Unbelievable

For no reason that I can fathom Steny Hoyer has decided to capitulate entirely on government eavesdropping and amnesty for the telecoms who assisted them. What was the overwhelming political pressure? Somebody spell this out for me.

It appears that the deal is done, the vote is tomorrow, and there is be absolutely no aspect to this “compromise” that does not simply give the White House everything it wants. Go read Glenn Greenwald if you have the stomach for it.

Then call Steny Hoyer and let him know how you feel. I don’t care what tone you use. (202) 225-4131

When you’re done, use the Capitol switchboard to contact your own representative and let him or her know that we’re paying attention. (202) 225-3121

Tell them that if they think people who broke the law should get off scot free, then you demand the same privilege. Ask for an address where you can send your parking tickets to get canceled. Let them know that you’ll gladly support a primary challenger against anybody stupid enough to support this abortion of a bill.

Let them know that the story won’t go away and it won’t age well. Hillary lost her primary fight because of a stupid vote for war, and your representative can go down just the same. Assholes who want to sacrifice fundamental American values for a a petty and incredibly misguided political calculation have no place in my party.

***Update***

Mike Doyle doesn’t have a position on the bill? What a bullshit cop-out. He’s going to do what, make up his mind in the shower tomorrow morning? The answer is especially unsatisfying because Doyle is one of the more reliable Democrats in the House. I will give major kudos to the first reader who can get a firmer position from Doyle’s office than that.

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137 replies
  1. 1
    Doug H. (Fausto no more) says:

    One of those moments where I’m actually glad to have Kucinich as my congressman.

  2. 2
    glynor says:

    Epic glomping fail.

    Terrible.

  3. 3
    pharniel says:

    yha. good to know my rep is going to get a talking too.

  4. 4
    JPL says:

    I just called. All lines are busy and his mailbox is full. Asshat.

  5. 5
    cleek says:

    happily, my guy’s already on the right side (go David Price!)

    Dole and her little minion are, of course, much more powerful than my Rep, and are on the wrong side.

  6. 6
    jnfr says:

    And I feel the same about Udall, who has been strong on this issue. Though that means my ability to apply pressure is limited.

  7. 7
    BFR says:

    I wonder if this might be the reverse of the Padilla situation. Does the plotline go something like this:
    1) Trials go to discovery phase
    2) Administration supports telcos’ motions to prevent discovery on grounds of state secrets
    3) Appeals work their way up to Supreme Court
    4) Supreme Court rules (5-4 naturally) in favor of telcos and administration
    5) Precedent is set in a way not favorable to privacy advocates

    If you think that’s true, then wouldn’t the best course of action to be to cut a deal with a sunset in order to prevent the court from ruling on it?

    It still stinks but I’m not sure I agree that it stinks as badly as it’s being portrayed. Blame lies not with the D leadership so much as it does with the knuckleheads who voted W into office (twice!!!), thus giving you the pleasure of Roberts & Alito (not to mention hordes of lower court folks).

  8. 8
    Sloegin says:

    The scary possibility is that Mr. Hoyer wasn’t bought or manipulated, but rather he thinks immunizing the telecomms and the Administration is a GOOD IDEA.

    Either way this fellow really deserves a primary challenge the next time his ticket is up.

  9. 9
    Famous Monkey says:

    Done, done and done. I told him I’d love to break the law and then get immunity from it and I hope he changes his mind.

    The poor guy who I spoke with sounded exasperated, but that’s not my fault, now is it?

  10. 10
    Incertus says:

    Called mine, and her website has the issue on the front page and in red, but I can’t say I’m positive about her position on this bill. I worry, because she’s in a safe seat, and because she’s in the leadership, and this is sounding like the leadership is on board.

  11. 11
    Davebo says:

    Question for Steny.

    Why does a Telco who’s lawyers ensured they have complete indemnification from liability due to this need amnesty?

    Other than to keep Dubya and his gang out of jail that is.

    What a fucking crock.

  12. 12
    Keith says:

    When you’re done, use the Capitol switchboard to contact your own representative and let him or her know that we’re paying attention.

    I’m in Texas; it doesn’t work. All you get here is an email from Kay Bailey/Big Jooooohn (Dudd) that says “Thanks for writing, but President Bush is right & terrorists are bad…blah blah tools they need blah.”

  13. 13
    David Hunt says:

    What was the overwhelming political pressure? Somebody spell this out for me.

    For some time now, I’ve speculated the Bush Administration was spying on virtually every member of Congress before the big blow-up in ’05 and that they’ve been blackmailing them to get them to cave on these types of issues, ever since. I have absolutely no proof. However, looking at people like Cheney, Addington, etc. who are at the top of this mess, I have a hard time believing they wouldn’t have said, “Get me every piece of dirt on Pelosi/Reid/Hoyer/etc that you can.”

  14. 14
    Olly McPherson says:

    Here’s the statement from Rahm Emanuel’s web site:

    “The FISA legislation we will consider gives our intelligence community the tools it needs and the public the civil liberty protections it deserves. In addition, it rejects calls for automatic immunity for private sector companies. While this bill isn’t perfect, the perfect should never be the enemy of the good. I applaud the Democrats and Republicans who reached this compromise and produced legislation that deserves support from both sides of the aisle.”

    What a bastard.

  15. 15
    4tehlulz says:

    Shorter Rahm: Please don’t release those recordings of me on the phone with the tranny hooker in Bangkok.

  16. 16
    Nikki says:

    I got through and told the lady who answered that, as one of his constituents, I will remember what he did when he comes up for re-election.

  17. 17
    jibeaux says:

    This is not very descriptive, I’m afraid…

  18. 18
    KCinDC says:

    In what way is this different from “automatic immunity”, Rahm? It’s immunity under the condition that the administration said it was legal. Is anyone under the impression that the administration didn’t claim that?

  19. 19
    Tim F. says:

    I will remember what he did when he comes up for re-election.

    I told them that as a blogger I will remember what they did a lot sooner than that. I still cannot understand what possibly motivated these people to suddenly bend over like they did.

  20. 20
    KDP says:

    My guy, Pete Stark, has consistently voted against any of the bills that have provided immunity to the telecoms.

    Hoyer’s office merely said that they appreciated the input.

  21. 21
    Zifnab says:

    And I feel the same about Udall, who has been strong on this issue. Though that means my ability to apply pressure is limited.

    Limited like hell. Call your Congressman and give him a big wet sloppy kiss on the cheek. Deep in the heart of Tom DeLay country, my rep Nick Lampson has been solid on this issue. Seriously, I couldn’t be happier with my change of representation.

  22. 22
    greynoldsct00 says:

    Anybody know of a quick lookup to see who voted and how?

  23. 23
    BFR says:

    I still cannot understand what possibly motivated these people to suddenly bend over like they did.

    If you assume what I posted earlier is correct, then what would be worse? Passing the legislation or having the Supreme Court rule that the spying was legal regardless of what law was on the books?

  24. 24
    Tim F. says:

    Passing the legislation or having the Supreme Court rule that the spying was legal regardless of what law was on the books?

    I believe that a dismissal under the proposed law can still be challenged up to the Supreme Court. If we’re passing laws out of fear of an adverse Supreme Court ruling then we might as well give up now.

  25. 25
    Dennis - SGMM says:

    I applaud the Democrats and Republicans who reached this compromise and produced legislation that deserves support from both sides of the aisle.

    Frank grabbed Roger roughly by the shoulders and threw him face down on the bed. He then compromised Roger until they both moaned in ecstasy.

  26. 26
    cleek says:

    Anybody know of a quick lookup to see who voted and how?

    the vote hasn’t happened yet. probably tomorrow, tho.

  27. 27
    SnarkyShark says:

    Kos called Steny out on the front page. We need to start a fund now. From now till 2010 that stays up on everybody’s front page. A fund for anybody who runs against Hoyers traitorous ass. If he doesn’t get a primary challange, then give it to the Republican.

    It’s time to go to war on these fucks.

    If Hoyer gets $100,00 from telecoms, his opponent should get triple that from the netroots.

    These fucks need to learn to fear us.

    Ask Al Wynn how he feels about it.

  28. 28
    naked lunch says:

    Good thing Obama is showing his incredible leadership here.

    Crickets on FISA, and endorsing Telecom friendly John Barrow.

  29. 29
    BFR says:

    I believe that a dismissal under the proposed law can still be challenged up to the Supreme Court.

    I gather in reading Greenwald earlier today that the legislation makes it harder to challenge because the courts are prohibited from disclosing why the lawsuits were dismissed.

    So from my non-legal interpretation of this, then yeah, you could still challenge the dismissal but you aren’t challenging the legality of spying on somewhere (in direct contravention of the law) but rather challenging the constitutionality of the legislation duly passed by Congress.

    You’d get exactly the same result – a 5 to 4 ruling in favor of the administration but there would be no precedent set on the spying side of things.

    Again, not to say that this doesn’t stink but I’m wondering if some of them don’t feel like their hands are tied.

    Also, not to make it sound worse than it is but I think this is more or less the same tactic that the Administration used with Padilla – ie yanking him out of the justice system when it became clear that they’d lose at the Supreme Court.

  30. 30
    greynoldsct00 says:

    Anybody know of a quick lookup to see who voted and how?

    the vote hasn’t happened yet. probably tomorrow, tho.

    Thanks, I actually knew that but had a brain lapse. Off to kick to CT representative butt right now.

  31. 31
    Tsulagi says:

    What was the overwhelming political pressure?

    Republicans threatened to get mad and call Dems names. SOP that has worked so well for the Pubs.

    Even one very dim-bulb front pager at RedState today made this obvious observation…

    reshaping the Democratic party into one not merely able to follow Republican orders in Congress as a pliable minority, but to take the lead and implement the core pieces of the moderate Neocon agenda as the majority.

    He got it right. The only thing that happened from the 06 mid-terms is the Party of Bush rubber stamp passed from Republicans to Democrats. The difference is sometimes they’re a little slower in the stamping as with this legislation. Guess being slower passes for spine with the Dems in Congress.

    Last straw. This passes both Senate and House, an email account I’ve used solely for past contributions to the DNC and Democratic candidates will go on sternly-worded auto reply. Was going to do that when the Senate first capitulated on FISA and telecom immunity, but then the House first said “no,” then went to “maybe,” then put it on hold. Pathetic. Fuck ‘em.

  32. 32
    BFR says:

    FWIW, this is Greenwald’s view on the part of the bill that I was referencing above (wrt dismissal):

    Perhaps the most repellent part of this bill (though that’s obviously a close competition) is 802(c) of the telecom amnesty section. That says that the Attorney General can declare that the documents he submits to the court in order to get these lawsuits dismissed are secret, and once he declares that, then: (a) the plaintiffs and their lawyers won’t ever see the documents and (b) the court is barred from referencing them in any way when it dismisses the lawsuit. All the court can do is issue an order saying that the lawsuits are dismissed, but it is barred from saying why they’re being dismissed or what the basis is for the dismissal.

    So basically, one day in the near future, we’re all going to learn that one of our federal courts dismissed all of the lawsuits against the telecoms. But we’re never going to be able to know why the lawsuits were dismissed or what documents were given by the Government to force the court to dismiss the lawsuits. Not only won’t we, the public, know that, neither will the plaintiffs’ lawyers. Nobody will know except the Judge and the Government because it will all be shrouded in compelled secrecy, and the Judge will be barred by this law from describing or even referencing the grounds for dismissal in any way. Freedom is on the march.

    I’m interpreting this as a means to prevent the justice system from ever ruling on the constitutionality of the spying.

  33. 33
  34. 34
    GoMS says:

    “I still cannot understand what possibly motivated these people to suddenly bend over like they did.”

    Jesus, no disrespect to you guys, but are you fucking stooopid? These are politicians. They don’t need reasons for anything, because the majority of the electorate (everywhere, not just USA) are fucking idiots with the attention span of a gnat. You can rail on about this until the proverbial cows are on the BBQ, but it won’t change the fact that you have your head in the sand if you think the system of gov’t that exists today in democratic nations doesn’t need to be modified to keep up with the changes in tech and society. And “NO”, I don’t have suggestions for the changes needed, I’m as fucking dumb as the rest! I moved to Asia to avoid having to vote!

  35. 35
    Crust says:

    SnarkyShark Says:

    Kos called Steny out on the front page. We need to start a fund now.

    Greenwald and others already did. It has raised $224,127 and counting.

  36. 36
    Mylegacy says:

    This whole thing has left a queasy feeling in the pit of my stomach. I say let the telcoms off the hook.

    The guy(s) that should be arrested are the guy(s) in GOVERNMENT that came to the telcoms and told them “America needs you to save the Nation!” which translates to “We Neocons – who have no idea of the constitution nor any respect for it – want you to help us regardless of the law.”

    After 9/11 if I was a Telcom and the White House (or it’s surrogate) phoned me and told me that we need YOU to help us in the war on terror – and we gotta keep it hush hush – I might well have helped. All hands on deck – as it were.

    The EVIL here is not the companies that answered the call – it’s the CALLERS that need jailing.

  37. 37
    D. Mason says:

    Blame lies not with the D leadership so much as it does with the knuckleheads who voted W into office

    This looks like the left wing version of a 28%er to me.

  38. 38
    Gregory says:

    5:22 Eastern time, just called Steny Hoyer and Indiana Representative Carson. Politely urged Carson to do the right thing and remember that he does not represent the Bush Administration and international telecoms, but the law abiding citizens of his state.

    I was less polite for Hoyer.

  39. 39
    cleek says:

    We need to start a fund now.

    use this one

  40. 40
    David Hunt says:

    but it won’t change the fact that you have your head in the sand if you think the system of gov’t that exists today in democratic nations doesn’t need to be modified to keep up with the changes in tech and society.

    “It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried.”

    Sir Winston Churchill

  41. 41
    BFR says:

    The EVIL here is not the companies that answered the call – it’s the CALLERS that need jailing.

    Basically, no one thinks that the lawsuits are going to lead to any punishment for the Telcos who participated, except maybe for some lousy PR. The reason that the lawsuits matter is for discovery purposes. The legislature really hasn’t shown much interest in exposing what went on, so you’d use the lawsuits as a means for publicly exposing what the administration was up to.

    I’ve seen a decent amount of analysis elsewhere that indicated that the Telcos almost certainly received pretty solid protection from the administration and aren’t really in any jeapordy from the lawsuits.

    They’d prefer the lawsuits go away, but it’s much more about the administration wanting to protect themselves.

  42. 42

    I’m potentially influential. Reichert (WA 8th) is facing a challenge from Darcy Burner, and last time eked out a narrow win. I told him that if he votes yea, I’m immediately contributing to Ms. Burner’s campaign. I doubt he’ll pay any attention, though.

  43. 43
    D. Mason says:

    I still cannot understand what possibly motivated these people to suddenly bend over like they did.

    This is fucking pathetic. I said it in another thread and I’m happy to say it again. They didn’t bend over, they got something they wanted and worked hard to get. Stop carrying water for these fucking fascists.

  44. 44
    Smudgemo says:

    Anybody know of a quick lookup to see who voted and how?

    You can see where they supposedly stand here:
    http://www.stopthespying.org/

  45. 45
    BFR says:

    I’m potentially influential. Reichert (WA 8th) is facing a challenge from Darcy Burner, and last time eked out a narrow win. I told him that if he votes yea, I’m immediately contributing to Ms. Burner’s campaign. I doubt he’ll pay any attention, though.

    Bugging Reichert is pointless. He’s pretty much the dictionary definition of a rank and file back-bencher. At any rate, you should just contribute to Burner as she’s a pretty impressive candidate.

  46. 46
    Grumpy Code Monkey says:

    This is another data point for my position that everybody needs to be sent home this November. We should aim for 100% turnover in the House.

    All my people are Goopers, but I’m considering writing them anyway. “Would you want President Barack HUSSEIN Obama to have this kind of power to spy on honest, hard-working1 Americans? If not, then for God’s sake vote against this bill.”

    1. “White” in Gooper-speak. Hey, you gotta write for your audience.

  47. 47
    Punchy says:

    At least this happened with only 6 months to go for Bush. Can you imagine if they passed this abortion in ’03? If Bush had 5 years instead of months to collect illegal info?

    Something is not right here. There was NO pressure, publically, to cave, yet they did. Kinda makes ya think that perhaps they were blackmailed in some fashion.

  48. 48
    BFR says:

    This looks like the left wing version of a 28%er to me.

    I don’t like the legislation personally but I can see where even some of the more liberal congressfolks might see this as a choice between bad & worse and decide it might be better to fight this fight another day.

    As the GOP has learned with respect to abortion, legislation can be easier to reverse than Supreme Court precedents.

  49. 49
    Mike P says:

    About to e-mail my rep. now, who just so happens to be the Speaker of the House…

  50. 50
    David Hunt says:

    The guy(s) that should be arrested are the guy(s) in GOVERNMENT that came to the telcoms and told them “America needs you to save the Nation!” which translates to “We Neocons – who have no idea of the constitution nor any respect for it – want you to help us regardless of the law.”

    Since all efforts to directly investigate the role of the Government in this matter have been stopped/coldcocked/etc, the suit against the telecoms’ for their assistance in the spying program is virtually the last option for what really happened to ever see the light of day. If the lawsuits are dismissed, it’s likely that we will never have that information come out. That’s why the Bush Administration is so keen to get the lawsuits dismissed.

  51. 51
    gypsy howell says:

    I called Obama’s campaign headquarters and said very politely that I was expecting him to LEAD on this issue, bein’s as he’s been talking about leadership and stuff, and that I expected a very strong stand by him against this, followed by a filibuster in the Senate if necessary. And that, further, my continued financial support for him would depend very much on what he did in the next 24 hours on this. The woman (British, curiously) said they had “numerous calls” about this, and were sending the message to “the appropriate people” in the campaign.

    I don’t know if my phone call will do any good, but some leadership from the MUP could turn this around, I think. Let’s see if he shows any.

  52. 52
    D. Mason says:

    Kinda makes ya think that perhaps they were blackmailed in some fashion.

    Whats that purple stain on your upper lip there punchy? Oh yeah! All that kool-aid you been sucking down.

  53. 53
    Grand Moff Texan says:

    For no reason that I can fathom Steny Hoyer has decided to capitulate entirely on government eavesdropping and amnesty for the telecoms who assisted them.

    Until 2012. It sunsets in five years.
    .

  54. 54
    Leisureguy says:

    What’s amazing is that Obama seems to be falling right in line with passage of the bill, speeches aside. Despite fine words, he’s taping ads in support of the Blue-Dog Barrow in Georgia AGAINST a progressive Democratic candidate (just like Obama supported Lieberman against Lamont). I fear that Obama makes nice speeches, but when actually doing things, he falls right in line with the craven Democratic establishment. Once again I have to hold my nose and pull the lever. What a disappointment. More in Glenn Greenwald’s column.

  55. 55
    Poopyman says:

    I tried calling Hoyer’s DC office at about 4 o’clock, but they weren’t taking calls and the mailbox was full. Heh!

    Not to be denied, I called the Greenbelt office (301-474-0119) and a real human woman answered. After I gave her my name and address (I really am in Hoyer’s district), I told her that if FISA with telecom immunity passes I will dedicate myself to putting Hoyer out of office. She sounded kind of downbeat – or beat down – btw. So be nice.

    Also, I’ve had problems pulling up FDL this afternoon, although I’m not ready to start yelling about DOS just yet.

    Anyway, especially if you live in MD’s 5th CD, give the above number a call and let ’em know how you feel.

  56. 56
    Tom in Texas says:

    Red State HAS to be satire. Apart from the goofy Drudge sirens, there is no way this shit is serious:

    Provisionally, this seems like a win for national security and a win for the GOP, and a defeat for the far Left, the ‘netroots,’ and the plaintiffs’ bar. The bill, if passed, will institutionalize even under an Obama Administration surveillance that has previously been conducted only because President Bush ordered it. On the presidential level, the deal sounds like one that John McCain will happily fall in with, and vindicates his longstanding position that the President, regardless of what he can do, should go to Congress for authority on surveillance. And it puts Barack Obama in a tough spot: if Pelosi and Reid are marshalling their troops behind it (even though they both personally oppose the deal), and he opposes them, he will yet again be shown to be an extremist outside the mainstream of his own party; yet if he supports the deal, he will have flip-flopped on his prior votes against FISA bills that contained telecom immunity.

  57. 57
    Tsulagi says:

    At least this happened with only 6 months to go for Bush. Can you imagine if they passed this abortion in ‘03? If Bush had 5 years instead of months to collect illegal info?

    Where you been? Warrantless wiretapping and telecom immunity has been going on since 01 under the authority of Tard’s all universe wide unitary executive powers. Dems caving on this one too is just their special way of recognizing him as an awesome forward thinker by putting it in writing. They see the big picture.

  58. 58
    KevinD says:

    The thing that gets me, like Greenwald pointed out, they couldn’t get this passed at all when Repubs ran Congress, but the Dems let it go through.

  59. 59
    Dreggas says:

    Leisureguy Says:

    What’s amazing is that Obama seems to be falling right in line with passage of the bill, speeches aside. Despite fine words, he’s taping ads in support of the Blue-Dog Barrow in Georgia AGAINST a progressive Democratic candidate (just like Obama supported Lieberman against Lamont). I fear that Obama makes nice speeches, but when actually doing things, he falls right in line with the craven Democratic establishment. Once again I have to hold my nose and pull the lever. What a disappointment. More in Glenn Greenwald’s column.

    This has gotten a lot of coverage over at the GOS. The guy he’s supporting (or cut an ad for or whatever) was a super-del that came out early for him and provided Obama gets elected it would be another chip to cash in. Not saying that that makes it right but there are reasons for these things beyond telco immunity. For the moment I trust Obama’s judgement and will still proudly vote for him, but I do agree that he should come out on this like he did in January.

  60. 60
    4tehlulz says:

    Yes Red State, TEH C33KR1T MUZLUM KAN HAZ S1RV31LINC3 2 if this passes.

  61. 61

    […] Posted in Congress, Democrats at 3:01 pm by LeisureGuy From a really good post by Tim F. at Baloon Juice (and do read the post): For no reason that I can fathom Steny Hoyer has decided to capitulate entirely on government eavesdropping and amnesty for the telecoms who assisted them. What was the overwhelming political pressure? Somebody spell this out for me. […]

  62. 62
    w vincentz says:

    4th Amendment, goodbye.

  63. 63
    SnarkyShark says:

    I am quite aware of GG’s fund to run ads against SH. I even donated to that one.

    What I propose is a fund dedicated strictly to any challenger to Hoyer in the primaries. Imagine how much fun it would be for the MSM to marvel at how in 2009 there is a cool half million for whoever runs against him. And for the Republican if no Dem chooses to run.

    Seriously, I would rather see a Republican in that spot then put up with this traitor any more.

    Steny has been on the wrong side pretty consistently.

    Immediate action should be to try to get him ousted as majority leader.

    Steny needs to be made an example of, and we could focus our attention on him right now.

    Our undivided attention.

    Unlike Republicans, we can multi-task, and we can and should do McCranky and Steny at the same time.

    I for one am never forgetting this betrayal.

    I am not feeling warm and fuzzy towards Obama right now either.

  64. 64
    Jim says:

    Follow the money. Anyone who thinks there is a hair’s radius bit of difference between Republicans and Democrats also believes in the Easter Bunny.

  65. 65
    D. Mason says:

    I am not feeling warm and fuzzy towards Obama right now either.

    He can lose my vote right here. I would never vote for McCain but that doesn’t mean I plan to go out of my way for Republican lite either.

  66. 66
    Martin says:

    The EVIL here is not the companies that answered the call – it’s the CALLERS that need jailing.

    The telcos knew it was illegal. That’s why Qwest left the meeting. The government promised to protect them and they knew it was easy money. This was all pre-9/11 as well, so they don’t get a PTSD waiver on this.

    Corruption requires two players. You can’t give half the field a free pass to participate and hope to reign it in. They have to be self-motivated to say no simply because it *is* the government on the other side. The government has the ability to avoid being policed, but the corporations don’t, so you have to hold the corporations accountable as well.

  67. 67
    Thepanzer says:

    Called at 6:15, office is close and mailbox is full. I hope he and his staff get an ear full of shit in the morning. 80% of the country think we’re on the wrong track and this asshole wants to enable more of the same.

  68. 68
    JL says:

    Why wouldn’t this require an amendment to the Constitution? Doesn’t Article I say there can be no ex post facto law can be passed. What am I missing?

  69. 69
    JL says:

    Why wouldn’t this require an amendment to the Constitution? Doesn’t Article I say there can be no ex post facto law can be passed. What am I missing?

  70. 70
    JL says:

    Sorry for the double post, I must be really confused.

  71. 71
    wilfred says:

    Assholes who want to sacrifice fundamental American values for a a petty and incredibly misguided political calculation have no place in my party.

    How about willing to sacridife such values for anything – or is that asking too much? We could start by defining what those actually are, minus their postmodern truthy accretions, and remembering that while the United States really is a great country, Americans aren’t and never have a great people.

    I see some other people are having their Obama regret – I had mine with his Aipac speech but he’s still the best of a shitty lot.

  72. 72
    namekarB says:

    Time for the candidates to put their asses on the line.

    What say you Mr. Obama? Clinton?

    All we hear are crickets

  73. 73
    BFR says:

    He can lose my vote right here. I would never vote for McCain but that doesn’t mean I plan to go out of my way for Republican lite either.

    1) Scalia
    2) Thomas
    3) Roberts
    4) Alito

    Just keep those names in mind. These guys are hard-core authoritarians. The same reasons why we all should have supported Clinton had she won the nomination still apply.

  74. 74
    Graeme says:

    I emailed Boxer and Feinstein, for whatever it’s worth. Basically, I ended with this:

    I can’t believe you people are giving in. No wonder no one takes the Democrats seriously…

    Like Mr. Cole, I just started voting for the Donk candidates. I thought it would take a month or two before buyer’s remorse set in, but I’m getting it before November?!

  75. 75
    Thepanzer says:

    I called Ed Markey from MA next as he’s in my state. Interesting short conversation with the staffer. He’s voting no and they’re getting a LOT of calls. The female staffer said she couldn’t guarantee it but thinks this isn’t going to pass based on the public response. It sounds like they’re getting flooded with a tsunami of flaming turds and may be figuring out what a non-starter this is.

  76. 76
    crw says:

    Why wouldn’t this require an amendment to the Constitution? Doesn’t Article I say there can be no ex post facto law can be passed. What am I missing?

    The Ex Post Facto clause only means you cannot criminalize behavior after the fact and then toss people in the pokey for acts that were legal at the time they were committed. Other retroactive laws are totally fine.

  77. 77

    Hoyer is basically defending the Israeli Police State model here. Can’t get too worried about these pesky little abuses.

  78. 78
    Dennis - SGMM says:

    TELECOMS: “You Democrats know that the only thing worse than being weak on terrorism is being weak on money?”
    DEMOCRATS: “Um, yes sir.”
    TELECOMS: “Then we can be sure that you’ll vote the right way on immunity?”
    DEMOCRATS: “It’s the only way to fight terrorism!”
    TELECOMS: “That’s great. Now jingle your bells and say ‘My God, Montressor.'”
    DEMOCRATS: “But…”
    TELECOMS: “Do it, bitch!”
    DEMOCRATS: “My God, Montressor!” (jingle, jingle)

  79. 79
    Zifnab says:

    The Ex Post Facto clause only means you cannot criminalize behavior after the fact and then toss people in the pokey for acts that were legal at the time they were committed. Other retroactive laws are totally fine.

    In fact, Ex Post Facto law is exactly what Telecos will use to their advantage. They get a bill that legalizes what they just did, and even if the law is repealed ten minutes later, they’re cleared of all charges because they became legalized.

  80. 80
    Glyph2112 says:

    What I don’t get is what the upside is to passing this bill? It didn’t hurt them to hold off on it and now they are going to pass the same shit and show everyone that is itching for change that it’s going to be the same ‘ol same ‘ol. This just kills everyone who is waiting for law, order, accountability, and integrity to get back into Washington.

  81. 81
    JL says:

    crw, thanks. I also thought that the reverse was true but wasn’t sure. The telcoms broke the law and if that law is illegal at the time, you can’t just forgive without changing the law. I’m certainly no lawyer and it’s been 40 years since my civic classes so I appreciate your info.

  82. 82
    funfunfun says:

    i have to say, i stopped making calls until one of the blue dog democrats’ policy guys got on the line. we had a long, civil talk, in which he ultimately said, look, this doesn’t give the political people any coverage. if the right suit goes after the right person in the administration, the right people will be punished. i pointed out that they’d just cover the thing in special state secret sauce, and he didn’t have a good answer. he also said that this will stop any similar electronic evesdroping practice in the future.

    then i politely said a more cynical person might assume this was the Democrats taking a potentially damaging issue off the table in hopes of winning a big, workable majority for Obama. he basically replied that it was very good to have a frank discussion of the topic, which i figured is code for “yup, see you January 21st when the constitution comes back home.”

  83. 83
    JL says:

    What the democratic politicians who agree to this travesty aren’t taking into account are the amount of people who return their pledge cards with a big fat zero donation.

  84. 84
    Mr Furious says:

    My Rep is Dingell who opposes this Bill and Telco immunity. I still wrote him:

    Thank for opposing the telcom immunity. Can you please use your seniority and stature in the House apply pressure to your colleagues to do the same? The compromise slated for a vote tommorrow is an abomination, and i will be joining the thousands of others online who are already raising money for a challenger for Steny Hoyer ($225,000 at last count). I will work HARD to replace every Representative who votes in favor of this.

    Every one.

    Being a Democrat is no longer good enough for me and for millions of Americans. I want GOOD Democrats, unafraid to stand up to the Republicans and who remember their oath is to the Constitution first and everything else second. A vote in favor of this is casting that aside.

    Thank you again for your position on this,
    Mr Furious

  85. 85
    Thepanzer says:

    Just donated $25 to actblue to hold hoyer accountable, total is near 225k at this point with a goal of 350k. Go donate 10 bucks and you can share in the warm glow when he’s targeted with ads for his support of this flaming turd.

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

  86. 86
    cleek says:

    What the democratic politicians who agree to this travesty aren’t taking into account are the amount of people who return their pledge cards with a big fat zero donation.

    i’ll never donate to the DNC. as far as i’m concerned they’ve been complicit in every single Dem capitulation of the past 7 years. fuck em.

  87. 87
    Kevin says:

    I was happy to find out that my rep, Eshoo, is also going to vote No on this sell-out.

  88. 88
    Mr Furious says:

    Email that just appeared in my inbox from Pat Leahy:

    For many months now, the Leahy for Vermont community and online activists everywhere have urged Congress to fix FISA the right way: by passing a bill that protects both our national security and our civil liberties. Together, we have had a huge impact on this debate, calling for legislation that protects Americans from the Bush-Cheney Administration’s relentless assault on the Constitution, and we should be extremely proud of these efforts.

    But after months of negotiations, the House today unveiled a new FISA bill that I cannot support. While I applaud the fact that this legislation includes some of the important surveillance protections we wrote into the Senate Judiciary Committee bill last year, it fails to hold the Bush-Cheney Administration accountable for its illegal wiretapping program.

    I will oppose this new FISA bill when the Senate votes on it next week. We must do everything we can to protect Americans from the Bush-Cheney Administration’s erosion of our civil liberties and callous disregard for the rule of law — and this new FISA bill fails that test.

    Thank you for all that you have done — and all you will continue to do — to help America protect our security while honoring our core values and respecting our fundamental rights. As the Supreme Court wrote in its habeas decision last week, “Security subsists, too, in fidelity to freedom’s first principles.”

    Sincerely,

    Patrick Leahy
    U.S. Senator

  89. 89
    Stevenovitch says:

    Time for the candidates to put their asses on the line.

    What say you Mr. Obama? Clinton?

    All we hear are crickets

    This is a good demonstration of how powerless the net roots are. Sure, Obama could carry your water here, but why would he do that when he knows that any minute you’ll all fly off the handle again for some other reason and all that fund raising potential will dry up. He certainly wouldn’t jeopardize his relationship with a long lasting and reliable source of funds like the telcos. Basically, when politicians figure out that they just happen to be on the same page as the net roots they just hit them up for money and walk away.

    Have a nice day.

  90. 90
    Mr Furious says:

    Am I the only one who’s getting a crowding/overlapping of letters that makes this site a fucking chore to read?

  91. 91
    D. Mason says:

    Just keep those names in mind. These guys are hard-core authoritarians. The same reasons why we all should have supported Clinton had she won the nomination still apply.

    Anyone in government who does not speak out vehemently against this “law” is a hardcore authoritarian. If I can’t have a decent human being in the office of President I honestly don’t care which flavor of fascist it is.

  92. 92
    JL says:

    The site reads fine for me. Thanks for the Leahy email. Hopefully Obama will follow suit.

  93. 93
    BFR says:

    If I can’t have a decent human being in the office of President I honestly don’t care which flavor of fascist it is.

    Great, I hope you’ve enjoyed the last 8 years because with enough of you out there we’re all set to keep the good times rolling!

  94. 94
    BFR says:

    If I can’t have a decent human being in the office of President I honestly don’t care which flavor of fascist it is.

    I mean seriously c’mon.

    Do you really thing that Ginsburg = Scalia? Both are fine with you?

  95. 95
    Dennis - SGMM says:

    Although Hoyer can no longer be reached by telephone, you can email the little shit here. Enter ZIP code 20602 to get in the door.
    For bonus points, when submitting your info use the address
    401 Post Office Rd. #202
    Waldorf, Maryland.

    That’s his constituent office address.

    I am counting on you all to show him some love.

  96. 96
    D. Mason says:

    Great, I hope you’ve enjoyed the last 8 years because with enough of you out there we’re all set to keep the good times rolling!

    The last 8 years have sucked. I hope Obama acts in such a way that will allow me to continue to believe things might change with him in office. If he doesn’t I will be goddamned if I’m going to spend my time or money to end up with more of the same.

    Do you really thing that Ginsburg = Scalia? Both are fine with you?

    I pretty much lost any faith I ever had in the Supreme Court when they chose the President in 2000. If I recall, it wasn’t loaded up with Bush appointees then.

  97. 97
    jenniebee says:

    Just called Hoyer. It’s after hours, and his mailbox is full.

    Heh. Indeed.

  98. 98
    Blue Raven says:

    Sent email to my rep, who replaced Tom Lantos, a man who knew totalitarianism far too well. It felt Godwin-like, but I reminded Ms. Speier of that fact. We don’t need to leave the door open for a truly unscrupulous leader to continue more smoothly down the same path Bush has been stumbling along.

  99. 99
    slippy hussein toad says:

    Jim Says:

    Follow the money. Anyone who thinks there is a hair’s radius bit of difference between Republicans and Democrats also believes in the Easter Bunny.

    And anyone who believes that has been living under a rock for forty years.

  100. 100
    BFR says:

    I pretty much lost any faith I ever had in the Supreme Court when they chose the President in 2000. If I recall, it wasn’t loaded up with Bush appointees then.

    The court isn’t that different now, Rehnquist and Roberts are fairly similar and Thomas/Scalia are still there. The fruits of having GOP control of the White House for most of the last 40 years.

  101. 101
    alhutch says:

    This whole thing has left a queasy feeling in the pit of my stomach. I say let the telcoms off the hook.

    The guy(s) that should be arrested are the guy(s) in GOVERNMENT that came to the telcoms and told them “America needs you to save the Nation!” which translates to “We Neocons – who have no idea of the constitution nor any respect for it – want you to help us regardless of the law.”

    After 9/11 if I was a Telcom and the White House (or it’s surrogate) phoned me and told me that we need YOU to help us in the war on terror – and we gotta keep it hush hush – I might well have helped. All hands on deck – as it were.

    The EVIL here is not the companies that answered the call – it’s the CALLERS that need jailing.

    Problem is, some of this spying started PRE 9/11. Qwest wouldn’t play ball (their lawyers knew it was illegal and pushed back) and Qwest probably lost government business because of it:

  102. 102
  103. 103

    cleek Says:

    happily, my guy’s already on the right side (go David Price!)

    Dole and her little minion are, of course, much more powerful than my Rep, and are on the wrong side

    Hey cleek. We must be neighbors. Price is a good man. I’ve noticed he nearly always votes on the correct side of the issues. Our Senators are hopeless on the other hand. I’m lucky to get a response at all from Liz and Burr sends me form letters saying I’m so sorry I’m an asshole but that’s life. Freaking jerks.

    I don’t like Kagan much better but I’m willing to work for her to send Liz packing this year.

  104. 104
    slippy hussein toad says:

    Just called Hoyer. It’s after hours, and his mailbox is full.

    Heh. Indeed.

    That’s funny. When I called a guy calling himself “Richard” answered and said that Steny couldn’t talk right now because his mouth was full.

    As he hung up the phone I’m pretty sure I heard him say “Suck it, bitch.”

  105. 105
    BFR says:

    Problem is, some of this spying started PRE 9/11. Qwest wouldn’t play ball (their lawyers knew it was illegal and pushed back) and Qwest probably lost government business because of it:

    Excerpting from Greenwald:

    The provision granting amnesty to lawbreaking telecoms, Title VIII, has the exact Orwellian title it should have: “Protection of Persons Assisting the Government.” Section 802(a) provides:

    [A] civil action may not lie or be maintained in a Federal or State court against any person for providing assistance to an element of the intelligence community, and shall be properly dismissed, if the Attorney General certifies to the district court of the United States in which such action is pending that . . . (4) the assistance alleged to have been provided . . . was —
    (A) in connection with intelligence activity involving communications that was (i) authorized by the President during the period beginning on September 11, 2001, and ending on January 17, 2007 and (ii) designed to prevent or detect a terrorist attack, or activities in preparation of a terrorist attack, against the United States”…

    This legislation doesn’t cover eavesdropping prior to 9/11.

  106. 106
    D. Mason says:

    This legislation doesn’t cover eavesdropping prior to 9/11.

    It may seem like that but I bet it will shake out in such a way that any cases get dismissed before the dates are accounted for.

  107. 107
    Napoleon says:

    The guy he’s supporting (or cut an ad for or whatever) was a super-del that came out early for him and provided Obama gets elected it would be another chip to cash in.

    Thats not correct, he did not come out until after his district, and state, voted overwhelmingly for BO, which in my book is not early.

  108. 108
    alhutch says:

    This legislation doesn’t cover eavesdropping prior to 9/11.

    As true as that is, if the pending lawsuits against the telcos are all summarily dismissed (what the bill will effectively do), how will anyone outside of the Bush Administration ever know what happened when?

    Qwest CEO Nacchio has claimed that NSA approached Qwest in February 2001, was rebuffed and then re-approached after 9/11 with every other telco already on board.

    Telco immunity is forever and no accountability for Bush & Co. ever.

  109. 109
    IndyLib says:

    Well, I just sent a thank you note to Sen. Feingold, a threat to Sen. Herb Kohl, who can’t be bothered to let his constituants know how he feels about this issue and a FU to my idiot Repub congressman, Rep. Paul Ryan, who has voted with Dubyadumbtwit 99% of the time from what I can tell.

  110. 110
    nightjar says:

    I would call my CC Steve Pearce, but reason won’t penetrate 6 inches of wingnut skull. On the other hand, Sen. Bingaman almost always votes the right way. We’ll see this time.

  111. 111
    Third Eye Open says:

    Well, I don’t think I will say this very often, but my Rep. Allen Boyd is gonna get a nice pat on the head from me tonight…I guess I never bothered to notice, but he’s one of them-thar Blue Dogs, which after some of his voting choices, makes a whole lotta sense. So much for at least one liberal bastion of North Florida, a.k.a L.A (Lower Alabama)

  112. 112
    montysano says:

    Maybe this point has already been made up above, but if Obama stands up against this after Pelosi, Hoyer, and all the other rats have fled the ship (i.e. if BO stands up alone), he’ll get some serious shit from the goopers and their flying monkeys. I’m not saying he shouldn’t, but those spineless fucks in Congress won’t give him any covering fire. Pathetic.

  113. 113
    Xenos says:

    Problem is, some of this spying started PRE 9/11. Qwest wouldn’t play ball (their lawyers knew it was illegal and pushed back) and Qwest probably lost government business because of it:

    It is worse than that: Qwest got a thorough investigation by the SEC and the FBI for their trouble, and the CEO may be headed to jail for some time.

    “Nice company you have got there, Mr. Nacchio… shame if something woulda happened to it.”

  114. 114
    mr. whipple says:

    “What was the overwhelming political pressure? Somebody spell this out for me.”

    i’m sure someone already said this, but i’ll post it anyway: it’s all about holding out for enough telecom bribes to come thru for their ‘favor’.

    it’s spelled ‘m.o.n.e.y.’.

  115. 115
    Xenos says:

    This legislation doesn’t cover eavesdropping prior to 9/11.

    So is it all a clever trap? A cunning plan? Are the Dems going to sneak this by the Reps, and then proceed to bust the administration over the pre-9/11 wiretap program?

    I would love it if it were, but it seems too much to hope for.

  116. 116
    Babybrie says:

    You can call Obama’s campaign office: 866.675.2008 option 6. If you don’t get through, just keep trying. Also, I’ve found that faxes will go through, even when the voicemailbox is full. Hoyer’s fax number is 202.225.4300, Pelosi is 202.225.8259. For others just Google the name + “fax.” It’s pretty easy to fax from a Mac, don’t know about a PC, sorry.

  117. 117

    A few thoughts, whose ordering may not be ideal:

    1) Immunity is contagious. Grant it once and the ripples expand rapidly in all directions to encompass widening circles of candidates and offences. This effect has already been “discounted”, to use the language of the markets.

    2) The draft language specifies a start date of 11 Sep. 2001. The important surveillance began in February 2001 — unconditionally THE first priority of the incoming regime — and its purpose was exclusively political.

    3) What the Democrats are “afraid” of is acknowledging the total illegitimacy of the American Constitutional system, which cannot be incrementally repaired but must be swept away and replaced with something new after a complete break of institutional continuity. This is something that any of us could well be “afraid” of, inasmuch as the act of diagnosing it carries the philosophical obligation — which I explicitly shirk — to propose an alternative, at least in outline. This defeats my imagination.

    (Cross-posted, with apologies if they are called for, from Kevin Drum’s blog. I could not justify the time to express the same thoughts in words just sufficiently different as to seem specially composed for this audience.)

  118. 118
    JC says:

    Turley said today on Olbermann’s show, that the Dems are convering their OWN rears. Basically, that the Bush administration convinced the head Dems in 2002 – when they were cowed – were told about it, and went along. Thus, THEY would be on the hook for anything, as Bush and cronies would be on the hook.

    Makes sense to me.

  119. 119
    Jon H says:

    How stupid are the Democrats?

    Stupid enough that this bill sunsets at the end of 2012, giving the Republicans a softball pitch for that election year.

    Fucking morons.

  120. 120
    Jon H says:

    Tim F wrote: “I told them that as a blogger I will remember what they did a lot sooner than that. I still cannot understand what possibly motivated these people to suddenly bend over like they did.”

    At a guess: primary season is over, so everyone’s safe at least until November.

  121. 121
    Jon H says:

    It’s times like this when I hate that I live in Cambridge/Somerville. It’s unlikely that my Congressperson will vote for it, so my anger is useless.

  122. 122
    HeartlandLiberal says:

    Glenn Greenwald sums it up pretty well:

    What’s particularly amazing about this whole process is that the House leadership unveiled this bill for the first time today — and then scheduled the vote on it for tomorrow. No hearings. Nothing. They all have less than 24 hours to “read” the bill and decide whether to eviscerate the rule of law and the Fourth Amendment. I recall Democrats long complaining that they were only given one day before being forced back in September, 2001 to vote on the Patriot Act, yet here they are — even without the excuse of the 9/11 attack — doing that to themselves. I’m sure their votes tomorrow will be the by-product of a very conscientious, thoughtful and diligent review of this lengthy bill — just as thoughtful as Pelosi’s review was before she whimsically pronounced that it’s all just six of one, half dozen of the other.

    George Bush’s latest powers, courtesy of the Democratic Congress

  123. 123
    Barbara says:

    Jim Moran of Virginia supposedly opposes it and I wrote him to ask him to continue opposing it.

  124. 124
    cybergal619 says:

    Dennis – SGMM Says:

    Although Hoyer can no longer be reached by telephone, you can email the little shit here. Enter ZIP code 20602 to get in the door.
    For bonus points, when submitting your info use the address
    401 Post Office Rd. #202
    Waldorf, Maryland.

    That’s his constituent office address.

    I am counting on you all to show him some love

    I just sent him my best wishes that he get his head outta his ass for tomorrow’s vote.

  125. 125
    Delia says:

    My rep is Pete DeFazio of Oregon who’s always been very good on this issue. I emailed Obama site a couple of days ago on this issue and got a very vague and mealy-mouthed response back. I’m very hesitant about sending him more money at this point.

  126. 126
    Big E says:

    re: For no reason that I can fathom

    seems to me I heard someone on TV say that the Dems, because they new about the wiretapping while it was happening, if investigated would also be culpable by their knowledge of it while it was happening, and, that by giving the telcos immunity they sort of give themselves and the Repubs and Bush a version of immunity, as how can a person be guilty of something that was made retroactively legal.

    so it’s like do the crime, then rewrite the laws or grant yourself retroactive immunity so you can’t be prosecuted

  127. 127
    Cain says:

    My rep is Pete DeFazio of Oregon who’s always been very good on this issue. I emailed Obama site a couple of days ago on this issue and got a very vague and mealy-mouthed response back. I’m very hesitant about sending him more money at this point.

    David Wu my representative is against telecom immunity as well. I happy I was able to actually thank the man when he was helping with the GOTV for Obama at the local campaign office.

    In any case, it makes me think that I’m sick of both of these fools. If we want to take our country back we need to start replacing people left right and center. If they were culpable they need to be out. Either way, they should do at least one last good thing before we kick them out either by investigation or by votes. None of these people should be working for the government after this. They don’t deserve it.

    cain

  128. 128
    Rome Again says:

    A revolution is long overdue

  129. 129
    Jasonconga says:

    sorry, but didn’t this warrantless eavesdropping begin before september 11th? if it did, couldn’t those lawsuits still go forward because they might have had happened before that fateful day?

  130. 130
    Michael Gass says:

    (David Hunt wrote: For some time now, I’ve speculated the Bush Administration was spying on virtually every member of Congress before the big blow-up in ‘05 and that they’ve been blackmailing them to get them to cave on these types of issues, ever since. I have absolutely no proof. However, looking at people like Cheney, Addington, etc. who are at the top of this mess, I have a hard time believing they wouldn’t have said, “Get me every piece of dirt on Pelosi/Reid/Hoyer/etc that you can.”)

    While the evidence is circumstantial, there is some evidence that that is exactly what occurred… I detail it out here:

    http://ooibc.blogspot.com/2007.....anger.html

  131. 131
    aghast says:

    My representative, Michael Michaud in Maine’s second district, is keeping his vote a secret!!

    He’ll let his constituents know when his vote is cast…..

  132. 132
    Napoleon says:

    Well I e-mailed (and called) Obama’s office and my congressperson Republican Steve LaTourette (Ohio) who is a Republican who you just maybe able to put enough pressure on to vote against it, since I could see his seat being competative, and George Voinovich (same as LaTourette) and Sherrod Brown. First time I have written to any public official.

  133. 133
    D. Mason says:

    sorry, but didn’t this warrantless eavesdropping begin before september 11th? if it did, couldn’t those lawsuits still go forward because they might have had happened before that fateful day?

    From the wording of the law it looks like the lawsuits would get automatically dismissed before any date discovery could take place. That’s the beauty of this thing, they can say they’re only giving retro-immunity for certain dates while effectively giving the president the power to have any lawsuit dismissed before the details can be explored.

  134. 134
    Xanthippas says:

    For some time now, I’ve speculated the Bush Administration was spying on virtually every member of Congress before the big blow-up in ‘05 and that they’ve been blackmailing them to get them to cave on these types of issues…

    I’m not at all prone to conspiracy-mongering and paranoid thinking (I promise) but even I’m beginning to wonder this, because that’s how crazy this legislation is.That, or exactly how much influence the telecoms have with their money or anything else.

  135. 135
    Sopchoppy says:

    Hey,

    I’ve been an active Obama supporter, so I figured I have earned the right to call up his campaign. Go to his website, and fill out an email, or call his campaign at (866) 675-2008.

    It’s ridiculous that his answer center does not even have an entry for this issue.

  136. 136
    Sopchoppy says:

    Argh, I didn’t even look at my calendar before posting. I thought this whole FISA immunity thing was dead and I didn’t even realize the voting was going on today until just a few minutes ago. I guess it’s already passed the house, but you can still can the campaign to oppose it in the senate right?

    Obama’s Campaign headquarters phone (866) 675-2008

  137. 137
    Thomas Jackson says:

    Its fun watching so many heads of lefties blow up. I really can’t imagine why. Perhaps their phone calls pledging aid to Hamas has been recorded? Or is it that long love talk to a goat in Yemen? Or just maybe its the fact that all those class action suit lawyers will now have to pound sand.

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] Posted in Congress, Democrats at 3:01 pm by LeisureGuy From a really good post by Tim F. at Baloon Juice (and do read the post): For no reason that I can fathom Steny Hoyer has decided to capitulate entirely on government eavesdropping and amnesty for the telecoms who assisted them. What was the overwhelming political pressure? Somebody spell this out for me. […]

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