Don’t Tell Your Momma, Tell Obama

Well, we got Mr. Obama’s reply to all of us. Everybody has a lot to say to Mr. Obama. Here is the place. Now is the time. Trash talk is allowed. I heard the Lakers, er Celtics just won something. Also heard Curt Schilling is done, how the Sawx gonna win without him? And hey circus freak, the French Grand Prix is this weekend. Migny-Cours is the track? Chat away.

206 replies
  1. bmaz says:

    You Wheelers and Wheelies be good and righteously outraged folks. I am going to be out for a while, and can’t find Marcy; but I hear there is a pile of Beamish containers in Ann Arbor. Be nice; don’t wreck the house. Adios Amigos!

  2. realworld says:

    Our strongest tool remains going after those who vote wrong regardless of party. Donna E is the proof of that! We must work as hard against the blue dogs as the rethugs!

  3. TJ says:

    My unsubscribe note to Obama’s emails:

    Your willingness to support telcomm immunity is not change. It’s the same old sh*t. You asked me to believe, but in your first opportunity to defend the constitution, you chose corporate interests.

    • TobyWollin says:

      I used the same ‘communications tool’ that came to my email as well. Not a nickel for that guy. No respect for the Bill of MY Rights(G-Damn it).

  4. BlueStateRedHead says:

    Also heard Curt Schilling is done, how the Sawx gonna win without him?

    Good question. Will have to run down to Fenway and hang out at the players’s parking lot and ask Dice-Kay, and Beckett, and Lester, and if I can get through the jig-dancing Irish fans, Jonathon the Closer how the hell they have been managing without him and what they plan to do going forward?

    More seriously, with all that time on his hand, will Curt campaign for McSame as he did for Bush in New Hampshire? Will it matter?

    Ta ta from Titletown, as our Mayor calls the capital of the BlueBayState.

    Let the trashing begin. I’ll check back later.

  5. FormerFed says:

    BMAZ, Marcy and all you other lawyers out there – I listened to Countdown with KO talking to John Dean about today’s debacle and Dean brought up an interesting point. He said that he could find nothing in the bill that gave the Telcoms any immunity from criminal prosecution, only immunity from civil actions such as the current ones in the system. They then went on to muse about a future administration potentially taking action in a criminal way.

    What do you all think??

    • drational says:

      Obama is telling you how valuable you are.
      You make a stink, but you are going to vote for him anyway because he will be a benign dictator.
      at least better than McBush.
      This move is to pander to the torture cretins who probably won’t vote for him anyway.
      Anyone who badmouthed hillary for being a triangulator should be able to recognize this shit. same old shit.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      If the President-to-be supports granting telcos civil immunity from suit, he’s not likely to tell his Attorney General to prosecute them. He could, of course, wholly revamp the so far undisclosed but presumably dramatically illegal programs, but why should he? This legislation shields them from scrutiny, public and impliedly Congressional and even judicial.

      Congress is also institutionalizing its own status as steer, not bull – something one would ordinarily think would be painful, but which Mr. Hoyer and Ms. Pelosi both seem to be gliding through. Imagine how much more executive power the next President Bush will take.

    • PetePierce says:

      Criminal prosecution of telcoms will never see the light of day. Even if the language of the final bill that is voted on by the Senate doesn’t prevent this,(the previously approved Senate bill does protect them from criminal liability) they will have documents in their defense which they will refuse to make public invoking State Secrets and to this moment State Secrets has been adopted by every federal appellate court in this country for any purpose it’s been invoked.

      2008 FISA Bill Passed by House Yesterday

      A big Friday nite shoutout to homeboy J. Bobby Flores OJJDP Admin who is being investigated by his own DOJ. Always fun to see DOJ who would feed their mommas to crocodiles and grin while doing so, eat one of their own.

        • PetePierce says:


          Flores Faces Criminal Investigation

          I’m watching Scottie Mc n the rebroadcast of HJC. We’re down to the least senior questioner and so far no bomb shells. Scottie knows how to bob and weave by saying he had no direct conversations or he heard no conversations relevant to whaetever.

            • PetePierce says:

              He is probably representative of a large number of personnel at Main Justice and OLC currently as well as the White House staffs that liason with them.

    • bmaz says:

      Also rxbusa, drational, Boo, and crikey whoever else I am missing

      I have not watched Dean on KO. I think the late repeat is about to come on here in 20 minutes or so. I will watch it then. But I think I understand the question well enough to take a stab at it. Assuming civil is done, and if they sign this law I think it best to assume it is indeed done (hey, then if it turns out different it is gravy); then what about criminal.

      John Dean is a brilliant legal mind, and I really mean that. I was a teenager, but I remember watching him in the Watergate hearings etc., and have seen him consistently since he has resurrected his career and persona. He has a first rate legal mind. That said, much like many law professors, I don’t think he has ever really practiced in the trenches, especially the criminal law ones. I don’t mean that as a slap, just an explanation. There are a boatload of things that high grade criminal defense lawyers bring up, point out, argue and otherwise pull out of their hats. There is a cornocopia of stuff to do just that with here.

      First off, and I know I am a broken record with this sometimes, statute of limitations. For FISA crimes it is five years. No prosecution will even be possible until at least February 2009, so any acts occurring prior to February 2004 are out. Likely no investigation could be completed and charges filed until at best fall of 2009, so all act prior to fall 2004, essentially the whole Bush first term, are out.

      Next, you have reasonable doubt. The fact that the United States Congress, who speaks for and represents the entire nation, not once, not twice, but three times ratified and sanctioned and gave their blessing to these acts (Protect America Act, extension of PAA, and now the Fisa Amendments Act) ratifies, sanctioned and agreed to these acts, sure sounds like a real good argument that reasonable minds could differ as to whether these acts are criminal to me. I would argue that to a jury in a heartbeat, and if I couldn’t sell that to them as such, I would hari kari on the spot.

      I could go on, but I think you get the point. Criminal charges sound good but in practice it is a whole nuther ballgame. Charging them as an ongoing conspiracy migh get you around some of the statute of limitation problems. Maybe. But you still have a lot of other issues. I would put extremely little to no stock in this ever happening.

  6. PJEvans says:

    As long as it isn’t the NBA – I had more than enough of that this week at work.

    Barry, if you want our help when you need it, you should have helped us this week. We have really long memories here.

    Spears longer than our memories, as someone once wrote about the Britons and the Saxons and Normans. (When the Normans invaded, the Anglo-Saxons had no place to go, because the mountains were full of Britons with spears longer than their memories. Think centuries of being pissed off with the rude neighbors ….)

  7. JohnLopresti says:

    Bmaz, I think a fair paraphrase would be something like Dr. Alexander Graham Bell reportedly shouted, Mr. Watson, please stop tapping this line, and that is how modern folks figured out how easy electronics make duplicating images, mere patterns of electrons, and radiowaves. Barack Obama is the best opportunity to address modern times in this election.

    My sports politics are comparably as eccentric, having been born in Boston and going to college there, when Celts play is the only time I root against Lakers.

    As for the balancing of the ew reply, there is a lot more than the two issues today. Kucinich could write a longer list, or simply help on the stump. It is an election campaign that is going well, the best news in a lot of recent years.

    Say, who won that championship?

    And the election, it is funny to have a race in which the AZ Republic has no candidate, their reporter Kristin Mayes is banned from the bandwagon, NYT’s Elisabeth Bumiller is barred from the campaign van, as if newsmedia sequestration could succeed in obscuring village information regarding the oposition candidate.

  8. chrisc says:

    I called the Obama campaign to complain about Obama’s FISA cave. The person who took my call said she had been taking calls like mine for 3 straight hours. I asked about procedures for getting my donation back.
    Jeebus, it isn’t as if we were trying to plunder the nation’s resources for our own advantage or get an unseemly share of the nations wealth by fraudulent means. We are trying to get the constitutional protections for citizens restored. Are we asking too much?

  9. rxbusa says:

    On KO tonight, John Dean and KO said that the terms in the bill apply only to civil suits, not criminal suits and that Obama might be planning to prosecute them once he is in office. Is that feasible?

  10. BooRadley says:

    I’m giving Obama some leeway on this, because he’s the Presidential candidate. I’d do the same for HRC (or any other Dem), if the roles were reversed. Presidential candidates always have to campaign to the middle.

    I can’t speak to the criminal legal issues that Dean raised (and I’m a real big Dean fan). I certainly hope Dean was correct. Turley last night imho was much better on the sheer venality of the Hoyer and others in the Democratic leadership. They don’t want us to find out how completely complicit they were in helping Bush shred the Constitution. Olbermann opened the door and I was disappointed in how weakly Dean responded.

    • FormerFed says:

      I agree that Dean seems reticent to really jump in sometimes. Prof Turley is a pleasure to listen to.

  11. sojourner says:

    We need to look on the bright side — at least that is what my mother always told me at times like this.

    Should this bill pass the Senate and get signed by the Preznit in Chief, why, there is no end to the mischief that we can enjoy. When we get hauled up before the local magistrate, all we have to do is cite some obscure opinion that was supposedly rendered that says it is okay if the Preznit says so, but that they cannot see due to “national security.” It will take that magistrate the rest of his life to figure out that it does not really exist or is a bunch of hoakum.

    In the meantime, we get all kinds of chuckles laughing at the havoc we cause and the fun we had…

  12. lukasiak says:

    somebody call me an abulance…

    I’m suffering from a schadenfreude overdose.

    You wanted the Magical Unity Pony? You got it!

    Of course, now that you understand that the “new politics” and ‘post-partisanship’ is really about creating a leadership vacuum, you’re all upset.

    Well, suck it up….and suck up the fact that you’re support for an empty suit means that IF WE’RE LUCKY, McCain wins in November — because at least that way the Dems will be able to hold onto congress and win the white house in 2012. If we’re UNLUCKY, Obama skates into the white house on antipathy toward Bush — and not only does the GOP take over Congress and the White House by 2012…the Democratic party is discredited for years and years to come.

    • ACitizen says:

      Exactly and that is the plan set out by Lieberman, Rove and the corporatists.

      If Barkey gets elected you can kiss the Democratic Party goodbye ’cause the Reich will finally have killed it.

      I’m ready for the Progressive Party myself.

      • Rayne says:

        Maybe you folks should get a move on, then.

        Because if it’s taken dedicated people who’ve spent 20-60 hours a week for the last 5 years to make this much change happen inside the ranks of the existing party — I’ll point to Donna Edwards and Darcy Burner as examples — then you are very, very much behind.

        Drop a note once in a while, let us know when you’ve garnered the support of a critical mass of voters that will break the corporatists’ back.

  13. lukasiak says:

    ’m giving Obama some leeway on this, because he’s the Presidential candidate. I’d do the same for HRC (or any other Dem), if the roles were reversed. Presidential candidates always have to campaign to the middle.

    THE MIDDLE is opposed to telecom immunity. This wasn’t about “running for president”, it was about the fact that the reason that slime like Pelosi and Reid were so eager to have Obama installed is that he promised them he wouldn’t try to tell them what to do.

    And, in not taking a leadership position on FISA, he’s fulfulling that promise.

    I mean, making this a campaign issue would be a brilliant move for Obama, because it would allow him to shed the elitist image, and talk like a populist — the old “giant corporattions aren’t above the law” schtick would work wonders for his image. But he’s NOT A LEADER.

    • BooRadley says:

      Paul, liberals need a big favor from HRC. Since Barack endorsed the blue dog Barrow in GA-12 against the liberal Regina Thomas. The primary is July 15. Can you use your contacts with HRC’s campaign to persuade her to get down to GA and help state Senator Thomas?

    • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

      Who ever imagined that the first day of summer 2008 would bring us a former WH spokesman showing some honesty and integrity about things that went badly wrong, while the Dem leadership caved to the very Preznit whose WH ‘can’t find’ 5,000,000 missing emails, invokes Exec Privilege to avoid Congressional subpoenas, and fires USAGs.

      Scott McClellan = homer out of the ballpark.
      Hoyer = I wouldn’t trust the guy to clean the toilets in upper decks of a ballpark.
      Ditto the rest of the Dem ‘leadership’.

      Truth: stranger than fiction.

  14. drational says:

    The Beauty of This Move is that unless they screw it up, the Dems will be sitting in the tinted windowed van outside our homes. Put the fear of god into the freeper jackoffs who neglected their goldwater inheritance to worship the bush.

    This shit is for 6 years, so listen to their squealey pig wah wah at the beginning of Obama’s second term when his DOJ is focused on white collar crime and tax evasion…..

    it won’t be justice but it will be funny.

  15. Neil says:

    The Lakers SUCK.

    I blame Bill Clinton’ penis for everything that’s happened since 2000. I call it the $600 billion dollar blow job and I think Gore has good reason to be pissed.

    Barack disappoints me.

    I go to Fenway when the Red Sox are NOT playing. I enjoy watching the grass grow. Somehow, it’s more interesting than baseball.

    Where’s freepatriot? I need the company of someone whose trash talking makes me laugh.

    Oh this isn’t the bitch fest thread? It’s the trash talk thread. Sorry.

    A good thing happened this week. I met a classmate of EW who’s an entrepreneur and capitalist, Jeff Glass, a interesting guy. Wondered if EW knows him.

    • PJEvans says:

      At least the guy in the next cube (who was running his mouth about the games) was missing today.
      He was missing Monday for jury duty (bitched and moaned Tuesday about how he couldn’t afford to take a week off; I can tell he’s never actually been stuck for more than a day, ’cause even before one day/one trial, the time was generally not consecutive days).
      Runs his mouth a lot on everything where he thinks his opinion should matter to us. Mostly doesn’t matter. Mostly he’s just making noise for the sake of noise, AFAICT. Not real bright, for all that he thinks he’s an expert.

  16. BooRadley says:

    FYI, 128 Democrats voted against the FISA abomination. 105 voted in favor.

    Here’s is the list of 128 Dems who voted against. I would invite everyone who has free long distance to call EACH of the 128. They are heroes and made the right vote today under difficult circumstances.

    Abercrombie, Allen, Andrews, Baldwin, Becerra, Blumenauer, Brady (PA), Braley (IA), Capps, Capuano, Carnahan, Carson, Clarke, Clay, Cohen, Conyers
    Costello, Courtney, Cummings, Davis (CA), Davis (IL), DeFazio, DeGette, Delahunt, DeLauro, Dingell, Doggett, Doyle, Edwards (MD), Ellison, Eshoo, Farr, Fattah, Filner, Foster, Frank (MA), Gonzalez, Grijalva, Hall (NY), Hare, Hill, Hinchey, Hirono, Hodes, Holt, Honda, Hooley, Inslee, Israel
    Jackson (IL), Jackson-Lee (TX), Jefferson, Johnson (GA), Johnson (IL)
    Johnson, E. B., Jones (OH), Kagen, Kaptur, Kennedy, Kilpatrick, Kucinich
    Larsen (WA), Larson (CT), Lee, Levin, Lewis (GA), Loebsack, Lofgren, Zoe
    Lynch, Maloney (NY), Markey, Matsui, McCollum (MN), McDermott, McGovern
    McNulty, Meek (FL), Michaud, Miller (NC), Miller, George, Mollohan
    Moore (WI), Moran (VA), Murphy (CT), Nadler, Napolitano, Neal (MA), Oberstar, Obey, Olver, Pallone, Pascrell, Pastor, Payne, Price (NC)
    Rangel, Rothman, Roybal-Allard, Ryan (OH), Sánchez, Linda T.
    Sanchez, Loretta, Sarbanes, Schakowsky, Schwartz, Scott (VA), Serrano
    Shea-Porter, Slaughter, Solis, Speier, Sutton, Thompson (CA), Tierney
    Towns, Tsongas, Udall (NM), Van Hollen, Velázquez, Walz (MN), Wasserman Schultz, Waters, Watson, Watt, Waxman, Weiner, Welch (VT), Wexler
    Woolsey, Wu

    • klynn says:

      Thanks for posting that. It’s important to show how active we are as voters by participating in the process of public praise and admonishment.

      A courteous and professionally stated thank you is important. I might add, it would be nice to have a link to sign a Thank you note to all of them. I think the nea votes just might be surprised at the number of appreciative voters.

  17. earlofhuntingdon says:

    The Democratic Leadersheep voted for power over accountability, even after seven years of the other party’s lawbreaking. Jack Balkin says that Obama supported this legislation because he’s the one who will use that power, even if the other guy broke the law to get it. Sounds plausible. He also calls this FISA legislation an “acceptable compromise”, “the best one can do under the situation.” I think he could not be more wrong.…..ut-he.html

    First, this is not a compromise. Even the GOP admits it got more than the President asked for. Second, NO legislation was needed at all. The few fixes that were actually useful could readily have been put off until the next Congress. If Bush refused, again, to accept a short term extension, if any were needed, then endangering the country to protect his and his corporate funders’ backsides would all be on his head, not the Democrats’.

    Most importantly, delaying this legislation could well have avoided granting blanket immunity to the administration and telcos. It would have avoided legitimizing and institutionalizing programs that almost certainly violate the law, but which Congress tells us the President hasn’t disclosed to it. It sets a terrible precedent for other Bush administration lawbreaking and for legislation in general. The entryway signs on all the government buildings in DC now say, No Dogs or Accountability Allowed.

    Having designated himself a Ring Bearer, Obama has done the impossible and reached the summit of Mt. Doom. Like many before him, he faltered. He chose not to toss the One Ring back into the fire. He’s sure that he’s the one who can use its powers for good. The Ring, and Mr. Cheney, are leering at his hubris.

  18. Drumman says:

    bmaz hopefully Lewis can keep his car under control this race so we can have all the point leaders finish the race and of course being A Kimi fan I would like to see him repeat last years victory

    • bmaz says:

      Okay. I am watching Dean right now. He’s high on something, and I want some. I really love Dean and his main points tonight are bunk. In addition to the above, he is saying that Obama has promised to pursue criminal prosecutions. He has done nothing of the sort. Obama has given a weak ass statement that he would look into all this after he was President. Um, after today do you believe that? Get real. Remember he said he was strongly against blah, blah, blah. Did you see his reply in Marcy’s last thread? Nuff said.

      • strider7 says:

        Accoording to the MCI atty ATT is still on the hook for fourth amend violations because of Mark Kleins’ disclosure.
        Marty goes into detail about it too.
        It’s better than a sharp stick in the eye!

      • PetePierce says:

        He didn’t say Obama promised anything. He raised the vacuous idea that since neither the House Bill nor the Senate Bill provided anything but civil immunity that in the future criminal prosecutions could somehow take place.

        A decerbrate lawyer could defend the Telcoms. It ain’t happening for the reasons you mentioned, because of State Secrets, and because of the insipidly stupid bill from attorneys on Hoyer’s and Rockerfeller’s staff.

        • bmaz says:

          That was my fault. Not sure how I did it now, but i remember tying a response to you on F1 and I reached for something – drink, remote, our dog, can’t remember. Thought i had posted the comment, and went on to the next one I was catching up on after having been away for the night. They got intermixed and no F1. Sorry about that.

          Here goes again. Agree that it would be good to see all contenders finishing the races, especially when the driver’s championship is so close. But it was good to see a historic backmarker (Sauber) make win a race; that is long overdue. And Kubica is a great driver. Magny Cours should be a good show.

          • Drumman says:

            Hey thats cool it just kind of thew me for a sec I like talking F1 not a lot of people here in Ann Arbor hip to it mostly nascar

  19. lukasiak says:

    Paul, liberals need a big favor from HRC. Since Barack endorsed the blue dog Barrow in GA-12 against the liberal Regina Thomas. The primary is July 15. Can you use your contacts with HRC’s campaign to persuade her to get down to GA and help state Senator Thomas?


    See, its all you Hillary-haters that need to go to Clinton and say “we’re sorry, we were a bunch of jackasses, and we really need your help now.”

    She needs to hear that from YOU, because she’s KNOWS WHAT KIND OF PEOPLE YOU ARE, and that YOU WILL STAB HER IN THE BACK THE FIRST CHANCE YOU GET.

    If I were her, I’d want to see you crawling on your hands and knees through broken glass before I did anything that you wanted — because right now she’s DOING WHAT YOU WANT, being a good little unity pony soldier — and she knows that you can’t be trusted.

  20. Hmmm says:

    I posted the following message at the Obama web site tonight.


    Please be informed that if Senator Obama persists in failing to stop the retroactive immunity provisions in the FISA bill in the Senate, your campaign will not be receiving any donations of money, energy, or ideas from me, from my domestic partner, from any of our Oakland CA neighbors, nor from any of our friends. In fact, about half of us are now seriously considering devoting our full energies to third-party candidates — just so we can live with a clear conscience.

    We have seen the Senator’s statement promising to repeal retroactive immunity after taking office, and frankly are not impressed. For one thing, if the Senator’s not willing and able to keep his oath to the Constitution and keep faith with the public now, why in the world should we trust him to do so after receiving all the corrupting influences that come along with the world’s most powerful office? For another thing, what if the Senator does not become President, what do you think a President McCain will do if this bad FISA revision becomes the law of the land? The promise to fix it later is, frankly, an empty promise.

    The time for leadership on retroactive immunity is now. Not next January. The Senator must know this.

    If the Obama ‘08 team had made a calculation that retroactive immunity is just a fringe issue with no ability to hurt Senator Obama’s Presidential prospects, well… better think again. You’re losing a lot of folks with this one.

    — Hmmm, Oakland CA.

    P.S. Senator Obama can have my money, mailing address, phone number, and other information, just as soon as he gives me my Constitution back, with the Fourth Amendment intact.

    • PJEvans says:

      Nice letter!

      I don’t know if I want to go third party, because I don’t want President McSame, but I think I’d be asking Obama’s campaign to fund gas masks (or oxygen supplies) for the rest of us.

  21. lukasiak says:

    Who ever imagined that the first day of summer 2008 would bring us a former WH spokesman showing some honesty and integrity about things that went badly wrong, while the Dem leadership caved to the very Preznit whose WH ‘can’t find’ 5,000,000 missing emails, invokes Exec Privilege to avoid Congressional subpoenas, and fires USAGs.

    while scotty McClellan was a pleasant suprise, no one should be the least but shocked that a Democratic Party leadership that decided that an empty suit was the best person to be the nominee of the party is giving us this FISA debacle.

    The fact that Barack Obama isn’t leading on this is a FEATURE, not a defect, as far as Pelosi, Reid, Rockefeller, Hoyer, et al are concerned. They don’t want a Democratic LEADER in the White House, because a LEADER means that they lose their own power.

    I mean, its not like we haven’t been hearing rumors about this for months — the same months that we sat back and watched as Clinton kicked Obama’s butt for the last three months, and the “party leaders” kept on greasing the skids for Obama. The people resonsible for the FISA debacle are the same people who made sure that Obama got the nomination….

    So, it comes as no surprise to me that this happened.

    • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

      I’m still surprised at the magnitude of the political miscalculation.

      On a cheering note, here’s an nice item for what might be termed “Civility Watch” — at Dan Abram’s MSNBC:…..3#25274602

      Abrams and Jonathon Alter call ‘bullshit’ on a radio host for taking single comments wildly out of context — it’s nice to see more people have the balls to face down the nutso behavior that takes single short comments completely out of context and waves them around like bloody shirts to incite a mob. As Alter points out, ‘it just degrades the whole [social environment]”. Enough, already!

      I wish the Dems were thinking as clearly as Abrams and Alter.
      Instead, the Dems have decided to cave to the likes of Bill O’Reilly, Rush Limbaugh, and their cadre of angry listeners who are always waiting for a bloody shirt to get upset over.

      Dems miscalculated hugely.

    • GregB says:

      Funny, Sen. Clinton didn’t charge into this breach and prove her leadership either.



      • PetePierce says:

        Clinton’s still on vacation except for asking Obama contributors to bail her campaign debts out so she doesn’t have to tap into her $100-$200 million derived from deals with Ron Burkle, and arms dealers/or dictators who swung deals for contributors to the Clinton foundation or library they are determined to keep secret.

  22. lukasiak says:

    I posted the following message at the Obama web site tonight.

    great idea. Now, you could stop by my house — I accidentally stepped on a tube of toothpaste, and you seem to think you know how to put it back into the tube….

    • Hmmm says:

      I hear ya. But the Senate part is still in the future. Fight on we must, else we deserve what we get.

      • cboldt says:

        Fight on we must, else we deserve what we get.

        Turn this on its head. The Senate conclusion is foregone. They expect signs of public displeasure — pressure — being relieved via angry calls, etc. “If they are calling, they think we matter.”

        What would they think if the calls suddenly stopped? Before they made the vote.

  23. cboldt says:

    Have you ever been subjected to the silent treatment? It’s unnerving. It puts you in the position of uncertainty.

    Congress probably BENEFITS from a low approval rating, in that it gets to hear WHY the public is pissed.

  24. cboldt says:

    with every respect: The work will never stop.

    I’m not advocating that the work stop. I’m just pondering the effect of massive public dialog, that EXCLUDES expressing the sentiment to Congress.

    • Hmmm says:

      It’s certainly an interesting idea. But it’s hard enough getting noticeable numbers of people to act at the same time; practically speaking, how would one get them to stop all at once? Also why would we think the D’s wouldn’t just treat silence as assent, as usual, especially since some other group will likely start squawking about something else at the same time?

      • cboldt says:

        practically speaking, how would one get them to stop all at once?

        I don’t think it’s possible,on short notice. And the idea may be worthless in practice for that reason. But in raw principle, if the public unified to give Congress “the silent treatment,” I think it would shock the shit out of them.

        • bmaz says:

          Silent treatment is a curiously interesting idea. silence as to both voice and money would be necessary though. Financial and sensory deprivation would spook the living bejeebies out of them if you could really make it sizable enough. I don’t know if it is possible, but i like it.

          • klynn says:

            It would give a new spin to declaring our independence as requested of me in an email from Obama…$$$ independence that is…

  25. cboldt says:

    And too – the thought is in the context where it’s clear Congress is determined to act, regardless of what the public “says.”

    IOW, I don’t advocate cutting Congress out on ALL questions. Although I am intrigued by the reaction that might flow from a public that completely “dummies up.”

    • darclay says:

      What about this, I know that this may hurt,cut to the (especially you sports fans) quick ,starting now, turnoff your TV no sports no movies,no meet the press.I’m not sure how they know what and when you view programs but I assume that it is by your cable box. What would that say to all the advertisers and to the Telecoms? Just read your bloggs watch dvd’s,read, play with your family.No e-mails to congress ignore all media outlets.

  26. cboldt says:

    I’m also thinking (WRT “the silent treatment”) that the compressed timeline of this FISA bill presents a unique opportunity to show contrast. The people are outspoken to the House, but ignore the Senate.

    • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

      …the compressed timeline of this FISA bill presents a unique opportunity to show contrast

      Yes, it reeks of dishonesty and deceptiveness.

  27. selise says:

    i posted this really long comment over at fdl, which i won’t be obnoxious enough to cross post here. but i’d love corrections etc.

    it’s an update from earlier comments today where i attempt to answer the question: how many (and which) democrats deserve our support?

    for the house, my tentative answer is 30.

    • BooRadley says:

      Thanks for the terrific work, I think it has real merit.

      FWIW, I don’t know of any Democrat who stood up and said, “the leadership primarily wants this legislation, because they don’t want their complicity with the Bush administration to see the light of day.” If you evaluate “our support” from that perspective, it’s all a “sham.”

      • PJEvans says:

        Well, it isn’t like we weren’t telling them about it.

        I know I’ve told my congresscritter, both my senators, and Gramma Nancy that, loudly, several times, and in plain English.
        I think my congresscritter generally gets it. My senators – maybe one of them; the other is a known DINO.

  28. cboldt says:

    The difficulty is in unifying the public. Political parties will game the action, and claim that lack of objection is the same as an expression of approval.

    But seriously, if the rate of calls is 1,000/week on average, and it drops to 10/week – while action outside of Congress INCREASES, well, if I was in Congress, it’d make me nervous. Silence is a danger signal. Complaints are a signal that negotiation is possible.

    • BooRadley says:

      I don’t think you appreciate your value in stopping the gaming that the pols have been doing. Instead of just being worried about what’s in the NYT’s, the WaPu, and their home state newspaper, their constitutents are getting much more reliable and highly specific information from segmenting sources.

      I’ll agree, it’s tough to measure the value of the calls and emails, but how much cash did Steny send to Al Wynn? I don’t remember, but it’s a sign of how much they are feeling the heat. It’s also obvious from the timing that Hoyer and company put a lot of thought into the timing of this latest abomination. They wouldn’t have done that if they weren’t feeling heat from their constituents.

      • cboldt says:

        I don’t think you appreciate your value in stopping the gaming that the pols have been doing.

        I very much respect the power of information, and the ability of informed criticism to cut bullshit off at the knees.

        My ultimate objective is to encourage others to use the media (blogs especially) for leads, not for facts or conclusions; and to distrust the government to the point of ridicule.

        But mostly, I comment to vent, and when I’m done with that, I quit.

        • PetePierce says:

          Cbolt –

          I want to double check this. Didn’t the Senate version of the FISA bill extend immunity from criminal prosecution.

          Isn’t their provision for revision of a final bill or does the senate now vote on this House passed bill since it’s the theoretical result of a compromise (which is in fact a capitulation)?

          • cboldt says:

            Didn’t the Senate version of the FISA bill extend immunity from criminal prosecution.

            IMO, no, it didn’t. It removed “cause of action,” which is code for removing the right to mount civil suits.

            Isn’t their provision for revision of a final bill or does the senate now vote on this House passed bill since it’s the theoretical result of a compromise (which is in fact a capitulation)?

            The usual “pattern” is that bills can bounce back and forth between the two bodies, until they agree. If the Senate doesn’t amend what the House passed, then both chambers have passed the same thing, and it can be sent to the WH for signature. If the Senate DOES amend the House bill, the House has to agree to the amendment; and if the the House monkeys withthe Senate amendment …. and so on, until both sides agree to the same language.

  29. cboldt says:

    Maybe a “Stop calling your Congressman” campaign, on the basis that it’s a waste of time and effort. Reinforce the low ratings. The time is really ripe for some radical deviation from the normal approach to the relationship between the people and Congress.

    • Loo Hoo. says:

      This silent treatment idea is intriguing…interested to see what the experts think. You are an expert, so your opinion is most valuable, plus it sounds fun.

      • cboldt says:

        Heh. Well, “Silent treatment” in general doesn’t (and never will) happen, because people think bitching helps, plus they feel better/vindicated/vented for doing it.

        As a matter of power politics, it doesn’t work because no side trusts the other, and both sides will ALWAYS attempt to mount or fake more visible support.

        But if the people of both parties combine and decide to reject Congress, the silent treatment would blow their little fricking minds. Self-important people LIVE on complaints and praise. If nobody showed up at their town halls, ralleys, etc., they’d be lost.

  30. cboldt says:

    repressive governments claim legitimacy from voter turnout percentages. What if voter turnout in the US was 5%? If there really isn’t spit for difference between the parties, that sort of (low turnout) event would rock some socks.

  31. GabrielOak says:

    I was watching C-Span this morning after the FISA vote, when they were taking calls from D’s, R’s, and I’s, and I was struck by how uniform WAS the condemnation of the FISA bill across the political spectrum. Only one out of about 12 callers (a Republicon, of course) voiced approval of the bill. Several Republican callers said that they had been gravitating toward the Democratic Party for a while but now they weren’t sure where to go. I imagine those who self-select by watching and calling C-Span may be highly unrepresentative of the population at large, but it was still a bit encouraging hearing the callers’ reactions.

    • cboldt says:

      I imagine those who self-select by watching and calling C-Span may be highly unrepresentative of the population at large

      Many of the callers lie about their political affiliation. I think it’s a mistake to take C-span callers as a representative cross section of public sentiment.

      Still, on the FISA issue, I agree that some of the callers were pissed GOP/conservatives, and that of interested observers, there is substantial alarm and anger.

      • GabrielOak says:

        I agree. What the callers had in common was that they were interested and for the most part, sounded very informed.

  32. yonodeler says:

    Someone could propose setting up a Here’s How We Think You’re Going to Vote and Why time capsule (web page or blog thread) to be loaded with comments prior to the Senate vote. I wouldn’t know how to administer such a project, though.

    • cboldt says:

      Someone could propose setting up a Here’s How We Think You’re Going to Vote and Why

      I try to avoid speculating as to motivation and “why” — the probability of guessing right is small, and there is ZERO probability of proof.

      But speculating which way the vote will go, and claiming that the result is foregone even if the margin is off by a few votes, goes a long way to justify giving Congress the silent treatment. Why bother talking to them if the result is the same regardless?

  33. cboldt says:

    On the silent treatment idea, I think it would be ESSENTIAL to provide substitute venues for venting. The public needs to have some form of assurance that it’s thoughts are being expressed, even when Congress is ignoring the public.

    I stopped communicating with Snowe after she excused the military on the Cole incident. I communicated my concerns before 9/11, and after 9/11 asked “NOW how do you justify half-assed vigilance?” She blamed the Navy.

  34. Ron1 says:

    Okay, so Steny and Harry and Nancy are trash. We 100% know that now.

    But how can we still win some sort of victory on this? Well, Conyers might be a tad bit pissed that he was totally caught out of the loop on this. It seems to me that pressing him might be our only recourse in the rest of this Congress. He can still hold hearings on this, right? We need to press him to subpoena that FISC rulings that started this whole mess. Why did the FISC rule that pure foreign-to-foreign taps required warrants? [My guess is — because the dragnet that was being used to tap those calls was also entrapping domestic-to-foreign or even purely domestic communications as well.] And subpoena the telecoms — they can’t claim executive privilege, and have them produce the magic permission slips that are going to be used to throw all the lawsuits out.

    Between Leahy and Conyers and Feingold and Dodd, maybe there are still people in our Congress with enough independence to get us some god-damned answers.

  35. balzar says:

    It would be nice if Mr Obama explained his position on this one. I too feel that the telecoms do not deserve immunity, Mr Obama feels differently and I will gladly listen to his reasons. The world is much more complex than the average american can comprehend and I am quite sure that he has reasons for his vote, now, lets hear them.

    • Hmmm says:

      See the previous thread for Obama’s position statement on this. And about 400 impassioned comments, many of them the products of quite bright minds.

  36. Synoia says:

    If this is chage one can believe in, than you dissapoint.

    I’m voing for Ralph Nader. He was correct. You a just but one head of the two headed corporate party.

    Fuck you and the horse you rode in on.

    • BooRadley says:

      You’re “cutting and running” on the Bill of Rights. You’re “cutting and running,” when conservatives and liberals are coming together on this fight.

      You’re abandoning the House Democrats who did make a courageous vote yesterday.

      FWIW, when someone in Congress flip flops, it’s because of pluralism in their own district on that issue. They have to “sell” to different constituencies. We as liberals only “make progress,” when we show them that we’re a growing constituency in their district.

      I certainly hope you intend to remain an active Democrat in state politics.

  37. cboldt says:

    Just to conclude – I feel an obligation to dump a bucket of water on my “silent treatment” idea. A significant number of people (sheep) are positively JAZZED by the leading celebrity-politicians.

    It’s no more possible to quell them than it is to cause an empty house at a Miley Cyrus concert.

    But in principle, the empty house is indeed unnerving.

  38. yonodeler says:

    Most Members of Congress want to see anecdotal evidence of actual harm caused by surveillance and information programs. Secrecy makes convincing evidence hard to come by.

  39. PetePierce says:

    It’s good to know that Jim Clyburn the highest ranking black member of the House has a Britney Spears level grasp of the FISA bill that the House passed and doesn’t even remotely d questions put to him based on Glenn Greenwald’s last three blogs, Feingold’s statement, or most importantly the limited lack of review of wiretapping or the components of it that the courts will now have or oversight will now have. Obama’s concept that IG’s will have control over iretap abuses is a ridiculous concept.

  40. PetePierce says:

    I rechecked and the Senate Bill does not povide criminal immunity nor does the House Bill, reasons that Bmaz has stated and also I believe documents that might be shown to a judge in camera while State Secrets are invoked (legislation to reform State Secrets hasn’t happened yet) make criminal prosecution to me remote.

  41. Loo Hoo. says:

    According to Attytood, this is what Obama said about going after criminals in the Bush administration.

    I’m not familiar with this site.

    Tonight I had an opportunity to ask Barack Obama a question that is on the minds of many Americans, yet rarely rises to the surface in the great ruckus of the 2008 presidential race — and that is whether an Obama administration would seek to prosecute officials of a former Bush administration on the revelations that they greenlighted torture, or for other potential crimes that took place in the White House.

    Obama said that as president he would indeed ask his new Attorney General and his deputies to “immediately review the information that’s already there” and determine if an inquiry is warranted — but he also tread carefully on the issue, in line with his reputation for seeking to bridge the partisan divide. He worried that such a probe could be spun as “a partisan witch hunt.” However, he said that equation changes if there was willful criminality, because “nobody is above the law.”

    • PetePierce says:

      I see nothing substantive here that specifies anyone will do anything or means anything at all in terms of a committment. If that’s what Obama has said it’s typical campaign fluff tantamount to saying ” plan to be a decent American and have a DOJ that will review issues.

  42. strider7 says:

    by digby

    I’m getting some questions about why the blogosphere is so obsessed with FISA and the civil liberties stuff when it’s clear that both sides are equally corrupt. Evidently, it’s a silly waste of time to even think you can change anything until the whole edifice of our political system is reduced to rubble and we can begin anew. Viva la revolucion.

    Here on planet earth, the civil liberties issues, along with torture and Guantanamo and the entire GWOT legal regime is a central concern because I have watched a very ruthless and cynical right wing show themselves to be bent on rebuilding the police state of J. Edgar Hoover and the imperial presidency of Richard Nixon. I don’t think it’s a good idea. It’s not that I don’t realize that the Democrats have an equally awful history or think they are the exemplars of all that is true and good, it’s just that in recent years the Republicans have shown they have a real fetish for undemocratic authoritarianism, and in a complicated system, you have to focus on those who are creating the most obvious and immediate threats.

    Democrats have certainly enabled them over the years and will likely continue to. They are politicians, after all, not comic book superheroes. But there should be no doubt to anyone who isn’t wrapped up in immature freshman dorm cynicism, that there is a distinct difference between those who believe in the concept of an imperial presidency and those who are simply weak and corrupt. They both undermine freedom, but the first is many orders of magnitude worse than the second.

    Perhaps that’s not much to work with, but it’s all we’ve got and in the end there will be no one around to acknowledge the intellectual superiority of those who sat on the sidelines, starry eyed and impotent, railing about third parties and revolution, while the world went to hell. (See: Communist Party, Germany, 1932) But hey, everybody has a right to their own kind of therapy and ineffectual whining is as legitimate as anything else. Whatever gets you through the night.

    • selise says:

      i love digby. no one better than her when it comes to analysis of the Rs. but, imo, she absolutely sucks when it comes to the Ds.

      i think she is completely wrong. one can see that the Ds are far more than enablers in this disaster – and still see that there are a ton of things that need doing, that not every D is complicit (even if most are). equating seeing what is in front of our noses with sitting on the sidelines is – imnho – total bullshit.

      even if a person thinks it’s best to give up on the dems – that is not necessarily sitting on the sidelines. there are a ton of non-electoral politics type work that can be done. and it’s all important.

      if she would argue against defeatism instead of defending the dems, i’d be cheering. but she’s not.

      • PJEvans says:

        That wasn’t the full post.
        She ain’t happy either, but I wouldn’t say she’s any more defeatist than the rest of us. It’s more like, take a nap, so we can come back and do this thing one more time, and one more time, and one more f*cking time (because the politicians won’t learn from this; we really don’t have enough money to get their attention for any length of time, and they don’t see large groups as ‘real’ unless they have pitchforks-and-torches or buckets of cash).

        • selise says:

          i didn’t mean to imply that she was defeatist – not at all. only that she has a blind spot that there are lots of non-electoral ways to work an issue, and so sometimes she confuses giving up on the dems (or even certain dems) as either defeatist or worse, when it is nothing more than a tactical shift.

          imo, we are unified in purpose far more often than we are unified in tactics – and that’s a good thing.

          • PJEvans says:

            I think it’s aftereffects of trying so hard to get through and having them not hearing us again. (This sort of thing is hell if you have a tendency to depression.) I just put this up elsewhere:

            I don’t want to vote third-party, because I see that as likely to get us McCain (a conclusion worth avoiding). But I’m not going to volunteer or donate money to someone who can’t [edit: or won’t] speak out from a position of power when it would actually do some good. Waiting until it’s all over and then saying ‘oh, gee, this is bad’ – f* you, you had your chance.

            • selise says:

              good point, could be. could also, for some, be the beginning of working for a third party or even mostly ignoring electoral politics and focusing instead on non-electoral politics (the kind of thing the anti-corporate globalization activists have been doing for years).

                • PJEvans says:

                  Don’t confuse voting methods with parties. We’d still have the same problems. I have experience with instant-runoff, and so do some of the other people around here. It doesn’t solve the real problems we have.

                  You’ll still have people complaining about the results; the big advantages are that it’s damned hard to predict the winner if the voting isn’t way lopsided, and it’s harder to stuff the ballot box. (Check the Hugo Award results to see what it looks like in practice. I think some of them are available online, otherwise you’ll have to wait till about Labor Day.)

                • selise says:

                  i’m not advocating for a third party – but i am acknowledging that people who work in that area are not defeatists sitting on the sidelines. furthermore, in many areas of the country third parties are viable at the local level.

              • PJEvans says:

                I just had suggested, at elsewhere, that we start a fund with the donations we would have given him, to be used for something (I think better Dems is a good goal) with the other intention of showing how much he’s lost by caving on FISA. I suppose it could be done through ActBlue and BlueAmerica, with snailmail for those who don’t use the tubes.

      • BooRadley says:

        even if a person thinks it’s best to give up on the dems – that is not necessarily sitting on the sidelines. there are a ton of non-electoral politics type work that can be done. and it’s all important.

        I have great respect for the work you do, but respectfully, I don’t know what you’re talking about here.

        This was essentially the split between Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. Dubois. Former Confederates were afraid of Dubois “agitating” for the vote. So they turned to Booker T. Washington and promised him money for separate Negro colleges, IF he would promise not to agitate for the vote. Dubois had to flee to France to avoid being lynched when Booker made that “deal with the devil.”

        The politicization of the DOJ confirms imho that there is no real authority outside of electoral authority.

        Outside of the Democratic party, liberals will be early targets of “bi-partisan” enforcement of enhanced, warrantless federal surveillance.

        • selise says:

          The politicization of the DOJ confirms imho that there is no real authority outside of electoral authority.

          ok, call me naive. but how about people power? for example, passage of the FTAA was blocked and it didn’t take electoral politics to do it (at least not here).

          Outside of the Democratic party, liberals will be early targets of “bi-partisan” enforcement of enhanced, warrantless federal surveillance.

          why wouldn’t those inside also be targets – maybe even more so? i don’t see the difference (inside the party vs outside the party). isn’t it really about who continues to agitate for fundamental change (vs allowing oneself to be bought off) and not whether that agitation occurs as dissent from within the party or outside the party?

          i’m advocating for a diversity of tactics – but not allowing oneself to be silenced. that’s not an activist tactic, that’s capitulation.

          gotta run, but if you want explain further why i’m full of it – i’ll be back later to read. thanks.

          • BooRadley says:

            why wouldn’t those inside also be targets – maybe even more so?

            FTAA, had to google that. I thought the Federal Trade Commission and the three branches controlled all trade? It sounds like you have facts that I don’t. Please share.

            A Democratic president will have a difficult time explaining to other Democrats why he surveilled on fellow Democrats.

            Obviously in the long term, I’d like to move beyond that answer, but in the short term, it’s the best I can come up with.

  43. cboldt says:

    Another comment on the possibility of criminal action – criminal action can’t be brought by a private party, so the fact that the criminal penalty is in the statute is mostly a curiosity.

    And probably, if the government brought a criminal charge against itself, Congress would pass a one-shot statutory immunity, because the criminal violation was lawful.

  44. Hmmm says:

    Not so sure R vs. D is the best way to view what happened. DrDick spake thus on the FDL Late thread:

    As David Sirota and others have said the real division is between the money party and the people party. The money party has all the Republicans and a lot of the Democrats. The people party only has some of the Democrats. We need to elect more people party candidates and fewer money party people (corporatists).

    I think that gets it.

  45. JThomason says:

    So the Cypriots understood the mystery of the God of the Year by describing him as amphidexios, which includes the sense of ‘ambidextrous’, ‘ambiguous’, and ‘ambivalent’, and putting a weapon in each of his hands. He is himself and his other self at the same time, king and supplanter, victim and murderer, poet and satirist–and his right hand does not know what is left hand does.

    Robert Graves, The White Goddess, p. 446.

  46. timbo says:

    If power is based on principles, what principles are they based on? That’s my question for Mr. Obama. Because it would seem that the Congress is attempting to sell out the Bill of Rights to telcos and abusers of the law and our Constitution. It seems that it is, indeed, just “a piece of paper” that the President can ignore with almost complete impunity…as long as those abuses remain hidden from all but the few who get to benefit or suffer by those abuses. At some point, the abuses will grow, have grown, and they continue to this day because…little is done to punish those who have committed those abuses, either politically, and especially legally.

    In fact, the abuse has gotten so bad that some loyal Americans and supporters of the U.S. Constitution are left with the helpless and crazy opinion that other countries will have to sort out our politics for us…and some of us, at this point, even advocate for that; for foreign countries to enforce their human rights, and other treaty and legal obligations against our own citizens so that justice and human dignity will be served well.

    It is, indeed, a sad and dangerous time that has fallen upon us, the American people, because of the arrogance and power that has been wielded with little restrain, nor concern, for our own well-being. As long as Bush and his coterie are happy, what happens to us appears to be of little importance.

    • bmaz says:

      Timbo – Very elegantly said. And those are excellent thoughts, and excellent ways to generally phrase the frustration that a lot of us feel.

  47. ralphbon says:

    Not that we’re experiencing a shortage of reasons to be pissed, but the New York Times has ZERO mention of the FISA vote on its front page this morning.

    • Minnesotachuck says:

      The Strib (Star-Tribune) here in the Twin Cities has an AP story three clicks in from the home page, in the Politics section. I’ve long since given up wasting hard-earned cash on the dead tree version.

  48. skdadl says:

    The Guardian has a fairly efficient summary:

    Nevertheless, despite these welcome improvements, the bill fails at the most fundamental level to restore the independent judicial check on executive power that the Bush administration has done so much to undermine. Now, instead of determining whether probable cause exists for the issuance of a surveillance order, the Fisa court will be reduced to reviewing the adequacy of the surveillance procedures established by the Bush administration. Instead of evaluating the sufficiency of the assurances that were given to telecommunications companies to obtain their cooperation, the federal district courts in which the lawsuits against the companies have been filed will be authorised to do little more than determine whether such assurances were in fact provided.

    • Minnesotachuck says:

      Good job, Prof! I’m sure BO’s busy staff will appreciate your time-saving efforts.

    • rxbusa says:

      just read your blog. Yeah, you’d think the Dems would figure out that the reason people don’t trust them on national security is because they are such chickenshits and don’t put back on stupid ideas and always cave to bullies. one logic step too far, though, I guess. Sigh

      • Professor Foland says:

        Actually, I’m not trying this “if they won’t stand up to the GOP, why will they stand up to al-qaeda?” BS line. Because I know the answer to that: al-qaeda is not a swing-vote constituency. The Dems have shown they have plenty of backbone for standing up to non-swing constituencies.

        I’m trying to point out that as a strategy, their electoral thinking has the potential to lead to a very bad place.

  49. nomolos says:

    Fuck obama and his corporate bosses. I will write in Chavez’ name on the goddamn ballot.

    Yep the celtics won but it is still not the REAL basketball once played by teams such as the celtics, philly and the bullets. Massa will no doubt be dominant at Magny cours. Can’t watch baseball since the bloody strike.

    Gorgeous day here, can’t wait to get outside and tend my garden.

  50. rxbusa says:

    yup. I didn’t mean that either…just getting disgusted at the slimy maneuvering when I think they have a strong case to win on principle if they ever thought to try it. And the law of unintended consequences possibilities on the FISA bill are scary.

  51. masaccio says:

    Totally OT (but this is a trash talk thread.)

    Reporting from Beijing. We flew in from Xi’an this afternoon, after a morning at the Forest of Stone Tablets (石片剂森林), according to Babelfish. The Chinese make it happen with two characters, but I can’t retrieve them from the camera right now. It was my introduction to the beauty of this kind of work. The main attraction is the works of Confucius, carved into stone tablets, so people could check their copies against the original. We also saw the guys making rubbings from stone.

    Xi’an was polluted, but so is Beijing. There was not a cloud in the sky as we flew, but the land was totally hazy and the sun is barely visible through the crap. Heaven knows how the triathletes are going to handle this stuff. Our new guide is convinced that the measures they are taking will help, but I am dubious.

    This is an enormous city. It doesn’t seem all that densely populated, as the large apartment buildings and blocks of buildings are spread out pretty well, at least on the road from the airport to our hotel, which has a view of the Forbidden City out the window. It is lit at night, as is the large pagoda that stands at its foot.

    We wandered out for dinner, and ate at a nice neighborhood joint. We were not the only white people, there was a father and daughter from New Zealand, who had flown to Moscow, and taken the train to Beijing: two weeks, including some time in Ulan Bator and a couple of other exotic places. I thought I was pretty adventurous coming to China….

    This hotel has all of the CCTV channels and a bunch of other Chinese channels, which are an absolute stitch to watch. They range from talking heads to guys selling heaven knows what at the top of their lungs, to historical dramas and soaps. We do have the BBC, so I know the answer to the real sports question of the day: Turkey in a very close match over Croatia, will face Germany. Top that bmaz.

  52. wigwam says:

    Under this compromise legislation, an important tool in the fight against terrorism will continue, but he President’s illegal program of warrantless surveillance will be over.

    Exactly which “important tool” would that be? And, Bush’s “illegal program” will be over in the sense that it will now be legal.

    Which of Obama’s staffers made this call?

  53. WilliamOckham says:

    If I might be permitted a bit of an “I told you so” (not about Obama or the craven Dems, but on a technical point), David Kris, semi-honest administration apologist admits to something I’ve trying to point out for some time now:

    That is, FISA does regulate surveillance of international wire or cable communications, to or from the United States, when conducted inside this country. As long as no particular American in the U.S. is being targeted, however, FISA does not regulate surveillance of those same communications, on those same wires or cables, when conducted on a portion of the wire or cable located outside this country. Today, it appears, the government wants or needs to conduct such surveillance inside the United States, probably because it needs the assistance of the telecommunications providers and their equipment. Bringing the surveillance into this country, however, also brings it under FISA. One of the key issues in the debate about FISA modernization is whether that change in the location of the surveillance should continue to trigger the statute’s application.

    He’s using the ‘targeting’ dodge, but he’s admitting that surveillance conducted inside in the U.S. was always covered under FISA (even foreign to foreign if you think about it for a moment).

    • yonodeler says:

      Also from the linked David Kris post at Balkinization:

      Fundamentally, this is what I think is at stake in the debate about FISA modernization: whether and to what extent the government will be subject to FISA’s individualized warrant requirement, rather than a vacuum-cleaner regime, for its foreign intelligence surveillance. The debate concerns not only the substantive standards for surveillance, but also the question of who applies those standards, in what manner, at what time, and subject to what minimization requirements.

      I’m not yet certain what the current legislation changes as to the individualized warrant requirement. (I read a news report excerpt earlier that stated that the requirement will be replaced by another mechanism.) Looking at the bill plus some analysis might help me.

      • yonodeler says:

        Marty Lederman’s What the FISA Debate is Not About helps.

        Referring to a NYTimes piece, Lederman states,

        “…the Times story suggests that ‘a return to the older surveillance rules’ would ‘requir[e] individualized warrants for all wiretaps.’ That’s simple not the case. FISA has never required individualized warrants or court orders for all wiretaps.

        I have to learn in little increments, with refreshers often needed.

      • wigwam says:

        I’m pretty sure that they have the ability to record every signal they can get their hands on and to keep those recordings around in perpetuity. The idea would be that when someone comes under suspicion, they can go back and see with whom he/she has been conversing and, “if necessary,” what the have been conversing about. That way they can quickly rule people in or out of suspicion, which from an investigator’s perspective is great, but from a civil-liberties perspective it’s god awful. IMHO, that’s the sort of thing this is about, and that’s what Obama was talking about when he wrote:

        Under this compromise legislation, an important tool in the fight against terrorism will continue, …

        • Synoia says:

          The Telcos already keep the records of who called who for ever.

          Best solution? Skype, Encrypted, uses names, no phone numbers. This & TOR.

  54. perris says:

    obama has proven to me that he will cave, he will not be a progressive, he will pay us lip service

    while I will still vote for the least worst, before this I was voting for someone I believed had the chance to be great

  55. wigwam says:

    Per the ever-insightful Digby:

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

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

    That doesn’t make me feel any better toward Obama, but it does remove a little of the WTF frustration.

    • PJEvans says:

      I heard it was because he ‘owes’ some of the leadership and won’t go against them.
      He can say ‘this is a bad bill, it bas provisions that are unconstitutional’ and encourage people to vote no because of that. I’m not hearing him do that.
      He ought to know better, he knows what this is doing to the Constitution, he knows that it’s godawful, and he’s still trying to put lipstick on it.
      F*ck him and the donkey he rode in on.
      I want BETTER Ds, not just more of the same wimpy ones we already have.

  56. Mary says:

    141 – That right on FISA covering it, even the foreign to foreign (whether it could, Constitutionally, or not is another matter, but it did) FISA, though, itself did a carve out for foreign to foreign voice communications, even if that took place in the US. This is where the email issue has becomea big deal. Awhile back, Lederaman did a piece on that and there was an ABA luncheon with Wainstein, Baker, Martin and Kris asking some questions from the audience that really, imo, helped nail down the gap issue to US email, especially to the extent that it is difficult to determine where someone is when they are picking up the emails and if an email address in a hard drive is or is not one for a US citizen, if they want to hop on things.

    What the discussions on arguments on the gaps did not do, however, was make any attempt to claim that ‘teh program’ was limited to only addressing the email issue or, as Feingold has pointed up so often and so plainly, whether information wrongfully seized and searched is forthwith destroyed.

    Olberman and Dean barely touched on something that I thought would get more attention. As has often happened when Patriot Act and FISA issues are brought up, some secret threat is briefed to Congress and they all decide that they don’t want to be on record voting against a surveillance state right before a huge terrorist incident. IMO, that’s part of what happened with this one too.

    ABC has carried this as an “exclusive” but it is really something that has just been a matter of timing.…..038;page=1

    Intelligence agencies in the United States and Canada are warning of mounting signs that Hezbollah, backed by Iran, is poised to mount a terror attack against “Jewish targets” somewhere outside the Middle East.

    “They want to kill as many people as they can, they want it to be a big splash,” said former CIA intelligence officer Bob Baer, who says he met with Hezbollah leaders in Beirut last month.

    I don’t think this is any “new” news. Ever since the killing of Mugniyah it has been a matter of when and how, not if, Hezbollah would respond and they have often been cited by others (as well as Baer in the linked piece) as being the “A-Team” of murders and terrorists. And if anyone wasn’t paying attention at the time of the assassinatin of Mugniyah in Lebanon – I don’t think you could have done anything that would have been a more specific invitation for a terrorist attack in retaliation. To top it off with Rice’s mouthpiece, Sean McCormack, going around doing a very public happy dance and praising assassination, I don’t think you could have had the US more openly poking Hezbollah in the eye. I don’t really recall any other major nation having their State Dept issue public “yeah buddy” statements. I’m sure many thought it, but in some countries they don’t actually make a point of trying to provoke retaliation on their civilian population. Go figure.

    In any event, I think they’ve got them all primed for the “there’s going to be a big one and do you want to be the one that voted against letting us wiretap terrorists” schmuck.

    On Obama and voting towards the center, I don’t really think that’s what they do. What they do is to take the base for granted and act to pick up those who are not in the base. So if you want to have any negotiating power, you have to be something other than the base. You have to be the votes that they have to work to capture, not the givens. And that means being willing to not be captured if they aren’t going to come through, IMO. Which means you have to be committed to the long haul, not the short run. All jmo, fwiw.

  57. pmorlan says:

    Having designated himself a Ring Bearer, Obama has done the impossible and reached the summit of Mt. Doom. Like many before him, he faltered. He chose not to toss the One Ring back into the fire. He’s sure that he’s the one who can use its powers for good. The Ring, and Mr. Cheney, are leering at his hubris. – earlofhuntingdon

    I love the way you used the Lord of the Rings as a metaphor so much that I just have to repeat my praise! Thanks for making me smile – something I haven’t done much since yesterday.

  58. JohnLopresti says:

    I think there is a realignment of 4th amendment’s privacy protections in a time when stateless actors access emf spectra for conspiratorial and organizational connectivity. Additionally, the internet has added a new instantaneous ubiquity, reducing cost of antiquated modalities like fax. The Moore’s* law factor has forced institutional law to accelerate in adaptiveness. I am glad the discussion continues on the ungainliness which is the latest neoFisa construct. Yet, there are other things Bush has done which have been worse. Glenn Fine wrote about one in the 438pp study published in May 2008. Commandeering and waylaying exercises in miscreancy have been stock in trade for malcontents for ages, but communications have added a new dimension to deployment of such strategies, and some Fisa morphing is a good first response. I continue to have hope our layered form of government will adjust. And the selfsame public communications modes are at our disposal, as well. It was nice to read selise’s allusion to some of that; and re: the fdl grid of votes, I observed two local reps, one a known sort-of-liberal in the whitehat column at the fdl list, but there is another list in the current thread at ewBmazFdl that contains a local cherished blueDog who voted against the giveawayFisa yesterday, so, selise, see if there is some concordance of your first elaborate grid possible with the current thread’s list @32. The blueDog to whom I refer is also active in reparations for the Klamath fish kill incident, that being an enduring local issue, and one which had involved me in some respect for a full decade prior to actual hatching of the vote-headline-garnering the Cheney-Rove plot itself in 2002; the regional disaster that plot precipitated lasted for several reproductive cycles, and magnified several regional abuses of resources, so the BlueDog’s website has blended the events instead of highlighting what the Cheney-Rove Klamath boondoggle caused in this cite from BlueDogDistrict1’s website: “[blueDog]recently secured $170 million in relief for California, Oregon and Washington salmon fishermen and related businesses affected by the Pacific salmon fisheries disaster.” Politics of attribution.

    *The 18-month cyclical doubling of chip capability; i.e., your new computer is twice as good as the one you might have bought 1-1/2 years ago.

    • selise says:

      re: the fdl grid of votes, I observed two local reps, one a known sort-of-liberal in the whitehat column at the fdl list, but there is another list in the current thread at ewBmazFdl that contains a local cherished blueDog who voted against the giveawayFisa yesterday, so, selise, see if there is some concordance of your first elaborate grid possible with the current thread’s list @32.

      the list i posted does include the vote friday on fisa. the problem with looking at only that vote is that there is no way to tell which dems voted against it as cya (knowing it would safely pass) and which dems really opposed it and would do so even against the demands of their leadership. certainly rush holt falls into the latter category – did you hear his statement from the house floor on friday? i think it was pretty clear that his own committee chair (reyes) had denied him the opportunity to speak and it was only because conyers gave him 60 sec that he was allow to speak at all.

      but what about the other dems? how to tell if they have some real commitment / conviction? i used the feb PAA extension vote as an imperfect proxy. if you have a better one, i’d love to hear about it.

      but this analysis is only about fisa – as for the environmental issue you describe – that is one the major difficulties we face in a complex society. many issues are important to us and no politician is going to agree with us on all of them. as for how to prioritize the issues that are most important to you and how to use that info in choosing which politicians you will support, i’m sorry – i have no insight on that one, other than we, each of us, will have different answers and that is ok.

  59. Minnesotachuck says:

    Marcy has been uncharacteristically, totally absent on this thread so far. What’s she up to? Is she taking a well-deserved break? Walking around the block breathing deeply to deal with the anger we all feel? Or combing through the fine print of the front end of the FISA bill to learn just exactly how the authoritarians and their collaborating donkeys intend to screw over American citizens?

    As Admiral Nimitz radioed to Admiral Halsey during the Battle of Leyte Gulf, Where the hell are you? “The world wonders?”

  60. pmorlan says:

    Is it just me or does this HuffPo story give you guys the creeps too?

    Obama Unveils Presidential Looking-Seal…..08410.html

    This was the comment I posted on the story:

    My first impression when I saw this new symbol was not a good one. It immediately brought to mind some pretty scary times in the past when others created and used similiar symbols to reinforce an allegiance to a particular leader and Party. I hope that it’s just a innocent, dumb campaign idea but combined with Obama’s FISA statement it’s something that gets my “do I really know enough about Obama” radar going crazy.

  61. JThomason says:

    Dragon Fire Leaves Constitution in Ashes
    The ribs at the Hunan Palace were particularly good last night and there was a bubbly salsa DJ scene at the El Monte Sagrado. Folks out by the fire pit chattered until 3:00 AM and the moon and clouds portrayed a eerie fan dance upon high. So the 2008 Summer Solstice has come and gone with the Constitutional fire wall guaranteeing privacy gutted by a fearful, greedy Congress that has cynically exploited the publics Constitutional hopes and opposition to the war to finally align with the rogue war dictator against their constituents. And who fiddled as the Constitution burned? Testifying in the House Judiciary Committee Scott McClellan confirmed what most of us already knew: that Bush’s political strategy was a fig leaf of blatant Rovian lies including the strident fearful propaganda leading up the Iraq invasion. But in expanding FISA and excusing the President’s lawlessness Congress has collectively turned and hollered over their shoulders “so what?” Most of the folks at the Hunan Palace and dancing at the El Monte were oblivious that the legislative imprimatur was yesterday given to the spawning dragon seed of the Executive Branch beast now genetically aligned with craven multi-tentacled organism of the societe anonyme. Back in the day this alignment of government with corporate interest through the theater of violent coercion was commonly called “fascism.” But see how temporary even our clearest understandings can be. This dragon hatching was attentively coddled in the name of “freedom.”

    –Tazor Raoule

  62. Hugh says:

    Congress has an approval rating of 12% lower even than Bush and Cheney. Now to anyone slightly smarter than pond slime this would be an indication that whatever Congress is doing it should be doing something else. But as the House FISA vote showed yesterday, to pols like Hoyer and Pelosi, it means doing more of the same, i.e. giving the worst and most deeply unpopular President everything he wants and more, including covering up for his illegal programs (warrantless wiretapping, supporting his disasters (Iraq), and, of course, promising him that they will never hold him accountable for anything he has done.

    The truth is that Pelosi and Hoyer are part of the Bush Administration. They think like it, they act like it, they believe in what it believes in, they even have the same contempt for ordinary Americans that it has. The last 7 years could not have happened without them. The reason that the Democrats never mounted any serious opposition to Bush is because they were not opposed to what he was doing. Now some of you may point out that were some Senators like Feingold, Dodd, Kerry, and Kennedy who did oppose Bush. To you I would say show me where they opposed anything except here and there and once in a while for short periods. Harry Reid once said that a single Senator could bring the Senate to a halt if he or she wanted to. But this never happened because no one in Congress really cared enough to make it happen.

    Looking back over my scandals list, it strikes me that it is not just about what Bush, Cheney, and the Republicans did, but what the Democrats did not do, and what the media made light of or did not report at all.

    All of these groups fundamentally don’t understand the blogosphere. They think that we are not paying attention, that we will not understand what they are doing, that we will not remember, ultimately that we do not count. And they think all these things at the same time that the mainstream media has been discredited, the President has a JAR of 24% and the Congress has a 12% approval rating. A democracy can not function under such conditions. More importantly neither can our society.

    • BooRadley says:

      To you I would say show me where they opposed anything except here and there and once in a while for short periods.

      Completely agree. Dodd, Kerry, and Feingold take turns. It’s the only way they know to survive politically.

      It’s a very accurate reflection of the amount of support they thought they had from the electorate on these issues.

      Limousine liberals (let’s call a spade a spade, that’s what we are) haven’t been a big voting block in past elections.

      A democracy can not function under such conditions.

      It’s a republic, not a democracy. It survived stealing this country from the native American tribes. It survived enslaving Africans. It survived keeping the vote away from one gender.

      More importantly neither can our society.

      Your words could be construed as an invitation to insurrection. We can’t get liberals to visit their leaders offices in person. We can’t get liberals to leave the comfort of their own homes to march against the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan.

      • Hugh says:

        Your words could be construed as an invitation to insurrection.

        It is more the simple acknowledgement that governments fail, states fail, and societies fail. There is nothing special about ours that says it will continue no matter how stupidly we and our leaders act. What I am saying is that when almost no one believes the government or the media then you are in a situation ripe for failure. When I add in the unaddressed issues of global warming, expanding world population, and decreasing resources: oil, water, grains, basic materials, then that likelihood increases.

        • BooRadley says:

          Sounds like you’ve read Robert Heilbroner’s An Inquiry into the Human Prospect,, an excellent work.

  63. kspena says:

    IANAL and not an IT, but I am wondering that if we are over the edge in terms of having our communication ‘captured’, is there a possibility that

    1) we could enact legislation that would require full disclosure of exactly what information the govt holds on each person, similar to a credit report


    2) we could have the tech ability to access from our phone or computer the resting locations of each of our pieces of communication. I’m thinking of the military’s ability to locate the precise location of the site of an incoming rocket so return fire can be immediate. If the govt has a path to take our info, could we do the reverse and determine where it went?

    • JThomason says:

      This to me seems to be the kind of thinking that is ultimately going to be the most constructive. I had dinner with a friend last night who just converted an old Mercedes 240 diesel to run on discarded vegetable oil (which of course is free) and which sells new at the grocery store for $9 a gallon, through restaurant supply at $2.40 a gallon and in bulk amounts of 500 gallons at $1.20 a gallon. He and a friend are experimenting with electrical coils to isolate hydrogen and blending this with gasoline in internal combustion engines with little modification. They already have done successful experiments and report that truckers have been doing this since the ’70s. I talked to him about the FISA amendment, he clearly go it, and his comment was that the government seemed to be spinning out control and so its stability was questionable. For him it was an exciting time because motives to find alternatives is so highly piqued. And you seem to be thinking in the same way. Its a new age.

      • BooRadley says:

        He and a friend are experimenting with electrical coils to isolate hydrogen and blending this with gasoline in internal combustion engines with little modification.

        FWIW, imho, one of the limitations of this technology is that first you have to isolate the hydrogen. Again, imho, that’s an area of renewable energy where turbines powered by wind and water really show up big. They can isolate hydrogen from the air. That could make large tracts of government property, revenue producing. It also decentralizes the power grid along with making it more redundant. Finally, it can get power generation closer to the people who use it. Tremendous amounts of power are lost by transmitting electricity over distance.

        I’ll gladly defer to others who know more, but the possibilities are very intriguing.

        • JThomason says:

          They are isolating the hydrogen in a garage with an electrical coil. There is a bit more to it I am sure but it is home a garage operation.

          • ACitizen says:

            Do not need this bs….

            We have, should we choose to build it: The Solar Grand Plan


            Somebody already has it under construction

            Honestly, try and get out a little more. Barkey is 90% distraction. He’ll most likely lose to McSame but even if he doesn’t he’s not going to be doing anything productive as POTUS…just lining his ‘friends’ pockets.

            OT: CheetoLand is melting…the Orange Cheese called for every Dem who voted for the FISA ‘compromise’ to be primaried! What a total fool that little punk turned out to be.

          • PJEvans says:

            H2 is extremely difficult to handle safely. Goes blooey really well. Goes physically through just about anything really well, because it’s so small.

            I hope they have a clue what they’re doing. It is so not safe. (Read about NASA and LH2 and LOX sometime. They blew up a lot of rocket motors – and not a few rockets – learning how to handle that stuff safely.)

            • JThomason says:

              Its a good point. I remember the Hindenburg. At least I saw the pictures. These are people that live in “The Greater World” the off the solar “earthship” off the grid community out by the Rio Grande gorge northwest of Taos. I am sure they know of the dangers. As a matter of fact I was considering doing a post on the dangers of handling hydrogen on another site this morning. As much as I might be prone to be officious my warnings would not stop them. It nevertheless intrigues me.

              Another idea that has gotten my attention is word of the Japanese project around a vehicle that gets 120 miles on a tank of air pressure.

            • BooRadley says:

              Unlike gasoline, H floats. In relatively small amounts, I think it’s a good deal less flammable than gasoline.

              I think a bigger concern wrt replacing gasoline in the internal combustion engine is the pressure you have to keep H under. It takes a big-ass steel cannister.

              Another issue I think is Argon. I’m not sure how plentiful or safe it is. I think it’s needed as a catalyst?

              • PJEvans says:

                Argon’s inert. Won’t burn, won’t do anything but be there. You also can’t breathe it.

                Hydrogen is flammable (Hindenburg, yes?) and because the molecules are so small, it can go through metal. Also through any gap in the container. It’s seriously hard to handle. It likes just about everything it comes in contact with, too. As a gas, it’s easier to deal with than as a liquid (for one thing, you don’t need a lot of insulation and cooling equipment), but it still wants to go bang.

  64. bmaz says:

    Hey you hydrogen heads, that is some cool stuff, but it is going to take some wildcatters like that to get it done, because big oil and big energy, and quite frankly therefore probably the government , are not interested in getting this done. Check out what this guy did in his garage to cure cancer. An awesome story. So hats off to your friends, lets keep encouraging stuff like this.

    Also in case there is somebody here who didn’t realize it,


      • bmaz says:

        Heh heh, me too. Hemmingway might have some competition if I could ever remember any of the stuff that comes to me underneath a car, doing other projects in the garage, cleaning the pool etc. Alas, Ernest is quite safe.

        • JThomason says:

          Well, I had made a mental note of the nuance, even with that heady
          Beamish front and center: “always” a bit brighter than “also.” Though somewhat generally disqualified I was intrigued by the references to Edward Abbey as he did some stomping round here in the New Mexican portion of the lower San Luis. Desert Solitaire keeps calling me but haven’t quite made it there yet.

          • bmaz says:

            Are you referring to my comments with Kirk Thursday? I love Ed Abbey. My mom participated in some kind of existential writing seminar with him (no she wasn’t an author, just kind of Forrest Gumped her way in through a friend who knew Abbey and the other counterculture authors participating). In college, I took an environmental psychology class that spent a lot of time analyzing Desert Solitaire. When I saw Abbey in a local pub by the U in Tucson, I had to talk to him. Is one of my fondest memories, a really cool guy.

  65. JohnLopresti says:

    Selise, I missed the Holt statement, I believe, though caught part of the streamed hearing ew liveblogged when McClellan did his prototypic Parrythrust and usually am too busy for internet, yet, appreciate your proximity to the profiling data. CQ tried to lure me into a ‘plan’ with a research assistant. Better to do the review personally, and it is as free as the time I can allot for it. I mentioned MThompson @157 only illustratively, looking at your suggestion seemingly about the worthwhile spectrum of ‘local’ efforts when the ‘global’ enterprise clouds. The Hoover link I provided the other day was part of early PAA research I had begun. As I worked in the communications business, and had other involvements with it, as well, PAA was a natural link for a new project. One to stack on the credenza, for later evaluation.

    • kspena says:

      One of the best lines in the interview: Horton said a friend of his who sits on the Defense Policy Board was having lunch with Haynes when the Hamdan opinion came down with its footnote saying that the process that was put in place was criminal. Horton’s friend told Horton that Haynes blanched, turned white as a sheet and got up and left.

  66. obsessed says:

    Good riddance to that right-wing moron Schilling. When he started campaigning for Bush in the middle of the historic Curse of the Bambino series I wanted to vomit. Ruined the whole thing for me. At least Bushista Peter MacGowan has sold his share of the Giants.

  67. MsAnnaNOLA says:

    I am going to vote Libertarian. F Obama right back.

    Going to organize against anyone who shreds the constitution.

    Hey what about a new “Constitution” Party. Outraged Dems and Conservative Rethugs. I bet we could win. F all the Dems starting with Pelosi, Reid and Steny.

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