Gone Filibustin'

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The FISA bill is moving, and the president has moved his political capital—which at this point looks like the stack of poker chips he'd have after playing Chris Ferguson—onto the table.

The Senate Intelligence Committee's bill contains many provisions that our intelligence officials say they need to protect our country. The bill would maintain the vital flow of intelligence on terrorist threats. It would protect the freedoms of Americans while making sure we do not extend those same protections to terrorists overseas. And it would provide liability protection to companies now facing billion dollar lawsuits only because they are believed to have assisted in efforts to defend our Nation following the Nine-Eleven attacks.

Please, won't somebody think of the companies?

Sen. Chris Dodd promised to filibuster and he's sticking by the promise.

If after debate, the Senate appears ready to pass legislation granting telecom providers retroactive immunity I will use any and all legislative tools at my disposal, including a filibuster, to prevent this deeply flawed bill from becoming law.

I haven't found much interest about this on the right, even on the libertarian right, but Daily Kos diarists and bloggers are collecting info here.

UPDATE 12:30: I've been watching on C-Span 2. Chris Dodd, who I admittedly didn't take seriously when he ran for president, gave a stirring speech about the permanence of changes that distort executive power.

UPDATE 12:39: Georgia Republican Saxby Chambliss: "If we don't grant immunity now, should we expect these companies to help us in the future?"


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  1. I haven’t found much interest about this on the right, even on the libertarian right

    Maybe because those on the “libertarian right” — Instapundit, Volokh, etc. — aren’t really “libertarians”?

    Just a thought.

  2. “Passing this bill an granting our intelligence agencies certain surveillance powers is essential to our national security, and I will therefore veto it if it does not contain a provision that has nothing to do with thos surveillance powers.”

    Sure, that makes sense.

    Go Dodd, Feingold, and Kerry!

    Pelosi should start leaning on Reid, too.

  3. You pro-corporation tool. Reason is nothing but Corporatarians.

  4. “Please, won’t somebody think of the companies?”

    Yeah because as we all know those companies print their own money. They won’t just pass those costs onto the consumer or anything. Great, we can all pay higher phone bills so that a few big law firms can make millions. If you don’t like the NSA surveillence, pass a law banning it or elect different people. But, I don’t see how extorting millions out of the telecommunications industry is a particularly good idea.

  5. typical troll | January 24, 2008, 11:31am | #

    You pro-corporation tool. Reason is nothing but Corporatarians.
    John | January 24, 2008, 11:31am | #

    “Please, won’t somebody think of the companies?”

    Yeah because as we all know those companies print their own money. They won’t just pass those costs onto the consumer or anything. Great, we can all pay higher phone bills so that a few big law firms can make millions. If you don’t like the NSA surveillence, pass a law banning it or elect different people. But, I don’t see how extorting millions out of the telecommunications industry is a particularly good idea.

    Way too awesome!!!!!!!!

  6. John –
    I’ll pay for the increased costs passed on to me by the telecom industry with my settlement from the Mastercard/Visa class-action lawsuit.

  7. Not like we don’t do enough drinking here at H & R, but I propose that we add a third drinking offense to the H & R Rule Book.

    1. “For a magazine called “Reason” . . .”
    2. “Cancel my subscription . . .:

    and now, I propose:

    3. “Not really a libertarian . . .”

    Maybe because those on the “libertarian right” — Instapundit, Volokh, etc. — aren’t really “libertarians”?

    Drink!

  8. John,

    I think that you are missing the fact that some of those big telecoms didn’t roll over for the NSA to scratch their belly. Sure, the ones that did will raise prices to cover the costs. Those that didn’t won’t have to.

    It means that playing illegal wiretap pattiecake will look like a bad competitive move in the future, which is kinda the whole point.

  9. The CEO of one telecom that didn’t agree to conduct illegal spying is now in prison.

  10. Someone pays for it. All those millions that are going to go to pay lawyers to do the case and whatever millions they happen to extort out of the companies is all money that could be spent elswhere. Repeating the tobbaco settlement with an actually productive and vital sector of the economy is a really bad idea. If you don’t like the government, then go vote and change the government, don’t waste billions bankrupting a productive sector of the economy because you are pissed off at the government. Even if you disagree with the NSA surveillence, it makes a hell of a lot more sense to hold the government responsible rather than the people who cooperated with them.

  11. The CEO of one telecom that didn’t agree to conduct illegal spying is now in prison.

    < snark >
    Really? Why?
    < /snark >

  12. If you don’t like the NSA surveillence, pass a law banning it or elect different people.

    I, essentially, agree with this point.

    Allowing this intrusion on the rights of US citizens is weak…putting companies in a crime or lawsuit conundrum only adds to the damage…but if this is the lever that kills the bill, good.

  13. John,

    The tobacco analogy doesn’t hold. All of the tobacco bigs were on board with that stupid suit. Some of the telecoms didn’t cooperate and now they might reap the economic benefits of that decision. They’ll keep lower prices and still have higher profits, which means that they’ll gain market share.

  14. “It means that playing illegal wiretap pattiecake will look like a bad competitive move in the future, which is kinda the whole point.”

    What a steaming pile of horseshit that is. The risk goes the other way to. Some day when there is another 9-11, which there will be in all liklyhood, and the government says fairly or unfairly, “we could have stopped it but company X wouldn’t help us”, that will be bad for compettition to. You can see the lawsuits from the victims over that coming a mile away. Further, if and when there is another 9-11, people will in the aftermath like they always do react to it and be more prone to go along with the government. All this lawsuit does is take millions or more probably billions of dollars that could be used for something productive and pisses it away to the lawyers.

  15. the stack of poker chips he’d have after playing Chris Ferguson

    Surely you don’t mean to imply that The Leader Of The Free World is the kind of person who would attempt to draw three to fill an inside straight?

  16. Someone pays for it.

    Yeah, the companies that either take a financial hit or lose customers after they raise their rates.

    God bless capitalism!

  17. “John | January 24, 2008, 11:31am | #

    “Please, won’t somebody think of the companies?”

    Yeah because as we all know those companies print their own money. They won’t just pass those costs onto the consumer or anything. Great, we can all pay higher phone bills so that a few big law firms can make millions. If you don’t like the NSA surveillence, pass a law banning it or elect different people. But, I don’t see how extorting millions out of the telecommunications industry is a particularly good idea.”

    Um, there was a law banning it. The phone companies broke the law. That’s the whole fucking point here.

  18. “Great, we can all pay higher phone bills so that a few big law firms can make millions.”

    Or perhaps big legal fees can give a competitor a chance to break the advantages gained by decades of monopoly…..

    More importantly, when a company does wrong it should be punished. Saying that the threat of higher bills justifies granting immunity is kind of crazy.

    More importantly, corporate lawyers have a duty to sell out certain officers who were complicit. Those guys should pay up too.

  19. Even if you disagree with the NSA surveillence, it makes a hell of a lot more sense to hold the government responsible rather than the people who cooperated with them.

    Actually, it makes sense to hold all responsible parties responsible.

  20. “The tobacco analogy doesn’t hold. All of the tobacco bigs were on board with that stupid suit. Some of the telecoms didn’t cooperate and now they might reap the economic benefits of that decision.”

    And those companies won’t raise their prices and use their competetive advantage at all. No, they will keep prices the same and not use the lowering of competetion to make more money from the consumer, because well they love you Rimfax, they love you and your libertarian puppy and wouldn’t think of trying to make the most money possible.

  21. Reinmoose,

    < snark >
    Really? Why?
    < /snark >

    Because of the Bush Justice Department’s passionate commitment to investigating and punishing white-collar corruption in a totally nonpartisan manner.

  22. John’s convinced me.

    What are privacy, the Constitution, and the rule of law worth?

    Eight bucks a month on your phone bill.

  23. “Um, there was a law banning it. The phone companies broke the law. That’s the whole fucking point here.”

    No they didn’t. They government told them it was legal. That should shield them from liability. Moreover, this involved so few calls. We are going to basically sue some of our most dynamic and productive companies into bankruptcy because some Pakistani national may have had his phone calls to the punjab listened into. Yeah that makes a lot of fucking sense. The Democrats supporting this I can understand, they get money from the trial lawyers who will get rich off of this. The libertarians don’t even have that excuse, other than the fact that they are mostly tin foil hat wearing wingnuts who are convinced the CIA is listening to their phone calls.

  24. Personally, I think the people working for the telecom companies should be granted immunity.

    By the Special Prosecutor.

    In exchange for their testimony.

    But that’s just me.

  25. And it would provide liability protection to companies now facing billion dollar lawsuits only because they are believed to have assisted in efforts to defend our Nation following the Nine-Eleven attacks.

    But I thought we’d established in 1999 that we were firmly committed to the rule of law, the Constitution, and that we would remain a nation of laws, not men.

    If you can switch your phone service to Qwest, I would suggest you look into it as they were the only ones that I’m aware of that resisted the blackmail. Fuck you, Verizon, BellSouth and AT&T! BTW, Boards of Directors, you should fire all of your legal and executive staff who signed off on this monstrous risk to your bottom line.

  26. The Senate Intelligence Committee’s bill contains many provisions that our intelligence officials say they need to protect our country. The bill would maintain the vital flow of intelligence on terrorist threats. It would protect the freedoms of Americans while making sure we do not extend those same protections to terrorists overseas.

    “And since the Senators who will vote on it are no more likely to have read the Bill than any random, stumbling, bum on the street, there is little likelihood of anybody disproving these claims.”

  27. Moreover, this involved so few calls.

    Really? I don’t believe you. I don’t believe the people in government who’s word you take at face value.

    I think it would be a lot of fun to see this come out in discovery.

    And that’s the whole ballgame here, for people like John: keeping the government’s abuses from being uncovered in the discovery phase of a trial.

  28. I’m with John on this one. Aren’t the victims the customers whose personal information was handed over to the government? And now we want to seek redress by making them pay more for phone service, and lining the pockets of a few lawyers?

    I’d rather see the executives that made the decision to betray the trust of their customers, doing time.

  29. ATT in bankruptcy means more competition, and vitality, not less.

    Looks more like a trillion than “billions.” Statutory damages under the Wiretap Act are 10,000 per plaintiff. Multiply by on the order of 100 million phones datamined.

  30. “John | January 24, 2008, 11:50am | #

    “Um, there was a law banning it. The phone companies broke the law. That’s the whole fucking point here.”

    No they didn’t. They government told them it was legal.”

    So, if the President does it, it’s automatically legal then? Who are you, the ghost of Richard Nixon?

    The government has to obey the laws too. They can’t just say they don’t exist. Qwest’s lawyers knew they were being asked to break the law and refused to do so. AT&T’s and Verizon’s knew so as well; they just decided they wanted to keep their government contracts and since it was secret so nobody would ever know.

  31. “Warren | January 24, 2008, 11:52am | #

    I’m with John on this one. Aren’t the victims the customers whose personal information was handed over to the government? And now we want to seek redress by making them pay more for phone service, and lining the pockets of a few lawyers?”

    The law allows customers to sue the phone companies for breaking the law and turning over their information. Dodd and Feingold are trying to prevent a law being passed that will prevent people from being able to do that.

  32. John –
    Company X and Company Y provide the same services.
    Company X broke the law.
    Company Y did not break the law.

    Situation 1:
    Company X is sued for so much money that they have to raise prices in order to compensate for it.
    Company Y does not change their prices.
    The company who did not break the law has an advantage

    Situation 2:
    Company X is not sued and leaves their prices where they were. Company Y leaves their prices where they were.
    Nothing changes.
    Company X breaks the law again
    Company Y breaks the law

  33. John: “The government told them it was legal.”

    Ah, but what do the relevant laws say? Because if the laws say it’s illegal, it doesn’t matter what any representative of the government says. You’re defending out-and-out corruption here.

    And please, say “wingnut” some more, it’s cute.

  34. They government told them it was legal. That should shield them from liability. Moreover, this involved so few calls. We are going to basically sue some of our most dynamic and productive companies into bankruptcy because some Pakistani national may have had his phone calls to the punjab listened into.

    The government also told us Saddam had WMD. The whole purpose of the rule of law is that the government can’t be trusted to ell you anything. You have to stand for the rule of law.

    And since when did an industry’s dynamism determine it’s accountability to the law?

  35. Reinmoose for president!

  36. No they didn’t. They government told them it was legal.”

    Hey, kid, I’ll give you $20 bucks if you put this in that guy’s car.

    But Officer Obie, isn’t that illegal?

    Naw, it’s fine. I’m a police officer!

  37. The phone companies were between a rock and a hard place. Does anyone question the vindictiveness of the Bush administration? As soon as some government types get prosecueted, call me collect about lawsuits against the telecom companies.

    361 days to go, and counting.

  38. Per Joe Nacchio, the proposal to set this up happened on Feb. 27, 2001.

    Furtermore, it involved all phone calls: international and domestic.

  39. “The phone companies were between a rock and a hard place.”

    So was Scott Peterson.

  40. 361 days to go, and counting.

    Yep, 361 days until we will all have a new master to kow-tow to. What a wonderful thing democracy is: you can choose your poison from two available flavors!

  41. Joe, I know in the past you’ve made the point about independent counsel granting immunity in exchange for testimony, and I TOTALLY agree.

    If Qwest services were available where I live, I’d jump on that shit. Today. So Qwest’s CEO got caught with his hand in the cookie jar. That’s largely because the feds looked at that cookie jar (and only that telecom cookie jar) with an electron microscope.

    In fact, today’s discussion has persuaded me to keep Comcast’s shitty internet service rather than switch to AT&T DSL (unfortunately those are the only cost-effective broadband options for the little boxes on the hillside where I live). I’ll take shitty service over federal teat-sucking minions. Every. Single. Day.

  42. John:

    The law itself was very simple: the surveillance was legal if the government told them it was legal IN WRITING (this of course doesn’t excuse any misrepresentations by the government in that writing- but that’s another issue). If in fact the government provided them with this written request and assurance that there was a valid justification for the request, then the telecoms need only provide it to the judge – under seal, mind you – in response to the lawsuits and the case would be dismissed. Total cost of the lawsuit defense: a few thousand dollars.

    Based on the extent to which the telecoms are fighting for immunity and attempting other justifications for their actions in the trial courts, it would seem that the government did not comply with this simple requirement, and that the telecoms did not ask them to do so.

    I should also add that this is not a complicated law where we are asking the telecoms to sort out a matter of questionable interpretation in an emergency. No – this is a very clear law that took me, a relatively new attorney, a whopping five minutes to discover. To think that the telecoms, with their armies of in-house and outside counsel, had no idea what the law said requires a suspension of disbelief.

    If the Bushies wanted the telecoms to be able to legally engage in the program with or without a written explanation, then the solution was for the Bushies to get Congress to pass a law granting that authorization BEFORE they asked the telecoms to participate without a letter.

  43. Is it more troubling that we’re now calling it “Nine-Eleven”?

    That’s as offensive as when people refer to god with a capital “G”-or even worse-when they refer to “his” acts with a capital “H”.

    Am I the only one that sees this as an escalation of the cult worship of 9-11?

  44. “Is it more troubling that we’re now calling it “Nine-Eleven”?”

    Why can’t we call it September 11? Why does everything have to sound like some staccato military code?

  45. John merely rejects the rules when he doesn’t like them.

    Anyone who went to an American gradeschool knows the fourth amendment, and if they don’t, they should be ashamed.

    It’s simple, did the telecoms who behaved like east germans before the wall came down have a warrant presented to them?

    If not, the law is simple, and plain.

    Methinks John likes the way China looks.

    Like my grandaddy used to say, why don’t all of these folks who love soviet/communist style governing move someplace where the laws are more like they want, like China…I’ll even think about chipping in for relocation costs.

  46. Ya, it would be great if people were facing criminal charges, but civil court is the only recourse now. The idea that civil decisions only hurt the innocent consumer is an idea that must be justified in ALL cases, not this one. I find it ludicrous that the victims (of which most of our country is potentially included) don’t have the right to seek recourse for wrongs done because it might make someone’s phone bill go up 10 cents a month.

    Bottom line: if these companies have to settle a class action suit, and if prices go up, you still have the right to change your phone service. But those who have been spied on have no other recourse.

    FYI: I was not a customer with any of these betrayers at the time, but I pay substantially higher costs every month because I refuse to use AT&T. And anybody who wants to say “that’s your choice, but…” is a hypocrite because it’s the same choice you will have if rates go up after a lawsuit.

  47. de stijl: that allegation sounds more plausible to me than it should. 9/11 as an excuse for all manner of state expansion of power? you don’t say.

  48. Am I the only one that sees this as an escalation of the cult worship of 9-11?

    Probably not…but that doesn;t mean it is.

    I always thought language was supposed to be fun to play with. For example…911. I wouldn;t get too pol;itical about capitalization on a blog. But then, that’s prolly why I’d suck at politics…or at being Noam Chomsky

  49. You corporatarian fuckholes and the way you shill for and protect large corporations. Fuck you all.

  50. Am I the only one that sees this as an escalation of the cult worship of 9-11?

    Damn italics

  51. “If you don’t like the NSA surveillence, pass a law banning it”

    That was done in the 70s. The point of this part of the bill is that suing the phone companies is the only avenue left to to those who are trying to find out what the government is up to.

  52. Steve,

    I get my phone through Comcast, and it’s good where I am.

    prolefeed and/or Fluffy, you shouldn’t spoof MNG just becasue he smacked the holy hell out of you on the Chavez thread.

  53. > they are believed to have assisted in efforts to defend our Nation following the Nine-Eleven attacks.

    Ugh…nation with a capital N? I don’t want to live in a Nation. Capitalizing the N implies that it’s some sort of sacred thing…”our Nation.” Do you have to capitalize pronouns when referencing “our Nation?” Our Nation is strong. Although She has faced challenges, She will endure. Yuck!

    Citizens and their liberties should be sacred, not “our Nation.”

  54. “They government told them it was legal.”

    And since these multi billion dollar companies are run like mom and pop shops they didn’t have lawyers of their own to tell them it was illegal.

  55. “If we don’t grant immunity now, should we expect these companies to help us in the future?”

    Saxby Chambliss never heard of a warrant or court order. What a disingenuous pri……oh he’s from Georgia. He doesn’t know any better.

  56. John Edwards:

    In Washington today, telecom lobbyists have launched a full-court press to win retroactive immunity for their illegal eavesdropping on American citizens. Granting retroactive immunity will let corporate law-breakers off the hook and hamstring efforts to learn the truth about Bush’s illegal spying program.

    “It’s time for Senate Democrats to show a little backbone and stand up to George W. Bush and the corporate lobbyists. They should do everything in their power — including joining Senator Dodd’s efforts to filibuster this legislation — to stop retroactive immunity. The Constitution should not be for sale at any price.”

    Oh, man, I hope I don’t have to vote for that guy.

    Come on, Barack, do the right thing!

  57. Philip,

    You’re offended when people write God, or about His works? Why, praytell?

  58. So, how’s that new Democratic majority going, joe?

    If they get a pass because of Chris Dodd and Russ Feingold, does the GOP get a pass on the Iraq War because of Lincoln Chafee and Ron Paul?

  59. joe,

    Notice the emphasis Edwards put on “telecom lobbyists” and “corporate law-breakers” in that statement. I doubt he gives a rat’s ass about privacy, but this dovetails nicely with his general railing against the eeeeeeeeeeeevil corporations.

  60. Come on, Barack, do the right thing!

    You know that’s what kinda irritates me about both Clinton & Obama: they go on the stump to propose all these programs and “changes”, when they have at their disposal the means to draft them up and submit them, but do nothing with that authority (except IIRC, Hillary has come out in the debates asking Obama to co-sponsor one or two things) Edwards has an excuse, he ain’t got a job right now. But the other two? They should have there staffs (or other congressional allies) draft up everything they want to do, and run on the fact that the will be truly ready to go on Jan 21, 2009

  61. Schumer: “I personally completely trust the judiciary committee on this one, so let’s instead talk about what’s really important: tax cuts for the middle class.”

  62. John Edwards:

    In Washington today…

    … The Constitution should not be for sale at any price.”

    joe, I may be a little more cynical here, but I translate this as “my firm will be happy to represent you in the class action suit.”

    I agree that there should not be immunity, but I do think Edwards may have a little tiny bit* of self-interest here.

    *OK. Maybe blue whale sized.

  63. Even if you disagree with the NSA surveillence, it makes a hell of a lot more sense to hold the government responsible rather than the people who cooperated with them.

    If a cop comes to you and asks you to do something that you know is illegal, then the correct response is to say “No, I’m sorry, I won’t break the law. Glad to see you’re doing sting operations to find people willing to commit crimes.”

  64. crimethink | January 24, 2008, 1:02pm | #

    So, how’s that new Democratic majority going, joe?

    Well, it’s passed a bill with no immunity in the House, and might pass one in the Senate.

    One A, one grade not in.

  65. Is there even a question what bills would have passed if the Republicans were still the majority party?

    But, hey, you really got me there!

  66. crimethink | January 24, 2008, 1:06pm | #

    joe,

    Notice the emphasis Edwards put on “telecom lobbyists” and “corporate law-breakers” in that statement. I doubt he gives a rat’s ass about privacy, but this dovetails nicely with his general railing against the eeeeeeeeeeeevil corporations.

    Actually I didn’t notice that.

    Funny what different people’s priorities are.

  67. This is from DailyKos’ McJoan, so caveats apply as you see fit. There were some strikethroughs in the original article that I deleted from the cut-n-paste below.

    Who will stand with him? In December, the following Senators stood with him:

    Barbara Boxer: (202) 224-3553
    Sherrod Brown: (202) 224-2315
    Russ Feingold: (202) 224-5323
    Ted Kennedy: (202) 224-4543
    Ron Wyden: (202) 224-5244

    Additionally, these Senators who have expressed support for Dodd’s filibuster, but didn’t participate on December 17 when Dodd took to the floor either in statements or to Kossacks making phone calls today:

    Joe Biden: (202) 224-5042
    Hillary Clinton: (202) 224-4451
    John Kerry: (202) 224-2742
    Bob Menendez: (202) 224-4744
    Barack Obama: (202) 224-2854

    Based on reports from my first post today, Kossacks report that the following Senators oppose telco amnesty but it isn’t clear that they’ll help Dodd in his filibuster:

    Ben Cardin: (202) 224-4524

  68. I’m going to repeat that: the Democratic House already passed a bill that denied immunity to the telecom companies. Over the objections of the Republicans.

  69. bachwards,

    Please tell me Schumer did not really say that. It’s bad enough having one of my state’s senators disagree with me on every single issue…

  70. So, how did this thread get jacked into partisan politics, anyway?

    Oh. Right. Usual suspect.

  71. joe,

    I see you’re a glass-half-full kind of guy. Unfortunately, now is not the time for optimism or pessimism but for realism*.

    * lifted from Ron Paul: House of Cards

  72. Hey, they don’t call me a third party partisan for nothing! You know, the partisan who criticizes both parties when they fail to do as they promise.

  73. I’m a one-glass-is-half-full-and-getting-fuller-and-the-other-glass-is-completely-empty kind of guy.

  74. crimethink | January 24, 2008, 1:25pm | #

    Hey, they don’t call me a third party partisan for nothing! You know, the partisan who criticizes both parties when they fail to do as they promise.

    Wait a second, the Democrats promised to pass a bill granting telecom immunity in the House?

    Those bastards!

    If you actually did criticize both parties for not doing as they promised, you wouldn’t be such an obvious shill.

  75. Any chance we can get back to the subject of the thread, or shall I smack you around a little more?

    If you’d just wait until you actually had some facts on your side, instead of just assuming they just gotta be the way you figger they just gotta be, this wouldn’t keep happening to you, crimethink.

  76. These corporations BROKE THE LAW…they knew they were breaking the law and they should pay…as I’ve said before, people in the Bush adminstration who sent us into this war should have a Neurenburg trial, if they knowingly broke the law to send us to war they should be executed. If these corporations knowlingly broke the law they should face lawsuits. We sholdn’t exempt the gov’t from the law and we shouldn’t exempt the gov’ts handmaidens, these corporations from the law…especiallly retroactively.

  77. Shit, I didn’t see this before I posted the list of Senators:

    I haven’t found much interest about this on the right, even on the libertarian right, but Daily Kos diarists and bloggers are collecting info here.

    My bad.

  78. If you actually did criticize both parties for not doing as they promised, you wouldn’t be such an obvious shill.

    ::does double take::

    Huh? Hello, this is crimethink, not John. ::waves hands above head::

    The Republicans are doing exactly as they promised, which is bad in its own right, and if you’ve been paying attention you know I criticize them plenty as well.

    As far as the fact that the Senate has not actually voted in favor of telecom immunity goes, you wouldn’t see Dodd organizing a filiburster if the votes weren’t there to pass it.

  79. It is the people who are farthest LEFT who are opposing telecom immunity…centerist DLC Corporate doucebags can’t be counted on and Republicans are bad on everything.

  80. crimethink,

    I’m thinking of a word that rhymes with “mouse.”

    It’s part of a bicammeral legislature.

    It’s run by a middle-aged Italian lady.

    And it proves you completely fooking wrong both about the Democrats, and about your supposed above-the-fray objectivity.

    Give up?

  81. Quite right, James. Reid is dragging Pelosi down. Dodd should take his office.

    More and Better Democrats in 08!

  82. What a steaming pile of horseshit that is. The risk goes the other way to. Some day when there is another 9-11

    Haha oh yes, I can see the Reichstag burning right now. Tell me, did the Government have the power to stop 9-11 before the devoted advocates of power locked away the constitution? Remember the stamp act? The right to write your own warrants. History is repeating…

  83. What people do not understand is that there are two Democratic Parties in office, there are DLC centrist(gimmme some of that corporate money old timey democrats) these are the ones that negotiate surrender before even discussing every bill, they are scared as hell of seeming un-American or too gay-friendly or bs like that (Reid, (used to be Lieberman) Schumer, Clinton several others) Then there are newer more left wing democrats like Feingold, Dodd (who should be next majority leader) and others who are progressives don’t stand for this nonsense.

  84. We are going to basically sue some of our most dynamic and productive companies into bankruptcy

    Wait, are we still talking about US phone companies here? The ones that cost more and are slower than our Asian and European friends’ service? If phone companies are dynamic, what’s Google, cracked out?

  85. If these companies are sued into bankrupcy it will create a powerful incentive to not break the law in the future now won’t it???

  86. I think, James, the problem is with people whose fram of reference is the Republican Party.

    You can meaningfully speak about Republicans as a monolithic block, marching in line with the party leadership, in a way you simply cannot with the Democrats.

  87. Joe,

    If this amendment passes it will turn the telecom industry into a spying/intelligence gathering industry…unbelieveable how anyone can support it.

  88. RC Dean,

    You are setting up this site for a mass die-off from alcohol poisoning.

    As the lone cosmoteetotalitarian here, I would miss y’all.

  89. Maybe because those on the “libertarian right” — Instapundit, Volokh, etc. — aren’t really “libertarians”?

    Finally someone says this! There’s this whole group of fiscally conservative socially liberal vaguely market oriented law professors who call themselves libertarians. It’s a strange demographic. They’re certainly small govenrment people, but are they really libertarian? It depends on how far you stretch the word.

    The old spectrum forced everyone into either the “liberal” or “conservative” label (with some wishy-washy moderates in the middle). The Nolan Chart is only a slight improvement. Since no one wants to be an authoritarian, everyone gets to be one of three labels, “liberal”, “conservative” or “libertarian” (with some wishy-washy centrists in the middle). If the chart is your definition, then these law profs are indeed libertarian.

    But what if you have a more objective definition than that? Do any of them base their politics on the principle of non-agression? Do any of them include the minimization of coercion in their ideological musings? Do any of them consider government to be an institution that must be limited and restrained.

  90. What more evidence (and indeed what better evidnence) does one need to see that there is no longer a meaningful division between government and large corporations in this country??? There is absolutely no(or very little) constituency for this bill to go forward, the American public in polling stronglyl rejects it.

  91. The fact that The Dodd (who abides) has to organize the filibuster means that (1) there are at least 10 Democratic Senators willing to vote for this monstrosity and (2) the Majority Leader chosen by the Senate Democrats is unwilling to lead the fight with his procedural powers.

    Any Democratic Senator who votes for Reid next time around has some explaining to do.

  92. The phone companies need my drunk driving defense. A cop told me to get off this property and then saw a bunch of beer cans I left behind. so he chase me down and pulled me over for drunk driving. My lawyer cited a case that set precedent which states I wasn’t criminally responsible for any action ordered by a public official. The phone companies could use that. Although that might just be in Iowa, I know nothing of law.

  93. Democratic Senator Rockefeller and Republican Senator Bond are adding an amendment to expand FISA courts protection to Americans abroad…while evicerting the courts with the telecom immunity…talk about re-arranging deck chairs on the Titanic.

  94. So, DC political types, does Dodd’s statement “I’m not going to run for Majority Leader” actually mean that, or is that what members have to say, even when they intend to run?

    Heh. I said “member.”

  95. Freaking Jay Rockefeller makes Harry Reid look like George Patton.

  96. Bond is such a crook and charletan…Rockefeller is a Centrist coward.

  97. The only Senator to vote against the Patriot Act…Feingold is speaking, we could use 50 more Democrats like him in the Senate.

  98. What more evidence (and indeed what better evidnence) does one need to see that there is no longer a meaningful division between government and large corporations in this country???

    James,
    You do realize that most everyone here both recognizes this and recognizes that this is a bad thing, right?

  99. Hey, Jay RockefEller! What the fuck happened to “Phase II”?

    Reinmoose,

    This is a special video just for you, you t-shirt-wearing-at-the-water park mensch!

  100. “You do realize that most everyone here both recognizes this and recognizes that this is a bad thing, right?”

    Well good, I like when I can actually agree with libertarians:)

  101. Watching CSPAN I learned that the House GOP are out on a retreat this weekend,in other news…Democrats are in permanent retreat.

  102. de stijl –
    I wasn’t that chunky. But the video footage of him looks hilariously familiar from trips to the pool.

  103. Chris Dodd is a lonely figure in doing his duty in Congress. One vote out of hundreds in a legislative body..

  104. “James | January 24, 2008, 3:06pm | #

    The only Senator to vote against the Patriot Act…Feingold is speaking, we could use 50 more Democrats like him in the Senate.”

    I’m still mildly ticked off he decided not to run for President. He’s miles better than Clinton and a few hundred yards better than Obama (the Republicans are all in a different universe), and actually has the experience to back it up. Plus, he knows how to win elections without backstabing, screaming, or pandering.

  105. “Plus, he knows how to win elections without backstabing, screaming, or pandering.”

    He gets outspent 10 or 15-1 and still wins, don’t know why more people don’t get that he has a message that appeals to the American people!

  106. Uh, we also would find out a lot about these government surveillance programs if the lawsuits are allowed to move forward, which is a lot more important than the money at stake. If Bush’s side wins then they can suppress the information forever. (Granted if Democrats in Congress would just hold hearings and demand some of this information maybe it wouldn’t be necessary. But they aren’t.)

    But zomg, the lawyers.

  107. Plus, he knows how to win elections without backstabing, screaming, or pandering.

    He hasn’t run against a Clinton yet. Whole different ball game.

  108. You can meaningfully speak about Republicans as a monolithic block, marching in line with the party leadership, in a way you simply cannot with the Democrats.

    Republicans drop their pants and bend over for the prez:
    Republicans are evil.

    Democrats drop their pants and band over for the prez:
    Democrats are individual thinkers.

    BTW, I do agree that current Republicans are evil.

  109. Sigh.

    100% of Republicans do exactly as the White House demands: Republicans are evil.

    80% of Democrats tell the White House to take a flying leap, while 20% do exactly as the White House demands: Democrats are independent thinkers.

    This collectivist mindset of yours is a real detriment to your ability to understand the Democratic Party.

  110. It is the Reid’s and formerly Lieberman’s who destroy the Democratic Party, does Reid really think this way, or is somebody pulling his strings…I can’t beleive that he can stand up with GWB and say, “Yes Count me with Him”

  111. Granted if Democrats in Congress would just hold hearings and demand some of this information maybe it wouldn’t be necessary. But they aren’t.

    Uh, they did. The White House refused to hand over the documents.

    Money quote: “Reyes and ranking Republican Rep. Pete Hoekstra of Michigan requested the documents in May, saying they would not support telecom immunity without them.”

  112. It looks like Republicans may attempt to block Kennedy, Feingold, etc from even bringing amendments to the floor that would strip immunity….

  113. 100% of Republicans do exactly as the White House demands: Republicans are evil.

    Isn’t that a rather obviously dishonest statement to make on this particular blog where certain cosmotarian candidates are held in high esteem by some ?

    Your Democrat mind tricks will not work on me. I was voting against your kind when they were still worth something !

    By the way, given this, how are we to view all of those past arguments about why the D’s couldn’t filibuster the funding of the war or Patriot related bills. To their credit, maybe a few of them actually really want the telecoms to be liable in this case.

  114. It is the Reid’s and formerly Lieberman’s who destroy the Democratic Party, does Reid really think this way, or is somebody pulling his strings…I can’t beleive that he can stand up with GWB and say, “Yes Count me with Him”

    He was elected unanimously (unopposed) for Leader (and Whip). He promised a term of bipartisanship.

  115. Maybe the president should bring Ron Paul in to help him out, because we all know how fucking sane he is.

  116. It looks like Republicans may attempt to block Kennedy, Feingold, etc from even bringing amendments to the floor that would strip immunity….

    There go those wascally Wepublicans again! Even when they’s in the minority they run the show. I hates ’em, the varmin!

  117. “””Someone pays for it. All those millions that are going to go to pay lawyers to do the case and whatever millions they happen to extort out of the companies is all money that could be spent elswhere.”””

    I say it makes perfect sense for those sued to raise their rates. I’ll gladly get service from the cheaper companies that didn’t violate the law. Isn’t that how it supposed to work?

    “””government told them it was legal. That should shield them from liability.”””

    What? Since when is the any member of government above the rule of law?

  118. James,

    Reid’s thought process goes something like this:

    “Nooooo! They’re going to be mean to me!”

    But Senator, look at these polls, the public…

    “Noooooooo! They’re going to be mean to me!”

  119. There go those wascally Wepublicans again! Even when they’s in the minority they run the show. I hates ’em, the varmin!

    It’s the Senate, Einstien! The minority can do that!

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