Quote of the Month (So Far)

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"I'm not here to say that the government is always right, but when the government tells you to do something, I'm sure you would all agree that I think you all recognize that is something you need to do."—Sen. Kit Bond (R-Missouri), explaining why his fellows had to lock arms with him and grant telecom immunity.

Mind you, this is the best stateside political quote. The best quote, worldwide division, belongs to Zimbabwean monster Robert Mugabe: "How can a ballpoint pen fight with a gun?"

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  1. I hope Kit Bond is reincarnated as toilet paper so that I can wipe my ass with him.

  2. My personal favorite political quote was compliments of Stalin: “One death is a tragedy, a million is a statistic”.

  3. At least hes not a member of the Democrat Party!

    Clearly the Republican Party is the home of liberty-lovers.

  4. Well, for ‘just folk’ that would be a garden variety fail; they watch 24, and therefore cannot be blamed.

    But for a *government official* to utter those words, now that is fail on a truly epic scale.

  5. Finally, an excuse to link to this Overcompensating comic on the subject!

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

    Hey Kit, you may want to do some reading. Our country was founded on the exact opposite principle.

    Even Carlin’s ghost cant provide me with strong enough swear words for this.

  7. It’s interesting that the linked article fails to mention that Mr. Hope and Change is now on board with this shit.

  8. Always remember that the GOP candidate for President this year is essentially running on nothing more than the popular conception of his personal honor. Further, on the primary issue of the day, the war in Iraq, that candidate’s position boils down to nothing more than a demand that we pursue the current policy whether it makes sense on a cost/benefit basis or not because of the demands of our national honor.

    It’s important to keep that in mind when thinking about the telecom debate. Because Bond isn’t telling you his full argument.

    His full argument includes the observation by administration officials, as recorded in sworn testimony to the Congress, that they knew their surveillance program violated FISA but refrained from asking for a FISA revision because it would “tip off” terrorists about the type of surveillance we were doing. This means that not only were they breaking the law, they were disgracing the law, by turning it into a tool of deception. The purpose of FISA, as far as these men were concerned, was to act as a shield, to deceive others about what we were doing.

    This contributes heavily to their attitude about telecom immunity, because they don’t think it’s fair to punish someone for violating a law the government had also decided to break, and that from their perspective was not even intended to be a law, but was intended to be a trick, and a lie.

    So when considering John McCain’s claim to be the candidate of personal and national honor, remember that the GOP considers it consistent with the idea of honor to turn the laws of the United States into a tool to lie and a mask to assist in deception. This is their “honor”.

  9. Yes, I must tip my hat the JLM, and acknowledge that Obama has chosen to betray the civil libertarians in his own party and spit in their faces. Because he is a fucker.

  10. Yes, I must tip my hat the JLM, and acknowledge that Obama has chosen to betray the civil libertarians in his own party and spit in their faces. Because he is a fucker.

    Amen. If he keeps this up he will be well on his way to being the next John Kerry. He better get a little more consistent on his views.

  11. Elemenope, I think you’re an Obama booster, right? Can you honestly defend his telecom flip flop?

  12. I wonder if Senator Bond would maintain this same attitude if the government decided to take his property in eminent domain, or jail him for subversion, or wiretap his phone for no reason.

  13. I do look forward to Obama supporters scrambling to explain his FISA-flop.

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

    Umm.. Yes? I agree that you think we recognize that is something we need to do, you’ve made that pretty clear.

  15. Isn’t Sen. Bond simply paraphrasing the sentiment of every person who believes that the “rule of law” trumps all morality?

    It’s not a position that I agree with, but it’s hardly an unusual one.

  16. Elemenope, I think you’re an Obama booster, right? Can you honestly defend his telecom flip flop?

    I hadn’t heard. But if it is true, you will hear no defenses coming from me.

  17. I’m an Obama “supporter” in that I am voting for him over McCain (for the almost impossible chance my vote matters). But I dislike him even more now than I did previously. I had real hopes that he was somewhat of a civil libertarian.

    I’m hoping that this is just trying to please “national security” focussed independents and republicans that might vote for him anyway, and that he really won’t treat most issues this way. But I have little faith in that.

  18. Episiarch,

    Senator Bond is not little people like us. When you’re looking down from your mountaintop of privelege and power, you can’t help but keep tabs on the little people.

  19. I think hes voting for it because he is scared to death that if there is a terrorist attack, McCain will will blame the lack of a FISA bill and stick it to him as being a terrorist appeaser or some such nonsense. Hes covering his ass.

  20. It might be worth waiting to see whether Obama actually flip-flops before demanding answers for why he flip-flopped.

    Although, no doubt, there will be some levelling the charge even if he does precisely what he did last time.

  21. This is an interesting proposition. Does the government consistently make better and more ethical decisions than I do?

    [Duly deliberating]

    No.

  22. Nah, jes’ jokin’!

    Burn the witch! Burn him!

  23. Joe, I’m just repeating what I was told by various lefty bloggers. This isn’t like its coming from the Republicans.

  24. Hes covering his ass.

    Anyone not worshiping at the base of Mount Obama saw this coming a mile away.

  25. Interesting how, ten years ago, the GOP party line was government was not to be trusted, and now it’s “If the government tells you to do something, you by God do it.”

  26. If I am elected President, I promise to roll back freedom just as much any of the other canididates. My selling point? I will change my name to Pham Nuwen to appease my libertarian roots. Vote Naga in 08!!!

  27. But this guy is a Republican. Aren’t the Democrats in charge now? Wasn’t this all supposed to change once they got into office?

  28. This ‘flip-flop’ by Sen. Obama is going to make about as much difference as his ‘flip-flop’ on accepting public funds for his presidential campaign, or his campaign’s ‘flip-flop’ on being inclusive. It will make not one bit of difference.

    [MSM voice]
    Move along, nothing to see here.

  29. His position from Dec/07:

    http://obama.senate.gov/press/071217-statement_from_2/

    And now:

    http://blog.washingtonpost.com/the-trail/2008/06/20/obama_supports_fisa_legislatio.html

    It looks to me like he’s flip-flopped, unless he changes his position in the next week.

  30. But this guy is a Republican. Aren’t the Democrats in charge now? Wasn’t this all supposed to change once they got into office?

    I need to go back and look at that FISA bill and see if I missed the war crimes charges against anybody with an R, and one with an I, behind their name.

    Are the impeachment articles written in invisible ink?

  31. Don’t Bond and Mugabe belong to the same political party?

  32. It looks to me like he’s flip-flopped, unless he changes his position in the next week.

    Wouldn’t that change it from a flip-flop to a Kerry?

  33. Cornholio,

    I think James Bond is a Torrey.

  34. This ‘flip-flop’ by Sen. Obama is going to make about as much difference as his ‘flip-flop’ on accepting public funds for his presidential campaign, or his campaign’s ‘flip-flop’ on being inclusive. It will make not one bit of difference.

    You’re almost certainly right about that. It would not change whether or not the legislation will pass, and it will probably not change the way most people will vote come November.

  35. Dave Weigel,

    OT: Might want to check today’s Washington Post for this story.

    Appeals Court Invalidates Detainee’s ‘Enemy’ Status

    Challenge Is First of Its Kind to Succeed

    By Josh White and Del Quentin Wilber

  36. But this guy is a Republican. Aren’t the Democrats in charge now? Wasn’t this all supposed to change once they got into office?

    A) The Democrats are functionally no diferent from the Republicans, beholden to the same interests in both the private sector and the government itself, or

    B) The Democrats are completely spineless and are afraid someone is going to call them out for a lack of patriotism if they stand up to the opposition party

  37. Obama’s position on this issue varies directly on his chances of being President. It is no coincidence that the Democrats changed their mind the summer before an election. They want FISA powers for themselves. Obama, if he gets desparate and thinks that he is not going to win, might come out against FISA. But as long as he thinks he is going to win, you can see the little bit of drool running down the side of his mouth when he thinks about the kind of Presidential Powers Bush is going to leave him.

  38. it will probably not change the way most people will vote come November

    Most likely true–for people still on the fence. What is McCain going to do, attack him for flip-flopping to support McCain’s own position?

    But I’d think it would hurt him a lot amongst people with strong civil liberties beliefs. That would include people like us and people in his own party. Die-hard partisans, of course, won’t care.

  39. JLM, it would have been better to read Obama’s actual statement than just a story about it.

    http://talkingpointsmemo.com/archives/201032.php

    December 07: “Senator Obama unequivocally opposes giving retroactive immunity to telecommunications companies and has cosponsored Senator Dodd’s efforts to remove that provision from the FISA bill. Granting such immunity undermines the constitutional protections Americans trust the Congress to protect. Senator Obama supports a filibuster of this bill, and strongly urges others to do the same. It’s not clear whether he can return for the vote, but under the Senate rules, the side trying to end a filibuster must produce 60 votes to cut off debate. Whether he is present for the vote or not, Senator Obama will not be among those voting to end the filibuster.”

    June 08: It does, however, grant retroactive immunity, and I will work in the Senate to remove this provision so that we can seek full accountability for past offenses.

    He’s still saying he is going to try to remove the telecom immunity provision, just as he was six months ago. We’ll see what that actually means in practice.

  40. But as long as he thinks he is going to win, you can see the little bit of drool running down the side of his mouth when he thinks about the kind of Presidential Powers Bush is going to leave him.

    Somehow I doubt it.

  41. I guess the Republican Party should’ve thought of the prospect of having a liberal Democrat with those powers before they gave them to Bush, John.

  42. Episiarch,

    What it does do if further wear away the veneer that Obama is anything but a typical shuck and jive politician. The truth is that most people support this bill. If they didn’t, the Dems wouldn’t be rolling over on it. But, Obama coming out for it just makes him look like a typical politician, which doesn’t do him any good.

  43. The Democrats in the House voted AGAINST the FISA bill by a 60 vote margin.

    Every single Republican in the House, except the good Dr. Paul, voted for it.

  44. “I guess the Republican Party should’ve thought of the prospect of having a liberal Democrat with those powers before they gave them to Bush, John.”

    I don’t have a problem with it as long as he uses it to defend the country. The last time Democrats had this kind of power they were bugging MLK and trying to blackmail him. But Obama is supposed to be different. Right?

  45. Die-hard partisans, of course, won’t care.

    Yup, you’re right.

    Although, I actually do think that McCain could successfully attack him on flip-flopping on this issue – seeing as the frame of looking at almost all of McCain’s positions is always “honor” and the MSM is in almost complete denial that McCain has ever flip-flopped on any issue.

  46. John,

    What it does do if further wear away the veneer that Obama is anything but a typical shuck and jive politician.

    Watch out! After Rev. Sharpton gets done with Mr. Imus he will be coming after you for that one!

  47. I don’t trust anyone with those powers. Democrat, Republican, Green, or even Libertarian.

    What you wrote about spying on MLK is exactly right, in addition to the criminal stuff Nixon pulled. That kind of power is corrupting to just about anybody.

  48. “The Democrats in the House voted AGAINST the FISA bill by a 60 vote margin.”

    So what? They knew it was going to pass. How many of those Dems voted against it only after being assured that it would pass anyway and there was no danger of ever being held responsible for anything? It is the oldest trick in the political book Joe; let people who are tough political districts cast “no” votes after you have enough votes to pass.

  49. Except for the part about the public supporting this bill, and Obama supporting it, that’s a great comment, John.

    http://rawstory.com/news/2007/ACLU_poll_Majority_opposes_telecom_immunity_0122.html

    Majorities of voters on both sides of the political spectrum oppose key provisions in President Bush’s proposal to modify foreign surveillance laws that could ensnare Americans, according to a poll released Tuesday.

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

  50. i am a die hard partisan democrat. i really care about this one. i will still support obama just because the alternative is even worse, but i am not happy. this may very well affect just how much support i give. i am extremely disappointed but, sadly, not very surprised.

  51. So what?

    So the distinction between the two parties is pretty stark.

    OK, so maybe the Democrats aren’t actually 60-40 against it. Maybe they’re 55-45 against it. Maybe they’re 52-48 against it.

    The Republicans are 100-0 in favor of it.

  52. Then why are they doing it Joe? Are the Democrats standing up against public opinion to do what is right on national security? Is that it Joe? If it is wasn’t popular in their districts, they wouldn’t be doing it Joe. I will take their judgement of the political mood over yours.

  53. So, how many Repubicans joined Dodd and Obama in their filibuster last time there was a bill in the Senate?

    Why, that would be 0.

  54. The bottomline is Joe that the Democrats own majorities in both houses of Congress and managed to pass something that they have been railing against for five years. I suppose not every Republican supported earmarks and free gay sex in bathrooms and with Congressional pages, but I still hold the party accountable for what went on on their watch. Do you? Or is everything always the Republicans’ fault even when the Democrats are in charge?

  55. Beats me why, John. I’m not a mind reader.

    I will take their judgement of the political mood over yours. And I’ll take objective data over your feelings. You spent 2006 talking about how much the public supported the Iraq War.

  56. i am a die hard partisan democrat…i will still support obama

    Thank you for proving my point. Obama knows you will vote for him anyway so he can fuck you on this issue and still not lose your vote.

    Still think Obama’s about hope and change?

  57. MP,

    Isn’t Sen. Bond simply paraphrasing the sentiment of every person who believes that the “rule of law” trumps all morality?

    Considering “rule of law” basically means that no one is above the law, this situation is the exact opposite. If the “rule of law” trumps all morality, then we need to hold the telecoms and the administration to the law, regardless of the morality of the situation. By carving out an exception, they are violating the rule of law.

  58. But [Sen.] Obama is supposed to be different. Right?

    Yep. He will only use these powers on the KKK, John Birch Society, Jay Cees, Lion’s Club, Ayn Randoids, reason magazine, The Weekly Standard, The National Review, The New Republic in months with an R, The Hoover Institute, CATO, etc.

  59. in a world where total shit and half shit are your choices, all coffee tastes like a latrine.

    also kit bond can totally go fuck himself. and not just because he has the same name as a popular infomercial teaching you how to make money by trading at home.

  60. The bottomline is Joe that the Democrats own majorities in both houses of Congress and managed to pass something that they have been railing against for five years.

    That’s what happens when a 51% majority has some defections and a 49% minority has none.

  61. Keep in mind that Kit Bond is merely echoing exactly what many of his generation feel. And that generation is the largest voting bloc in the country. We’re fucked until they finally die off.

  62. I just love how everyone who has been sucking off Bush for the last eight years (Guy Montag) all of a sudden become huge civil libertarians once it looks like Democrats will win the White House.

    What a coincidence!

  63. one wonders how republicans will continue to keep up their boot polish addiction with a democrat in the white house.

    i’m sure they’ll get by, somehow.

  64. BTW, John, it’s totally not too obvious that you’ve gone from arguing that Obama and the Democrats support telecom immunity to arguing that they “allowed it to happen on their watch.”

  65. I just love how everyone who has been sucking off Bush for the last eight years (Guy Montag) all of a sudden become huge civil libertarians once it looks like Democrats will win the White House

    ZING

  66. Naga,

    I will change my name to Pham Nuwen to appease my libertarian roots.

    Are you changing your name to the Pham Nuwen before or after his flip-flop on focus? It makes a difference as to whether I will vote for you or not.

  67. BTW, Montag, if President Obama doesn’t have those powers, haven’t the terrorists won? Won’t there be more attacks? We must let President Obama keep us safe! What, you think he might abuse those powers? Why do you hate our Commander-in-Chief!?!?

    /snark

  68. “BTW, John, it’s totally not too obvious that you’ve gone from arguing that Obama and the Democrats support telecom immunity to arguing that they “allowed it to happen on their watch.”

    I am happy with this bill and have no problems with the Dems for passing it. It just shows what I have said all along with is all of the raving about “civil liberties” and all of that was just boob bait for the Democratic Boobgeoisee. I never had any doubt that they would change their toon once they had some responsibility. Now the question is what are all the people whom the Democrats lied to and actually beleived they would change things going to do?

  69. No Name Guy,

    I just love how everyone who has been sucking off Bush for the last eight years (Guy Montag) all of a sudden become huge civil libertarians once it looks like Democrats will win the White House.

    If Barack Obama does join a filibuster against telecom immunity when the bill goes the Senate, as he said he would and has never repudiated, expect them to drop the transmission as they double-flip-flop back to defending the poor, persecuted phone companies, who were just trying to keep Americans safe.

  70. Shouldn’t the telecoms already have immunity since it was government that asked them to break the law in the first place?

  71. I am happy with this bill and have no problems with the Dems for passing it.

    By voting against it by a large majority.

  72. You know, I have to hand it to TallDave.

    At least he is consistent. He will defend an imperial Presidency no matter who the occupant is.

    Montag, otoh, only once an imperial Presidency for Republicans.

  73. joe,

    The Democrats in the House voted AGAINST the FISA bill by a 60 vote margin.

    Do the democrats not have a whip? Do they not know how to use it? Kick everyone voting for it off of committee, reset their seniority to zero, take away all of their pork and it never passes. Do you all not know how to run a fucking party?

    Is this not an important enough issue to do this?

  74. Admit it Joe, the Democratic win in 2006 hasn’t changed one thing. Here it is 18 months later and you have a reauthorized FISA statute and more people in Iraq than we had when we started. That is why I was never too upset about that election.

  75. How did the FISA bill ever get to the floor for a vote? This is the kind of thing a good committee chair can keep buried.

  76. Interesting proposition robc. Hmmmmmmm. Very well, I will begin posting as Pham Nuwen beginning Wednesday. Also, I’m not above pandering to get votes. I will bestow on you a seat on the Supreme Court.

  77. Admit it Joe, the Democratic win in 2006 hasn’t changed one thing. Here it is 18 months later and you have a reauthorized FISA statute and more people in Iraq than we had when we started. That is why I was never too upset about that election.

    Haven’t you been paying attention, John? It’s because they need a larger majority!

  78. Isn’t Sen. Bond simply paraphrasing the sentiment of every person who believes that the “rule of law” trumps all morality?

    Not if the government tells you to do something illegal.

    Guy, What do you care, you’re getting what you want. And did you read about the guy that wasn’t an enemy combatant? The army admits he never fought or considered fighting against the US. He’s part of a group of Muslims that want independence for China. Wow, he’s such a threat to domestic security!

  79. Wow, NNG is having such an ‘interesting’ argument with himself.

    If he would only bother to have read what I have actually written and had not decided to make things up to argue about, then I might continue to pay attention to him.

  80. Democrats have accomplished what, exactly, since 2006, besides killing some minimum-wage jobs?

    Guess I’m voting straight-ticket Libertarian this time. (It’s the first national election I can vote in, so I should be excited. I’m not.)

  81. Guy, What do you care, you’re getting what you want. And did you read about the guy that wasn’t an enemy combatant? The army admits he never fought or considered fighting against the US. He’s part of a group of Muslims that want independence for China. Wow, he’s such a threat to domestic security!

    Speaking of those who do not bother reading, others can view my June 24, 2008, 9:29am comment in this thread and decide for themselves if I have heard about the case in question.

  82. I read what you wrote. You’re shitting your pants because a Democrat might be in the White House who will use the executive powers you and your party have been defending for the past seven or eight years.

    So tell us why do you hate America and want the terrorists to win Guy?

  83. Here’s a better quote:

    “People shouldn’t be afraid of their government, governments should be afraid of their people.” – V for Vendetta

  84. robc,

    I agree that the Democrats didn’t do enough to oppose the bill. My point is that that is quite different than what the Republicans did, which was actively support it.

    It’s certainly been proven time and time again that the Democrats with a narrow majority in Congress cannot be trusted to check a Republican president’s efforts to intrude on civil liberties. That’s why it’s so important to get a civil libertarian in the White House.

  85. Marcvs,

    Governments should be, if they aren’t they should read Dickens “A Tale of Two Cities”.

  86. Nigel,

    Guess I’m voting straight-ticket Libertarian this time. (It’s the first national election I can vote in, so I should be excited. I’m not.)

    My first presidential election, I voted for Bush I instead of Ron Paul. There are far worse things than voting straight Libertarian. Like voting for GHWB.

    1992 has been my only exciting election. I thought Perot would do better than 19%. Looking back on it now, I realize that 19% was an absolutely amazing number. Think about it, a non-R/D getting almost 1 in 5 votes.

  87. That’s why it’s so important to get a civil libertarian in the White House.

    Such as…?

  88. Let’s see. Evil DOD decided a couple of years ago that they did not want the people in the Washington Post article, that I posted the title and authors to @ 9:29 this am, to be detained any longer.

    Also, they did not want to release them to China, because they thought they would be tortured.

    They finally found a country, Albania, to release them to.

    The prisoners, that neither want to be detained any more, nor has the DOD wanted to detain them for quite some time, wish to be released in the USA, another country that does not want them.

    I suggest a compromise. Release them in Manhattan, San Francisco, or to Mo’s place, since Mo missed some of the finer points of the article.

  89. BAH!!!!!! LET THEM EAT CAKE!!!

  90. joe,

    Not sure what your point is. The Democrats aren’t stopping anything bad from being passed. It’s the same thing we saw under Clinton–don’t want to look weak, don’t want to vote to inhibit the security apparatus in case something happens later. Bah. Cowards, all. Even those who vote against bills like this are likely not doing it in any principled defense of liberty. The Democrats have as bad or worse a track record in that regard as the GOP.

    I wish people would get it through their heads that the kind of power the government has arrogated to itself-with our connivance-is bad in and of itself. Of course it will be abused. Humans can’t be trusted with that much power, and even if one guy is a benevolent despot, the next one won’t be. It’s amazing that there are just two or three people in all of Congress that will vote on principle on matters concerning liberty and Constitutional limits. What the hell is the matter with us?

  91. joe,

    That’s why it’s so important to get a civil libertarian in the White House.

    Did you cross over in the Mass primary to vote for Dr. Paul then?

    You are voting for Barr this fall?

    Those were the only civil libertarians in the race for any of the parties (well, some of the other Libertarians candidates were too). And, yes, Im specifically excluding Obama. I dont think he is a civil libertarian. Not even a little bit.

  92. Oops, looks like I misstated the vote numbers.

    FISA Reauthorization Roll Call

    Democratic: Yeas: 105 Nays: 128 NV: 3
    Republican: Yeas: 188 Nays: 1 NV: 10

    You want to pretend you don’t see a difference there? Whatever gets you through the night, I guess.

  93. Such as…?

    Such as Dodd, or Obama, or one of the other figures who joined a filibuster against telecom immunity the last time this was in the Senate.

  94. Joe, a better question is why didn’t a Democratic committee chair (or even Nancy Pelosi) bottle up the bill so it never saw the light of day? You can do that in the House if you’re in the majority, the Speakers is quite powerful.

  95. Such as Dodd, or Obama, or one of the other figures who joined a filibuster against telecom immunity the last time this was in the Senate.

    Both have shown a tendency to compromise, which isn’t a feature I consider compatible with being a “civil libertarian”.

  96. Pro Libertate, I thought my point was pretty obvious:

    It’s certainly been proven time and time again that the Democrats with a narrow majority in Congress cannot be trusted to check a Republican president’s efforts to intrude on civil liberties. That’s why it’s so important to get a civil libertarian in the White House.

    robc,

    A majority of the Democrats in the House, including my Congressman, voted exactly the same way Dr. Paul did. I don’t have to cross over to vote for a civil libertarian. Being a Democrat, I had the option to TWO candidates who attempted to filibuster this provision, Dodd and Obama.

  97. No one is saying the GOP is better, joe. Don’t be blowing smoke up our asses by saying the Dems are the party of civil liberties when THEY CLEARLY ARE NOT if 50% of them are in support of this.

  98. You want to pretend you don’t see a difference there? Whatever gets you through the night, I guess.

    All it shows me is that the Democrats, as a party, are far from united on this issue. Thus, strengthening their position in Congress in order to shore up our civil liberties is a false promise.

    That’s not a denial that the GOP has abandoned the principle of civil liberty. But that’s old news.

  99. NNG,

    I don’t know why. Perhaps they consider it smart election-year politics. It wouldn’t be the first time they pulled something like this – remember the war funding bills?

    Democrats of a certain age live in constant fear of being called “soft on…” whatever, even if the evidence is that the public is solidly on their side.

  100. MP, Bingo,

    Those votes don’t just show that “the Republicans are not better.” They show that the Republicans are much, much worse.

    The House vote doesn’t recommend a vote for the Democrats as an affirmative, pro-civil liberties reason to vote for a larger Democratic majority, but it does recommend a vote against the Republicans.

  101. Perhaps this ‘flip-flop’ is like Jimmy Carter’s support for the B-1 bomber during the campaign, then getting it put on hold after being elected?

    Then again, Mr. Carter did not have a vote in the Senate as a qualified marker of his true position.

  102. The House vote doesn’t recommend a vote for the Democrats as an affirmative, pro-civil liberties reason to vote for a larger Democratic majority, but it does recommend a vote against the Republicans.

    All it tells me is that if Civil Liberties are your bailiwick, then you’re fucked in November.

  103. joe,

    I had the option to TWO candidates who attempted to filibuster this provision, Dodd and Obama.

    There is more to being a civil libertarian than JUST this issue. Its nice that they have that going for them (although if Obama flip-flops, you dont even have that), but neither is a civil libertarian.

  104. I dunno. If Bond is suggesting that we should grant telecom immunity because the companies involved agreed under what might be considered an implied threat of force, then I agree wholeheartedly. If one of those companies had said “screw you” to the government, they would have gotten all sorts of crap from. If there had been another terrorist, that lack of cooperation would almost certainly be used as proof that the telecom industry must be nationalized, so that they have to cooperate.

    However, I think his message was actually that we SHOULD all bend before the almighty Bush, so he should get his ass kicked.

  105. Perhaps this ‘flip-flop’ is like Jimmy Carter’s support for the B-1 bomber during the campaign, then getting it put on hold after being elected?

    Perhaps. We’ll have to see what Senator Obama does when the bill is taken up the Senate.

    Then again, Mr. Carter did not have a vote in the Senate as a qualified marker of his true position.

    The only Senate vote we have as a marker of Barack Obama’s position is his decision to join the Dodd’s filibuster against telecom immunity last winter. We will have to wait and see what he does this time.

  106. I see little evidence that Obama is a civil libertarian. And no evidence that he believes in limited government. From my perspective, where the Democrats are slightly better in some areas than the Republicans, they’re also slightly worse in many others. There are votes on other bills where the civil libertarians are all on the other side of the aisle–just depends which liberties you’re talking about this week and which president has proposed to violate them.

    The parties aren’t the same in rhetoric, no, but in practice, I see little difference. War, ever-increasing government power, continuing violations of our civil liberties, increasing intervention in our daily lives. . .doesn’t really matter which party is in control. Nothing will ever change for the better if we keep rewarding the parties for oppressing us.

  107. robc,

    There is more to being a civil libertarian than JUST this issue. I agree completely. This one bill certainly is not the alpha and omega of the candidates’ position on civil liberties.

    Personally, I view Obama’s sponsorship and successful passage of the bill in the Illinois Senate requiring police to videotape interrogations and confessions of suspects in murder cases to be very enlightening.

  108. If one of those companies had said “screw you” to the government, they would have gotten all sorts of crap from.

    The CEO of the only company that did not play ball in currently in federal prison. After he refused, the Justice Department suddenly became very interested in the company’s books, and surprise, they found something.

    For the record, I think the telecoms should be granted immunity.

    By a Special Prosecutor.

    In exchange for their testimony against high government officials.

  109. I will work in the Senate to remove this provision so that we can seek full accountability for past offenses.

    This would make me feel better, if:
    A) I believed it
    B) I thought his notion of “accountability” was anything other than Demopulist EvilCorporation bashing

  110. Joe –

    I don’t see the democrats sponsoring bills that would eliminate immunity for government officials who interfere with the exercise of another’s constitutional rights.

  111. Joe-

    What have the democrats done to end the doctrine of judicial immunity? Shouldn’t a good civil libertarian demand that judges should not be shielded from liability if they violate a litigant’s constitutional rights? I would have thought that you would be with Justice Douglas.

  112. Somebody correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe the “immunity” being discussed here is immunity from lawsuits, not prosecution.

    Yes, I agree, it would be crazy to allow the government to prosecute these companies for obeying the government’s demands.

    But the question here is related to the privacy contracts that these companies had with you and me, the consumers. Does the government have the right to force companies to secretly abrogate privacy contracts with their customers? And if the companies agree to turn over the information, are the customers’ claims null and void?

    Btw, if these lawsuits ever go to court, don’t think for a second that the names of government officials involved in this won’t come out. That’s probably what this bill is really about.

  113. From Fluffy, way up the thread:

    His full argument includes the observation by administration officials, as recorded in sworn testimony to the Congress, that they knew their surveillance program violated FISA but refrained from asking for a FISA revision because it would “tip off” terrorists about the type of surveillance we were doing. This means that not only were they breaking the law, they were disgracing the law, by turning it into a tool of deception. The purpose of FISA, as far as these men were concerned, was to act as a shield, to deceive others about what we were doing.

    I’m 95% certain that’s not the reason they violated FISA. They probably made up that story to avoid telling the truth: applying for FISA warrants for all the eavesdropping they were doing would have been a pain in the ass, and they didn’t think they had to bother.

    The idea that al-Qaeda is a formidable existential threat to the United States, and at the same time not intelligent enough to assume that all its communications are being monitored, is so preposterous that I don’t think even this administration could believe it.

  114. only *once* an imperial Presidency

    Wow- that was cool; are you using voice recognition software, or are you dictating to a secretary?

  115. I’m not sure that I would consider “How can a ballpoint pen fight with a gun?” to even be Mugabe’s quote of roughly the past week. Instead, I would choose “Only God who appointed me will remove me, not the MDC, not the British.”

  116. P Brooks,

    Wow- that was cool; are you using voice recognition software, or are you dictating to a secretary?

    I do that kind of thing all the time. I apparently think in phonetics and my brain to fingertips interface screws up homonyms regularly.

  117. “How can a ballpoint pen fight with a gun?”

    Pens are supposed to be good in swordfights, not gunfights.

  118. “Perhaps this ‘flip-flop’ is like Jimmy Carter’s support for the B-1 bomber during the campaign, then getting it put on hold after being elected?”

    Boy Guy hates Jimmy Carter…I still maintain it must have had something to do with JC being around Guy’s gal with “lust in his heart” and then one thing leading to another…Let it go Guy, she wasn’t worth it…

  119. liberty mike,

    I agree completely that Barack Obama’s positionsons on civil liberties do not extend as far as the more radical planks of the LP’s platform. I’ve never seen anyone claim that they did.

    Brian 24,

    Btw, if these lawsuits ever go to court, don’t think for a second that the names of government officials involved in this won’t come out. That’s probably what this bill is really about. That is exactly what this is about – what would come out in discovery. The chance of their being actual damages any plaintiff endured that amount to more than an pittance is extremely unlikely.

  120. If one of those companies had said “screw you” to the government, they would have gotten all sorts of crap

    Like Qwest?

  121. C-Piddy writes, They probably made up that story to avoid telling the truth: applying for FISA warrants for all the eavesdropping they were doing would have been a pain in the ass, and they didn’t think they had to bother.

    I wonder about this. Did they make up this whole “unitary executive/commander in chief powers” crap just to save themselves work, or did they needlessly abrogate the powers of the other branches just to make their point about their quasi-royalist view of executive power?

    I could believe both.

  122. Granting immunity from civil lawsuits to the telecoms is just a variation on a theme: the king can do no wrong.

    Both of the parties of state have long supported the theme.

  123. Guy,

    I read the WSJ version of the article. However, from the WP article, “U.S. government officials have argued that he trained at a camp in Afghanistan and worked with al-Qaeda terrorists”. The DoD said he shouldn’t be an enemy combatant, but the government still had him classified as such. Had the SCOTUS not ruled as they did and this guy gotten his day in court, he’d probably still be rotting.

    It looks like you’re the one that’s lacking reading comprehension.

  124. Joe, just out of interest, who is your rep?

    I don’t think Obama is the civil libertarian I hoped he might be, although I still think he might be better than I fear. I do, however, think that he is far closer to one than McCain.

    I also think that civil liberties are pretty much in trouble no matter what.

  125. Didn’t a majority of Dems vote against the bill but ALL BUT ONE Republican vote for it?

    Yeah, equal evils they be…

  126. “Only God who appointed me will remove me, not the MDC, not the British.”

    I’d say John Wayne Was a Nazi-era MDC would be able to remove Mugabe, but not the later, vegan Chicken Squawk-era MDC.

  127. Thanks to Mugabe’s quote we know:

    gun > pen > sword

  128. We don’t have to imagine how a GOP controlled Senate and House would have dealt with any of this, we already know. It certainly wasn’t as good.

  129. I still like “ask yourself why government doesn’t start helping to fix this mess” better.

  130. Mo,

    Not sure your reading problem is with paragraph 5 of the Washington Post article, but it is probably related to your not getting why I generally ignore you and I bet it is really hard to spell.

  131. J,

    My Rep is Nikki Tsongas, one of the good ‘uns.

    I’d say John Wayne Was a Nazi-era MDC would be able to remove Mugabe, but not the later, vegan Chicken Squawk-era MDC.

    Win. So much win.

  132. So joe’s argument seems to be: the Dems have failed to deliver anything with their majority, so let’s give them a greater majority! That’ll fix everything!

    No wonder partisans continue to vote for candidates who screw them. They’re like battered wives; “this time, it’ll be different–they just need more time to change.”

  133. We don’t have to imagine how a GOP controlled Senate and House would have dealt with any of this, we already know.

    Right you are; this crap never got anywhere when the Republicans were in the majority.

    If I were a hard-core Bush follower — such as him or him, praising the “compromise” bill — I would have a huge poster of Steny Hoyer or Rahm Emanuel on my wall. Unconditional, endless funding of the war. Warrantless eavesdropping. A stop to lawsuits examining Bush lawbreaking. Telecom immunity. What more could a Bush follower ask for? As Kit Bond put it: “the White House got a better deal than they even had hoped to get” — a deal they tried but were unable to get when the Congress was controlled by Bill Frist and Denny Hastert.

    -Glenn Greenwald

  134. The Democrats have restrained the Republicans’ assaults on civil liberties, and after the first six years of Bush’s administration, that ain’t chicken feed.

    I made an actual argument, Episiarch. Too bad you know too little about government to take a shot at it.

  135. your not getting why I generally ignore you and I bet it is really hard to spell.

    Joez Law strikes again!

    Parhat, 37, petitioned the court to review the evidence in his case. U.S. government officials have argued that he trained at a camp in Afghanistan and worked with al-Qaeda terrorists, but Defense Department officials have long agreed that Parhat and other Uighurs should not be detained.

    That’s paragraph 5. It says despite the DoD’s belief that he wasn’t a combatant, he was still detained in Gitmo and wasn’t released. Had he not been able to appeal thanks to the SCOTUS ruling, he’d still be there, despite the DoD’s belief he was innocent. You need to learn to read.

  136. I am going to withhold criticism of Obama until I see what he actually does in the Senate.

    If he votes for a bill that contains immunity, then I plan to utter a sentence that includes such words as “not” and “a” and “dime’s” and “worth” and you know the rest.

  137. Episiarch is one of those people who allows his opinion about how the parties operate to dictate his perception of the facts.

    For example, his gullible acceptance of the assertion that Obama has changed his position on telecom immunity, despite there being no evidence for that belief, and there being a re-affirmation of that position in his statement on the FISA bill.

    He JUST KNOWS that it must be true, because he is a sucker for every attack that any politician launches at another politician. And he’s so certain that this credulousness is skepticism that never even bothers to check his facts.

  138. Based on a 128:105 ratio and the GOP ratio being ALL-1:1, the Dems would have needed 395 members of the house in order to defeat this bill.

    Im not willing to give the Dems (or any party, including the LP) that kind of majority, just to get a few things passed. The damage they would do with 395 members is unthinkable.

  139. I’ll follow Thoreau’s lead. I figured he was going to vote for it because of the howling of the left wing bloggers, but I’ll wait and see.

  140. thoreau,

    I think it’s just the opposite. If he tries to kill the immunity provision – not just votes no in committee, but actually tries to kill it – and fails, but then votes for the overall bill with telecom in it, I can live with that.

    If he doesn’t put up a fight against the telecom immunity, but then makes a great show of voting no against the final package, I’d consider that to be a charade.

    But, there we go again, with our “waiting until the facts are know to make a judgement” and “thinking through the actual consequences of actions,” and other liberal claptrap. When will we ever learn that the really cool people reflexively believe whatever someone’s political opponents say about them?

  141. robc,

    Based on a 128:105 ratio and the GOP ratio being ALL-1:1, the Dems would have needed 395 members of the house in order to defeat this bill. That assumes that the partisan breakdown would remain the same if the outcome of the bill was in question. There were probably some Democrats who voted for it because it was certain to pass.

  142. I am going to withhold criticism of Obama until I see what he actually does in the Senate.

    You mean like judging him based on the Farm Bill vote? Oh wait! He totally bailed on that (as did McCain and Clinton). Don’t be surprised if he bails on this too.

  143. joe-

    Yes, I want to see more than just a strongly-worded speech, but the Senate is a sufficiently arcane place that I can’t always be sure whether a particular action constituted a real fight or just a show. For me, the test is whether he votes for the bill with immunity. The immunity issue is too important, and while I’m open to the possibility that FISA might need updating I haven’t seen a good case for why this bill (immunity aside) is the right way to do it.

    If he votes for a bill with immunity, I’m finished with him.

  144. This is all once again proves the Democrats would have been much better off nominating a Governor.

  145. The Democrats in the House voted AGAINST the FISA bill by a 60 vote margin.

    Every single Republican in the House, except the good Dr. Paul, voted for it.

    Actually, Ron Paul was not present and did not vote. See the roll call vote here. The one Republican in the House who voted against the gutting of the Fourth Amendment was Rep. Tim Johnson (R-IL).

  146. MP-

    If he bails on a vote that goes 70-28 or something like that, I might be able to look past that. (Or maybe not. I’d have to give it some thought.) But if he bails on a vote that goes 60-38 or 59-39 or something, a margin where one or two votes might have made a difference (and recall that his participation could sway a few votes, given his position) then I’ll fault him.

  147. Vote on principle or not. All of this forgiveness for voting expediently is why we keep electing these jokers. They want higher office? Then they must live up to higher standards. Not the other way around.

  148. Thanks, Mr. X. I’m surprised there was another Republican who opposed it; I just assumed it had to be Paul.

    thoreau,

    It is specifically because the Senate is so arcane, and because of the tradition of padding the margin of bills that are going to pass in the name of “decorum,” that I consider the vote on the final bill to be less important than the votes that precede it. Also, it appears that some version of the bill is certain to pass, while the issue of whether it contains telecom immunity is still somewhat of an open question – yet another reason to consider the amendment and committee votes to be more important than the vote on the final bill.

    I think it’s better to commit to a principle at this point – Obama had better put up a real fight against telecom immunity, and just a charade – than to claim at this point which particular votes “count” and which do not, since we don’t know what the process is going to be or the vote breakdowns.

  149. Episiarch is one of those people who allows his opinion about how the parties operate to dictate his perception of the facts.

    This is priceless coming from a person whose idea of how the parties operate is “Democrats GOOD/Republicans BAD”.

    Keep that stellar analysis going, joe. If I am guilty of “all politicians BAD”, which you claim, you are just as guilty of the above, so you claiming some high ground is as stupid as your belief in Obama’s infallibility.

  150. joe-

    “Decorum” is fine for ordinary bills on ordinary topics. Not this bill.

    Also, I have no way of knowing whether a particular procedural maneuver constitutes a real fight or not. If he asks unanimous consent to remove the provision and doesn’t get it, clearly that is a weak fight. If he stays there all night reading lawn mower manuals in a tag-team filibuster with The Dodd (The Dodd abides), clearly that is a tough fight. But in between those extremes? I really can’t know for sure.

    I will have to look at how he votes on the final bill.

  151. The Alex Jones show covered this on last Thursday…you guys are so behind.

  152. Episiarch,

    This is priceless coming from a person whose idea of how the parties operate is “Democrats GOOD/Republicans BAD”./i>

    I’ve lauded Republicans when they’ve done good a lot more than you have.

    Your problem is that you don’t even realize that it is possible for a knee to jerk in the direction yours does, even in theory, so you don’t make even the slightest effort to check yourself.

    thoreau,

    Also, I have no way of knowing whether a particular procedural maneuver constitutes a real fight or not. I suspect there will be plentiful commentary and analysis of ever wrinkle of this bill’s movement in the Senate, to help figure that question out.

    If I am guilty of “all politicians BAD”, IF? Lawlz.

    your belief in Obama’s infallibility.

    Funny how I never had this belief when he was my third choice, behind Dodd and Richardson. Or when I was vacillating between Obama and Edwards. Nope, of course anyone who ends up supporting Barack Obama believes he is Pope Man, because it makes you feel good to think so.

  153. Alex Jones? Well, clearly no one con compare to him. Hes a regular Edward R. Murrow, he is.

    (this post was written with sarcasm)

  154. Nice tags.

    Nope, of course anyone who ends up supporting Barack Obama believes he is Pope Man, because it makes you feel good to think so

    Just because you can’t see your own worship of Obama as anything unusual doesn’t mean it’s not creepy, joe.

  155. joe,

    First, if you don’t learn to close italics tags, I’m going to lobby to have you banned from using HTML.

    Second, you forgot Mark Warner.

  156. “Second, you forgot Mark Warner.”

    Who, had he been nominated, would be measuring drapes for the Lincoln Bedroom right now.

  157. Yes, I agree. I thought the Democratic nomination would be Warner’s or Richardson’s for the taking. Little did I know that the Democratic Party has become batshit insane. Obama? Clinton?

    I was reading something about Sarah Palin being too inexperienced to be the VP candidate for McCain. Keeping in mind that she’s at least as experienced as Obama (or Clinton) and is a governor, which usually is considered more relevant experience for the White House (or for the Naval Observatory), that shows how screwed up things are. I’ll give joe and some other Democratic diehards around here this much credit–none of them were for Clinton or Obama out of the gate.

  158. I’ll give joe and some other Democratic diehards around here this much credit–none of them were for Clinton or Obama out of the gate.

    All that time spent hanging out with libertarians predisposes them to support candidates who can’t win.

  159. Yeah, I would have had little reservation supporting Warner even. I tend to trust Democrats more if they’re self-made men and successful in the private sector prior to being a politician. It means they won’t take the economic left wing of their party seriously because they know its crap.

  160. It means they won’t take the economic left wing of their party seriously because they know its crap.

    John Edwards sure figured out how to keep his money offshore while campaigning to rob Americans blind, and I have a hard time believing anybody else who would want to be a senator or President would be any different.

  161. Edwards was a lawyer, though. Trial lawyers are parasites.

    Warner made money off of cell phones. Edwards made his fortune sucking money from people like Warner who created successful businesses. BIG difference.

  162. Edwards also didn’t manage to get the Republican leadership of the NC Legislature, nor the NC business community, to support him in his run.

    Warner has the backing of both in VA for Senate, and would have for the Presidency as well.

  163. Warner has the backing of both in VA for Senate, and would have for the Presidency as well.

    Bipartisan support is usually a sign to run the other way.

  164. Pro Lib,

    I left off John Kerry, Russ Feingold, and Al Gore, too, because they didn’t run, either.

    So now we’re down to my, what, sixth choice? But seriously, I worship him. You can tell, because the guy whose self-esteem revolves around thinking everyone but him is a dupe keeps telling you I do.

  165. Warner was in the race to begin with–remember our all-Warner discussions? So he counts.

    I don’t think you worship Obama, but you have, on occasion, overlooked his flaws. But I expect that you’ll toss him under the bus if he goes too far. Which, I add, is entirely the appropriate reaction. Caesar’s wife must be above suspicion.

  166. I’m a Obama supporter and I’m absolutely devastated on his recently stated position. I’m having to re-evaluate if he is the candidate I thought he was. So disappointed.

    But anyway, what have you guys actually done about this?

    I have:

    1) written the congressman for my district, thanking him for his no vote
    2) called the office of my two senators, urging them to vote no
    3) wrote Nancy Pelosi, asking her how this change benefits Americans and how she justifies the Constitutionality of her yes vote.
    4) wrote Obama urging him to hold the people responsible accountable. Telecom immunity sets a horrible precedent and makes a mockery of our justice system.

    ———-

    “My lord, isn’t that… illegal?”
    “We will MAKE IT legal.”

  167. joe 10:33 am,
    Not knowing the details of the case, I can’t be sure if the government had a valid case or not. But it is awfully convenient that if you don’t spy on people for the government, they suddenly watch you like a hawk for violating any other regulations. I think we might 75% agree here.

  168. I almost forgot how fun it is watching Joe do battle. Say what you will of the man, Joe is a soldier.

  169. “Matthew Davidson So disappointed.

    But anyway, what have you guys actually done about this?”

    Not much, I supported Ron Paul with some small dough…Now I’ll just be happy to watch democrats and republicans get sent off to FEMA camps as they debate gay marriage and try to figure out why it seems like inflation is higher than 3%.

  170. Bond’s comment may be poorly phrased but what he is getting at, is that the government is ultimately responsible for what happened. The people who object to what the government did should be be pursuing legal action against the government. Private persons and entities should not have to decide whether or not a government request is legal or not (particularly entities heavily regulated by the government) and be held responsible for that legal judgement. It is not a tenable position.

  171. also interested to see how many billion people get killed due to carbon taxes…should be a good show as long as I maintain a career in the industry that trades emission rights, natural gas etc.

  172. I think it’s just the opposite. If he tries to kill the immunity provision – not just votes no in committee, but actually tries to kill it – and fails, but then votes for the overall bill with telecom in it, I can live with that.

    Why? Isn’t this just another Kerryesque “I was against it before I was for it?” Why isn’t his final vote for the bill just a despicable CYA vote?

    If he doesn’t put up a fight against the telecom immunity, but then makes a great show of voting no against the final package, I’d consider that to be a charade.

    Me, too.

    This isn’t rocket science. He has an enormous amount of political capital right now. If he doesn’t spend some of it to kill this bill, or at least the immunity provision, then I think we all have a pretty good idea just how deep his civil libertarian principles run.

    C’mon, O-man. Lets hear one of those great speeches, only this time on the subject of limited government and real accountability of the government to the people. Golden opportunity here. Hate to see you miss it.

  173. Limited government, Mr. Dean? Government should only be “limited” by our vision for the future. Does a child’s needs have “limits?” Does the rich man’s wallet have “limits?” Do our needs to rectify the inequities of the past have “limits?”

    Shame on you, Mr Dean, shame on you. Our feelings of hope can transcend any limit you present to us! Yes, the Obama administration will show you exactly how unlimited our government can be!

  174. RC,

    Why isn’t his final vote for the bill just a despicable CYA vote? I think you’re a little confused. I’m the one saying the vote on the final bill doesn’t matter.

    The vote on the final bill is a foregone conclusion, so I don’t care if he uses that as a CYA. It’s the several steps before that where the opportunity exists to remove the telecom immunity language.

    If he doesn’t spend some of it to kill this bill, or at least the immunity provision, then I think we all have a pretty good idea just how deep his civil libertarian principles run. The overall bill can’t be killed. Something is going to pass. The ballgame here is stripping telecom immunity, and that is going to happen, or not, prior to the final bill being marked up.

  175. This is the quote of the new millennium, from bush junior…

    “You can fool some of the people all the time, and those are the ones you want to concentrate on.”

    See? Sometimes he really says what he means!

  176. Mr Bond is confused…
    The USA is supposed to be the symbol of Democracy (right…). What he deescribe sounds a lot like fascism.

  177. Throughout the years, the people have been modeling and looking to Inspirational Leaders as a source of inspiration for achieving goals for themselves. Inspirational quotes from great leaders have since become daily brain food for people wanting to create better lives for themselves.

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