Shorter Senate Democrats

“We only really care about privacy and wiretapping when a Republican is President.”

69 replies
  1. 1
    TenguPhule says:

    What did you expect? Bush opened Pandora’s box and giggled madly when it was done.

  2. 2
    Oltrol says:

    Surprised, not!

  3. 3
    kc says:

    Wait, I thought only “firebaggers” cared about that stuff when a Democrat is president.

  4. 4
    shortstop says:

    It’s very disheartening.

  5. 5
    LT says:

    Don’t worry John – ABL will be here soon to tell us we’re all just a bunch of EMOPROGS! for caring about such trivial matters. (Thanks for that, by the way.)

  6. 6
    General Stuck says:

    More pissnpants for who gets blamed for the next 9-11. In some ways our democrats are learning, in other ways, not so much. But neither the FISA nor Patriot Act are the abominations they were in their original form. But they still aren’t constitutional by the letter and intent of the fourth amendment. I don’t think.

    Digital communications are just too fat and juicy and easily accessible for the government to not look at, nor about anyone else that wants to invade your privacy.

  7. 7
    Politically Lost says:

    Yes. That is a true statement.

    I would add that this is only the beginning. These powers (including assassination) will increase during the next four years. They will be exercised mercilessly.

  8. 8
    General Stuck says:

    I will add that the problem with Bush was he ignored the current law at the time, and broke it on some crazy ass theory of unitary executive.

    And he just didn’t involve the FISA court at all. While the current FISA has significant problems with constitutional muster, what gets done at some point goes to the FISA court.

  9. 9
    BobbyK says:

    The dems have shown themselves to be the hypocrites they are unfortunately. This is absolutely unconstitutional and should have been reversed-shit bags.

  10. 10
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    They didn’t care all that much when a Republican was President either, until he was politically weakened and sufficiently vulnerable to being attacked on this issue, thanks to other people.

    When it comes to national security issues the Senate is less a saucer for cooling the hot tea of popular prejudice and more of a bucket for collecting the warm piss of elite cowardice.

  11. 11
    Machine-Gun Preacher (formerly Ben Franklin) says:

    The most radical proposal, Senator Rand Paul’s (R-Ky.) amendment requiring a warrant for the government to access any digital communications, had no chance of passing but clarified just how moderate the Democrats’ proposals were by comparison.

    It seems we have fucked ourselves into perpetual war……at home.

  12. 12
    Soonergrunt says:

    Well, yeah.

  13. 13
    MomSense says:

    The right side of my computer screen on your site now shows a skein of yarn and some boots I checked out earlier today. So I will start freaking out about warrantless wiretapping when the goods I have viewed and/or purchased online stop stalking me on all the progressive blogs I read.


  14. 14
    Machine-Gun Preacher (formerly Ben Franklin) says:

    vote of 73-23

    Very interested in how Boxer voted….

  15. 15
    cathyx says:

    I’m proud that both of my senators voted against it. Too bad the rest are such losers.
    And too bad the president wants it.

  16. 16
    tofubo says:

    almost too many dems to single out (30), but when will feinstein ever be primaried outta office ??

  17. 17
    PeakVT says:

    Direct link to roll call.

  18. 18
    Machine-Gun Preacher (formerly Ben Franklin) says:


    Where did you see the vote?

  19. 19
  20. 20
    Machine-Gun Preacher (formerly Ben Franklin) says:



  21. 21
    PeakVT says:

    @tofubo: Never.

    @MomSense: Um, private enterprise tracking your web clicks is not at all equivalent to the government reading your emails.

  22. 22
    Peregrinus says:

    @Machine-Gun Preacher (formerly Ben Franklin):

    She didn’t. She was listed as Not Voting along with Lautenberg, Kirk, and I think DeMint.

  23. 23
    Peregrinus says:

    @Machine-Gun Preacher (formerly Ben Franklin):

    She didn’t. She was listed as Not Voting along with Lautenberg, Kirk, and I think DeMint.

  24. 24
    Peregrinus says:

    @Machine-Gun Preacher (formerly Ben Franklin):

    She didn’t. She was listed as Not Voting along with Lautenberg, Kirk, and I think DeMint.

  25. 25
    Machine-Gun Preacher (formerly Ben Franklin) says:


    I saw……political expediency is not dead.

  26. 26
    Peregrinus says:

    @Machine-Gun Preacher (formerly Ben Franklin):

    She didn’t. She was listed as Not Voting along with Lautenberg, Kirk, and I think DeMint.

  27. 27
    srv says:

    @Machine-Gun Preacher (formerly Ben Franklin): Boxer couldn’t be bothered to vote.

  28. 28
    Peregrinus says:

    Aaaaaaaaaaand FYWP.

  29. 29
    cathyx says:

    @srv: She didn’t want to appear as a straight up sell out to her constituents.

  30. 30
    Machine-Gun Preacher (formerly Ben Franklin) says:


    I think I still hold the record…..FYWPITA

  31. 31
    mclaren says:


    What did you expect? Bush opened Pandora’s box and giggled madly when it was done.

    Actually, Bill Clinton opened the Pandora’s box of extraordinary rendition.

    The drunk-driving C student followed up with worse atrocities — illegal wars of aggression based on lies, torture, global mass assassination programs run out of the Pentagon, warrantless wiretapping of every American, etc.

    And now Barack Obama has followed up with even worse atrocities, including murdering U.S. citizens without even accusing them of a crime, routinely murdering innocent women and children by drone in countries with which we’re not even at war, and indicting more whistleblowers than all other presidents combined.

    The next president will probably appoint a horse as a senator and turn the house of representatives into a whorehouse stocked with the wives of senators.

    Counting down to the regularly featured excuse of Obama’s atrocities in…3…2…1…

  32. 32
    Joel says:

    We only really care about … wiretapping when a Republican is President. pigs fly.

  33. 33
    Yutsano says:

    Both my Senators said no. That’s kind of a start.

  34. 34
    FlipYrWhig says:

    At what point did elected Democratic politicians collectively ever care about privacy and wiretapping? They consistently support just about anything that can be spun as affecting safety or security — both war and surveillance — and I feel like that’s been true pretty much since the 1970s. And the drift was exacerbated by the “success” of the first Iraq War, where Democrats who had expressed qualms were mocked as neurotic, Vietnam-obsessed wussies. 9/11/01 reinforced that tendency, it didn’t introduce it.

  35. 35
    The Sheriff's A Ni- says:

    @Joel: Yuuuuuup. Fox is still in a lather over Benghazi, imagine if there was an even bigger attack on a Democratic President’s watch. The 24-hour news ‘cycle’ would be all over it like Nic Cage on a bad script. And its not like Congress pays any penalty for voting for it to begin with.

    Nothing to see here. Business as usual. The ‘shocked, shocked’ scripts are already stored away and waiting for the next convening of the Church Committee.

  36. 36
    Machine-Gun Preacher (formerly Ben Franklin) says:

    I hate to say it, but the Tea Baggers have the right idea.


  37. 37
    ruemara says:

    @LT: Way to make it about your personal bias’.

  38. 38
    Maude says:

    @The Sheriff’s A Ni-:
    Thx for the Nic Cage reference.

  39. 39
    Ted & Hellen says:

    We clearly need to elect more and better democrats.

    Because they are so different from the republicans.

    Or something.

    Either way, nothing to see here, look forward not back, moving along now, comrades…

  40. 40
    mclaren says:


    At what point did elected Democratic politicians collectively ever care about privacy and wiretapping?

    From 1967 to 2001.

    You shouldn’t spew this kind of gibberish when you’re this ignorant. You’re simply unaware of history. Permit me to quote from the historical record:

    In 1967 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that wiretapping (or “intercepting communications”) requires a warrant in Katz v. United States. In 1968, Congress passed a law that provided warrants for wiretapping in criminal investigations. In 1978 the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) created a “secret federal court for issuing wiretap warrants in national security cases”. This was in response to findings from the Watergate break-in, which allegedly uncovered a history of presidential operations that had used surveillance on domestic and foreign political organizations.

    Source: Wikipedia article on wiretapping.

  41. 41
    Machine-Gun Preacher (formerly Ben Franklin) says:


    I have to confess. @LGM I post as semanticleo. It is an old nym I used and it pops up when the software is appropriate, so I keep it where it’s convenient. Having said that, I respect your perspective and just want you to know.

    They consistently support just about anything that can be spun as affecting safety or security — both war and surveillance

    What can be done? I am truly mystified by the intransigence on this issue. Can you expand on your post? It would be greatly appreciated.

  42. 42
    magurakurin says:


    the government reading your emails.

    I imagine the FBI doesn’t get to read my emails until the 1000’s of spammers are done reading them though. Not sure emails is the big infringement in the FISA bill. I reckon that telephone-like exchanges like Skype cross more into the line of illegal wire taps and the fact that many actual telephone calls are in fact VOIP data transmissions which can get caught up in the nets. Is there anyone who actual expects any form of privacy in an email? I mean other than Petraeus. Isn’t that more or less why he got fired, because he appeared dumb enough to believe his emails were somehow “secret?”

  43. 43
    jp7505a says:

    4TH AMENDMENT – RIP 12/28/12.

  44. 44
    HinTN says:

    @MomSense: Thank you for connecting the dots. Now it’s just about the full force and power of the agency that is stalking you. America is driven by a commercial engine. The gummint is only there to assure that commerce has continued access to us’ns wallets. Now back to your regularly scheduled programing.

  45. 45
    Machine-Gun Preacher (formerly Ben Franklin) says:


    I post comments in many places. Some folks are absolutely terrified of surveillance.
    They use encrypted emails and use anonymizers to cover their tracks.

    I have a different perspective.

    I get lost in the crowd.

    If you use an anonymizer your ip shows as UNKOWN; drawing attention to yourself.

    Enrypted emails…..same smell.

    My approach is to hide in plain sight. Let the chips fall where they may; this seems to be the correct manner.

  46. 46
  47. 47
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @Machine-Gun Preacher (formerly Ben Franklin):

    A sound strategy well executed. For example, at least half the time I can’t even tell what the fuck you’re talking about right here on this blog, and that with it all posted right out in the open in plaintext. Imagine how clueless the authorities must be trying to make sense of it all.

    /just kidding

  48. 48
    Machine-Gun Preacher (formerly Ben Franklin) says:


    That, is comforting……..

  49. 49
    magurakurin says:

    @Machine-Gun Preacher (formerly Ben Franklin):

    My approach is to hide in plain sight

    Ah, the ole Shibumi trick. In that novel, Nicholaï Hel had so many id cards and accounts that he couldn’t be tracked.

    Me, I don’t give a shit. I skype a friend back in the States for hours at a time, so we are pretty much sure the red flags are a ringin and a dingin at the NSA. We usually say stuff like, “go ahead, feel free to go get some more coffee and donuts or take a leak, cause we’re just gonna talk about CM Punk and the WWE for a while now.”

  50. 50
    Machine-Gun Preacher (formerly Ben Franklin) says:


    Shibumi……a must read.

  51. 51
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @Machine-Gun Preacher (formerly Ben Franklin):

    That, is comforting

    All joking aside, unless data mining techniques improve by many orders of magnitude in the very near future, the surveillance state is going to choke on its own lust for data to the point where it becomes effectively useless for anything other than shoveling paychecks to contractors, assuming we haven’t passed that point already.

    The Eye of Sauron can only poke around in so many Hobbiton underwear drawers looking for the Ring before it becomes blind.

  52. 52
    Lojasmo says:

    To be fair, senate democrats didn’t care much when Bush was president either.

  53. 53
  54. 54
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @mclaren: True. And that was a fleeting moment. Post-Vietnam, Post-Watergate, Post-Church Committee. And even then there were hawkish Democrats like Scoop Jackson. So while there have certainly been Democrats with integrity on these executive power/civil liberties questions, it peaked long ago and I don’t think it has been a widely held opinion for at least one full political generation, since Iraq War I at least. Democratic pols have been wanting to show their toughness and negate any chance at being considered hippie peaceniks since, what, I’d guess 1976, increasing steadily since 1991.

  55. 55
    Machine-Gun Preacher (formerly Ben Franklin) says:


    A word to the wise…don’t screw the pooch.

  56. 56
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Lojasmo: This. It’s important to keep that in mind. What’s the civil libertarian constituency in Congress now? All the Greenwalds in the world can huff and harrumph about what politicians _should_ do, but, you know, they don’t, and one of the reasons they don’t is that the level of support they stand to gain by caring about this stuff is minuscule, and the level of support they stand to lose is, maybe not large, but non-zero. Look at the votes on closing Guantanamo or on trying suspected terrorists in New York. There, Team Obama was at least civil libertarian-adjacent in its inclinations. And they got bupkes for it. Politicians are nothing if not a self-interested lot. (Republicans have been putting this to the test lately, doing many things that are more explicable as matters of “principle,” albeit cockamamie principle, than as self-interest.) It’s simply not in their self-interest to pursue this set of principles, so they don’t. If you’re a civil libertarian, you have to come up with a better way to make John Q. Politician care about your set of issues.

  57. 57
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Machine-Gun Preacher (formerly Ben Franklin): The pooch, she is still a virgin.

  58. 58
    Gin & Tonic says:

    Anyone who is too stupid to use any of the many easily-available methods of keeping their e-mail secret deserves to have it read. Honest, it’s not hard.

    I store my e-mail in two places: a server that’s under my direct physical control, which can’t be accessed even with a court order, and a server located in a country which believes in and enforces data privacy.

  59. 59
    MattR says:

    @Gin & Tonic: But all that security regarding the storage of email on your end is useless if they have all been intercepted during transmission.

  60. 60
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @MattR: That’s what SSL is for.

  61. 61
    Keith G says:

    I am 100% sure that it does not matter how sordid or cowardly the Senate Democrats are.

    After all, this left of center nation has a left of center leader as President. Also too, he is a former Constitutional law professor.

    He will not let this stand.

  62. 62
    Arclite says:

    Wherein John Cole channels his inner Glenn Greenwald. But yeah, illegal wiretapping is illegal regardless of who holds the reins of power. Totally agree that we should call Dems out on this.

  63. 63
    magurakurin says:

    illegal wiretapping is illegal regardless of who holds the reins of power.

    uh, the FISA law makes the wire tapping legal. Nobody is doing illegal wiretaps now, at least not without threat of penalty. The Bush Administration was, and the law was changed to allow certain types of activities, but the illegal stuff is gone. Now, if you want to discuss whether or not the law itself is unconstitutional, that’s a different issue. But the surveillance the government is doing now is not illegal. At least that which is known. They could of course be doing illegal taps that no one knows about. Apparently there were some amendments to the law that would have provided greater transparency as to what is being done, but they were squashed. Again, if you want to suggest that the government is doing surveillance not allowed by the FISA law, that’s a different story.

  64. 64
    Gus says:

    @PeakVT: Of course Amy Klobuchar, the Minnesota Feinstein voted yes.

  65. 65
    LT says:

    @ruemara: So – what? If I don’t have something nice to say about Balloon Juice- don’t say anything?

  66. 66
    MosesZD says:

    You forgot civil rights, torture, the rule of law, social injustice, the fucking bullshit walk-away on the Wall Street & Banking corruption and host of other things that have been excused by Democrats, in the Senate and here, since Obama took over.

    It’s like most of you are fucking team-Democrat (or even worse, team-Republican) instead of Team-USA. And from where I sit, there’s a big difference between being ‘team political party’ versus team USA.

  67. 67
    Sparky says:

    @MomSense: Install Adblock extension if you use Chrome.

  68. 68
    Sparky says:

    @MomSense: Install Adblock extension if you use Chrome.

  69. 69
    xian says:

    waiting for mclaren’s poutrage over not hearing from obots

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