Leadership

As you’ve likely heard, Senator Reid has pulled the FISA bill. We win–for today, at least.

Here’s Nico PitneyThe HuffPo’s write-up.

The Dead Tree Media is a little behind. At 9:16, the headlines read:

Telecom Immunity Bill Advances

Telecom Industry Wins a Round on Eavesdropping

Um, no they didn’t.

A statement of thanks from Senator Dodd:

Today we have scored a victory for American civil liberties and sent a message to President Bush that we will not tolerate his abuse of power and veil of secrecy. The President should not be above the rule of law, nor should the telecom companies who supported his quest to spy on American citizens. I want to thank the thousands of Americans throughout the country that stood with me to get this done for our country.

And if you’d like to return the favor, this might be a good place to start.

image_print
  1. phred says:

    I’m so tickled I’m beside myself. The first victory of any kind whatsoever since the Dems took control of Congress. I know we’ll be back at it again in January, but just seeing a Democratic Senator standing up for the Constitution and the rule of law on the floor of the Senate was a fine sight to behold. And did you notice EW that he read from the Church report — he’s paying attention my friend. Keep up the good work!

  2. phred says:

    Hmmm, and evidently the WaPo reads your posts, they updated at 9:22 p.m. (as your link now shows), the NYT still heralds the victory of the telecoms. Heh heh.

  3. prostratedragon says:

    The Dead Tree Media is a little behind.

    Oh, yeah! Maybe an exacto knife could fit in there and do a little work, if not a crowbar … shute, those are no more tools than the partisan media.

  4. TexBetsy says:

    Can I Get A Big Old Yeeeeaaarrrgh!?!! by digby Harry Reid has pulled the FISA bill until after the recess. It seems senators were getting uncomfortable with all the attention being drawn to their sickening sell out to big corporations. And I frankly suspect that Feingold’s speech this morning in which he says that half of what the administration to…

    • Neil says:

      I watched Dodd live on C-SPAN2 and he was excellent. Finally, we have someone taknig a stand for the rule of law. To me, it’s odd we’re fighting for something so fundamental to our democracy.

  5. zAmboni says:

    I salute Dodd for the good work.

    Just a hypothesis…but should we also be giving Reid a thumbs-up here also? I know that people have been down on Reid lately, but I think that he may have pulled off a shrewd maneuver. I think that Reid really wants the legal justifications on the surveillance declassified. His strategy: base bill with immunity + Dodd filibuster = pulling the bill till after recess. Allows them more time to pressure the WH into declassification. This way they can “blame” Dodd for this, and it is less confrontational to the WH.

    I believe that Reid thought that a direct confrontation with the WH in saying “Declassify or you wont get immunity” wouldn’t work. Neither would putting up a base bill w/o immunity because Dodd may not have filibustered and the WH would have no reason to hand over the justification docs.

    Just a thought…

    • ProfessorFoland says:

      should we also be giving Reid a thumbs-up here also? I know that people have been down on Reid lately, but I think that he may have pulled off a shrewd maneuver.

      I’ll believe it when I see it. Reid just counted the hours and realized Dodd could run out the clock. Reid could have gotten the same result, no mess, no fuss, by simply announcing six weeks ago that Dodd was putting a hold on the legislation and that they would take it up in January. Sure, waiting until January increases the pressure to do something, but it similarly increases pressure on the WH not to veto whatever does come out.

      In case anyone missed it, RH passed along a proposal from Mary for what might be a passable compromise in January. I like it but I’d love to hear technical legal comments.

      EW et al (Jane, RH, Glenn, etc)–I want to see some swagger out of you all. You led an effort to beat down 76 Senators on this one. Each victory scares the opposition a little more and makes the next victory easier. Anything you can do to increase the perception of having won a great victory is a good tool. We all know this isn’t the end of the fight, but Round 1 was a clear win on points.

    • PetePierce says:

      From Hmmmmm @48:

      Welcome Back petepierce (logout) Username: Password Remember Me « Noel Hillman Gets a Subpoena
      Leadership
      By: emptywheel Monday December 17, 2007 6:22 pm

      As you’ve likely heard, Senator Reid has pulled the FISA bill. We win–for today, at least.

      Here’s Nico PitneyThe HuffPo’s write-up.

      The Dead Tree Media is a little behind. At 9:16, the headlines read:

      Telecom Immunity Bill Advances

      Telecom Industry Wins a Round on Eavesdropping

      Um, no they didn’t.

      A statement of thanks from Senator Dodd:

      Today we have scored a victory for American civil liberties and sent a message to President Bush that we will not tolerate his abuse of power and veil of secrecy. The President should not be above the rule of law, nor should the telecom companies who supported his quest to spy on American citizens. I want to thank the thousands of Americans throughout the country that stood with me to get this done for our country.

      And if you’d like to return the favor, this might be a good place to start.

      Share This Spotlight
      70 Responses to “Leadership”
      phred December 17th, 2007 at 6:33 pm 1
      I’m so tickled I’m beside myself. The first victory of any kind whatsoever since the Dems took control of Congress. I know we’ll be back at it again in January, but just seeing a Democratic Senator standing up for the Constitution and the rule of law on the floor of the Senate was a fine sight to behold. And did you notice EW that he read from the Church report — he’s paying attention my friend. Keep up the good work!

      Reply
      bonjonno December 17th, 2007 at 6:33 pm 2
      first I’ve heard of it. Good. Going to read Nico now.

      Reply
      phred December 17th, 2007 at 6:34 pm 3
      Ummm, EW the Nico link takes me to a page at HuffPo that says Sam Stein.

      Reply
      TexBetsy December 17th, 2007 at 6:38 pm 4
      Marcy, you were wonderful explaining the filibuster on The Young Turks earlier this evening.

      Reply
      phred December 17th, 2007 at 6:39 pm 5
      Hmmm, and evidently the WaPo reads your posts, they updated at 9:22 p.m. (as your link now shows), the NYT still heralds the victory of the telecoms. Heh heh.

      Reply
      Leen December 17th, 2007 at 6:40 pm 6
      happy holidays, from the Bush administration…

      http://www.elfyourself.com/?id=1508858493

      Reply
      emptywheel December 17th, 2007 at 6:40 pm 7
      phred

      Fixed.

      The Nico Pitney thing. Not the WaPo thing.

      Reply
      prostratedragon December 17th, 2007 at 6:42 pm 8
      The Dead Tree Media is a little behind.

      Oh, yeah! Maybe an exacto knife could fit in there and do a little work, if not a crowbar … shute, those are no more tools than the partisan media.

      Reply
      TexBetsy December 17th, 2007 at 6:44 pm 9
      Can I Get A Big Old Yeeeeaaarrrgh!?!! by digby Harry Reid has pulled the FISA bill until after the recess. It seems senators were getting uncomfortable with all the attention being drawn to their sickening sell out to big corporations. And I frankly suspect that Feingold’s speech this morning in which he says that half of what the administration to…

      Reply
      skdadl December 17th, 2007 at 6:46 pm 10
      Really well done. From one inspiring act comes momentum, maybe. Think momentum.

      Reply
      selise December 17th, 2007 at 6:53 pm 11
      In response to TexBetsy @ 4
      damn. marcy was on young turks and i missed it?

      Reply
      CTuttle December 17th, 2007 at 7:02 pm 12
      Marcy, you were awesome on Young Turks! Selise, the podcast is available now… I’m disappointed I missed Christy tho…

      Reply
      zAmboni December 17th, 2007 at 7:07 pm 13
      I salute Dodd for the good work.

      Just a hypothesis…but should we also be giving Reid a thumbs-up here also? I know that people have been down on Reid lately, but I think that he may have pulled off a shrewd maneuver. I think that Reid really wants the legal justifications on the surveillance declassified. His strategy: base bill with immunity + Dodd filibuster = pulling the bill till after recess. Allows them more time to pressure the WH into declassification. This way they can “blame” Dodd for this, and it is less confrontational to the WH.

      I believe that Reid thought that a direct confrontation with the WH in saying “Declassify or you wont get immunity” wouldn’t work. Neither would putting up a base bill w/o immunity because Dodd may not have filibustered and the WH would have no reason to hand over the justification docs.

      Just a thought…

      Reply
      Neil December 17th, 2007 at 7:09 pm 14
      In response to CTuttle @ 12
      I watched Dodd live on C-SPAN2 and he was excellent. Finally, we have someone taknig a stand for the rule of law. To me, it’s odd we’re fighting for something so fundamental to our democracy.

      Reply
      TexBetsy December 17th, 2007 at 7:14 pm 15
      Crooks & Liars has some of the audio from today.

      Think Progress had this:

      Dodd filibuster threat causes Reid to withdraw FISA bill.
      …Senator Chris Dodd won a temporary victory today after his threats of a filibuster forced Democratic leadership to push back consideration of a measure that would grant immunity to telecom companies that were complicit in warrantless surveillance.” Watch it: A Reid aide tells Greg Sargent that “Reid refused …

      Reply
      bmaz December 17th, 2007 at 7:18 pm 16
      Ok, here comes the grumpy, old, curmudgeonly fart. This is a nice “victory”, but why did Reid pull the legislation? I don’t think these guys have any shame, so I am not sure I am buying the going explanation. Like a page out of Highlights Magazine, whats wrong with this picture? Even if the conventional wisdom that Reid got embarrassed is right, there must be a setup; they are going to slam this thing Thursday or Friday night or something. Maybe there will be a quick in and out special session while everybody is gone for the holidays and the news cycle is parked. Crikey, the one vote was 76-10, that is a lot of cover. You know the Senate is pining to give immunity to Bush; why didn’t they?

      Reply
      Neil December 17th, 2007 at 7:19 pm 17
      Dodd on CSPAN2 today.

      Reply
      selise December 17th, 2007 at 7:19 pm 18
      In response to bmaz @ 16
      i don’t think it’s because reid was embarrassed – i thought it was because he didn’t want to spend the week dicking around with this and getting nothing done.

      Reply
      selise December 17th, 2007 at 7:21 pm 19
      tomorrow the entire day’s c-span webcast should be available via their archives here.

      Reply
      CTuttle December 17th, 2007 at 7:23 pm 20
      In response to bmaz @ 16
      January 15th is the new target date… I don’t see any possible trickery that you allude to occurring… However, the deluge of phone calls, e-mails, etc. that our Senators received might have had the intended effect…

      Reply
      noen December 17th, 2007 at 7:24 pm 21
      Now if Dodd can translate this into primary votes that would really be something. It could change how the other candidates conduct their campaigns.

      Reply
      zAmboni December 17th, 2007 at 7:25 pm 22
      Reid:

      “We will consider this bill when we return in January. In the meantime, I again encourage the Director of National Intelligence and the Attorney General to make available to all Senators the relevant documents on retroactive immunity, so that each may reach an informed decision on how to proceed on this provision. I oppose retroactive immunity, but believe every Senator must have access to the information to make this important decision.”

      I think that Reid was using the Dodd threat of filibuster to buy more time. Hope I am right….I would really like to think that leadership is being smart, tactical, and doing the right thing for once.

      Reply
      TexBetsy December 17th, 2007 at 7:25 pm 23
      neon, that would be the best!

      Reply
      Loo Hoo. December 17th, 2007 at 7:26 pm 24
      Sure sounds like good news to me. Any chance the democrats are paying attention? If Ron Paul can get 5 million dollars in one day, can’t Dodd?

      Reply
      IMbobo December 17th, 2007 at 7:26 pm 25
      Really well done. From one inspiring act comes momentum, maybe. Think momentum.

      We pushed. Hard. We won. For now.

      The Bushies and their allies are pushing back. Hard. Any momentum we might have built up today will be gone by January, unless we continue pushing.

      Hard!

      Reply
      noen December 17th, 2007 at 7:27 pm 26
      The is the first I’ve been able to get into the FDL domain all day. bleg..

      Reply
      nolo December 17th, 2007 at 7:27 pm 27
      In response to Leen @ 6
      woo-hoo! much to cheer, at
      least until january 2008. . .

      dick cheney — himself! — has
      a christmas card greeting for
      senator dodd, given today’s
      events — and an invitation!

      take a look, and a listen!

      [the above, in context. . .]

      let there be peace on earth. . .

      Reply
      Hmmm December 17th, 2007 at 7:27 pm 28
      Dodd rocked, he inspired, he did the job he set out to do, I feel I personally owe him a great debt of gratitude. I now feel I want to support Dodd for President. Most of the D’s who spoke also shone. Today was a truly Great Moment. I sure hope he doesn’t have to do it again in January. I mean, what Dodd showed Reid and the DINO’s is that he can and will stand up and derail the agenda when necessary. Doubleplus good.

      However I don’t see a triumph:
      – January is a long way away, anything could happen
      – Lots of time for arm-twisting
      – A longer filibuster would have gathered more MSM attention now
      – A longer filibuster might have focused the discussion on the OEOB documents that Whitehouse, Wyden, and now Reid want to get full Senate access to
      – I have a very mixed feeling about the coming Reid-Feinstein compromise proposal

      So no resolution yet. More like going to sleep. Unless some sort of other stuff is going to break between now and then, such that a FISA bill debate in January will be happening within a more favorable context than today’s.

      Hmmm.

      Reply
      FrankProbst December 17th, 2007 at 7:28 pm 29
      In response to selise @ 18
      i don’t think it’s because reid was embarrassed – i thought it was because he didn’t want to spend the week dicking around with this and getting nothing done.

      How would that be different from any other week?

      Reply
      noen December 17th, 2007 at 7:29 pm 30
      In response to Hmmm @ 28
      Yes, all you say is true. On the other hand we do have the initiative. From that others will take note and maybe join Dodd so that next time he will have even more backers.

      Reply
      noen December 17th, 2007 at 7:31 pm 31
      I would really like to know how Dodd is polling after this.

      Reply
      IMbobo December 17th, 2007 at 7:32 pm 32
      In response to noen @ 30
      They won’t just take note of their own accord. They’re all getting telco $$$. They need to, um, be given note. Keep after them!

      Reply
      nolo December 17th, 2007 at 7:32 pm 33
      In response to bmaz @ 16
      like you bmaz, i am suspicious,
      but for the moment, i’ll take that
      lil’ holiday gift. . . thus the audio
      portion of my dick cheney elfen
      thingy, above. . .

      i don’t expect anything more
      now until january 2008 — reid’s
      remarks plainly imply the same. . .

      p e a c e

      Reply
      CTuttle December 17th, 2007 at 7:32 pm 34
      Dodd will continue the fight against Telcom Immunity in January… He has vowed to do so… Now, Reid had better place the SJC bill as the ‘Base’ bill… Easy enough to do…

      Reply
      Hmmm December 17th, 2007 at 7:35 pm 35
      Can’t imagine what pressures Team Dick will bring to bear on Dodd between now and January.

      Reply
      noen December 17th, 2007 at 7:36 pm 36
      In response to IMbobo @ 32
      True, true. In DC everything revolves around polling and demographics. If Dodd shows a significant bump in his numbers that will certainly raise eyebrows. If Dodd moves up in Iowa then they will really take notice.

      Reply
      Hmmm December 17th, 2007 at 7:41 pm 37
      Are there any signs that Reid might switch over to the SJC version? I guess even if that happens, an amendment could add immunity back into it. They could surely muster 60 votes.

      Reply
      IMbobo December 17th, 2007 at 7:49 pm 38
      In response to noen @ 36
      If Dodd moves up in Iowa then they will really take notice.

      And if enough of us make it clear to enough of them that we’re with Dodd, we’re watching, and we’re very very serious about this, well, they’ll notice that too.

      I hope.

      I don’t think Chris Dodd is sellable as Presidential material. Which is a shame – I think he’d be a great President. If I had a pile of Stupid Money floating around and I thought it could make a difference in the polls, I’d give it to him. But I don’t. I’d hate to bet the farm on a big polling bump for Dodd in the Presidential race, for his stellar performance as a Senator, so I think it’s imperative to keep the pressure on our wavering, $-sniffing Senators to do the right thing.

      Reply
      Hmmm December 17th, 2007 at 7:53 pm 39
      Dodd’s performance today could be captured by editing the CSPAN-2 video, and the result could definitely be used to sell Dodd as presidential material. Run it against a tape of any of the Dems’ debate performances and he’d come out looking better by far. Passion and commitment for something that really matters.

      Reply
      noen December 17th, 2007 at 7:53 pm 40
      In response to IMbobo @ 38
      “I hope.”

      Seems to be the season for that.

      “I don’t think Chris Dodd is sellable as Presidential material.”

      I don’t either. What has me excited and hopeful is the possibility of changing the dynamics. Dodd could be a catalyst for change. We need a new direction and this is the first time in a while that I’ve felt it’s even possible.

      Reply
      ProfessorFoland December 17th, 2007 at 7:53 pm 41
      In response to zAmboni @ 13
      should we also be giving Reid a thumbs-up here also? I know that people have been down on Reid lately, but I think that he may have pulled off a shrewd maneuver.

      I’ll believe it when I see it. Reid just counted the hours and realized Dodd could run out the clock. Reid could have gotten the same result, no mess, no fuss, by simply announcing six weeks ago that Dodd was putting a hold on the legislation and that they would take it up in January. Sure, waiting until January increases the pressure to do something, but it similarly increases pressure on the WH not to veto whatever does come out.

      In case anyone missed it, RH passed along a proposal from Mary for what might be a passable compromise in January. I like it but I’d love to hear technical legal comments.

      EW et al (Jane, RH, Glenn, etc)–I want to see some swagger out of you all. You led an effort to beat down 76 Senators on this one. Each victory scares the opposition a little more and makes the next victory easier. Anything you can do to increase the perception of having won a great victory is a good tool. We all know this isn’t the end of the fight, but Round 1 was a clear win on points.

      Reply
      bmaz December 17th, 2007 at 7:54 pm 42
      In response to zAmboni @ 22
      That is plausible. That would be a step in the right direction; but what is the end game? If history is any guide, and it usually is, irrespective of whether more documents are turned over the passage of immunity is still a done deal. Even if the contents of the documents make more of a case for impeachment than retroactive immunity, immunity will be the decision. Which, of course would effectively ratify everything done pursuant to the bases of the immunity. The implications of anything along that line are worse than just passing the damn thing today when they could at least argue they had never seen or known of either bogusly misleading incomplete docs or docs that flat out describe criminality. Because those are the only two types of documents they have.

      Reply
      radiofreewill December 17th, 2007 at 7:56 pm 43
      Well, Dodd certainly gets my vote for Patron Saint of the Rule of Law! I might have to start calling him Constitution Chris.

      Reply
      ProfessorFoland December 17th, 2007 at 7:58 pm 44
      Also, am I the only one who thinks that the real object of the immunity provisions is to protect the WH occupant who ordered all the FISA lawbreaking? Because I think he has a problem that he can’t preemptively pardon himself. It would be quite the stroke in the defense’s favor, I should think, to point out that Congress had immunized and implicitly ratified the executive’s activity.

      Reply
      TexBetsy December 17th, 2007 at 8:01 pm 45
      finally!

      Dodd Succeeds in Delaying Wiretapping Bill
      from ABC News: Top Stories
      Controversial bill won’t be considered until January.

      Reply
      selise December 17th, 2007 at 8:03 pm 46
      In response to ProfessorFoland @ 44
      you are not the only one.

      Reply
      laserda December 17th, 2007 at 8:03 pm 47
      Looking ahead: with January 20, 2009 coming within view, why would Republicans still want to sign on to this bill? With their presidential field doing a fabulous Upper Class Twit of the Year re-enactment, the GOP senators surely can see the writing on the wall for their hold on the executive branch. So why hand the Dems such unbridled power? From their point of view, it just doesn’t seem to make any sense anymore.
      I think Hmmmm is onto the reason why the administration pretty much has locked up cowering Dems and all the lobotomy sounding Republicans you heard today like Jeff Sessions and Orin Hatch:

      Reply
      Hmmm December 17th, 2007 at 8:06 pm 48
      In response to ProfessorFoland @ 44:

      Absolutely. Keeping discovery frozen in all these cases — whether via state secrets or retroactive immunity grant — does two critical things: 1) Keeps the illegal surveillance facts quarrantined so they can’t be used again in the nextcase; 2) Keeps the Article II wartime powers claim alive so it can be used again in the next case. So I don’t think we will be seeing discovery in those cases moving forward, not as long as Team Dick still draws breath — they simply can’t let it happen because their Administration simply can’t survive that
      Jack Goldsmith’s book kind of lays it all out, if you read between the lines.

      Jack Goldsmith’s book kind of lays it all out, if you read between the lines.

      I think the key to why Bush/Cheney will have primacy in this is that it that revealing all of the papers and agreements that the Administration won’t show to any Senators–they’ve just given a small peek of a small amount of the complicity and conspiracy between the administration and the Telco industry’s attorneys. Keep in mind this is a majority leader who wanted a vote that is historically insane where the Senate doesn’t even know what the hell it’s voting on. They don’t know what is buried behind “immunity” and it’s a ton of criminality for this administration that they don’t want discovered ever.

      Just a hypothesis…but should we also be giving Reid a thumbs-up here also? I know that people have been down on Reid lately, but I think that he may have pulled off a shrewd maneuver. I think that Reid really wants the legal justifications on the surveillance declassified. His strategy: base bill with immunity + Dodd filibuster = pulling the bill till after recess. Allows them more time to pressure the WH into declassification. This way they can “blame” Dodd for this, and it is less confrontational to the WH.

      I believe that Reid thought that a direct confrontation with the WH in saying “Declassify or you wont get immunity” wouldn’t work. Neither would putting up a base bill w/o immunity because Dodd may not have filibustered and the WH would have no reason to hand over the justification docs.

      I don’t think so, in any way shape or form.

      Please read Glenn Greenwald’s analysis of Reid’s obfuscation or champioining of amnesty:

      http://www.salon.com/opinion/greenwald/

      The cloture vote above isn’t necessarily indicative of how many Democrats will end up opposing amnesty. Presumably, many of them will. This was really just a vote on whether to endorse Harry Reid’s decree as to how things will proceed. But they’re well on their way to endorsing a bill (the Rockefeller/Cheney Intelligence Committee bill) which, as Feingold correctly said, “simply gives the Administration everything it was demanding, no questions asked.”

      Two other points: (1) As Bamage noted in comments, the revelations from The New York Times yesterday about just how vast and illegal is telecom domestic spying has not even been mentioned. It has no impact. It doesn’t matter what these Senators learn or don’t learn. They are determined to give Bush what he wants and remove all of these issues from their universe, and not even brand new facts of obvious relevance will give them the slightest pause.

      I hate to say this, and I’m not trying to rain on any parades, but I belive many people who are doing a Snoopy dance are terribly confused. Not much has really changed at all strategically.

      I don’t see any compromise whatsoever in the future. There are enough caving Democrats so that Bush isn’t going to give an inch. Maybe people need to be reminded of that first cloture vote.

      It was 70-10. Most Democrats voted for cloture. 10 of them did not. Of the ones who were absent, the majority would have voted for cloture and for immunity:

      The first vote on cloture passed by the vote of 76-10 [voting against: Boxer (California), Brown (Ohio), Cantwell (Washington), Cardin (Maryland), Dodd (Connecticut), Feingold (Wisconsin), Harkin (Iowa), Kerry (Massachusetts), Menendez (New Jersey), Wyden (Oregon)]. Missing Senators included Clinton, Obama, Biden, Sanders, and Lautenberg.

      If there’s a victory that the people who are hifiving themselves see, I’d love to hear you explain it to me.

      There is no victory here–despite some nice speeches from Chris Dodd, Kennedy, Widen, and Boxer.

      If Senators listened to their constiuents, most of whom had no idea this was taking place, and won’t have any idea this took place a year from now, I don’t think much would change.

    • PetePierce says:

      Sorry for all the junk pasted. I am not sure how it happened, but my mouse is dying. I meant to post:

      Reply
      Hmmm December 17th, 2007 at 8:06 pm 48
      In response to ProfessorFoland @ 44:

      Absolutely. Keeping discovery frozen in all these cases — whether via state secrets or retroactive immunity grant — does two critical things: 1) Keeps the illegal surveillance facts quarrantined so they can’t be used again in the nextcase; 2) Keeps the Article II wartime powers claim alive so it can be used again in the next case. So I don’t think we will be seeing discovery in those cases moving forward, not as long as Team Dick still draws breath — they simply can’t let it happen because their Administration simply can’t survive that
      Jack Goldsmith’s book kind of lays it all out, if you read between the lines.

      Jack Goldsmith’s book kind of lays it all out, if you read between the lines.

      I think the key to why Bush/Cheney will have primacy in this is that it that revealing all of the papers and agreements that the Administration won’t show to any Senators–they’ve just given a small peek of a small amount of the complicity and conspiracy between the administration and the Telco industry’s attorneys. Keep in mind this is a majority leader who wanted a vote that is historically insane where the Senate doesn’t even know what the hell it’s voting on. They don’t know what is buried behind “immunity” and it’s a ton of criminality for this administration that they don’t want discovered ever.

      From [email protected]:

      Just a hypothesis…but should we also be giving Reid a thumbs-up here also? I know that people have been down on Reid lately, but I think that he may have pulled off a shrewd maneuver. I think that Reid really wants the legal justifications on the surveillance declassified. His strategy: base bill with immunity + Dodd filibuster = pulling the bill till after recess. Allows them more time to pressure the WH into declassification. This way they can “blame” Dodd for this, and it is less confrontational to the WH.

      I believe that Reid thought that a direct confrontation with the WH in saying “Declassify or you wont get immunity” wouldn’t work. Neither would putting up a base bill w/o immunity because Dodd may not have filibustered and the WH would have no reason to hand over the justification docs.

      I don’t think so, in any way shape or form.

      Please read Glenn Greenwald’s analysis of Reid’s obfuscation or champioining of amnesty:

      http://www.salon.com/opinion/greenwald/

      The cloture vote above isn’t necessarily indicative of how many Democrats will end up opposing amnesty. Presumably, many of them will. This was really just a vote on whether to endorse Harry Reid’s decree as to how things will proceed. But they’re well on their way to endorsing a bill (the Rockefeller/Cheney Intelligence Committee bill) which, as Feingold correctly said, “simply gives the Administration everything it was demanding, no questions asked.”

      Two other points: (1) As Bamage noted in comments, the revelations from The New York Times yesterday about just how vast and illegal is telecom domestic spying has not even been mentioned. It has no impact. It doesn’t matter what these Senators learn or don’t learn. They are determined to give Bush what he wants and remove all of these issues from their universe, and not even brand new facts of obvious relevance will give them the slightest pause.

      I hate to say this, and I’m not trying to rain on any parades, but I belive many people who are doing a Snoopy dance are terribly confused. Not much has really changed at all strategically.

      I don’t see any compromise whatsoever in the future. There are enough caving Democrats so that Bush isn’t going to give an inch. Maybe people need to be reminded of that first cloture vote.

      It was 70-10. Most Democrats voted for cloture. 10 of them did not. Of the ones who were absent, the majority would have voted for cloture and for immunity:

      The first vote on cloture passed by the vote of 76-10 [voting against: Boxer (California), Brown (Ohio), Cantwell (Washington), Cardin (Maryland), Dodd (Connecticut), Feingold (Wisconsin), Harkin (Iowa), Kerry (Massachusetts), Menendez (New Jersey), Wyden (Oregon)]. Missing Senators included Clinton, Obama, Biden, Sanders, and Lautenberg.

      If there’s a victory that the people who are hifiving themselves see, I’d love to hear you explain it to me.

      There is no victory here–despite some nice speeches from Chris Dodd, Kennedy, Widen, and Boxer.

      If Senators listened to their constiuents, most of whom had no idea this was taking place, and won’t have any idea this took place a year from now, I don’t think much would change.

  6. TexBetsy says:

    Crooks & Liars has some of the audio from today.

    Think Progress had this:

    Dodd filibuster threat causes Reid to withdraw FISA bill.
    …Senator Chris Dodd won a temporary victory today after his threats of a filibuster forced Democratic leadership to push back consideration of a measure that would grant immunity to telecom companies that were complicit in warrantless surveillance.” Watch it: A Reid aide tells Greg Sargent that “Reid refused …

  7. bmaz says:

    Ok, here comes the grumpy, old, curmudgeonly fart. This is a nice “victory”, but why did Reid pull the legislation? I don’t think these guys have any shame, so I am not sure I am buying the going explanation. Like a page out of Highlights Magazine, whats wrong with this picture? Even if the conventional wisdom that Reid got embarrassed is right, there must be a setup; they are going to slam this thing Thursday or Friday night or something. Maybe there will be a quick in and out special session while everybody is gone for the holidays and the news cycle is parked. Crikey, the one vote was 76-10, that is a lot of cover. You know the Senate is pining to give immunity to Bush; why didn’t they?

    • selise says:

      i don’t think it’s because reid was embarrassed – i thought it was because he didn’t want to spend the week dicking around with this and getting nothing done.

      • FrankProbst says:

        i don’t think it’s because reid was embarrassed – i thought it was because he didn’t want to spend the week dicking around with this and getting nothing done.

        How would that be different from any other week?

    • CTuttle says:

      January 15th is the new target date… I don’t see any possible trickery that you allude to occurring… However, the deluge of phone calls, e-mails, etc. that our Senators received might have had the intended effect…

    • nolo says:

      like you bmaz, i am suspicious,
      but for the moment, i’ll take that
      lil’ holiday gift. . . thus the audio
      portion of my dick cheney elfen
      thingy, above
      . . .

      i don’t expect anything more
      now until january 2008 — reid’s
      remarks plainly imply the same. . .

      p e a c e

    • PetePierce says:

      Ok, here comes the grumpy, old, curmudgeonly fart. This is a nice “victory”, but why did Reid pull the legislation? I don’t think these guys have any shame, so I am not sure I am buying the going explanation. Like a page out of Highlights Magazine, whats wrong with this picture? Even if the conventional wisdom that Reid got embarrassed is right, there must be a setup; they are going to slam this thing Thursday or Friday night or something. Maybe there will be a quick in and out special session while everybody is gone for the holidays and the news cycle is parked. Crikey, the one vote was 76-10, that is a lot of cover. You know the Senate is pining to give immunity to Bush; why didn’t they?

      While scheduling may have been one of the reasons, I sure share your pesimmism. This pump is primed with a large amount of Democratic votes for the Intelligence version of S. 2248 and one of the major ironies in this to me, is that no Senator has seen a significant amount of the documentation or discovery of what Telco’s and the administration have done that’s out there, and a handful of Senators have seen a fraction of the documents, carefully chosen by Addington, Fielding, and Gillespie and the lawyers who work for them.

      • Hmmm says:

        At least Whitehouse, Wyden, and now even (if we believe him) Reid are on the case WRT getting all Senators access to all those authorizing papers at the OEOB.

        • PetePierce says:

          I went back and read all your posts. I am posting late because I had trouble even loading the page on this site and I couldn’t post because I was getting errors that make me believe that people made DNS attacks on FDL today and that crippled the site somewhate.

          I agree with everything you’ve said, especially this comment:

          Absolutely. Keeping discovery frozen in all these cases — whether via state secrets or retroactive immunity grant — does two critical things: 1) Keeps the illegal surveillance facts quarrantined so they can’t be used again in the nextcase; 2) Keeps the Article II wartime powers claim alive so it can be used again in the next case. So I don’t think we will be seeing discovery in those cases moving forward, not as long as Team Dick still draws breath — they simply can’t let it happen because their Administration simply can’t survive that.

          Jack Goldsmith’s book kind of lays it all out, if you read between the lines.

          I don’t trust Reid in this, and in a number of things he’s handled, and I don’t know what is taking place or will take place behind the scenes, but even if more paperwork is made available to all Senators in Room 407 or wherever by the administration, I believe there is terribly incriminating discovery from Bush’s attorneys and the Telco attorneys that the Bushies will bury forever.

          I just don’t trust the Bush administration to reveal anything that is significant. They are truly the administration of redaction, omission, and hidden documents, with millions of emails deleted and I don’t see them behaving any differently here.

          This administration has done exponentially worse things and this is one of them than the Nixon administration and they are not going to let any of that material see the light of day I believe.

          Bush is leaving, as my neighbor’s bumper sticker says, but they aren’t going down.

    • cinnamonape says:

      The problem is that they would need to get a quorum to pass the cloture amendment…they really do need to get the 60 votes. In addition that first vote was procedural. Not every one of those 76 were those in favor of either bringing the Bill to a vote (ending the filibuster on the Bill) OR supporting the “Immunity” Bill.

      It seems to me that it’s quite reasonable that Reid decided to suspend the debate simply because he could see that the debate was eating up lots of time needed on other urgent business.

      Here’s an idea that we should work on.

      Reid argued that he was bringing the SIC “immunity” bill to the floor simply because it had the greater support of the two Bills. But it’s quite clear that this is the version that would require compromise with the House version in negotiations. Thus the Bill that should be under discussion is the one that has the fewest major differences with the version already passed by the HOUSE.

      Now lets think about why it’s critical to get that version to the floor and voted upon.

      First, it will then be easier to argue that it will not require extensive negotiation before the earlier covering FISA fix expires. If there is extensive negotiation…and futher filibustering, time may run out before the compromise is gained. Then Congress is to blame for not attaining a Bills passage.

      Second. The SJC+House version (without immunity) can thus be passed on to Bush before the August temporary” version expires.

      Bush will then be under pressure to NOT veto that version because HE will be responsible for going back to the old version of the FISA law that doesn’t “patch” the “domestic router” gap pointed out by a FISA judge. Bush will have to make a difficult decision. He can veto, and ” make Americans at greater risk from terrorists” (because the phone companies are responsible for violating the 4th Amendment). This despite the fact that the domestic router issue is fixed in all the Bills.

      Thus Bush is going to have to defend his veto only upon the demand that he wants unlimited power to eavesdrop on Americans without warrants. Because this is what the current Bill from the Intelligence Committee DOES. It makes the FISA Court and any Judicial oversight irrelevant.

      In fact, what is the need for a FISA Court system anymore? If the AG or Director or Intelligence can simply certify “need” and not submit anything to obtain a warrant then why even have thjs bureaucratic structure called the FISA Court?

      Maybe that should be another point made in the debate over this bill. And maybe someone should offer an Amendment simply cutting out all the redundant judicial oversight crap…since the Executive Branch now has insisted that “its word is good enuff”.

  8. noen says:

    Now if Dodd can translate this into primary votes that would really be something. It could change how the other candidates conduct their campaigns.

  9. zAmboni says:

    Reid:

    “We will consider this bill when we return in January. In the meantime, I again encourage the Director of National Intelligence and the Attorney General to make available to all Senators the relevant documents on retroactive immunity, so that each may reach an informed decision on how to proceed on this provision. I oppose retroactive immunity, but believe every Senator must have access to the information to make this important decision.”

    I think that Reid was using the Dodd threat of filibuster to buy more time. Hope I am right….I would really like to think that leadership is being smart, tactical, and doing the right thing for once.

    • bmaz says:

      That is plausible. That would be a step in the right direction; but what is the end game? If history is any guide, and it usually is, irrespective of whether more documents are turned over the passage of immunity is still a done deal. Even if the contents of the documents make more of a case for impeachment than retroactive immunity, immunity will be the decision. Which, of course would effectively ratify everything done pursuant to the bases of the immunity. The implications of anything along that line are worse than just passing the damn thing today when they could at least argue they had never seen or known of either bogusly misleading incomplete docs or docs that flat out describe criminality. Because those are the only two types of documents they have.

      • PetePierce says:

        That is plausible. That would be a step in the right direction; but what is the end game? If history is any guide, and it usually is, irrespective of whether more documents are turned over the passage of immunity is still a done deal. Even if the contents of the documents make more of a case for impeachment than retroactive immunity, immunity will be the decision. Which, of course would effectively ratify everything done pursuant to the bases of the immunity. The implications of anything along that line are worse than just passing the damn thing today when they could at least argue they had never seen or known of either bogusly misleading incomplete docs or docs that flat out describe criminality. Because those are the only two types of documents they have.

        I totally agree with this take. And they will do anything to hide as much of that incriminating documentation as possible. If the 9th Circuit or other Circuits who are probably awaiting the outcome of this legislation were to decide for the plaintifss, Cindy Cohn and her clients in the 9th and in the other Circuits, the Bush administration will (if not already) scoop up every shred of discovery and bury it.

        What the courts say or order mean next to nothing to Bush’s lawyers who make up their own rules.

  10. IMbobo says:

    Really well done. From one inspiring act comes momentum, maybe. Think momentum.

    We pushed. Hard. We won. For now.

    The Bushies and their allies are pushing back. Hard. Any momentum we might have built up today will be gone by January, unless we continue pushing.

    Hard!

  11. Hmmm says:

    Dodd rocked, he inspired, he did the job he set out to do, I feel I personally owe him a great debt of gratitude. I now feel I want to support Dodd for President. Most of the D’s who spoke also shone. Today was a truly Great Moment. I sure hope he doesn’t have to do it again in January. I mean, what Dodd showed Reid and the DINO’s is that he can and will stand up and derail the agenda when necessary. Doubleplus good.

    However I don’t see a triumph:
    – January is a long way away, anything could happen
    – Lots of time for arm-twisting
    – A longer filibuster would have gathered more MSM attention now
    – A longer filibuster might have focused the discussion on the OEOB documents that Whitehouse, Wyden, and now Reid want to get full Senate access to
    – I have a very mixed feeling about the coming Reid-Feinstein compromise proposal

    So no resolution yet. More like going to sleep. Unless some sort of other stuff is going to break between now and then, such that a FISA bill debate in January will be happening within a more favorable context than today’s.

    Hmmm.

    • noen says:

      Yes, all you say is true. On the other hand we do have the initiative. From that others will take note and maybe join Dodd so that next time he will have even more backers.

      • IMbobo says:

        They won’t just take note of their own accord. They’re all getting telco $$$. They need to, um, be given note. Keep after them!

        • noen says:

          True, true. In DC everything revolves around polling and demographics. If Dodd shows a significant bump in his numbers that will certainly raise eyebrows. If Dodd moves up in Iowa then they will really take notice.

          • IMbobo says:

            If Dodd moves up in Iowa then they will really take notice.

            And if enough of us make it clear to enough of them that we’re with Dodd, we’re watching, and we’re very very serious about this, well, they’ll notice that too.

            I hope.

            I don’t think Chris Dodd is sellable as Presidential material. Which is a shame – I think he’d be a great President. If I had a pile of Stupid Money floating around and I thought it could make a difference in the polls, I’d give it to him. But I don’t. I’d hate to bet the farm on a big polling bump for Dodd in the Presidential race, for his stellar performance as a Senator, so I think it’s imperative to keep the pressure on our wavering, $-sniffing Senators to do the right thing.

            • noen says:

              “I hope.”

              Seems to be the season for that.

              “I don’t think Chris Dodd is sellable as Presidential material.”

              I don’t either. What has me excited and hopeful is the possibility of changing the dynamics. Dodd could be a catalyst for change. We need a new direction and this is the first time in a while that I’ve felt it’s even possible.

  12. CTuttle says:

    Dodd will continue the fight against Telcom Immunity in January… He has vowed to do so… Now, Reid had better place the SJC bill as the ‘Base’ bill… Easy enough to do…

  13. Hmmm says:

    Are there any signs that Reid might switch over to the SJC version? I guess even if that happens, an amendment could add immunity back into it. They could surely muster 60 votes.

  14. Hmmm says:

    Dodd’s performance today could be captured by editing the CSPAN-2 video, and the result could definitely be used to sell Dodd as presidential material. Run it against a tape of any of the Dems’ debate performances and he’d come out looking better by far. Passion and commitment for something that really matters.

  15. radiofreewill says:

    Well, Dodd certainly gets my vote for Patron Saint of the Rule of Law! I might have to start calling him Constitution Chris.

  16. ProfessorFoland says:

    Also, am I the only one who thinks that the real object of the immunity provisions is to protect the WH occupant who ordered all the FISA lawbreaking? Because I think he has a problem that he can’t preemptively pardon himself. It would be quite the stroke in the defense’s favor, I should think, to point out that Congress had immunized and implicitly ratified the executive’s activity.

    • Hmmm says:

      Absolutely. Keeping discovery frozen in all these cases — whether via state secrets or retroactive immunity grant — does two critical things: 1) Keeps the illegal surveillance facts quarrantined so they can’t be used again in the nextcase; 2) Keeps the Article II wartime powers claim alive so it can be used again in the next case. So I don’t think we will be seeing discovery in those cases moving forward, not as long as Team Dick still draws breath — they simply can’t let it happen because their Administration simply can’t survive that.

      Jack Goldsmith’s book kind of lays it all out, if you read between the lines.

      • ProfessorFoland says:

        So I don’t think we will be seeing discovery in those cases moving forward, not as long as Team Dick still draws breath — they simply can’t let it happen because their Administration simply can’t survive that.

        As they say, never ask a question you don’t know the answer to. Now I’m warmed up for my real question, which follows precisely from the above response.

        If Feinstein and Reid and Haggis go into a room and return with a compromise bill that provides some form of immunity, but still allows holes for discovery and some prosecutions, it will get vetoed. Even if they deliver it ten minutes to midnight before the PAA expires.

        So my real question is: do Reid et al understand that dynamic? Everything I’ve seen for the past two years suggests that the Dem leadership is capable of seeing about a half-move ahead and no more. If they understand, are they prepared to fight the political messaging battle that will follow that veto? Or if they understand, will that dynamic make them decide they need to craft something that grants full immunity without appearing to do so on casual inspection? Or have they just not thought it out that far?

        • emptywheel says:

          Prof

          I think you’re right on there.

          DiFi’s compromise, which is not horrible, isto have the FISA Court review the authorization for the wiretaps en banc. If they decide the telecoms had legal authorization, THEN the suits get dismissed, but not before.

          Thing is, we KNOW (from the SSCI report) that the telecoms DIDN’T have AG authorization for the period following Mrch 10, 2004 (the hospital confrontation). Their authorization was signed by then White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales. Given that the FISA Court has shown some disgruntlement with this program, I think they would see that WH Counsel doesn’t equal AG.

          Thing is, what does thta do for oversight? If the telecoms don’t get their suits dismissed, then what happens to all the suits? Back to the 9th Circuit?

          In any case, Hatch was absolutely apoplectic about the proposal. Which suggests he sees what I see.

          • PetePierce says:

            I think Feinstein’s idea is pretty bad EW. Here’s the thing.

            FISA Court, like warrants that any US attorney obtains, simply turns down nothing. 5/20,000 in twenty something years is granting every warrant.

            How many warrants that the FISA court approved were legitimate warrants with a legitimate reason for obtaining them? Plenty were not.

            FISA is the Court that chose through John Bates’ opinion, not to let you see the decisions on the warrantless wiretapping.

            Just because FISA approves it, doesn’t make it a legitimate warrant by any means. And it’s still secret.

            The buzzwords for the rest of your life are “Secret Government Watching You”.

    • bmaz says:

      Fear not Prof., you are not alone out there. That has never really been in debate. You simply do not need immunity for legal behavior.

    • JohnJ says:

      I agree Professor, but here’s a companion motivation: this may need to get done NOW so the telcos will continue supplying the Big Dicks minions all the Dems private communications before the 2008 election. I can see the telco telling schrub that he is not getting anymore phone records and e-mails unless they get their protection.

      The way Reid pulled this desperate trick, he’s acting like someone who’s being blackmailed.

  17. laserda says:

    Looking ahead: with January 20, 2009 coming within view, why would Republicans still want to sign on to this bill? With their presidential field doing a fabulous Upper Class Twit of the Year re-enactment, the GOP senators surely can see the writing on the wall for their hold on the executive branch. So why hand the Dems such unbridled power? From their point of view, it just doesn’t seem to make any sense anymore.

  18. Neil says:

    Leadership is what we need in our presidential candidate. Dodd is showing it in spades. I’m surprised more than a few commenters are writing him off so precipitously. I’m signing on for the “rule of law” candidate and will be comparing him to my current leading democratic candidate over the next few months. I don’t know who will win the “Neil” race but I do know Dodd is in the running.

  19. paulo says:

    I am wondering about Reid’s actions here. Was this all a kabuki to kick the ball down the field – to 2008? We know that Reid as frustrating as he can be knows how to play the Senate (though he does it too rarely of late)

    The year end deadline is looming. Giving Bush what he wants maybe Reid decided is untenable (he supports the non-amnesty bill he says) and getting anything done in the short term is impossible if Dodd hold true.

    I am not saying that Dodd wasn’t serious and sincere. I am asking if Reid decided that doing nothing was the better part of valor.

    What changes other than the luxury of time after the new year?

    • Hmmm says:

      That’s why we watch for news. Certainly more serious revelations happening now than ever before. Who knows what may come out by mid-January?

    • Peterr says:

      Reid HAS to get an omnibus spending bill passed by the 21st. He wanted to also get FISA out of the way by then as well. Dodd threw a huge wrench in his plans, along with great assistance from Feingold and Wyden.

      In the end, Reid punted FISA for now, because the spending bill won’t wait and FISA will.

      This isn’t over, but Dodd put a shot across the bow of both Reid and the White House. If I know Jane and Christy, we’re going to see a push to keep up the pressure like Reid has never seen before. And it couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.

      *g*

    • ProfessorFoland says:

      Let it get vetoed! Shows that Bush and the repubs have only the telecoms’ interests at heart and not the people’s.

      Exactly my point about being ready for the messaging battle. If nobody hears about why the Dems oppose the bill, it won’t show anything at all about whose interests Bush and the Repubs have at heart. NPR did a story today on the FISA debate that went on for about four minutes, with about 35 seconds near the end on telco immunity. (These are my recollections, not timed off a tape) As a practical matter, the immunity is why there is even a debate and a filibuster, and yet the story still came off as basically “Dems are filibustering to limit the President’s ability to fight terrorism.”

      The caucus has to decide that this is what they want to do, get together, make sure their floor debate brings out the points, fan out to the media and get the point made, hit the Sunday shows; so that everyone understands what it is that Bush vetoes.

      This is the kind of prep work that they failed to do with the Iraq War withdrawal veto, and so it ended up demonstrating nothing at all, except impotence.

      • IMbobo says:

        I think Ted Kennedy gave us an awesome talking point on this today –

        The President has said that American lives will be sacrificed if Congress does not change FISA. But he has also said that he will veto any FISA bill that does not grant retro-active immunity. No immunity, no FISA bill. So if we take the President at his word, he’s willing to let Americans die to protect the phone companies.

  20. bmaz says:

    “Or if they understand, will that dynamic make them decide they need to craft something that grants full immunity without appearing to do so on casual inspection?”

    You mean something along the lines of the “We Don”t Torture” torture bill? Who could have expected they would try something like that?

  21. TexBetsy says:

    I don’t understand why we see things so differently.

    Bush’s phone immunity bill wins Senate vote
    Reuters – 3 hours ago
    By Thomas Ferraro WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President George W. Bush’s demand for immunity for telephone companies that participated in his warrantless domestic spying program won an initial victory on Monday in the US Senate.

  22. Timewatcher says:

    Thinking out loud…Harry knew Dodd was going to do this, why would Harry bring up this bill? Was this just a test to see how many of us would rise up? It just doesn’t add up….call me a tinhat but I feel something is coming up…something big…what…I have no idea…

  23. posaune says:

    and thank YOU emptywheel!

    100 emails to senate last night – check
    donation to Sen. Dodd – check
    donation to FDL — check

    ready for jan 15 – check

  24. bigbrother says:

    IMPEACHMENT ARTICLES START THR REVELATION; then things come apart. The glue that holds Bushco together is deception. The beauty of open government is transparency. We need to open the debate. What got the cloture pulled today was the bright light of truth shone by Dodd, Kennedy, Feingold put on the administration. Feinstein jumped in to muddy the waters early and then got on the fence. The puke heads realized they could not stand the heat so they let the bill be pulled for damage control. The paradigm is light versus darkness. Remember Gollum in the Tolkein trilogy had the ring of power and resided in the darkness underground. They will avoid exposure like the plague, that is why they were willingto pay so much to buy control of the media.
    Dodd was given the job so the others can still sell us out tothe corporate oligachy which is racking up trillions and stealing the treasury ala their surrogate GW & Co. More later. Keep shining the light on them while we change the process.

  25. 4jkb4ia says:

    Cloture on the motion to proceed different from cloture on the bill. NYT reporter observed that people may vote for cloture on motion to proceed because they want to submit amendments or for some other reason.

    The pro-immunity forces have some leverage in moving the bill to next year. The discussion of the bill will be closer to the expiration date of PAA, so leaving FISA ”unfixed” will be more vivid. The nomination situation may also be in less flux. Clinton or Obama may feel less pressure to be aggressive against immunity.

    • PetePierce says:

      There is a clear mechanism in the law in PAA for the Bush administration to manuever to keep PAA in effect for a year from the Feb. 1, 2008 sunset date if they want so all this hoopla of pressure to get something done before the sunset isn’t about pressure on the Bushies.

  26. 4jkb4ia says:

    Kagro X has also pointed out that 60 votes has relied on unanimous consent. If Dodd or someone withholds unanimous consent, the Republicans really have to filibuster. The Republicans then have an opportunity to look like idiots.

    • PetePierce says:

      IMHO, the Republicans have looked like idiots in a contrast of Republicans vs. reality on the ground on most issues for years and years.

      This is but one example. These are people who have totally been sucked in by Bin Ladin. They have been shaped beautifully into fear mongering meglomaniacs, who think they are deterrring terrorists by ripping away fundamental constitutional rights from Americans. They are so bent on fear that they confabulate story after story to try to promulgate the fear. You saw some of that today in Jeff Sessions’ basic cave man approach to selling Telco amnesty.

      Telco amnesty clearly represents a coverup from discovery of intense criminality on the part of the Bush administration and the Telco attorneys and their lobbyist attorneys from some of the creme de la creme prestigious mega law firms in this country.

  27. BlueStateRedHead says:

    Other good news, from CA. Courage Campaign in CA has just received word from the CA Secretary of State that she will be investigating the fraudulent signature collecting activities of the signature gatherers for the split-the-electoral-vote folks, or maybe it should be folk, as Giuliani was behind it.

    http://www.actblue.com/page/newera

    And let not forget to raise a glass to the people of Potero who have slowed the moving sludge of Blackwater, for the time being.

    • PetePierce says:

      I have been taking that split the electoral vote effort/threat in Caleeforney very seriously for a long time. If it were successful, it certainly would mean the election for the Democrats.

      That the signature collection turns out to have a large fraudulent component wouldn’t surprise me for a nano-second. I hope that’s the case.

  28. radiofreewill says:

    Petey – If they were dumb enough to run a CIA Mission in Italy over cellphones (and lose a Laptop, too,) then they were perfectly capable of transmitting those Torture Tapes electronically into the Driftnets of the Crypto-analytical Departments of the World’s Intelligence Agencies, too.

    For all we know, multiple sources may have transcripts and videos of the entire Interrogation-Discussion-Torture-Repeat Cycle that the White House went through as it Authorized each application of Barbarity that eventually produced a ‘broken’ (and possibly severely damaged) Zubaydah and Nishiri.

    There may already be an Open-and-Shut Case that displays Bush’s primary personality defect – Sadism – with devastating clarity for all the World to see – all delivered up by the Boobs at BushCo to themselves.

    Proving that you don’t have to be Smart to be a Tyrant – just Mean and Uncurious.

    • PetePierce says:

      RFW–

      I can’t count all the dumb things they’ve done. I should have expressed myself more clearly. Maybe I was misunderstood. I don’t mean that the Bushies won’t go down because they’re so brilliant. I’m referring to what I believe is serious criminal conduct as to the wiretapping and payback for the cooperation to the Telcos. The CIA tapees and the quick coopting of the puppet Mike Mukasey and DOJ is another example.

      What I should have said was that the Bush administration is fighting like hell to keep the Telco material from discovery in any litigation by closing the courtroom doors down precisely as Chris Dodd, and Teddy Kennedy said today explicitly.

      What I can’t answer well is how the Bush administration seems to have so many Democrats to vote with them on this and other crucial issues. I may not be an aficianado of Senate head fakes and manuevering behind the scenes. We have a lot of Firepups who have studied legislative manuvering closely for years who know their stuff.

      But I don’t trust Harry Reid in this one. I’m taking the way he brought this bill to the floor at Face Value. I think Reid wanted to and wants to insure that Telcos get immunity.

      And ad nauseam, I like to remind everyone that the Senate doesn’t know what that immunity is covering up and that the Bush administration is determined they never find out.

      Your superimposition of Bush’s personality defects is probably on the money.

  29. cinnamonape says:

    BTW…There is a Constitutional immunity that is already out there for any criminal act that the Telecoms might have undertaken. Bush can PARDON the executives or employees involved in such acts. Thus there is really no need to introduce “immunity” for the Telecoms who acted “patriotically” and gave over the phone and internet records of tens of millions of Americans.

    Of course, a pardon would require a) that the individuals either be convicted, or b) they accept that they participated in a criminal act. It would remove their Fifth Amendment protections against testimony before Congress or to a Prosecutor about what their Criminal acts entailed.

    Thus Bush couldn’t hide the extent of his domestic espionage if he pardons them. Congress or the Courts would reveal them.

    So he needs to “decriminalize” their actions via Congress. The sole purpose is to hide the crimes…not to protect those that participated in them.

    Let Bush pardon his co-conspirators!