Epic Fail

The Democratic Leadership as portrayed in a picture:

epic fail
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304 replies
  1. 1
    NR says:

    And where the fuck is Obama on this? Talk about missing in action.

    If he doesn’t do anything to stop this going through the Senate, I’m going to be really pissed off.

  2. 2
    ThymeZone says:

    Well, I take this to be a FISA comment. And I have not changed my position on this subject in the last two years:

    This whole “issue” has been ginned up by Republicans as a dogwhistle thing to trap Dems and stir up the idiot base. Dems have largely not played along, refusing to be drawn into a noisy battle over it. It’s a matter of choosing your fights, and vote counting on the Hill.

    The final score in the FISA war will be up in November on election day. A crushing Dem sweep will end the reign of the GOP. That’s the only vote that counts right now. Anything that deflects from that is not productive.

    Then we have a chance to go about building the Dem party we really want. Until then, let’s keep eyes on the prize.

  3. 3
    Billy K says:

    TZ, then why not just shelve the bill until 2009? Makes no sense.

    Hoyer needs to go.

  4. 4
    NR says:

    TZ: Sorry, I can’t go along with that. This FISA bill is an atrocity.

    This bill is so bad that Dennis Hastert and Bill Frist refused to bring it up for a vote when they controlled Congress last session. Bush had to wait until the Democrats controlled Congress to get what he wanted.

    There’s a reason that this Congress has higher approval ratings among Republicans than among Democrats.

  5. 5
    Doug H. (Fausto no more) says:

    And where the fuck is Obama on this? Talk about missing in action.

    Its not like he’s busy campaigning or anything. I guess we could nominate Wally West, so we can have a presidential candidate who can campaign /and/ keep Congress under control at the same time!

    Meanwhile, I’m sure Fightin’ Hillary will be taking up the flag for us aaaaaaaaaany minute now. Yup. Any minute now.

  6. 6
    crack says:

    I can’t tell you how fucking pissed this makes me. Fuck the DCCC.

  7. 7
    pharniel says:

    obama is in the senate, i understand this abortion is in the house
    hoepfully it won’t give ENOUGH immunity to telcoms and die in the senate.

  8. 8
    weinerdog43 says:

    Pitiful. Simply pitiful. What a gutless bunch of cowards. Too chicken to even uphold their oath to the Constitution. No turkee for you DCCC.

  9. 9
    bootlegger says:

    I’m watching these noodles on C-SPAN congratulate each other for their “courage” in drafting “this bipartisan compromise”. Excuse me while I run to the toilet….

  10. 10
    Napoleon says:

    And where the fuck is Obama on this? Talk about missing in action.

    I emailed his campaign this morning and have not got a response. When his campaign e-mailed me today with something or other I responded with “where does he stand on FISA amnesty” (I know, it likely went to some inbox nobody reads).

  11. 11
    crack says:

    Doug H. :

    Fuck that, Obama could have come out against it on the campaign trail and campaigned on it FFS. And quit fighting the last fucking battle with Hilary. It’s fucking over.

  12. 12
    NR says:

    Its not like he’s busy campaigning or anything.

    I know he can campaign. I want him to show me he can lead.

    He supposedly opposes this bill. Well, as the presumptive Democratic nominee for president, he’s the leader of the party. He is, literally, the only chance left to stop this bill. And yet – silence.

  13. 13
    crw says:

    If he doesn’t do anything to stop this going through the Senate, I’m going to be really pissed off.

    As I said in an earlier thread, what’s he supposed to do? Stop campaigning for a week so he can tie up the Senate reading the Hong Kong phone book? Those are the rules the Democrats have to play with, thank you Reid. I hope he speaks out against it, and I fully expect him to vote no on cloture, but beyond that he has little real power.

    Don’t forget, he’s still in the process of consolidating power and fending off the Olde Guarde who, if they can’t beat him, will try to coopt his movement. Untill he wins the general election, Obama is only the presumptive head of the Democratic Party. There’s probably a metric fuckton of back room dealing going on right now. TZ is right. Priority needs to be on finishing the larger battle for the Presidency. If Obama loses, he immediately stops being the Head of the Democratic Party and becomes just another loser bit player Senator, like Kerry.

  14. 14
    Paul L. says:

    Nice to see the Obama apologists are excusing him.
    Day late with Saint Glenn of perpetual outrage.
    I hope that this is *false* amazement over Obama’s FISA betrayal.

    Glenn Greenwald and Matt Stoller are predictably upset that Senator Barack Obama has chosen to help out pro-FISA compromise and Blue Dog Democrat John Barrow (GA) over anti-FISA compromise and progressive Regina Thomas by cutting an ad for the former. It would be a pity if this was true upset; these two are often touted as being shining lights of the progressive blogosphere, so it’ll make us all look bad if either or both turn out to actually only have the cognitive development of a badly-socialized greyhound. After all, it’s fairly clear why Senator Obama has made this call: conservative Democrats, particularly Georgian ones, have alternatives.

    At this point, progressives don’t.

    So I suggest that the two of them shut up and get on with the job of writing puff pieces about the Democratic candidate for President, and how you should give him all of your money. That’s pretty much the task that’s been assigned to them by their betters, and the sooner they learn their place, the sooner that they’ll grow accustomed to it.

  15. 15
    Babybrie says:

    You can call Obama’s campaign office 866.675.2008 option 6. If you don’t get through keep trying, it can take several attempts. I spoke with them twice yesterday and once today. Today Bryan started to read me a prepared statement. I cut him off, politely I hope, and said that it wasn’t enough. Obama has to come out publicly with a bold statement about this. He has got to show some leadership here.

    And don’t forget to call your own Senators.

  16. 16
    Crust says:

    Obama supporter Anonymous Liberal:

    Obama’s silence on [the FISA deal] is increasingly deafening. I think he could easily kill this deal if he really tried, but he doesn’t seem to want to spend any political capital on it. As I’ve written before, I really don’t see why the Democrats are so scared of this issue. I don’t see anything but a political upside to taking a stand against granting retroactive immunity to big telecom companies who broke the law.

    At this point, probably the best we can hope for is that he doesn’t follow Pelosi’s lead and vote for the bill.

  17. 17
    srv says:

    There’s no noisy battle going on, most of the Blue Dogs aren’t worried about winning races, they’re sucking up to the telecoms and the bones the WH is throwing them. While Obama endorses them over more progressive candidates (Barrow, et al).

    Obama might as well just nominate Lieberman for VP and get it over with. Can’t wait until we get to the GE phase and McSame and he can play who is the bigger hawk or who will pardon GW quickest.

  18. 18
    NR says:

    As I said in an earlier thread, what’s he supposed to do?

    He is the leader of the Democratic party. He’s supposed to lead.

    He could draw a very public line in the sand and use his bully pulpit (and considerable oratorical skills) to bring the Democratic caucus into line. He could call on his donors and volunteers to bring pressure to bear on the Senate.

    There are lots of things he could do. Hopefully he’ll do some of them before this gets through the Senate.

  19. 19
    crack says:

    CRW:

    What’s he supposed to do? When one of those fucking million microphones comes his way he’s supposed to say ‘This is the stupidest fucking bill ever, why are we giving into the wrongness of the Bush administration?’ That’s what he’s supposed to do. Fuck his Senate vote, just put down ‘My Pet Goat’ and fucking say something about how shitty the bill is.

  20. 20
    Karmakin says:

    Sorry guys. You didn’t stand up to protect the rights of those outside the US from having their privacy violated, once you gave up the moral argument, it was a matter of time at that point.

  21. 21
    NR says:

    And by the way, Cindy Sheehan is a complete nutjob, but now… I hope she wins. She couldn’t be any worse than Pelosi.

  22. 22
    crack says:

    Karmakin:

    That is retarded. We don’t live in a fucking anarcho utopia. I don’t even care if the telecoms are acquitted, or if it turns out that the Bushies requests were reasonable. I just want it to go through the normal process. Why the fucking need to preempt normal operations? If I were on a jury the fact that the Gov’t requested the info after 9/11 would go a long way towards me acquitting, but let it go to that point. The telecoms can afford good council, and if the suit isn’t successful the losers can end up paying for it.

  23. 23
    Jon H says:

    Anyone have a list of who voted for it?

  24. 24
    NR says:

    Via Gleenzilla, look at this. From a Fox News poll released yesterday:

    Do you approve or disapprove of the job Congress is doing?

    Democrats: 18% approve, 71% disapprove
    Republicans: 23% approve, 64% disapprove
    Independents: 15% approve, 74% disapprove

    Says it all, doesn’t it? Pelosi, Hoyer, and Reid are great Republican Congressional leaders. Much better than Hastert and Frist ever were.

  25. 25
    Stevenovitch says:

    Actually, the looks more like a picture of the liberal blogosphere to me. Seems like the Democrats got exactly what they wanted.

  26. 26
    Doug H. (Fausto no more) says:

    Fuck that, Obama could have come out against it on the campaign trail and campaigned on it FFS. And quit fighting the last fucking battle with Hilary. It’s fucking over.

    I’m not fighting the last fucking battle. You want to hold Obama up to his leadership role, fine. I’m holding Hillary up to the same leadership qualities that all her supporters believed she had. She wants people to believe she’s a fighter? Now’s a good time to start fighting. The more prominent voices, the better.

  27. 27
    JC says:

    This is, bottom line, an issue of following the Constitution, or not. Speaking up for the Constitution, or not.

    Not only do we have 80 democratic house members – 1/3 – who will vote for this, we have another 1/3 who will register their “nays”, meekly, and with no other protest.

    I think that means that the Constitution and individual rights, is smaller as a percentage, than the Bush twenty-eight percenters.

    And, of course, the democratic nominee for President, the almost nominee for President, are NOT in our ‘uphold the Constitution, uphold the laws”, party.

    I mean really – retroactive immunity? RETROACTIVE IMMUNITY??

    Commit a crime – then simply say ‘oh, the government said it was ok to commit this crime”.

    THAT establishes a beachhead, doesn’t it against the forces of corruption? Rolling over?

  28. 28
    ThymeZone says:

    TZ, then why not just shelve the bill until 2009? Makes no sense.

    I am aware of all Balloon Juice traditions, once a theme is established here, you can’t penetrate it with dynamite.

    Your question has been asked and answered, generally speaking, numerous times in the last two years. The simple answer is that the thing doesn’t matter, the practical reality is that it’s not quite the big deal that the Outragey Outragers here would have you believe. It’s a reverse Trojan Horse, a phony issue mashup that was cleverly used (as part of a whole portfolio of such “issues”) as part of the GOP effort to use the GWOT as a political device. They win as long as we play their game, and get into fights on their terms.

    The Dem strategy has been to ignore their taunts, play along with them and go for the big kill in 2008. This is 2008 and we are about to see the Big Kill.

    Next year, we can do whatever we want with FISA. We can reinvent the whole model. Which is what is needed here.

    Meantime, blahblahblah. The next year is going to be very educational.

  29. 29
    Mark says:

    minor point, if you’re going to pull an image from a website at least give credit to the website by giving it a link.

    http://icanhascheezburger.com/

  30. 30
    NR says:

    Doug – The primary is over. Obama won. What is the point of talking about Hillary? Yes, it would be nice if she spoke out strongly against this bill, but she’s not in the position Obama is.

    Obama is the only one left who can stop this bill. Hillary can’t do that.

  31. 31
    ThymeZone says:

    Obama might as well just nominate Lieberman for VP and get it over with

    Somehow the suggestion that you are not the brightest LED on the dashboard just doesn’t quite get the job done.

    You really are just one hopelessly stupid fuck.

  32. 32
    John Cole says:

    minor point, if you’re going to pull an image from a website at least give credit to the website by giving it a link.

    I kind of thought the url on the picture took care of that…

  33. 33
    CarolinCA says:

    Here’s the rollcall on the final vote.

    http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2008/roll437.xml

  34. 34
    crw says:

    He is the leader of the Democratic party.

    No he is not. Not yet. You guys seem to have already forgotten because he made it look so effortless, but Obama’s primary victory was a squeaker. He didn’t bury Clinton so much as go 15 rounds with her and win by TKO. He’s taking over, but the Clinton wing and all the Big Money still wields a lot of power. Enough that they could lose him the election if they wanted to. He’s playing a tight game now, trying to put these forces away for good. But that’1s not going to happen in 2 weeks. Or a month. Or 3 months. He can’t start throwing his weight around until, you know, he actually wins the big prize. Even then, if he pisses too many people off and refuses to play ball, he’s screwed. Look at what happened to Carter.

    The guy has a great civil liberties record. I think he’s earned a little forbearance while he tries to clean up the old machine. As said, I do hope he speaks out about it. And he damn well better vote no on cloture (again). But I’m not expecting him to slap the party around over this. I expect him to work against it for sure, and more generally to continue working to eject the tendrils of plutocratic control out of the party. But make no mistake. This is a long and difficult chess game we’re looking at to really reform the party.

    Also, what TZ said.

  35. 35
    NR says:

    Next year, we can do whatever we want with FISA. We can reinvent the whole model.

    Yes, that’s true – next year, we can change FISA however we like.

    Except for the issue of telecom immunity.

    Once passed, telecom immunity will be considered an acquired right, and cannot be taken away. The lawsuits will be dismissed, and we will never find out what really happened with all the warrantless spying that went on.

    That’s why this bill is such an atrocity. Once telecom immunity passes, there’s no way to get the toothpaste back in the tube.

  36. 36
    ThymeZone says:

    Barack is not going to be drawn into any fight that does not fit the plan for his campaign. You are watching a history-making march to the White House here, and this FISA thing is exactly the kind of waste of time that our enemies would love to see us get into right now, anything to deflect from the real priority at hand.

    I put my money where my mouth is. I maxxed out on the Obama primary campaign contribution limit and I will do the same for the general, precisely because I know that he’ll use my money wisely and not waste time and effort on things that don’t matter …. like FISA, in June of an election year.

  37. 37
    Billy K says:

    Mark Says:
    minor point, if you’re going to pull an image from a website at least give credit to the website by giving it a link.

    http://icanhascheezburger.com/

    Minor point, why not give them credit for stealing the concept?

  38. 38
    John Cole says:

    So, according to the roll call vote, a grand total of 128 Democrats voted against this bill.

    Now, can you rocket scientists screaming at Obama tell me why he needs to go down with this sinking ship? Principle? How about he ties the FISA bill to himself, douses himself with gasoline, and immolates himself on the Capitol steps while screaming “Death before Telco Immunity?” Would that be principled enough?

    I understand where you are coming from, but the guy is trying to win in November. Why choose to fight a battle and spend political capital on an issue that has already been decided? Do you honestly think there will be more than 15 Democrats who will vote against this in the Senate?

  39. 39
    Doug H. (Fausto no more) says:

    Obama is the only one left who can stop this bill. Hillary can’t do that.

    Contrary to Internets opinion, Obama really does not have magical MUP powers. He might be the presumptive Democratic nominee, but he’s not the Big Dog yet.

    He didn’t bury Clinton so much as go 15 rounds with her and win by TKO.

    Exactly. Hillary’s loss didn’t turn her into a pumpkin, she still has a lot of weight to throw around the party.

  40. 40
    Scott H says:

    I lifted my lifetime ban on watching C-SPAN to witness that? (At least, I’ve got Kolchak: The Night Stalker on Chiller channel as a unicorn chaser.)

  41. 41
    ThymeZone says:

    Blahblah internet tradtion blah.

    Telecom immunity? In this context? If anyone here really cared about electronic privacy, they’d read up on the topic and realize that the privacy ship sailed a long time ago, and this is but a drop in the bucket in that cesspool of competing interests.

    Really, the outrage over this thing is just embarassing and nonsensical. There is a mountain of hurt out there for anyone who really wants to get into the whole privacy issue. Seeing Dems wring their hands over this is like watching Republicans pretend to care about “life” when the topic is abortion, and then shit all over life all the rest of the time.

  42. 42
    Billy K says:

    not waste time and effort on things that don’t matter …. like FISA,

    I’m usually with you, TZ, but um….this kinda matters. Shame on you for not recognizing it.

  43. 43
    NR says:

    TZ – Sorry, I don’t consider the U.S. Constitution to be unimportant.

    John – Yes, you’re right that only about 15 Democrats in the Senate will vote against this bill as things stand now. If Obama came out forcefully against it, that would chance in a hurry. If he were willing to make this a priority and get his organization behind the effort, he could move some Democratic Senators. They wouldn’t want to be seen as standing in stark public opposition to their own nominee for President.

    Maybe he couldn’t round up the 41 votes he’d need – but fuck, that doesn’t mean he shouldn’t try. The man was a constitutional law professor, he has to understand the principles at stake here.

    If he doesn’t show some leadership on this – well, I’ll still vote for him. But it will just be a vote against McCain. Nothing more.

  44. 44
    Crust says:

    It occurs to me that if Obama did want to fight this at this late hour the place to start with would be this observation (Update IV):

    With less than 24 hours to read — let alone understand — what they were voting on, the Democratic-controlled House just passed the “compromise” FISA/telecom amnesty bill by a vote of 293-129…

    Put a hold on it (or endorse Feingold or Dodd putting a hold on it). Explain that there is no need for a rush to judgment and let’s have a full and proper public debate about the merits of this. Exposed to the light of day, this sop to the telcos and the Bush administration should by all rights die. Might work, pretty damned risky though. He should have done something earlier.

    Obligatory disclaimer: None of this is to deny Obama is the best candidate for President.

  45. 45
    Lee says:

    It really pisses me off that once again I’m treated to a round of headlines blaring that the White House wins again. WTF?! I mean, this morning as I was driving in to work, I was listening to NPR and they had several lawmakers on talking about what a great bill it was and how it was all so very bipartisan. Every single one of them was a Republican. The Democrats in Congress should be absolutely ashamed of themselves.

  46. 46
    ThymeZone says:

    TZ – Sorry, I don’t consider the U.S. Constitution to be unimportant.

    Self righteous chest beating in support of a foolish idea is the signature of a loser.

    Fortunately, we have a winner carring the Dem banner this year. Watch, and learn. Observe the art, and the effect, of knowing how to pick battles and win wars instead of battles.

    Or, don’t, whatever bakes your cookie.

  47. 47

    Yeah, this isn’t stupidity, this is cowardice. Maybe now people understand the power that the intelligence services have over Congress. Not that any intelligence org would use that power over a politician. Right, Governor Spitzer? Right, Senator Wellstone? Right, Senator Hart? Right, Senator Kennedy?

  48. 48
    mrmobi says:

    This whole “issue” has been ginned up by Republicans as a dogwhistle thing to trap Dems and stir up the idiot base. Dems have largely not played along, refusing to be drawn into a noisy battle over it. It’s a matter of choosing your fights, and vote counting on the Hill.

    The final score in the FISA war will be up in November on election day. A crushing Dem sweep will end the reign of the GOP. That’s the only vote that counts right now. Anything that deflects from that is not productive.

    That’s affirmative, TZ. This dust-up has absolutely nothing to do with national security. Our government started this crap before September 11th, as most of you know. So, it’s not like we didn’t know that they don’t believe in the rule of law.

    This is a sign of true desperation from the Party of Torture. They have been reduced to pushing phony “gotcha” campaign issues of national security in congress because it’s all they’ve got till Mr. McFlightsuit leaves the stage.

    This is truly and “eyes on the prize” moment in our politics, and, from what I can see, the Obama campaign is focused, fired up and ready to go.

    I’m looking for a big win in November, certainly an historic win. I’ll take that moment of schadenfreude with some considerable glee, too.

  49. 49
    ThymeZone says:

    Gotta ask, John: Is this like a flypaper thread, hung out there just to catch teh stoopid and keep it all in one place?

    Well, it’s working as planned.

  50. 50
    Elvis Elvisberg says:

    Obama could draw attention to this bill.

    It’s unpopular. It’s harmful to the Constitution. It was drawn up in secret, and no one could read it ’til like 24 hours before the vote.

    Sunlight could kill this bill. Obama is the person best positioned to bring that sunlight (yeah, Clinton could too, she deserves some blame, but she’s not the new head of the party). And he’s not doing it.

    I’m not asking for a self-immolation. I’m asking for some leadership. Something. More than the nothing we’re getting.

  51. 51
    JC says:

    Thymezone,

    You simply are wrong – I’m fine to be in the minority on this, but yes, it matters.

    SPECIFICALLY, the fact that is such a thing as ‘RETROACTIVE IMMUNITY’, as defined here, makes a joke of upholding the law.

    In terms of accountability for this administration, what is clearly happening, is that democrats are licking their lips, anticipating their pickups in November – and don’t want to “rock the boat”. Or ‘fall into’ Republicans traps.

    But you know, EXACTLY this was the case with the Iraq War, the War on Terror, and any number of these things. Democrats basically “go along to get along”.

    Now Obama – I get the point that he can’t waste political capital on this, given his goals. But there is a cost. I’m certainly not buying into his “change the way Washington works”, as he personally, is accumulating power at a fast clip IN the democratic party, isn’t willing to step outside and protect the Constitution and gives silent assent to retroactive immunity.

    Certainly doesn’t INSPIRE me to contribute anymore to him, or democrats in general, for that matter.

    What the hell is Nancy Pelosi voting for this for? That’s what I don’t understand. She represents San Francisco.

  52. 52
    CarolinCA says:

    Before I forget, please refer back to the voting rollcall I posted earlier in this thread.

    Note those who voted AGAINST the FISA capitulation.

    Contact them. Thank them. Contribute to them. Let them know how much we appreciate them.

  53. 53
    John Cole says:

    John – Yes, you’re right that only about 15 Democrats in the Senate will vote against this bill as things stand now. If Obama came out forcefully against it, that would chance in a hurry. If he were willing to make this a priority and get his organization behind the effort, he could move some Democratic Senators. They wouldn’t want to be seen as standing in stark public opposition to their own nominee for President.

    And we will be greeted as liberators and there will be democracy sweeping across the Middle East and the war will pay for itself! Seriously, this magical thinking is awesome and everything, but how about we stick to facts.

    First, Obama has been against this and repeatedly stated so. While he is the nominee, he is not in the House, and members of the House have a pretty straight-forward attitude to Senate interference- “fuck right off,” I think it goes.

    Second, it is asinine to think that Obama is that much in control of the party. He is not. He can not issue a statement and every Senator will immediately spring to the side of their leader.

    Third, there are centrist and right-wing Democrats who are going to support this bill. Period. If you could conly muster 128 votes against this bill in the House, the far more conservative Senate is going to be tougher.

    Finally, for all we know, Obama MAY in fact be doing something. But demanding him to come out and rip the House a new asshole when he is going to need all of their help to get elected in the fall is the kind of stupid shit that makes me realize why Democrats always lose to fucking scummy corrupt Republicans. In short, you are idiots.

  54. 54
    Fwiffo says:

    Obama could end this shit with one phone call. He could have just told the DCCC that he’s not going to sign on to any more of their fund-raising letters if they pass this, and somehow magically, it would never have come to a vote. Politicians listen to dollar signs, and Barack Obama is the biggest fucking $ in the history of politics.

    In the Senate, it’s even easier. All you have to do is put a “hold” on the bill, and it magically never comes up for a vote. Well, that works pretty well if you’re a Republican. Still, it’s well with Obama’s power to stop this.

    There’s basically zero political cost. Those who favor amnesty are already voting Republican, those opposed are already voting Democratic. Swing voters are too damn stupid to understand an issue as complex as this. They’re not going to vote based on some byzantine bill that passed or failed to pass in the middle of June.

  55. 55
    Punchy says:

    Stop campaigning for a week so he can tie up the Senate reading the Hong Kong phone book Koran?

    Muslims dont read phone books. Duh.

  56. 56
    JC says:

    Self righteous chest beating in support of a foolish idea is the signature of a loser.

    Couldn’t have been said better if you were a Republican.

    All that’s missing is the “heh”.

  57. 57
    NR says:

    For everyone worried that taking a stand on this issue would hurt Obama with voters, need I remind you that polls have shown a solid majority of Americans opposed to retroactive immunity for the telecoms?

  58. 58
    Stevenovitch says:

    I don’t know if I care about the concept of privacy nearly as much as the concept of retroactively legalizing unlawful behavior, smells like shit like that shouldn’t happen in a real democracy, I don’t think this is being too idealistic as it really is the bare minimum of a functioning free society.

  59. 59
    Napoleon says:

    Well I just contributed $200 to people running against people who are running against people who voted for amnisty today.

    I am finished contributing to Obama.

  60. 60
    Evinfuilt says:

    Obama could have, he should have, said something. he is now the leader of the Democratic Party, his silence is truly deafening.

    That my Republican Congressman (Paul) was against it says enough and earned him my vote in November (okay, so he’s running unopposed again.) A little sad that he was against it but still didn’t come in to vote against it.

  61. 61
    Crust says:

    TZ, were you equally blase about the Libby commutation? This is far worse, in part because this (in all likelihood) will get the stamp of approval from Congress, in addition to that of the executive.

    You may not care about the rule of law, but some people do. Personally, I take offense at the idea that those of power or means can exempt themselves from the law as the telcos have been able to do here with the help of their lobbyists and pliant Congressmen.

  62. 62
    JC says:

    Good on you Napoleon.

    I got a message from the Obama campaign about opting out of public funds. Hit the reply, said I’d vote for him, but I certainly don’t plan on contributing to him.

  63. 63
    ThymeZone says:

    JC, your initials befit a commenter who can nail himself to the cross with one hand and observe all internet traditions with the other. Well done.

    However, at BJ, you are not in the minority on this, you are in the majority. Most of the blatherdems here agree with you. WORST BILL EVAH. etc

    Well, it’s not the worst bill ever, it’s not even the worst privacy hit ever, or even recently, or even in the top 100 probably.

    But more to the point, it is not something that gets us votes in November of 2008, and not something that a smart candidate like Barack Obama is going to get sucked into.

  64. 64
    jibeaux says:

    I don’t see anything but a political upside to taking a stand against granting retroactive immunity to big telecom companies who broke the law.

    Here’s the thing, though, it’s a big deal to the netroots. It isn’t a kitchen sink issue, it just isn’t. This is one of those issues that people who don’t spend all day on political blogs just don’t care about because it doesn’t affect their lives. I strongly disagree with telecom immunity, I’m just being practical. I think about 8000% more people would rank gas prices above FISA.
    To that end, though I’m not sure why there would be a political cost to blocking immunity any more than there would be political capital in capitulating on it. So I’ve argumented myself into a corner, there.

  65. 65
    Blue Raven says:

    Telecom immunity? In this context? If anyone here really cared about electronic privacy, they’d read up on the topic and realize that the privacy ship sailed a long time ago, and this is but a drop in the bucket in that cesspool of competing interests.

    Forgiving lawbreakers is not a drop in the bucket. That statement is, frankly, disgusting and unworthy of an intelligent ind.

  66. 66
    John Cole says:

    Well I just contributed $200 to people running against people who are running against people who voted for amnisty today.

    I am finished contributing to Obama.

    Look, I am trying to be nice about this, but I can’t, so let me just let it hang out- you are a fucking idiot. You are done supporting Obama, one of the few who has ACTIVELY opposed the bill because he didn’t stop it from passing in the House and now has not “done enough” to stop it when there isn’t even a vote scheduled in the Senate?

    What is next- you going to blame him for the sexism and misogyny of the primary?

  67. 67
    JC says:

    You may not care about the rule of law, but some people do.

    That’s the bottom line Crust. Notice that TZ doesn’t even ENGAGE on rule of law. He can’t, really, because he knows the fact don’t support him.

    It’s “all politics” to him – F*CK principle.

  68. 68
    crw says:

    For everyone worried that taking a stand on this issue would hurt Obama with voters,

    Dude. Not with voters. With the power brokers who still wield a great deal of influence in the Party. If you don’t think the telecoms have a shiv buried deep in the Democratic Party that they’re perfectly willing to twist a little to get their way, you are a fool. Obama’s trying to ween the party from this influence by moving to small donor contributions, but the process is far from complete. You should note that the DCCC and DSCC have not taken the no PAC/Lobbyist pledge. That should tell you something about who really runs Congress.

  69. 69
    Blue Raven says:

    intelligent ind.

    Mind. Typos are clearly part of the process. ;)

  70. 70
    ThymeZone says:

    You may not care about the rule of law, but some people do.

    Yes, my history here clearly bespeaks a complete disdain for the rule of law. I am the Anti-Law.

    Good Christ. John, more flypaper please, this strip is just about covered with flies.

  71. 71
    JC says:

    John Cole,

    Same answer to you –

    You may not care about the rule of law, but some people do.

    What is there about that you don’t understand?

  72. 72
    JC says:

    Yes, my history here clearly bespeaks a complete disdain for the rule of law.

    I don’t see you ARGUING FROM THE LAW. I see you making political arguments, and heaping disdain upon those who ARE arguing from the law.

  73. 73
    ThymeZone says:

    John, JC has caused me to have an idea, you need to add Trollcatcher to the topics list for your thread classifications.

    JC is probably some listmember who has a burning hemmorhoid and is taking it out on your blog today. He has jumped so many sharks in the last few minutes, they might have to hire him at Sea World.

  74. 74
    JC says:

    What in the argument from Glenn Greenwald do you disagree with?

  75. 75
    John Cole says:

    JC- Of course I care about the rule of law, which is why I opposed the bill

    Guess what, you fucking moron. SO DOES OBAMA.

    You all are bitching at him because he does not oppose it enough or oppose it in the way you want or did not ISSUE AN EDICT TO THE OTHER CHAMBER OF CONGRESS and MAGICALLY the bill would fail.

    You are idiots. I am done with this discussion. Rather than lashing out at the people who supported the bill, you are flaying alive the people who are on the right side of the issue. What about Russ Feingold- is he evil because he has not promised a filibuster? Chris Dodd did not liquidate all his assets and buy full-page ads in the NY Times, so clearly HE DOES NOT CARE ABOUT THE RULE OF LAW EITHER.

    Fucking morons.

  76. 76
    NR says:

    John – I’m not ready to condemn Obama yet. I’m still holding out hope that he’ll take a stand against this in the Senate.

    But if he lets this sail through the Senate with nothing more than a tepid public statement against it, well…. Like I said, I’ll still vote for him, to keep McCain out, but that’s it.

  77. 77
    JC says:

    JC is probably some listmember who has a burning hemmorhoid and is taking it out on your blog today. He has jumped so many sharks in the last few minutes, they might have to hire him at Sea World.

    And so you prove my point – heaping on the condescension, avoiding any conversation about the Rule of Law, or principle.

    You you confirm my comment, in the very next comment.

    Thanks for that. Makes it easy.

  78. 78

    As strong a stand as Obama has taken, I would like to see more. Besides being a good idea, for all the right reasons, its a fantastic issue to throw at McCain, to “reach across” and offer to stand with him for the rule of law, rather than bending the law for Telcos, and watch the Libertarian Republicans and the “So afraid I wet myself” Republicans tear at each other.

  79. 79
    ThymeZone says:

    I see you making political arguments

    What an odd thing to do in the heart of a realignment political year, when we are trying to save the country from a beast. Make a political argument.

    Shame on me. What am I thinking?

    You have blown your cover, dude. Your spoofy phony outrage has become a creepy awareness of all internet tradition in a clown suit.

  80. 80
    Elvis Elvisberg says:

    “I’m not here to say that the government is always right, but when the government tells you to do something, I’m sure you would all agree that I think you all recognize that is something you need to do.” — Kit Bond.

    Good god, I wish there were still such a thing as conservatism in this country.

    John, I think what our disagreement boils down to here is, how important is this issue? Because obviously, given its unpopularity and unfairness, more attention in the form of public and private pressure from Obama could at least slow this thing down. I think that this bill is seriously bad– it fixes a non-existent problem, gives the Bush administration a get out of jail free card, and provides the example that the government and private companies can violate the Fourth Amendment with impunity.

    So yeah, I’d like to see a little effort, at least a clear statement, from Obama on this. It’s not a political loser, either. I just don’t get why he’s not saying anything.

  81. 81
    crack says:

    Doug H:
    At no time was Hilary my choice for the nomination, but don’t delude yourself into thinking you’re not dragging her in as a distraction. If she came out strong against it now you’d just say she was doing it to undermine Obama. She needs to be less visible not more exactly because she lost.

    Exactly as NR says we won’t be able to revisit immunity, ex post facto still applies no matter what the Bush administration may claim. Why not redo FISA and leave immunity alone? Bush vetoes, but everyone hates him and no one trusts him. If McCain sides with Bush it strengthens the McBush meme. Its not just bad policy its shitty politics.

  82. 82
    Jon H says:

    So John,

    Are you in favor of this EPIC FAIL?

    You seem to be acting like it’s no big deal. Yet if it’s no big deal, then how can it be an EPIC FAIL?

  83. 83
    JC says:

    JC- Of course I care about the rule of law, which is why I opposed the bill

    Guess what, you fucking moron. SO DOES OBAMA.

    Really? Why? He seems to be quiet as a mouse. He opposes this? He speaks out on this?

    Tell you what – you show me WHERE – in the ‘reality based community’ – he is doing this – and I’ll shut the fuck up, ok?

  84. 84
    NR says:

    As strong a stand as Obama has taken, I would like to see more. Besides being a good idea, for all the right reasons, its a fantastic issue to throw at McCain, to “reach across” and offer to stand with him for the rule of law, rather than bending the law for Telcos, and watch the Libertarian Republicans and the “So afraid I wet myself” Republicans tear at each other.

    Exactly!

    Obama has shown a great deal of political skill so far in this campaign. Does anyone doubt that he could frame this issue to his advantage?

  85. 85
    John Cole says:

    I don’t see you ARGUING FROM THE LAW. I see you making political arguments, and heaping disdain upon those who ARE arguing from the law.

    Because. We. All. Agree. The. Bill. Is. Bad.

    There is no disagreement, that is why we are not arguing about the bill itself. It sucks, and pretty much everyone here agrees it sucks. So does Obama, which is why he opposes it. Not that you would notice it with all the wailing and gnashing of teeth and the “OMG OBAMA IS NOT DOING ENOUGH” bs here.

    Are you drinking?

  86. 86
    Joshua says:

    Is it just me, or have the Democrats essentially codified Nixon’s “if the President does it, it’s not illegal” theory of executive power into law?

    This is what Dick Cheney has been working for his entire career, and it was handed to him. BY DEMOCRATS.

  87. 87
    Jon H says:

    Why should Obama fight this?

    Because it’s another Patriot Act, with the bill put out 24 hours before a vote, so nobody has time to read the abortion before voting on it.

  88. 88
    Doug H. (Fausto no more) says:

    If she came out strong against it now you’d just say she was doing it to undermine Obama.

    Bzzt. Thanks for playing. If she came out strong for it now, I’d be fully behind her 100%.

  89. 89
    ThymeZone says:

    Better trolls please. JC does not advance to the next round of Last Troll Standing.

    Sorry, JC. We have high standards here. Maybe you should try calling in to radio talk shows?

  90. 90
    John S. says:

    It’s “all politics” to him – F*CK principle.

    Well…yeah.

    Principles are great, but they don’t win elections. Playing smart politics wins elections.

    In the grand scheme of things, this bill is pretty toothless and something that can be undone in the next administration. Provided that the next administration is Democratic.

    This is probably a bit of hyperbolic dichotomy, but do you want Obama to:

    A) Be the champion of fighting a bill that will pass
    B) Be the next president

  91. 91
    Martin says:

    As I said in an earlier thread, what’s he supposed to do?

    “When I win in November I’m gonna come back here and tell you guys to fix this shit and you’ll look like fucking idiots for going along with it 5 months before the election.”

    And Obama doesn’t need to do anything hard to stop this. He’s the head of the party. He just tells Reid to stick the damn thing in his sock for the next 5 months.

  92. 92
    JC says:

    Thymzone,

    If all you’ve got is scorn, f**k right off. Really.

    I’ve been posting, sporadically, on this site for over, what, 3 years? Always using JC. Yeah, I’m not a regular – I’m more a serial poster, when a subject catches my eye.

    But hey – let’s agree – you’re a piece of SH*T who doesn’t engage in argument, and only engages in snark.

    In THIS thread – have you engaged my argument?

    In THIS thread – have you engaged how important rule of law is?

    In THIS thread – you are being the troll. Really, look at your ‘ENGAGEMENT’ in the comments here.

  93. 93
    Jon H says:

    John wrote: “So does Obama, which is why he opposes it.”

    Actions speak louder than words, John. The Democrats are awfully good at ‘opposing’ things through empty useless verbiage.

    How about a hold on the goddamn bill?

  94. 94
    Martin says:

    A) Be the champion of fighting a bill that will pass
    B) Be the next president

    False dichotomy, actually. The public doesn’t support this bill. Just kill it.

  95. 95
    Glocksman says:

    I just got off of the phone with my Blue Dog Congressman’s (Brad Ellsworth IN-08) DC office after a 5 minute conversation with a staffer over his vote for the bill.

    The guy valiantly defended the Congressman’s vote as an acceptable compromise, but reading between the lines I came away with the impression that he voted for it for 2 possible reasons.

    1. Southwestern Indiana is *very* conservative, and Repub dog-whisting over ‘national security’ resonates here and could cost him votes.
    Though the Republicans have a very weak candidate this year, so I don’t think that’s too much of a threat.

    2. He was ‘persuaded’ to vote yes by the House leadership.

    IHMO, it’s #2.

  96. 96
    Crust says:

    John Cole:

    [M]embers of the House have a pretty straight-forward attitude to Senate interference- “fuck right off,” I think it goes.

    Huh. So I guess those press reports we read the last time round about how Dodd lobbied the House hard and helped turn it around were wrong. Or is it just that you think Obama doesn’t have the powers of moral suasion that Dodd does?

    Look, the reality is — or at least looks like — the train is leaving the station. This horrific precedent is all but a done deal. But let’s not kid ourselves: Obama probably could have stopped it. For instance, he could have asked Pelosi not to bring to the floor a version that had amnesty in it, warning her that he would take a strong stand against it if she did. (In fairness, maybe he did that and she said F-U. Who knows for sure)

    Obama is not perfect. There’s no need to call people “idiots” for pointing this out.

  97. 97
    ThymeZone says:

    heaping on the condescension

    Yeah, but I have a few things going for me that you don’t.

    One, I’m way funnier than you.

    Two, I’m way better at this than you.

    And three, I’m right, and you’re wrong.

    And I gave you the hook like a long time ago. Aren’t you supposed to be out on the sidewalk complaining about not getting a call back? Your audition is over. Learn from it and move on.

  98. 98
    Laertes says:

    I trust Obama’s judgement on this. If he’s not out making a huge stink, then I figure him going out and making a huge stink isn’t such a hot idea. He’s got to pick his battles. I know a whole bunch of Independents and Republicans who are going to vote Obama, and this issue doesn’t have much traction with any of them. They’re mostly of the view that penalizing the Telcos for doing what Bush asked of them is chickenshit–Congress has the power to go directly for Bush. Wimping out on that and then going after his enablers and toadies is cowardly and cheap.

    Frankly, I find it hard not to sympathize with that view. They should have impeached that cocksucker in the summer of 2004. To wait until he’s halfway out the door and then sue some corporations that quite plausibly acted in good faith at the request of a sitting President and his justice department is embarrassing.

    So. If Obama thinks this is a pitch in the dirt and he’s not going to swing at it, that’s fine by me. I’m a tiny bit disappointed, but my reservoir of faith in him is deep, and it’ll take a fairly long string of such disappointments to drain it.

    For now, I’m still a happy MUPpet.

  99. 99
    Jon H says:

    A) Be the champion of fighting a bill that will pass
    B) Be the next president

    That first one should be

    A) Be the champion of fighting a bill that needs to die

    and the answer is BOTH, bitch, because the bill is only popular with AT&T’s lawyers.

    Is it going to pass in the Senate? Only if it’s allowed to come up for a fucking vote. There are probably half a dozen ways to kill the fucking thing or at least tie it up in a sack and drop it in the fucking Potomac for six months.

    There’s no good reason for it to be voted on *now*.

  100. 100
    Jon H says:

    I bet they’re doing this now because Kennedy’s not around to stop it.

  101. 101
    JC says:

    So we all agree that this is wrong.

    And so that means…what, exactly?

    Look, if I’m an idiot because I think this is important, fine, I’ll BE that type of idiot. But it’s not my job to fall in line, and be happy with everything Obama does. It simply isn’t.

    I see Obama being quiet as a mouse. I’ll apologize all over the place if I’m wrong about that.

    But I’m simply not going to immediately go from “this bill sucks – support Obama, who agrees this bill sucks but isn’t going to do anything about it!

    I get that might be the smart move – what do I know? But guess what – it’s a free internet, and if I want to have a day where “they trash the Constitution, I’ll cry if I want to”, I’ll have it.

  102. 102
    ThymeZone says:

    But let’s not kid ourselves: Obama probably could have stopped it.

    Oh come on .. let’s kid ourselves. It’s fun, and everybody is doing it.

    Whatever your side is in this, uh, argument, it ran out of bullets about an hour ago. You are now just caricatures of yourselves.

    Obama is doing one thing and one thing only: Running for president, and winning. Unless this advances that plan, it’s out of scope. It doesn’t, and therefore, it is.

  103. 103
    Jon H says:

    “Obama is doing one thing and one thing only: Running for president, and winning. Unless this advances that plan, it’s out of scope. It doesn’t, and therefore, it is.”

    Thank you Mr. Realpolitik Shitstain.

    Now go make yourself useful.

  104. 104
    4tehlulz says:

    >>Rather than lashing out at the people who supported the bill, you are flaying alive the people who are on the right side of the issue. What about Russ Feingold- is he evil because he has not promised a filibuster? Chris Dodd did not liquidate all his assets and buy full-page ads in the NY Times

    Dodd and Russ have been oddly quiet haven’t they?

  105. 105
    ThymeZone says:

    But guess what – it’s a free internet

    OMG, this is really a thread for the archives.

    I haven’t seen a troll collapse this fast in a long time.

    I feel a tearful or angry exit coming on.

  106. 106

    Just dropping off some myxidHillIs44 repellent, in case it shows up to gloat. Which it really shouldn’t — Hillary’s FISA stance is worse, as Glenn Greenwald had occasion to tell a gloater (cough*lukasiak*cough):

    I remember a few months ago, when the Senate was preparing to vote on amnesty and FISA, and we had to force statements out of Clinton and Obama. Both of the statements they issued were vague and non-committal, and I and many other bloggers were extremely critical of both. In response, Obama almost immediately issued a much clearer and more committed statement. Clinton never did. Were you yelling and kicking and screaming back then like you claim today you would be doing if she were still running? I don’t recall that.

    Of course, all she has to do to remedy this is to commit some strong and useful action to stop the bill in the Senate. Perhaps if we offered to help her with her campaign debt?

  107. 107
    JC says:

    And three, I’m right, and you’re wrong.

    And I gave you the hook like a long time ago. Aren’t you supposed to be out on the sidewalk complaining about not getting a call back? Your audition is over. Learn from it and move on.

    And you STILL haven’t engaged on substance in this thread. So who’s the troll?

    So yeah, I’ll take that bet – who knows, I’m not omniscient, this might be the only smart move by Obama.

    But your “mere assertions” don’t win that bet. In THIS particular post and thread, it’s clear you aren’t arguing anything, but to fall into line.

    At least Cole is engaging the question – you are simply being an asshole.

  108. 108
    scav says:

    Craven panderers the lot of them and that includes far far too many of the so-called citizens of this nation. A plague on all their houses. Fiat justicia, ruat coelum. Hard and soon.

  109. 109
    ThymeZone says:

    Thank you Mr. Realpolitik Shitstain.

    You are embarassing yourself, dude. Really.

  110. 110
    Thepanzer says:

    Sorry TZ, the “lets keep our powder dry and wait for 08” is a bad idea. First off it assumes Obama wins in November. This is the same electorate that elected Bush to a 2nd term when it was more than obvious he either had an IQ less than a turnip or was actively lying his ass off in regards to nearly everything he does. A chimpanzee in a tin foil hat should have eaten his internet traditions handily but we’ve had him another very special 4 years. 2nd it essentially signals the Republicans and WH to push through every last rotten bit of legislation they can from now until January. If telecom immunity makes it through the Senate we can fully expect a deluge of similar CYA bills on the many, many other topics the Bush crew has been playing fast and loose with the law on. A 3rd area is that signals yet again that the Dems are spineless and can’t be trusted to formulate and push security policy without a Republican daddy figure to make them do it, even when its a total obscenity like this bill. I rather expect the Republicans to be crowing about ruling from the minority if this thing passes which is essentially true. 4th you seem to be implying this is all some master plan on the part of the Democratic party to cleverly play dead until 08 and then unleash a tidal wave of house cleaning. I could maybe buy into that if it weren’t for the fact that the Dems have been tits up since 2001 and have a lot of Bushdogs who have no incentive to not support every bit of Republican slime that comes down the pipe. 5th you have to draw a line in the sand somewhere and this whole agenda is the perfect capstone to the Bush years…total immunity for crimes committed at government behest. I’m not content with waiting until 08 to decide to fight and push this nonsense back into the sewer. If we let it slide we continue to enable the same band of assholes to continue acting like assholes.

  111. 111
    Jon H says:

    “Obama is doing one thing and one thing only: Running for president, and winning. Unless this advances that plan, it’s out of scope. It doesn’t, and therefore, it is.””

    Also, that’s what Clinton was doing when she voted for the war. Which lost her the nomination.

    So you might think yourself Mr. Realpolitik Genius, but you can still be wrong. The cynical safe route is not necessarily the route to the White House.

  112. 112
    John Cole says:

    Look, the reality is—or at least looks like—the train is leaving the station. This horrific precedent is all but a done deal. But let’s not kid ourselves: Obama probably could have stopped it. For instance, he could have asked Pelosi not to bring to the floor a version that had amnesty in it, warning her that he would take a strong stand against it if she did. (In fairness, maybe he did that and she said F-U. Who knows for sure)

    Woo, more magical thinking. Look as we peer into a crystal ball and make all sorts of other assertions and call them facts.

    Let’s face facts- Obama could cure aids just by glaring at it. All he had to do was say “I will come out strong against AIDS,” and everyone would change their minds and vote differently.

    This magical thinking is teh awesome.

    For the facts, here is Obama on immunity SIX months ago:

    I strongly oppose retroactive immunity in the FISA bill.

    Ever since 9/11, this Administration has put forward a false choice between the liberties we cherish and the security we demand.

    The FISA court works. The separation of power works. We can trace, track down and take out terrorists while ensuring that our actions are subject to vigorous oversight, and do not undermine the very laws and freedom that we are fighting to defend.

    No one should get a free pass to violate the basic civil liberties of the American people – not the President of the United States, and not the telecommunications companies that fell in line with his warrantless surveillance program. We have to make clear the lines that cannot be crossed.

    That is why I am co-sponsoring Senator Dodd’s amendment to remove the immunity provision. Secrecy must not trump accountability. We must show our citizens – and set an example to the world – that laws cannot be ignored when it is inconvenient.

    A grassroots movement of Americans has pushed this issue to the forefront. You have come together across this country. You have called upon our leaders to adhere to the Constitution. You have sent a message to the halls of power that the American people will not permit the abuse of power – and demanded that we reclaim our core values by restoring the rule of law.

    It’s time for Washington to hear your voices, and to act. I share your commitment to this cause, and will stand with you in the fights to come. And when I am President, the American people will once again be able to trust that their government will stand for justice, and will defend the liberties that we hold so dear as vigorously as we defend our security.

    Actions and words, you pearl-clutching wankers.

  113. 113
    John S. says:

    False dichotomy, actually.

    That’s a nice opinion, but I prefer hyperbolic dichotomy.

    Obama being overly vocal in opposition to this steaming pile of shit that will pass both houses of congress on a vote will hurt him in November. That is a fact.

    The public doesn’t support this bill.

    So what? The majority of people think we should start drilling for oil wherever the fuck the oil companies want to if it will save them a nickel a gallon in ten years. Maybe congress should get right on that, too?

    Just kill it.

    I couldn’t agree more. If Obama quietly gets this thing shelved by Reid until next year, that would be brilliant and make a lot more political sense.

  114. 114
    Napoleon says:

    Forgiving lawbreakers is not a drop in the bucket. That statement is, frankly, disgusting and unworthy of an intelligent ind.

    And here is how you can tell it is an important issue, the Dems walked away from ever continuing to look into what happened in Iran-Contra once Clinton was in office. How did that work out? Funny how all the people involved with that turned up in the clusterfuck that has been the last 7 years. If you don’t think the same thing will not happen the next time the Rep are in office unless there is real pain to them and those who went along with them you are living in a fantasy world.

  115. 115
    ThymeZone says:

    you are simply being an asshole.

    Oh my god. If you want, I can write your posts for you, I know your script much better than you do.

    I literally am laughing out loud at you at this point.

    You are so fucking bad at this.

    Intent on a desperate attempt to save the world from the Worst Catastrophe Ever, you collapse into arm-flailing after an hour.

    I don’t see any cable tv appearances for you today, JC. And you might want to consider using a handle that isn’t already used by most people here as a nick for the blog owner. Just a suggestion.

  116. 116
    Tenguphule says:

    1. Obama isn’t in the House of Reps. Ergo, he can’t vote agains this yet since it needs to be introduced in the Senate first.

    2. Things disappear when the House and Senate Negotiate differences. Contact Democratic Senators to get them to A)Poisonpill it. B)Strip Immunity in their version of the Bill C)Kill it in Committee D)Secret Hold, Bitches.

    3. Failing Concern trolls Fail.

    That is all.

  117. 117
    Jon H says:

    “Let’s face facts- Obama could cure aids just by glaring at it. All he had to do was say “I will come out strong against AIDS,” and everyone would change their minds and vote differently.”

    Yeah, because curing a virus is just the same as cowing a bunch of weak-ass politicians. Exactly the same thing.

    Right. No wonder you voted for Bush twice.

  118. 118
    JC says:

    At any rate, I’ve engaged with arguments as far as they will go –

    a. I’m pissed about just one more hit to our Constitution and rights.
    b. I’m a bit pissed at Obama – I’d like him to do more.
    c. I’m much more pissed at Pelosi – who used to be my representative.
    d. Everyone seems to want to “forgive” Obama too easily (or other democrats too easily) on this. But I could be wrong, it’s my perception.
    e. Thymezone has the trollish ALWAYS RIGHT disease. Where he is always right, without argument, and heaps scorn on anyone who disagrees.

  119. 119
    Fwiffo says:

    There is no disagreement, that is why we are not arguing about the bill itself. It sucks, and pretty much everyone here agrees it sucks. So does Obama, which is why he opposes it.

    It’s not clear to me that he does oppose it. Just voting against it is a fig leaf considering the power he holds (or ought to hold) in the party right now. Anonymous holds by individual senators (by Republicans at least) have prevented many a bill from coming to a vote. There would be very little cost for Obama to put a hold on this, particularly since polling shows that the public opposes amnesty.

    Instead, he’s been completely silent.

  120. 120
    Jon H says:

    ” Obama isn’t in the House of Reps. Ergo, he can’t vote agains this yet since it needs to be introduced in the Senate first.”

    Bully pulpit. Fundraising. Coat tails. Obama’s got leverage he could have used.

  121. 121
    Punchy says:

    Tell you what – you show me WHERE – in the ‘reality based community’ – he is doing this – and I’ll shut the fuck up, ok?

    Cole, that’s a pretty good challenge. You claim Obama has spoken out against it. I don’t think he has.

  122. 122
    ThymeZone says:

    that’s what Clinton was doing when she voted for the war.

    No, not at all. She was voting for a war, and this is not voting for a war. It’s voting for a package of legal technicalities thatwhose exact meaning and effect not even the proponents of it can agree upon … nor for that matter can its detractors.

    Hey, if you are goint to make absurd comparisons, why not compare this bill to Bombing Hiroshima, or the Civil War, or the Holocaust? Don’t hold back with the complete bullshit, let it all out. You’ll feel better.

  123. 123
    jibeaux says:

    Ah, flame wars with TZ…an internet tradition with which I am familiar.

  124. 124
    David Hunt says:

    I just got off of the phone with my Blue Dog Congressman’s (Brad Ellsworth IN-08) DC office after a 5 minute conversation with a staffer over his vote for the bill.

    The guy valiantly defended the Congressman’s vote as an acceptable compromise, but reading between the lines I came away with the impression that he voted for it for 2 possible reasons.

    1. Southwestern Indiana is very conservative, and Repub dog-whisting over ‘national security’ resonates here and could cost him votes.
    Though the Republicans have a very weak candidate this year, so I don’t think that’s too much of a threat.

    2. He was ‘persuaded’ to vote yes by the House leadership

    Yeah, I nearly blew my stack when I found Chet Edwards’ (D TX-17) on the list of yeas. My research had led me to believe that he was opposed to that piece of garbage bill. I suspect that he have been in the same boat that Ellsworth was in, but I still feel betrayed. I suppose that his vote in favor of the Military Commissions Act should have tipped me off…

    I wish I had the time to take off from work to call his office and make life miserable for one of his staff.

  125. 125
    ThymeZone says:

    Obama’s got leverage he could have used.

    OMG, what comes after Farce on the comment scale?

    Whatever that is, that’s where you are now.

  126. 126
    Xenos says:

    2. Things disappear when the House and Senate Negotiate differences. Contact Democratic Senators to get them to A)Poisonpill it. B)Strip Immunity in their version of the Bill C)Kill it in Committee D)Secret Hold, Bitches.

    I am the king of wishful thinking, but that is too pollyanna even for me. If Reid runs interference (again) none of those options can work.

    Sux that.

  127. 127
    CarolinCA says:

    Exactly what do you want Obama to do today?

    I don’t see how he could have spoken any more clearly against this thing. His stance has been quite clear.

    He’ll be voting on it next week.

    I’m more disturbed over his endorsement of John Barrow this week than his current silence. But even that won’t change my contributions to and support for him. There is far, far too much at stake in this election.

    Look, I don’t mean to seem snarky, but it just seems like some of you are expecting him to come off like Superman or something. That won’t get us anywhere, and it makes Obama supporters look a little silly.

  128. 128
    Jon H says:

    No, not at all. She was voting for a war, and this is not voting for a war. It’s voting for a package of legal technicalities thatwhose exact meaning and effect not even the proponents of it can agree upon … nor for that matter can its detractors.

    No, she was voting for a war for political reasons because she thought she needed to do so in order to get elected. She failed because of her vote.

    Now you’re saying that Obama is doing what he’s doing because it’s the smart thing to do in order to get elected. My point is that what seems like the smart, safe, thing to do to get elected often *isn’t*.

    But then, what the fuck do you know. How many cable shows are you on today?

  129. 129
    ThymeZone says:

    Where he is always right

    Not always, but usually, yes. But one thing I always am is better at this than you are.

    Keep feeding me lines, I’m on a roll. Is this all you got?

  130. 130
    Jon H says:

    OMG, what comes after Farce on the comment scale?

    You.

  131. 131
    John Cole says:

    d. Everyone seems to want to “forgive” Obama too easily (or other democrats too easily) on this. But I could be wrong, it’s my perception.

    Forgive him for what? Being on the right side of the issue? Publicly opposing the bill. Offering legislation to strip the immunity?

    No, the problem is you wankers want to take your anger out on Obama for “not doing enough” to stop a bill in the House, when it is not clear he could have done anything and we don’t know what he is doing in the Senate, where he actually has some clout. And I am mocking you for being so naive.

    If Obama comes out and says ‘This is a great bill and a good compromise” and then votes for it, then fuck him. Until then, stick your “Obama ain’t doing enough” nonsense where it belongs- up your ass with your head.

  132. 132
    Crust says:

    By the way, my sense of what happened with Obama and his campaign here is not something dark or malicious. My guess is they just dropped the ball. (Or rather this ball. Obviously, they’ve got a lot going on, and most of it they do rather well). From Punchy’s TPM link:

    It certainly is striking that Obama is now the leader of the Democratic Party, but he has yet to say anything on such a crucial public issue. Obama has in the past opposed lawsuit immunity for the telecom companies that participated in warrantless wiretapping, but neither he nor his campaign have commented on his position for the latest bill.

    Hopefully, they come to the right conclusion and Obama at least votes against the bill.

  133. 133
    jibeaux says:

    with which I am familiar.

    fail. That’s what I get for trying to work ‘n’ surf at the same time. Good thing I don’t have any gum.

  134. 134
    ThymeZone says:

    Now you’re saying that Obama is doing what he’s doing because

    Uh no, I am saying that your comparison of this vote to the AUMF vote is inapt. This is not an authorization for war. Therefore, it is not the same. Therefore, your comparison is dumb.

    Obama is doing what he is doing because he knows it’s the right thing to do …. get elected, and then work for change. In this context, in this choice, his right move is a no brainer. He’d be a fool to impale himself on this issue. He is not a fool.

    You, however, are a fool.

  135. 135
    Dork says:

    I think it’s funny how the Senate first passes the abortion, then everyone goes apoplectic waiting to see what the House would do. They deny it. Now the House passes an late-term abortion, and everyone sweats the Senate.

    Maybe this is a game all along. Pass it back and forth. If the Senate actually finds a way to kill this one, then I’m convinced this was orchestrated.

  136. 136
    ThymeZone says:

    You.

    Ah, of course. That’s why you are winning this little contest.

  137. 137
    Tenguphule says:

    Bully pulpit. Fundraising. Coat tails. Obama’s got leverage he could have used.

    Prove that he hasn’t already. He’s already duking it out with Fuckstain McCain over Habus, and the shitstain media doesn’t have enough of an attention span to walk and talk at the same time.

    Roast the capitulators. But aim at the enemy, not at the allies.

  138. 138
    Jon H says:

    “Obama is doing what he is doing because he knows it’s the right thing to do …. get elected, and then work for change. ”

    It might not be the right thing to do. In fact, if you say it’s the right thing to do, that strongly suggests it’s the precise wrong thing to do.

    Clinton thought her war vote was the right thing to do to get elected, but it opened the way for Obama’s run. So it was in fact the wrong thing to do, politically.

  139. 139
    Davebo says:

    Look guys, there’s no way Obama can get 41 democrats in the senate to refuse to vote for cloture. It ain’t going to happen.

    So the only option is to convince Reid to keep the bill for coming up for a vote.

    Again, not exactly likely.

    So just how much political capital should he expend on this sinking ship?

  140. 140
    Jon H says:

    “He’s already duking it out with Fuckstain McCain over Habus”

    Which is a waste of time.

  141. 141
    John S. says:

    Bonus cognitive dissonance…

    On the one hand:

    Damn the House Dems for passing this awful legislation only 24 hours after receiving it, which is clearly not enough time to review it properly and form a valid opinion!

    On the other hand:

    Damn the Obama for not speaking out on this awful legislation only 24 hours after receiving it, which is clearly not enough time to review it properly and form a valid opinion!

    Awesome.

  142. 142
    crw says:

    that’s what Clinton was doing when she voted for the war.

    Uhm, Obama has voted for jack and shit at this point. He voted against this same crap last time it came up. We’ll see how things go this time when it gets back to the Senate, but I’d guess he’ll vote against cloture again. Then skip town because everything after is meaningless kabuki.

    The complaint here is he isn’t spearheading the charge loudly enough for the wanker brigade. Well, sorry. He’s in the middle of a Presidential campaign now and probably scheduled up to the wazzoo to boot. So in addition to long range political calculation over how much leverage he can use against this now, there’s also the fact that he may simply have not had time to really address this issue. He is, after all, ensconced in the bubble of an all out presidential campaign AND trying to take over the Democratic party AND trying to ween the party of the corporate tit.

    To wit, politely raising it with his campaign so that the issue is raised enough to pierce the bubble is a good idea (basically, something along the lines of “your stance six months ago was why I liked you. Please keep up the fight). But the screaming outrage and magical thinking aren’t helpful ways to move forward. Keerist, people, the guy has had little over 2 weeks to move on from his victory in the primaries. As we have been saying repeatedly, his victory was impressive, but it wasn’t decisive enough for him to immediately turn around and -throw the money changers out of the temple-exert control over both houses of Congress just yet.

  143. 143
    Original Lee says:

    My Rep. voted nay. I’ve e-mailed both my Senators but only got a form letter back from one of them. I might call next week if I thought it would do any good.

  144. 144
    Dork says:

    I don’t see how he could have spoken any more clearly against this thing. His stance has been quite clear.

    Please, please, please link to where Obama has spoken out on this bill. Not “immunity” in general; this bill. According to Punchy’s link, even his advisor doesn’t know his position.

    Thx.

  145. 145
    Church Lady says:

    I checked the roll call vote and am proud to say that my Congressman, Steve Cohen, voted no.

    What I am gathering from the comments is that there are two camps here – those holding a principled stand on the issue and expecting their favored candidate to speak out against it NOW, when it counts, and those whose stand is all that matters is getting their preferred candidate elected in November, so giving him a pass on showing leadership, in order not to upset any potential independent voters, is A-OK. Am I reading the tea leaves correctly or am I off base?

  146. 146
    ThymeZone says:

    But then, what the fuck do you know.

    I know two things. One is that Barack is going to win this election, and two is that after he is sworn in, he can start to reverse the damage of the last eight years.

    There is a lot of damage to reverse, and the size of that dogpile is the reason why focussing inappropriately on just one turd at a critical juncture would be stupid, like you are — a person who stands in front of a mountain of shit and yells “OH MY GOD THAT TURD IS THE WORST TURD IN THE WORLD YOU HAVE TO GET RID OF THAT TURD.”

    See? That’s you, the guy yelling about the turd, in front of the Mount Everest of Shit.

  147. 147
    Elvis Elvisberg says:

    I really don’t think it would kill Obama to tell his spokesman that he opposes the bill. That would be a step short of self-immolation that he could take.

  148. 148
    Xenos says:

    Think about where Obama is right now- he is just the preumptive nominee. If he draws a line in the sand with his fellow Senate Dems, and and they step over it, he will lose face at a critical time for establishing his authority.

    So, back to wishful thinking mode, if he is not dodging the entire issue as a lost cause he could be working behind the scenes to get the bill killed in committee. But we are not going to hear anything about it until after it succeeds, and only if it does.

    /bwana pollyanna

  149. 149
    jibeaux says:

    stand is all that matters is getting their preferred candidate elected in November, so giving him a pass on showing leadership, in order not to upset any potential independent voters, is A-OK.

    Mine is more of a: what exactly is he, as one man, supposed to do about this, with a sprinking of the serenity prayer on top.

  150. 150
    ThymeZone says:

    Alright, this thread has run its course.

    Mark it down, and come back to it on the Wednesday after election day, and us know what you think.

    Gotta run, lunchtime.

  151. 151
    Jon H says:

    You know why Congress isn’t popular? They don’t resist Bush enough.

    You know what would be a popular thing for Obama to do? Resist Bush.

    You know what wouldn’t be good for Obama’s campaign? Appearing to go along with bullshit like every spineless turd in Congress.

  152. 152
    Jon H says:

    “what exactly is he, as one man, supposed to do about t”

    You forget, he’s the guy moving hundreds of people in the DNC from Washington to Chicago.

    The guy’s more than just 1% of the Senate.

  153. 153
    Tenguphule says:

    Which is a waste of time.

    Thank you concern troll.

    Door is to your left.

  154. 154
    jibeaux says:

    The guy’s more than just 1% of the Senate.

    …but if he’s less than 10% of the House, don’t see how it makes a difference.

  155. 155
    slippytoad says:

    ThymeZone Says:

    But let’s not kid ourselves: Obama probably could have stopped it.

    Oh come on .. let’s kid ourselves. It’s fun, and everybody is doing it.

    Whatever your side is in this, uh, argument, it ran out of bullets about an hour ago. You are now just caricatures of yourselves.

    Obama is doing one thing and one thing only: Running for president, and winning. Unless this advances that plan, it’s out of scope. It doesn’t, and therefore, it is.

    There’s that image of Obama as Neo floating around. I’m a big Obama fanboi, but that’s not how I see him. Honestly, the statement you made upthread about this being one battle in a long war is spot on. Obama needs his party united behind him, and it’s like a big weird family and a lot of the extended relations do fucked-up shit that decent people don’t agree with, but he still needs them. Right now, there is basically NO leadership in our government. Obama has some political capital as the nom but he ain’t President yet. There’s that minor formality of an election in November.

    He’s made his POSITIONS clear. And he really can’t impact what the House is doing, especially when they’re so clearly dead-set on doing it, without burning some bridges.

    Yeah, it sucks. But really this is just more graffiti from a bunch of Constitutional vandals who will soon be out of power. Got to focus on the big game and the real end goal. Or we’re setting ourselves up for more of the same from McSame.

  156. 156
    Crust says:

    It’s a debatable question whether Obama could have stopped this (I’ve argued he probably could have, John Cole thinks hell no, etc.).

    But there’s no question Pelosi could have. She’s the House leader. This version would not have made it to the floor without her blessing. Yet she allowed it to come to the floor and even voted for it. IIRC, she comes from a safe district. What’s her excuse?

    There’s also no question Reid could stop it. Also, that he won’t. He made that crystal clear the last go round.

  157. 157
    srv says:

    Somehow the suggestion that you are not the brightest LED on the dashboard just doesn’t quite get the job done.

    Laugh all you want at the dimbulbs who voted for Lamont, while your hero gushed his support for Uncle Joe. You really could care less about FISA, Patriot Act, Iraq, Iran, Wall Street bailouts or unitary theory. You talk a great talk when it’s your hot button, but you’re only real problem is a republican was doing it. None of this is going to get rolled back under Obama. And you could care less.

    You hold Pelosi, Reid, Hoyer, Obama to no higher standard than just getting elected and rolling over on queue. And when the minority republicans, blue dogs and Lieberman join up and drive Congress under Obama, you’ll no doubt come up with an excuse every time.

  158. 158
    Dennis - SGMM says:

    …so giving him a pass on showing leadership, in order not to upset any potential independent voters, is A-OK.

    I’d prefer an electoral victory to a Pyhrric one, thank you. Obama is the presumptive nominee, he will be the leader of the party when he’s elected. If the party had a leader at present then he or she would have stepped in and stopped the primary debacle months ago, wouldn’t they?

  159. 159
    Bh-Buck says:

    I keep hearing and reading that this push is for those 3000 that died on 9/11.

    Never mind that it’s a big “PHUCK YOU!” to those thousands upon thousands that gave their lives in the history of this country defending it’s Constitution.

  160. 160
    Svensker says:

    It’s not clear to me that he does oppose it. Just voting against it is a fig leaf considering the power he holds (or ought to hold) in the party right now. Anonymous holds by individual senators (by Republicans at least) have prevented many a bill from coming to a vote. There would be very little cost for Obama to put a hold on this, particularly since polling shows that the public opposes amnesty.

    Dodd put a hold on the bill when it was in the Senate, but Reid disregarded the hold, which is almost unprecedented.

    Unlike TZ, I think this bill and the Dem’s capitulation on it are abhorrent and completely unnecessary. I also think the bill is a serious blow to the Constitution.

    However, unless Obama, Feingold and Dodd can seriously twist Reid and Rockefeller’s arms, the bill is going to pass in the Senate. And I agree with TZ that Obama doesn’t have the capital to do that yet.

    While the FISA bill might be changed under an Obama administration, it seems very unlikely that telecom immunity can be reversed. It’s a horrible precedent.

    I did have fun, however, sending really mean e-mails to Hoyer, Pelosi and Emmanuel. Also gave money to Glenn’s BlueAmerica fund to target Hoyer, Carney and other cavers and enablers.

    Don’t you just love it that P.Luk is going around the blogs saying that if Hillary had won the nomination, this never would have happened? Because she’s been so strong on these issues in the past and… Oh wait….

  161. 161
    Stevenovitch says:

    But there’s no question Pelosi could have. She’s the House leader. This version would not have made it to the floor without her blessing. Yet she allowed it to come to the floor and even voted for it. IIRC, she comes from a safe district. What’s her excuse?

    There’s also no question Reid could stop it. Also, that he won’t. He made that crystal clear the last go round.

    In case you guys haven’t noticed the Democratic leadership has been waiting for you guys to stop paying enough attention so they could pass this legislation…. (see how this is the nth time they’ve tried to pass it only to put it away when public opposition turned out to be significant) They WANT this bill to go through because it is in their best interest. The only people “failing” or getting screwed here is the general public.

    Stop trying to figure out why they would let this pass and start trying to figure out how you can get people in office that actually represent you.

  162. 162
    Jon H says:

    Here’s what I think.

    For Obama to murmur his disapproval and meekly cast a vote like the other 99 Senators would be very Kerry-esque.

    Which is not what people want to see from him.

  163. 163
    nightjar says:

    so giving him a pass on showing leadership, in order not to upset any potential independent voters, is A-OK. Am I reading the tea leaves correctly or am I off base?

    Oh baloney, “showing leadership”– George A. Custer showed leadership once, and where did it get him. A prez election is like a war, where you win by picking the battles you can win. And you rarely win by leading with your chin. You want to fight with someone, talk to Nancy Pelosi, or the Blue Dogs who backed her down. Not Obama.

  164. 164

    STENY HOYER: (wags finger) We did not cave in to those telcoms.

  165. 165
    JC says:

    Cole,

    Forgive him for what? Being on the right side of the issue? Publicly opposing the bill. Offering legislation to strip the immunity?

    No, the problem is you wankers want to take your anger out on Obama for “not doing enough” to stop a bill in the House, when it is not clear he could have done anything and we don’t know what he is doing in the Senate, where he actually has some clout. And I am mocking you for being so naive.

    The thing is, for whatever reason, as you pointed out in the link, he DID oppose the last bill, six months ago – but this is pretty much the same bill, in a lot of ways – as detailed by Greenwald.

    But he hasn’t said anything NOW, that the bill is going through, as Punchy points out above.

    I think you are basically coming down with jibeaux above:

    Mine is more of a: what exactly is he, as one man, supposed to do about this, with a sprinking of the serenity prayer on top.

    That’s an understandable position – he’s only one man. John S also has a point – we need to give Obama time to absorb the legislation.

    But your argument that he’s “spoken out” against THIS particular bill, is false. Maybe it’s a good “political judgment”. But considering it is the constitution we are talking about – why shouldn’t I hope for more?

    As far as mocking me for being naive – well, sure, mock me, Greenwald, Balkin, Yglesias, et al. We clearly deserve to be mocked for wanting individual rights supported.

    I would think, being a individual rights person yourself, there would be more of a “listen, I KNOW where you are coming from, I know you are upset, I am too, it just isn’t politically feasible because of X, Y, and Z”.

    But the snap back from “Epic Fail” to “you guys mourning Epic Fail are naive” is giving me whiplash.

  166. 166
    Tenguphule says:

    Jon H Says:

    Here’s what I think.

    One of these words does not belong.

  167. 167
    LarryB says:

    ThymeZone Says:

    This whole “issue” has been ginned up by Republicans as a dogwhistle thing to trap Dems and stir up the idiot base. Dems have largely not played along, refusing to be drawn into a noisy battle over it. It’s a matter of choosing your fights, and vote counting on the Hill.

    Disagree. There didn’t need to be a battle. This could have been bottled up in committe or otherwise deprioritized, leaving the story to expire for lack of air. The whole “choose your battles” meme was just an excuse to pass the telco immunity clause.

    The final score in the FISA war will be up in November on election day. A crushing Dem sweep will end the reign of the GOP. That’s the only vote that counts right now. Anything that deflects from that is not productive.

    Again, disagree. See my comment above. I suppose if I rewrote your thought as, “We’re fucked on this one so shut up and soldier, Soldier!”, I can sorta see your point. Sigh. I am just really, really pissed right now. I’m glad it’s Friday.

  168. 168
    Tony J says:

    Lordy, what a bitch-fest.

    This is a horible, horrible, and thrice horrible abortion of a bill. It gives the White House exactly what it wanted in terms of immunity, something it couldn’t get from a GOP-led Congress because even the fucking Republicans didn’t think they could shit on the Constitution of your fair country quite this hard without looking like partisan hacks. The fact that it passed under a Democratic majority really speaks for itself.

    The suggestion that Obama should start a civil-war within the Democratic Party over it (because that’s what it would be) right now, in the run-up to the Election that he’s all but certain to win, is morally righteous (in a good way) but frankly silly and not going to happen. He’s not going to do it, and he shouldn’t, for rancidly political reasons.

    What he can and should do is wait until it gets to the Senate and make his opposition plain. It’ll almost certainly still pass, but ‘losing’ as a Senator from Illinois wouldn’t give the pro-McCain MSM the meme they’d need to spit-roast him the same way it would if he lost as “Leader of the Democratic Party”. And it gives him the freedom to do something about it as President without having to explain a flip-flop.

    That said, I’ll just repeat myself. This is a horrible bill. Just horrible. And if Obama doesen’t take the opportunity to say why it shouldn’t be passed when it gets to the Senate, those taking great pleasure in basically saying “Mmmeaaaugh. This is politics, bitch. Why are you so stupid you don’t get that?” are going to look about as credible as the majority of Democrats in Congress.

    Those apples, you probably won’t like.

  169. 169
    Joe Beese says:

    Between immolating himself on the Capitol steps and doing absolutely nothing (which is what he appears to be doing at the moment), there is a middle ground. Shocking, but true.

    Speaking for myself, I would settle for his speaking these words into one of the dozens of microphones that follow him throughout his every waking moment: “I reaffirm my opposition to this unconstitutional bill and urge my fellow Senators to join me in voting against it.”

    If he likes, he can even add: “Now watch this drive.”

    No heroics necessary. No taking of eyes off prize. Just a reminder of why we’re supposed to give a fuck whether he gets elected or not.

    In closing: a h/t to TZ for the best bitch dialogue I’ve heard since attending my last Edward Albee play.

  170. 170
    Krista says:

    Prove that he hasn’t already.

    Good point. We don’t know what he may be doing behind the scenes, boys and girls. This is a fellow whose activities during this campaign have shown us that he quietly sows seeds that tend to bear fruit later, when needed. And until those seeds bear fruit, he keeps his own counsel.

    It’s not a bad idea to put the pressure on him and on all other Dem senators right now, so that they know they’re being held to account. But I’d suggest waiting a bit before claiming that he’s done nothing. He very well may have done something, or a lot of somethings, and we just don’t know it yet.

  171. 171
    eglenn says:

    I’m sure I’m looking for the ‘pony’ in the merdepile here, but I seem to notice that the immunity is only valid from September 11th and dates after.

    I remember the days immediately after 9/11 (and no, my real name is NOT Rudy) and I think most everyone would have done anything in their power to aid the government in those days. So I can’t imagine any jury, immunity or not, would punish a Telco for doing something that wasn’t shockingly illegal.

    But if they were asked to and did it BEFORE September 11th? Throw the book (and library case it sits one) at them…

  172. 172
    crw says:

    You hold Pelosi, Reid, Hoyer, Obama to no higher standard than just getting elected and rolling over on queue. And when the minority republicans, blue dogs and Lieberman join up and drive Congress under Obama, you’ll no doubt come up with an excuse every time.

    Look, I can’t speak for anyone else, but for me it’s a matter of knowing when and how to apply political pressure. If we’re going to become an integral part of the system, that means getting a lot smarter and cooler about how we act. By all means, make note if your representative supported this abomination and target them for replacement with a small dollar funded challenger when the time comes. If your rep voted no, send them a little monetary love with a thank you note (hand written is most effective) so they’re less dependent on corporate fat cats.

    Cleaning up our government is going to be a huge, collaborative task. We’re going to have to work with our representatives instead of just treating them as a commodity to buy and put back on the shelf if it tastes bad. Most of all, we need to get informed and involved in the inside game. We need to understand the political calculations involved in these fights and what we can do to shift the balance of power. Screaming fits aren’t always going to be the best way to act. Sometimes loud advocacy will be needed. Other times we’ll need to educate our fellow voters. And still other times we’ll need to help folks in other districts oust bad actors. I think Obama is on the right track and am willing to show forbearance while he’s campaigning. If he fails to live up as President, then it will be time to put on the pressure, and to let him know if he doesn’t follow up his words, his small donors can and will go elsewhere.

  173. 173
    Thepanzer says:

    So just that I’m sure on this…the Republicans have a president with the popularity of genital warts, 80% of the public thinks we’re headed in the wrong direction, the American people surprised the establishment with the 06 mandate for change, the economy is in the toilet, we have 2 occupations grinding along on the other side of the planet, and the Democrats don’t have the political, will, cover, capitol, whatever to keep the Republicans from ruling from the minority?????? And we’re going to just wait for the ’08 inevitability train to fix all our problems?

    The reason for Obama to push this issue, yell it from the rooftops, and make it a campaign issue is exactly the fact that the public opposes it and shows leadership in running against the DC establishment tide. He’s the frontrunner and voice of the party at this point. If we’re going to go into apologist mode when the public believes we’re on the wrong track to the tune of 80% then what we’re really saying is that the Democrats will always find an excuse to not actually push the issues that need to be push and act as an opposition party. Obama and every other prominent dem “should” be fighting this thing tooth and claw. The precedent it sets is horrendous and opens the door for all manner of Republican poison pills to be used as a land mine for the next administration, assuming its not McSame who’ll go the Bush route anyway. Letting the Republicans and their Democratic enablers get away with this is really just saying we’re fine with the Bush crew booby-trapping domestic and foriegn policy for the next 6 months.

    I’m a firm believer in the MUP and will be voting for him but at the same time want him to be willing to fight these issues Martin Luther King style, JFK style, whatever. Business as usual has given us a quarter century of economic stagnation and a bunch of dead servicemen in Iraq and Afghanistan.

  174. 174
    srv says:

    Between immolating himself on the Capitol steps and doing absolutely nothing (which is what he appears to be doing at the moment), there is a middle ground. Shocking, but true.

    What is the f*ing point of being meek or in the middle an opposing this? If he votes against it, it’s still a McSame talking point about how weak he is. What does he get, McSame saying “you stabbed those 3000 victims in the back” vs “you stabbed those 3000 victims in the back and twisted it”?

    If you want to cut-and-run on every progressive issue like TZ, then just vote for the damn thing. Take it off the debate table. Tacking to the middle and playing their game is going to lead to progressives getting slapped with one issue after another until election day. Just come out now and embrace the neu-neocon agenda and hope those unhappy with it get over it by Nov.

  175. 175
    Tsulagi says:
    For the facts, here is Obama on immunity SIX months ago:

    ……………………….

    A whole lot of transcendy talk. Rinse and repeat.
    ……………………….

    Obama today? Crickets. Maybe he’s meditating on a truly awesome transcending message on the topic of principle and leadership. Too bad that process couldn’t be completed before the House vote.

    Or maybe it’s a good thing. Wouldn’t want to upset the serious adults who had decided what’s best, nor the voters who just luvs them some wiretapping and the welfare of their phone companies.

    Actions and words, you pearl-clutching wankers

    Indeed.

  176. 176
    srv says:

    But if they were asked to and did it BEFORE September 11th? Throw the book (and library case it sits one) at them…

    Except Harry and Nancy were read in. This is as much about them as George.

  177. 177
    Martin says:

    But if they were asked to and did it BEFORE September 11th?

    They did.

  178. 178
    Joe Beese says:

    srv, please, I beg you, don’t lump me in with TZ. :-)

    I think the ultimate question here is: How can Obama most effectively work towards restoring the rule of law?

    I strongly suspect Obama knows more about that than I do. If he thinks it best to bitch-slap Pelosi on C-SPAN, I’ll be thrilled. If he decides he needs to gather more reinforcements before launching a counterattack, I’ll be disappointed – but trust his judgment.

    What I can’t do without is some sign that he’s actually still fighting.

  179. 179
    PaulB says:

    And three, I’m right, and you’re wrong.

    Um, no, actually you’re not … not on the policy and not on the politics. Even worse, your posts here show that you don’t even understand the real issue, since the privacy isssue is emphatically not what people are most concerned about.

  180. 180
    JC says:

    One more, from Greenwald:

    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.

    And yet, we have people saying, this is a politically bad move to fight.

  181. 181
    ThymeZone says:

    Actually, I am right on both. As for what people here are ranting about, who cares? They are missing all the important points.

    On the policy, the Republicans themselves have stated that they stoked these issues to provide a battleground upon which they could wage their “political war on terror” and hamstring Democrats.

    On the politics, Barack is going to win the election and mainly because he is a very smart politician, and he knows how to pick the right battles and win a war while people like BJ ranters bark about the wrong battles. The simple passage of time will prove me right about that.

    The “real issue” is now what people here bitch about. It’s what’s really important. What’s really important on June 20 2008 is winning a presidential election. When that is settled, then we can worry about what needs to be fixed.

    I am right about all of that, and I was right about it two years ago too. Obviously, we disagree. So be it.

  182. 182
    PaulB says:

    It’s voting for a package of legal technicalities thatwhose exact meaning and effect not even the proponents of it can agree upon … nor for that matter can its detractors.

    And again, no. This statement is completely false. We know precisely what this legislation does with respect to the major issues under consideration.

  183. 183
    Martin says:

    Thread summary:

    Even though Obama is a senator and this bill hasn’t hit the Senate and therefore he can’t actually do anything yet, we’re really pissed at him for not doing nothing the way that we wanted him to.

  184. 184
    Fwiffo says:

    Here’s Glenn Greenwald’s fundraising page for those us who want Democrats that aren’t Republicans.

  185. 185
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    Church Lady Says:

    I checked the roll call vote and am proud to say that my Congressman, Steve Cohen, voted no.

    What I am gathering from the comments is that there are two camps here – those holding a principled stand on the issue and expecting their favored candidate to speak out against it NOW, when it counts, and those whose stand is all that matters is getting their preferred candidate elected in November, so giving him a pass on showing leadership, in order not to upset any potential independent voters, is A-OK. Am I reading the tea leaves correctly or am I off base?

    That’s what it looks like to me, and it truly is a Hobson’s choice.

    My take is that leadership is what a political figures does when it may cost them political capital to move the Overton Window on an issue. Thank you Tom Udall, who BTW is running for Senate in a culturally conservative state that is traditionally very supportive of the military, and still voted NAY. I’m disappointed that Obama hasn’t shown more leadership here, but I suspect this bill moved from back-burner to up for a vote so quickly (and WTF is up with that*) that Obama had little time to do anything to stop it without overstepping the boundaries of the institutional prerogatives deterring Senatorial interference in House business. The was not enough time to deploy a bully pulpit approach without explicitly calling out the House Dems who voted YES in a way that would have been damaging to the party, and difficult to justify doing so when the Senate still has to weigh in on this bill.

    Note that Obama has consistently campaigned in a way which emphasizes process over just results. In that respect he is a temperamental small-c conservative. Not big-footing the House leadership at the last minute looks to me to be part of his MO. The place for Obama to show leadership on this issue is now in the Senate, and I am reserving judgment on his stand until it comes up there in due time.

    *The real scandal here is: why was this bill brought up for a vote so quickly after being on the back-burner for a long time? Something stinks here, and Hoyer has some e’splaining to do. I don’t think it is out of the realm of possibility that key members of the Democratic House leadership are actively being blackmailed. My guess is that Bush & co. used their super secret powers to spy on everyone and everything and stashed away as much dirt as they could get for use against the Dems. It’s what Nixon would have done, as Cheney well knows having been there.

  186. 186
    ThymeZone says:

    and the Democrats don’t have the political, will, cover, capitol, whatever to keep the Republicans from ruling from the minority?

    They don’t have the votes on the Hill to achieve the desired objective, as has been explained in great detail over the term of this Congress.

    Will, and emotion, and righteous indignation do not count on the Hill. What counts are votes. The votes, all the votes, and only the votes.

    When we have the votes, and the executive, on our side, we can effect more change. Not until. What gets us there is what achives the objective. Nothing else. A protracted fight over this issue would be a huge mistake, and on the day after election day, as you gaze out over the vast landscape of the wreckage of the GOP, you will understand.

    Until then, keep going at the flypaper. At least this way we know where all the idiots are.

  187. 187
    PaulB says:

    Actually, I am right on both.

    Actually, you’re wrong on both.

    As for what people here are ranting about, who cares? They are missing all the important points.

    LOL…. Couldn’t have said it better myself with respect to your own ranting.

    On the policy, the Republicans themselves have stated that they stoked these issues to provide a battleground upon which they could wage their “political war on terror” and hamstring Democrats.

    Dear heart, that’s not policy, that’s politics. Thank you for proving my point.

    On the politics, Barack is going to win the election and mainly because he is a very smart politician

    Something that has nothing at all to do with the topic of this thread.

    and he knows how to pick the right battles and win a war

    Something that has yet to be demonstrated.

    while people like BJ ranters bark about the wrong battles. The simple passage of time will prove me right about that.

    No, actually it won’t.

    The “real issue” is now what people here bitch about. It’s what’s really important. What’s really important on June 20 2008 is winning a presidential election.

    Dear heart, there is room for more than one “real issue” here.

    When that is settled, then we can worry about what needs to be fixed.

    Sorry, but by then it will be a fait accompli and it will not be “fixed,” by any meaningful definition of that word. The simple passage of time will prove me right.

    I am right about all of that, and I was right about it two years ago too.

    Nope, not even close, which is why you can’t defend your position and instead are forced to simply mindlessly reiterate it, again and again, ad nauseam, as though sheer repetition makes it somehow come true. Free clue: it doesn’t.

    Obviously, we disagree. So be it.

    No shit, Sherlock.

  188. 188
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    I’m a firm believer in the MUP and will be voting for him but at the same time want him to be willing to fight these issues Martin Luther King style, JFK style, whatever.

    Actually JFK may not be the best example here, if what you are looking for is stand-in-the-doorway-this-shall-not-pass leadership from Obama. JFK picked his battles and trimmed his sails with the best of them, which caused no end of frustration on MLK’s part.

  189. 189
    ThymeZone says:

    expecting their favored candidate to speak out against it NOW, when it counts,

    But, that’s the point. It won’t count. It won’t get rid of the Worlds Worst Law, or whatever it’s being called rhetorically here, and it will deflect from the campaign plan that stands between us and a McCain presidency.

    All it will do is make a few loudmouths feel better. And do nothing to improve the odds of winning the war while people here bitch about the wrong battle.

    That’s my judgment, and that is apparently the judgment of Barack Obama. It’s a judgment call. Barack, or blog trolls?

    I will go with Barack on this. He’s earned my trust on such choices, and I have no trouble giving it to him.

  190. 190
    Dennis - SGMM says:

    Even though Obama is a senator and this bill hasn’t hit the Senate and therefore he can’t actually do anything yet, we’re really pissed at him for not doing nothing the way that we wanted him to.

    I’d add that although he’s been the presumptive nominee for almost a month he hasn’t righted every wrong in the world yet. Why hasn’t he spoken out on the cure for death or perpetual motion? You’d almost think that he was a sitting Senator facing a difficult campaign because of his youth and his race.

  191. 191
    PaulB says:

    A protracted fight over this issue would be a huge mistake

    Not even remotely. Capitulating is the real “huge mistake.”

    and on the day after election day, as you gaze out over the vast landscape of the wreckage of the GOP, you will understand.

    LOL…. What a drama queen!

    Until then, keep going at the flypaper. At least this way we know where all the idiots are.

    On this we agree: it’s quite easy to know where all the idiots are.

  192. 192
    crw says:

    And yet, we have people saying, this is a politically bad move to fight.

    No, we’re saying it may not be politically prudent for Obama to lead the charge this time. There’s a difference. Until he consolidates his power, it may be better for him to play a quiet supporting role and let Russ Feingold &c. lead the charge in the Senate. Again. Not because the voters will punish him. But because the Big Money will shiv him and we’ll end up with Revolution Aborted Part MMCXIX (Carter Redux).

    Make no mistake, I will be disappointed if Obama doesn’t at least release a statement on his campaign website by next week. But I’m not ready to get the vapors unless he votes yea on this abomination. If he skips town completely or votes yea or otherwise shows bad faith, then it’s time to break out the pitchforks and remind him where his power flows from.

  193. 193

    On the politics, Barack is going to win the election and mainly because he is a very smart politician, and he knows how to pick the right battles and win a war while people like BJ ranters bark about the wrong battles. The simple passage of time will prove me right about that.

    TZ is right. This is a shitty battle to fight. The telecom companies aren’t the real villains. Ashcroft, Bush, Cheney et al are the ones responsible for this program. The best way to punish them is to make sure there policies are overturned. We can’t do that with a Repub in the WH.

  194. 194
    ThymeZone says:

    if what you are looking for is stand-in-the-doorway-this-shall-not-pass leadership from Obama. JFK picked his battles

    Um, nobody stands in doorways when they are running for president. Maybe after they are elected. You have to get elected first.

  195. 195
    Dork says:

    What’s really important on June 20 2008 is winning a presidential election.

    Really, that’s it? So if Bush declares in a month that we’re going to bomb Iran “to kill dem terrists!”, Obama should just STFU and support Bush? Ya know….just to get elected? Wouldn’t want Obama to be seen being soft on terrorism! AUMF Number 2!

    This is what you want? A guy who votes against his principles, including maybe w/r/t Iran, just because he thinks it’ll help him avoid Republican attacks? Nice.

  196. 196
    Throwin Stones says:

    In addition to covering the telecoms and teh Bush admin, could it be that many dems were complicit and went along with the warrentless wiretapping programs?
    As was stated above, they keep bringing this legislation back up when once the outrage dies down. They could table until after November if they really wanted.

  197. 197
    ThymeZone says:

    Not even remotely. Capitulating is the real “huge mistake.”

    “Capitulation” is a term of characterization. It’s yours, and I don’t share it or respect it.

    It’s a matter of timing, and selection of battlegrounds. The objective is the war, not the battle. Choosing to fight, or not fight, a battle in order to win a war is not “capitulation,” no matter how loudly you proclaim otherwise.

  198. 198
    ThymeZone says:

    Obama should just STFU and support Bush? Ya know….just to get elected?

    You are making an ass of yourself. This is not about starting a war with Iran. You aren’t helping what little argument you have by trying to puff it up into some grotesque parody of itself.

  199. 199
    PaulB says:

    That’s what it looks like to me, and it truly is a Hobson’s choice.

    Well, see, that’s the problem: most of us believe it is not. This is an unpopular bill. When the Democrats blocked this bill the first time, there were dire warnings, from both right and left, from political pundits, from the Bush administration, from columnists, editorials, reporters, from concern trolls — everyone — that they were going to pay a huge penalty for that action.

    But, see, the thing is, they didn’t. The public weren’t buying the scare stories, didn’t “punish” those special election candidates who openly opposed the FISA capitulation, even when that position was used against them in campaign advertising and debates. The opinion polls didn’t budge one iota. Politically, you cannot point to a single negative outcome of that earlier principled stand. Not one.

  200. 200
    Dreggas says:

    Dork Says:

    I think it’s funny how the Senate first passes the abortion, then everyone goes apoplectic waiting to see what the House would do. They deny it. Now the House passes an late-term abortion, and everyone sweats the Senate.

    Maybe this is a game all along. Pass it back and forth. If the Senate actually finds a way to kill this one, then I’m convinced this was orchestrated.

    I figured this was a game of hot potato from the beginning. One side passes a bill, the other side kills it or sends it back, rinse and repeat. I fgure they’re running out the clock until after November.

  201. 201
    Josh E. says:

    Time for update. He issued a statement okaying the compromise but criticizing immunity and promising to work in the Senate to remove the provision. Que the hallelujahs and denunciations.

  202. 202
    ThymeZone says:

    it’s quite easy to know where all the idiots are.

    Some of us probably know better than others.

    Time will tell, eh?

  203. 203
    Punchy says:

    The best way to punish them is to make sure there policies are overturned. We can’t do that with a Repub in the WH.

    So these are mutually exclusive? Are you seriously trying to suggest that the only way to win in November is to capitulate to a man who has twenty-fucking-four percent favorability? Whose Vice has 18%?

    Is this your conclusion: give Bush everything he wants until November 4, then hope to God we win, in whiich case, we maybe OK, but if not….

    What the fuck happens if we dont win? Have you no idea what McCane would do with this wiretapping power?

  204. 204
    PaulB says:

    “Capitulation” is a term of characterization. It’s yours, and I don’t share it or respect it.

    I’m fine with “surrender,” if you’d prefer that. When you give your opponent everything he asks for and get nothing in return, what else can you possibly call it? I’m not the only one using this language, of course, as a quick Google news search would show. The Congressional Democrats caved. It’s foolish to pretend otherwise.

    It’s a matter of timing, and selection of battlegrounds. The objective is the war, not the battle. Choosing to fight, or not fight, a battle in order to win a war is not “capitulation,” no matter how loudly you proclaim otherwise.

    Pretending that they needed to capitulate to win the war is just not true, no matter how loudly you proclaim otherwise.

  205. 205
    Crust says:

    So it turns out Obama will follow Pelosi’s lead.

    As everyone knows, they both voted against amnesty the last time (in case anyone didn’t already know, John so gracefully repeated that fact a hundred times or so re Obama). And they’re both voting in favor of amnesty (see Update VII) this time.

  206. 206
    PaulB says:

    Some of us probably know better than others.

    Why yes, TZ, I do. Thanks for noticing.

    Time will tell, eh?

    It already has.

  207. 207
    ThymeZone says:

    What a drama queen!

    What a wanker. “Worst law ever” rants, and I’m the drama queen?

    What the hell do you think this election is about? Telecom immunity, or taking back the country? If it’s the latter, then let the people who know what they are doing, do it.

  208. 208

    What the fuck happens if we dont win? Have you no idea what McCane would do with this wiretapping power?

    We will do the best we can Mr. Panicky Panicksalot. Calm down. What are you so afraid of?

  209. 209
    Dork says:

    You are making an ass of yourself. This is not about starting a war with Iran. You aren’t helping what little argument you have by trying to puff it up into some grotesque parody of itself.

    And to think you’d actually answer a question. How stupid of me to think you’d actually answer; nope, just insults. Let’s try this again:

    You’re contending that nothing matters except getting elected, right? So Obama should/could vote for this legislation, and perhaps anything else repulsive, if it helps him get elected?

    Let’s just start there. Can you answer that? Thx.

  210. 210
    ThymeZone says:

    Pretending that they needed to capitulate to win the war is just not true,

    Calling something “capitulation” when it isn’t doesn’t make it so.

    That’s why we have these little aphorisms about the relative importance of battles, and wars … to make relevant distinctions. Obviously you can’t make this distinction correctly.

    If the choice is between your view of this, and Barack Obama’s view, I take his, and reject yours.

    It’s exactly because he knows how to size up this kind of fight that I fully support him, and fully reject you.

  211. 211
    PaulB says:

    What a wanker. “Worst law ever” rants, and I’m the drama queen?

    Dear heart, do tell me where I’ve ever said anything remotely resembling “worst law ever,” won’t you? I’ll be right here. And yes, dear, you’re a drama queen. Deal with it.

    What the hell do you think this election is about? Telecom immunity, or taking back the country?

    Um…. since these are not mutually exclusive options, I’m afraid that, like your every other post on this thread, you don’t have a point.

  212. 212
    ThymeZone says:

    You’re contending that nothing matters except getting elected, right?

    Nope. I am contending that nothing about this FISA bill matters enough to get in the way of winning the White House.

    And I did answer your question, you just didn’t like the answer. Your pretense that I didn’t answer it is rejected.

  213. 213
    crw says:

    And they’re both voting in favor of amnesty (see Update VII) this time.

    Glenn neglected this part of the quote (surprise):

    It does, however, grant retroactive immunity, and I will work in the Senate to remove this provision so that we can seek full accountability for past offenses.

    If you think Obama is just another corporate shill, I suppose you’d consider this a bit of kabuki, a meatless bone tossed to the angry netroots. If you think Obama is mostly honest, then you can presume he actually will try to strip the odious provision. We’ll see next week just how serious he is about taking it out.

  214. 214
    PaulB says:

    Calling something “capitulation” when it isn’t doesn’t make it so.

    Pretending that something is not “capitulation” when it clearly is doesn’t make it so.

    That’s why we have these little aphorisms about the relative importance of battles, and wars … to make relevant distinctions. Obviously you can’t make this distinction correctly.

    ROFL…. Whatever you say, dear. Since you have yet to demonstrate that there would be any cost of waging this “battle,” I’m afraid that, like your other posts on this thread, you don’t have a point.

    If the choice is between your view of this, and Barack Obama’s view, I take his, and reject yours.

    Oh, boo-hoo. I’m so depressed now. How can I ever live with myself knowing that I’ve been rejected by you?

    It’s exactly because he knows how to size up this kind of fight that I fully support him, and fully reject you.

    Sob, sniff …. now I’ve got nothing left to live for.

  215. 215
    ThymeZone says:

    since these are not mutually exclusive options

    That’s your opinion, and again, I don’t share it, or respect it. We disagree.

    Fighting over this bill would be a huge mistake for Obama, which is apparently also his view, otherwise I assume he’d be doing something else. I think he’s right, and you are wrong. Simple as that.

  216. 216

    In honer of all the Vichy Dems:

    The Ballad of Brave Sir Robin

    Bravely bold Sir Robin rode forth from Camelot.
    He was not afraid to die, O brave Sir Robin!
    He was not at all afraid to be killed in nasty ways,
    Brave, brave, brave, brave Sir Robin!
    He was not in the least bit scared to be mashed into a pulp,
    Or to have his eyes gouged out, and his elbows broken;
    To have his kneecaps split, and his body burned away;
    And his limbs all hacked and mangled, brave Sir Robin!
    His head smashed in and his heart cut out
    And his liver removed and his bowels unplugged
    And his nostrils raped and his bottom burned off
    And his pen–

    At this point an increasingly apprehensive Sir Robin interrupts his faithful minstrels and, as King Arthur and his knights were forced to eat Robin’s minstrels in the frozen land of Nador (and there was much rejoicing!), tragically the remaining lyrics of this stirring and inspiring ballad are lost forever. The closest we ever come to a conclusion to this song is the following stanza, heroically improvised (despite Sir Robin’s vehement protestations) as the brave knight of the round table flees…er, victoriously rides away from an encounter with the three-headed knight in the dark forest of Ewing:

    Brave Sir Robin ran away.
    Bravely ran away, away!
    When danger reared its ugly head,
    He bravely turned his tail and fled.
    Yes, brave Sir Robin turned about
    And gallantly he chickened out.
    Bravely taking to his feet
    He beat a very brave retreat,
    Bravest of the brave, Sir Robin!

    And later, as Sir Robin rejoins his sovereign king:

    He is packing it in and packing it up
    And sneaking away and buggering up
    And chickening out and pissing off home,
    Yes, bravely he is throwing in the sponge…

  217. 217
    Rick Taylor says:

    I guess you were right after all, John; the left wingers are already unhappy Obama isn’t as left wing as they’d like.

  218. 218
    ThymeZone says:

    now I’ve got nothing left to live for.

    Well, considering how badly you have sized up the relative importance of things germane to this argument, I’m not surprised to hear it. I’m sure there’s a crisis hotline in your area, good luck to you.

  219. 219
    PaulB says:

    I am contending that nothing about this FISA bill matters enough to get in the way of winning the White House

    And yet, so far, despite a truly obsessive number of posts, you have yet to provide even one iota of evidence, logic, reason, or real data to support your view that fighting this bill does anything to “get in the way of winning the White House.” Why is that?

  220. 220
    Scott H says:

    I can’t tell if this has been posted for all the flames.

    mcjoan at Daily Kos is reporting a statement by Obama and a short one from Reid. Obama’s Statement on FISA

  221. 221
    PaulB says:

    Well, considering how badly you have sized up the relative importance of things germane to this argument

    ROFL…. Oh, the irony….

    I’m not surprised to hear it. I’m sure there’s a crisis hotline in your area, good luck to you

    I’m so touched by your concern. You’ll be pleased to hear that I’m all better now. I find that I’m able to accept your “rejection” of me with equanimity. I just know you’ll be delighted.

  222. 222
    Dork says:

    Fighting over this bill would be a huge mistake for Obama

    Actually, it wouldn’t. And the problem for most of us is more academic: that there was no reason for the Dems to put themselves in this situation to begin with. They dreamed up this bill minus any political necessity whatsoever. Pretty much stunned everyone with this travesty. Obama loses nothing to fight this; instead, he rallies the base, as the House did in February.

  223. 223
    ThymeZone says:

    Whatever you say, dear.

    Dear? Are you seriously going to start calling me “dear” now?

    That’s your end game?

  224. 224
    David Hunt says:

    I don’t believe I’m stepping into this at this point in the argument. I’m not going to muster even disappointment at Obama until I see what he does when the Senate votes on this abomination next week. It seems reasonable to me that he’s got a much better chance of stopping it when it gets to the house of Congress that he’s actually a member of. I’d think that he would have more markers that he could cash in, not to mention good old-fashioned established working relationships. Finally, cloture rules means that it’s just that much easier to stop.

    If he doesn’t at least say something in support of anyone that stands up and tries to stop the bill, then I figure I’ll have something to be disappointed in. I’ll still vote for him because I’m not batshit crazy enough to vote for John McCain, but I’ll be disappointed.

    On a totally unrelated note, I think I’ve stumbled onto one of the smears that the Right Wing will use on Obama when (FSM willing) he’s President. I figure we’ll be hearing puns juxtaposing “abomination” with “Obama Nation.”

  225. 225
    PaulB says:

    That’s your opinion, and again, I don’t share it, or respect it. We disagree.

    And, again, no shit, Sherlock.

    Fighting over this bill would be a huge mistake for Obama

    No, actually, it wouldn’t, just as it wouldn’t be a mistake for the rest of the Congressional Democrats. Capitulating, on the other hand, is.

    I think he’s right, and you are wrong. Simple as that.

    Alas, I’m not. Simple as that.

  226. 226
    Crust says:

    Just to clarify: Obama is saying he will try to get amnesty stripped. But by saying that he “support[s] the compromise” he is saying that if that is unsuccessful he will still vote for it. And I’m guessing Reid will — like he did last time — set up the rules so that amnesty won’t get stripped. Ergo, in all likelihood, Obama will be voting for the bill with amnesty.

  227. 227
    PaulB says:

    Dear? Are you seriously going to start calling me “dear” now?

    ROFL… Dear heart, has it really escaped your notice that I’ve done this several times already?

    That’s your end game?

    No, dear, it’s not. Do try to keep up, won’t you?

  228. 228
    Bill White says:

    The bill was officially released within the last 24 hours however I am very confident this was worked under the radar for weeks if not months.

    I am also inclined to accept Professor Turley’s theory that this is more a “Stay Out of Jail” card for Senator Rockefeller and perhaps Speaker Pelosi than anything else. Therefore, Obama cannot spike the bill too forcefully without blowing up the Democratic Party. But he can save the evidence to use as political leverage against the guilty post November 2008.

    Bigger picture? We need to elect more true progressives to Congress and avoid reprising the Alamo.

  229. 229
    Thepanzer says:

    “They don’t have the votes on the Hill to achieve the desired objective, as has been explained in great detail over the term of this Congress.

    Will, and emotion, and righteous indignation do not count on the Hill. What counts are votes. The votes, all the votes, and only the votes.

    When we have the votes, and the executive, on our side, we can effect more change. Not until. What gets us there is what achives the objective. Nothing else. A protracted fight over this issue would be a huge mistake, and on the day after election day, as you gaze out over the vast landscape of the wreckage of the GOP, you will understand.

    Until then, keep going at the flypaper. At least this way we know where all the idiots are”

    A protracted fight over this issue is exactly what the Democrats need to do. There’s a reason that the congressional approval rating for republicans is higher than democrats at this point. Mainly that the Democrats won’t fight, won’t lead, and won’t take stop making excuses for why they keep getting letting Lucy move the football away when they’re trying to kick it. If there was a time for the democrats to copy republican stunts from the past this is it. Wether a government shutdown, filibuster, you name it. The republicans got burned with those stunts by normally pulling them off on issues the public supported or were obviously doing it for publicity’s sake. Democrats doing everything they could to shut this down would not only be the right call but prove they are capable of actual leadership. That’s not going to happen though is it.

    TZ the hole in your argument is that the dems will win in ’08 and that they’ll suddenly start acting like more than a miller-lite version of the republicans. If anything the fight over this bill shows that the bushdogs will keep catering to the minority party and the democratic party leadership will go along with it for both the money from special interests and not to be cast as “partisan” by the media. If you have cancer you don’t wait 6 months to deal with it. If my stockbroker is an idiot I don’t give him 6 more months to waste my money. If a politician spends 7 1/2 years going tits up every time the republicans say “boo” then they’re likely going to continue to find excuses to do so. The political environment ALREADY heavily favors the dems knocking the republicans teeth out. It’s like a heavyweight boxer in the 12th round and seriously behind on points waiting for the right moment to hit the other guy when the other guys eyes are closed, hands are down, and he’s asleep standing up. Just hit the fucker, quit waiting for the planets to align and Jesus to whisper it in your ear.

    From a politics perspective these TZ strategies are exactly why the dems keep getting their clocks cleaned and the Rethugs mop the floor with them. The only reason the vaunted Rovian majority isn’t in effect is due to the white-hot incompetence of the Bush administration, not due to ANY action or opposition on the part of the dems. So this misguided belief that ’08 will fix all ills and the dems are magically going to A.) win isn’t a given and B.) get a spine doesn’t jive with the last 7 1/2 years of doggy style. The republicans aren’t planning on sitting on their hands the next 6 months or the 4 years after that. By rolling over we’ve shown them they can push issues from the minority even with 80% of the public against them as far as the countries direction and they can still do whatever they damn well please.

    It isn’t the votes that count, it’s what legislation that passes that counts since that becomes the law of the land. If the Senate rolls on the FISA fight then telecom immunity becomes the new law of the land and operation “sweep it under the rug by ’08” can get well under way. Fighting strategic wars from only a tactical view is a recipe for failure.

  230. 230
    pharniel says:

    john dingal just got my vote, by voting no to this abortion.

    fucker, i was gonna have words with is office about some other stuff.

  231. 231
    NR says:

    So Obama says he’s going to try to remove immunity from the bill, and Reid says he’s going to try to get a separate vote on that issue. But let’s be honest – we all know that that vote is going to fail.

    If Obama then turns around and votes for the bill afterward, well, then I’ll have a lot more free time this summer and this fall than I thought I was going to, since I won’t be volunteering for him.

  232. 232
    crack says:

    Well Barack just won one election.

    There is no arguing with TZ. He’s obviously right, doing the same things Democrats did from 94-04 is the right way to go. It worked well then. No reason to question the strategy.

  233. 233
    Zifnab says:

    I figured this was a game of hot potato from the beginning. One side passes a bill, the other side kills it or sends it back, rinse and repeat. I fgure they’re running out the clock until after November.

    For whose benefit? The public doesn’t support this mess, so they aren’t trying to coral votes with bullshit maneuvering. The telecomms aren’t stupid. They aren’t going to support a Democrat who can’t get the legislation through the shuffle. There isn’t any generic pork or liberal-happy tac on legislation so Hoyer can just wave off the bill as a rider.

    Who benefits from all this kabuki theater, if that’s all it is? I see it as what it looks like. A handful of bought-and-paid-for Blue Dogs and their GOP backers are trying to sell a bullshit load of goods to the American public. Pelosi didn’t want to deal with impeachment. She doesn’t want to bother with an endless stream of investigations in 2009. The Dems in Congress want to push their agenda without having to clean up the mess Bush left behind. Amnesty is the perfect way for them to sweep everything under the rug.

  234. 234
    HyperIon says:

    There is far, far too much at stake in this election.

    that’s what the evangelicals have been telling themselves for many years.

  235. 235
    ThymeZone says:

    Actually, it wouldn’t. And the problem for most of us is more academic

    Uh huh. But, apparently he thinks it would, and I agree with him, and not you, for the reasons stated.

    As for ‘academic’ views of all this? I take the large view of FISA, as a very long-term political shell game that goes back a long way and represents the tip of an iceberg. The iceberg is, of course, the avoidance of responsibility that is desired by people who want to fuck over liberties in order to buy votes with fear. Which is what the Cold War was about, and where this kind of material comes from.

    But today’s vote, no matter how it turned out, cannot melt the iceberg. That’s a long term project. The short term project is taking the country back from the hillbillies and citygoats. If this vote takes even one day of the 130 or so we have left before Election Day and doesn’t get us clearly closer to that objective, then I am not interested in it. Bigger fish to fry. I take that to be Obama’s view of it, and if so, I fully support it, and reject your view.

    Again, back to you.

  236. 236
    PaulB says:

    and I agree with him, and not you, for the reasons stated.

    Alas, then, that you are unable to actually support those “reasons.”

    I fully support it, and reject your view.

    LOL…. Like I said, a drama queen.

  237. 237
    crw says:

    Just to clarify: Obama is saying he will try to get amnesty stripped. But by saying that he “support[s] the compromise” he is saying that if that is unsuccessful he will still vote for it. And I’m guessing Reid will—like he did last time—set up the rules so that amnesty won’t get stripped. Ergo, in all likelihood, Obama will be voting for the bill with amnesty.

    Hmm. Instead of prejudicing yourself and ripping Obama a new one for something he hasn’t done yet, how about taking a positive tack? Write him and his campaign in support of his efforts to strip amnesty and suggest the harder he fights, the more money he’ll get for his presidential run. If enough people take that line, it might tip him over to stronger opposition. Huffing and stamping your feet now just puts you in the looney fringe bin (as far as our professional pols are concerned), no matter how important this issue is.

  238. 238
    ThymeZone says:

    that’s what the evangelicals have been telling themselves for many years.

    Not really. They plotted a very patient, long term strategy to shift politics in a particular direction. They deliberately held their cards close and played their hands shrewdly.

    But anyway, comparing the Obama posture in the current FISA flap with evangelicals is a really effective rhetorical device.

    More, more.

  239. 239
    Martin says:

    Summary addendum:

    Now that Obama has stated his intentions, we declare them moot because, while we don’t know jack about what is actually in the bill and he’s opposed and has vowed to remove the only part that we do know about and disliked, we’re going to assume that the rest of the bill is shit and that Obama isn’t good for his word because he didn’t toss Dubya off the top of the Washington Monument last week as a symbolic gesture of his opposition to immunity and lawbreaking and Dubya and saggy boobs and shitty vodka.

    Shorter: He still didn’t do the nothing the way we wanted him to do and now our panties are wicked bunched up. Anyone know the way to NoQuarter?

  240. 240
    nightjar says:

    I’m a liberal, OK, and a proud one. I believe in the basic ideals the Democratic party stands for. But I’ve lived long enough, I hope, to no longer look at the world with rose colored glasses. Politics is not a righteous enterprise. It’s been that way in every society since there have been societies. And American politics is no different, and may even be worse. And elections in this country are the height of bullshit games, especially presidential ones. Obama didn’t create this, but contrary to some opinions, he is, in fact A POLITICIAN and does what they do to win. No saint, no messiah.

    And being a politician, he is going to take actions or pronounce positions I don’t agree with personally. I doubt he had anything to do with congress going ahead with approving telco amnesty. But now that it’s done, or nearly so, what would you have him do, start another intra-party war over one issue. That is what many of you are inferring, just to satisfy a sense of ideological purity, or for Obama to show his.

    Say you object, then let it go. When Obama is prez, then hold him responsible for what presidents do or don’t do to suit you. Persisting in a useless battle won’t help win the war, which is a dem in the WH.

  241. 241
    ThymeZone says:

    Like I said, a drama queen.

    Whatever, man. I choose Obama’s view over yours, and I am a drama queen?

    Got it.

  242. 242
    PaulB says:

    while we don’t know jack about what is actually in the bill…

    Um, actually, we do. It’s not like it’s a big secret, or even a very complicated bill. It’s perfectly straightforward.

  243. 243
    Napoleon says:

    Obama supports the amnisty.

    Well I just unsubscribed to Obama’s e-mail list and his bumpersticker comes of this weekend. If he can’t stand up for my constitutional rights he is just another piece of shit like all the Republicans.

  244. 244
    PaulB says:

    Whatever, man. I choose Obama’s view over yours, and I am a drama queen?

    ROFL…. Dear heart, is reading comprehension always this much trouble for you?

    Got it.

    Alas, as with your other posts on this thread, you clearly do not. Ah, well. Maybe someday.

  245. 245
    Crust says:

    For all those folks with a lese majeste attitude towards any criticism of Obama, Greenwald put it nicely:

    I’ve made repeatedly clear, including in my post today, that I consider it vital that McCain not win.

    But that doesn’t mean I’m going to refrain from criticizing Obama when it is merited. As dangerous as a McCain victory would be, so, too, would be replicating the 2002-2003 years when we have a Leader with a movement behind him that simply does not believe that he can err — or that it should never be spoken of when he does.

    I think candidates are more effective leaders when they’re criticized, cajoled and pressured to be better.

  246. 246
    PaulB says:

    Greg Sargent’s take:

    His candidacy has long seemed to embody a conviction that Democrats can win arguments with Republicans about national security — that if Dems stick to a set of core principles, and forcefully argue for them without blinking, they can and will persuade people that, simply put, they are right and Republicans are wrong. [Emphasis in the original.]

  247. 247
    bootlegger says:

    And yet, we have people saying, this is a politically bad move to fight.

    To be fair, that isn’t the argument. I think our host and that chest-thumping narcissist that was trying to shout you down are saying that it isn’t worth blowing his (still) limited political capital in a fight he can’t win. We’ll all be disappointed if The Whippersnapper doesn’t make a principled stand but there really isn’t much else he can do at this point, and in that regard the political arguments are correct, even if its a hard pragmatic pill to swallow.

    I do think, however, this is a good political opportunity for The Whippersnapper. He can make some pretty speeches about it and use it as another contrast with Criminals Inc. that he can use in the general election. I also think he’ll find some allies that want to be on his side. But they won’t win and he shouldn’t cut his own throat trying.

    I wish The Whippersnapper were president right now, but he’s not, and it looks like they are passing some bad legislation AND making the noodles in Criminals Inc. appear like honored statesmen again instead of the thugs they truly are.

  248. 248
    Dork says:

    Bigger fish to fry

    Shorter TZ: if it helps us to get elected, let’s just capitulate. Let’s not fight, b/c fighting looks bad. Let’s just sit on our hands and hope our disgusted, frustrated, unmotivated base votes for us. But whatever we do, we must not look like we’re going to oppose bad bills. Cuz that would be, like, bad, or something.

    Must sigh a HUGE relief that now the GOP will only make commercials calling Obama a Negro, a Muslim, Anti-patriot, Terrorist-lover, Mostest Liberal, and Not White. They can’t call him a Immunity Hater though! Amen!

  249. 249
    JC says:

    PaulB,

    Good on you for your patience, dealing with Mr. TZ, “I’m smarter than everyone here, will simply keep asserting my premise is true, and then scorning everyone who doesn’t agree with my assertion”.

    Paul,

    You think that TZ even realizes he just keeps repeating his assertions? Without any evidence? No evidence on why “this fight” would somehow cost him the White House. No evidence on why we should duck and cover because the “Republicans have set a trap”. No evidence on why this fight is “meaningless”.

    Just assertion after assertion. As you say, repeating himself umpteen times. Rather than arguing some actual points on why he is correct.

    You would think he would notice, but, that’s the nature of this type of troll, right?

    As jibeaux said:

    Ah, flame wars with TZ…an internet tradition with which I am familiar.

    Wankers in love with their internet putdowns, rather than in love with arguing the facts of a situation.

    Back on the reality front, I’m glad that Obama has released a statement now. We’ll see what happens with it. I do hope “Yes we can!” is more than just a slogan.

  250. 250
    Doug H. (Fausto no more) says:

    Obama supports the amnisty.

    Uh, no, read again: Obama’s against immunity.

  251. 251
    PaulB says:

    I think our host and that chest-thumping narcissist that was trying to shout you down are saying that it isn’t worth blowing his (still) limited political capital in a fight he can’t win.

    I would agree that’s a fair restatement of Cole’s position. TZ’s argument, on the other hand, is quite different.

  252. 252
    nightjar says:

    noodles in Criminals Inc

    LOL. wish I’d said that.

  253. 253
    Face says:

    while we don’t know jack about what is actually in the bill

    What’s this “we” shit? I know what’s in there. Start with Greenwald.

  254. 254
    LarryB says:

    NR Says:

    And where the fuck is Obama on this?

    “Fuck” is the right word, all right.

  255. 255
    John Cole says:

    Obama supports the amnisty.

    Well I just unsubscribed to Obama’s e-mail list and his bumpersticker comes of this weekend. If he can’t stand up for my constitutional rights he is just another piece of shit like all the Republicans.

    Obama’s statement:

    It also firmly re-establishes basic judicial oversight over all domestic surveillance in the future. It does, however, grant retroactive immunity, and I will work in the Senate to remove this provision so that we can seek full accountability for past offenses. But this compromise guarantees a thorough review by the Inspectors General of our national security agencies to determine what took place in the past, and ensures that there will be accountability going forward. By demanding oversight and accountability, a grassroots movement of Americans has helped yield a bill that is far better than the Protect America Act.

    Are people just functionally illiterate?

  256. 256
    ThymeZone says:

    Republicans have set a trap

    Yes, by their own admission. As reported on Countdown just a couple months ago. They laid out the whole thing as a stage upon which to puff up their Warrenterra politics and keep the Dems tilting at their windmills. Their stated intent was to keep it going all year until the election. Quite in keeping with their well established patterns.

  257. 257
    JC says:

    bootlegger,

    Good points. I agree with you, this is an opportunity, not a threat, politically, for Obama, to stand for american values. Even if he can’t change the game.

  258. 258
    PaulB says:

    Good on you for your patience, dealing with Mr. TZ, “I’m smarter than everyone here, will simply keep asserting my premise is true, and then scorning everyone who doesn’t agree with my assertion”.

    It’s not really patience, actually. I’m simply using his own tactics against him and having fun in the process. I’m enjoying myself quite a lot, really, particularly since TZ was so oblivious. Unfortunately, I’ve got work to do, so I’ll have to let our dear little chum have the last word, something that is obviously quite precious to his ego.

    You think that TZ even realizes he just keeps repeating his assertions? Without any evidence?

    I’m not sure. Some people are smart enough to know what they are doing and to know what logical fallacies they are employing (argument by assertion in this case, of course). Others are much less self-aware. I’m not even going to try to figure out where TZ falls, mostly because I don’t care.

    Wankers in love with their internet putdowns, rather than in love with arguing the facts of a situation.

    Can’t argue with that assessment. It’s a tactic I employ myself, on occasion, which is why it’s so easy to spot in someone else. I try to not do it too much, though, since it results in far more heat than light in these discussions, and it can quickly derail a thread, this thread being a case in point.

  259. 259
    nightjar says:

    For all those folks with a lese majeste attitude towards any criticism of Obama, Greenwald put it nicely

    There is a difference between criticizing and condemning. I read Greenwald’s statement as the former, and many of the commenters here, on this thread, as the latter.

  260. 260
    PaulB says:

    Oh, and TZ? YHBT. HAND.

  261. 261
    JC says:

    Obama supports the amnisty.

    That doesn’t exactly look like the case. He will work to remove retroactive immunity – which is working FOR the rule of law.

  262. 262
    Zifnab says:

    It isn’t the votes that count, it’s what legislation that passes that counts since that becomes the law of the land. If the Senate rolls on the FISA fight then telecom immunity becomes the new law of the land and operation “sweep it under the rug by ‘08” can get well under way. Fighting strategic wars from only a tactical view is a recipe for failure.

    Cheers to that!

    In this case, TZ, we don’t need votes to get anything done. We just need votes to shut the system down. The GOP has proven time and again how able they are at bringing the government to a screeching halt. Let the True Dems start doing the same.

    Dodd went balls in on FISA a few months back. He threatened to filibuster. He gave impassioned speech after impassioned speech. And in the end, while the bill passed, the GOP got to look that much more crazy and the House got that much more of a reason to kill it in vitro. Dodd dragged the bill to death despite all the whining and moaning about party unity and vote counting.

    And, furthermore, if we don’t have the votes I think you have to start asking yourself WHY NOT? Has the public not been abundantly clear on this issue? Are millions in campaign donations and ballot votes not hanging in the balance on this? Does anyone in Congress listen to its constituency? Why is this legislation passing? Who is supporting it and what have they been told?

    This isn’t like the Bush Tax Cut Bill that was some sort of centerpiece to his Presidency. I can comprehend the whole “Why is this getting passed when its clearly a bad bill?” thing. People didn’t know any better. Same with the original AUMF bill against Iraq. At least then people had an excuse.

    But its not 2002 anymore. The tide has shifted. The priorities of US Citizens has changed. So where are these pro-wiretapping votes coming from?

  263. 263
    Doug H. (Fausto no more) says:

    We’ll all be disappointed if The Whippersnapper doesn’t make a principled stand but there really isn’t much else he can do at this point, and in that regard the political arguments are correct, even if its a hard pragmatic pill to swallow.

    What? You mean the magical MUP can’t instantly stop bad legislation cold in its tracks? But everybody else I read on the Internets say that Obama could stop this dead cold and then everybody gets a pony and Bush impeachment! argh he’s just another politician and i hate democrats and why do i never get a pony and i’m gonna stomp my feet and hold my breath and vote Nader or McKinney or BAWWWWWWWWWWWW.

  264. 264
    Face says:

    lese majeste attitude

    /fingers Latin dictionary…doesn’t even know if it’s Latin….bangs fist on table….ELITIST!

  265. 265
    John Cole says:

    I don’t know why this is not obvious to everyone, but I will repost the very first thing I said on this issue in another thread:

    It is a done deal. Why would he?

    Seriously, why should he get involved when nothing can be done about it? I would prefer that he gets himself elected in November rather than fight valiantly and leave a bloodied and broken corpse at Thermopylae.

    Personally, I take him at his word that he opposes the immunity- he has, after all, worked in the past to remove it, publicly opposed it for months, and again today stated he opposes it and will work to get it out of the Senate version. I don’t know what else he is supposed to do.

    This ship has sailed, and you all want him to go down with the ship. We lost, and it is not Obama’s fault. you can whine, bitch, moan, whatever, but this is not Obama’s fault. those of you who think Obama can, after running a 17 month campaign that split the party in half all of a sudden issue a decree and through sheer force of will switch the minds of the well over 1/2 the House Democratic caucus that voted for this bill are living in a fantasy land and appear to have really bought into the Obamessiah bit.

    Personally, I don’t even see a filibuster in the Senate holding on the issue. Why you think Obama should inflict massive political pain on himself on an issue he can not win is not only beyond me, it is bad, bad politics. He will waste much-needed political capital, alienate people he needs to help him get elected, and the issue is already lost. Why is this not obvious to everyone?

  266. 266
    Martin says:

    Are people just functionally illiterate?

    Yes.

    What’s this “we” shit? I know what’s in there.

    Apologies, and to PaulB as well. There’s gnashing of teeth here by people that do not know, however.

    I would also point out that this is the first contentious piece of legislation to come up in the Senate since we had a nominee. Let’s see if our Senators are willing to step back to let Obama lead before people commit him to failure.

  267. 267
    Crust says:

    John Cole:

    Are people just functionally illiterate?

    This from the guy who kept insisting that he was sticking to the facts and that Obama will vote against the bill.

  268. 268
    Doug H. (Fausto no more) says:

    I’m starting to wonder if this whole bill isn’t just one big F-U from butthurt establishment Dems to Obama’s grassroots.

  269. 269
    Doug H. (Fausto no more) says:

    This from the guy who kept insisting that he was sticking to the facts and that Obama will vote against the bill.

    If immunity is stripped from the bill, then why shouldn’t he?

  270. 270
    mrmobi says:

    Wow, lots of pearl clutching going on here today.

    Well, Obama made his statement, and he says he’s going to try to remove retro-active immunity for the telecoms. I’m shocked that so many here have actually read the bill and know exactly what it says. It makes me proud to be a part of this site. You are all so well informed.

    Here’s what I don’t get.

    Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that Obama uses all his influence (which is certainly much less than some of you believe it to be) and actually stops this bill from happening. Instant terrorism campaign issue for McCain. Good move, Democrats.

    Let’s say, he manages to not only stop it, but changes it to an acceptable compromise to the ACLU, and it passes. Big Win. Good one, Obama, but what happens next?

    Mr. McFlightsuit, as is his wont, adds a 40-page signing statement which basically says, “This administration is going to do whatever the fuck it wants. Eat shit and die you ACLU motherfuckers, and remember, we’re listening.”

    So, we win and we lose, all while becoming distracted from the really important goal, the one which will enable us to get rid of this lawless administration, which is winning the Presidency.

    Luckily, Obama is too smart to buy into this strategery.

  271. 271
    Crust says:

    John Cole:

    I don’t know what else he is supposed to do.

    Vote against the bill.

  272. 272
    crw says:

    This ship has sailed, and you all want him to go down with the ship.

    To steal from Al Giordano, that’s the “Beautiful Loser” disease that is endemic in the netroots. That, along with people confining their political activity to expressions of outrage and electoral politics, is one of the major reasons progressive Democrats aren’t getting much done.

    These problems are systemic. Obama alone cannot fix them. We need to support his efforts to strip immunity. Start by informing other Senators that getting rid of this is important. Longer term, work to replace the Senators who routinely capitulate. Non-electorally, progressives and civil libertarians could accomplish a lot if they staged stock revolts on the lawbreaking telcos and ousted the people from their Boards of Directors who support breaking the law.

  273. 273
  274. 274
    crw says:

    I’m starting to wonder if this whole bill isn’t just one big F-U from butthurt establishment Dems to Obama’s grassroots.

    The though has crossed my minds. Obama is staging a massive coup, and the Big Money is pushing back, trying to coopt him, and reminding him he doesn’t own the party yet.

  275. 275
    Crust says:

    John, do you have a reply to the “magical thinking”, “pearl-clutching”, etc. Glennzilla (Update VIII; emphasis mine):

    Nobody should be fooled by Obama’s vow to work to remove telecom amnesty from this bill. Harry Reid is already acknowledging that this “effort” is likely to to fail and is just pure political theater: Reid said: “Probably we can’t take that out of the bill, but I’m going to try.” The article continued: “Reid said the vote would allow those opposed to the liability protection to ‘express their views.'”

    We should continue to demand that amnesty is removed the bill — and fight it to the bitter end — but this whole separate vote they’ll have in the Senate on whether to remove amnesty is principally designed to enable Obama, once he votes to enact this bill, to say: “Well, I tried to get immunity out, and when I couldn’t, I decided to support the compromise.” It’s almost certainly the case that Hoyer secured Obama’s support for the bill before unveiling it.

    Either way, Obama — if amnesty isn’t removed — is going to vote for warrantless eavesdropping and telecom amnesty, and his statement today all but sealed the fate of this bill. There is no point in sugarcoating that, though we ought to continue to fighting its enactment with a focus on removing amnesty in the Senate. Greg Sargent makes several good points about Obama’s statement.

  276. 276
    Tsulagi says:

    Obama six months ago…

    I strongly oppose retroactive immunity in the FISA bill.
    Ever since 9/11, this Administration has put forward a false choice between the liberties we cherish and the security we demand.

    The FISA court works. The separation of power works. We can trace, track down and take out terrorists while ensuring that our actions are subject to vigorous oversight, and do not undermine the very laws and freedom that we are fighting to defend.

    No one should get a free pass to violate the basic civil liberties of the American people – not the President of the United States, and not the telecommunications companies that fell in line with his warrantless surveillance program. We have to make clear the lines that cannot be crossed.

    Obama today…

    Given the grave threats that we face, our national security agencies must have the capability to gather intelligence and track down terrorists before they strike, while respecting the rule of law and the privacy and civil liberties of the American people. . . .

    After months of negotiation, the House today passed a compromise that, while far from perfect, is a marked improvement over last year’s Protect America Act. . . .It is not all that I would want. But given the legitimate threats we face, providing effective intelligence collection tools with appropriate safeguards is too important to delay. So I support the compromise, but do so with a firm pledge that as President, I will carefully monitor the program, review the report by the Inspectors General, and work with the Congress to take any additional steps I deem necessary to protect the lives -– and the liberty –- of the American people.

    Condensed Obama…Look at me, I’m a new (not really) and shiny serious adult like the cool guys.

    Maybe next week, along with the other serious adults, he can address the specific grave threat posed by ticking time bombs that are EVERYWHERE. Maybe he didn’t see them six months ago either. First, of course, he’ll have to see what the Serious Adults Club has already decided.

    Prior to Reign of the Bush and the ongoing Congressional subservience, the FISA court rarely, rarely rejected a secret application for a wiretap. Plus, if the applicant deemed it necessary, they could begin immediately then get the application in up to three days later. Six months ago, Obama had it right, it worked. It didn’t need “fixing.”

    Congressional Dem leadership, and Obama today, capitulated/caved/surrendered. Pick your verb. Curious, what’s the over/under of Obama even voting on this when it gets to the Senate?

  277. 277
    Doug H. (Fausto no more) says:

    These problems are systemic. Obama alone cannot fix them. We need to support his efforts to strip immunity. Start by informing other Senators that getting rid of this is important. Longer term, work to replace the Senators who routinely capitulate. Non-electorally, progressives and civil libertarians could accomplish a lot if they staged stock revolts on the lawbreaking telcos and ousted the people from their Boards of Directors who support breaking the law.

    Holla. The campaign slogan is “Yes, we can” not “Yes, I can.”

  278. 278
    Martin says:

    I’m starting to wonder if this whole bill isn’t just one big F-U from butthurt establishment Dems to Obama’s grassroots.

    Aren’t we feeling important…

    So now the Dems are out to get us too?

  279. 279
    L. Ron Obama says:

    Tsulagi:

    Are you being purposefully dishonest, or are you just an idiot? You stripped out all the parts of the statement that didn’t support your argument. Here, I can do a “negative” of what you elided from Obama’s statement:

    … There is also little doubt that the Bush Administration, with the cooperation of major telecommunications companies, has abused that authority and undermined the Constitution by intercepting the communications of innocent Americans without their knowledge or the required court orders. … That is why last year I opposed the so-called Protect America Act, which expanded the surveillance powers of the government without sufficient independent oversight to protect the privacy and civil liberties of innocent Americans. I have also opposed the granting of retroactive immunity to those who were allegedly complicit in acts of illegal spying in the past. … Under this compromise legislation, an important tool in the fight against terrorism will continue, but the President’s illegal program of warrantless surveillance will be over. … It does, however, grant retroactive immunity, and I will work in the Senate to remove this provision so that we can seek full accountability for past offenses. But this compromise guarantees a thorough review by the Inspectors General of our national security agencies to determine what took place in the past, and ensures that there will be accountability going forward.

  280. 280
    Goobergrape says:

    JC– read the entire statement. Obama DOES support the bill, citing the grave threats we face. The little bit about fighting the immunity clause is something he plans on doing in the future. He may say that he opposes it, but he is voting for it and tossing the proverbial bone to progressives.

  281. 281
    Scott H says:

    What’isface, Bush, in his statement seemed under the impression that this bill protected companies in situations “past and future” – he said, past and future.

    I also noticed that The President of the United States had to get the door for himself coming out to the podium and going back in. He let (what sounded like) the storm door slam coming out. WTF? Is he like ‘home alone’ there in the White House? And was the podium set up in a service driveway?

  282. 282
    Tsulagi says:

    Are you being purposefully dishonest, or are you just an idiot? You stripped out all the parts of the statement that didn’t support your argument.

    Which statement brilliant one? Obama six months ago or Obama today? They’re different. Or does the MUP dust in your eyes magically transcend them into one glorious vision thing that melds all?

    If you’re referring to today’s Obama, I was quoting Glenn Greenwald’s Update VII.

    Good to hear though, that in the compromise he said he supports today, like Obama of yore he still is uneasy with that immunity thingy. Gee, a little bit of something for everyone isn’t it? He delivers.

  283. 283
    NR says:

    The though has crossed my minds. Obama is staging a massive coup, and the Big Money is pushing back, trying to coopt him, and reminding him he doesn’t own the party yet.

    I think we just got a preview of what Washington is going to look like under an Obama presidency, if he wins.

    We’ve seen this show before. It’ll be a debacle, like Carter’s term, or the first two years of Clinton’s first term. During those six years, the Democrats had majorities in both chambers larger than they are likely to have in 2009, and they were still unable to accomplish anything, unless airline and trucking deregulation, massive increases in defense spending (forget Reagan, it started under Carter), a bad labor law reform, and NAFTA count.

    It doesn’t matter how big the Democratic caucuses get in the House and Senate – there are still way too many conservatives in them for us to get much of anything done. Effecting real reform in this country would take not only huge Congressional majorities, but also tremendous party discipline. And the Dems just showed us that they don’t have it.

  284. 284
    b-psycho says:

    Since someone mentioned Barrow: Obama probably looked at that one and thought “Georgia? Outside the perimeter? Well damn, if the liberal Dem won the primary those rubes would probably flip the seat to Republican.”

    Beats me why he even bothered either direction, to be honest with ya.

  285. 285
    phobos says:

    Screw you guys, I’m watching Rachel Maddow.

  286. 286
    JC says:

    Joe Klein has an article on this today.

    So – whither the 4th amendment? I thought updating the law with new technology requirements, happened on a regular basis.

    What does it mean when the DEMOCRATIC HOUSE writes a bill that ALL of the Republicans vote for – except 1 – and less than HALF of the Democrats vote for?

    Who’s calling the shots over there???

  287. 287
    nightjar says:

    We’ve seen this show before. It’ll be a debacle, like Carter’s term, or the first two years of Clinton’s first term

    If you aren’t a wingnut, please do the right thing and become one. Your statement is straight out of wingnut central bag of bullshit talking points. Hannity and Leiberman will adore a new dem puppy.

  288. 288
    NR says:

    Your statement is straight out of wingnut central bag of bullshit talking points.

    Did you even bother to read my entire comment?

  289. 289
    Tenguphule says:

    Obama today? Crickets.

    He’s fighting McSame on Habus and ANWR right now, with little support from his own party. At least wait until the Senate is in session on this before breaking out the hankies.

  290. 290
    Blue Raven says:

    Well I just unsubscribed to Obama’s e-mail list and his bumpersticker comes of this weekend. If he can’t stand up for my constitutional rights he is just another piece of shit like all the Republicans.

    Oh, come now. Your namesake could do a better politically motivated flounce with one hand tied across his stomach. Try again, but this time, put your back into it!

  291. 291
    JC says:

    Reading through the act, and this is really is a pathetic bill.

    Everywhere, it’s “the attorney general and DNI certify”. If you have Alberto Gonzales types as DNI and AG, well, there simply is no recourse, and no way to use the judicial branch of government, to ascertain whether the 4th amendment is being respected. You take the AG and the DNI at their word.

  292. 292
    L. Ron Obama says:

    If you’re referring to today’s Obama, I was quoting Glenn Greenwald’s Update VII.

    Oh, all right. As long as you were just blindly quoting someone else who was stripping out large portions of quote that don’t support your argument, I can’t accuse you of being purposefully dishonest.

  293. 293
    nightjar says:

    It doesn’t matter how big the Democratic caucuses get in the House and Senate – there are still way too many conservatives in them for us to get much of anything done. Effecting real reform in this country would take not only huge Congressional majorities, but also tremendous party discipline. And the Dems just showed us that they don’t have it.

    I hope your not going to say this counters the part about your prescient powers that Obama will be like a Carter Presidency. That Obama’s leadership skills are no better than Carter’s in leading a dem congress.

    The truth of the matter is the current dem majorities in the house and senate are razor thin. Consider the Blue Dogs in the house and dems don’t even have a majority there, on some issues, and unfortunately this FISA BS is one of them. I disagree with Pelosi’s giving in to the BD fears, but I don’t portend to read the future when a house majority is great enough to make the BD influence irrelevant.

  294. 294
    NR says:

    The truth of the matter is the current dem majorities in the house and senate are razor thin.

    Know how many House Democrats voted for this bill? 105.

    We are not going to pick up 105 seats in the House, so these quisling “Democrats” are still going to be a big problem even if Obama wins.

  295. 295
    Tsulagi says:

    Oh, all right. As long as you were just blindly quoting someone else who was stripping out large portions of quote that don’t support your argument, I can’t accuse you of being purposefully dishonest.

    Gee, thanks, I feel all better now. In that warm, unity spirit of uplifting hope and change, I won’t call you an idiot for assuming my “argument” was only with the immunity aspect of this legislation.

    What seemingly isn’t in question is that Obama of today, unlike Obama of yesterday, said he is good to go with the FISA changes in this legislation. According to the MUP, those needed to for the “grave threats that we face.” Can’t be too careful with all those ticking time bombs constantly ticking.

    I know it’s just a DFH organization of civil liberties lawyers, but this is their take on the FISA changes alone…

    This bill allows for mass and untargeted surveillance of Americans’ communications. The court review is mere window-dressing – all the court would look at is the procedures for the year-long dragnet and not at the who, what and why of the spying. Even this superficial court review has a gaping loophole – ‘exigent’ circumstances can short cut even this perfunctory oversight since any delay in the onset of spying meets the test and by definition going to the court would cause at least a minimal pause. Worse yet, if the court denies an order for any reason, the government is allowed to continue surveillance throughout the appeals process, thereby rendering the role of the judiciary meaningless. In the end, there is no one to answer to; a court review without power is no court review at all.

    I look forward to the MUP’s transcending words of tomorrow.

  296. 296
    rawshark says:

    Thepanzer Says:

    Sorry TZ, the “lets keep our powder dry and wait for 08” is a bad idea. First off it assumes Obama wins in November.

    This my have been covered already, (I’m sure TZ has mentioned it at least once) but he won’t be president if he lets the right decide which issues he campaigns on. That’s what they want. A democrat running around defending himself from their bullshit or running around putting out fires that ‘people’ want put out. That’s how Kerry lost and how Gore ‘lost’. Don’t fall for it by asking Obama to play that game. Don’t be a tool of the right. Not everyone who works for them do it willingly. As John Cole once told me to do, look into the definition of unwitting.

  297. 297
    nightjar says:

    Know how many House Democrats voted for this bill? 105.

    We are not going to pick up 105 seats in the House, so these quisling “Democrats” are still going to be a big problem even if Obama wins.

    Yet 128 voted against it. Anyways, my complaint was about about your sweeping future telling of Obama = Carter and the hand-wringing that dems are always going to do the wrong thing because of one issue. Both now and in the future. Sorry your just not that smart to make futuristic condemnations.

  298. 298
    Pasota says:

    This bill grants immunity on the premise that the telecoms were complying with an Official Government Letter. Does anyone know whether this (or any other legislation) also immunizes the officials who issued those letters? (Granting that any actual prosecution is too much to hope for.) Is this a complete no-accountability zone?

  299. 299
    slippy hussein toad says:

    I will go with Barack on this. He’s earned my trust on such choices, and I have no trouble giving it to him.

    A-fucking-men. I’d rather see him, as you so eloquently stated, win the war than sacrifice his ability to fight in one phyrric, grandstanding battle.

  300. 300
    rachel says:

    Pasota Says:

    This bill grants immunity on the premise that the telecoms were complying with an Official Government Letter. Does anyone know whether this (or any other legislation) also immunizes the officials who issued those letters? (Granting that any actual prosecution is too much to hope for.) Is this a complete no-accountability zone?

    That is an interesting question. I’d like to know the answer to that, myself.

  301. 301

    […] A Commenter at Balloon Juice saying, “And where the fuck is Obama on this? Talk about missing in action. […]

  302. 302
    Paul says:

    If Obama fails to show some leadership as the new head of the Deomocratic Party, if he fails to demonstrate that he understands that it is the Constitution and the rule of law that comes before all other issues, by putting a hold on the senate version (screw “supporting a filibuster”), I’ll be writing in dennis Kucinich in November

  303. 303
    TenguPhule says:

    I’ll be writing in dennis Kucinich in November

    When I dream, I dream of a bike.

    I will get that bike.

  304. 304

    […] John Cole, acid humor in top condition, gives us photographic evidence of this “canary’s got the cat” moment. Alex at Martini Revolution congratulates Pelosi and Hoyer “on passing the Nuremburg Defense into US law. Sen. Christopher Bond (R-MO) has the final word on the Nuremberg Defense (via Glenn): “I’m not here to say that the government is always right, but when the government tells you to do something, I’m sure you would all agree that I think you all recognize that is something you need to do,” Bond said. […]

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] John Cole, acid humor in top condition, gives us photographic evidence of this “canary’s got the cat” moment. Alex at Martini Revolution congratulates Pelosi and Hoyer “on passing the Nuremburg Defense into US law. Sen. Christopher Bond (R-MO) has the final word on the Nuremberg Defense (via Glenn): “I’m not here to say that the government is always right, but when the government tells you to do something, I’m sure you would all agree that I think you all recognize that is something you need to do,” Bond said. […]

  2. […] A Commenter at Balloon Juice saying, “And where the fuck is Obama on this? Talk about missing in action. […]

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