Now It Is A Cave

Flame away:

“The bill has changed. So I don’t think the security threats have changed, I think the security threats are similar. My view on FISA has always been that the issue of the phone companies per se is not one that overrides the security interests of the American people.”

Before, when he accepted the compromise but promised to fight for removing immunity, it was one thing. This is a total collapse and a rapid abandonment of principle. From a voting perspective, nothing really changes. McCain is for it, Hillary would have been, now Obama is. Obama is still the better of the three on a wider range of issues.

As to whether I like it, no. I could understand the politics of supporting the filibuster and voting for the bill, but I don’t understand or accept getting out in front of this piece of shit and giving us more of the same “You can’t handle the truth.” It is a craven capitulation, and failure to support the filibuster tomorrow really is deciding the politics of fear trump “change.” We all know there are threats- the question is one of constitutionality and the Imperial Presidency. We are against it.

This was a test, and Obama is failing. It is of little solace that McCain refuse to show up and Clinton would have, too.

Obligatory Troll Protection: No, I don’t have buyers remorse, yes, he still is better than Hillary or McCain, no, I am not disillusioned (I never thought he was a flaming liberal in the first place). I am, however, disgusted, and I will caution the Obama campaign that “better than McCain” is not much of a rallying cry. We all remember how “anything is better than Bush” turned out in 2004.

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160 replies
  1. 1
    Desmond says:

    But I thought it was too much of a risk for Obama to go against the House and Senate leadership? Er…the House leadership anyway, since Reid said he’ll vote against it.

    Nope, this was a perfect opportunity for Obama to make a principled stand on an important issue and really change the terms of the debate, and he missed it. Too bad. Yes, Obama is still a great candidate, and has the potential to be a great president. That’s what makes this so disappointing.

  2. 2
    nepat says:

    Good lord but Democrats don’t understand presidential politics. How about this? Let’s get the guy elected and then start complaining. During the heat of a PRESIDENTIAL campaign, it is ridiculous to hold Obama to these particular standards. He needs to consider the votes of everyone who can help elect him – and that includes especially independents and disgruntled Republicans. There just is no such thing as a Democratic majority. So let’s cut him some slack as he actually tries to WIN, John Cole, former Republican who really ought to know better. He will NOT win without independents – and the Republicans, in their eight years of distorting national security reality – have created a landscape where Obama has to do what he has done. Grow up fer chrissakes and help the guy win. The bully pulpit of the presidency will change everything. Stop the navel gazing. It is just so disappointing.

  3. 3
    PeterJ says:

    Trolls live in caves.

  4. 4
    Desmond says:

    He will NOT win without independents – and the Republicans, in their eight years of distorting national security reality – have created a landscape where Obama has to do what he has done.

    That is simply not true:

    New Republic Syndrome.

    Democrats have to learn to stop being afraid. They can win these debates if they want to.

  5. 5
    RSA says:

    My view on FISA has always been that the issue of the phone companies per se is not one that overrides the security interests of the American people.

    Yes, this is bullshit, because immunity for phone companies per se has nothing to do with the security interests of the American people. It has to do with the economic interests of the phone companies.

  6. 6
    ed says:

    When did Obama hire Bob Shrum and/or the Hilary Braintrust?

    Just because you’re the candidate, it doesn’t mean you have to run to the middle.

    And is this really good politixx? Obama needs the Indies. Wouldn’t standing up for the Rule of Law draw in the mouthbreathers too? Populism and all that, sticking it to Big Telecom (yes, I knew it’s all about the Bush Administration).

  7. 7
    Desmond says:

    From this article:

    “I applaud it,” a senior Democratic lawmaker said. “By standing up to MoveOn.org and the ACLU, he’s showing, I think, maybe the first example of demonstrating his ability to move to the center. He’s got to make the center comfortable with him. He can’t win if the center isn’t comfortable.”

    Because that’s who Obama needs to stand up to, Moveon and the ACLU. Not Bush and the Republicans. That’s the fucking mentality that needs to be defeated.

  8. 8
    Sojourner says:

    Because that’s who Obama needs to stand up to, Moveon and the ACLU.

    The pro-Constitution/Bill of Rights lefties are this election’s Sister Souljah.

    Who would have predicted that?

  9. 9
    cleek says:

    It is a craven capitulation

    capitulation?

    consider that maybe, just maybe, he actually likes the bill, and he’s voting for it because he likes it and not because he’s afraid of anything.

    you can only call it “capitulation” if you know that deep in his heart Obama really doesn’t want to vote for it. since you don’t know anything of the sort, all you’re doing is projecting your own policy preferences onto him.

    and he’s not a fucking savior, and he’s not here to please all of his supporters 100% all the time. but he’s so much better than the other option that a little tolerance for that fact would be nice.

  10. 10
    Desmond says:

    consider that maybe, just maybe, he actually likes the bill, and he’s voting for it because he likes it and not because he’s afraid of anything.

    That’s even worse!

    But given his past statements on the issue, it’s highly unlikely that he likes the bill. Either he was pandering before, or he’s capitulating now. It doesn’t make much difference.

  11. 11
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    It appears that Obama has officially moved from “pandering” to “having a different opinion than me”. I’m going to give him a stern look next time I catch him on the teevee. And tonight I’m going to exorcise the betrayal and pain with a pithy entry in my Groovy Girls Diary.

  12. 12
    Stevenovitch says:

    Don’t worry, once we elect Obama because there’s no one better I’m sure he’ll pay a lot more attention to what progressives think.

    Am I mistaken but I thought it was typical for politicians to wait till after they were in office to start breaking all their promises… is this the result of a long primary?

  13. 13
    Tlaloc says:

    Good lord but Democrats don’t understand presidential politics. How about this? Let’s get the guy elected and then start complaining.

    Great idea. Make sure you give someone all the power *before* you try to get anything from them. No way that could backfire spectacularly…

  14. 14
    Ted says:

    That’s the fucking mentality that needs to be defeated.

    What needs to be defeated also is the mentality that standing up for the 4th amendment and civil liberties is solely a left-wing position.

    Then again, I guess these days it is.

  15. 15
    Dave_Violence says:

    The pro-Constitution/Bill of Rights lefties are this election’s Sister Souljah.

    Don’t forget the NRA – a pro-constitution organization, bee-otch.

    There’s nothing wrong with FISA, sheesh, it’s not even close to as bad as a national deadbeat dad database. That or having a wife who rallied day and night to censor music (and was successful). You’re all picking the wrong fight.

  16. 16
    nepat says:

    consider that maybe, just maybe, he actually likes the bill, and he’s voting for it because he likes it and not because he’s afraid of anything.

    Thank you, Cleek. Maybe I’m just older than the rest of the crowd here, but it’s absurd to make this issue at this moment the lynchpin of Obama’s support. When Obama is president, he will entirely change the foreign policy debate, and FISA will seem like a dusty anecdote from the travesty of the Bush years.

    But we can’t have that, can we? It’s better to have nothing but meaningless links to Glenn Greenwald, whose imperious pomposity is preferable to an actual Democratic president. That’s a great path to take. Let’s congregate in our little hovels of superiority, feeling all smug and exceptional and Glenn-Greenwaldy and let the Republicans continue to rule the earth. It’s easier that way, ain’t it? No actual need for accommodation or complexity.

    Obama deserves better support than this.

  17. 17
    Mark S. says:

    The Democrats aren’t stupid. Surely they see the polls indicating that Republicans have a more favorable impression of Congress than Democrats. Hoyer / Reid / Pelosi / Rockefeller twisted Obama’s arm so he would go along… The telecoms bought themselves this crappy legislation… Shit.

  18. 18
    cleek says:

    any lawyers here?

    if so, can one of you explain to us all how a bill which grants immunity for a select set of companies in one specific time frame for a specified set of actions automatically extends to any other company, action or timeframe.

    IANAL, but AFAIK, a law doesn’t set legal precedent. a law that sets addresses a narrow circumstance can’t just be applied to any other circumstance.

  19. 19

    I’m really hoping this is part of a larger strategy–where Obama makes noises about security and protecting the American people, and the bill doesn’t get passed. Political theater to be sure, and I think bad theater — that it snot going to work as a pander.

    But even if it passes with “immunity” I read rumblings how the adjustment doesn’t protect against criminal charges.

  20. 20
    Joe Beese says:

    By Independence Day, we may see an entire fucking amendment ripped out of the Constitution. As the result of a bill rammed through – as if to shorten their exposure to the stench – by the “left” wing.

    The Supreme Court wrote Exxon a $2,000,000,000 check today.

    Can we call it fascism now?

  21. 21
    nightjar says:

    I didn’t expect the filibuster to hold, but also didn’t expect so many dems voting against it. However, keep in mind, that now there are 30 hours of debate where any amendment can be offered to the bill. And those amendments, if germaine, only need a simple majority. So there will be an effort to strip out the immunity provision, but all this isn’t going to happen till after the 4th. Maybe that’s some kind of strategy by Reid, but I wish they’d just killed the sucker Bill in it’s tracks.

  22. 22
    Stevenovitch says:

    Maybe I’m just older than the rest of the crowd here, but it’s absurd to make this issue at this moment the lynchpin of Obama’s support. When Obama is president, he will entirely change the foreign policy debate, and FISA will seem like a dusty anecdote from the travesty of the Bush years.

    We have to destroy the constitution in order to save the constitution.

  23. 23
    nightjar says:

    Oh, And I forgot to mention, Senator Rockefeller is a first class wanker.

  24. 24

    I think Greenwald is doing a lions work. The Republicans sure haven’t had strategies based on losing. The problem is their party won’t hold their feet to the fire and Republican corruption ran amok.

    I don’t think there’s anything wrong with pointing out that Obama seems to be making a mistake here.

  25. 25
    SoulCatcher says:

    Obama sure has shown he’s going to change things…


    Back when Obama did not have the nomination secured he said this:

    “To be clear: Barack will support a filibuster of any bill that includes retroactive immunity for telecommunications companies.”

    Fastforward to this afternoon; the title says it all:
    Obama On FISA: Telecom Immunity Issue Doesn’t Override National Security

    -sigh- well at least he’s not McSame

  26. 26
    Splitting Image says:

    “any lawyers here?

    if so, can one of you explain to us all how a bill which grants immunity for a select set of companies in one specific time frame for a specified set of actions automatically extends to any other company, action or timeframe.

    IANAL, but AFAIK, a law doesn’t set legal precedent. a law that sets addresses a narrow circumstance can’t just be applied to any other circumstance.”

    As I understand it, the issue isn’t so much the precedent it sets (although that is an issue) but the fact that allowing the lawsuits to proceed against the telecoms was the only way the full story of Bush’s illegal surveillance could come to light.

    If Obama decides to declassify every piece of paper on the subject after his inauguration (assuming any such paper still exists, and it likely won’t), and prosecute the guilty parties, then he may redeem himself.

    At the moment, though, he is sending a signal that he doesn’t intend to work very hard to bring Bush’s cronies to justice. That’s what has Greenwald upset. Normally if you want to bring down a big crook (Bush or Cheney), you turn the screws on the little crooks (in this case the telecoms) and force them to testify against the big guy. The Democrats have just agreed not to prosecute any little guys, so Greenwald doesn’t see how they plan to bring down Bush.

    At this point I think a lot of people are so jaded they haven’t ever believed Bush would be brought to justice, so the FISA capitulation isn’t so much of a disappointment. Just so the lot of them are thrown out and things go back to normal. If the Democrats really had any plans to attack the Bush/Cheney crew, impeachment would have gone on the table a long time ago.

  27. 27
    nightjar says:

    To be clear: Barack will support a filibuster of any bill that includes retroactive immunity for telecommunications companies.”

    Well that just sucks Senator Obama. Certainly a cave in my book.

  28. 28
    nightjar says:

    Obama On FISA: Telecom Immunity Issue Doesn’t Override National Security

    Wrong blockquote, and it still sucks.

  29. 29
    Sojourner says:

    if so, can one of you explain to us all how a bill which grants immunity for a select set of companies in one specific time frame for a specified set of actions automatically extends to any other company, action or timeframe.

    It’s not just telecom immunity. It’s also the legalizing of warrantless spying.

    This might help.

  30. 30
    Church Lady says:

    To those that say Obama has to run to the center in order to get elected, and then he will magically turn into your dream date President, hellooooo . . . . he’ll also have to govern from the center in order to get re-elected four years later. In other words, your wildest dreams are not going to come true. Welcome to the real world and learn to deal with it.

  31. 31
    nightjar says:

    capitulation?

    consider that maybe, just maybe, he actually likes the bill, and he’s voting for it because he likes it and not because he’s afraid of anything

    Even Feingold approves of most of the bill, and since being near techno illiterate, I trust his and Dodd’s judgment. As I understand it, there are some improvements over even the old FISA, such as granting US citizens all their rights even when traveling overseas. It seems though the main objection by Feingold and Dodd is the immunity provision and the precedent it sets, not to mention remaining in the dark to what Bush actually did with his Kingly spying on we subjects.

  32. 32
    crw says:

    Well damn. I was wrong. This looks like outright craven capitulation to the Reich Wing. Or worse, he sees himself as President and wants those powers. Maybe he thinks he’s good enough not to abuse them. Pathetic performance. I retract all defense. I’ve changed my mind. This isn’t even particularly smart politics. It may still be some sort of quid pro quo with parts of the old Democratic establishment, but if so that’s just ugly politics as usual.

    This is an indefensible position. It buys him nothing, because the Reichtards will hit him as soft on terror anyway, and pisses off the activist portion of his base. AND it shreds the constitution a little more. Even if you buy the dubious proposition that he’s good/moral/strong enough to avoid abusing these powers, the next president or the next or the next wont be. Shame on you, Barack Obama. Don’t let ambition corrupt you.

  33. 33
    southpaw says:

    It’s certainly a disappointing cave.

    I have to admit I don’t really understand what’s going on. Dodd, Reid, Pelosi, and Obama each seem to be running different plays, and the whole mess is just dispiriting. You’d think they’d call each other on the phone every once in a while.

  34. 34
    D. Mason says:

    Obama deserves better support than this.

    Fuck that. Obama doesn’t deserve shit. The American people deserve better representation than they’re getting.

  35. 35
    Stevenovitch says:

    Don’t let ambition corrupt you.

    The man has literally stood up and said “you know, out of the 300 million Americans on this planet, I’d like to suggest that I am the most qualified to lead”.

    This is something that everyone needs to understand about politicians: ambition has already corrupted them. That is why their actions matter, and “getting them elected” is nowhere near as important as hitting them on the nose when they fuck up.

  36. 36
  37. 37
    cleek says:

    As I understand it, the issue isn’t so much the precedent it sets (although that is an issue)

    if laws don’t set precedent, then this law doesn’t set any precedent.

    but the fact that allowing the lawsuits to proceed against the telecoms was the only way the full story of Bush’s illegal surveillance could come to light.

    then the outrage is misplaced. there will be no full story and there will be no full accountability. Pelosi made that decision a year ago.

    besides, why can’t Obama’s Attorney General just look in the DOJ records and see what Bush asked the telcos to do ? it’s not like there’s any rush since, again, Pelosi has already said there will be no impeachment.

  38. 38
    AnneLaurie says:

    “He’s got to make the center comfortable with him. He can’t win if the center isn’t comfortable.”

    To quote Jim Hightower (since Mr. Cole is so new to the Democratic Party): “Ain’t nothing in the middle of the road but yella stripes and dead armadillos.”

    If I take a little mordant pleasure in watching the most dedicated MUPpets get their soft hearts broken, does that mean I’m a bad person or just a life-long Democrat?

  39. 39
    crw says:

    That is why their actions matter, and “getting them elected” is nowhere near as important as hitting them on the nose when they fuck up.

    Except, in our system there’s very little we the people can do to smack presidents on the nose. That power mostly lies with the legislative and judicial branches. It’s not like we have a national recall process is a President eg commits war crimes in office. All we can do is vote for different Congresscritters in the midterm elections and hope they have the balls to impeach. That’s why this cave is so craven. The Democrats are essentially saying they’re cool with the notion Congress should be absolutely deferential to the President on issues of national security as long as it’s their guy. Constitution? Pfft, how quaint.

  40. 40
    cleek says:

    Even if you buy the dubious proposition that he’s good/moral/strong enough to avoid abusing these powers, the next president or the next or the next wont be.

    what “powers” does this give anyone?

    please list them and explain how they will function in the real world.

  41. 41
    Mike B. says:

    You really say it all, John. I particularly like this:

    I will caution the Obama campaign that “better than McCain” is not much of a rallying cry.

    May I suggest instead that Obama could run on the “I won’t sell you down the river, unless it seems like a good idea” platform.

  42. 42
    dr. bloor says:

    Thank you, Cleek. Maybe I’m just older than the rest of the crowd here, but it’s absurd to make this issue at this moment the lynchpin of Obama’s support. When Obama is president, he will entirely change the foreign policy debate, and FISA will seem like a dusty anecdote from the travesty of the Bush years.

    But we can’t have that, can we? It’s better to have nothing but meaningless links to Glenn Greenwald, whose imperious pomposity is preferable to an actual Democratic president. That’s a great path to take. Let’s congregate in our little hovels of superiority, feeling all smug and exceptional and Glenn-Greenwaldy and let the Republicans continue to rule the earth. It’s easier that way, ain’t it? No actual need for accommodation or complexity.

    Obama deserves better support than this.

    Get a freaking grip. Nobody’s talking about jumping to McCain, and the only support Obama ultimately cares about is whether we pull the lever for him or not.

    Maybe the Bush years have made you comfortable with the concept of fealty to a man rather than the constitution and the country. As for myself, I’m proud to be a part of a noisy rabble determined to get in his face everytime he starts selling out the constitution or progressive principles that, in this case, he publicly claimed he would protect a few short weeks ago.

    So it’s come to this.

    I’m going to have one of those babies on my bumper posthaste.

  43. 43
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    If I take a little mordant pleasure in watching the most dedicated MUPpets get their soft hearts broken, does that mean I’m a bad person or just a life-long Democrat?

    It won’t be fun watching the idealists and purity trolls agonize over the death of the fantasy Obama but it is particularly galling to watch John Cole throw gasoline on the fire when, were this a Republican he supported, he’d be greasing his own buttcheeks and waiting in line for his turn. Hehe, you asked for flames.

  44. 44
    Thepanzer says:

    Barak Obama is a million times better than John Mcsame, now having said that Obama can kiss.my.hairy.ass. Welcome to 2008…it’s like 2003 all over again, whee!

    In other good news we just had a preview for how Republicans plan to operate from 2008 to 2012 under a democratic presidency. In spite of likely horrendous losses in ’08 and with public opinion against them I’ll bet dollars to donuts the recent FISA debacle is the new game plan. Get sympathetic douchebag democrats to introduce republican legislation on their behalf and then split enough dem votes off to get it passed with the republican remainders. Then pressure President Obama to stick with the fucking program and not veto anything, since that would be terribly partisan on his part. If I was a republican strategist I’d be carving it out of marble right now and making sure every surviving republican in 08 swears to it on the bible.

    It’s taken under 8 years to get to a point where most Americans are 3rd generation don’t give a fuck about their government being able to spy on them with impunity. Where will we be in another 8 or 15 or 20? But hey we don’t have the votes right? Let it slide right?

    If i’d wanted to live in east germany I would have just fucking moved there in the early 80s.

  45. 45
    srv says:

    Just because you’re the candidate, it doesn’t mean you have to run to the middle.

    I was just going to write something snarky about Obama screaming about child rape protectors, but the bastard beat me to it.

  46. 46
    Xenos says:

    If indeed the bill improves rights, and establishes without any ambiguity that all future surveillance must exclusively go through the FISA courts (as if that was ever an issue to begin with) then the issue here is why cave in to corporate power.

    Hello, McFly? If Obama gets taken for an anticorporatist, out to re-regulate and straighten out the banks, the telecoms, the media empires, the defense industry, the mercenary industry… lets just say he will not become president, OK?

    He is obviously going underground in plain sight here, pretending to be a centrist. The political economy of this country is such that the best we can do is to vote for someone we hope will reform things, but we have to expect that the plans for reform will be damn well hidden in the course of the candidacy.

  47. 47
    srv says:

    When Obama is president, he will entirely change the foreign policy debate

    Would you like the cherry Kool-Aide or the grape?

  48. 48
    GrandCamel says:

    Why don’t we try reverse psychology and start cheering how awesome it’s going to be when Obama turns this massive spying apparatus on his opponents.

    Think of all the gay sex scandals waiting to be unearthed!

    We could flip 1/2 the Republican caucus.

  49. 49
    flyerhawk says:

    I really want to get my outrage on but I’m having a really hard time doing it.

    Just so I’m clear, I need to be outraged because Obama is willing to give telecoms immunity for past actions in carrying out government requests?

    What exactly will these lawsuits achieve? Shed light on an already established rogue government that will be out of power in 7 months and is already toothless?

    Great. We can have the Obama Presidency be eclipsed by endless lawsuits looking to prove what we already know regarding an Administration that has ALREADY DONE THE DIRTY WORK.

    As far as I am aware this immunity only applies to civil cases, correct? If actual illegal actions occurred the telecoms, and the government players involved, could still be charged, correct?

    On January 20th this immunity provision will be utterly moot.

    If you look at this dispassionately you will quickly realize that this entire canard is more about getting a political win than it is about any actual law and its effects.

  50. 50
    Thepanzer says:

    “Obama deserves better support than this.”

    …your kidding right? If the FISA fight is sign of things to come under an Obama presidency count me as less than excited at the prospect of continued republican rule with a minority in the house and senate and a Democrat in the executive.Obama’s already trying to justify his current stance against his former stances a la John Kerry. “Well I was against telecom amnesty before I was for it.” Good luck with that in november. Guess you should have cowboyed up and taken a fucking stand…

  51. 51
    Thepanzer says:

    Shorter flyerhawk and nepat: So long as my candidate makes me feel good I’ll support them and justify their actions irrespective of what they actually do.

    Fail.

  52. 52
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    Shorter Thepanzer: Waaaah.

  53. 53
    The Moar You Know says:

    Don’t care. I don’t like it but it’s not a deal breaker.

    Why?

    Because the only viable two options I have are Obama or McCain, and at least Obama won’t put justices on the Supreme Court who goal is to return us to the “good old days” of the 1870s.

    Fuck, people, figure it out. Elections in this country have always been about picking the lesser of two evils. This one is no different.

  54. 54
    Camper Joe says:

    So did they already show Obama that film of the JFK assassination that they show every new President? Just like what Bill Hicks said?

    George Carlin R.I.P. shit fuck piss cunt cocksucker motherfucker tits

  55. 55
    4jkb4ia says:

    Thank you, John.

    It doesn’t matter if this government is out of power in 7 months. One of the things which has to be done is to provide accountability for all the things this government has been able to conceal from the American people that they did. A very important source of accountability is EXACTLY HOW THIS PROGRAM WORKED.

  56. 56
    4jkb4ia says:

    And, if, chas v’shalom, we have a McCain government, McCain will be shown that these illegal acts are OK by the Congress we have now.

  57. 57
    Corner Stone says:

    Stevenovitch for the win:

    Don’t worry, once we elect Obama because there’s no one better I’m sure he’ll pay a lot more attention to what progressives think.

  58. 58
    Camper Joe says:

    John I’ve been reading you since your Schiavo induced conversion to the good side, but look… this FISA deal sucks, but I’m not throwing in the towel on Obama.

    This election is about greater things than FISA.

    It’s about our nation’s sheer survival.

    The planet is burning, a gallon of gas costs the same as lunch from McDonald’s, we’re stuck in an unwinnable war and we’re obsessing about some right-wing corporate perverts listening to our phone calls?

    It’s time to take a breather and remember what our priorities really are.

  59. 59
    Corner Stone says:

    When Obama is president, he will entirely change the foreign policy debate

    Would you like the cherry Kool-Aide or the grape?

    They can’t tell the fucking difference anymore.

  60. 60
    Thepanzer says:

    “Shorter Thepanzer: Waaaah.”

    Heh.

    The lesser of two evils argument doesn’t really hold when you choose the lesser evil and still get stuck with the greater evil. Especially not when people who should know better are willing to let the lesser evil let the greater evil do whatever the fuck it wants in hopes of maybe kinda eventually doing something about it. But really whatever man, this is giving me flashbacks to pointing out GB was a fuckhead back in 2003 and having my rightie pals give the same talking points the Obama fanboys are giving here. There’s no pointing in debating with fanboys as their devotion to their dear leader is immune to logic, history, common sense, etc. So yeah just keep telling yourself that this is part of some brilliant stratagem to play dead until the Democratic super-majority of 08 and then it’s all gonna change. Too bad your stuck with the same group of craven asshats who just rolled over to the republicans again and a presidential candidate who went along with it.

  61. 61
    Tim C. says:

    A-freaking-men. My only hope, though it is a very very weak one, is that Obama knows something we don’t. And if that’s not a pathetic weak-ass hope, I don’t know what is.

  62. 62
    Ditch Digger says:

    The hardcore supporters will go through remorse, but lesson learned.

    How can any person that has followed politics for like the last 10-20 years believe that Barack Obama would be even remotely in the position to become the Commander in Chief if he didn’t know how to grease the right wheels of power? This has nothing to do with skin color, or Ralph Nader’s own white guilt.

    Obama secured the slight majority of Democratic insider power over what Hillary thought was running 95% in her favour. Once he showed that the insider money could be countered with his online effort they gave in.

  63. 63
    crw says:

    what “powers” does this give anyone?

    Well, if what I’ve read is accurate, this bill legalizes the practice of bulk collection of communications between Americans and foreign citizens (previously not legal under FISA). With some whopping big loopholes that effectively neuters court oversight.

    This is the kind of power that’s not only dangerous. It’s stupid. So, the NSA starts data mining all international calls that originate in the US. That’ll generate huge, noisy data sets that’ll create false positives when you try to look for any ‘suspicious’ activity. Which in turn can lead to the innocent Americans and foreign citizens both being harassed.

  64. 64
    4jkb4ia says:

    Barack can still save the situation by cosponsoring any amendment against immunity. I am now off to write this on Kos and see if the staffers will ever get to the end of 800 comments to read it.

  65. 65
    crw says:

    My take home is not “don’t vote for or support Obama.” It’s “don’t let your guard down.” It’s clear even with President Obama a lot of work will need to be done to clean up DC. A lot of work, as he may not be such a positive force after all. An improvement, no doubt. But not enough of an improvement that those who want real change can stop pushing for better Congresscritters and the like.

  66. 66
    flyerhawk says:

    The lesser of two evils argument doesn’t really hold when you choose the lesser evil and still get stuck with the greater evil. Especially not when people who should know better are willing to let the lesser evil let the greater evil do whatever the fuck it wants in hopes of maybe kinda eventually doing something about it. But really whatever man, this is giving me flashbacks to pointing out GB was a fuckhead back in 2003 and having my rightie pals give the same talking points the Obama fanboys are giving here. There’s no pointing in debating with fanboys as their devotion to their dear leader is immune to logic, history, common sense, etc. So yeah just keep telling yourself that this is part of some brilliant stratagem to play dead until the Democratic super-majority of 08 and then it’s all gonna change. Too bad your stuck with the same group of craven asshats who just rolled over to the republicans again and a presidential candidate who went along with it.

    You do realize that your entire criticism here and in your previous comment is nothing more than ad hominem, right? Maybe you are impressed with your own cleverness but it is hardly impressive to me or anyone else, I would imagine. You are simply being insulting as a means to win a pointless argument.

    You can call me an apologist or a fanboy or whatever pejorative term you can think. It won’t have any bearing on whether this bill really matters one bit or not.

    What I give a shit about is the future of this country, not whether we are able to throw Bush or Cheney in jail or whether some Telcos will be sued for gazillions of dollars because they did what the government told them to do.

    If Obama wins and the Dems gain a filibuster proof majority things will most definitely change. I don’t know how but I am willing to find out because the way things are now sucks pretty bad. But don’t worry, you’ll still be able to tell us how Obama is not a true Progressive.

  67. 67
    TenguPhule says:

    Okay, break out the horse whip and make a place next to Pelosi.

  68. 68
    pessullivan says:

    What pisses me off is that Obama rightly was against this war. He has learned that the was 100% correct in that decision as this administration has, in my mind lied, about the justification.

    He has learned that they’ve, in my mind lied, stretched everything through signing statements, ignoring the rule of law, justifying torture, and ABSOLUTE COMPLETE INCOMPETENCE.

    He now thinks this administration is doing this for National Security? Does he think they all of sudden found the errors of their ways? Does Obama really believe/trust this administration on this issue?

  69. 69
    Stevenovitch says:

    what “powers” does this give anyone?

    From what I understand all the legalese basically says that like before the president has to get FISA approval on wiretapping after it’s already begun. The difference here is if the president chooses to appeal FISA’s negative decision he can KEEP wiretapping until all appeals are exhausted, and even after all of that the court says something like “your wiretap here is the most egregious abuse of power I’ve ever seen”, mister president can still keep (and theoretically use in court?) all of the information gathered in the interim.

    If that doesn’t equal a whole new version of J. Edgar Hoover’s secret library I don’t know what does.

  70. 70
    scarshapedstar says:

    If Obama wins and the Dems gain a filibuster proof majority things will most definitely change.

    Honestly, I take no pleasure in this, but I’d be willing to bet $50 that you’re wrong. I wish I could point to something or someone that gives me hope (there’s that word again!) for positive change (there’s that word again!) but I’m just not seeing it. For starters, the fucking Blue Dogs will be biting at the ankles of progress and goodness in general, so the notion of a “filibuster-proof majority” keeps getting more and more far-fetched; we need a filibuster-proof majority of actual Democrats. On top of that, well, what the hell has Obama stated he wants to change? He wants to end the corruption and the lying and blah blah blah. This would have been a great place to start, given that nobody outside of Fox News gets a hardon for lawless domestic spying and opposing it is the fucking right thing to do!

    But he’s not even tying his shoes.

  71. 71

    One could look at this as a case of company managers taking the word of the President of the US that what they were asked to do was not only legal but important to the safety of the nation and that putting them in jeapordy of destruction to assail the POTUS is not real important. Could

    I don’t like this because this because it sends a message to corporate America that they are not responsible for the legality of actions they take or allow with their equipment. I’m also not real comfortable with destroying jobs and incomes because GeorgeII was an asshole.

    In the end run I don’t give a damn about telecoms, I give a damn about Uncle Sammy.

  72. 72
    libarbarian says:

    Pretty much agree with everything. Disappointed but still a supporter.

  73. 73
    nightjar says:

    Too bad Hillary wasn’t victorious and then we’d have a real progressive to straighten this shit out. Right. LOL. This is turning into a comedic thread of epic proportions with all the pearl clutching OMG the sky is falling theatrics. Bravo teh mouth breathers, and on with the show.

    I sure hope Obama brings world peace by next Thursday.

  74. 74
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    Too bad Hillary wasn’t victorious and then we’d have a real progressive to straighten this shit out.

    Maybe she can figure out a way to save us from Obama by the convention in September. I’d hate to think we got a fake centrist triangulator when we could have the real damn deal.

  75. 75
    Texas Dem says:

    Supporting the FISA compromise is politically shrewd. The overwhelming majority of people just don’t give a rat’s ass about FISA or whether the government is monitoring their e-mails and telephone calls. As one of my co-workers stated, “If you’re not a terrorist you’ve got nothing to worry about.” Greenwald and the rest of the hard core lefties need to grow up. The most pressing concern is driving the GOP from power. If we have to accept the FISA compromise in order to do that, so be it. Once he is president Obama can shut the program down or institute internal reforms out of public view.

  76. 76
    nightjar says:

    I’d hate to think we got a fake centrist triangulator when we could have the real damn deal.

    “C’est la vie”

  77. 77
    Stevenovitch says:

    “If you’re not a terrorist you’ve got nothing to worry about.” Greenwald and the rest of the hard core lefties need to grow up.

    here’s hoping your political representative doesn’t do or say anything they’d want the opposition to hear… you know in case the opposition was listening in and it gave them an egregious political advantage. But hey, they’re not terrorists so what do they have to worry about.

  78. 78
    Rick Taylor says:

    Too bad Hillary wasn’t victorious and then we’d have a real progressive to straighten this shit out.

    Too bad Hillary wasn’t victorious, and then Republicans would rue the day they sought to expand the executive branch’s power.

  79. 79
    NR says:

    In other good news we just had a preview for how Republicans plan to operate from 2008 to 2012 under a democratic presidency. In spite of likely horrendous losses in ‘08 and with public opinion against them I’ll bet dollars to donuts the recent FISA debacle is the new game plan. Get sympathetic douchebag democrats to introduce republican legislation on their behalf and then split enough dem votes off to get it passed with the republican remainders. Then pressure President Obama to stick with the fucking program and not veto anything, since that would be terribly partisan on his part.

    Yep. Meanwhile, they’ll block anything and everything the Democrats try to do to fix the damage they’ve done to the country, let things get steadily worse for the next four years, and then ride to the “rescue” in 2012 under the banner of the man called Petraeus.

    The next few years are not going to be pretty, even if Obama wins.

  80. 80
    D. Mason says:

    One could look at this as a case of company managers taking the word of the President of the US that what they were asked to do was not only legal but important to the safety of the nation and that putting them in jeapordy of destruction to assail the POTUS is not real important. Could

    Let’s say, for example, there was a company that had some kind of military style apparatus. And perhaps that company had some kind of existing relationship with the federal government. What would the legal repercussions be, based on this FISA law, were that company to go rendition citizens? Would those lawsuits get automatically dismissed from courts as soon as they show a presidential authorization?

    I realize the tin-foil hat nature of the above paragraph, unfortunately this is exactly the kind of standard this FISA legislation sets. This law makes the pre-supposition that any act directed by the President is legal or at least should be treated as such. That single tiny assumption, nestled gently in the bosom of this bill, is the biggest problem I have with the thing. It reaches so far, it provides cover for companies like AT&T and simultaneously denies cover to companies like Qwest. It opens a vast array of possibilities for abuse through pliant corporate actors. It makes the President de facto Lawmaker by providing an easily accessible legal limbo into which he can shove his shady dealings. That subtle assumption turns the entire premise of American government on its ear.

    And Obama is totally cool with it.

  81. 81
    TenguPhule says:

    If we have to accept the FISA compromise in order to do that, so be it. Once he is president Obama can shut the program down or institute internal reforms out of public view.

    It’s not my enemies but my damn friends that keep me up at night.

  82. 82
    b-psycho says:

    Times like this I’m glad I learned to treat mainstream politics as an amusing sideshow rather than as anything that actually matters. Disappointment sucked, starting from a position of deliberate cynicism is so much healthier…

  83. 83
    fecapult says:

    Any wagers on how long it will be before we hear “I was against FISA before I was for it”?

    Realistically, how many votes does he gain by teetering on this? I think he just gave ammunition to the opposition with this cave. Be prepared to hear a whole lot more flip-flopper nonsense this election cycle.

  84. 84
    ched says:

    Deeply, deeply disappointed in this cave by Obama. Huge opportunity missed to stand up for something that’s right. Not buying the “necessary compromise to get elected” bullshit either. It’s not necessary to let telcos off the hook for illegal behavior (and to permit the same and worse going forward) to get elected. Not ready to take my purchase back for a refund just yet, but not liking Barack very much today.

  85. 85

    I’ve thought on this, I’m not happy but anyhow

  86. 86
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    [Obama’s IPOD playlist] also contained 30 songs from Dylan. “One of my favourites [for] the political season is [Dylan’s] Maggie’s Farm. It speaks to me as I listen to some of the political rhetoric.”

    In the song, Dylan sings about trying to be himself, “but everybody wants you to be just like them”.

    Shut the fuck up – really!?

  87. 87
    AnneLaurie says:

    Why don’t we try reverse psychology and start cheering how awesome it’s going to be when Obama turns this massive spying apparatus on his opponents.

    Think of all the gay sex scandals waiting to be unearthed!

    We could flip 1/2 the Republican caucus.

    . Why bother, when President Obama can use his awesum new security capabilities to flip *ALL* the Repub caucus for garden-variety financial corruption? LOLzers!

  88. 88
    Loquacious Mute says:

    Did anyone see Jonathan Alter on KO tonight?

    I thought his comments were interesting about the art of politics being the art of the possible; and he (Obama) is a legislater and knows you cannot always get everything you want, even if he personally believes immunity is important.

    Also brought up that since last Aug we have been operating in a unconstitutional enviornment which vilolates the 4th ammendment, and so there was tremendous urgency to get the FISA court back into the game and while this bill does it imperfectly it does restore the constitution.
    I am a bit ambivalent about Obama’s decision, but I will not groan too much about it now because I still believe in him. Maybe he truly does believe this is the best compromise or perhaps there is a bigger strategy going on here besides the fact that the center wins, and running as a progressive would surely doom any dem. Do any of us know for sure, but what we do know is that we can in no way have another repug in the WH and that winning in Nov is just too important. Just think what things would be like now if George Bush had not been handed the Presidency in 2000. Now imagine it is 4 years into a John McCain presidency.

    here is the video link for Alter on KO

  89. 89
    slightly_peeved says:

    A question from a foreigner who’s not entirely familiar with your system…

    The final arbiter of the Constitutionality (or otherwise) of a law is the Supreme Court, isn’t it?

    In which case, while I can sympathize with the level of pissed-offishness displayed at Obama, I don’t understand the cries of “end of the Republic!” at this law. If it is unconstitutional, the supreme court should overturn it as soon as it gets to them, should it not?

    I would have thought that the key to the protection of the constitution is making sure that the constitution’s guardian, the SCOTUS, is staffed with people who want it to be followed. As the SCOTUS trumps the legislature on matters of constitutionality, so the potential supreme court appointees should trump any particular legislation as the measure of which candidate will be better for the consitution in the long run.

  90. 90
    Michael Gass says:

    Well, I hate to say it (I really do)… but… I told you that Barack would put out another press release on how he can’t fight the FISA capitulation.

    Whether or not he’ll “work” to get the immunity removed, I foresee him having a few latte’s, and putting out a press release along the lines of:

    “Sorry folks, you know, I had some latte’s and talked to the Democratic Senator’s, and there just isn’t any support… so, oh well, I tried”.

    And… voila… Barack comes out with: “sure I SAID I would fight, but, but…”

  91. 91
    horatius says:

    Yes We Can capitulate!!!

    So disgusted.

  92. 92
    cleek says:

    here is the Senate Majority Leader’s summary of the new bill. it’s not exactly earth-shattering stuff.

  93. 93
    cleek says:

    (sorry, House Majority Leader)

  94. 94
    Marshall says:

    One could look at this as a case of company managers taking the word of the President of the US that what they were asked to do was not only legal but important to the safety of the nation and that putting them in jeapordy of destruction to assail the POTUS is not real important.

    Could. One could also look at the prosecution of Joseph Nacchio as a case of Mafia-style enforcement tactics aimed at the only company and CEO that refused to do illegal wiretapping, but I guess that’s not real important either.

  95. 95
    Marshall says:

    Oh, and I am still suspending judgement until enactment. It ain’t over till it’s over, and the workings of the Senate can be very opaque. I don’t care who votes for what if (say) it was passed in such a fashion that a veto was inevitable.

  96. 96
    Hugh says:

    Slightly_peeved says, “The final arbiter of the Constitutionality (or otherwise) of a law is the Supreme Court, isn’t it?

    “In which case, while I can sympathize with the level of pissed-offishness displayed at Obama, I don’t understand the cries of “end of the Republic!” at this law. If it is unconstitutional, the supreme court should overturn it as soon as it gets to them, should it not?”

    You make a good point. Still, the Supreme Court has been staffed to be very far to the right so their interpretation as a body is filtered through what appears to be a strong ideological perspective. What will they actually say about this? I don’t know. And who will Obama nominate for new Supreme Court justices? Will he pick important fights in this regard? Or will he nominate soft, squishy candidates. What, we now wonder in a more basic way, will he actually do in office? All of a sudden many of us have a sinking feeling that Obama is much more likely to be rolled by political pressure than we had thought. How depressing. And signaling that ahead of time encourages Republicans to bluster and fight him tooth and nail on just about everything.

    He has to pick a fight. Win or lose he has to pick one. I think the FISA bill is one he should have picked.

  97. 97
    Wilfred says:

    Vietnam for the Great Society.

    FISA for Schips.

    The politics of dilemma.

  98. 98

    I’m just sad that I didn’t vote for The Perfect Candidate in the primary. After eight years of Bush, I was certain that this time the Democrats would nominate someone who wouldn’t disappoint any of them in any way whatsoever.
    That Obama is the first black person with a shot at the presidency, that he seems like a relatively decent guy as politicians go, and that he just might win – not to mention the fact that he’s willing to run as the candidate of a party that starts bitching about its nominee as soon as that nominee the second that the primaries are over, mean nothing to me now because he’s not perfect.

  99. 99
    KevinD says:

    I’m reading Greenwald’s book right now, the chapter that describes how Repubs like Gingrich and Ashcroft and others in the nineties were wringing their hands over how the Fed had become a unlawful, spying, “Police State”. They were even complaining about FISA back then! I think we just have to wait until Obama gets in office; the wingnuts flip flop and start accusing Dems of running a police state, and force the Dems to cave in and repeal these bogus powers. Political jujitsu at it’s finest.

  100. 100
    Xenos says:

    It looks like Nacchio got Seigelmanned: did something that does not look legit to an unsophisticated juror, add a multi-million dollar prosecution, and you have a good chance at prosecution.

    The same SEC/FBI review of any telecom would have resulted in restatements, and then after the restatements, a prima facie case of fraud. Add a biased judge who just got bitchslapped for prejudice by the appeals courts, and there is a remarkable symmetry here.

    As for Obama, it looks like everything is being thrown off the boat in a desperate attempt to make sure that Obama gets elected. I guess there is no chance of getting to the bottom of GOP criminal conspiracies otherwise, so lets just keep eyes on the prize. This country may not be recognizable after four more years of GOP executive rule, so sack up, guys.

  101. 101
    Hugh says:

    Xenos, I think your analysis is on target. Obama’s people are making their tactical choices. We’ll see if after-the-fact if they were good ones.

  102. 102
    Doug H. (Fausto no more) says:

    I’m more or less with Chuck. Personally, I find all the pearl clutching over the “death” of the Fourth Amendment hilarious. Asset forfeiture? No-knock searches? The War on (Some) Drugs has been stomping over the Fourth for years, why start caring now? I wonder if Radley Balko is having himself a good laugh and/or a good cry.

  103. 103
    scarshapedstar says:

    Texas Dem,

    Supporting the FISA compromise is politically shrewd. The overwhelming majority of people just don’t give a rat’s ass about FISA or whether the government is monitoring their e-mails and telephone calls.

    Ah, yes, the time-tested “appeal to apathy”. I’m sure the don’t-give-a-fuck crowd will turn out in droves now.

  104. 104
  105. 105
    georgia pig says:

    I’m with cleek and some of the others above. Even if this is a cave, it’s a strategic one that makes a lot of sense. The FISA bill is small potatoes as far as the 4th Amendment is concerned, and it’s a poison pill designed by the Republicans for purposes of beating up Obama in the election, this year’s version of gay marriage. They will be laying these kind of landmines for the next seven months, especially because they can intimidate Blue Dogs into doing their dirty work.

    Telcom immunity is pretty trivial because, if a civil suit against a telcom is all we have to get at Bush admin wrongdoing, we’re fucked anyway. Such a suit would be tied down in discovery disputes for years, and you’d likely end up with nothing because everything would be sealed to protect sources and methods. I can tell you, as a lawyer, civil suits generally suck as means for obtaining justice. The prize is winning the presidential election and getting a working majority so that the political momentum can be reversed. Sorry, but Bush and crew very likely will get off with nothing more that a lousy legacy and subterranean approval levels, but President Obama is a helluva lot better than President McCain.

  106. 106
    mark says:

    One could also look at the prosecution of Joseph Nacchio as a case of Mafia-style enforcement tactics aimed at the only company and CEO that refused to do illegal wiretapping

    Wow. Hadn’t heard about that one. Obama could do worse than make a stink about this case to explain why immunity might not be horrible.

  107. 107
    Zifnab says:

    Texas Dem,

    Supporting the FISA compromise is politically shrewd. The overwhelming majority of people just don’t give a rat’s ass about FISA or whether the government is monitoring their e-mails and telephone calls.

    Ah, yes, the time-tested “appeal to apathy”. I’m sure the don’t-give-a-fuck crowd will turn out in droves now.

    Fuck apathy. This is the perfect opportunity to take a principled stand. No one is going to vote against Obama for fighting this out. And the reward he reaps as champion of the populist civil rights liberals will be bountiful.

    This is a totally safe issue in terms of demographics. The people who understand FISA don’t like it. The people who don’t understand FISA either don’t care or weren’t going to vote for Obama anyway. He’s got nothing to lose on this, even if he goes all in.

  108. 108
    liberal says:

    scarshapedstar wrote,

    For starters, the fucking Blue Dogs will be biting at the ankles of progress and goodness in general, so the notion of a “filibuster-proof majority” keeps getting more and more far-fetched; we need a filibuster-proof majority of actual Democrats.

    What are th political dynamics preventing the Dem House leadership from pulling the same “majority of the majority” crap that the Rethuglicans did?

  109. 109
    liberal says:

    IMHO:

    (1) Anyone who thought Obama was really liberal didn’t check out his voting record, which ISTM placed him in about the same position as Hillary. While I’d give Obama the nod on the Iraq war and other middle east issues, he was never a leader in the US Senate in terms of actually shutting the war occupation down sooner rather than some nebulous later.

    (2) Since politics is the art of the possible, and since while I’ve always had serious misgivings about Obama being too far to the right on many issues (just like Hill), the choice now is between Obama and a madman.

    (3) We can have two ideas in our head—at the same time, (a) support Obama vigorously, (b) confront Obama “from the left” on many issues (partly to move the Overton window).

  110. 110
    Svensker says:

    Yes, I’ll still vote for Obama. But this is a cave, and a not very savory one, at that. If he had not made those passionate speeches about the issue back in February, I’d be more willing to cut him some slack here and say, well, he’s just a politician. But he seemed to understand the issue here (and many others, as well), which was why I liked him. Now, it feels more like voting for him because he’s not a Republican, which isn’t the same thing at all.

  111. 111
    The Other Steve says:

    I never considered the immunity thing that big of a deal. It always seemed like a distraction from the real issue that Bush was breaking the law.

  112. 112
    CarolinCA says:

    This FISA thing has had me really struggling to try and reach a better understanding of (a) the context of the issue, including what got us here, and (b) the current implications of what the vote does or doesn’t mean. I admit that previously I followed FISA more closely than, say, someone who relies on television for their news but not so closely that I could confidently say I’m well-informed. So I started reading.

    I finally started to feel like I had a decent grasp on the whole mess and was going to try and write a response here, but damned if someone else (an attorney) didn’t just do a far better job than I could have. So if you are so inclined, please pop over to Kos and read ‘A pragmatist’s view on FISA’:

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/.....926/542170

  113. 113
    The Other Steve says:

    1) Anyone who thought Obama was really liberal didn’t check out his voting record, which ISTM placed him in about the same position as Hillary. While I’d give Obama the nod on the Iraq war and other middle east issues, he was never a leader in the US Senate in terms of actually shutting the war occupation down sooner rather than some nebulous later.

    According to the Republicans, Obama is the most liberal senator ever!

  114. 114
    The Other Steve says:

    I finally started to feel like I had a decent grasp on the whole mess and was going to try and write a response here, but damned if someone else (an attorney) didn’t just do a far better job than I could have. So if you are so inclined, please pop over to Kos and read ‘A pragmatist’s view on FISA’:

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/.....926/542170

    Interesting, that was a good summary. Thanks for pointing that out.

  115. 115
    liberal says:

    The Other Steve wrote,

    According to the Republicans, Obama is the most liberal senator ever!

    Yeah…we could nominate Ghengis Khan, and …

    More to the point, wasn’t it the idiots at the Politico who claimed that in one time period he was the most liberal Senator? Which I’ve never understood…I typically use Americans for Democratic Action to eval Dems overall (not because I’m a member or completely agree with their worldview, but because they have one of the oldest scorecard system around), and I couldn’t find any evidence that he was the most liberal.

  116. 116
    slightly_peeved says:

    What will they actually say about this? I don’t know. And who will Obama nominate for new Supreme Court justices? Will he pick important fights in this regard? Or will he nominate soft, squishy candidates. What, we now wonder in a more basic way, will he actually do in office? All of a sudden many of us have a sinking feeling that Obama is much more likely to be rolled by political pressure than we had thought. How depressing.

    So, you’ve got the illinois senate experience, the US senate experience, his primary run, and his presidential run, and up until this week you were completely happy with him…

    .. and now this position on a single bill (for which, I believe, the outcome is not in doubt) overrides all of that?

    Maybe he miscalculated. Maybe he knows something you don’t. But I would think if he were supine by nature, you would have seen it before now. It’s hardly viewing him as a Messiah to judge him based on his whole political history rather than one event.

  117. 117
    liberal says:

    Svensker said,

    If he had not made those passionate speeches about the issue back in February, I’d be more willing to cut him some slack here and say, well, he’s just a politician.

    Did he really make policy-oriented speeches about civil liberties? I don’t recall either way.

  118. 118
    cleek says:

    So if you are so inclined, please pop over to Kos and read ‘A pragmatist’s view on FISA’:

    damn straight.

    the nut:

    Folks, if you think FISA is the last bastion of the Fourth Amendment, I have bad news for you. If FISA is indeed the last bastion, the Fourth Amendment is already gone. The current bill will not fix the problem, no matter whether telecoms are given the affirmative defense of acting under color of law. The problem exists in the USA PATRIOT Act, not in FISA.

    the 4th? the War On Drugs gutted that one a long time ago, and FISA/FISC before that. and the recent USA PATRIOT brought us such wonders as beefed-up “National Security Letters”.

  119. 119
    Grand Moff Texan says:

    JOHN: According to this guy, “nothing changed” in this case, just like SCOTUS in the last post.

    Shorter version: even under the old FISA arrangement, since you could never see/challenge the warrant they used to spy on you, your 4th amendment rights were already gone.

    I dunno, I’m not a lawyer.
    .

  120. 120
    Crust says:

    Hear, hear.

    Sadly, Olby is spinning madly on this one. (FYI, John, Greenwald has some kind words for you in the same post.) The real pearl-clutchers in all this are the folks who are so afraid of taking any risk of influencing the election that they won’t stand up for principle. Yes, Obama will make a better president than McCain (heck, even on this issue he is marginally better than McCain), but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t hold him accountable for his mistakes. Especially big ones, like this one.

  121. 121
    Hugh says:

    Slightly_peeved, I think there’s a paradigm shift when one becomes president, or runs for that office. Bush behaved very differently as president than he did as Governor of Texas. Still, I suppose you’re right. I don’t know a lot about Obama’s history in the Illinois legislature. I probably should! That withstanding, everyone is now looking hard at what Obama says and does. This is what we (they) see. So I am disappointed. In your opinion, do you see this as consistent with Obama’s history in the Illinois legislature? I’m guessing you’ve looked at it. Is this what we should expect? (By the way, where exactly are you from? I like your posts.)

  122. 122

    Thanks to Dreggas and the others who pointed out the KOS Diary. Who would have thought that the FISA bill is just window dressing and that does not alter the fact that the Fourth Amendment is largely a dead letter?

  123. 123
    Dreggas says:

    Dennis – SGMM Says:

    Thanks to Dreggas and the others who pointed out the KOS Diary. Who would have thought that the FISA bill is just window dressing and that does not alter the fact that the Fourth Amendment is largely a dead letter?

    There was something about the whole thing that stank. IMO, If Obama is half as good at law as he seems to be I almost bet he is willing to give the telco’s immunity as a bargaining chip to go after bush in a criminal matter. When prosecuting someone the DA tends to give the less shittier perp a plea bargain or even immunity in return for testimony against the bigger shittier perp. It’s done a lot in mafia cases and drug rings. You let the small time corner dealer go to get at the supplier.

  124. 124
    Dreggas says:

    Oh and remember, Monica Goodling was given immunity for her testimony because the one they really wanted was Gonzalez

  125. 125
    Katherine says:

    FYI: If anyone wants to request the return of a previous donation, the way to do it is to email ddozier@barackobama.com. Don’t know what their policy is refunds due to buyers’ remorse based on broken campaign promises; I think it would be perfectly reasonable for them NOT to give them refunds & will be a little surprised if they do. But, I do feel like an idiot for giving him $100 a few months specifically because I thought he was the candidate most likely to uphold civil liberties & human rights & at least publicly reveal the extent of Bush administration lawbreaking. I also feel actively deceived by the campaign. I’d be better off giving that money, and all future donations, to organizations & candidates that can actually be trusted on these issues, than on buying a millisecond’s worth of a tv ad with it. Of course the obvious solution is not to give to major presidential candidates in the future except in extraordinarily rare cases if you have issue-bright-lines. But it seems useful to me for the financial staff to know why people aren’t donating & that they regret their past donations.

    I assume most people aren’t as mad as I am–the usual response to comments like this at Great Orange Satan are for a bunch of people to say they’re doubling their donations in response to crazies like me. Honestly? That’s great; I hope he outspends McCain dramatically. Part of the reason I regret donating to Obama before is that he very clearly doesn’t need my money. So if I or the Center for Constitutional Rights gains $100 & Obama breaks even, it’s sort of win-win for me.

    If anyone IS as mad as I am, that’s who you contact to request a refund.

  126. 126
    Katherine says:

    That Kos post is an attempt to minimize this. It’s technically correct: FISA surveillance was warrantless, and if the Fourth Amendment protected the communications in question no statute would be needed. But, now the previous statutory check is largely gone, & there are no consequences for violating it. You can tell yourself he’s planning criminal prosecutions if you like; I hope he is. But he’s promised to do no such thing. If he is willing to break a clear promise re: this bill, there is no rational reason to believe he will take the riskier step of being responsible for a criminal prosecution when he hasn’t even made a promise about that one. I mean, maybe, I hope so, but actually believing that is excuse-making or the triumph of hope over experuebce,

  127. 127
    Chris Johnson says:

    Holy crap, that explains everything. I THOUGHT there had to be some reason why Obama wasn’t making a nod toward principle.

    It’s one thing to stand on principle but another to stand on FAKE principle. So the Bush administration are dismantling what is already a completely bullshit law, eh?

    It sounds like rather than trying to protect the honor of FISA courts it’s better to let them slide to where no reasonable person would defend them- race to the bottom as it were- and then go after the root of the problem and ditch them completely. Secret courts with secret evidence, fancy that.

    Just personally I’m now wholeheartedly in favor of Obama’s possibly judo ploy: I just insist that he follow through later with an earlier promise to go through and review all the Bush-league mechanisms that aren’t constitutional- and that these FISA courts themselves qualify.

    It will just be more obvious that they qualify after the dust settles, so pump up the outrage-o-meters and let’s not have a lot of talk about the sanctity of our FISA system, ok?

  128. 128
    Katherine says:

    No, it’s not a bullshit law; privacy matters with regard to international communications even if the 4th amendment doesn’t apply. We tend to talk about all crucial individual rights as if they’re protected by the Constitution; sometimes they’re only protected by statutes. People are taking advantage of that fact to confuse people & grasping for excuses on Obama’s behalf. Some statutory rights are very, very important. Gutting them has real consequences.

  129. 129
    Katherine says:

    The criminal prohibition on torture overseas, for instance–that’s just a statute.

  130. 130
    Dreggas says:

    Katherine Says:

    The criminal prohibition on torture overseas, for instance—that’s just a statute.

    And that stopped this administration how? Same for Clinton who started the renditions program.

  131. 131
    mrmobi says:

    So I read that excellent diary on GOS, and I have a question.

    Why couldn’t a Democratic leader have explained that in a speech or some other forum? Have we really become a nation of idiots, that we can’t understand when we’re being fed a pack of lies about a bill that makes absolutely no difference? This battle has already been lost. Obama was smart to stay out of it, it’s a waste of time.

    I expect him, though, to prosecute the fuckers who engineered this major blow to our Constitution when he becomes President.

  132. 132
    mrmobi says:

    Oh, and John, in the context of that diary at GOS, it’s not a cave in any way, shaper or form.

    It’s simply a recognition that the battle has been lost, and it’s time to keep your powder dry and fight another day, after you are President.

  133. 133
    Katherine says:

    “And that stopped this administration how? Same for Clinton who started the renditions program”

    Right. It didn’t stop them, because Congress allows Presidents to violate criminal statutes with impunity, like Barack Obama is doing by caving on this vote in violation of his campaign promises, which is why I requested a return of my donations. This is why, when Obama lists as one of the justifications for his caving that the law guarantees no future lawbreaking by making FISA the “exclusive means” of overseas surveillance, he is lying. The existing statute contained the same text, and the Bush administration violated it with impunity–impunity that Obama actively supports, though he promised to do the opposite a few months ago.

  134. 134
    Katherine says:

    It would really be much better if people could support him despite his caving on this, without buying & selling lies about what he just did. Really, he’s still much better than McCain in 1000 ways. I’m not going to volunteer or donate but I’m glad some people will. There’s no need to bullsh*t & grasp at straws so you can pretend your leader hasn’t done anything wrong.

  135. 135
    MH says:

    NO ONE could have foreseen that Obama would cave on FISA!

    ***

    “Moving to the center” is complete bullshit. Anyone who is still ‘independent’ does not vote on the issues. Period. What they will vote on is the emotions generated by seeing Obama fight or cave and it doesn’t even matter which side of which issue.

    These people hate Republicans, but they love fighters, and don’t really care what they’re fighting about. If Democrats would f’ing grow a pair, independents and cnetrists would break for the Dem. If the Democrats keep acting like this, as they have for the last eight+ years, they’re going to go with the Republican fighter over the Democrat wuss every time.

    I haven’t had time to read the Kos Diary, but that’s neither here nor there – if you want to excuse this on the grounds of a hail mary play of exposing secret courts, fine. But the argument that this is excusable for reasons of attracting centrist votes is 100% pure black tar bullshit.

  136. 136
    orogeny says:

    It’s simply a recognition that the battle has been lost, and it’s time to keep your powder dry and fight another day, after you are President.

    You don’t see any difference between admitting that a battle has been lost and calling the result a victory? Obama has come out and told the American people that passing the FISA bill was a good thing and was necessary to protect us from the Islamofascifundaterrorists.

  137. 137
    Tsulagi says:

    When did Obama hire Bob Shrum

    Better question would be when was he inserted into the Dem DNA.

    consider that maybe, just maybe, he actually likes the bill, and he’s voting for it because he likes it and not because he’s afraid of anything.

    I’m giving Obama the benefit of the doubt that his position is simply a gutless capitulation perceived to be in his self interest. If he really thinks kicking the 4th Amendment in the junk and Gitmoing probable cause is in the country’s best interests, the unity pony can go fuck himself.

    We have to destroy the constitution in order to save the constitution

    Brilliant strategery not just for Republicans! Vote Obama—the unity candidate!

  138. 138
    Dreggas says:

    And this bill is bullshit too as was pointed out in the KOS diary. Look, I am not happy about this bill either. However I can see other avenues that, in some ways, make me a little bit more willing to see what Obama does rather than scream that the sky is falling, not volunteer for the campaign and stop donating.

    I’ve seen this Chicken Little shit throughout the primaries where everyone is all up in arms over something Obama has done then suddenly, like a chess player, it comes out that there was a purpose behind it and he was 5 steps ahead of everyone else.

    You want the 4th amendment somehow protected or reinstated? Focus on getting rid of the Patriot Act. You want to go after the real culprits behind this compromise? Go after Hoyer and Pelosi. Obama is still the presumptive nominee and until he takes the oath of Office he’s NOT the party leader.

    I still stand by something I said not long ago. We’ve seen this dance before with regard to telco immunity and FISA. One chamber passes something that everyone hates, the other shuts it down and it gets passed back and forth like a hot potato as the dems on both sides try to run out the clock. There’s less than 7 months until the next president is sworn in and for all his flaws I fully support Obama and believe not only that he is the lesser of two evils but far better and more deserving of support than the alternative and I’ll be damned if I don’t work, volunteer, and donate. The stakes are far too high this time around.

  139. 139
    Katherine says:

    By itself this wouldn’t be a deal breaker, but the willingness to stab progressives in the back & lie to them on civil liberties issues can’t be countenanced. He can’t be trusted. I don’t volunteer & donate to candidates who can’t be trusted.

  140. 140
    Katherine says:

    As for the PATRIOT act bit: it’s not as if using communications in criminal prosecutions is the only, or even most likely, way to use them. J. Edgar Hoover never did prosecute Martin Luther King, and yet people are still upset about those wiretaps.

  141. 141
    Pixie says:

    I support (supported?) Obama and the fact that he was willing to vote against the FISA bill whilst campaigning and Clinton was too busy to make herself available for this most basic stand for the US Constitution was what ultimately made me vote for Obama in the primary. It blows my mind to hear people say that its ok if he caves on this bill because its important to appeal to the segment of the population who thinks a police state is a great idea in order to get elected. My loyalty ultimately lay with the Constitution of the US and not to any one person running for office. I don’t care how flashy, charismatic, or intelligent that person is, I will not vote for him/her if they cannot stand up for the basic rule of law and demand accountability for those who have broken the law.

    Remember, these telecoms committed blantantly illegal acts at the governments behest because THEY WERE BEING PAID WELL TO DO SO. Of course the government would want to grant the telecoms amnesty from law breaking because they also want to SELF-IMMUNIZE from possible legal action. They want to cut off all avenues (the courts) that would uncover illegal doings on their part and Obama has just come out and said that he’s totally cool with it.

    Well I’m not. I don’t care if its a crusty old fart or a goodlooking articulate gentleman – throwing up your middle finger to the law of the land is a sure fire way to garauntee I will stay at home in Nov.

  142. 142
    Hugh says:

    I just read “A pragmatist’s view on FISA”. Certainly worth thinking about. Reassuring in it’s horrifying way. Has Glenn Greenwald had anything to say about it? I would be curious to hear his response.

  143. 143
    mrmobi says:

    Katherine:

    By itself this wouldn’t be a deal breaker, but the willingness to stab progressives in the back & lie to them on civil liberties issues can’t be countenanced. He can’t be trusted. I don’t volunteer & donate to candidates who can’t be trusted.

    So, you’ve obviously never donated or volunteered for any candidate, because none of them can be “trusted” in the way you would like.

    Look, Obama has made many mistakes in both the primary campaign and now in the general. I don’t think he has handled this FISA matter as well as he could have. He’s probably a little pre-occupied with trying to help Hillary Clinton pay down her campaign debt, get money from her contributors, and convince the most rabid Hillary supporters that they should support him. That said, his record, while far from extensive, is replete with actions which indicate he is for transparency in government. In fact, his greatest bi-partisan achievement in the Illinois Senate was in getting all police interviews videotaped. I believe Illinois was the first state in the country to mandate that.

    I’m not a progressive, I’m a Liberal. I think that the conservative movement is steeped in racism, firmly against any advancement of income equality, anti-union, anti-worker, anti-environment and pro-profiteering, all at the great expense of the American People. Likely that same movement is going to spend a good while in the woodshed after the coming election. It couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch of soulless shitheads.

    As the general election continues, please expect to be “stabbed in the back” many more times as Obama tries to increase his electoral lead. The good news is, it’s metaphorical bleeding, and you won’t die from it (it won’t even leave a visible scar). This is Presidential Politics, and Obama will offend progressives many more times before he is elected, because he’s got to get as much of the independent vote as he can to win this election.

  144. 144
    over_educated says:

    Glenn Greenwald saying nice things about John:

    As but one example, John Cole was a vehement supporter of Barack Obama throughout the primary. He viciously criticized Hillary Clinton on a regular basis and raised tens of thousands of dollars for Obama’s campaign through his blog. But this week alone, Cole lambasted Obama for what he called Obama’s “total collapse and a rapid abandonment of principle” regarding FISA and pronounced as a “pathetic performance” Obama’s refusal to be photographed anywhere near Muslims or to meet with Muslim leaders. Despite that, just yesterday, Cole said:

    No, I don’t have buyers remorse. Yes, he still is better than Hillary or McCain. No, I am not disillusioned (I never thought he was a flaming liberal in the first place). I am, however, disgusted, and I will caution the Obama campaign that “better than McCain” is not much of a rallying cry. We all remember how “anything is better than Bush” turned out in 2004.
    That’s called being a rational adult who refuses to relinquish one’s intellectual honesty, integrity, and political principles in order to march lockstep behind a political leader. Those who think that Barack Obama should not be criticized no matter how wrong he is — or those who justify anything that he does no matter how craven and unjustifiable, including things that they viciously criticized when done by Dick Cheney or Harry Reid — are no different, and no better, than those who treated George Bush with similar uncritical reverence in 2003 and 2004.

  145. 145
    The Mantis says:

    I told a friend recently that while I was overjoyed that Obama had won the primary, I was dreading the inevitable pivot from seeking rabid Democratic partisan votes to seeking disaffected Republican/independent votes for the general.

    I know this is an election, and the goal is to win, and I don’t fault Obama for this inclination. Given the giant group hug he got from the netroots in the primaries, I imagine he’s looking for his ‘Sista Souljah’ moment, a way to demonstrate to the fence-sitters that he isn’t beholden to the lefties that Bill O’Reilly and Lou Dobbs rail against every night. Some commenters made the point that people who remain “independent” or “undecided” at this point aren’t going to vote on the issues anyway, which might be partially true. But I do not think we can discount how difficult it is for someone to begin the process of repairing the cognative dissonance required to have supported someone like George W. Bush and his band of torturers.

    8 years of propaganda can’t be undone overnight, and my sense is that Obama is trying to send up some flares for those people to say, “It’s OK, you’re not going to turn into a dirty hippie just because you think you might want to vote for me. I’m not a crazy liberal, and you won’t turn into one if you vote for me, no matter how much Crazy Uncle Karl has tried to convince you a Dem vote will send you straight to Hell (or Guantanamo). I won’t bite. I’m not that different from you.”

    And I’m willing to cut him some slack on that regard because I want him to win, even if I have to look away and puke a little in my mouth when he comes out in favor of telecom immunity, or an expansion of the application of the death penalty…

  146. 146
    tballou says:

    Obama is a pathetic piece of shit and I will never vote for him or any other lying bastard that said they would oppose this crap and now ends up blowing Bush and Company on a national stage. He has now proven himself to be completely and totally untrustworthy on any and every issue. What a crass bastard.

  147. 147

    […] Libby also points to commentary by John Cole, Avedon (and here), NTodd, and Ian Walsh at Firedoglake. Ian lists the 15 senators (the vertebrates, as Cernig called them), who voted against yesterday’s cloture vote (80 senators voted for cloture; Clinton, Obama, and McCain all declined to vote). […]

  148. 148
    Thepanzer says:

    First the troll retardant. No one is arguing we should vote for Mcsame. Not even trolls post to defend Mcsame anymore… Only a minority of a minority are threatening not to vote or go the Nader route. The vast majority of the progressive community will and should vote for Obama for no other reason than to keep wingnut justices off the bench.

    …But that does not mean the Democrats should get a free pass for this capitulation or that Obama as the presumptive Democratic leader for the next 4 years should get a free pass. At the end of the day either progressive laws get passed or they don’t and either wingnut rethug laws get passed or they don’t. For the last 8 years we all know who’s been winning that fight. Each wingnut law passed acts as a layer of cement that you have to pry off prior to getting anything progressive done. The patriot act, fisa telecom immunity act as succesive layers of concrete each getting thicker than the last. When Democrats bring forward and allow to pass legislation that adds another layer of cement we should have no illusions that it is a loss and any tactical advantages gained doesn’t make up for the strategic setback to another layer of cement to have to dig through…especially in the face of a Republican minority that does not care what their approval levels are and will obstruct until the cows come home.

    The great flaw in thinking that flyer and others here are clinging to is the same one I had until last friday. I was holding as a given that a democratic majority and an Obama led presidency would be able to hold off wingnut legislation and be able to activelty pass progressive ones. Obama and the dems actions last week and this week have completely called that into question as the fundamentals for them to have a mandate to oppose the republicans is already in place and yet they’re still playing like it’s 2003. It was a kick to the nuts to realize that my assumption that a further mandate from ’08 would allow the dems to finally find a spine and fight back has no basis in reality from the last 7 years of actual politics. We have absolutely zero guarantee that’s the case and the last 7 1/2 years and especially the last 10 days show that the dems can quite happily tell the DFH’s to STFU and let them vote with the republicans against there own interests. This raises the real possibility that Obama and the dems will continue this same nonsense from 2008 forward, especially since the village isn’t being voted on…broder, modo, and the cool kidz aren’t going anywhere. They’ll apply the same memes and BS to Obama from ’08 to ’12 as they do today and if he won’t take a brawlers stance right fucking now they’ll eat him alive for being oh so terribly partisan and not giving the republicans whatever they want. These tactical “advantages” from “nullifying” issues are pyhric victories at best and provide ample ammo for republican pivots down the road.

    I’ll still hold my nose and pull the lever for Obama but until his actions CONSISTENTLY back his rhetoric you’re setting yourself up for a cruel letdown in believing a democratic super-majority will be any less craven than they are today.

  149. 149
    cyntax says:

    …I was dreading the inevitable pivot from seeking rabid Democratic partisan votes to seeking disaffected Republican/independent votes for the general.

    Ya know I really wonder if the FISA cave is a pivot to the center. My recollection of the primaries is that opposing warrantless wiretapping polled pretty well with independents.

    The people in the House who seem responsible for trying to hustle this through prior to the election are the BlueDog Dems as lead by Steny Hoyer. Now they took a good amount of cash from the telcos and that cash flows from Blue Dog Dems out to other members of the House, so that factors into the equation, but I’m wondering if the Blue Dog Dems didn’t come to Pelosi (and maybe Reid too) saying that they needed this FISA bill as inoculation going into the November elections.

    What really can’t be discerned is how much Obama feels he needs the Blue Dog Dems’ support, except possibly for his endorsement of Rep John Barrows (a big proponent of warrantless wiretapping) over primary challenger Regina Thomas (african american and opposed to warrantless wiretapping) sometime last week. So Obama’s FISA stance may be driven by what he sees as a strategic need to shore his support among conservative Dems in the coming Congress.

    But that’s a lot of inside baseball and the end result still blows (yes, of course I’m still voting for him, and donating, and everything else–though I’ll probably donate to the Strange Bedfellows PAC too).

  150. 150
    CharlesF says:

    I’d dropped Balloon Juice from my bookmarks when John Cole was making realpolitik excuses for Obama’s cave on Fisa. So today when I saw Greenwald’s link to this site, I thought he must mean the Juan not the John. But I am glad to see that John has come around (is that a theme in his politics?), I sort of missed the energy of this place.

  151. 151
    CharlesF says:

    Katherine Says:
    ‘So if I or the Center for Constitutional Rights gains $100 & Obama breaks even, it’s sort of win-win for me.

    If anyone IS as mad as I am, that’s who you contact to request a refund.’

    Thanks for the email address, Katherine, I sent the request and told them why.

  152. 152
    Katherine says:

    “As the general election continues, please expect to be “stabbed in the back” many more times as Obama tries to increase his electoral lead. The good news is, it’s metaphorical bleeding, and you won’t die from it (it won’t even leave a visible scar).”

    Metaphorical for me. But, the issue I’ve experienced this the most with is torture, where the Democrats’ 7 years of capitulation has done very concrete harm.

  153. 153
    Michael Brown says:

    A week ago I gave you a hearty “fuck you” for not taking this issue seriously and calling those of us who are angry about it a bunch of crackheads.

    So here’s an even more hearty THANK YOU now for having very clearly figured out:
    A. That this issue is important.
    B. That Obama is dead wrong on this, that we all know it, and that he should know better.
    C. That those of us who still give a damn about the consitution will still have to vote for Obama, despite him cowering like a whipped dog on this issue.

  154. 154
    slightly_peeved says:

    That withstanding, everyone is now looking hard at what Obama says and does. This is what we (they) see. So I am disappointed.

    I can understand the disappointment; I don’t think anyone’s saying this is EXCELLENT NEWS! FOR OBAMA!!! Or anything. However, if you’re going to train anyone (or anything) you use both carrots and sticks. Seems like as soon as the Democratic party pisses on the carpet, everyone breaks out the sticks and forgets that it hasn’t got many carrots in the past 8 years.

    The Democrats have been trending rightward since Reagan, AFAIK. Most of the Democratic Party have no experience of staking out a strong progressive position and winning with it. The way to get them to stake out strong progressive positions is to reward them for doing it, rather than rejecting the party when they do not.

    In your opinion, do you see this as consistent with Obama’s history in the Illinois legislature? I’m guessing you’ve looked at it.

    Not as much as I should have, I’m afraid :), but AFAIK, he did a lot of work on improving government transparency and accountability in Illinois. He’s taken fairly tough stands on 527s and lobbyist money during the primary, and even with this incident, he’s shown more willingness to attack the Republicans than many in recent years.

    (By the way, where exactly are you from? I like your posts.)

    Thanks :)

    One of those english-speaking former British colonies. We’re all pretty much alike – we just like slightly different forms of violent contact sport.

  155. 155
    PaulB says:

    A week ago I gave you a hearty “fuck you” for not taking this issue seriously and calling those of us who are angry about it a bunch of crackheads.

    Let me also add “I told you so” to John.

  156. 156
    Hugh says:

    Slightly_peeved says, “The Democrats have been trending rightward since Reagan, AFAIK. Most of the Democratic Party have no experience of staking out a strong progressive position and winning with it. The way to get them to stake out strong progressive positions is to reward them for doing it, rather than rejecting the party when they do not.”

    I for the most part agree. And (for the record), I have said in all my comments that I will vote for and give money to Obama, even with my frustration. I think most people have come to that conclusion (well, maybe not as many will give money). Even Glenn Greenwald advocates supporting Obama, given that the alternative is McCain. But a little bit of a stick to go along with the carrots is sometimes warranted. Right now the Republicans really do need a gigantic stick (such as the kind Bob Barr is waving).

    As I noted in an earlier comment, blogs and blog comment sections are a bit like bars. People vent in them and then when they cool down they make decisions. I don’t think one should take the venting here to be predictive of behavior.

    Having said all that, I appreciate a fellow “colonist’s” perspective. It’s always embarrassing to see a “foreigner” (as slightly_peeved puts it) so educated and thoughtful about our systems when we’re so ignorant about systems in other lands.

  157. 157
    slightly_peeved says:

    It’s always embarrassing to see a “foreigner” (as slightly_peeved puts it) so educated and thoughtful about our systems when we’re so ignorant about systems in other lands.

    Don’t be embarassed – your system is far more entertaining, especially with the commentary of Mr Stewart and Colbert on a satellite feed. I’m still angry at Obama for not participating in the “Grit-off”.

    Provided you don’t start going on about how Gun Control can never work anywhere or how every state that has Single-Payer Healthcare is on the brink of collapse or is just mooching off the US, I wouldn’t expect you to know anything about other systems. If you want to: heck, it’s all out there on wikipedia.

  158. 158

    […] As but one example, John Cole was a vehement supporter of Barack Obama throughout the primary. He viciously criticized Hillary Clinton on a regular basis and raised tens of thousands of dollars for Obama’s campaign through his blog. But this week alone, Cole lambasted Obama for what he called Obama’s “total collapse and a rapid abandonment of principle” regarding FISA and pronounced as a “pathetic performance” Obama’s refusal to be photographed anywhere near Muslims or to meet with Muslim leaders. Despite that, just yesterday, Cole said: No, I don’t have buyers remorse. Yes, he still is better than Hillary or McCain. No, I am not disillusioned (I never thought he was a flaming liberal in the first place). I am, however, disgusted, and I will caution the Obama campaign that “better than McCain” is not much of a rallying cry. We all remember how “anything is better than Bush” turned out in 2004. […]

  159. 159

    […] [UPDATE]  John Cole at Balloon Juice puts it much more eloquently than I do and I wholeheartedly agree. Posted by evil Filed in Politics […]

  160. 160

    […] Yesterday Barack Obama voted for the yes on the FISA Amendments Act, reversing a stance earlier where he said he would support Senator Chris Dodd’s filibuster of the amendment if it came to the Senate floor with the retroactive immunity for telecommunication companies clause still in it. I too was disappointed that he went back on his pledge. Disappointed I say, but not disgusted as some previously loyal supporters and bloggers are. I know this is politics, and know that there are some realities to face. […]

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] Yesterday Barack Obama voted for the yes on the FISA Amendments Act, reversing a stance earlier where he said he would support Senator Chris Dodd’s filibuster of the amendment if it came to the Senate floor with the retroactive immunity for telecommunication companies clause still in it. I too was disappointed that he went back on his pledge. Disappointed I say, but not disgusted as some previously loyal supporters and bloggers are. I know this is politics, and know that there are some realities to face. […]

  2. […] [UPDATE]  John Cole at Balloon Juice puts it much more eloquently than I do and I wholeheartedly agree. Posted by evil Filed in Politics […]

  3. […] As but one example, John Cole was a vehement supporter of Barack Obama throughout the primary. He viciously criticized Hillary Clinton on a regular basis and raised tens of thousands of dollars for Obama’s campaign through his blog. But this week alone, Cole lambasted Obama for what he called Obama’s “total collapse and a rapid abandonment of principle” regarding FISA and pronounced as a “pathetic performance” Obama’s refusal to be photographed anywhere near Muslims or to meet with Muslim leaders. Despite that, just yesterday, Cole said: No, I don’t have buyers remorse. Yes, he still is better than Hillary or McCain. No, I am not disillusioned (I never thought he was a flaming liberal in the first place). I am, however, disgusted, and I will caution the Obama campaign that “better than McCain” is not much of a rallying cry. We all remember how “anything is better than Bush” turned out in 2004. […]

  4. […] Libby also points to commentary by John Cole, Avedon (and here), NTodd, and Ian Walsh at Firedoglake. Ian lists the 15 senators (the vertebrates, as Cernig called them), who voted against yesterday’s cloture vote (80 senators voted for cloture; Clinton, Obama, and McCain all declined to vote). […]

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