FISA Liveblog And Trash Talk Thread Tuesday 2/12/08

Another day, another sellout. That may actually be a good question to ask to ask any Congresscritter you can get your hands on, or voice to, over the next eight months. "What was you personal price for selling out the Constitution and my privacy? As a taxpaying constituent and citizen, I am entitled to an honest answer; what was your price?" What are the odds that even one single critter gives an honest answer? About zero is my guess. Document the atrocities as you see them today, I will be in and out, as I believe Marcy will be. A good lawyer always makes a record for appeal, even when he or she is losing miserably. So, make a record; Phred demands it! Because we are certainly going to be appealing what our Senate, and Congress, is doing to us and our Constitution by their cancerous and derelict actions on FISA.

108 replies
  1. JohnJ says:

    Disgusting. Even though both of my parents worshiped the original authoritarian JEHoover, they brought me up to believe in an America that no longer exists.

    OT: The depression is here in full force. After my job literally going to China before Christmas I have applied to over 40 job and been on 6 interviews last month alone. My (personal injury law firm owning) Landlord has had enough of my paying half the rent and has started eviction (the day after I paid him every cent of my Unemployment). NOBODY is hiring (no one has been hired for the jobs I interviewed for either)! I guess all those tax cuts the wealthy got didn’t help us. Next week my SO and her kids (one Down Syndrome) goes to a shelter and I go???? Florida is lovely, as long as you don’t have to work for a living.

    • bigbrother says:

      Serious business.
      Jane Hamsher is working with Glenn Greewald on a petition regarding FISA. Here is another reason why congress has a very low rating. I made 12 calls this morning and will continue up until the lasr vote.
      Maybe the FDL leadership will get us calling the House to stop the madness. Reid is the all time worm.

  2. sailmaker says:

    I want retro-active immunity for consensual blow jobs amongst adults. My case:

    1) There is nothing in the Constitution or in Washington DC law against them.
    2) There are no signing statements against them
    3) They are not State Secrets

    Oh. Wait. Retro-active immunity is only sought for real crimes. Check Dahlia Lithwick in Slate yesterday if you have not already. She shows how it is really done, sadly.

    Hey – this is a trash talk thread – right? Ducks.

  3. maryo2 says:

    I feel sick. If Cheney was willing to speak publicly about telecomm retroactive-immunity, then HE is hiding something. He just got another shell to hide his treasonous bean under. He just got one more layer of bureaucracy to hide behind.

    The next thing we are going to hear is that Cheney can’t be prosecuted because telecomms won’t turn over any evidence to Congress – because they don’t HAVE to.

    Has the Senate not learned a single thing in seven years of this criminal conspiracy determined to send us back to a fuedal system?

  4. GulfCoastPirate says:

    What would we appeal? What would be the process to get this overturned in the Supreme Court?

    I know, I know – it won’t happen until pigs fly but I’m still curious.

    • looseheadprop says:

      Somebody with “standing” would have to sue to overurn the law on Constitutionla grounds.

      Problem is, a person who has standing probably won’t know that he/she does.and if they learn of it b/c of an inadvertatnly dislcosed classified document, the court won’t let them use the document, so they still cna’t legally establish standing.

      It’s all a big catch22

  5. Rayne says:

    I want to know why these Dem backsliders — what the hell, Republicans, too — are protecting Dick Cheney’s ass.

    It’s a real simple question. Why?

  6. hayduke says:

    well heck if you need to sacrifice our liberties and privacy so you can bring civility back to Congress, gee, how can you complain?

    I mean the Constitution can’t mean that much to us, can it?

    It all makes me want to vomit and get real sad at the same time. Shame on you Senator Webb et al…. you sold our freedoms pretty darn cheap. Did ya at least get a nice flat screen for the sell out?

  7. phred says:

    Thanks bmaz : )

    I would just like to mention something that I pointed out earlier over at FDL in response to a comment someone made about banks lining up to support telco immunity.

    At a recent ACLU event, one of the folks from the DC office of the ACLU mentioned that a lot of businesses were following the retroactive immunity issue. He suggested that illegal activity by the telcos is just the tip of the iceberg and that a lot of corporations have thrown in with BushCo to do things they ought not to have done. We need to be casting a wider net in considering the corporate interests that prevailed today.

    I also suspect that “contractors” who ended up participating in the worst crimes (e.g., rendition and torture) have been actively pressuring Congress as well.

    Perhaps the House will hold. But I’m hoping our legal friends here can give us some insight as to how we can get the courts to review the awful legislation passed by Congress these last few years, and get it chucked out as unconstitutional, lock, stock, and barrel.

    • klynn says:

      I am not surprised by this. As I have mentioned here in the past, the rate of identity theft increased more than three times it’s annual rate after Bush pushed the Patriot Act. The provisions of the Patriot Act opened “information floodgates” and put the cart before the horse by demanding information on citizens without any regulatory system in place to protect private information. It was because of the Patriot Act that I became a victim of identity theft and my information was sold to a terrorist in India.

      Now, there have been changes along the way; however, the damage has been done. Sadly, the Identity Theft Act has no protection for citizens should the government be the cause of your identity theft. The government and it’s agencies are liability free.

      Identities get sold to terrorists. Mine did.

      Banks have been a “hot bed” of stolen identity due to meeting government requests for information. Banks have also been told they are required by law to submit to information audits by federal security agencies.

      My bank was audited and they were threatened with the possibility of having their operational abilities yanked because I would not supply a new updated signature card. I asked how the card would be kept on record and was not assured of the security of my signature. I fought it due to being a victim of identity theft.


      I am not surprised by your experience at the meeting phred.

      Of course banks are pro retro immunity…on many levels…

      • phred says:

        klynn — how did you find out that your identity was stolen by an Indian terrorist and that the government was the source of the information? I suspect this is gonna be good…

      • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

        Lunchtime driveby, but can’t resist.

        Klynn: same story; different version; great analysis!
        Identity fraud and theft are an absolutely hellish experience.

        The US needs many more FBI fraud investigators, and more prosecutors who specialize in this kind of crime. It has to be a national agency, with jurisdiction nationwide, as well as outside the US. States simply cannot deal with this problem — it has to be the FBI.

        (And yeah, I’ve worked in eComm — where I covered my ass (and did my utmost to work well in a collaborative environment) by documenting every, single thing I ever touched or did. Plenty of people do have a moral compass, and the potential of eComm to help marginal businesses is very promising… nevertheless, at present, fraud remains a risk. FISA just makes those risks worse, IMHO. Great analysis, klynn (!)

        freepatriot – yeah, I’ve thought about that ‘center cannot hold’ thing plenty of times.
        We’re in transformational times; but IMHO, they require better social skills and better ethics if the species is going to have much chance of remaining on the planet in reasonably good health.

  8. JohnLopresti says:

    How about government writing bots like ad ware that downloads into the computer and records ’shopping preferences’ and other demographic data of the sort private enterprise utilizes legally then sells to political campaign datamining third party vendors which consultancies that hire the likes of Sara Taylor then can massage into precinctwise profiles of which voters to cage. Congress has a predilection for nurturing business, the healthy mercantilist western economic way for the past few postAdamSmith centuries. Now all this is somewhat of a different concept precisely from bold wiretapping, or intercepting your webcam, or monitoring your Skype callback features, or devising a way to disassemble that tunneled virtual private network the company has you use for proprietary data. But these things are related in that they are cyberdecipherable, if you will. Further, silicon fab technology and digital signal array offloading algorithms to free cpu crunch cycles have improved vastly in these past forty years as the telcos became incrementally more proficient in first voice recognition, then speech recognition. I work on a speech rec platform for my company and love its efficiencies, though I can type as quickly as most rhetoricians speak; it has saved the carpals and freed the mind to exert yet more control over my work product while simultaneously being faster than human keyboarding, although replete with computer errors. Aside from such technical observations is the interesting retrospective toward what ira effected in its social strife affronts toward main British society, essentially driving that noble old system of government toward the forefront of surveillance as a norm in public life. What I am saying here is there is a knot of technologic problems and privacy is the connecting link among them, worth reinforcing in a US progressive way; but there are commercial arguments congressmembers from both parties will use to divert and disperse real dialog over what shape we want our freedoms to retain. The burden of a surfeit of leisure had distracted a lot of voters and elected officials about these matters, in my view; but the rare moment Obama is providing to his party and the nation now in primary season constitutes an opportunity to energize people toward protecting some unique values in our system of government and society. Other than that, the bmaz and ew comments this past fortnight on the fisa renegade retroactive shield for whatever BushCo had done with the siloed calls for the past seven years, is material with which I agree; and, besides, it is clearly written by our two hosts.

  9. victoria2dc says:

    I know that they say that voters have short memories. Let’s make sure that we don’t ever forget this vote.

    BTW, where can we find a list of who voted which way?


    • erandall says:

      The role of honour:

      Akaka (D-HI) Baucus (D-MT) Biden (D-DE) Bingaman (D-NM) Boxer (D-CA) Brown (D-OH) Byrd (D-WV) Cantwell (D-WA) Cardin (D-MD) Casey (D-PA) Dodd (D-CT) Dorgan (D-ND) Durbin (D-IL) Feingold (D-WI) Harkin (D-IA) Kennedy (D-MA) Kerry (D-MA) Klobuchar (D-MN) Lautenberg (D-NJ) Leahy (D-VT) Levin (D-MI)
      Menendez (D-NJ) Murray (D-WA) Obama (D-IL) Reed (D-RI) Reid (D-NV) Sanders (I-VT) Schumer (D-NY) Tester (D-MT) Whitehouse (D-RI) Wyden (D-OR)

      The role of dishonour:

      Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), Evan Bayh (D-IA), Daniel Inouye (D-HI), Tim Johnson (D-SD), Herb Kohl (D-WI), Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Mark Pryor (D-AR), Blanche Lincoln (D-AR), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Ken Salazar (D-CO), Tom Carper (D-DE), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Jim Webb (D-VA), Ben Nelson (D-NE), Bill Nelson (D-FL), Kent Conrad (D-ND), and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI).

  10. Loo Hoo. says:

    Obama and McCain showed. Hillary is in Texas. Obama voted the right way, and I know he’s a busy guy, but it sure would have been nice to see him supporting Dodd last night. Just an appearance…

  11. Rayne says:

    You want to send a message to Reid?

    Here’s his Chief of Staff’s email: gary_myrick -at-

    I just sent the following to Stabenow’s chief:

    I am writing this email to communicate my extreme displeasure with Senator Stabenow’s vote today against Amendment 3907.

    There is no rational justification for granting immunity to an entire industry for their gross abuse of Americans’ Fourth Amendment rights against search and seizure.

    I was led to believe by a letter from the Senator dd. 01-FEB-08 that she would ensure our Fourth Amendment rights would be protected:

    “…I believe Congress has a responsibility to protect the American people, but like you, I understand that some of these measures may threaten certain civil liberties. In the war on terrorism, it is vital to ensure that we do not sacrifice the very liberties we are fighting to protect.”

    Granting immunity to corporations that aided and abetted criminal acts by the highest levels of our government is not protecting our civil liberties.

    I trust you will convey this to the Senator.

    I am FURIOUS; I cannot wait to hear that someone will run in a primary against Stabenow. She always manages to screw up the BIG ones, like the torture bill.

  12. freepatriot says:

    there’s an article posted on truthout where Michael Shank interviews Noam Chomsky

    Chomsky on World Ownership

    scary stuff:

    Shank: With these institutions springing up in the developing world as alternatives to the IMF and the World Bank, what similar initiatives will emerge in the developing world regarding currencies?

    Chomsky: It’s already happening. Kuwait has already made a limited move toward a basket of currencies. The United Arab Emirates and Dubai are moving toward their own partial development funds. Saudi Arabia, that’s the big important one, if they join in it’ll become a major independent center of funding, lending, purchasing, and so on. It’s already happening. Investment in the rich countries and to some extent in the region, particularly North Africa. Separate development funds. It’s a limited move; they don’t want to anger the United States.

    Of course they rely on the United States in many ways, the elites. China, in particular, relies on the U.S. market. They don’t want to undermine it. The same with Japan. So they’re willing to buy treasury bonds instead of more profitable investments in order to sustain the U.S. economy, which is their market. But it’s a very fragile situation. They very well may turn elsewhere and they’re beginning to. I don’t think anyone knows what would happen if the reserve-rich countries were to turn to profitable investment rather than supporting the U.S. high-consumption, high-debt economy.

    short story, the dollar is being proped up by China and Japan, to protect their markets

    not a good sign

  13. phred says:

    Russ is speaking on the Senate floor. I wish C-SPAN2 would pan the chamber so we could get a peek at attendance. I’m guessing no one is there. That was probably the point of Jello Jay’s earlier request to let the committees go pick their noses all afternoon rather than trouble themselves with listening to Feingold, Dodd, or the public.

    • nomolos says:

      That was probably the point of Jello Jay’s earlier request to let the committees go pick their noses all afternoon rather than trouble themselves with listening to Feingold, Dodd, or the public

      eeeyuch… some of those noses have not been in nice places of late.

  14. klynn says:

    phred @ 22

    I did not mean to give the impression the government was the source…What I was trying to address was that the text of the Identity Theft Bill does not hold government agencies liable. So, if someone within a government agency leaks information or sells it for that matter…No recourse for the average citizen — you are on your own. The private sector, if they leak your information, or fail to protect it, are only responsible to provide one year of credit protection insurance. Whoopee!

    My identity was stolen from my health insurance provider…One Memorial Day weekend all of our personal financial accounts shut down and our bank called us about charges being made in India under my name for computer equipment and high tech equipment used for amazing activities… When a search was done regarding the identity of the individual who had taken my identity, he came up on a “watch” list…

    How my identity theft started…Someone had broken into our health insurance provider and had stolen all their computer system back-up tapes. None were secured in any fashion, just sitting on shelves out in the open…The person who stole the tapes then turned around and sold the information, my information, and has thousands of others’ information to dribble out for sale for years to come…without being caught most likely…

    And all the protection I received was one year’s worth of identity protection insurance. After that, it’s on me! (A pretty expensive proposition over a lifetime when your spouse and children also had their information stolen)…

    With the amount of information being demanded by the government from private service providers about individuals, I am not surprised banks are lining up for immunity. They know what kind of information they were providing the government on everyday citizens. They too know they were breaking the law…

    • phred says:

      Wow, that’s awful. I truly fail to see how anyone sane person can think an individual is responsible for “protecting” their identity. In a rational existence the onus would be on the corporations. But not here in the good ol’ United States of Corporations.

  15. phred says:

    G*DD*MMIT BARBARA — YOU HAVE ONE DUTY to UPHOLD AND DEFEND THE CONSTITUTION! What do you not f*cking get??? Two duties, my *ss. How the f*ck can we get the Demns to vote correctly when we can’t even get the “good” ones to use the right framing?!? *&%*$(#) There are not enough swear words and obscenities in the English language to properly convey my contempt and disgust with this (spit) Congress (spit).

    • BayStateLibrul says:

      I believe the Congress has been traumatized by 9/11.
      How else can you explain their irrational behavior?
      That is why McCain scares me… the “fear card” with the
      upcoming trial at Gitmo, etc… will be front and center.
      The Dems need to get their shit together cuz it’s going to get nasty.

      At least on the e-mail issue we won a small battle…..htm?csp=34

      • Rayne says:

        If they’ve been that traumatized for this long, they need intensive in-patient therapy – and they need to be replaced, every one of them that doesn’t get it.

        • phred says:

          Yep. I have had my fill of the battered-Congresscritter syndrome. The Establishment is in the business of protecting itself. There is no difference, none at all, between Establishment Dems and Rethugs.

          The question is, can the public wrest control of OUR government back from the Established Elites? No idea, but Congress is doing their best to stack the deck against us.

          • cboldt says:

            The Establishment is in the business of protecting itself.

            And growing itself in influential power/control.

            But it’s “okay.” The people voted for centralized government, bread and circuses, etc.

            So what happened with Whitehouse’s #3920? (empowers the FISC to conduct compliance reviews). That one had a 60 vote hurdle, but no roll call vote. I assume it passed (and also assume it passed “as modified”) on a voice vote, but haven’t found any comment.

            No big deal, just curious. It’ll all be laid out in the Record.

            • phred says:

              Whitehouse’s amendment was considered first, unfortunately before I tuned in, so I don’t know. I saw someone mention that it passed on a voice vote, but I can’t vouch for the accuracy of that.

              • cboldt says:

                Whitehouse’s amendment was considered first, unfortunately before I tuned in, so I don’t know. I saw someone mention that it passed on a voice vote, but I can’t vouch for the accuracy of that.

                I assume that’s the case, that it passed on a voice vote. It can’t just disappear, either it’s withdrawn, or passed, or modified then passed, or tabled, or rejected. I don’t think Whitehouse would withdraw it, or stand for rejection without a roll call vote, so that leaves either passing it, or passing it as modified.

                • phred says:

                  I wish I knew what happened cboldt, but I don’t. Sorry ’bout that. I’ll try not to be tardy next time ; )

      • nomolos says:

        the “fear card”

        Sells very well in this country for what ever reason. It could be that it is because so many ‘mercuns are provincial. A great many have never gone beyond the four corners of the country. The rest of the world is somewhat smaller, as individual countries go, so interaction with other peoples/cultures is the norm. It could also be because every airport, every train station damn near every street corner has jack booted goons with guns all, ostensibly, looking for foreign desperados but in reality they are there to keep fear in the minds of the masses. The coup has happened, it is over. The rest is just farce.

  16. freepatriot says:

    Chomsky’s last word

    So there are these centrifugal developments taking place all over the world.

    anybody else think Noam is channeling Yeats

    Turning and turning in the widening gyre
    The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
    Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
    Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
    The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
    The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
    The best lack all conviction, while the worst
    Are full of passionate intensity.

    we better start lookin for that “rough beast” about now

    that poem always scared the hell out of me

    cuz of my “passionate intensity” an all …

  17. phred says:

    Quorum call. I was right. No one but us is watching the collapse of the rule of law. I hope the Senators lunches were yummy, I’m sure they’ll all sleep well tonight after their hard day’s work of casting votes.

    • phred says:

      Thanks for that link, I just sent Senator Dodd an early valentine. I’ll send one to Russ, too, in a bit. For anyone who hasn’t seen it, here’s a quote from Dodd posted at The Muck:

      When asked why he thought so many Dem senators had crossed over, he replied: “Unfortunately, those who are advocating this notion that you have to give up liberties in order to be more secure are apparently prevailing. They seem to be convincing people that you’re at risk politically or we’re at risk as a nation if we don’t give up rights.”

      (my emphasis)

  18. phred says:

    selise — get a clip starting around 3:08 p.m. when Dodd is talking about dark days in the Senate, singling out passage of MCA and keep going until “the minority will make itself a majority” (perhaps further if time permits).

  19. cboldt says:

    Greenwald sez: “(the same FISA and amnesty bill that the Senate will pass today stalled in the 2006 Senate).”

    He needs to do better homework. The immunity provision is NEW, first demanded in April 2007, after FISC ruled the TSP didn’t meet (at least) statutory muster.

    • phred says:

      cboldt — glad to see you! I’m curious whether Dodd will in fact have an opportunity to filibuster after the bill comes out of the conference committee. Do you know how that would work? You have mentioned in the past the back channel avenues to sort out conflicting amendments, but then both chambers will still need to vote won’t they? If not, then I don’t see how Dodd could filibuster.

      • cboldt says:

        I’m curious whether Dodd will in fact have an opportunity to filibuster after the bill comes out of the conference committee.

        IF there is a conference bill, the rules for debate and voting are different from the rules pertaining to “legislation from scratch,” and time for debate is limited from the get-go. See Senate Rule XXVIII There is also no way to object to proceeding. A motion to proceed to a conference report is not debatable.

        Shorter answer: “No.”

        • phred says:

          Thanks cboldt, that’s what I thought. That’s why I wanted to check on what real options remain after today…

          • cboldt says:

            I wanted to check on what real options remain after today

            Impasse between House and Senate, or Senate capitulates.

            Or, the outcome that I think is most likely, the House adopts the Senate bill after allowing the objectors to voice their objections.

  20. chrisc says:

    I would hit up my congresscritter (Duncan Hunter) on this but I am afraid it is hopeless.
    I tried once and I got a very bad headache from talking to his office boy (That you Tony Snesko?)
    And Hunter is working very hard to make sure nobody he thinks has done something ILLEGAL ever gets retroactive immunity for it- like for crossing a geopolitical boundary so their families doesn’t starve to death.
    ‘Cause you know in this country if you do something illegal, for chrissakes, you should be punished.
    Ain’t that right Duncan?

  21. JTMinIA says:

    If the House doesn’t just pass the Senate version, then there will have to be a vote on the compromise and that means a chance to filibuster.

    But given the voting today, if the House sends back anything that the WH would accept, do you see them not having the votes for cloture? I don’t.

    So the only hope is the House standing firm on immunity etc, forcing an extension, delaying the inevitable…. Oh, screw it.

  22. brendanscalling says:

    at areln specter’s office they told me he’s not for sale.
    that’s bullshit on its face:

    We could see Specter getting worked up over the CIA’s decision to destroy tapes of terror suspects getting tortured. Instead, he’s carrying on about football as if it’s a matter of national security.

    Surely, Specter’s outrage has nothing to do with his backing of the cable industry, and his big donors at Comcast, who are in a fight with the football league concerning the NFL Network.

    Or perhaps the NFL didn’t get Specter’s chief of staff good enough seats to the Super Bowl. Specter says he wasn’t aware of the request and that the staffer would pay for the seats, which cost $700 each.

    $312K from computer and internet companies.

    $153K from Comcast; $70K from Verizon.

    you do the math.

  23. Loo Hoo. says:

    Between the voting difficulties and basic differences regarding upholding the Constitution and rule of law, maybe it is time for a real third party.

        • phred says:

          With all 33, we would be off to a nice start in our shiny brand new THREE party system And not some crappy whiny third party system run by millionaire wankers and sore losers like Bloomberg and Hart ; )

  24. Mary says:

    17 – you need to make changes to those roles. No matter how they voted, the machinations of Reid and Schumer and, for that matter, Levin – put them role of dishonor.

    51 – I can understand why retroactive immunity has so much appeal for Duncan Hunter.

    43 – It may not be a winner, but there needs to be a taxpayer standing suit filed. Actually – from a theoretical standpoint, it SHOULD be a winner, but with these judges and the tough history on taxpayer standing suits, it won’t be. Still, Congress has pretty much acted to disenfranchise the judiciary and violate separation of powers and to override the plain and simple meaning of the fourth amendment by giving amnesty for violation by federal actors (the telecoms acting as fed gov agents under color of law from the AG “administrative warrants”) of the Fourth Amendment.

    Granted, if it’s no a religion/education suit, they typically get nowhere, but this is pretty untypical behavior – Congress seeking to issue de facto pardons for violations of the Constituion AND seeking to encourage and solict corporations in the future to also act as govt agents to violate the Constitution, whenever the opportunity avails.

    • phred says:

      Mary — who initiates a taxpayer standing lawsuit? How could we get the ball rolling on that?

      cboldt #67. Thanks. I’ll keep holding out hope that the House stands firm and a stalemate ensues, but I won’t hold my breath either ; )

      Ok, I’m off for a bit. I hope someone puts up comments on any action/inaction, so I can catch up when I get back (note, this is not a “demand” no matter what bmaz might say ; p

  25. phred says:

    EW, you will be pleased that Leahey just worked in a reference to Scooter Libby about how the administration protects its own. He’s getting lots of nice understated digs in. It’s a much better speech than I expected.

    • nomolos says:

      Leahy was listed as second to last speaker, Specter being the last, before a vote on final passage.

      How come the sphincter goes last. I thought that the majority i.e chairman had the last say. Have we even ceded that little pissing honor

      • cboldt says:

        How come the sphincter goes last. I thought that the majority i.e chairman had the last say.

        The idea was to give the committee chair/co-chair folks the last word.

        Ordered further, That if cloture is invoked on the bill, the Senator from Connecticut (Mr. Dodd) be recognized to speak for up to 4 hours and the Senator from Wisconsin (Mr. Feingold) for up to 15 minutes; provided further, that upon conclusion of those remarks, and the recognition of the managers for up to 10 minutes each, and the Senator from Vermont (Mr. Leahy) and the Senator from Pennsylvania (Mr. Specter) for 20 minutes each, the Senate proceed to vote on passage of the bill, as amended.

  26. Mary says:

    68 – a taxpayer with lawyers.

    They are very difficult, uphill battles, almost always lose. And here it would have to be very creatively pled, because of the lack of solid funding issues.

    • phred says:

      They are very difficult, uphill battles, almost always lose. And here it would have to be very creatively pled, because of the lack of solid funding issues.

      Mary — By “solid funding issues” I take it to mean there must be a significant taxpayer interest in how money is spent by the government for the “taxpayer” to have standing. Surely, the government is paying the telcos a great deal for their access to the telco services. I should think proving a substantial funding interest would not be difficult. Unless of course the funding is hidden since it goes into a classified program. Then proving how much the public is being fleeced by the government to pay for the government to spy on us might be a tough task.

  27. maryo2 says:

    Dear Congress,

    Please stop passing bills. Please do nothing until February 1, 2009. Goddammit, if the best you can do to stop the GOP is to do nothing, then please DO NOTHING. What you are doing now is making a mess.

    Are you trying to drive the public to revolution? Is that where it stands now? You are literally waiting for guns to be fired before you notice that the United States is having a crisis?

    Do you know why the public is so fat and happy that they are not noticing the criminality of the Bush Regime? Because the GOP stopped all oversight of lending practices. Do you think that was a coincidence?

    Slap the person next to you for me and then go home.

    Inhabitant of North America, formerly known as a Citizen of a Democracy

  28. anwaya says:

    IMHO it’s time to let the Majority Leader know he needs to step aside and nominate Dodd as Leader in his place.

  29. phred says:

    “I have not known a better public servant than Jay Rockefeller”, Mata Harry. Says it all, doesn’t it?

  30. phred says:

    “And I doubt there ever has been [a better public servant than Jay Rockefeller]”, Mata Harry officially disembarks from Planet Reality.

  31. phred says:

    Just because it isn’t said often enough, Harry Reid is a two-faced, back-stabbing duplicitous weasel. He is a disgrace to a once great formerly democratic nation.

    • phred says:

      The President Pro-Tempore. Basically Cheney can’t be bothered to waste his day doing his Constitutionally assigned job, so in what appears to me to be a game of “tag you’re it” various Senators swap in and out of the President’s seat all day as needed. To be fair to Cheney (more than he deserves), John Adams also found being the President of the Senate to be an awful chore and iirc compared the job to a warm bucket of spit.

      All that said, I haven’t seen who is in the seat at the moment, so I don’t know which Madame President is currently there.

  32. anwaya says:

    Feinstein voted no. Her first acceptable vote on the matter, though from McConnel’s smug grin alone I’d expect it’s the foregone conclusion we dread.

  33. Mary says:

    83 – Surely, the government is paying the telcos a great deal for their access to the telco services yes, but the funding issue needs to be more directly related to the legislative allocations being attacked (amnesty), so it would have to be creative. The overall open door for the program, perhaps less creative, but with secret budgets for NSA programs, it would all be hugely tough.

    But it’s only one avenue, there are more that are easier, none that are likely winners with what is lined up against them – coordinated efforts of Congress, the Executive, criminals, huge mega corporations, and a hostile and somewhat afraid judiciary.

    It all sux.

    73 – not crazy, that’s how Rove’s strategy works. You take your potentially weakest point (for example, that Bush was directing the commission of war crimes) and turn it either into a strength, or against your opponent.

    • phred says:

      Thanks for the follow up Mary. I hope to God we start getting some breaks soon either from the House or from the Judicial Branch to put a stop to the subversion of our Constitution.

      I agree with your point about Rove’s strategy, whether it is raising the specter of voter fraud to implement voter fraud, or accuse others of war crimes that you have committed, to the actual misrepresentation of the authorities granted in the Constitution to claim that they are entirely different than what they are and what the founders intended. The entire system is predicated on bald-faced shameless distortions and lies, and not once has Congress called their bluff. It’s sickening.

      • cboldt says:

        I hope to God we start getting some breaks soon either from the House or from the Judicial Branch to put a stop to the subversion of our Constitution.

        You left out the “LOL” or “ROTFL.” Don’t be holding your breath. The Constitution has been a steady downward path for 90 years of more. FedGov is way too big.

        • phred says:

          Sorry, clearly a slip on my part ; )

          FedGov is way too big

          And just as animals that exceed the carrying capacity of their environment, FedGov will continue to grow until nothing remains for it to feed on, and then it will collapse. A healthy population is only sustainable when it exists in balance with its natural environment — the biological equivalent of checks and balances, if you will. Unfortunately our government no longer operates within a healthy environment.

          As for the 3rd Amendment — so how long do you figure it will be until we all have to quarter a National Guardsman in our homes as a cost cutting measure (freeing up money to feed into the maw of the military industrial complex)?

          I am depressed (said, with the same tone as Slim Pickens in Blazing Saddles ; )

  34. cboldt says:

    Bond’s discussion of a “conference” is BS.

    Reid is trying to buy time for the House, by asking UC to pass a 15 day extension. McConnell will object, and is objecting, on the grounds that it’s premature. McConnell says the House may well pass the bill as it stands sent from the Senate.

  35. cboldt says:

    “What was you personal price for selling out the Constitution and my privacy?”

    They’ll answer with a straight face, “security.”

    They are trading liberty for security — well, actually, they don’t see an impingement on liberty. After all, if you aren’t doing anything wrong and all that. Plus, the government has untapped powers that reach far beyond mere random surveillance.

    Since we’re at war … a review of the 3rd amendment is appropriate.

    No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

    • sailmaker says:

      About a $1.00 per person for your civil rights. $300,000,000 to Congress last reporting year from Communications sector, including Lobbyists.

      This is NOT for national security – or the Feds would not have let the funding for wiretaps lapse, nor can it make us more secure, the more corporate lawlessness is encouraged, the less secure we will be – witness the identity theft scenario above. The corporations will just thrive on this get-out-of-jail-free environment. Unfortunately, it will be thriving dens of inequity.

        • sailmaker says:

          $600,000,000 ??? Now that is cubic bucks. DiFi only raised $5.7 in the last year, @ 20% from the telcoms, and she knows the right people. $600 million might be a stretch.

    • klynn says:

      I would have to answer back:

      Intelligence agencies have admitted to the fact that meta data gathering is much like trying to drink out of a fire hydrant. So a great deal of our private information lays vulnerable without any guarantee of security for “the people” by the government on behalf of the government. There are no clear provisions with FISA that protect my private information. If there are no regulatory measures to insure my privacy and protection of my private information, then I am NOT SAFE OR SECURE. I am in a more threatening position actually.

      A good read:…..iot01.html

      The reason I shared my identity theft experience is that it is one people can relate to and puts the fear card in a different light…Sunlight…

        • klynn says:

          Thanks for the “to the point” perspective!

          I’m sure the insurance industry is doing a dance over FISA! It’s a harvest day for identity protect – so they think!

          • klynn says:

            “harvest day for identity protection insurance..”

            That’s what I get for proof reading the kid’s homework and responding at the same time!

  36. Hmmm says:

    CNET says:

    That immunity would apply both to future lawsuits and to any suits filed during the period from September 11, 2001, to January 17, 2007, the day the Justice Department announced that the secret NSA program would be revamped and brought under the scrutiny of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

    Then I guess we’ll just have to invent time travel so we can go back and file between January ‘01, when the cause of action began, and September 10 of that year. Get busy techies!

  37. Hmmm says:

    I suppose there is some faint consolation in the fact that even if this bad bill becomes law, as seems likely, it won’t get any more Constitutional than it is now. So some distant day after all this nastiness is finally over — and by the way I think that everything we have seen of this so far is only the beginning of the beginning — and all these crazy authoritarians’ long moment has finally passed, and America has at long last finally regained its senses, it will be repealed.

    Very, very faint, though. I’ll be quite a bit older than I am now…

  38. BrianinSeattle says:

    I guess many of us were thinking the same thing. Here was my small letter to those on the Dishonor roll….

    SUBJECT: FISA Capitulation – Again

    DATE: 12-Feb-2008

    Today marks another milestone in the great decline and fall of the United States as a nation, the Rule of Law, and the Constitution. You are personally responsible.

    There must be some reason to grant the unprecedented gift of retro-active legalization of previously illegal acts. There is no national popular outcry to shield Bush and these corporations. Is it supine fealty to the worst president in US history? It cannot be based on respect for your oath of office to protect the Constitution from all enemies foreign and domestic. In fact, you have just shown yourself to be the kinds of actual “enemies” to be guarded against.

    Perhaps it is money?

    Telecom Contributions by Senator (Open Secrets, 2003 to 2008 Sector Totals)

    Feinstein $638,084
    Nelson $427,556
    Rockerfeller $341,569
    Mccaskill $351,232
    Mikulski $253,192
    Landrieu $244,908
    Lincoln $298,420
    Salazar $611,517
    Carper $197,513
    Webb $278,636
    Whitehouse $294,675
    Leiberman $1,005,591

    TOTAL: $4,942,893

    Really people – this is a ridiculously cheap price for them to pay for this kind of sell out. Not only does your work dishonor the rule of law, your price for doing so is an embarrassment to capitalism – except for Leiberman – good job Joe!

    Of course, a special place in hell is reserved for Harry Reid, without whose bold leadership, none of this would be possible. Among you all, Senator Dodd seems the only one with the character and conviction to behave responsibly in this sordid affair.

    Pathetic at all levels, your place in our darkest history is secure. I hope it was worth it.

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