I Don’t Think “Accountability” Means What Obama Thinks It Does

Obama’s statement on FISA:

I want to take this opportunity to speak directly to those of you who oppose my decision to support the FISA compromise.

This was not an easy call for me. 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. It grants retroactive immunity to telecommunications companies that may have violated the law by cooperating with the Bush Administration’s program of warrantless wiretapping. This potentially weakens the deterrent effect of the law and removes an important tool for the American people to demand accountability for past abuses. That’s why I support striking Title II from the bill, and will work with Chris Dodd, Jeff Bingaman and others in an effort to remove this provision in the Senate.

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. In a dangerous world, government must have the authority to collect the intelligence we need to protect the American people. But in a free society, that authority cannot be unlimited. As I’ve said many times, an independent monitor must watch the watchers to prevent abuses and to protect the civil liberties of the American people. This compromise law assures that the FISA court has that responsibility

The Inspectors General report also provides a real mechanism for accountability and should not be discounted. It will allow a close look at past misconduct without hurdles that would exist in federal court because of classification issues. The recent investigation uncovering the illegal politicization of Justice Department hiring sets a strong example of the accountability that can come from a tough and thorough IG report.

The ability to monitor and track individuals who want to attack the United States is a vital counter-terrorism tool, and I’m persuaded that it is necessary to keep the American people safe — particularly since certain electronic surveillance orders will begin to expire later this summer. Given the choice between voting for an improved yet imperfect bill, and losing important surveillance tools, I’ve chosen to support the current compromise. I do so with the firm intention — once I’m sworn in as President — to have my Attorney General conduct a comprehensive review of all our surveillance programs, and to make further recommendations on any steps needed to preserve civil liberties and to prevent executive branch abuse in the future.

Now, I understand why some of you feel differently about the current bill, and I’m happy to take my lumps on this side and elsewhere. For the truth is that your organizing, your activism and your passion is an important reason why this bill is better than previous versions. No tool has been more important in focusing peoples’ attention on the abuses of executive power in this Administration than the active and sustained engagement of American citizens. That holds true — not just on wiretapping, but on a range of issues where Washington has let the American people down.

I learned long ago, when working as an organizer on the South Side of Chicago, that when citizens join their voices together, they can hold their leaders accountable. I’m not exempt from that. I’m certainly not perfect, and expect to be held accountable too. I cannot promise to agree with you on every issue. But I do promise to listen to your concerns, take them seriously, and seek to earn your ongoing support to change the country. That is why we have built the largest grassroots campaign in the history of presidential politics, and that is the kind of White House that I intend to run as President of the United States — a White House that takes the Constitution seriously, conducts the peoples’ business out in the open, welcomes and listens to dissenting views, and asks you to play your part in shaping our country’s destiny.

Democracy cannot exist without strong differences. And going forward, some of you may decide that my FISA position is a deal breaker. That’s ok. But I think it is worth pointing out that our agreement on the vast majority of issues that matter outweighs the differences we may have. After all, the choice in this election could not be clearer. Whether it is the economy, foreign policy, or the Supreme Court, my opponent has embraced the failed course of the last eight years, while I want to take this country in a new direction. Make no mistake: if John McCain is elected, the fundamental direction of this country that we love will not change. But if we come together, we have an historic opportunity to chart a new course, a better course.

So I appreciate the feedback through my.barackobama.com, and I look forward to continuing the conversation in the months and years to come. Together, we have a lot of work to do. [my emphasis]

Here’s my biggest problem with this statement. Obama says the IG report on politicization is a great example of accountability. Well, here’s what that report said about accountability:

However, because both McDonald and Elston have resigned from the Department, they are no longer subject to discipline by the Department for their actions. Nevertheless, we recommend that the Department consider the findings in this report should either McDonald or Elston apply in the future for another position with the Department.

In other words, the IG report on politicization at DOJ found that Mike Elston and Esther McDonald had broken the law. But it admitted that DOJ was unable to hold them accountable for their actions–because too much time had elapsed, because they had both snuck off to sinecures in swank Republican law firms, and because the Inspector General really couldn’t hold them accountable directly.

So next year, when we get this vaunted IG report on the illegal wiretapping, it’ll include a passage that says:

However, because the five year statute of limitations has passed and because former President Bush, former White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales, former Chief of Staff Andy Card, and former Vice President Cheney are no longer in office, the culprits are no longer subject to legal consequences for their actions. Nevertheless, we recommend the American people consider the findings in this report should George Bush ever try to run for President again.

Nah. I don’t call that accountability either.

Marcy has been blogging full time since 2007. She’s known for her live-blogging of the Scooter Libby trial, her discovery of the number of times Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was waterboarded, and generally for her weedy analysis of document dumps.

Marcy Wheeler is an independent journalist writing about national security and civil liberties. She writes as emptywheel at her eponymous blog, publishes at outlets including the Guardian, Salon, and the Progressive, and appears frequently on television and radio. She is the author of Anatomy of Deceit, a primer on the CIA leak investigation, and liveblogged the Scooter Libby trial.

Marcy has a PhD from the University of Michigan, where she researched the “feuilleton,” a short conversational newspaper form that has proven important in times of heightened censorship. Before and after her time in academics, Marcy provided documentation consulting for corporations in the auto, tech, and energy industries. She lives with her spouse and dog in Grand Rapids, MI.

  1. PJEvans says:

    I just was over at his site commenting on this statement.

    I specifically mentioned basket warrants and lack of minimization as reasons to vote against it, along with that wonderful redefinition of WMDs.
    (Yes, I’m in that really large group. I figure it’s added leverage.)

    I expect better from him. He ought to be capable of understanding the ins and outs and implications of this piece-o-crap bill.

    • PetePierce says:

      I hope you copied your comments to the pressure point that matters on FISA at Camp Obama where they will be read because putting them on the web site is nice, and it makes you feel good but no one who counts as to his position is going to really read it there. Copy to Greg Craig at his Williams and Connolly email:

      202-434-5506 (phone)
      202-434-5760 (fax)

      [email protected]

      • PJEvans says:

        That was on the thread where his staffers were taking comments on his statement. I was lucky enough to (I think) get in realatively early – before it hit 400 comments. It was at least 800 when I checked last.

        I’m trying to write a post for the theoretical blog over there. I gotta put together a decent set of arguments for why the Constitution seems to be written with ‘don’t trust the gummint’ as the subtext (what do you think ‘checks and balances’ is about?), and what precisely is so bad about this piece-o-crap bill. If I can get it together decently, I might throw it out someplace else ….

        • Fractal says:

          Is this the fax for Greg Craig?

          202-434-5760 (fax)

          Because it is NOT the fax for Barack’s Senate office.

          • PetePierce says:

            I tried to be clear. I linked Greg Craig’s web page from Williams and Connolly.

            I encourage you to fax and email Greg Craig directly. He’s the major player in Obama’s insipid disingenuous FISA bullshit and FISA is a huge constitutional fuck you to you from your Congress. The contact info is below:

            Gregory B. Craig
            Partner
            202-434-5506 (phone)
            202-434-5760 (fax)
            [email protected]

            Williams & Connolly LLP
            725 Twelfth St., N.W.
            Washington, D.C. 20005

            If you email Craig he’ll read it. If you comment on those pages on Obama’s website, you’re purging yourself and no one who counts as to FISA is going to pay much attention. It’s fine to post on blogs, but copy your posts to Craig so he’ll get the message that people aren’t naive and as stupid as he and Obama have assumed as to FISA and that it is a huge fucking deal to be articulate and classy.

            And I want to be clear here. Bmaz, EW and the rest of the commenters have done a terrific job and the Lake headliner lawyuhs LHP and Christy as has Jane in making the components clear of this bill.

            But what we haven’t talked about is this. This law is going to ensnare and fuck up the lives of a large number of people who are perfectly innocent and not terrorists and saddle them with huge legal bills and horror stories for lives. It renders court review essentially feckless.

            Marcy has also done a good job of identifying all kinds of other eaves dropping obscure programs that are very pervasive from obscure agencies that are under the radar over the last couple years as has http://www.eff.org and their Deep Links Blog

          • PetePierce says:

            Obama’s Washington D.C. Office
            713 Hart Senate Office Building
            Washington, D.C. 20510
            (202) 224-2854
            (202) 228-4260 fax
            (202 228-1404 TDD

            Chicago Office
            John C. Kluczynski Federal Office Building
            230 South Dearborn St.
            Suite 3900 (39th floor)
            Chicago, Illinois 60604
            (312) 886-3506
            (312) 886-3514 fax
            Toll free: (866) 445-2520

            Contacting these will be an exercise in futility at this point. Emailing Greg Craig will get your point of view read by someone key in the Obama campaign.

            • Fractal says:

              Here’s the beautiful insight: the “Chicago Office” you listed is the Senatorial office, which is, I agree, a TOTAL waste of time because they are *not allowed* to have anything to do with the campaign for any political office.

              So, for Fighting FISA, this would be the right place to HOLD A PICKET LINE ON FRIDAY, JULY 4, to protest Barack’s FISA cave-in (please include HUGE signs):

              Chicago Office
              John C. Kluczynski Federal Office Building
              230 South Dearborn St.
              Suite 3900 (39th floor)
              Chicago, Illinois 60604
              (312) 886-3506
              (312) 886-3514 fax

              HOWEVER, please also include the Presidential Campaign Office for Barack over at 222 Michigan Avenue, in the heart of the city. Barack’s presidential war-room. Where he has a fax (312) 819-2088, and a phone (312) 819-2008.

              Don’t get fooled by those tricky “88s.”

              The fax has an “88″ but the phone has “2008.” ‘Cuz that’s the year we are going to elect Barack as our preznit, in 2008!

              • PetePierce says:

                I like the idea of pickets and I also hope people who have been excellent commenters on FISA will let Greg Craig have it on his email. I am always appalled at the perception of these people that everyone is stupid or else they feel like nothing stops them from doing whatever they want.

                • Fractal says:

                  heh. totally what you said.

                  BTW, the Obama for America war room is NOT where I said before.

                  Obama for America is at this address:

                  233 N MICHIGAN AVE
                  CHICAGO IL 60601

                  I am still working on which floor, the cross-streets, etc. But Michigan Ave. is totally manageable for any downtown manifestation.

                  • PetePierce says:

                    It is if you’re in Chicago. Great town when you don’t have to go to a meeting there every year on Dec. 1 like I did for awhile. Then the streets seem abandoned at night when it gets really cold.

                    • Fractal says:

                      I did college at UofC, at the even much more frozen “midway” down on South Blackstone. Same ‘hood which Barack claims as his stomping ground: Hyde Park.

                      Rarely did we venture into the totally frozen uptown in winter, we had our own problems just dragging our asses through the snow piled up in the “Midway.”

      • PJEvans says:

        Now that I’ve retrieved my particular comment over there (saved that thread to my local, then searched the HTML code with my handy HTML editor – and it’s more than 2MB of thread now) here it is for your amusement:

        ‘Given the choice between voting for an improved yet imperfect bill, and losing important surveillance tools,’

        Oh cr*p.
        The bill is not necessary. We are not going to lose any important surveillance tools, because the previous version of FISA is *not* expiring, and it gives the various agencies all the tools they need, including allowing surveillance for 72 hours before getting a warrant. (I remind you that the judges have issued warrants more than 99 percent of the time. Clearly they have no problems with FISA!)
        What this bill *does* do is give the government *unlimited* surveillance of anyone they want – everyone, in fact, since it allows basket warrants and doesn’t require minimization, and doesn’t draw distinctions between an American citizen and anyone else in another country.
        (Among other things we don’t need in this bill. It also redefines ‘weapons of mass destruction’ to include damned near everything that can kill more than one person at a time. That’s bad, too.)

        I’d hope that Obama, as a teacher of constitutional law, would have more sense than to support a bill that, in effect, overrides the 4th amendment and its requirement that ‘NO WARRANT SHALL ISSUE BUT UPON PROBABLE CAUSE’.

  2. JTMinIA says:

    My biggest problem with this is all the talk about exclusivity. This isn’t needed. It’s already in FISA (according to everyone except Yoo). In fact, even suggesting that exclusivity is needed is a neat way to provide cover to the current admin since it suggests that it isn’t in there already.

    My second problem is identical to EW’s. Given the complete lack of teeth in the mouths of IGs, who are not particularly independent to start with, the idea that we can rely on IGs to protect us is nonsense.

  3. pseudonymousinnc says:

    My biggest problem with all this is that the open-secret FourthBranch position is that FISA is unconstitutional; by caving, the Democrats ensure that FourthBranch and his lawyers don’t have to put that to the test. They’re paying the Danegeld.

    • bmaz says:

      I’ll be honest, I think there are portions of FISA that are unconstitutional too. That is not a valid excuse to exceed even those rules and goo completely off the edge of legality and blow up the Constitution in the process.

  4. rosalind says:

    my favorite question to one of the obama staffers a little while ago on the barack site:

    Denis, can you be more specific as to what technological changes render FISA ‘78 inadequate or obsolete?

    Did somebody, for instance, develop technology that enabled us to access a time that is sooner than “right now?”

    • john in sacramento says:

      drive by …

      Did somebody, for instance, develop technology that enabled us to access a time that is sooner than “right now?”

      Is that a discussion about when the gov is allowed to wiretap someone? And if they have to “wait” for a warrant?

      Looseheadprop knocked down that fallacy last year

      http://firedoglake.com/2007/11…..time-bomb/

  5. bobschacht says:

    I am also one of those signed up for the myObama FISA protest site. I, too, am disappointed with his response. But I console myself with this: It at least shows that he was listening, and paying some (but not enough) attention. We need to keep on pushing, and hopefully take down this embarrassing piece of legislation altogether.

    Ultreya!
    Si, se puede!

    Bob in HI

  6. JimWhite says:

    If this were the only disappointment from Obama, it would be easier to digest the rationale his is giving here. But, when that is coupled with the faith-based initiative crap, throwing Wes Clark under the bus and now today’s “rethinking” on an Iraq withdrawal timetable, it really looks to me like he is trying to throw the election. How can he expect people not to understand that he is being just as cynical and craven as McCain in abandoning everything he should stand for in a mad grab for the Oval Office?

    Our country faces dark days, indeed.

  7. bmaz says:

    Oh, and another thing, if Obama is going to be working so hard to “strip immunity”

    That’s why I support striking Title II from the bill, and will work with Chris Dodd, Jeff Bingaman and others in an effort to remove this provision in the Senate.

    Why did he forget to even be a fucking co-sponsor with Dodd-Feingold and Bingaman? What a huge crock of horse dung. This statement is insulting; worse than if the jerk had just shut up and said nothing.

  8. selise says:

    i don’t like the direction obama has taken in the last couple of weeks in lots of areas (his economic advisors, nafta, his foreign policy advisors, his apaic speech…) — but there are two fundamental issues for me that are really hard to overlook. one is the issue of our constitutional protections and balance of powers. i want a to support someone who wants to be president – and not a king. obama blew that one with his support of h.r.6304.

    the second issue for me is that i HATE being lied to, spun, manipulated and bullshit. when a president (or a presidential candidate) does that we are being told in no uncertain terms that they do not believe in an informed citizenry or in any kind of self government.

    obama is now 0/2.

    happy birthday america.

    • bobschacht says:

      i don’t like the direction obama has taken in the last couple of weeks in lots of areas (his economic advisors, nafta, his foreign policy advisors, his apaic speech…)

      Note the timing here: the “new direction” correlates precisely with Hillary’s dropping out and Obama’s attempt to corral her supporters.

      Is it Hillary’s supporters (i.e., voters) who are driving this, or is it her advisers that Barack is now listening to more often?

      Bob in HI

      • RieszFischer says:

        That’s it! It’s Hillary’s fault!

        OMG, that’s brilliant! Why couldn’t I see it?

        • tbsa says:

          I know…. You’d think someone could come up with something a little more original. HRC has NOTHING to do with how BO votes. And she isn’t the presumptive candidate running to be the next POTUS.

          • RieszFischer says:

            Can’t you see how it all fits? Bill and Hill deliberately battered Obama in the primary and stayed in long after everyone could see it was over. Then they snuck their own operatives into his campaign to force him to the right so he would lose his base and therefore lose the election. Then the table would be set for Hill in 2012.

            You’re a genius, Bob in HI! You will be the next Pumpkinhead!

            • bobschacht says:

              You wanna make me a punkin’head crown that I can wear in the 4th of July parade tomorrow? (*g*)

              Thanks for your endorsement, or whatever it was (*g*)

              Bob in HI

        • bobschacht says:

          I asked a QUESTION. If you don’t like this possible answer, how do you explain the apparent sudden shift, at that time? And please note, I did not tag Hillary, but primarily her advisers, who are primarily inside-the-beltway DLC types. And Bill.

          I guess you could claim that since he now isn’t competing with her anymore, he is now free to court her supporters. If so, shy, pray tell, wasn’t he courting her supporters while he was running against her?

          I’m looking for answers, not claiming to have found one.

          Bob in HI

      • emptywheel says:

        You ask me, and I’d say Mark Penn snuck into Obama’s inner circle, but you’d think at least the secret service would tell us if something that dangerous had happened…

      • selise says:

        don’t know but guess that obama tried to carve out a position just barely to the left of clinton during the primary. now that is not necessary since there is no one to challenge him from that direction… he has freedom to move where he wants.

  9. Mary says:

    Well, gee – Arar gets exoneration and compensation from Canada for the DOJ/CIA torture renditions – but US case is tossed and Congress and those wonderful “Inspector Generals” (appointed by the President) do nothing

    CIA torture rendition in Italy facing prosecutions – but IGs and Congress do nothing.

    Now Sweden is acknowledging it’s role in a CIA torture rendition and paying compenstion
    http://talkingpointsmemo.com/n…..onerat.php
    – IGs and COngress do nothing

    Obama calls the DOJ hiring illegal – but neglects to mention NO ONE IS BEING CHARGED (as EW points out, but I just had to as well – it’s so damn insulting that he thinks we are clueless!) As a matter of fact, Elston has been hired on as a partner at McGuireWoods and everyone has the nerve to list as his area of expertise: Government Investigations.

    And the push on illegal practices didn’t come from the IGs either, did it? Despite it being well known and widely acknowledged throughout DOJ (that someone had, for example, been “Monica’d”) it was going on and on with no recourse, but for the blogs getting involved and refusing to let go. The IG didn’t initiate ANYTHING! And does Obama mention the OPR review that was supposed to happen and got shut down and that the IG said, ‘uh, golly, I can’t do nuttin about no secret program stuff ceptin send it all on to OPR’

    What a freaking insulting farce.

  10. AdAstra says:

    A quick drive-by here from Butte, Montana. I’ll be one of the 2,000 having an Independence Day picnic tomorrow with the Obama family. Don’t expect to have any personal words with him, but I know that he is still a better hope than McCain. This recent stuff is disappointing, yes, but he has always been more centrist than I w ould like. I’m putting my hopes on his health care plan, rather than McCain’s. I keep telling my daughter that the perfect is the enemy of the good (she’s quite the perfectionist). But there is no denying that this could be incredibly demoralizing, if I let it be. It makes one wonder if they “got ahold of him.”

      • Strategerie says:

        What she said.

        The “perfect may be the enemy of the good”, but this isn’t even good. What more does Obama need to know that millions and MILLIONS of those who’ve written, called, e-mailed, FAXED, showed up at town hall meetings, etcetera, feel like he just slapped us in the face?

        As others have said, if this was the only poor decision, I’d take it with a grain of salt. It’s a series of bad decisions, which continues on.

        -S

    • bmaz says:

      Yep, I second EW. It doesn’t make him a bad man, and it doesn’t mean he isn’t the best hope we have. He seems like a decent chap and he is the best hope we have at this point. He will therefore have every bit of my support. But, if for no other reason than SCOTUS, he would have anyway; he did not need to try to take us for cheap fools in the process. But, hey, what politician doesn’t? Have a great time there, it is a rare honor no matter what!

  11. BargainCountertenor says:

    How about this as a compromise:

    (1) The TelCo’s can have immunity, the Government is substituted as defendent.
    (2) The Statute of Limitations is extended to 16 years from the date of the action.

    Point 1 was under discussion last year. I’d like to see AT&T held responsible, but more than holding some corporate structure responsible, I want to know exactly what went on. Extend the SoL, and we find out, right?

    BC

    • Novista says:

      Hmmm, re SoL …

      Since it’s implicit that the Constitution does not have a SoL, why should misconduct in the highest offices in the country be different?

    • MarkH says:

      How about this as a compromise:

      (1) The TelCo’s can have immunity, the Government is substituted as defendent.
      (2) The Statute of Limitations is extended to 16 years from the date of the action.

      Point 1 was under discussion last year. I’d like to see AT&T held responsible, but more than holding some corporate structure responsible, I want to know exactly what went on. Extend the SoL, and we find out, right?

      I wasn’t aware there was a SoL which was very limited. What you suggest sounds very good since it’s very likely we’ll have a Dem administration which will allow said suits to go forward. Would existing suits be able to hang in there and continue?

      Of course, one would have to continue to make sure telecoms aren’t forgiven for non-national-security spying.

      Sounds like a good way to ensure the things we want.

      • PetePierce says:

        Having the government sub as a defendant is a terrible idea. State Secrets is alive and vibrant. With few exceptions the federal appellate judiciary and most of the trial hacks are cowed and compliant. Your Supreme Court has already proved it cannot even muster four cert. votes to hear any appeals when the D.C. Circuit and others have screwed and buried information in the Sybel Edmonds case and torture cases waving the State Secrets excuse.

        Any kind of immunity or substitution is a shell game aimed at the naieve and it will bury what really happened as to the coverup writ large by your Democratic Representatives and Senators and the usual suspects in the Bush administration.

  12. Mary says:

    Well, apparently he’s taken over the Bush crown of “guy you want to have over to the barbeque”

    You know a really good compromise? The telecoms have immunity, their officers and directors who participated don’t. THAT would put some accountablity on the table.

    bmaz, as someone who deals with horse dung every day – don’t insult it. What a huge crock of horse dung.

    • druidity36 says:

      I, personally, would never insult horse dung. It seems to do wonders for my raspberries. And i think it keeps the deer away! (My neighbors bushes have been pinched, but not mine!)

      Cheers…

    • AngryB says:

      Mary, not a bad solution. Scare the tel-com’s, provide a “bad guy(s)”/cover for the yes vote. Now if only the politicians can wean themselves off the tel-com’s tit, because they are going to serve up lots of milk and honey to entice full immunity for everyone.

  13. AdAstra says:

    Thanks, ew. And a good Fourth to all of you too. This will be my first fourth in the US of A since 2004. Actually, my favorite Fourths were up in northern Alaska, complete with three legged races, egg races, fancy parkas, and Inupiat dances late into the sunny night.

    All over this country, it will be great to reclaim this country’s birthday for a celebration of the values of citizen government.

    Signing off now, Ad Astra (To the Stars, through difficulties)

  14. allan says:

    I love the smell of triangulation in the morning.

    Not to pat myself on the back or anything,
    but I did warn, in a comment several months ago,
    that any candidate that Andrew Sullivan had
    such a hardon enthusiasm for
    had to have be seriously defective.

    (See Thatcher, Margaret; Reagan, Ronald; Bush, George; and Blair, Tony.)

  15. ptbridgeport says:

    I wonder whether it’s even possible to extend the statue of limitations on an offense that’s already past. Wouldn’t that amount to an ex post facto law?

  16. wigwam says:

    Hmmmmm:

    […] I also believe that the compromise bill [presumably H.R. 6304] is far better than the Protect America Act that I voted against last year [and which expired last February, and is therefore irrelevant]. The exclusivity provision makes it clear to any President or telecommunications company that no law supersedes the authority of the FISA court [which the current law, FISA, already does].

    What in God’s name is this guy talking about?

    • bmaz says:

      Mary won’t let me use my normal nomenclature (see 17 above); but suffice it to say that Obama is blowing that substance out his rear.

        • bmaz says:

          It is complete gobbledygook BS. What the hell makes this “exclusivity” any more “exclusive” than the last “exclusivity” that Bush ignored? Obama is either lying, ignorant or both. It is that simple.

          • wigwam says:

            I see no point to cutting him any slack on this bullshit. This is very insulting behavior on his part.

  17. perris says:

    here’s the answer to obama, the only answer;

    “if you don’t like the bill, don’t pass it, if you want a better bill, draft it, if the president refuses to sign the better bill, tough crap”

    • perris says:

      we DO NOT want the “protect america act’, it ATTACKS americans it does NOT protect them

      we DO NOT want the “clean air” bill, it allows industry to dump their CRAP in our air

      we DO NOT want “the patriot act”, it was plagerized from hitler’s enabling act and it is the FURTHEST thing from “patriotic”

      we DO NOT want “the energy bill” which raises our fuel costs, depletes our reserves, uses MORE fuel, weakens the market and destroys the economy

      we DO NOT want the “no child left behind act”, it underfunds, undermines and destroys our educational system

      WE DO NOT WANT THE PROTECT AMERICA ACT, it is a TYPICAL “act” from this administration that does the OPOSISTE of what the title of the bill suggests

      anyone else with some bills to drive the point home, please chime in

      fisa is FINE without the “protect america act”

      • perris says:

        anyone else with some bills to drive the point home, please chime in

        ok, this is a BIG one because we will see the repercussions in just a few months;

        we DO NOT want the “help america vote act”, IT FORCES US TO USE MACHINES WE KNOW FLIP VOTES FOR REPUBLICANS, THAT WE KNOW A CHILD CAN HACK, THAT WE KNOW IS PRODUCED BY THE REPUBLICANS AND THEIR PALS

        man, we better do something about that before it’s too late, what is the brad blog saying about this state of sorry affairs?

  18. KayInMaine says:

    Personally, I liked what Keith Olbermann said the other night during one of his Special Comments (on FISA and directed to Obama). He said Obama is damned if he does and damned if he doesn’t. Very true. The only immunity right now in the current bill is immunity from civil suits. Barack Obama, once he’s president, can go after George Bush, the telecoms, and others who helped in breaking the law criminally.

    • tbsa says:

      He also said Obama should go ahead and vote NO, because either way the republics would say he was soft on national security.

              • KayInMaine says:

                Hi Perris. I plan to. Why? Is “someone” coming over to hurt me now? LOL Just kidding. Actually, I’m working in the morning and then joining friends in the afternoon for a lobstah bake (lobstahs, steamahs, and cown).

                • perris says:

                  depends on what you mean by “hurt”, I love when my girlfriend comes over to “hurt” me

                  *g*

    • wigwam says:

      bmaz and emptywheel have done analyses during the past week or so on the plausibility of criminal prosecutions, taking into account pardons and statutes of limitations, etc. Bet on Satan starting for the NHL.

      • KayInMaine says:

        Well, you guys can be cynical about it if you want to. Nancy Pelosi didn’t have to bring it to the fucking floor for a vote, so if you’re gonna be fucking pissed at anyone, you should start there! But hey, there are some who are just more comfortable being cynical than rational.

        • wigwam says:

          Good God. At #35 I was not being cynical at all. I was referring to the liklihood of criminal prosecutions (assuming our numbers are the same, which they aren’t always) and was relying on bmaz’s analysis. But that okay, I’ve been very cynical, and will be again soon. So your rebuke is not inappropriate.

        • tbsa says:

          Nanacy Pelosi is a worthless bitch, if she wouldn’t have taken impeachment off the table the country might be a tad better for it. Don’t take for granted I for one am not pissed as hell at her.

          • perris says:

            the real problem with pelosi is she exposed her hand, if impeachment WAS on the table the president would have had more pressure against breaking our law

              • perris says:

                that is what happened, he keeps pushing the envelope since impeachment is off the table.

                it doesn’t matter if she knew it was off the table, what matters most is that the president knew it

                  • perris says:

                    of course she could have, we were counting on it, the president was counting on her not changing her mind

                    realistically, if we were told before the election even one of the impeachable offenses this president would brazenly commit, every one of us would have guessed there would be articles of impeachment considered

                    now it seems we are battered wives, the more he destroys this country and her constitution the more we expect him to do it

                    and he laughs

                    • RevBev says:

                      Im glad you said laughs. I saw him again today at the new Veteran’s hospital. I swear he was yukking it up as he did the dance. The other guys with the shovels were not yukking….but he’s the Pres. Thanks

  19. RevBev says:

    Well, Cindy has picked a really ugly dress for her trip. But Obama is getting headlines for even now “tweaking” his war position. He may be moving toward the center; he has certainly lost his gift for rhetoric. I am thinking Michelle needs to explain to him what is happening.

  20. Jkat says:

    all i’ve got to say is “oh horsehockey” ..

    tell ya what .. i’m going to fly old glory upside down all weekend .. and just below it ..flappin’ in the breeze ..will be the gadsden [don’t tread on me] flag i’ve taken off the basement wall for the first time since 9.11.01 ..

    i’ll still be supporting obama .. but ya know what .. this was the first election for me since ‘68 when i really thought i had a chance to not vote for “the lesser of two evils” .. i kinda hate to lose that .. but fate is what fate is ..

    and this old banged up former harhead-flyboy wishes y’all all a very safe and prosperous and fulfilling fourth-o-july weekend ..

    bmaz .. keep pluggin’ .. EW .. stay the course .. y’all are truly fine examples of the very best your generation has to offer ..

    as i am slowly “drawn through the weirs of age” .. it’s comforting to know that it’s folks like y’all who will carry our flag forward .. there IS Hope .. but i lodge it folks like y’all ..

    gawd bless ya .. and semper fi ..

  21. wigwam says:

    i’ll still be supporting obama .. but ya know what .. this was the first election for me since ‘68 when i really thought i had a chance to not vote for “the lesser of two evils” .. i kinda hate to lose that .. but fate is what fate is ..

    Dooooood!

  22. allan says:

    Having now taken the time to read Obama’s statement,
    I can confidently say that, on the basis of the deep understanding
    that it conveys of the issues involved,
    the statement was written by Joe Klein.

    Or Joe Lieberman.

    OT. On a brighter note: EW has finally caught the notice of the lunatic fringe:

    I bet at least half of the netleft are failed professors, over-educated literary theory PHDs,

    • perris says:

      ANY statement saying he thinks the bill is acceptable at ALL gives any democrats license to vote for it, and it gives telecoms license to deal for the democrats votes

      nothing short of saying the bill is flawed and should not even come to the floor is acceptable, that statement will give a new filibuster legs

    • emptywheel says:

      Sweet, an excuse to replay one of my favorite blog posts evah:

      Welcome to My Personal Half of the Lefty Blogosphere

      Apparently, I’m famous and powerful, both as Marcy Wheeler and emptywheel, thanks to my crafty use of the Toobz. That must be true, because AFAIK, I am the only “over-educated literary theory PHD” that I know of in the lefty blogosphere (though I suspect Bitch PhD may qualify), and Eli Lake says we–meaning me, I guess–make up half the lefty blogosphere.

      I bet at least half of the netleft are failed professors, over-educated literary theory PHDs, who make themselves appear more numerous than they are through their anonymity and deliberate manipulation of google. Their real audience are the technocrat staffers for Dems on the Hill, who agreed with them that their bosses were pushovers during the Bush presidency.

      What if the netleft, that has created the impression that there is a rising plurality that would like to abandon Iraqis to Qaeda, Quds and the Ba’ath, are just a few thousand committed Marxists in their pajamas? What if the Dems have strategically miscalculated? What if their over-compensation is to appease a vocal 1 percent of the electorate that actually draws contempt from the rest of the country?

      I’m actually quite chuffed that Lake is so fearful of my power to convince technocrat Hill staffers that over 60% of the country wants out of Iraq now. Something must be wrong with my vast network of influence, though, because I have yet to convince the same technocrats that the warmongering on Iran is counter-productive, that we’d be far better off focusing our energy on Pakistan, and that we’d be better off still finding alternative energy sources and combating global warming. Perhaps I’m so ineffective, in my personal half of the blogosphere, because I’ve been wasting my time trying to convince non-technocrats who aren’t even on the Hill that OVP deliberately outed Valerie Plame and any attempt to pardon Libby only exacerbates clear obstruction of justice.

      And FWIW, Eli, a little something you should know about Marxists, at least the ones I hung out with in the true depths of the literary theory crowd, the Comparative Literature field. Marxists wear Gucci boots and very dapper hip suits and they are by and large very sexy and well-dressed. They don’t wear pajamas. Ever, I suspect, but then I’m not really speaking from personal experience there. In fact, the pajama thing may be why I bailed on the whole academic thing, because I could never justify Gucci boots to myself when a pair of sweats and some Keen sandals served perfectly well in their stead. Just in case you don’t want to look like a totally ignorant fuck when you talk about these cultures that scare you so much…

      And don’t get me started on the meaning of the word “anonymity.”

      l

      • bmaz says:

        Wait a minute now. You mean Marxists don’t wear any of them fancy dan orange sandals??? Aw jeez, you mean this hobo has been freeloading on the wrong train all this time? Oh my….

        • JThomason says:

          I always thought that a true Marxist with a burning faith in technological opulence was easily distinguishable,fashionably speaking, from you average Luddite DFH. I am telling you, I am categorically challenged in a very profound way.

  23. KayInMaine says:

    Are we going to blame Barack for 9/11, the anthrax attacks, Cheney’s secret energy policies, and for Nancy Pelosi’s stupid dumbass moves too?

    *tapping chin* What else could we blame Barack on?

  24. Jkat says:

    i agree with ya kalyn .. pelosi didn’t have to take the bill to the floor .. neither did harry reid .. all this would have been sooo mcuh better if they put a patch on the authority to continue the “specific surveillance” that’s so damn important to continue .. whatever the hell it might be ..

    but take some advice .. never invest much personal faith in politicians .. save it for the constitution ..

    • bmaz says:

      That is absolutely right; and i have utter contempt for those two. However, the Presidential nominee of the Democratic party is the titular head; if Obama had wanted this bill stopped by those two, it would have been stopped. End. Of. Story. So yes, Kay in Maine, right now I am laying this at the doorstep of Mr. Obama. And one other thing, if he was on third the “Constitutional scholar” he holds himself out to be, he would not be making the ignorant *** statements and phrasings he has. I, for one, will not be riding on the tail of Obama’s Comet Hale-Bopp.

      • cbl2 says:

        Good Evening Emptywheel and Emptywheelers,

        bmaz – yep, yep, and yep.

        I did see Commissar Kos explaining it as ongoing fear of Republics attack ads, as if that dog will hunt

        Complicity We Can Believe In

      • selise says:

        i think it’s fair to lay it on obama – for what has happened since he effectively won the nomination.

        before then is another story and imo pelosi and reid are very responsible for bad legislation (except for the march bill from the house) and for repeatedly lying to us about what they were doing.

        • bmaz says:

          Oh, I agree with that 100%; but this whole Hoyer play, with let’s be honest Pelosi’s under the table blessing, has all occurred after he won the nomination. The status quo equilibrium before that was do nothing, let it expire and wait until the next administration. At a barebones minimum, it was keep freaking immunity out and make Bush veto the damn thing. No, this is at the feet of Obama.

  25. jexter says:

    The ability to monitor and track individuals who want to attack the United States is a vital counter-terrorism tool, and I’m persuaded that it is necessary to keep the American people safe — particularly since certain electronic surveillance orders will begin to expire later this summer. Given the choice between voting for an improved yet imperfect bill, and losing important surveillance tools, I’ve chosen to support the current compromise.

    FISA doesn’t expire. It’s been the law since 1978. If certain electronic surveillance orders are due to expire, just go to the FISA court and get a warrant. So what important surveillance tool are we losing?

    His oh so thoughtful response to his people is either ignorant, or it’s bullshit. And Obama’s not ignorant.

    • wigwam says:

      So what important surveillance tool are we losing?

      * August 5, 2007: The Protect America Act (PAA) is signed into law.

      * February 17, 2008: The PAA expires

      * August 5, 2008: The first of the year-long unconstitutional surveillance programs authorized under the PAA start to expire.

      * February 17, 2009: All of the year-long unconsitutional surveillance programs authorized under the PAA start to expire.

      Which unconstutional program does Obama refer to? Probably the TSP (i.e., the Terrorist Surveillance Program), but I have no idea what all it entails. But Obama implicitly admits that it would not be legal under FISA but it was under the PAA and would be again under H.R. 6304. Recall that this is the man who said of H.R. 6304 when the House passed it that it “restores FISA.” That lying sack of shit!

  26. KayInMaine says:

    Well, according to some here, Barack wrote the original FISA 1973 bill, he’s the one who fucked it up in 2001 by forcing George Bush to bypass what he had set up, and then just recently forced Nancy Pelosi to bring the bill back to the floor in the House, because he wanted immunity for everyone involved, because he hates America, loves George Bush, and is hoping his children marry Bush or Cheney kids in the future. Oh yeah, and when he votes against FISA on July 8th, everyone will hate his guts…and if he votes for it, everyone will hate his guts. He’ll end up with a FISA sign shoved up his butt by July 9th!

    Right?

  27. KayInMaine says:

    Obama is the FISA King he can do anything!

    SIDEBAR NOTE: Any Senator (male, female, black, white, orange, or smelling like a neocon) who votes for the FISA bill and it passes will not be held liable by those in the left blogosphere. We’re blaming Barack Obama only for it. Thank you for your time in reading this sidebar note. Not a long one, but it’s a good one.

    • perris says:

      SIDEBAR NOTE: Any Senator (male, female, black, white, orange, or smelling like a neocon) who votes for the FISA bill and it passes will not be held liable by those in the left blogosphere. We’re blaming Barack Obama only for it. Thank you for your time in reading this sidebar note. Not a long one, but it’s a good one.

      well, obama has given all other democrats licesne, he is the party lead after all

      • KayInMaine says:

        They’d being going after Hillary too if she was in his position. Democrats hate Democrats, but some Democrats will never blame a republican for the crap the republican(s) does. See? I’m tired of this attitude. Even if Barack during the first week of his presidency forces the Democratically controlled House & Senate to bring a new FISA bill to the floor without immunity for anyone (including all Universes outside our solar system) or he has his CIA track down & capture George Bush & Dick Cheney to face charges, they would still be pissed off at him.

        • tbsa says:

          Everything, absolutely everything HRC did was pointed out by almost everyone on this blog. The crimes committed by bushco are discussed daily. If not for a complicit Dem leadership and a complicit congress the republics would NOT have gotten away with the half of it. See?

        • perris says:

          I agree with your point Kay, Hillary would be doing the same thing, I think however we would be even harder on her and we would have said Obama would never have accepted the bill.

          as far as reintroducing liability, that can’t happen unless it’s through a scotus ruling, once you are immune you are in essence innocent and can’t be brought to trial if the law changes after you committed the act

    • jexter says:

      Point taken – whether or not he decides to use his influence to fight, he’s still only one vote in the senate. We’ve got to keep hounding the other bed-wetting Democrats.

    • wigwam says:

      I’m with Digby on this:

      I do know this: they would not have made this “compromise” and then brought this to the floor without his ok, and probably without his direction. He is the leader of the Democratic Party now, in the middle of a hotly contested presidential campaign. If he didn’t come to them and say to get this thing done before the fall, then they came to him and asked his permission. That’s just a fact. They aren’t going to do anything he doesn’t want them to do.

      So, it’s not really a capitulation. It’s a strategy

        • victoria2dc says:

          You are absolutely right Kay! I have a fantastic clip of them writing her into the record during the HJC subcommittee hearing last week! Without doubt she was briefed. That means that she should have removed herself from the workings of impeachment and any other legislation having to do with FISA, torture of any related legislation/hearings.

          If you want to view this AWESOME clip, e-mail me at victoria2dc at gmail dot com… and I’ll e-mail it to you.

          I’m trying to get Wexler’s people to get me a private e-mail or cell phone number for Elizabeth Kucinich. I want Dennis to see this and hear another mp3 file of a phone conversation with Conyers.

          If Dennis gets this he can personally throw the wicked woman under the bus and I’ll clap on the sidelines.

      • selise says:

        there are many other possibilties – here’s one: pelosi and reid wanted it done and they asked obama support them. maybe even in return for their support during the primary.

        i’m not arguing that this one or any of the alternatives are true. because i just don’t know.

        but there’s just no way looking at the last year’s actions that pelosi and reid look like they didn’t want this too.

  28. KayInMaine says:

    Mitch McConnell will not be blamed. He’s been innocent for years and that goes for Senator Doctor Bill Frist too. Innocent all the way. It’s Obama’s fault damn it!

    Right?

  29. RevBev says:

    OT. This is an interesting little progressive note. Someone in the area may be watching…

    “Waiting for an act of racial justice in North Carolina
    posted by Desiree Evans

    In North Carolina last week more than 300 clergy members signed onto a letter
    sent to lawmakers urging the passage of the North Carolina Racial Justice Act,
    a bill giving capital murder defendants the right to challenge prosecutions on
    grounds of racial bias. The bill passed in the North Carolina House in 2007
    and now is pending in the state Senate. Supporters of the bill hope the NC
    Senate will pass the bill in the next two to three weeks.

    Facts about the North Carolina Racial Justice Act:

    * It would allow a person accused of a capital crime the opportunity of a
    court review of whether race played a part in the prosecutor’s decision to
    seek the death penalty.
    * The bill would apply retroactively, so inmates currently on death row
    could make such arguments. If a defendant has already been sentenced to death,
    he may present evidence, if available, that his death sentence was improperly
    obtained on the basis of race.
    * As in housing and employment discrimination cases, the Racial Justice
    Act will allow defendants to use statistical proof of racial bias or other
    evidence to support such a claim. For instance, a defendant could cite
    statistical racial disparities in how the death penalty is used.
    * If a defendant succeeded in establishing his claim that race was a basis
    for his death sentence, the court could impose a sentence of life without the possibility of parole. ……”

    • KayInMaine says:

      No, no. Don’t be like that. I am pissed but I am trying to make a valid point. I’ve been kicked off liberal blogs (I’m a liberal by the way) because I stood up for the Democrats, was too hard on the republicans, and because I didn’t tow everyone’s line. See? Just ignore me. LOL

      • RieszFischer says:

        I hear you Kay, I’m not ignoring you. I love it when people give a damn. Sometimes anger is the appropriate response.

        Peace.

  30. Scarecrow says:

    ew — you say your “biggest problem” is with Obama’s suggestion that the IG report provision leads to accountability (when the history wrt to the prior reports indicates otherwise), but does that mean you think the rest of the statement is okay? Or just not as bad/naive?

    Second, is the IG approach inherently flawed because of the limits on IGs per se, or is it flawed because the example from the current Administration was toothless?

    • emptywheel says:

      Nah, I’m not okay with the rest of it. My second biggest gripe is the BS about exclusivity.

      As for the IG report, it’s several things. First, the IG can’t report–publicly–on the telecoms. Cannot name a private citizen or entity. So there’s immunity built in there, too. Second, the statutes of limitation really will expire just when the IG report gets pulled together–so they’re basically punting off until a point where no one CAN be held responsible. Third, several of the IGs are hacks, so you’re really only going go have spotty investigation. And finally, where we need to investigate is in the WH. Last I checked, the WH doesn’t have an IG.

      • Scarecrow says:

        Okay, the problems with the IG approach to mechanism is severely limited. Seems to me Obama is not saying the IG approach is an adequate substitute; if that were the case, there would be no point in opposing immunity. Also, it’s not clear to me how allowing the current cases to go forward without immunity would lead to accountability for WH officials. I don’t see how we get that in the absence of impeachment or Congressional investigation with enforced subpoenas (which might not work either), or criminal indictments using grand jury/trials. None of those seems to be in the cards.

        The “exclusivity” issue is just rhetorical confusion; it’s good for Congress to reaffirm it; the Court decision yesterday strenghtens it’s impact. If the argument is this bill gives us something we didn’t have before, it’s wrong; if the argument is this bill includes something that was indispensable (that we had before) that’s correct. I don’t see harm in Congress reaffirming that in light of the Court decision.

        So the next question is whether the promise of an AG study with recommendations has any value. The statute would be flawed, but the AG could recommend changes in the law and/or changes in practices. Is this a new promise by Obama? A clarification? Is is valuable to have this promise?

        • wigwam says:

          1. The IG approach is insufficient.

          2. If the exclusivity clause of FISA can be ignored; more so under H.R. 6304, which is designed to neuter FISA.

          3. Studies get filed in the circular basket.

        • Hugh says:

          So the next question is whether the promise of an AG study with recommendations has any value. The statute would be flawed, but the AG could recommend changes in the law and/or changes in practices. Is this a new promise by Obama? A clarification? Is is valuable to have this promise?

          Well Mukasey for his part IIRC promised to review all the OLC opinions and we can see what that got us. This is all more “Trust me” from a political Establishment that has shown over and over again that bromide is for saps.

          • Scarecrow says:

            I don’t think Mukasey will be Obama’s AG. Obama is saying he’ll ask his AG to review the programs and recommend measures to safeguard liberties. So I’m asking: Is this a new promise? If followed, would it be valuable? Is it a credible promise?

            If you believe there is no difference between a Dem Pres and the Republican Pres on issues that require trust, then we would also give up; it’s pointless.

            The fact is, there is nothing that the next President says now, that he will or will not do later, that does not depend on Trust Me.

              • wigwam says:

                I’d love it. I doubt it. IMHO, Obama has gone over to the other side. He has now joined the party in power, The One Party (TOP) that runs everything, Democratic and Republican alike.

            • Hugh says:

              Obama has already shown that he can’t be trusted on FISA. If he wanted to do something about it, he doesn’t have to wait for his AG to get back to him. He could oppose this FISA bill now and sponsor responsible FISA reform. This is what he should have done from the beginning. So all this I won’t do anything now but I’ll do something later strikes me as empty and hollow.

        • emptywheel says:

          It is valuable, IMO. The biggest remaining problem with this bill–all issues of immunity aside–is that no one double checks that the govt is doing with minimization what they say they are. We, as citizens, ought to know whether someone has collected our communications in a big database because we call overseas, and if so, when we can expect to be out of the database.

          Also, they really ought to do some efficacy testing. Every time McConnell tried to come up with an example of how this basket warrant stuff had been successful, he lied and said something pre-basket had been basket.

          • PetePierce says:

            You call oversees (or at least a lot of people do) when you call the vast majority of mostly incompetent minimim wage and poorly trained tech support like the Convergys of Ohio contractors for Microsoft in five cities in India or the Phillipines. I suppose all those calls are in a data base and maybe calls to tech support can get you on that soon to be celebrated by ACLU one million person no fly list.

            This nation has had to get a grip on all those terrorists who are having trouble booting to Windows for a long time. We are making great progress towards $12 a gallon gas as Detroit auto makers poise to close several more plants.

            I’m confident we are well on the way to putting every adult on the block in federal prison, a worthy goal in Fortress Homeland Spy On Their Frigging Commie Ass America.

            They won’t have to worry about gas prices or flying then, and their calls home will cost exactly what the $12 a gallon gas will cost.

  31. KayInMaine says:

    Let’s hate Obama so Johnny McTeleprompter can win in November! What a great attitude! Even the “liberal” guy on my local newsradio channel this morning live on the air (he’s a diehard Hillary Clinton fan and will be voting for McCain) left the Democratic party and became an Unaffiliated. Oh yes, he’s taking this all the way to the bank. He even agreed with all the right wing talking points spewing out of the right winger’s fork-tongued mouth too. He’s in! He’s a neocon now because Hillary isn’t on the ticket.

    How many more are out there?

    No matter how Obama votes, McCain is going to win anyways because the OLD DEMOCRATS WITH THE OLD-WAY-OF-THINKING ATTITUDE IS STILL IN CHARGE!

    • bmaz says:

      Oh, I’ll vote for the self serving political hack, because he truly is better than the other self serving political hack (and, trust me, I know from John McCain); I just recoil from the blindered soft sell that is foisted upon me that Obama is anything different than a self serving political hack.

      • selise says:

        i believe the good rev. wright said obama was a politician and that he did what politicians do? or something to that effect?

      • masaccio says:

        Another sign that Obama isn’t one of us is his move to raising money in huge chunks from the rich. They all want to get on board before the new administration sales.

        I hoped the money he raised from the small donors would relieve him of the need to kowtow to the money, but that would be a total pipe dream, wouldn’t it?

    • Ian Welsh says:

      He said he’d do something. He changed his mind. It was a fundamental issue, and people don’t take to it when someone says they’ll protect the constitution and then don’t. Obama said he was about a new way of doing politics, not about triangulation.

      No one gets a free ride. That what having integrity means.

      Obama is not, was not, just one vote: he is the leader of the party, and if you think Reid was going to let Obama be defeated in a filibuster… No, not happening.

      Does this mean Obama wouldn’t be a better president than McCain? Of course not. It does however mean that he, a constitutional law professor, is willing to throw the constitution overboard.

      That’s an important thing to know about him.

      Now we know. Most of us support him anyway, but we aren’t going to shut up about the fact that he betrayed us and the US constitution, because that would make us complicit with Obama in his actions.

      And no one expects better of Reid and Pelosi. Now we know that we should expect nothing more of Obama than we would expect of Pelosi and Reid.

      You’re happy knowing that?

      • Scarecrow says:

        The Democratic leadership (Pelosi/Reid et al) have been unable to reverse Bush or overcome Republican obstruction on any of these security issues. They haven’t won a single battle.

        Now that they have a presumptive candidate, the assumption is that if he gave the signal, the leadership could accomplish what they haven’t been able to accomplish without a candidate.

        And the further assumption is that Obama would not have an advantage in leverage/influence/power as President compared to what he has not as the candidate. Therefore, it is not reasonable for Obama to wait till he’s President to achieve X, because if he wanted to achieve X, he would just direct Pelosi/Reid to do it, and it would happen.

        I don’t find these arguments very convincing.

        I don’t know what the Dems could accomplish in the current Congress, but I don’t see how that changes merely because Obama is the presumed candidate.

      • randiego says:

        Thank you!

        Kay: your over-the-top sarcastic invective and cloying generalizations are annoying and unhelpful. If you want to debate a point, make an argument, or keep to yourself. Please.

        • KayInMaine says:

          Take your own advice and keep to yourself too. Oh wait! You have opinions too just like me, but in your pro-Hillary-McCain-Republican-Party-Mind at the moment (you’ll change when Obama does something you like, right?) YOU THINK I NEED TO BE THE ONE TO NOT USE MY 1ST AMENDMENT RIGHTS!

          Get over yourself. I have a voice just like you do. I’ve not told anyone on here to shut up and get lost. Oh but you have! Asshole.

  32. pmorlan says:

    Congratulations to everyone who has been working tirelessly to defeat the FISA bill. This statement by Obama tells me that we are making an impact or he wouldn’t have made it.

    I also want to point out these words from his statement:

    Now, I understand why some of you feel differently about the current bill, and I’m happy to take my lumps on this side and elsewhere. For the truth is that your organizing, your activism and your passion is an important reason why this bill is better than previous versions

    I learned long ago, when working as an organizer on the South Side of Chicago, that when citizens join their voices together, they can hold their leaders accountable. I’m not exempt from that. I’m certainly not perfect, and expect to be held accountable too

    While we haven’t yet changed Obama’s mind on FISA he has at least taken away one of the arguments the people opposed to our protests have repeatedly tried to use. These people have consistently argued that by challenging Obama we are somehow hurting him. Well Obama not only does not agree with them he tells us he EXPECTS US TO HOLD HIM ACCOUNTABLE and hold him accountable we will. We will also hold the rest of the Senators accountable.

    • perris says:

      I learned long ago, when working as an organizer on the South Side of Chicago, that when citizens join their voices together, they can hold their leaders accountable. I’m not exempt from that. I’m certainly not perfect, and expect to be held accountable too

      now there is something to work for, obama has given himself an out, a path

      which president said;

      “I agree with you, now make be do it”, or something like that

      and it would NOT look like weakness, he can use jefferson’s;

      “I am employed by the people of the united states of america, I work for them not for me and not for the telecoms, this bill will not pass”

      something like that would be MONSTER

      • pmorlan says:

        I guess you must be nuts too perris for seeing a glimmer of hope in this statement like I did. He’s telling all his supporters that we need to hold him accountable so now is not the time to back off. Now is the time to go even harder at the Senators and anyone who says we shouldn’t protest this FISA bill. And when they tell us this we turn around and tell them that Obama, himself said he wants us to hold him accountable.

    • bobschacht says:

      While we haven’t yet changed Obama’s mind on FISA he has at least taken away one of the arguments the people opposed to our protests have repeatedly tried to use. These people have consistently argued that by challenging Obama we are somehow hurting him. Well Obama not only does not agree with them he tells us he EXPECTS US TO HOLD HIM ACCOUNTABLE and hold him accountable we will. We will also hold the rest of the Senators accountable.

      Exactly. These are the kind of words I was desperately wanting to hear from Hillary about the Iraq war. Perhaps I missed them. Mostly I felt like she just wasn’t listening and didn’t want to hear what we thought about the war. I got one of her “surveys” a year ago that asked what my biggest concerns were, and the War was not one of the options. That pretty much did it for me.

      Bob in HI

        • pmorlan says:

          I’m not Bob so I hope you don’t mind me jumping in. I’m using those Obama words to encourage more people to call their Senators on FISA. Prior to the Senate postponing the FISA vote until after the 4th we all pretty much thought it would sail through the Senate. Citizen protests may have caused them to delay that vote until after the 4th and while the conventional wisdom is still that the FISA vote will pass I’m not willing to give up. I’ll look for anything I can use to encourage more people to voice their opposition to FISA. Obama’s words about expecting us to hold him accountable are a good counter to the argument by some people posting comments on the blogs that our protests somehow hurt Obama. If Obama says we should hold him accountable those people lose one of their arguments.

          • ubetchaiam says:

            One of my Senator’s -Boxer- is deadset against the immunity and will vote against it; the other -Feinstein- apparently will not reveal her whereabouts this weekend based on ‘terrorist threat’(see Jane’s earlier posting ‘Whip IT!).
            Feinstein wants the suits to be against the government and the ruling by Judge Vaughn about the ’state secrets’ ply is what she will use to bolster her position; she was one of those who voted in favor of the Protect America Act http://www.senate.gov/legislat…..vote=00309

            Like I said above, I think HR6304 in the Senate is to cover those who voted for the PAA which still allows warrantless wiretapping; note the measure title ” Title: A bill to amend the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978.”

          • Fractal says:

            This was a very clear strategy:

            Prior to the Senate postponing the FISA vote until after the 4th we all pretty much thought it would sail through the Senate. Citizen protests may have caused them to delay that vote until after the 4th and while the conventional wisdom is still that the FISA vote will pass I’m not willing to give up. I’ll look for anything I can use to encourage more people to voice their opposition to FISA.

            I’m not willing to give up, either.

        • bobschacht says:

          Like FDR said, “I agree with you. Now make me do it.”
          Unfortunately, sometimes accountability takes time.
          I think what we have to do is
          (1) If your vote depends on this, let him know it.
          (2) after he gets elected, keep paying attention, keep getting on his case, to make sure that he follows up with appropriate actions.

          Politics is a messy business. It means that we don’t get our way on everything. It represents a constant process of dialogue, action, and counter-action.

          I learned as a grad student in departmental politics that our two best weapons are patience and persistence. Politicians tend to batten down the hatches when there’s a storm. In the middle of a storm is a bad time to argue with the captain about a different strategy for organizing the navigation room. We’ve got to keep at it, and don’t let him forget it.

          Bob in HI

          • RevBev says:

            That’s good advice. In my heart, I think it is enormously good for this country that we have a Black candidate. That in itself is positive and gives hope when we need it. It doesn’t mean a free ride, but it’s very meaningful in this cynical day.

            OT: I was at a meeting yesterday where some one I know well drives a car with a Bush/Cheney sticker; still there. A supporter and has not been disappointed. What different worlds.

          • ubetchaiam says:

            I might agree with your perspective about holding him acountable if he hadn’t said “And going forward, some of you may decide that my FISA position is a deal breaker. That’s ok.”

            Way too much like Bush’s statements where he is going to do what he thinks best and to hell with what ‘the people’ think.

            As far as I’m concerned, the best way to curtail Presidential power is to have a Congress willing to stand up to it. That’s why I encourage people to donate their monies to Senate,House,State, and local candidates that actually will represent ‘the people’.

  33. RevBev says:

    O great….commenter of trade just said McOld’s rhetoric is simplistic & “old fashioned..” (PBS) What a lovely old fasioned word.

  34. rwcole says:

    Obama is trying to pre-empt attacks. It’s all about winning Ohio. He thinks taking these positions helps. Beats me if he’s right.

  35. KayInMaine says:

    Barack Obama can undo FISA once he’s president. George Bush & Dick Cheney in 2001 did that (they even had Democrats helping them roll back some of what Clinton did over the eight years).

    We just need to stop panicking over every little thing Barack does. That’s what the media is doing right now. Barack can’t even deny a kid a signature on the back of his hand without being called a “fist bump denier”. WTF!!!!!!

    I’m not going to feed into the right wing media frenzy while Johnny McTeleprompter is still getting away with campaign finance fraud.

      • KayInMaine says:

        You’re welcome, RevBev. We just have to have some composure, because right now we’re CONTINUING to look weak. I don’t like that because I know the Democratic Party is a strong one. The higher ups (Old Time Democrats) have been in cahoots with the republicans and have lost their way. I trust Obama’s judgment and I know he knows this can be undone. (Remember, it’s immunity on civil suits…..George Bush can be impeached or held criminally responsible even if the immunity part is kept in).

        So in the meantime, let’s play jump rope while we go after George Bush’s Satan Spaw: McTeleprompter.

    • john in sacramento says:

      … Barack Obama can undo FISA once he’s president …

      But he won’t; the Dem “leadership” has wanted these powers since at least ‘96

      By Jeralyn E. Merritt, Esq.,
      Co-Chair/Vice-Chair, NACDL Legislative Committee. 1995-2001

      Congress has once again placed itself on a collision course with the Bill of Rights. With the presidential and congressional elections just two months away, our politicians are once more trying to demonstrate their tough stance on crime and concern for our security by introducing and promising swift passage of legislation that diminishes our privacy rights and provides even greater powers to federal law enforcement agencies.

      Using the tragedies of TWA Flight 800 and the Olympic bombing in Atlanta to instill fear of terrorism in the heart of every American, our politicians are promising to make us safe and secure by giving the FBI the power to wiretap more of us with less judicial scrutiny, to access our personal and financial records with no judicial oversight, and to seize our assets by classifying us as “terrorists” based upon our personal and political beliefs.

      President Clinton and the Democrats are behind this latest assault on our privacy rights. On the eve of the first anniversary of the Oklahoma bombing in April, 1996, Congress passed the Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996. The Democrats were very disappointed, however, because the bill passed without proposed expansions of wiretapping authority. In May 1996, Reps. Charles Schumer (D-NY) and John Conyers (D-MI) introduced H.R. 3409 “to combat domestic terrorism.” The bill, titled the “Effective Anti-Terrorism Tools for Law Enforcement Act of 1996,” would expand the powers granted to the FBI to engage in multi- point (roving) wiretaps and emergency wiretaps without court orders, and to access an individual’s hotel and vehicle and storage facility rental records. It also relaxed the requirements for obtaining pen register and trap and trace orders in foreign intelligence investigations.

      A lesser known and far less advertised provision provides for the amendment of the statutory wiretap suppression remedy in 18 U.S.C. 2515. The Section now provides that evidence of intercepted communications may not be admitted in any criminal trial or hearing, or before a grand jury, if disclosure of the information would be in violation of the wiretap chapter. The amendment in H.R. 3409 provides that the suppression remedy in 2515 would not apply unless the violation involved “bad faith by law enforcement.”

      … and ironically it was the Republicans – who killed most, if not all ? – of the wiretap sections, led by among others …. drumroll …. John Ashcroft

      • RevBev says:

        What a perspective. I had forgotten most of this. In part because I thought all that terrorism stuff was crazy talk. Now it is just blanket justification for “what ever I want to do..”

      • john in sacramento says:

        Then there’s this really good run-down by Elaine Cassel of findlaw and counterpunch on The 1996 Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act, and the Patriot Act (which amended FISA in part), and the Domestic Security Enhancement Act (Patriot Act II) that never even made it to the floor (I think?), which I think is PAA or whatever this new law is called anymore, but in it’s first incarnation

        The Other War
        The Bush Administration and the End of Civil Liberties

        by Elaine Cassel

        Our war on terror begins with al Qaeda, but it does not end there. It will not end until every terrorist group of global reach has been found, stopped, and defeated.
        –President George W. Bush, September 20, 2001

        It didn’t take President Bush to tell Americans that the world changed on September 11, 2001. But it took Bush, Attorney General John Ashcroft, and an unquestioning Congress to change the legal foundation of what it means to be “free” in America. The president declared from the start that it would take more than military might to wage the fight. This war would require a new arsenal of laws and regulations at home. And he got them. If the September 11 suicide hijackers hated us for our freedoms, as the president also said, today there is less to hate.

        The legal firepower behind the war on terror consists of two pieces of legislation, the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 [Summary, text of law] and the USA Patriot Act of 2001, as well as a host of executive orders and federal agency regulations. Ashcroft, Bush, and numerous federal courts have decreed that freedoms must be curtailed in the name of fighting terror. But that formulation suggests they will be temporary. Given the nature of terrorism, and of politics, that is extremely unlikely.

        Bush, after all, has said repeatedly that this is to be a war of many years’ duration, a life’s work. It will not stop until every terrorist threat the US cares to identify is vanquished. It is a global war without territorial boundaries and without a known cast of enemies, save one — evil. And it’s being fought at home, too, in churches and town squares, courtrooms and libraries.

        Oh, I had forgotten about section 802 in USAPA – check it out

        At the center of this new body of terror and homeland security laws lies a vague and amorphous definition of its central term: What is terrorism? Government agencies and departments use varying standards. But the USA Patriot Act defines terrorism as “acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of criminal law” [§ 802(a)(5)(A)] that “appear to be intended to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion” [§ 802(a)(5)(B)(ii)]. This definition is so broad that practically any act of civil disobedience could be construed to violate the law. (A political demonstration taking place in the path of an ambulance, for example, could be termed “dangerous to human life.”)

        BTW, the Patriot Act is what got me started on looking into what this government has done

        • PetePierce says:

          AEDPA firmly supported by Bill Clinton and Clinton justice had not a damn thing to do with fighting terrorism. Congress has glutted the prisons and the federal appeals system with appeals from tiny fish that are first time drug offenders–petty users and penny ante sellers most of whom are black, most of whom have shit for an education and hip hop shows them videos with T&A dancing around big cars and they decide to get some of it.

          AEDPA was aimed at knocking down those appeals and the habeas petitions that followed once they were denied/exhausted. You’ll never hear the words cross Bill or Hillary’s lips but they knew exactly what it was supposed to accomplish. It had no significant impact on terror and mixed results in knocking down the appeal volume.

          It was the attorney Clintons way of screwing the disenfranchised who didn’t contribute $400,000 to the library fund like Denise Rich who bought her husband a pardon, or Clinton’s brother or the Rhodham boys (Hillary’s brothers) selling pardons for big bucks. Hill/Bill knew this was under the raidar of pumpkin head (don’t know a cert mint from a cert. grant America.

          These politicians thirve in a milieu of nearly complete ignorance and the people who know a bit or in such a minority they stick it to you the way they’re telling the liberal bloggers to stuff it on FISA and the rest of the capitulations to Bush.

  36. cbl2 says:

    Our Digby and Kos both right ??

    was it strategy to clean it all up before the General to pre empt attack ads ?

    I don’t think it was about attack ads (and that would make them even more stupid than I thought they were ) but would love to hear from others on this

    • selise says:

      like i said about… i don’t know and i can’t know.

      but the most likely senario, i think, is that there is some complicity by democrats that pelosi, reid and now obama are trying to cover up.

  37. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Let’s see if I understand why Obama no longer wants to enforce the rule of law, why he no longer wants to hold this or any future administration accountable for its serial, felonious lawbreaking, and why he now advocates giving the most unpopular modern President in American history more than he asked for:

    1. It was a hard decision. I haven’t had extra credit points since the sixth grade. I deserve extra credit for this one.

    2. This legislation immunizes telcos and the President for their lawbreaking. That’s why I’ll vote for it.

    3. I will work to remove its immunity provisions — about as hard as George Bush tried to find out how many of his aides leaked Valerie Plame’s identity.

    4. I’ll soon be President. I want this unaccountable power, too. ‘Cause Democrats are just as strong as Republicans. Aren’t we Karl?

    5. This bill is a compromise. Only my hired help will be able to monitor my eavesdropping. Not an independent judiciary, not opposition members of Congress, not even “unreliable” members of my own Party. (That means you Russ, Chris, Pat and Sherrod. You can forget about those committee assignments; I talked to Harry.)

    6. “Accountability” is when you all collectively demand that your government enforce the rule of law, regardless of skin color, wealth or power, and we Beltway Villagers treat you like a cheerleader with the clap.

    7. I’m a pragmatist, you’re dreamers. So STFU and stay off my website. It’s for praise and for nice people to send me money. Thank you very much.

    • MarkH says:

      7. I’m a pragmatist, you’re dreamers. So STFU and stay off my website. It’s for praise and for nice people to send me money. Thank you very much.

      Okay. We DFH were mostly for Edwards anyway. I wonder if people now can see Obama as being as phony as they thought..thought Edwards might be.

  38. KayInMaine says:

    Alright fine. When FISA passes we’ll all commit suicide like the night the Purple Sneaker People killed themselves! Sound good? Can we wear blue and be the Blue Sneaker People Wearing White Sneakers instead?

  39. JThomason says:

    When is someone going to stand up and say something like a surveillance state is like “Soviet?” Why won’t he acknowledge this is not some “grassroots” concern but a fundamental constitutional issue? Its so easy to let situational factors take us down a path where we don’t even recognize ourselves. Obama’s position is a fundamental betrayal.

    I am kind of tired of being told I need to join the betrayal for the benefit of the middle, you know the flow of the main stream, and I should just go along with this strategy of capitulation to get along because and that there will be collateral benefits to seizing political power. You know the Bill of Rights was envisioned as a shield against the power of the state which had historically proved itself to drift toward tyranny. So what has changed?

  40. MadDog says:

    OT – The White House “tried” to sneak another faux argument into their attempt to dismiss the “Missing White House Emails” lawsuit. They sent Judge Facciola a letter notifying him per National Security Archives that:

    …U.S. District Court Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly rules that the Office of Administration “is not an agency subject to the FOIA” and grants the government’s motion to dismiss CREW’s case…

    The White House filing here.

    The National Security Archive fired right back and said Bullshit!

    The case that the White House cited with CREW had to do with FOIA, and not the Federal Records Act that is involved in this case, and otbw, there are lots and lots of acknowledged real “agencies” involved in the “Missing White House Emails” lawsuit. So pfui on you White House!

    The National Security Archives response filing here.

  41. Jkat says:

    kayln .. what i think everyone’s point is ..is this: “they can make me eat this shit .. but i don’t have to smile and act like i like it ”

    i’m certainly glad this is online .. if this was a saloon of the 1870’s i’d be lookin’ for some serious “cover” ..

    all you damn-[spit]-lib’ruls calm down .. eh..

    • Eureka Springs says:

      Point all bottle rockets and roman candles (symbolically) towards DC. Bloody turncoats.

    • bobschacht says:

      “I am getting so exorcised, I am thinking I may go and seize my 2nd amendment rights and light off some fireworks!”

      Where do I go to get exorcised? Will any old priest be able to do the job, or do I need to pay attention to brand names?

      Bob in HI

          • MayDaze says:

            That was supposed to be snark WRT Bob’s desire for an exorcism. Jindal (sp?) was involved in one when he was in college – he’s a little, well, strange, even for a rethug.

            • MayDaze says:

              From Wiki:

              Additionally, Jindal’s pre-2001 writings include several articles in the New Oxford Review, one of which dealt with the subject of exorcism. In that 1994 article, Jindal described witnessing a friend seemingly being possessed by a demon. However, at the end of the article he questioned whether he actually witnessed spiritual warfare.[

              • RevBev says:

                If he gets to be the McC choice, maybe he will have something special to offer McCain; could work.

                I also bet he would be way too straight laced to be very interested in Mc and Cindy. The Jindal’s wife is an Engineer with advanced degrees in Business Adm.

            • RevBev says:

              Right…I did not know that little detail. When I was writing about kids and education, I overlooked that part about schools being suitable and good. Something about LA brings that to mind, of course.

            • bobschacht says:

              “That was supposed to be snark WRT Bob’s desire for an exorcism. “

              And mine was supposed to be snark for what was probably a typo.

              Bob in HI

  42. Jkat says:

    well EW .. there’s also the current thing that somehow all the pertinent current IG’s involved .. are ex-spooks ..

    hell of a deal eh .. from cia to IG…

    • JThomason says:

      The point being do we really have a firm take on what happened with Block. The leak about staffers posting on his behalf liberal blogs seemed to be an awfully easy way to discount him. It just seems much of what is known continues to be speculation and his office had statutory protections IG’s don’t.

  43. KayInMaine says:

    Good gawd….”LMAO” was in response to Jkat referring to a 1870’s bar brawl.

    Okay, I’m taking off. Hold your applause please. LOL

    • Eureka Springs says:

      Because the GOPers would rather laugh at us and go down with fascism than admit they were wrong. (think about Rush Limbaugh swinging nearly a million primary votes for Hillary this year)

      • pmorlan says:

        There are a lot of libertarian leaning Republicans that are disaffected and may be looking at Barr but know he can’t win. They would certainly be ripe for the picking if Obama would vote against FISA.

          • pmorlan says:

            I’m talking about civil liberties issues only. I’m talking about people like Republican Bruce Fein who while I don’t share their conservative views on most issus we are in agreement on defending the Constitution.

      • Eureka Springs says:

        Excuse me.. not a million, several hundred thousand.

        I’m steaming about this little news item.
        O’Neil, an Orrin Hatchling who while working for Specter helped insert several pieces of awful language into the Patriot Act.. is now a nominee for the bench. (somebody shoot me now).

  44. earlofhuntingdon says:

    This is what democracy is all about. It’s absobloodylutely appropriate to castigate Obama over his about face on FISA. He’s not being pragmatic in any sense recognizable to those outside the Beltway. Bush is vulnerable: he’s deeply unpopular, his wars and our economy are badly failing, and he’s broken the law for years.

    Yet Obama the quarterback “goes for the middle”, giving up his advantages and blithely expecting that those opposing guards and tackles will welcome him gently into their arms. I assume he thinks this legislation will defuse an angry situation, enable a smoother run for the White House and give the next Democratic Congress a clean slate to start from. He’s more likely to get a face mask full of mud and a much weaker field position.

    Democracy is a process, not a conclusion. Progressives will be fighting this and every other administration continually — just as the neocons do — because the default position inside the Beltway is whatever’s easiest and raises the most money. The Villagers attempt to dismiss those politicians who don’t work that way — Feingold and Kucinich for example — as far-out “leftists” or as comic relief.

    Those castigating us for sharply criticizing Obama and the entire Democratic Party’s leadersheep on this issue should remember the liberals’ icon FDR. His response to clamor for progressive legislation was, in effect, “You’ve convinced me. Now make me do it.” That is, work your CongressCritters to make them vote your way so that I can do it. That’s what this pressure on Obama is about.

  45. wigwam says:

    Obama is talking outta his ass:

    Now, I understand why some of you feel differently about the current bill, and I’m happy to take my lumps on this side and elsewhere. For the truth is that your organizing, your activism and your passion is an important reason why this bill is better than previous versions

    What the fuck is this fool taking about? This version is certainly better than, say, the Protect America Act. But it is far inferior the current law. Give it a rest, Barak. Sit down and shut the fuck up; you have no idea what you are talking about.

  46. MadDog says:

    EW, I know this is late to the party, but I came up with a strategy on how to force Obama’s hand wrt to FISA.

    With all the hard work and scrambling that you, Jane, Christy, Glenn and all the others have done, I know that my strategy is a “day late and a dollar short”, but what can I say? I didn’t think of it until today.

    Anyways, here’s how the strategy plays out:

    1. Instead of (or in addition to) working on getting votes in the Senate to kill this FISA debacle, I’d offer the idea of changing the minds of Democratic Super-delegates for the Presidential nomination.

    2. For example, get Senator Ted Kennedy, who is one of Obama’s staunchest supporters, and also one of the few true Liberals in Congress, to come out and say that he has changed his mind on committing to vote for Obama and instead has decided to become “Uncommitted”.

    3. To get him to change Senator Kennedy’s mind back to being committed to Obama, Senator Obama has to get the FISA Debacle killed. No “ifs, ands or buts” will otherwise be acceptable. The FISA Debacle must die or Obama is looking at a convention battle.

    4. Carrying through with this idea, the focus of all our energy and money should be on getting someone of Kennedy’s stature to rise up and made this “Uncommitted” declaration, and use that to influence a number of other Democratic Super-delegates to do the same.

    5. The value in using this strategic approach is pretty simple:

    A. The Democratic nomination for President doesn’t actually take place until the convention. Until that time, all the Super-delegates are merely expressing a “preference”.

    B. If sufficient Democratic Super-delegates were to change to “Uncommitted”, then the actual nominee would also be left up in the air.

    C. By forcing Obama (and Senator Clinton as well) to recognize that the Democratic nomination for President has yet to be approved, we could wield a mighty stick on what takes place wrt to FISA in Congress.

    D. This strategy would also give some incentive to Senator Clinton to work her tail off to defeat the FISA Debacle, and perhaps, just perhaps, get back into the race.

    As I said, this strategy is a “day late and a dollar short”, but I think it would have (or could have had) far more of a chance than just the phone calls, letters, and faxes to our Senators.

    I wish I had thought of this earlier, but alas, I didn’t.

      • RevBev says:

        I do not so much. I definitely think Sen Kennedy has other means of influence; I think he would not much like that kind of rain on Obama’s parade. Neither do I think it does anything to bolster the Obama appeal, say to undecideds etc., to blind side him with a new battle that works to undermine him. So, not so much, as I see it.

        • Eureka Springs says:

          In addition it places Clinton as he alternative (by default) which would be the same problem(s) we have now.

  47. Hugh says:

    Well Obama’s explanation has convinced me. I was thinking of not voting for him. Now I’m really not going to vote for him.

    “It grants retroactive immunity to telecommunications companies that may have violated the law ”

    May? Seriously, this is a little like telling a woman in the deliveryroom that she may be pregnant.

  48. earlofhuntingdon says:

    I would just add that Beltway Villagers criticize, threaten, cajole, insult, demean, flatter and blather — and play much dirtier — than anything you’ll read on these pages, or Obama’s or your favorite web site.

    This legislation maintains and legalizes the status quo, at considerable loss to Americans of their privacy and the protections against unreasonable search and seizure that have been theirs for over two hundred years.

    Obama had a choice of pushing back or going with the flow; he went with the flow. Quelle surprise. Who thinks the neocons will sit back, relax and not keep pushing for more? Progressives’ job is to push harder so that next time Obama and his team will have to think harder about which decision to make.

    • wigwam says:

      I would just add that Beltway Villagers criticize, threaten, cajole, insult, demean, flatter and blather — and play much dirtier — than anything you’ll read on these pages, or Obama’s or your favorite web site.

      Agreed. And, Obama, at the last minute, has decided to join them rather than us in the fond hope that they’ll be gentle with him. What the fuck doesn’t he get?

  49. pmorlan says:

    jgraz (1000+ posts) Thu Jul-03-08 07:30 PM
    Response to Original message
    4. Did you read Obama’s statement on FISA today? He encourages the debate.
    So by saying “don’t criticize Obama”, you’re really being harshly critical of his support for dissent.

    I just found this post at DU. lol…someone else see’s the benefits of using Obama’s words to fight against his FISA vote.

    • RevBev says:

      This is the whole story. Have they no shame? I will have 2 TX Senators hot to vote for this mess.

  50. wigwam says:

    2. For example, get Senator Ted Kennedy, who is one of Obama’s staunchest supporters, and also one of the few true Liberals in Congress, to come out and say that he has changed his mind on committing to vote for Obama and instead has decided to become “Uncommitted”.

    3. To get him to change Senator Kennedy’s mind back to being committed to Obama, Senator Obama has to get the FISA Debacle killed. No “ifs, ands or buts” will otherwise be acceptable. The FISA Debacle must die or Obama is looking at a convention battle.

    Oh, damn, I like how you think. Because we can substitute the names of any of a number of Senators or goverors: Dodd, Feingold, Richardson, …

    If anyone of them goes for this, Obama is in deep shit!

  51. wigwam says:

    Also, we can start questioning Obama’s progressive credentials, which aren’t so all that solid: “So Senator, what have you done to force the closure of Gitmo?” Huh?

      • wigwam says:

        We still seem to have that 5-4 split. And, remember that 3 of the 5 are Reagan/Bush appointees. Paying attention to reality seems to slowly have an effect on conservatives, but why the hell should we have to rely on that?

        • pmorlan says:

          I certainly won’t rely on it (it’s pretty shaky right now) which is one of Obama’s biggest selling points for me. I don’t want McCain appointing any Supreme Court justices.

      • RevBev says:

        What a mess. One more idiotic effort that W completely screwed up. He held many of these people, likely without cause, and now so dumb he doesn’t know what to do with them. There is plenty of space in Crawford. Perino is saying they may be dangerous, not in my neighborhood. As if there are not dangerous people in this country. Pottery Barn: W f’d it up. Does he know how to fix or construct anything? No wonder he laughed so hard while holding that shovel today; he probably does not know what it’s for.

  52. CalGeorge says:

    “So I appreciate the feedback through my.barackobama.com, and I look forward to continuing the conversation in the months and years to come. Together, we have a lot of work to do.”

    Getting blown off never felt so… special.

    • pmorlan says:

      I read through some of the comments at HuffPo and there were people swooning because Obama lowered himself enough to comment. It was enough to make you sick. I guess it didn’t occur to some of these people that he only commented because of the pressure we’ve been applying.

      • wigwam says:

        Hi Pete,

        I’m reading through the comments still, but I agree with everything Bmaz has said, and Obama is certainly being a jerk and a jerkoff in his FISA hypocrisy.

        I voted for Obama on SuperTuesday. And I thought of some of the harsh exchanges at FDL when I did. But IMHO there was no hope of a progressive outcome with Hillary, and Obama seemed to offer some. Specifically, he was the only candidate who held open the possibility of prosecuting BushCo evildoers. (bmaz has disabused me of my illusions in that regard.)

        But it was so disappointing to see him join Pelosi, Ried, and the other capitulators.

        IMHO, the only hope for this nation is a progressive purge of the Democratic party, like the conservative purge of the Republican party in the 80s. Lowell Weiker was the last sane Republican to fall.

        Even if we (and the world) have to endure a McCain administration, we have to stop One-Party Rule. It has to stop. Obama can join or oppose, but it has to stop!

        • PetePierce says:

          I have been a staunch support of Obama and taken a lot of heat for it on these blogs, and I will always insist for many reasons he was the best choice once Dodd and particularly for me Biden were out of the race. I wish I had a nickle for all the minutes I have contemplated how much I hate this administration and how much contempt it and Republicans and now certainly Democrats in Congress have for us.

          I still support Obama, and his stance on FISA now and Greg Craig’s double talk that has been dissected here, by Glenn at Salon, and by you admirably over at DKOS is reprehensible. Greg Craig is a superlative lawyer as are many many at Williams and Connolly and this crap he is shovelling our way is not at all the kind of analysis he’d be giving one of his clients.

          Bmaz is perfectly on target as to the possibility of Obama prosecuting anyone remotely significant in the Bush administration and his comments about relying on the IG for anything are pure trash. Bmaz’s repeated insightful comments on FISA and the components of it and what is already in place, including the unconstitutionality of the old law in parts are dead on.

        • MayDaze says:

          IMHO, the only hope for this nation is a progressive purge of the Democratic party, like the conservative purge of the Republican party in the 80s.

          You’re right as rain. This is the hope that keeps me involved.

          • RevBev says:

            With the financial, jobs, medical care worlds all falling apart, we may be getting ripe for something truly transformative…now whether we will like that?

              • RevBev says:

                And how about educational? Even the graduation rate is going south. I remember when Kennedy got so serious about math and science to compete with the Russians and go to the moon. We have got to find a way to get our kids off the couch and serious about school, so they can head for the colleges that no one can afford. (Sorry I got wound up.)

                • ubetchaiam says:

                  Actually-I’m old enuf to remember it very well- it was Sputnik that put the U.S. in panic mode about science and math being important in education; before that it was an emphasis on the 3 ‘R’s(’rithmetic).

  53. CalGeorge says:

    Where’s that video of Barack brushing the fluff off of his shoulders?

    I feel a little bit like that fluff right now.

  54. PetePierce says:

    I’m reading through the comments still, but I agree with everything Bmaz has said, and Obama is certainly being a jerk and a jerkoff in his FISA hypocrisy. That would be Michael Elston and Esther Slater McDonald as in this mild and lately typically milquetoast report in NYT: Lichtblau has turned into a real wussie wussie wuss lately when reporting on just about anything. He should legally change his name to Lick Bushass.

    New Scrutiny of Hiring at Justice Department

    All of you that have said that the Inspector General is not Independent nor effective right on–that’s 1000% right.

    The bitch and prick that the IG uncovered recently who helped hijack DOJ for the purpose of installing little federalist automatons can’t be disciplined within the confines of DOJ since they have of course resigned, but I’d sure like to see their asses taste life in a BOP cube. They’ve lawyered up anyway, and I hope the lawyers are charging them out the wazoo.

    I have seen comment after comment that goes “I went onto Obama’s site” and tore them a new one. Good for you. But for all of you who have, and for all of you who are royally pissed off as to Obama’s disingenuous and in my opinion contemptuous imperious posture here, put your comments where they will really be seen and note taken by camp Obama–in Greg Craig’s Williams and Connolly email box. I can tell you for certain he does look at it and will read them there. Otherwise, youre making yourself feel good and I haven’t seen anyone in the House and Senate do anything meaningful in response to current well written analyseses of FISA on the best blogs like this one.

    You want to copy your comments to Greg Craig’s direct email and it’s here:

    202-434-5506 (phone)
    202-434-5760 (fax)

    [email protected]

    I know Christy and Jane have put in considerable time on their tools and I hope they pay off.

  55. Hugh says:

    It kind of amazes me that after Obama shafts us on this, anyone would believe that he has any interest in doing the right thing. He was a ConLaw professor. He knew what the stakes were. He could have smothered this from the beginning. He could have stopped Hoyer and Pelosi. He could have offered a reasonable alternative. He could have led. Instead we get mealymouthed pablum. And still, still you believe he can be trusted, that some wishywashy throw off statement about something in the future will make it OK. Sheesh!

    • pmorlan says:

      I don’t trust him one bit and if there was a better candidate out there to support I’d do it in a minute. But sadly for all of us all we can do is hope that as president Obama does more right things than McCain would do. I know it’s not much comfort but that’s all we have at the moment.

    • RevBev says:

      Is your explanation here that he is doing all this to win? Or are you saying we are seeing his true self/positions, whatever?

      • Hugh says:

        Is your explanation here that he is doing all this to win? Or are you saying we are seeing his true self/positions, whatever?

        I would say that Obama is engaged in that age old Democratic practice of running from his base. I mean how hard is it for any of these politicians to understand? We will support you, just don’t do anything crazy or gratuitously sell out the Constitution. So on an issue like FISA that could have been ducked or kicked down the road to the next Administration what do the Democrats with Obama as their leader do but one of the things we would find the most indefensible.

        Obama ran saying he would bring a new way of doing things to Washington but his role in the FISA controversy gives that the lie.

        • Fractal says:

          I don’t care how late I am, this was a great insight from Hugh:

          an issue like FISA that could have been ducked or kicked down the road to the next Administration

          The whole “occupation of Iraq” and the whole “peace in the Middle East” are being kicked down the road to Barack’s next Administration. Why is Barack so desperate to avoid confronting NSA, the Pentagon and the police-state Blue Dogs over this FISA corruption?

          The “trust me” attitude is crap. He claims there are “surveillance tools” inside the old PAA that this new FISA corruption would preserve. He has his head up his ass, or maybe NSA’s ass.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Tooshay, mon amee. Bloody well said. Politics is a blood sport. The public that depends on its government to enforce the rule of law rather than rule by the corporate elite did not win the day on FISA. Their Fourth Amendment rights will soon be in the hands of a secretive federal bureaucracy and unaccountable outsourced “intelligence services” providers.

      Progressives can just go away and prove Obama and the Democratic leadersheep correct, that we weren’t worth paying attention to. Or we can work to ensure that there are consequences for treating the public’s constitutional rights like a soggy coaster in a crowded bar. Sen. Diane Feinstein, for example, knows which is more likely to happen. That’s why she’s hiding her Fourth of July home visit schedule from her constituents. She doesn’t want surprises, or consequences, just money and blind support. Too bad.

  56. Jkat says:

    oh great .. i’m really underwhelmed by the idea that NSA is combing all the calls on tech support .. i hope they choke on all the canned muzak encountered while waiting through the normal 20 minute “hold” ..

    • wigwam says:

      I did some calculations regarding what it would cost to record all of the phone calls and email in the world, using reasonably conservative estimates of the volume. The numbers came out to be on the order of $10B. Even if it $20B, we’re talking a few aircraft carriers, or a few months occupying Iraq.

      Here is what people don’t quite get. Given the rate of decraease of prices in disk storage, the half live is slightly over a year. But let’s round it off. Say this year’s phone calls and emails would take $20B to store. Next years would take $10B. And the next year’s would take $5B. And the next, $2.5B. Etc.

      Going back to mathematics 1+1/2+1/4+1/8+… = 2. I.e., recording all phone calls forever would cost 2*$20B, i.e., $40B. Which means that once they’ve recorded your phone call or email it only doubles their cost to keep it forever. What better records retention policy than “keep everything forever.”

  57. ubetchaiam says:

    People, Ian Welsh has a point and Obama has told you where to go; “Democracy cannot exist without strong differences. And going forward, some of you may decide that my FISA position is a deal breaker. That’s ok. But I think it is worth pointing out that our agreement on the vast majority of issues that matter outweighs the differences we may have.”
    It’s ‘ok’ because the perception is that you have no one else to vote for and he throws in the fear of what will happen if McCain is elected to add to the trump card of lack of choice.

    He did vote against the PAA and that’s a point in his favor but I still think this is kabuki to cover up those who voted in favor of the PAA and not wanting to renew the PAA because it does allow warrantless wiretapping.

    What I would like to see is exactly what he means -someone please pin him down- by “will work with Chris Dodd, Jeff Bingaman and others in an effort to remove this provision in the Senate.”

    And yes, why won’t he sign on as a co-sponsor?

  58. Scarecrow says:

    Correction to mine at 203:

    ” . . . compared to what he has now as the candidate . . .

  59. der1 says:

    Didn’t read all the posts just wanted to add my 2 cents:

    Obama: “No tool has been more important in focusing peoples’ attention on the abuses of executive power in this Administration than the active and sustained engagement of American citizens.”

    I’m not a tool so don’t blow smoke up my ass.

  60. RevBev says:

    Good night all. Tomorrow Im going to check up on my House race. We have a pretty good candidate going against a very rich, pretty boy Repub.

  61. Ann in AZ says:

    I don’t know why the SOB doesn’t just tell the truth, that the real reason he’s voting for the new FISA bill is to placate a bunch of freshmen Blue Dogs who worry that they can’t get elected without it. He and George Bush made a bet who could accomplish accumulating more power for the President during their tenure in office, and he needs his rubber stamp Congress to do that as well. Otherwise, why wouldn’t he just lead and insist on just extending the bill until he can get a better one. That would solve the problem of expirations.

    I’ll bet the candidate thinks we’re all just trying to stick it to the telecoms. I know that’s not what I object to most. My problem has to do with the balance of power within the government, the fact that this is just another capitulation, and a big one. It isn’t bad enough that the Congress is surrendering their powers to the Executive branch, now they’re trying to give away the court’s powers too!

    • Fractal says:

      to Ann way up at 234, yes– exactly!

      Barack’s crew claim “oh, FISA? Nobody gives a shit about FISA.”

      Then they campaign their ass off for Blue Dogs who are telling them, “It’s my ass if we don’t pass this FISA fuckup.”

  62. MarkH says:

    One problem with the bill is explaining just what is covered by this or that.

    First, it only refers to the time period from 9/11/01 to something or other in 2007 (Feb 17 I think). That means all the spying done before 9/11 is still available to the courts.

    Second, the ‘immunity’ only refers to civil cases. That means criminal cases can still be brought.

    Third, the ‘immunity’ only refers to cases where the companies have received certain assurances of the legality of the spying they were to do.

    So, cases from 9/11/01-xx/xx/07 involving criminal behavior where there was no proper assurance from the Exec branch might be immunized.

    Well, since FISA allows for the government to compel cooperation for some time period before providing the warrant, there are probably some instances where that was done.

    How many instances remain where assurances were not given during the 9/11/01-xx/xx/07 time period and the spying was criminal.

    Are we nitpicking?

    I know the government can compel companies to comply. Sure. Why on earth would you want to go through that or punish companies for assisting the government after an attack like 9/11?

    Couldn’t Shrub even argue that the AUMF, whenever that became law, immunizes his actions as a trump to even FISA?

    ———–

    What we really really want is to punish Bush & Co and telecoms for spying for non-defense purposes and for spying before 9/11 without a warrant.

    Does this new legislation do/require/allow that?

    What we really really want is to protect the American public (whether at home or abroad) from Bushie spying or corporate spying without judicial oversight.

    Does this new legislation (as part of FISA) do that?

    If you believe it fails, then explain where.

    • emptywheel says:

      First, let me clarify. For starters, what we want to do is hold Bush accountable for the fact that he was told this was an illegal program–and he reauthorized it anyway. We want to hold the telecoms liable for accepting the WH Counsel’s authorization to wiretap Americans rather than–as required by law–the AG. We want to hold others responsible if and when they used a very loose definition of probable cause to wiretap journalists, politicians, and others.

      This legislation doesn’t HELP us do that in any way, primarily because its chief means of accountability–the IG report–won’t produce any results until after the statute of limitations for the known crimes will expire.

      Furthermore, by suggesting that an IG report is an adequate means of accountability, when the constitutionally correct means would be the courts, the bill undermines rule of law.

      Furthermore, it prevents us from doing that–specifically as regards the telecoms–because by giving civil immunity, Congress is basically giving legal sanction to the telecoms for breaking the law. Even if an Obama AG wanted to hold the telecoms liable for their criminal law-breaking, he would have a hard time doing so, because the telecom attorneys could argue, correctly, that Congress gave them sanction.

  63. PetePierce says:

    I forgot to mention that Wired’s Blogs do a nice job of unearthing a lot of these eavesdropping operations run by FBI, NSA, and a number of acronym and lettered obscure agencies including the facility that FBI is building to eavesdrop and do camera surveillance on the public and data mine that has a 20% accuracy at night. The idea is to put in place data mining and construct a nexus of data bases that will associate people with anyone accused of a crime if they have had the most minimal contact with them and make them a suspect. One of these operations is up, running, alive and well in Bmaz and McCain’s Arizona right now.

  64. kspena says:

    OT re: Austin’s conversation with Bob Parry about the Lost Chapter of the Iran-Contra report. What’s so fascinating is that he draws parallels to dubya’s administration and the secret processes which were developed to work outside the law. His analysis shows

    Reagan: George H W Bush :: George W Bush :: Cheney

    GHW Bush was Reagan’s Cheney. Dubya had an inhouse teacher.

  65. ACitizen says:

    Just over at MyDD you’ll all be happy to hear that the FISA thing is all over. Obama did a mea culpa to Kos and the netroots. Made some happy talk and….

    Halleluyah!

    Ye can vote for him again!

    It’s all good!

    He’s ‘The One’ and ‘Yes We Can!’ with a big Ol’ dose of ‘Vote for me and I’ll set you Free!’

  66. JThomason says:

    Typo? Maybe.

    But how’s this for an odd coincidence? I took a break from the barroom brawl here at the mahablog (though I am sure I threw some early punches) by popping in a DVD of Southland Tales which had popped up on my radar by an odd series of coincidences the last couple of days that was started by a search for an internal frame backpack on Amazon. Set in Los Angles, its a story about the apocalyptic ending of America in the context of a neo-fascist surveillance state(USIdent subcontracting with NSA) with antecedent historical continuity. Moby does the soundtrack. I had no idea what it was about until I watched it.

    Here is the really bizarre thing. Much of the action in this movie released in 2005 occurred on July 3, 2008! Hey that’s like today. I unlike some of you probably need an exorcism to relieve me of a possession by what I take to be benign spirits of synchronic mischief.

    For those of you who are interested in syncromysticism and the current crisis, check out this Nosis Interview Clip. Southland Tales dovetails strangely with these themes. That’s what I get for looking to think out of the box.

  67. Fractal says:

    It’s “Two Illinois Center” at 233 North Michigan Avenue, almost on the lake in the heart of the windy place, but I cannot dig out which floor or suite. There’s a Delmonico Steak House in the building (or it’s back office), not to mention that the entire tenth floor is occupied by UNITED HEALTH. Big hospital employer, health insurance carrier, you name it. Tenth floor, same building.

  68. rosalind says:

    a watch list members of congress actually want to be on. turns out homeland security employees and contractors can’t be trusted to handle massive databases with confidential personal information of millions of american citizens. who could have ever anticipated…?

    The watch list has since been expanded to more than 1,000 people, including all members of Congress, Supreme Court justices, senior administration officials, and entertainers, media personalities and sports figures.”

  69. Mary says:

    KayinMaine – the last time I saw so much absolute made up bull spewed was when I read RedState comments.

    You only show up on Obama threads and then have the nerve to pretend that “no one ever” gets pissed at Pelosi or Republicans. That’s just bizarre and shows you don’t even bother to shoot for truth. There has been nothing but criticism of Pelosi’s approach, as well as of Republican after Republican after Republican in EW’s threads.

    Nancy Pelosi didn’t have to bring it to the fucking floor for a vote, so if you’re gonna be fucking pissed at anyone, you should start there!

    Uh, been there, done that, where were you?

    Well, according to some here, Barack wrote the original FISA 1973 bill, he’s the one who fucked it up in 2001 by forcing George Bush to bypass what he had set up, and then just recently forced Nancy Pelosi to bring the bill back to the floor in the House, because he wanted immunity for everyone involved, because he hates America, loves George Bush, and is hoping his children marry Bush or Cheney kids in the future.

    emph added

    Liar. No one here has done antyhing other than criticize the things Obama has actually done and said. Add in nonsense like your “sidebar” that no one other than Obama will be blamed on FISA and your are just a spewer wrapped in nonsense, afraid to tackle argument so you make up crap that you WISH was what someone said so you can offer up a pretense of your points being relevant.

    And your comment that “Barack Obama can undo FISA once he’s president. ” shows you just aren’t following what the problem is (no one wants to undo FISA) or even the process of governance (Obama can’t “undo” a statute as President).

    I’m not sure what the agenda is, other than to promote and advocate for the same kind of blind devotion to Obama that had churchschool kids on their knees praying to pictures of Bush. Obama is wrong on what he is doing and he is much more seriously wrong to lie about FISA and that surveillance statutes will evaporate and leave us all dead in our beds. If you fear McCain so much you want to glorify what Obama is doing anyway – that’s fine and that’s your decision. But to come here with a bunch of “some say” Bushspeak doesn’t seem helpful as a way to address concerns about the issues and Obama’s lies/ignorance or both on those issues and making up stuff about Obama “undoing FISA” is just weird.

    Omms and peace, but keep that “some say” stuff on your side of the bed.

    • Loo Hoo. says:

      Mary. OMG, I always love reading your comments and learn so much. But calling KayinMaine a liar is toopissedoffedness. Good and perfect and all that.

      In terms of teams, Kay is on ours.

      Get a grip.

  70. PetePierce says:

    It’s a very good school. I always like the story of the Manhatten Project under the stadium. I ran into an old timer who was there at UC during the time and he could tell something was happening there.

    Obama’s campaign planning HQ is on the 11th floor of 233 N. Michigan. It’s a sublease from Accenture.

    Obama’s new HQ has room to move

    • Fractal says:

      that link was a beautiful — VERY OLD — profile from Sun Times.

      If they were on the eleventh floor at that address a full year ago, they are probably not there now.

      Or, not all of the high mucky-mucks we want to send our faxes to and stage our manifestations om front of.

      Although, as Jane always reminds us, getting out in front of the main HQ of the prez’nit we are annoyed with is almost always a good location.

      No matter where Barack’s war-room or Barack’s Chicago HQ might be, it seems safe to say that we should all send faxes to (312) 819-2088 and telephone to (312) 819-2008 or call toll-free 1-800-675-2008.

  71. skdadl says:

    I realize that it’s hard to keep saying that the Constitution, not the election, is the prize, especially when the election could mean getting genuine fascists out of power. So it matters to work on both. (And your election matters to people in the rest of the world too, many of their lives actually being at stake in the short term.)

    But the Constitution is the prize. Politics only matters when we refuse to cede that position to anyone, anyone. Otherwise, politics is just wonkery and cheerleading, at least to me, or it’s power games for the powerful, and that’s how we’ve ended up where we are, with so few people even knowing any longer what is at stake.

    So Obama’s a lost cause, even if you have to vote for him. How will you set about restoring the Constitution? There has to be a way.

    Happy Fourth of July, or as we say up here, as happy as possible under the circumstances.

  72. nomolos says:

    So Obama’s a lost cause

    Yes indeed. He has certainly shown that he is a liarman acolyte. He now says that only a physical condition should be allowed for a late term abortion not a mental condition. He is an a*hole.

    I went to his site to protest his bushco stance on FISA but found that I would have to register…this after I have successfully managed to un-solicit from his campaign…. so I guess the only thing left is to not vote for him. My spouse and I were discussing last night who we should write in. I suggest Chavez and Castro. She is going to write in Edwards, Elizabeth and John.

    Fuck osahma

    • skdadl says:

      Well, in your shoes, I would still vote for him. There’s bad, but then there’s worse, and in North America at the moment, the worse is genuinely scary.

      I didn’t know this, though:

      He now says that only a physical condition should be allowed for a late term abortion not a mental condition.

      Translation: Adult women are not as fully human as I am. (I can do the full logic behind that conclusion, but man, after forty years of this, I is tired of it. Just call the dorks on their anti-democratic views.)

      • nomolos says:

        This last has really put me/us over the top. The litany of “changed” positions over the last two weeks is incredible but t least we no know what he means by change.

    • PJEvans says:

      I have more than one e-mail address. I get stuff sent to the one I don’t care about, and I delete it at my pleasure. (I also signed up only for the anti-immunity group and set my account to no e-mails, digest only. Pain in the neck, they need a better site design.) No one says you have to read the stuff they send.

      I know he’s not perfect, I know his opinions sometimes are opposed to mine, but I think he’s probably smart enough to know he won’t get his way on a lot of stuff, and that we do count. (Not something I get from McSame.)

      But his stand on this bill is wrong, and I want him to know it’s wrong and why. Some of the stuff in it is, well, too close for comfort to the reasons listed in ‘When, in the Course’.

      Dammit, I expect better from him than this kind of crap.

  73. KayInMaine says:

    Hey Mary! You’re one of those people who will run to the Red Staters to make your point that Barack Obama is mean, a liar, and is not good for America…and you’ll do it in an instant too!

    Harriet Christian did the same thing. She can’t get on Fox News fast enough. Yeah, yeah, she loved Hillary Clinton, the Democratic Party, and everything that was rational and anti-right wing….oh but when Hillary didn’t get on the ballot….SHE BECAME A NEOCON to PUNISH the Democrats & Obama!

    Wow.

    You’re the pathetic one Mary. Not me. I used to be very athletic in and out of high school and when the teams I was on lost a game, I didn’t quit and go running to the other teams! You would have Mary. Honestly, you’re not a team player and you stand for nothing.

    And Mary? If you HADN’T FUCKING NOTICED, the telecoms/GeorgeBush/And Others/ have had immunity since February 2001. The End. Oh but let’s blame Barack Obama for it all!

    Dumbasses. I’m through with you weak players who run crying from the field over every bad call. We need a strong team and not a team full of pathetic players.

    • selise says:

      was trying to avoid the flame wars – at least fora day or two. but writing this: “you stand for nothing” to mary of all people is just so out of line that i must call bullshit. please stop.

      • KayInMaine says:

        She called me a liar, so I responded. Don’t tell me you’re suicidal now because I said Mary stands for nothing? If you do, then that’s the exactly the kind of crap I’ve been trying to point out on this thread for the past 12 hours.

        Jees. What is wrong with people? Okay to call me a liar, but when I say Mary stands for nothing (well, probably the republic party now because Obama has made her mad) the shit hits the fan?

  74. KayInMaine says:

    By the way, Johnny McTeleprompter has flip flopped and even voted against the GI Bill (and then took credit for it when it passed!), but I guess we can blame Barack Obama for this too!

    Yeah, yeah, let’s just drop to our knees and beat our own backs until we bleed. That ought to teach the republicans, huh? Spit. Again….stupid thinking.

  75. KayInMaine says:

    Mary & others would be right in their thinking if the TELECOMS/THE BUSH REGIME had been held accountable in a court of law all these years and then out of the blue Barack Obama forced Nancy Pelosi to bring FISA back to the table to change it because they didn’t want to see anyone else prosecuted. Oh but that didn’t happen and it hasn’t happened! Open your eyes up people and stop INSTANTLY SHUTTING DOWN & FLYING OFF THE HANDLE. You look weak every time you do. I’m sure the republicans are thinking, “Good gawd those Democrats are so easy!”.

    • selise says:

      because it’s not?

      i guess we’re all struggling to understand what this means for our country/world and how we can best, as you reminded us above, keep our eyes on the prize…. and also be mindful of how our actions affect so many who don’t have our ability (as small as it sometimes seems) to affect usa poltical/gov choices – which are life and death choices for so many.

      not happy thoughts for this 4th of july.

  76. KayInMaine says:

    If Mary & others stood for FISA, they would have been bullshit back in early 2001, but as we all know, we’ve had a House & Senate since that time that has done nothing to protect our rights……………BUT TODAY, WE’RE BLAMING BARACK OBAMA FOR IT ALL. He’s the fall guy! Dumbasses.

    • nomolos says:

      I am far more concerned over his anti-choice stand. On that he has pushed me over the edge. I tried to support him, and it was certainly him over clinton2, but mentally distressed women are the LAST people we want carrying to term. My spouse who has been at the forefront of this issue lo these many (many) years is pissed.

      As for someone calling you a liar, that was silly.

      Don’t know about you but the thunder boomers and rain over the last few days has me worn out,

      • KayInMaine says:

        If I’m not mistaken Nomolos, he is pro-choice but would rather have the woman not abort it. That’s his opinion and he’s said over and over that if the woman/girl does decide to abort, it saddens him but he would never take that right away from her.

        McCain: Keep the damn baby and if you can’t afford to feed it we’ll ridicule you for being on welfare.

        No thanks. Give me Barack’s view any day of the year.

        By the way, the neocons call me a liar everyday and that’s because they can’t handle my opinions. LOL Poor babies!

        Where I live in the state, we’ve had probably 6 thunderstorms in the last week and a half. It’s been very weird here weatherwise. I got caught driving in a hail storm (down poured hail! never seen anything like it in my life!) a couple weeks ago. Unfreakingbelievable.

  77. KayInMaine says:

    Selise, two weeks ago the telecoms/George Bush were not held criminally liable for spying on Americans illegally. And guess what? Same thing a year ago, and then 2 years ago too!

    Blaming Barack Obama for the rest of eternity when Hillary & John McCain & John Boner & Mitch McConnell & Nancy Pelosi & Denny Hastert did nothing is not fair. But it’s not about being fair is it? It’s about FINALLY having a reason to hate Barack Obama, right?

  78. KayInMaine says:

    One last point for today (hold your applause LOL):

    We can’t be calling Barack Obama & John McCain a flip flopper if we are liking Barack one day, hating him the next, loving him on Thursdays only, but hating his guts on Sundays, Mondays, and sometimes on Friday, but always loving him on Wednesdays no matter what he is saying & doing. See?

  79. wavpeac says:

    It does seem as if “the shock doctrine” is becoming more and more valid. It seems we are locking ourselves into a way of life that is in complete opposition to the constitution and the dream of our founding fathers.

    I think I am going to write in kucinich. I have never felt more strongly about accountability and maintaining the spirit of the constitution. Obama’s statement that he understands that we don’t agree with him…”but screw you I will do it my way”…bothers me more than anything else he has said. If he instead took the stance that he would read more about it or was willing to more flexible…but his message clearly is that “it’s going to happen” regardless of what we do.

    That bothers me …

    Kucinich anyone…can we get a write in candidate going. I have a feeling that OBama is going to lose his popularity very quickly if he back steps on the war position.

  80. BillE says:

    I couldn’t read the all the comments, sorry if this was mentioned up thread. The fix was in clearly, Dem leadership that was complicit in Bush shenanigans needed it covered up. Obama gets the super D’s cause he had the lead and would do what he has.

  81. MarkH says:

    EW, I’ve already written about FISA on another FDL post, so I won’t repeat it here.

    Essentially, I think we’re talking past one another and we really have a lot of the same goals. If the more Liberal senators can amend the bill (who knows whether Reid will allow that) I think a lot of good might come of it. But, don’t expect too much from Repubs on any amendment(s).

    Let’s not make some ideal perfect the enemy of the good, going in either the direction you want or the more pragmatic political direction Obama and the more conservative Dem senators want. Let’s hope the Senate finds all the good bits and that the bill comes out super duper great instead of just palatable.

    • bmaz says:

      The bill is neither good nor palatable. I, for one, would be interested in exactly what you base such a statement on. From where I stand, in making such a statement, you either understand very little about the details and effects of the FAA or you have a lot less respect for the Constitution as a whole and the 4th Amendment in particular, as well as the inherent separation of powers, than I do. Oh, and as to the frail hope for amendment of the bill, the procedure has been st already by Reid, and there is effectively zero chance of any amendment passing under the time frame and procedural framework set by the unanimous consent agreement engineered by Mr. Reid. I respect your opinion and right to express it, but I could not disagree with it, nor challenge it’s root validity any more vehemently. Mr. Obama’s value as a historical candidate does not preempt the enduring primacy of the need to protect and uphold the Constitution. No man is more important than the principles and edicts that are within the four corners of the Constitution, and the actions of Obama, and those who would rationalize them, are an affront to the founding fathers, the Constitution they crafted, the ethos of America and the legions of men and women that have fought and died to protect and honor the same since the time of this country’s birth.

  82. timbo says:

    And, Mr. Obama, who will hold the Inspector Generals responsible? The Democratic Party? It’s sickening to see the erosion of law in the United States. Other countries should take serious notice now that no mainstream American politician with any significant influence seems destined to uphold the rule of law. It is a sad day and the Constitutional crisis that is the current “two party” system continues to erode the Republic…