It’s All About $$$

We know that the Administration only became intransigent about immunity for telecoms after a telecom lobbyist took over as Counselor to the President. And we know the telecoms cut off wiretaps–even a FISA one–when they didn’t get paid by the FBI. It’s pretty clear the fight over telecom immunity and FISA is about the money.

Which is probably why Republicans are now whining that telecoms are not paying them enough for their willingness to gut the Constitution. 

In a reflection of the sensitivity of the subject matter, and an apparent recognition that they would undermine their own messaging by appearing to be motivated by fundraising concerns, Republicans on and off Capitol Hill declined to comment on the record.

But several confirmed the griping in GOP leadership ranks over the phone companies’ shifting donations.

"When those numbers are made evident, it causes some angst," one Republican lobbyist said. "Leadership are told by staff, who look through this. There’s communication back and forth" between GOP leadership and downtown.

"There’s no question that from time to time staff, and maybe some Members, say to fellow travelers: ‘Are you giving us some air cover? Are you helping us help you?’"

Added another K Street Republican: "There’s a growing frustration that a lot of these guys getting screwed by Democratic leadership are continuing to load their coffers."

Republican leaders, this lobbyist said, "sit there and scratch their heads and say, ‘We’ve always been very supportive of free markets and our opponents haven’t, so why do they keep feeding the beast?’"

Shorter anonymous Republican aides: cough up for the immunity campaign. Now.

Can we start calling it a quid pro quo if this blatant demand to the telecoms works? And what’s the going rate for gutting the Constitution, anyway?

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68 replies
  1. phred says:

    Corporate America was only willing to give vast sums to the Rethugs when they were actually able to win elections. Poor jilted little Rethug pols are only just now realizing that money can only buy so many votes.

  2. Rayne says:

    Why do they keep feeding the [Democratic] beast?

    Because they are effing desperate, and they know it.

    Bet you dollars-to-donuts that the telecoms are fully aware some other entity has all of it, too, and will release it in good time exposing them for what they are.

    What bugs me is that telecoms haven’t tried harder to buy favor, by going white hat instead of continuing to black hat this mess.

  3. JimWhite says:

    Ahh, but the administration doesn’t have to worry. Yesterday, someone from the press, during a White House briefing, assured the administation that “we’ll cover your ass”. Click on my name for more.

    • MadDog says:

      Ahh, but the administration doesn’t have to worry. Yesterday, someone from the press, during a White House briefing, assured the administation that “we’ll cover your ass”. Click on my name for more.

      Great catch JimWhite!

      And the SAOs sure worked the crowd like professionals.

      And the fawning MSM folks will ensure that the American public hears about how traitorous it is to stand in the way of protecting us from terrorists.

      Only retroactive immunity can protect America! Huzzah!

        • MadDog says:

          Yeah, what he said!

          BTW, did my answer about server disk imaging make any sense last night before I signed off?

          Are you considering such for your office or home office?

          • bmaz says:

            No, I was trying to figure out what it would have really cost the investigation to have made forensic copies of all the necessary drives at the White House, which i believe to be all OVP, all Rove related, and the servers those attach to. My point is that to preserve a proper forensic evidence base for the future, even if the investigation was not going to go deeper at the time, was not cost prohibitive.

        • JimWhite says:

          Yes, and for bonus points, we need full exposure of the indemnification that you point out probably exists. That would really drive home the cynicism of the debating points Bush has used.

  4. TheraP says:

    Hope this thought is not off topic. But it seems to me that American corporations can see that due to all the bungling and raiding of the treasuring during this administration, the repubs have created a climate, at home and abroad, which not only undermines the Constitution and creates social problems and international hostility, but is not even good for business!

    These criminal bozos may have enriched themselves and their cronies, but they have seriously undermined the economy. Why would corporations pay for this?

    Repub leaders are saying: “Show me the money!” And the corporations are saying: “Moneyfor what?”

  5. BillE says:

    There is a difference between corporations and their leaders (board, ceo, managment teams, etc. ) In recent times the leaders have been all about lining their own pockets to the detriment of the whole organization. The boards are complicit along with all the business reporters. Who can justify taking a billion dollars from shareholders as compensation? Can you say RICO. Well the problem / solution has been to follow the Lewis Powell strategy to the nth limit and have a Roberts court and both parties in there pockets. The supremes started all this when they decided a corp has first amendment rights along with appointing Chimpy.

    So now what? Will it be paraquay time for the lot of them?

    • Xenos says:

      In recent times the leaders have been all about lining their own pockets to the detriment of the whole organization. The boards are complicit along with all the business reporters.

      This was noted regarding big business failing to support reforming a medical insurance system that hampers the competitiveness of American business. The point made was that the executives worry more about being considered socialists by their friends and business partners than they are concerned for the welfare of the business they run. In effect, the business elites now have more class consciousness than any other sector of American society.

  6. wkwf says:

    And what’s the going rate for gutting the Constitution, anyway?

    I would imagine the telecoms would get a volume discount on that one. Since the Constitution has already been gutted several times over, their issue should count as residuals.

    On the issue of whether this is all about lawsuits and money: the telecoms have as much documentation on their activities as the admin. So it is classic symbiosis at work – “protect my money, and i’ll make sure your illegal authorizations never see the light of day”. The admin has asserted executive privilege to prevent the telecoms from striking a deal with Congress (we tell you what we did, you give us immunity). Congress is too much of a chicken to test that assertion, so it won’t do anything. So it’s up to the telecoms and the admin to work out a deal favorable to both, while we keep hoping more information will surface from elsewhere on the shenanigans of the spy-in-chief.

    But then, it has to be more damaging to the admin than to the telecoms if the immunity deal falls through. The admin has less than a year (thank goodness) to get this done. Even if the telecoms end up having to pay (and that’s looking to be impossible because the Supreme Court will say that the plaintiffs have no standing till they can provide irrefutable proof, which they usually can’t), it will all eventually come out of the pockets of its’ customers. Maybe that’s why they aren’t ponying up more money for the Repubs.. hmm…

  7. bmaz says:

    As I have said before, when they say it’s not about the money, it IS about the money. An even better takeaway quote if you ask me is this (culled from TPM because i don’t subscribe to Roll Call)

    “There’s no question that from time to time staff, and maybe some Members, say to fellow travelers: ‘Are you giving us some air cover? Are you helping us help you?”

    Exactly. Where is the PR/advertising saturation the comms always put up when they want significant Congressional action? Why no “air cover”, why not be jamming bucks into Gooper’s pockets and shafting Dems? Well, there is the likely coming shift in power as someone mentioned above, but that is only a small part. The real reason is that they just are not as worried about it as the Administration clucks furiously scurrying to protect their own rear ends from criminal culpability and public exposure of the fact that they put the American taxpayers on the hook for the massive liability that they want you to believe the telcos face. The reason is indemnification.

    • Ishmael says:

      Agreed – there is no reason to think that the telcos will ever have one cent of exposure as a result of their participation in the warrantless wiretapping. Even for the gap period which was purportedly “authorized” by White House Counsel (as he then was) Alberto Gonzales. Even if the cases were permitted to proceed, and the most ferocious trial lawyer ambulance chasers were able to put the case in front of a bunch of DFHs in the jury, and there was liability found, all you have to do to know the outcome is look at Chief Justice Roberts remarks yesterday in the Exxon Valdez punitive damages appeal – he wondered how a corporation might be able to protect itself against large punitive damages claims – in a case where Exxon, the most profitable company in the world, is faced with paying three weeks profits for a disastrous fouling of the Alaskan coastline, caused in varying degrees by employing an intoxicated captain and risky operating procedures in a hazardous navigation area! Does anyone really think that the “patriotic” telcos would ever be hit with anything other than nominal damages even if they were not able to rely on the indemnity of the Federal treasury?

      • emptywheel says:

        Yup, if there was any doubt that Roberts was put in charge to protect the corporate cronies, that shameless bit disabuses us of that notion.

        With Exxon, Alito’s curious recusal might save the judgment. But I’m sure Bush wouldn’t let Alito recuse for his dear AT&T.

        • Ishmael says:

          The Roberts Court seems to be busy these days, looking for opportunities to emasculate standing to sue, the exclusionary rule for evidence obtained by illegal arrest, and even if the judgment against Exxon is upheld, I suspect that Roberts et al will use the case to stealthily limit punitive damages claims. Is is possible that they believe that Obama or Hillary, with a strongly Democratic Senate, may be able to get some strong progressives on the Supreme Court, and now is the time to put through as much reactionary stuff as possible while “liberals” like Souter and Stevens are the opposition? No disrespect intended to either of these Justices, but at best they are moderate Republicans and only called “liberal” because they will not usually vote to overrule established precedent like Roe or Miranda or Gideon or Griswold. Even if Roberts, Alito and Thomas are likely with us for another few decades, Scalia is not a kid, and I think people underestimate how much a William Douglas type nominee to the Court might be able to shift the balance within deliberations.

          • bmaz says:

            And just as we were discussing not long ago, I read somewhere yesterday that the government effort is now underway to extend the unconscionable immunity from consumer liability suits just given to medical device makers to drug makers that the FDA rubber stamped (usually on fraudulent data at that). Who could have predicted that Just as we predicted.

  8. RevDeb says:

    Can we start calling it a quid pro quo if this blatant demand to the telecoms works? And what’s the going rate for gutting the Constitution, anyway?

    Ask the dems in the senate who are trying to give them cover. If that’s where the money is now going, then that explains a lot. I would be nice if they would show us by their votes that there is no quo to go with the quid.

  9. alank says:

    Can we start calling it a quid pro quo if this blatant demand to the telecoms works? And what’s the going rate for gutting the Constitution, anyway?

    20 pieces of silver?

  10. sailmaker says:

    And what’s the going rate for gutting the Constitution, anyway?

    Answer: currently about a buck per American, for the telcoms. I can’t speak to the cost for the unitary theory of executive privilege, or to the costs of extreme rendition, loss of habeas corpus, torture, voting suppression, or the rest of the things that Bushco has done, but for the telcoms, gutting costs about a buck a pop.

    The real thing that they are avoiding is the cost of illegally doing warrantless wiretapping. If each violation of Americans (@300,000,000) is only considered once (not on a per each phone call, per month, or per year) multiplied by $5000 (this is what I believe the fine to be, some have mentioned $10,000 but none of us can pinpoint the law) so, $5000 X 300,000,000 = $1.5 trillion. That is what the telecoms are avoiding. The local cost of gutting of the Constitution is dirt cheap.

    I believe Bushco told the telcoms that Bushco would make illegal warrantless wiretapping ‘legal’, OR that the taxpayers would pay for the lawsuits.

  11. GulfCoastPirate says:

    I watched some of the press conferrence a little while ago. The smirk was just going on and on and on about this FISA deal. They must really be worried.

    Overall, it’s embarrassing that this guy is president of the US. Just very, very hard to believe.

  12. PetePierce says:

    Is there a computer chip in Kit Bond’s larynx and frontol lobe? And where does he get his figures about what’s working in Iraq? Obviously not from Iraq on the ground. What a dopey interpretation of the “Debathification Law” that they passed.

    It’s always been:

    House and Senate: The Nation’s Whorehouse
    K-Street and Lobbyists: The Nations Pimps
    Telcoms and Comcoms: The Nations Johns

    BTW for anyone concerned that Siegelman’s appeal of his conviction is being held up significantly, I’ve tried to clarify that, but it was deep into EPU territory.

    I’m going to shoot an email to his attorneys to see if I can get some clarification on when they are filing their appellate brief on the conviction, but if they were to be among the 17.5% to make the cut for oral argument in the Eleventh Circuit, we’re talking an average of about 18 months from the time that they do. The trial court did act (not untypically) to delay and IMO antagonize the Eleventh Circuit’s decision (Black and Marcus) on the appeal bond, (this is in Siegelman’s favor as to an appeal bond), but they’ve had the latest defense brief on bond since Feb. 19, and I’m not sure of the government’s brief that they asked for or when reply briefs will be filed sinced they didn’t impose time limits. I’ve posted the memorandum opinion and initial response of the trial Court Fuller and the order of the Eleventh Circuit:


    Siegelman appeal
    and

    Siegelman links contained here

  13. PJEvans says:

    Bush on the economy, my personal summary:

    1) Immunity for the telecoms, because they’ll go broke without it.
    2) Here’s some money to help jumpstart the economy: buy more stuff.
    3) The economy is doing fine, no recession here, move along.

    (That last one is what gets me: his father said the same thing in 90-92, when we had a recession that some people are still stuck in.)

  14. Knut says:

    The administration is working in overdrive to get FISA settled before next week. If Obama wins in TX and OH, and especially if as in Wisconsin, he wins by a significant margin in TX, the Bushniks will know the game is really up. The telecoms can’t afford to alienat the next POTUS, and Obama’s huge donor base, which will no doubt grow another 50 percent at least, insulates him and a good part of the Dems from corporate blackmail. All the more reason for people to work their butts off this weekend in TX and OH.

  15. klynn says:

    Anyone read this Bloomberg piece in the Financial Times?

    http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/99de…..fd2ac.html

    Worth a read…

    More of the same won’t do, on the economy or any other issue. We need innovative ideas, bold action and courageous leadership. That’s not just empty rhetoric, and the idea that we have the ability to solve our toughest problems isn’t some pie-in-the-sky dream. In New York, working with leaders from both parties and mayors and governors from across the country, we’ve demonstrated that an independent approach really can produce progress on the most critical issues, including the economy, education, the environment, energy, infrastructure and crime.

    I believe that an independent approach to these issues is essential to governing our nation — and that an independent can win the presidency. I listened carefully to those who encouraged me to run, but I am not — and will not be — a candidate for president. I have watched this campaign unfold, and I am hopeful that the current campaigns can rise to the challenge by offering truly independent leadership. The most productive role that I can serve is to push them forward, by using the means at my disposal to promote a real and honest debate.

    In the weeks and months ahead, I will continue to work to steer the national conversation away from partisanship and toward unity; away from ideology and toward common sense; away from sound bites and toward substance.

    He goes on to state he is not running for president…

    • Ishmael says:

      To me, it’s is interesting that Mayor Bloomberg did not see fit to make the same remarks at the Republican National Convention in NYC in 2004 – it’s only when it looks like the Democrats are going to win that he decries the quality of political discourse in the US.

      • klynn says:

        I agree. The pander to “independents” is not transparent. And of course, who can speak better about “doing it together” after rebuilding NYC…This is staging for an event…It does not ring true coming from a Republican…

        This piece was written like a campaign speech…

        I will say this. We do have much wrong in our midsts. We can play the “blame” game or roll up our sleeves and clean up the messes. We do not have time for finger pointing. (Although, I do want to right the “two Bush administrations-worth” of wrongs against the Constitution and the people.)

  16. klynn says:

    And while we are on the topic of $$$

    I LOVE this idea of “reversing the process.” Similar to consumers/investors demanding a company/corp’s carbon footprint for responsible investing…smart investing…

    Five large US companies, including American Express and Xerox, will bow to shareholder pressure on Thursday and agree to disclose all their political spending.

    The move by the companies, which also include the financial groups Washington Mutual and Capital One and the technology provider Texas Instruments, could put pressure on the rest of corporate America to make public its political contributions. US companies are not required to disclose details of political payments and, in spite of growing concerns over lobbying by large businesses, only 38 have so far agreed to reveal all their political spending.

    “This move is very important,” said Bruce Freed of the Center for Political Accountability, which together with unions and socially focused investors is campaigning on the issue. “There is much greater acceptance in the corporate community of political transparency and accountability.”

  17. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Deep Throat’s advice remains true: “Follow the money.”

    Telecoms made billions just out of their Bush era mergers, such as Nextel/Sprint. They made tens of millions alone via the foreshortened review processes agreed to by Bush’s rabid “de-”regulators, who most often were hired from the industries they were meant to regulate. It’s not the telecoms fault that Bush caved on so many issues so early.

    Anticipating the morning sun peaking through the casino’s gloom, a change of shift and the arrival of a new dealer, the telecoms want to quit the table with their winnings. George is desperately yelling that they stay and play one more hand. Unlikely. They know who the sucker at the table is, and it ain’t them.

    • MadDog says:

      And the Comm-cos (it ain’t just for Telcos no more *g*) stand to pillage millions upon millions gouging us Net-nuts as they bury Net Neutrality.

      Wanna access Firedoglake? Pony up the bucks sucker!

      Oh, you wanna access Firedoglake at something more than a snail’s pace? Pony up more bucks sucker!

      You wanna access Emptywheel too? No problemo, we’ll take a mortgage out on your home.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Indeed. Allowing poorly or unregulated differential pricing and/or access is crossing the Rubicon. It would then no longer be whether providers could charge more or grant readier or more direct access for favored clients, but to what degree. Not whether I can rape with impunity, but how much money I can make while doing it.

        These companies already make substantial profits from competently running their businesses. They make considerable additional sums, eg, from commercializing – selling for use without restriction – individual household’s cable viewing patterns. Query what they do with VOIP and other personal data transmissions (apart from give copies to Uncle George).

        What criteria would be used to grant differential access or to support differential pricing. A Bush regime would say any or none at all. Even a Democratic administration would be hard put to implement “reasonable” regulation. There’s been no education or debate because the neocons have made the whole notion of data ownership and privacy rights synonymous with “socialism” and off limits. (Unlike every other developed country, such as Canada, Japan, Australia, and the EU.)

        As usual, where consumers are concerned, this government has things backwards. It concedes to private interests the unregulated right to an income stream without first sorting out whose competing interests are at risk. Kinda like telling a drug company to go ahead and market those chemicals without first asking about product quality or therapeutic purpose. Come to think of it, that’s exactly where this administration and its pet Supreme Court is taking us and the FDA.

        We’re reverting to a Wild West culture, where the guy with the most cowhands and guns gets to do WTF he wants. Time for a little, um, government of the people, by the people and for the people. According to Honest Abe at Gettysburg, preserving that was worth one helluva lot of spilled blood.

  18. perris says:

    Shorter anonymous Republican aides: cough up for the immunity campaign. Now.

    Can we start calling it a quid pro quo if this blatant demand to the telecoms works? And what’s the going rate for gutting the Constitution, anyway?

    and the democrats need to pounce on this whenever the president brings up his rediculous foot stamping

      • bmaz says:

        What good is security if you can’t keep your home for your children? Bush hates homeowners! Bush likes telco criminals more than our children!

        • AZ Matt says:

          Can’t keep your home then give your kids away to a sweatshop. Or find money to give to the Bush Presidential Library(it needs money to buy at least one book) and then he will notice you exists.

  19. klynn says:

    O/T but about Bloomberg

    On January 9,2008 the AP ran this

    New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has quietly been polling and conducting a highly sophisticated voter analysis in all 50 states as he decides whether to launch an independent presidential bid, associates said Wednesday.

    The exhaustive data collection started months ago, and when the review begins shortly, it will provide the data-obsessed billionaire businessman with the information he will use to decide whether to make a third-party run for the White House.

    June 19, 2007 Bloomberg became an independent and dropped his GOP association.

    bmaz @ 34–OOOOoooooh!!! Talk about a “gotcha!”

  20. JohnLopresti says:

    This week in Cambridge MA there was a multiplicity of voices airing concern about the subterfuge of masking inside the Comcast app filter over cable dustup, a contemplated fcc rule favoring net bias. Spectrum availability is still an issue for telcos in the US, but I see KMartin as making overtures toward a parting gift from FCC to match the dollar value to telcos achieved in the court authorized RepublicanFCC ruling several years ago in the matter of unbundling of network elements.

  21. perris says:

    what bothers me is when the democrats give the president’s tantrums any play

    when the president says he “needs telecom immunity so they continue to cooperate”

    the democrats need to put him straight in his place with;

    “we don’t know what country this president lives in but in America we do NOT want the telecoms to “cooperate” when there is not warrant

    what part of the constitution is this president having trouble with because we will be happy to give him the education he clearly needs”

    man, give me a president or democrat that can say something like that, I would be a very happy man

  22. klynn says:

    O/T again…Okay so RealClearPolitics has this to say about the whole Bloomberg “official” editorial

    Not running…Yet…But may be on that “dream” (not my words) ticket…

    http://www.nydailynews.com/new…..omber.html

    Obama-Bloomberg (which will mean no special interest $$$ needed for Obama -kinda…)

  23. jayackroyd says:

    What weirds me out is that it is not enough money. And people who don’t need the money are on board, as Christy has pointed out re Rockefeller. Senators by and large have safe seats (I’m hoping this isn’t true, this cycle). I understand about the defense business. There the money is spread around, a lot of it, to different constituent recipients. Places you don’t hear about if you aren’t local, like the Portsmouth shipyard or Bath Iron Works or Groton’s sub shop do affect voters.

    But I really don’t get the telcos’ power and influence. It’s like the health insurance industry. Everybody hates them. The campaign finance laws are such that it just really isn’t that much money. I mean we’re talking tens of thousands of dollars. And, nonetheless, they cannot be crossed.

    Now it is true that given the rules that permit campaigns to be lent money by the candidate, the effect of, say, giving Cantwell a “contribution” is that she puts in her bank account. And I’ve never understood why this doesn’t seem to bother anybody. Even then, it’s not enough money. The Mittster burned through tens of millions not becoming president. Bloomberg spent tens of millions just to be mayor, and would spend a billion to president, if he thought it would work. I do not understand why people who want a job like Senator can be influenced by thousands of dollars of contributions.

    But, I do recall spending a day on the Hill. And every elevator, every corridor was filled with lobbyists. I still don’t get it. It’s about something beyond the money.

    • bmaz says:

      Somewhere there is a chart of telco political contributions; they have steadily gone down since all this illegal surveillance started. And their lobbying has either remained constant or declined as well. It is because they have the government, including both the Administration and the Congressional leaders by the short hairs over the liability the Administration, with the likely knowledge of Congressional leaders, has assumed in the name of the taxpayers, via indemnification of the telcos liability. Thats why you see that “there is not enough money”.

      • perris says:

        Somewhere there is a chart of telco political contributions; they have steadily gone down since all this illegal surveillance started. And their lobbying has either remained constant or declined as well. It is because they have the government, including both the Administration and the Congressional leaders by the short hairs over the liability the Administration, with the likely knowledge of Congressional leaders, has assumed in the name of the taxpayers, via indemnification of the telcos liability. Thats why you see that “there is not enough money”.

        wow, that is a great take the situation

          • sailmaker says:

            When i was gathering stats on who is paying whom, I had problems separating out what part of the Computer/Internet category should apply to the telcom category (never mind the lobbyist category). My guess is that there is still not enough to justify the gutting of the Constitution @ $1 per American. http://www.opensecrets.org/ind…..sp?Ind=B12

            I agree that Bushco must have assured the telcos that they would never have to pay up the $1.5 trillion (at least) that the telcos owe us. My guess is that when Bushco stopped paying the telcos for illegal, the telcos realized that they had the administration by the neck – that the telcos would never have to pay a dime, to congress, to a battery of lawyers, to anyone. All the telcos have to do is tell what they have been doing as part of remediation for past ‘patriotism’, and Bushco is sunk.

      • behindthefall says:

        Insight of genius! They don’t NEED to contribute: their job is done. All your bases is belong to us, as they say …

  24. perris says:

    that chart is STUNNING!

    must post;

    2008*

    $3,245,242

    2006*

    $7,624,274

    2004*

    $9,357,897

    2002

    $16,740,545

    2000

    $19,056,842

    1998

    $15,273,003

    1996

    $15,509,304

    1994

    $8,280,938

    1992

    $8,863,681

  25. looseheadprop says:

    In 2007 they spent and average of $635,356 permonth

    In 2008 so far, $1,854,424

    In 2000 (that’s the high year at $19 million)the average was $1,588,070
    per month

    Seems like telcom giving has spike a bit this year, eh?

  26. jayackroyd says:

    yeah, bmaz, I think you’re right. But what worries me is that this may be a bipartisan issue–that Rockefeller, among others, is also compromised. But Pelosi seems to have decided she can hold this line, which is somewhat reassuring.

    And time, time, time is on our side in this.

    • selise says:

      yeah, bmaz, I think you’re right. But what worries me is that this may be a bipartisan issue–that Rockefeller, among others, is also compromised. But Pelosi seems to have decided she can hold this line, which is somewhat reassuring.

      And time, time, time is on our side in this.

      not so sure about that….

      House Could Take Up Surveillance Legislation Next Week

      House Democrats are planning floor action next week on a new version of contentious electronic surveillance legislation, but it remains unclear what the bill will contain.

      “We don’t have agreement but … I am very hopeful that we will have legislation on the floor next week, “ House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer , D-Md., said on the floor Thursday in a colloquy with Minority Whip Roy Blunt , R-Mo.

      if time is on our side and pelosi is holding the line, why is the house planning to rewrite their bill?

  27. BayStateLibrul says:

    Aside from Bush’s fucking presser.

    Clueless that price of gas will be heading towards $4.00 per gallon
    but worries about Telco’s law suits, and calls lawyer’s suing, in
    on the “gravy train”

    When was the last time, Bushie filled up his truck?

    I think I HATE all Repugs….

  28. phred says:

    bmaz — have you seen this over at TPMM today? Evidently the telcos did NOT put up the money for the attack ads against the House Dems. The organization responsible claims the money was put up by individual donors. I don’t doubt it. I wonder how many of them are also on the list of Libby Defense Fund donors. Heck, I bet every member of the Bush and Cheney clans chipped in for such a noble cause ; )

      • phred says:

        Maybe, but as bmaz has said repeatedly, the telcos aren’t really on the hook here, BushCo is. I suspect the list of donors, whether Congressional Rethugs or Executive Branch Rethugs or other Rethug operatives, would make very interesting reading.

    • bmaz says:

      Indeed I did see that. And that is exactly what I am talking about.

      LHP – Yes and that may or may not be cause/effect related to the immunity issue; but it is a valid point. It may be related to the net neutrality and differing access issues they are furiously trying to get done, or they may be second guessing the Administration’s ability to come through. Still, when comm companies really want legislation passed, they hit the airwaves themselves or through their associations. There has been none of that and those lobbying numbers prior to this year would look far different if their butts were really on the line financially..

  29. ticktock says:

    Hi folks,

    Just a brief message on this subject which I have touched on on previous comments.

    Retroactive immunity has apparently been applied to another specific issue as a magic bullet to questionable activities. (Please note included are only portions and a brief synopsis of this specific act).

    Case in point:
    The Military Commissions Act of 2006, (SEC. 7. REVISIONS TO DETAINEE TREATMENT ACT OF 2005 RELATING TO PROTECTION OF CERTAIN UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT PERSONNEL) amends Detainee Treatment Act of 2005 (b) Protection of Personnel- Section 1004 of the Detainee Treatment Act of 2005 (42 U.S.C. 2000dd-1) shall apply with respect to any criminal prosecution that–(3) relates to actions occurring between September 11, 2001, and December 30, 2005. & SEC. 8. RETROACTIVE APPLICABILITY)(1) to any aspect of the detention, treatment, or trial of any person detained at any time since September 11, 2001; and (2) to any claim or cause of action pending on or after the date of the enactment of this Act.

    If you have noted any other cases were retroactive immunity has been applied please let me know, I’ll check back later.

    Thanks so much emptywheel and all the pups…

    Good-luck….

  30. Hmmm says:

    Huh. From this perspective, it is, in a way, in the telco’s interests to NOT get retroactive immunity, to NOT get a PAA renewal. Because as soon as they get it, they lose their influence over the entire R administration. The smart play for them might be to curry favor with the incoming D administration by picking the opportune moment — October surprise, anyone? — to disclose new, shocking, really politically damaging stuff about the R’s warrantless wiretapping program. Thus cementing both a D Presidential victory, and a warm relationship with same going forward.

    If something along these lines this were actually going on, it would certainly help explain the sudden unexpected outbreak of spine in the Congressional D’s this week. Hmmm.

  31. Nell says:

    But it’s not all about the money. I don’t disagree with EW very often, but it seems to me that the telcos aren’t worried about the money (for reasons given by commenters); it’s the administration officials who are worried about criminal liability and the public finding out through discovery and testimony in court cases what the extent and targets of the warrantless eavesdropping were.

    • Sedgequill says:

      For agency eyes only, of course. Openly boasting would be unseemly, and dissing NSA’s helper might be counterproductive if, as President Bush implies, cooperation is optional.

  32. Hmmm says:

    Maybe the D House leadership has realized that if the telco indemnity does comes due, it’ll likely be during a D Presidency, so there will be popular blowback and possible perception of a national economic hit on the D’s watch. Granting retroactive immunity would short-circuit that.

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