to stand by Gore's platform (when chosen.) Gore/Lieberman with Gore calling the shots was a far superior choice to the only other viable alternative Bush/Cheney with Cheney calling the shots. The last 7.5 have resoundingly proved that. Haven't they?

        As you may know, Gore endorsed Dean over Lieberman in 2004 when the latter went off the deep end with the war.

        Al Gore's progressive 2000 GE Democratic Platform:
        Prosperity, Progress and Peace

        by NeuvoLiberal on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 10:41:35 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Then why isn't the president of Qwest in prison? (12+ / 0-)


    The Senate is dragging its feet because the compromise bill's opponents -- mostly Democrats -- want also to punish the telecommunications companies that answered President Bush's order for help with his illegal, warrantless wiretapping program.

    Then why isn't the president of Qwest in prison for defying the president's 'order'?:

    The National Security Agency has been secretly collecting the phone call records of tens of millions of Americans, using data provided by AT&T, Verizon and BellSouth, people with direct knowledge of the arrangement told USA TODAY...

    "It's the largest database ever assembled in the world," said one person, who, like the others who agreed to talk about the NSA's activities, declined to be identified by name or affiliation. The agency's goal is "to create a database of every call ever made" within the nation's borders, this person added...

    For the customers of these companies, it means that the government has detailed records of calls they made — across town or across the country — to family members, co-workers, business contacts and others....

    Among the big telecommunications companies, only Qwest has refused to help the NSA, the sources said. According to multiple sources, Qwest declined to participate because it was uneasy about the legal implications of handing over customer information to the government without warrants.


    Maybe the Senate should be holding hearings on the Justice Department's malfeasance in not prosecuting the traitorous Qwest.

    Or failing that, maybe it should hold hearings to find out why a private corporation understands a citizen's legal rights better than our elected 'representatives' do.

    The fact is that the average man's love of liberty is nine-tenths imaginary, exactly like his love of sense, justice and truth. - H.L. Mencken

    by two roads on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 04:43:29 PM PDT

    •  Not just Qwest, TDS also (5+ / 0-)

      "We comply with Court Orders."



      The 4th Amendment: It's not just for dope dealers anymore.

      by ben masel on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 05:11:39 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  GREAT point. (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      714day, greenearth, two roads, The Jester

      They would not have had to string Nacchio along on the insider trading charges if the logic stands that it was legal to follow Bush's orders. By that standard, it was illegal not to.

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

      by alkalinesky on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 05:26:17 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Uhhh.. he is just about there. Only out on a (0+ / 0-)

      technicality.  He claims it was retribution for not complying:

      Nacchio was convicted on 19 of 42 counts of insider trading case on April 19th, 2007[8]. He was released on on $2 million bond. On July 27 2007, Nacchio was sentenced to six years in federal prison. Federal Judge Edward Nottingham also ordered Nacchio to pay a $19 million fine and forfeit $52 million he gained in illegal stock sales. On March 17, 2008, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit overturned his conviction on the basis of defense expert witness testimony that was improperly excluded, and ordered a new trial before a different trial judge. Nacchio's lead defense attorney is Maureen Mahoney. [3]

      Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, and granting of a New Trial
      Joseph P. Nacchio was the only head of a communications company to demand a court order, or approval under FISA, in order to turn over communications records to the Government of the USA. [9] Mr. Nacchio was granted a new trial due to a witness being prevented from testifying. It was also claimed that the entire lawsuit was retribution for rejecting the Bush administration's demand for communications records [10].

      I do not think Bu$hitCo would go directly at anyone refusing.  That would open up the all their actions on this to direct  scruitiny. Better to trump up someting else and whack them, ala Martha Stewart.  the message is still sent and they are still safe in their treason.

      You don't negotiate with fascists, you defeat them in the name of democracy. --Ambr. Joe Wilson

      by FightTheFuture on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 07:39:34 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Soderberg gets it exactly right. It's wag the dog (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    duha, ETF

    The current FISA bill is PROGRESS. It FIXES THE PROBLEM of government ordering illegal wiretaps.

    It allows for CRIMINAL PROSECUTION of GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS who ordered ILLEGAL WIRETAPS. It allows criminal prosecution of telecoms if that is found to have occurred. Got news for ya, AT&T paying millions in civil suit pales to AT&T VP going to jail.

    Focusing on problematic civil suits (you have to prove real damages and there are none that can be demonstrated) vs. the real problem of illegal government surveillance of citizens is simply nutty.

    Personally I'd get rid of the FISA court completely but that is a different issue for what we can do NOW with narrow Congressional majority and a Republican president.

    Fix the problem, not the blame.

    •  You mean the criminal charges that Bush (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TracieLynn, Skid, greenearth, limpidglass

      will forgive as he goes out the door?

      Those criminal acts can be pardoned by Bush.

      Interestingly, civil charges cannot.

      Follow the money. It's getting away.

      by bablhous on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 04:53:54 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Bush has to bring criminal charges to pardon them (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        duha, ETF

        You think Bush Dept. of Justice is going charge Bush White House with criminal spying charges in an election year so Bush can exercise what a wildly controversial pardoning that would create a political firestorm for McW and Republicans in the election?

        I don't give a fig about civil law suits. The important thing is STOP GOVERNMENT ILLEGAL SPYING.

        •  he doesn't have to file charges to pardon them (7+ / 0-)

          Gerald Ford gave a blanket pardon to Nixon, before any charges were filed. The relevant portion is this:

          Now, therefore, I, Gerald R. Ford, President of the United States, pursuant to the pardon power conferred upon me by Article II, Section 2, of the Constitution, have granted and by these presents do grant a full, free, and absolute pardon unto Richard Nixon for all offenses against the United States which he, Richard Nixon, has committed or may have committed or taken part in during the period from July (January) 20, 1969 through August 9, 1974.

          See? Easy as pie. All Bush has to do is pardon the telecoms for anything and everything they may have done during his presidency, and they're free and clear.

    •  Sure but its also stacked to make sure you'll (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      KLM, 714day, TracieLynn, Skid

      never find out what is really going on. If everything is secret no one can ever get caught. A letter from the government saying that what they did was legal is all they need.

      It's the constitution, stupid

      by CTMET on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 05:10:44 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Wrong. Wiretap Act provides for Statutory Damages (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TracieLynn, Skid

      of 100 per day, up to $10,000

      18 US Code CHAPTER 119 § 2520



      The 4th Amendment: It's not just for dope dealers anymore.

      by ben masel on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 05:14:04 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Statutory damages are criminal, not civil suits. (0+ / 0-)

        Statutory penalties are applied for criminal acts. They have nothing to do with civil suits.

        $1M is lunch money.

        10 years in jail for an AT&T VP is much more attention getting.

        But that misses the point.  Protecting US civil rights is key and that means stopping GOVERNMENT from warrant less spying.

        FISA bill fixes the problem.

        •  Read the Statute. Link above. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Skid



          The 4th Amendment: It's not just for dope dealers anymore.

          by ben masel on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 05:26:27 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Oh brother. You've cited FISA bill that EXEMPTS (0+ / 0-)

            telcoms from civil suits. I'm not sure you are following.

            Current FISA bill FIXES the problem and allows the EXEMPTION to stand for PAST compliance with the FISA law...THAT YOU JUST QUOTED.

            •  No, that's the Wiretap Act (0+ / 0-)

              and it exempts them only after very specific steps are taken in tight timelines.

              My hunch, the Comey Hospital affair resulted in expiration of the certification for some period, but the datamining aspect of the "program" continued.  $100 per day times every phone ain't lunch money.



              The 4th Amendment: It's not just for dope dealers anymore.

              by ben masel on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 06:57:43 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  Statute of limitations, criminal suit (0+ / 0-)

      Quick quiz. How many years do you get?

      If you answered, "5"! Proceed to next section. And when did this start? 2001. And when did Congress know about it? 2002.

      Let's see. 2002 + 5 = 2007.

      So, unless you can retroactively start your lawsuit by about two years ago, you, me, and all of the rest of us, are fucked. But thanks for playing.

  •  They were spying before 9/11 (7+ / 0-)

    The Quest lawsuit is evidence of that.

  •  Obama has lost my vote (3+ / 0-)

    I see that he is not who he claims to be.  Screw the liars.  I will stay home an not vote for the first time in my life, and I am 60 years old!

  •  Lyndon johnson, 1959 (7+ / 0-)

    "You [should] not examine legislation in the light of the benefits it will convey if properly administered, but in the light of the wrongs it would do and the harm it would cause if improperly administered."



    The 4th Amendment: It's not just for dope dealers anymore.

    by ben masel on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 04:50:39 PM PDT

  •  What is FISA all about (0+ / 0-)

    whats the problem you guys have with the current compromise?

    Is it just the fact that the telecom people will get immunity or is it the fact that the compromise will still allow the administration to break the law?

    If it's the ladder , Obama should oppose the bill , but if it's the former , i understand why he'd be hesitant to oppose it since his first priority is to make sure that no rules would be broken with the new FISA bill.

    U understand many here wants to go after Bush , but at the same time , many people dont want to see hard partisan fight just like the one we had between Bill Clinton and the conservative movement.

    •  It's the future (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      KLM, TracieLynn, Skid

      Not that this Admin will break the law, but that widespread spying will be made legal, not just for this Adminikstration, but for every one in the future. Suppose McCain does win?



      The 4th Amendment: It's not just for dope dealers anymore.

      by ben masel on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 05:16:15 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Immunity isn't the only problem (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Rolfyboy6, TracieLynn, Simplify, Skid

      From Senator Feingold http://markcrispinmiller.blogspot.co...

      The bill does not include a prohibition on bulk collection - the collection of all international communications into and out of the U.S. to a whole continent or even the entire world. Such collection would be constitutionally suspect and would go well beyond what the government has says it needs to protect the American people. This protection was in the Senate Judiciary Committee bill, and it garnered the support of 37 Senators on the Senate floor.

      The bill does not include anything similar to the amendment offered by Senators Feingold, Webb and Tester (with 32 other Senators supporting) to provide additional checks and balances for Americans at home whose international communications are obtained because they are communicating with someone overseas, while also allowing the government to get the information it needs about terrorists and purely foreign communications.

      Once you give this stuff up, its hard to get it back. Even with Obama in the WH.

      It's the constitution, stupid

      by CTMET on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 05:18:07 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I was against Clinton policies (0+ / 0-)

      But I sure wasn't a conservative!

  •  Telecoms have bought the democrats too (6+ / 0-)

    That's all it is.  They've bought enough of the democratic politicians to get them to go along.  They are all politicians, and they always have their hands out ready to take as much money as anyone will give them.  

    It sucks, but our government was bought out from under us a long time ago.  So they will continue to tell us that this is the best they can do.  They have to allow criminals to get away with crimes, because the criminals have paid them to tell us that, and we can rot in hell for all they care.

  •  alarmist diary, + not entirely factually accurate (0+ / 0-)

    there is nothing in Soderberg's article that suggests that the President is a monarch who had to be obeyed... So while the inaccuracies I talk of are in the quoted article - and you reiterate them - the result is a rather alarmist diary based on a certain level of currently popular emotionalism. I wholly agree that while it would be great to be able to sue and prosecute the Telco's, they are not the ultimate culprit. They were ordered to break the law, and while the President may not be a Monarch, they adhered to his perceived authority rightly or as I imagine you would counter, wrongly. If indeed, the constitution is your greatest concern, an investigation into past infringements (by a President Obama) showing that the Shrub and his administration broke the law, resulting in some kind of an inquiry and /or prosecutions, would certainly correct that. I wholly agree that this is a compromise that is indeed satisfactory, while imperfect. Politics is a game with rules, and stake holders. If you think that a President Obama will pass all the laws he would like to pass, then you better just hedge your dissapointment bets right now, because you will be yelling at your TV throughout his Administration. If however, you can appreciate the reality that as much as we disagree with the Rethugs, they will have to be negotiated with, then you can begin to see the sense in this Act rather than the current alarmist state of a collective sense of egomaniacal betrayal on the part of the purist left!

    McCain't give a damn and won't even try!

    by karanja on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 05:00:17 PM PDT

    •  In any prosecution of organized crime you need to (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TracieLynn, Skid

      start with the street thugs  before you go after the captains and then finally the Dons.

      It's the constitution, stupid

      by CTMET on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 05:20:17 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes, but in this case the street thugs are not so (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Roxy Hope

        easily pursuable, and that process is potentially highly convoluted. What real satisfaction would there be in prosecuting the telcos while Bush kicks back blameless in Crawford? If we can at least obtain criminal prosecution of the Administration, and a restoration (in full) of the 4th, then, we have a good start, and if ultimately the telcos get away, I would be less concerned than if Bush goes unpunished or at the least fully shamed a la Nixon (if that's at all possible). A restoration of the 4th, may well overturn the retro-immunity - who knows. But if and when we have a truly progressive President Obama, we will have far more possibilities!

        McCain't give a damn and won't even try!

        by karanja on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 05:37:03 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  A progressive presidency and a few supreme court (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Roxy Hope

          openings would help a lot.

          It's the constitution, stupid

          by CTMET on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 05:41:00 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  but we have to work at it, and provide as little (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Roxy Hope

            fodder for the lazy MSM attacks on our candidate as possible.This FISA fight is rather teenage tantrum-ish. We have to pick our fights. Obama has already proven that he is as progressive as we have ever had in any senator, and to now question him, despite his record is really extremely short sighted! He is so truly one of us, right down to actually being a Kossack!  

            McCain't give a damn and won't even try!

            by karanja on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 05:53:39 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Recent behavior to the contrary (0+ / 0-)

              Obama actions indicate he is not a progressive but a split the baby  leader. I dont mean that in the Solomon since. I mean he adopts the midpoint of every argument.  From the upcomming FISA cave to the comments on troop redrawals, disassociation from Gen. Clark, etc.  He even admits that we(the people) all will have to hold him to account every step of the way.  But dont expect him to actually go full mile.

              Everything is a matter of interpretation!

              by mogul456 on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 07:06:40 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  "We have to pick our fights." (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              CTMET, Black Leather Rain

              I was ready to let a lot slide on the rhetorical side. This is different, for starters because it's an actual statutory enactment. That said, Obama's still only 1 of a hundred, but he is effectively, the shortest route to pressure the rest of the Senate Dem. appeasers.



              The 4th Amendment: It's not just for dope dealers anymore.

              by ben masel on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 07:21:34 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Really? (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Black Leather Rain

              Obama has already proven that he is as progressive as we have ever had

              If this were true, we wouldn't be shouting at his walls, begging him to protect our Constitutional rights. Just sayin.

        •  Put pressure on the telecoms (0+ / 0-)

          for the targets of the wiretaps. That in itself is worth the price of admission. Then watch the Crawford bunch 'relocate' to Peru or wherever they are planning to run

  •  A FIVE STAR article, McJoan! n/t (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    KLM, TracieLynn, Skid, limpidglass, CanyonWren
  •  I have to question Obama on FISA (5+ / 0-)

    In his blog yesterday he articulated his position on supporting FISA albeit contrary to his platform during the primaries.  I am concerned he is selling out for political purposes and is not that concerned with those of us who have supported him all these months.  Obama's blog comments:

    In response to the growing online dissent, Obama took to his blog yesterday afternoon to address concerns about his position on the intelligence surveillance bill.

    "This was not an easy call for me," he wrote. "I know that the FISA bill that passed the House is far from perfect. I wouldn't have drafted the legislation like this, and it does not resolve all of the concerns that we have about President Bush's abuse of executive power.

    ". . . But I also believe that the compromise bill is far better than the Protect America Act that I voted against last year. The exclusivity provision makes it clear to any President or telecommunications company that no law supersedes the authority of the FISA court."

    When liberals saw 9-11, we wondered how we could make the country safe. When conservatives saw 9-11, they saw an investment opportunity

    by Texas Cowboy on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 05:04:28 PM PDT

    •  Obama knows and is spinning it (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ben masel, TracieLynn, Skid, limpidglass

      He knows the bill is as bad as the PAA, but he is, in effect, saying, "I won't supersede the FISA court." The FISA court is set up for legitimate (and managable) targets; this new bill covers the new system of millions of communications going through the pre-programmed sieve and into a huge database in high-security law enforcement centers peppered around the country, and those with suspect language or IP addresses are flagged. Thousands. Probably in the tens or hundreds of thousands. Maybe Obama will do the right thing and shut down these spy-data centers, but unless he does, the FISA system won't keep up with the Big Brother system now in place.

      "We, two, form a multitude." --Ovid

      by CanyonWren on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 05:21:29 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Wait, who are "The Villagers" (0+ / 0-)

    I must have missed the reference, could someone clue me in as to who they are, and why they care?

    •  "leadership" (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TracieLynn, Skid, CanyonWren

      Is that what we're calling capitulation to Republican demands, now?

      •  Leadership is Obama restoring civil rights. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        organicdemocrat

        versus making public display and doing nothing to restore US civil rights and leaving current bill in place.

        It's why I support Obama because he'll make progress on every issue and keep US moving forward.

        •  About time someone stood up for Obama here. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          geejay

          Minor media personalities try to make a name for themselves by attacking Obama and other Democrats repeatedly here. It is time to call them on their overuse of this forum for repetitive, mindless, nauseatingly self-referential attacks.

          Who is being helped by these attacks? Whose interests are being served? Whose minor media careers are bring prompted at the expense of larger Democratic issues?

          John McCain. Older Than Spam. By One Year.

          by organicdemocrat on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 05:56:55 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  I sincerely hope you are right (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          KLM

          However, I know that when you give a politician power freely, it takes an exceptional person to be able to give that power BACK to the people.

          Is Obama that exceptional, that rare?  He may be, but I've not seen much from him that would make me think he'd buck the tradition of power-hoarding  that we've had in the past.

  •  Remember the passionate conservativism (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ETF

    of the Shrub that brought the Right's real true champion into the White House. He brought in all those extreme Right Wing policies that have brought the country onto its knees, and voters to the realization that the Rethugs are just that - thugs. So why can you not appreciate that surely, given his record - from votes in the Senate, to the majority of his speeches as well as his own books, that our next best chance of a truly progressive White House has to pander to the center to get elected, and thus provide us the platform that we are currently misguidedly fighting at the wrong time and directed at the wrong side!

    McCain't give a damn and won't even try!

    by karanja on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 05:12:11 PM PDT

  •  Only two people in this diary (4+ / 0-)

    say they aren't voting for Obama because of this.

    We're getting better!

  •  in answer to Glenn's question, (8+ / 0-)

    I'm asking this literally: how did this warped and distinctly un-American mentality get implanted into our public discourse -- that the President can give "orders" to private citizens that must be complied with?

    we only have to look to Kit Bond for the most crystalline distillation of that meme, and the source is direct from the ass of the elephant:

    When the Government tells you to do something, I think you all recognize, uh, that that is something that you need to do.

    Of course Glenn knows this.  I cut and pasted that quote from his column of two weeks ago.  How much worse can it get, when our own Party's leadership (and Soderburg isn't alone here) is spouting the talking points of the necons themselves.

    Just shoot me.

    "Well, yeah, the Constitution is worth it if you can succeed." -Nancy Pelosi, 6/29/07.

    by nailbender on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 05:19:10 PM PDT

  •  Apparently (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    KLM, Skid

    The tolerance for torture in the halls of Congress has been widened to include severe torture of logic.

    This has to be about money. And a lot of it. No other explanation makes sense to me. Blackmail, or money. What a woeful display of cowardice on the part of our elected representatives.

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

    by alkalinesky on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 05:22:05 PM PDT

  •  And we're talking pre-911 (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Skid, alkalinesky, The Jester

    to boot. There is an awful lot of smoke and mirrors going on here. And I don't like it one fucking bit. They keep saying the modern world demands that they spy and data mine. That's complete and total bullshit. These people see the modern world as advantageous to their desires to snoop. Period.

    I can't think of one reason why they need to data mine. Anyone?

    Advances in technology do not justify increases in surveillance.

    by plok on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 05:32:26 PM PDT

  •  Why is this diary on the front page? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    organicdemocrat

    I just scanned Google Reader and there have been 13 front page FISA diaries in the past 6 days.  This does not count "pundit round ups" or "diary rescues".

    What is the intent behind these posts?  It is clearly not to have a discussion with those who disagree with you.  You even seem to be attempting to antagonize those within the party who, even though they agree with your stance on this issue, disagree how best to address the situation.

    So what would you have people do?  I've seen no workable solution offered amongst all this indignation -- just a flurry of "everyone should vote against it".  That's not going to happen.  "Obama should stand up and act like the leader of his party!"  Okay.  What does that even mean?  In real, concrete language -- what does that mean?  

    Help us understand exactly what you want to happen.  Not what you wished would have happened.

    And to be clear, I'm not singling out the writer of this diary, I'm using the collective "you".

    •  It beats actually doing research on a new topic. (0+ / 0-)

      Self-amusement  is always easier, especially in front of an appreciative audience.

      John McCain. Older Than Spam. By One Year.

      by organicdemocrat on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 05:41:27 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Because it matters? (6+ / 0-)

      " I've seen no workable solution offered amongst all this indignation -- just a flurry of "everyone should vote against it".  That's not going to happen."

      Right - the GOP senators will vote for it.

      But if there's enough outcry from Democrats, folks like Reid and Durbin and Obama and Biden might vote against it. Might even build up enough gumption to filibuster.

      Public outcry IS part of a workable solution. Politicians read this blog. Their staffers follow what's posted. If the FISA capitulation continues to get bad press here on Kos, and if bloggers like Greenwald continue pounding out the truth, there's a chance (even if slim) that the Democrats in the senate will shoot down this crappy bill.

      -What have you got that a man could drink with just a minimum risk of blindness and death.

      by Toadvine on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 06:07:26 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  What You Can Do (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      KLM, Simplify, rhutcheson, CanyonWren

      The best thing to do is call up your Senator's offices and politely tell them that you don't want this bill to pass. That's what I did.

      Here are the talking points:

      (1) This bill does nothing to improve security for the U.S. That's not it's intent and if it were, it failed. No one has given any compelling reason why we should tamper with FISA, which provides everything already that we needed to fight terrorists.

      (2) The bill gratuitously changes the mechanism for appointing the people who will certify court orders, making it unnecessary to get congressional approval for those appointments.

      (3) The bill provides for group searches that are clearly unconstitutional.

      (4) The main reason for the bill is apparently to put political pressure on the courts to let the telecoms off the hook. The Democrats were rightly up in arms when the Republicans did this in the Terry Schiavo case, so why are they doing it now? It's reprehensible to pressure the courts and violates the separation of powers.

      (5) The White House wants this bill passed. Passing it gives the White House a victory, one they don't deserve and one that is totally unnecessary. Their gain is our loss.

      (6) We, on the other hand, can have a victory in halting the erosion of constitutional rights. If we are ever to have any hope of rolling back the vile intrusions on our rights in the so-called "Patriot Act", the Military Commissions Act, and other senseless attacks on the common rights of Americans, then we need to stop losing battles and start winning them. This is as good a time to start as any.

      (7) There's no constituency for this bill outside the White House, the executive offices of a couple of well-heeled companies, and Steny Hoyer's office. Go find someone who's clamoring to have their rights taken away. Can't find anyone? Not a surprise.

      (8) And therefore, it helps no Democratic politician get elected. But it might hurt them. Favoring it will lose them votes from everyone who cares about the Constitution--left, right and center. It was a stupid mistake to bring it up in the middle of an election cycle, but one that can be corrected by pulling it off the floor.

      Then ask them to make sure that this bill gets referred to committee, where it can languish until there is a constituency for selling out the Constitution.

    •  Because it further informs those of us who (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      rhutcheson, CanyonWren

      are actually engaged. If you're not interested in defending tyhe Constitution, perhaps you should be surfing the Disney site.



      The 4th Amendment: It's not just for dope dealers anymore.

      by ben masel on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 07:37:31 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Authoritarian followers. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Skid

    I would really like to know where people like Soderberg get the idea that the U.S. President has the power to "order" private citizens to do anything, let alone to break the law

    Or, members of the same elite club as a professional courtesy.

    -- We are just regular people informed on issues

    by mike101 on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 05:35:06 PM PDT

  •  Enough with the attacks on Democrats! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Tx LIberal

    But truthy talking points are not going to fool us--we will not sit by while Dem leaders lie to us about what this bill does and and watch them confer the king-like powers on the office we hope he takes.

    It looks to me that many people on DKos-- including some front pagers-- are looking to boost their own media careers and ego rather than work towards getting Democrats elected. This relentless focus on the minor blemishes of Democrats serves only one purpose: get yourself quoted in the NYTimes, WSJ and Fox News. There is a legitimate issue at the core. It has been aired. You are not getting any further in pushing it by writing to the small group of faithful here. The choir has been converted.

    It feeds the media machines that want to wrote about dissent among Democrats rather than do the serious reporting on campaign issues. The fact is that any fool can get a diary recommended on DKos these days by writing yet another repetitive half-witted screed against Obama.

    OK. I get it. You don't like FISA. Enough already! Find something worthwhile to write about. Or does that require some actual research and thinking?

    John McCain. Older Than Spam. By One Year.

    by organicdemocrat on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 05:39:55 PM PDT

  •  I want Dem's guarantee they are not being tapped (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Skid

    and/or are being blackmailed. Just clarify for us how much we can trust them to be acting in the people's interest.

    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 Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 05:41:58 PM PDT

  •  Racial pride! (0+ / 0-)

    I'm no optimist. The world is going to hell in a plastic handbasket. But I have confidence that my race, the human race, has a capacity to overcome any obstacle when we choose to do so. We can succeed, but of course there is plenty of room for failure.

    Success will only come through science, so we need a new generation of brilliant scientists. That's about all we can really do at this point.

    Don't you think John McCain looks tired?

    by MakeChessNotWar on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 05:56:26 PM PDT

  •  The WHAT is obvious. The question is WHY? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Quelle

    As much as a appreciate Glenn Greenwald's excruciatingly clear analysis and all the FISA diaries, opinion pieces and editorials they just restate the same thing.  What is happening is obvious. The congress, the administration and the MSM are engaged in a criminal conspiracy of lies.  Now WHY THE FUCK ARE THEY DOING IT? And most especially in such twisted, in-artful and obvious ways.  

    When Nancy Perlosi took impeachment off the table she made a clear and truthful statement why.  After some equivocating she admitted that is was all about the election. That yes it was a political calculus and all political decisions are made from some base of calculus.  Those who don't agree are just forming their opinion on a diffrent calculus.  End of discussion.  

    Put simply, we would rather win the WH and elect more democrats than uphold the constitution and punish Bush.  Now I don't agree but what can I say?  It was an honest answer.  

    With FISA there are no honest answers at all.  Not even from the sizable minority in who oppose it. Where is there outrage?  Where is the straight talk from Senators Dodd and Feingold about why a majority of congress is any form of truth in to a perverted pretzel over this.  

    The administration broke the law.  They admit it.  The phone companies broke the law. They admit it.  Now they condone breaking the law. Is it mass delusion? Is it the money?  Is it blackmail?  Is it fear?  WTF is it?  Or is it a combination of all of the above.

    Why the rush to protect them?  If they really wanted to carry it over to the next administration and let Obama fix it then all they have to do is put off a decision.  No big deal they put it off from last Dec until now.  They could table it again.  

    It can't be about protecting us from terror.  The means to do that remain in place. With or without this bill FISA is still in effect.  Further, protecting us from outside threats has nothing to do with letting the phone companies off the hook.

    Fuck the terrorists; who will protect us from our govenment?  Where is the voice, the straight talker if you will, who will stand against the enemy both foreign and domestic
    Where is the voice of outrage crying in the wilderness of deceit who will speak the truth?  Who is the patriot?  The real patriot who can't be pushed aside who fights for us, for the constitution, for the nation.  

    I had hopes it would be Barack Obama.  Silly me.  

    "Vote Your Hopes Not Your Fears."

    by YellerDog on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 06:01:08 PM PDT

  •  ROFLOL (0+ / 0-)

    That's a real howler!

    "We now know that they were not lawful."

    Which dimwit didn't know these orders were illegal right from the start? Certainly not the telecoms or their attorneys, who have been involved in legal wiretaps on practically a daily basis since the phone companies started operations in the late 1800s.

    Oh, wail! They didn't know what they were doing! So, let's give them a break.

    Give me a break!

  •  Sorry, Obama (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    greenearth, Quelle

    If this passes, then you've passed on my vote.

    All you say is true, Mcjoan, and I honor your decision to go on an vote for Obama regardless, but I've seen this play before. It was the Clinton play. It was the Democrats chickening out on fighting the Republicans over principle and triangulating their way to office.

    That's particularly sad in a year in which it is totally unnecessary. Voters are practically begging to vote for a Democrat. All we have to do is give them some.

    We have to be willing to stand by our principles or we can't expect our politicians to stand by theirs. I'll save my vote for Democratic politicians, like Anna Eshoo (in my congressional district) who voted against tampering with FISA. Those who voted in favor of it, they don't need my money or vote.

  •  You may think he will be better. (0+ / 0-)

    I thought Obama stood for certain things he said he did.  Now he even has hedged on partial birth abortion, plus FISA, plus Nafta, plus gun laws, plus etc..  What makes you think he will be any better than McCain?  He may not be what you think he is.

  •  The Clinton administration was good enough. (0+ / 0-)

    Maybe this was their motto and it seemed to fit for some of them.  Too bad it's not good enough for a nation that desperately needs very honest and smart leaders to get us out of the mess we're in.  I would say that we need excellence in what we do today because if we don't get it, we won't need terrorists to destroy this nation.  Right now we seem to be doing an excellent job of accomplishing that all by ourselves.  My wise mother always told us that living the "good enough" way is the wrong way to live, unless of course your goal is mediocrity or worse.  I wonder if what Ms. Soderburg is suggesting is beneath even mediocrity.  

  •  obama is not the messiah (0+ / 0-)

    Any doubt now that Obama is not the Messiah?

    Another flip-flop  from him,

    FISA and now Iraq.

    I read long time ago  like he wrote in his book he is prone to disappoint many.

    Will see how many

    •  Please don't use words like "messiah." (0+ / 0-)

      I know that I don't expect anyone to be a "messiah."  Nobody is perfect, not even you, and certainly not me.  As for Obama, we won't know what he will actually do until he's in office.  JFK had to say some things that liberals didn't like, but when he was in the White House, he did his own thing.  I'm certainly NOT EVER GOING TO VOTE FOR MCCAIN.  That would be a mistake of gigantic proportions.

      •  Bummer for him (0+ / 0-)

        we won't know what he will actually do until he's in office.

        His problem is that this has come up before the election. But now that he has to take a stand, he has shown that he is unwilling to do so.

        Why should I reward that behavior?

    •  Iraq was not a "flip flop" (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Roxy Hope

      As was dissected, explained, and disproven by several fine diarists here.

      And that terminology is TM bullshit and not welcome here. You have reasoned analysis? Bring it. But parroting TM talking points will not win you any fans.

      As well, I note there are 99 other members of the Senate involved with this, as well as the entire House of Representatives. Take it up with them as well.

      If you have an issue with Obama on FISA, make it. But to generalize to how he is as a person and as a leader is not fact-based or fair. It's pathetic.

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

      by alkalinesky on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 07:02:12 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  He has NOT flip-flopped on Iraq (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      alkalinesky

      and the fact that you accuse him of doing this probably means you would never support him under any circumstances.

      •  he has (0+ / 0-)

        he hs flip flop a lot.

        in fact  he has show weakness of characters !!!! not able to defend
        Rev wright shows he is a weak leader  

        •  Bullshit (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          alkalinesky

          That sounds almost like it came straight out of the mouth of Karl Rove.

          •  hahahaha (0+ / 0-)

            i never would vote publican

            dissent  begins at home.

            english is my 2nd language but you understand my point

          •  see its not just me now is everybody (0+ / 0-)

            PORTLAND, Ore. - In the breathless weeks before the Oregon presidential primary in May, Martha Shade did what thousands of other people here did: she registered as a Democrat so she could vote for Senator Barack Obama.

            Now, however, after critics have accused Mr. Obama of shifting positions on issues like the war in Iraq, the Bush administration’s program of wiretapping without warrants, gun control and the death penalty — all in what some view as a shameless play to a general election audience — Ms. Shade said she planned to switch back to the Green Party.

            “I’m disgusted with him,” said Ms. Shade, an artist. “I can’t even listen to him anymore. He had such an opportunity, but all this ‘audacity of hope’ stuff, it’s blah, blah, blah. For all the independents he’s going to gain, he’s going to lose a lot of progressives.”

        •  CNN told me so! (0+ / 0-)

          I am a blithering moron that can't think for myself! Nor can I spell correctly or capitalize proper nouns!

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

          by alkalinesky on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 08:24:25 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  here (0+ / 0-)

            PORTLAND, Ore. - In the breathless weeks before the Oregon presidential primary in May, Martha Shade did what thousands of other people here did: she registered as a Democrat so she could vote for Senator Barack Obama.

            Now, however, after critics have accused Mr. Obama of shifting positions on issues like the war in Iraq, the Bush administration’s program of wiretapping without warrants, gun control and the death penalty — all in what some view as a shameless play to a general election audience — Ms. Shade said she planned to switch back to the Green Party.

            “I’m disgusted with him,” said Ms. Shade, an artist. “I can’t even listen to him anymore. He had such an opportunity, but all this ‘audacity of hope’ stuff, it’s blah, blah, blah. For all the independents he’s going to gain, he’s going to lose a lot of progressives.”

      •  hahahahah (0+ / 0-)

        how about on the fisa bill not a fli flopper ?

    •  Flip Flop on Iraq (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      alkalinesky

      CMN, MSNBC, and others are now in their full "Obama is a flip-flopper" mode", mostly at the behest of the liars in the McSame campaign.  There is no difference between what Obama said during the campaign and what is he is saying now re. Iraq.  He has always qualified his Iraq policy that we should be just as careful getting out as we were careless getting in.  Where were these people then?
      Answer: They were all there but few were listening.  Most were concerned with the "horse race".
      We get enough of these kinds of lies in the MSM.

  •  No Backing Down (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    willibro

    I cannot and will not support anyone who subverts the constitution is this manner or any other for that matter.

  •  E-mailed my Senators this weekend...again! n/t (0+ / 0-)
  •  We should simply debunk the "war on terror" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Quelle

    But we refuse to express the obvious points. If FISA(warrantless surveillance, eavesdropping etc.) were really about protecting us from foreign terrorists, this administration would have also been more serious about tightening our borders/ports/points of entry, enforcing VISA laws etc.
    The problem is our party leadership refuses to express these obvious points, because they're afraid doing that would disaffect Latino voters,  who are not a monolithic voting block on these issues.
    What's more important, standing up for our constitutional rights(debunking the "war on terror"), or pandering to special interest(cheap labor lobby, open border advocates etc.)?
    If we refuse to point out this most obvious contrariety of the "war on terror", then we deserve to lose our rights, because we failed to debunk the "war on terror" when we could have easily done so.
    I know people are going to say there are many ways to debunk the war on terror. But spying on us to "protect us from foreign terrorists", while neglecting our borders and ports, VISA laws(which is how the 911 hijackers remained in the country long enough to set it up) is just too ridiculous for words.
    What's more important, standing up for our constitutional rights(debunking the "war on terror"), or pandering to special interests?

  •  It's not just FISA. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Tx LIberal, Quelle

    It's secrecy within government.

    Accountability and transparency of things like Cheney's Energy Task Force.

    The Office of the Vice-President, that is no longer accountable, one cannot even get a listing of who works in the Office of the Vice-President.

    habeas.

    Systemic violations of the Hatch Act, in multiple agencies.

    Privatization of government functions, given to corporate interests without any right of Congress to oversight. [Think Halliburton, KBR, CACI, Blackwater .. etc].

    Executive Signing Statements and Executive Orders.

    The refusal by the Attorney General of the United States to follow a legally binding order from Congress.

    Some like to say 'Obama is just like McCain'. To them I ask .. which President do you entrust to handle with care the issues [and many others] I outlined above?

    "You know what the real fight is? The real fight is the definition of what is reality." Bernie Sanders

    by shpilk on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 08:20:45 PM PDT

  •  When did America Become a Nation of Fraidycats? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mzinformed, Black Leather Rain

    Time was when Japan attacked us at Pearl Harbor and America responded with great bravery...and our President reminded us that "all we had to fear was fear itself".

    Not so long ago "someone" attacked the World Trade Center, and our president said "Be afraid...be very afraid". And then he said "I will keep you safe"
    (he had done such a swell job thus far, so we believed him)..."just surrender some of your Constitutional rights".

    Because a handful of terrorists with box cutters were able to pull off a once-in-a-lifetime hijacking, we behaved like sheep and said "Sure, do whatever you think is necessary...just keep us safe". What crap.

    FDR challenged us to greatness and we responded heroically. But a fear-mongering Bush called us to submission and we behave like cowards.

    Time was when the attitude of the average American was something like a New York city street tough's response: "You can kill me, but you won't kill America... we are a FREE PEOPLE and we will fight to stay that way ". That was how our Greatest Generation responded.

    And that's how we should have responded to 9/11, and would have done so...If our so-called "leader" had been up to the job. But he had an "agenda" of his own. It was an oilman's agenda, and it involved invasion of Iraq. And so, instead of calling this great country to bravery, he called us to cowardice (and reprisal) because that tactic allowed him to use 9/11 as AN EXCUSE to pursue his secret agenda.

    A better man would have told us "We took a hit today, and many Americans died. But we are not going to allow a handful of terrorists destroy our open society or our way of life". We could have gone on being the open (and confident) people that we had been on 9/10, but instead we build explosion barriers, and take off our shoes to board planes.

    I have a suggestion more in keeping with the brave self-confident spirit that settled the West and built this great country: Do away with the shoeless boarding and the hour-long wait to board a plane.
    Just hand every able-bodied passenger a four-foot walking stick at boarding time, and trust the great mass of passengers to do whatever is necessary if a few bad apples wind up on the flight. We have spent uncounted millions to close the barn door after a dozen or so scoundrels with box-cutters. What idiocy.

    So in keeping with this spirit of self-reliant bravery that I am advocating...let the FISA law expire! A bad law is worse than no law. Protecting our Constitutional freedoms is MORE IMPORTANT than protecting our lives. We used to know this. We MUST relearn it. And Democrats in the House and in the Senate better learn NOT to compromise on our Constitutional rights ...or we sure as hell NEED to replace the lot of them with folks who are worthy of that "Greatest Generation".

  •  He's gotten a look at the ring, and I am afraid. (3+ / 0-)

    No man willingly cedes power. Not only am I enraged that it will probably pass (barring a miracle- pray for a miracle), it will allow for George W. Bush to walk away scot free.  As I take it, Glenn Greenwald believes that without the civil lawsuits (to be dismissed), there is no legal recourse against Bush for his guilt.  The Telcos aren't that much in a snit (if you haven't noticed) because they certainly have some document that has King Geo. stating that they're not liable for monetary restitution in case of of guilt from civil litigation!  I worked for the phone company and know they make obscene amounts of money.  As of January of this year (2008) they have spent close to $200 million in lobbying monies to buy up the votes for said immunity.  Hell, it's my understanding that a legal team from AT&T drafted this bill!  That grants them immunity!?!  So not only will Bush, Cheney, Adington, Woo, Rice and the rest get away with murder (our troops), Bush gets to keep that smirk that has enraged the whole planet.  For your god's sake, join ACT BLUE, bug your Pols, Buy Vincent Bugliosi's book "The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder", kindly inform the ignorant of the ramifications of this terrible 4th Amendment RAPE and finally but the most important of all- Get a firm statement (no waffling) from Obama that this will get repealed.  If he keeps looking at the ring, I fear his soul will corrupt like Bushes has.  No man willingly cedes power.

  •  Time to start (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Tx LIberal, Black Leather Rain

    It is time to start weeding out the REPUBLICAN lights in the DEMOCRATIC party starting with PELOSI, Reid, Hoyea , and Rockfella, and all the BUSH DOGS NEXT

    •  Who are we kidding... (0+ / 0-)

      To think that even with Obama in the WH, the spineless among our side either won't keep selling out everyone's rights or have the "Oh, but we've got to worry about the NEXT election" mentality (can't dare risk offending people!)

  •  It's good to see these "Dems" take a stand, even (0+ / 0-)

    one as shitty, as wrong-headed, as this.  It helps to clearly identfy the ones that need to be busted back to local dog-catcher or LIEbermaned from the party, pronto!!

    You don't negotiate with fascists, you defeat them in the name of democracy. --Ambr. Joe Wilson

    by FightTheFuture on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 07:08:56 AM PDT

  •  Try O'Bama's King Size Waffles Today! (0+ / 0-)

    Wanna know where he stands on FISA?
    Ask Him Today!

    (Answer may vary from yesterday...depends on the WIND)

    O'Bama's King Size Waffles
    are now being served with LIVE ENTERTAINMENT!

    Watch the AMAZING O'BAMA snatch DEFEAT
    Out of the JAWS OF VICTORY!!!

    It's absolutely BREATHTAKING...
    Try som O'BAMA Today

    He's REPUBLICAN LITE!!!

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