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AT&T, Room 641A, and why Harry and Nancy had to gut the Fourth Amendment when they did

small_att [Welcome, Crooks and Liars readers. Remember that the hearing is happening today, so let's be on the alert to see how--or, it's be optimistic, if--our Constitution is further shredded by Bush's monarchical pretensions.]

Prove me wrong. Please.

WaPo's Dan Eggen writes of the lawsuit:

In 2003, Room 641A of a large telecommunications building in downtown San Francisco was filled with powerful data-mining equipment for a "special job" by the National Security Agency, according to a former AT&T technician.

The secret 24-by-48-foot room described by [whistleblower Mark] Klein was on the sixth floor of a building at 611 Folsom St. in San Francisco. Klein said the NSA "special project" was well known to the small community of company technicians, and he has provided internal documents to the court describing the "cuts" that were required to split Internet traffic and route a signal to the servers and other equipment in the room.

"I conclude that AT&T has constructed an extensive -- and expensive -- collection of infrastructure that collectively has all the capability necessary to conduct large-scale covert gathering of [Internet protocol]-based communications information, not only for communications to overseas locations, but for purely domestic communications as well," said [J. Scott] Marcus, a veteran computer network executive who worked at GTE, Genuity and other companies before joining the FCC.

That's the context, about which our hair has been on fire for quite some time now. What we have left of our hair.

And now, a simple matter of timing:

Tomorrow [that is, today], a three-judge panel will hear arguments on whether the case, which may provide the clearest indication yet of how the spying program has worked, can go forward. So far, evidence in the case suggests a massive effort by the NSA to tap into the backbone of the Internet to retrieve millions of e-mails and other communications, which the government could sift and analyze for suspicious patterns or other signs of terrorist activity, according to court records, plaintiffs' attorneys and technology experts.

Now, the Republicans would have dearly loved to retroactively legalize all this lawbreaking.

But they couldn't manage it.

However, Harry and Nancy, when they gutted FISA at midnight before scuttling back to the district, managed to do what the Republicans couldn't:

The confrontation comes just days after the Democratic-controlled Congress acceded to the demands of the Bush administration for expanded NSA authority to conduct spying efforts on U.S. soil, effectively approving many of the practices at issue in San Francisco.

Harry, Nancy, nice work.

I can see why shielding Bush from the consequences of his fascistic practices would be good for Bush, and why being able to make the case that his practices were at least plausibly legal before a court ruled on them would be of great concern to him.

But why on earth would you think that was good for you, or good for the country?

I hate to think so... Truly... But I'm thinking that Democratic "capitulation" here is the optimist's scenario.

Prove me wrong. Please.

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vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

If Congress approved a six-month plan to nuke one major American city each month, you'd fail to notice the good news... that it was only for half a year. Until the next emergency extension, that is.

But seriously folks, has anyone done a good accounting of what role Harry and Nancy played or should have played vis-a-vis the FISA vote? I blame them for their pathetic blue dog-herding skills, but beyond that I'm not sure of how much Constitutional blood is on their hands for this. Not saying they're not culpable, I just don't know how much exactly. Did they, for one thing, have the power to have prevented the vote from happening?

Submitted by lambert on

We all know Reid is a master of legislative maneuvering. That is--justified hat tip to Harry--one way he saved Social Security, and in general took Bill Frist out of the running as Serious.

So, how in the name of Sweet Suffering Jeebus Reid have allowed a Republican bill to pass, which this was... And then Pelosi have let it go through as well?

First, put Gonzales in charge of determining who gets surveilled, and then get the law in place before a huge court case upon which the law bears?

At this point, I don't buy "the incompetence dodge" for the Democratic leadership any more than I do for the Republicans. Sorry. To many datapoints that suggest otherwise.

NOTE Of course, they could be rolling over for the telcos. That would be a more optimistic scenario. Except for net neutrality, of course.

No authoritarians were tortured in the writing of this post.

First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win. -- Mahatma Gandhi

Submitted by Michael (not verified) on

Ex post facto is only an issue if something previously legal is retroactively made illegal. The gov't can always retroactively legalize what was previously criminal behavior, and often do, except in Georgia when an african-american teenager is being screwed by an antiquated law.

Submitted by lambert on

But you can see where the argument is heading...

"National emergency... law is unclear... we did our best... Congress finally clarifies... No harm, no foul."

We're dealing with criminals, here, remember; people for whom Nixon's conscience, such as it was, is a vestigial organ to be removed.

No authoritarians were tortured in the writing of this post.

First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win. -- Mahatma Gandhi

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

I'm not arguing for any particular verdict -- incompetence or anything else.

I'd just like to see someone who knows more than I about Congressional procedural details explain what the Dem "leaders" did and/or should have done, besides their failure to rally their charges and to invest so much as a minute in taking the case for saving the Constitution into the court of public opinion.

Oh, and "Democratic Leadership Council" belongs on your list of oxymorans.

intranets's picture
Submitted by intranets on

so the argument here goes, Reid is genius, he knew the court ruling would be coming and possibly used as case for why FISA II: Spy Harder is probably unconstitutional?

I think it is exactly opposite. The court will say, gee look at new FISA law, so this whole argument is now meaningless, since they can do it today. Who cares if it was illegal a year ago, because national security yada yada will hide those dirty secrets. You could even make the case that since the new program is approved by Congress and is now legal, that you REALLY cannot disclose any details in the name of national security. See, before it was probably illegal, so there was no harm in exposing the details. Now there is harm.

Bravo, you Capitutraitors.

Submitted by lambert on

The argument here goes exactly as you say:

The court will say, gee look at new FISA law, so this whole argument is now meaningless, since they can do it today. Who cares if it was illegal a year ago, because national security yada yada will hide those dirty secrets.

We're in agreement on this.

No authoritarians were tortured in the writing of this post.

First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win. -- Mahatma Gandhi

Submitted by lambert on

And, as you know, the Fellows of The Mighty Corrente Building work tirelessly to bring Civility in American politics to a new level.

No authoritarians were tortured in the writing of this post.

First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win. -- Mahatma Gandhi

shystee's picture
Submitted by shystee on

ATT and the other telecom megacorps, that's who.

From what I've read, the law that Nancy pushed through in the dead of night effectively shields the telecoms from any liability for lawsuits exactly like this one.

Maybe this explains the rush to capitulate: not the sacrosanct vacation, but the impending lawsuit.

Just in the nick of time! I'm sure ATT will find ways of expre$$ing their gratitude to Nancy, Harry and the Blue Dogs.

Submitted by Soullite (not verified) on

I don't buy that they got rolled either. The Democratic Leadership wanted this bill. They wanted the President to have this power. They have control of congress. They schedule votes, the President can't. They never had to allow the other proposition to be voted on, they could have offered their own and forced people to vote up or down on it. They didn't. The fact that most Democrats didn't vote for it doesn't matter. The only reason most Democrats didn't vote for it is because they knew it would pass anyway. If there was any real question, they'd have voted for it. This is just political Theater designed to placate people like us. Well, I'm not going to buy it. The rest of you can keep playing "useful idiot" to the people who demand money and time from us, but only want to serve their military and corporate masters when they get elected.

I'm not voting for the Democrats again. Probably not ever, but certainly not until they get serious about the problems that face this country. I've held my nose for long enough, and all they do is take me more and more for granted while they pursue ever more right-wing policies. Well, fuck that and fuck the blogger overlords that cover for them. Most of you aren't anything but patsies and hacks at this point.

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

So, whom do you prefer for '08 -- Giuliani, Romney, or Fred T.? Can I put you down for all three?

Submitted by anonymous coward (not verified) on

Get rid of the lot of them..all Republicans and all "moderate" right leaning Democratics....that would be just about every incumbant..do not but Clinton in the White House...she is just another corporate shill, Republican lite

Submitted by Mike D (not verified) on

Unfortunately it took segregationist Governor Wallace to reveal the truth that "there's not a dime's worth of difference between" Republicans and Democrats. The Democrats willingly went along with the War in Iraq, suspension of Habeas Corpus, detaining protesters, banning books like America Deceived (book) from Amazon, stealing private lands (Kelo decision), warrant-less wiretapping and refusing to investigate 9/11 properly. They are both guilty of treason.
Support Dr. Ron Paul and end this madness.

Submitted by anonymous coward (not verified) on

Mostly, anyway.

There have been some good things coming from the Dems -- although I'm not sure how much of that is just to give them cover for worse things. But so far, when faced with the worst of Republican legislation, they've been with the Republicans.

I think it's because there's a subgroup that cuts across party lines. The important divide is not between Dems and Reps, it's between the corporatists and freedom-lovers. Corporatists have infected both parties in a big way.

Clinton's an old-school corporatist, which is why I will not vote for her, period. But this FISA thing has soured me tremendously on the entire Democratic party. They sold out the American people, and the US itself. Period.

The only reason that I will not withold my vote from Democrats altogether is because I hope and pray that there is a way to take that party over and turn it back into something that, at the worst, is not evil. Perhaps that's not possible, but the only other alternative is to stop fighting altogether, and I cannot so that. (Third parties are not viable under the way things work now -- voting third party is, in effect, the same thing as not voting at all.)

Submitted by anonymous coward (not verified) on

Although I like him, he's a Republican. And it seems to me that anybody, particularly politicians, who can still stomach being associated with the Republican party is exhibiting such a low level of moral awareness -- even for politicians -- that they cannot be trusted with office no matter how good their rhetoric sounds.

Someone with an ounce of political and ethical sense would distance themselves from a corrupt pack of treasonous thieves such as the Republican party.

Sarah's picture
Submitted by Sarah on

Just because he is old-time, old-school "conservative" GOP.


We can admit that we’re killers … but we’re not going to kill today. That’s all it takes! ~ Captain James T. Kirk, Stardate 3193.0

1 John 4:18

Submitted by lambert on

All they have to do is make sure that six-month sunset provision is for real.

Which of course it is, right?

Otherwise... Well, honestly, what other way do we have to get their attention? Playing nice works if you want a job, but not otherwise.

No authoritarians were tortured in the writing of this post.

First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win. -- Mahatma Gandhi

chicago dyke's picture
Submitted by chicago dyke on

Well, fuck that and fuck the blogger overlords that cover for them. Most of you aren’t anything but patsies and hacks at this point.

you better not be calling anyone here an 'overlord' or hack for the dem party. they have their supporters at the Mighty Corrente Building Security Information Complex, but clearly none of us are "hacks" for them. clearly.

Submitted by lambert on

Eh?

It's all about the Overton window.

It's Kos's job to elect more Democrats.

That's not my job. My job is to shove the window left, so Democrats can say and do things that they couldn't do before.

Part of that is calling bullshit when it needs to be called.

Any good rule will have scope. It will explain when it does apply, and when it doesn't. ("Thou shalt not steal." Mostly, but maybe not when my baby is starving. And so on.)

And so far as I can tell, the rule about not calling bullshit on Democrats, especially the leadership, doesn't have scope. When is it good, and when is it not good? (Still waiting for bringiton's answer to that.)

No authoritarians were tortured in the writing of this post.

First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win. -- Mahatma Gandhi

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

... calling bullshit on Democrats (IMHO: essential)

... and saying "there's no difference between the parties, I won't vote for another Democrat" (IMHO: suicidal)

Submitted by anonymous coward (not verified) on

So tempting to write a satirical comment, such as: "There's plenty of good reasons for Reid and Pelosi to go along with this, not the least of which is, in two years, Clinton will be President and SHE'll have all this power. Truly a great 8 years for the Democratic Party! Who cares about 2 years of Bush having all this power? It's an acceptable tradeoff if it will ensure Clinton can have it for at least 8. I WANT the Democrats to have all this power. It's only the Republicans that can't be trusted with it, after all. They lied to get us into a war to benefit their buddies at Haliburton."

and to see who agrees with it.

Instead however, I'll make this comment:

It's no coincidence that the Republicans outnumbered the Democrats for 2 decades, nor is it any coincidence that Republican numbers have been falling for 6 years, and are now well below Democrat party numbers. The link is that what we have now in the Republican party is, historically, far more closely associated with the Democrats since WWI, except, perhaps, 1972-1976. It's only since 2001 that the Republicans have been behaving like this. That's why Ron Paul is running as a Republican. It's a basic if unfortunate fact that no independent will be elected. They will be excluded from the debates. They will raise meager funds and get no PAC support. So Ron Paul has to run with a party. He can choose the party that's been astray for 6 years but previously more or less aligned with him in theory, or the one that's been consistently opposed to his values for 90 years. Not a hard thing to figure out. He's a doctor; he figures he can cure the Republican party.

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

... it's with the Ron Paulers and other "won't ever vote for another Democrat againers."

I do, though, continue to ask for someone to shine some light on exactly what Pelosi and Reid did and should have done, procedurally, vis-a-vis the FISA vote. I simply don't know.

chicago dyke's picture
Submitted by chicago dyke on

you can dream, but that's as in the realm of fantasy as kucinich taking over the democratic party. note the use of the "-ic," my little winger friend.

as for your claims about the recent history of the two parties, i think your views are muddled at best. modern democrats have brought about many things, and i won't argue they have a mixed record, but who gets credit for civil, women's, gay, atheist rights? mostly democrats. while you "libertarians" in the republican party were napping, the facists came at took away all the things you really care about (isolationism, freedom from gov't intrustion, small business opportunity, smaller gov't). and at the same time, doing away with what the democrats brought you that you enjoy (pot, pr0n, easy divorce, the church out of your business).

your guilt and shame at letting this happen explains your misguided enthusiasm today for a fringe candidate with exactly no chance of winning. and i say this as a fan, for a republican paul has an impressive penchant for speaking the truth. too bad it's too late to make a difference.

Sarah's picture
Submitted by Sarah on

supporting Edwards and Dean and Clark, but not Clinton or Lieberman?

I *think* what Pelosi and Reid did was "let nature take its course" on the FISA bill/vote (s) in the Congress. I do believe they might have had the power to delay/prevent, and I'm not sure why they caved on THAT, let alone the legislation itself.

Either way, I'm with Atrios: BETTER Democrats.


We can admit that we’re killers … but we’re not going to kill today. That’s all it takes! ~ Captain James T. Kirk, Stardate 3193.0

1 John 4:18

Submitted by seepeesate (not verified) on

I'm not expert, so I have no procedural suggestions. I do know this much, though -- what they did end up doing is almost the worst thing they could do. (If they end up renewing or expanding the FISA thing after their six months run out, then the DID do the worst thing they could have done.)

What would have been better? FIGHT! Make a big stink. Even if they couldn't stop the thing from passing (and I don't think they were that powerless), they could certainly have at the least made a big stink, and thus have turned a procedural loss into a massive political win in the court of public opinion.

That they didn't do this at all -- that they rolled over, peed all over themselves and us in submission before BushCo, then said not to worry, it's only a little rain -- makes it awfully hard to think that they're actually working with the best interests of our nation in mind. It's awfully hard to not reach the conclusion that they agree with the expansion of FISA and the further destruction of the constitution.

At the very least, they can give us a real, honest, good explanation of why they did what they did. Because so far all I've been hearing is BS ass-covering.

I think they're playing us for for fools. I'm desperately looking for some scrap of evidence otherwise, but it seems to be well hidden.

Submitted by lambert on

Hearings on Constitutional abuses immediately.

The time to start working these issues was November 2006, or at the very latest January 2007. Not a peep. It's exactly the same deal as with that stupid "support the troops" meme they let take root. Soon, everybody was saying it, and Hello, capitulation on the Iraq supplemental.

At some point you have to start thinking, it's not that they have no plan, it's that getting rolled is the plan.

Like I said, Reid is a master of the legislative process. So how in the name Gawd did a Republican bill even make it to the floor, let alone pass so that the shit rolled downhill to the House?

No authoritarians were tortured in the writing of this post.

First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win. -- Mahatma Gandhi

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

IMHO what's needed is what Darcy Burner said: "We have got to elect more and better Democrats."

The position I'm advocating is simple:

1. Between elections, make every effort to shame right-leaning and centrist-accommodationist Democrats
2. In the primaries, make every effort to oust right-leaning and centrist-accommodationist Democrats
3. In the election, vote for Democrats

I've seen little evidence to support the meme that says the Dems are actively seeking this unconstitutionality. Dems have gotten rolled by Repubs on a regular basis since the Contract on America, and they are scared shitless that a next terrorist attack will be blamed on them... and generally scared that the press will hang them out to dry for sins ranging from being a Vietnam War hero, telling a joke, or helping fund the Internet.

And I do think it behooves us if we want to critique Harry and Nancy for more than just lousy leadership (which, I agree with Lambert, most definitely includes the lackadaisical attitude about hearings -- not to mention impeachment being "off the table") to sharpen our awareness of exactly what procedural cards they have been playing or should be playing. If someone knows of a great FISA-fiasco postmortem that addresses the wonky process details, please do call our attention to it.

chicago dyke's picture
Submitted by chicago dyke on

if you are the 'majority,' you have some procedural control over which bills make it to "the bar."

the fisa bill, had it been a dem idea in a repub controlled congress, never would have made it out of committee. our dem "leadership" not only put this to the floor, but gave bush more than the republican congress did, who couldn't get it passed when they were in control.

tell me again why i should support the dem leadership. they could keep the federal gov't reduced to passing legislation on post office naming, but somehow, what they do manage to "get done" seems to always satisfy the repubican administration.

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

As far as I can tell, no one in this thread is arguing that the current Dem leadership has any claim on your support (though some of us think it's best to vote for those characters should they survive the primaries).

The obvious culprits who need to be replaced are the turncoats (Blue Dog and DLC types) and the leaders who -- at a minimum -- have shown no leadership on the most important issues.

I am, though, harping away that we ought to learn the Congressional version of the serenity prayer and understand what in their official capacities the "leaders" have the power to change and what they don't (esp. as it applies to the FISA and Iraq War funding fiascoes).

Submitted by lambert on

Yes, you can't really claim to be a serious baseball fan if you can't explain the Infield Fly Rule. So I'm sympathetic to the need to understand the procedures.

But, whatever. Remember Reid back in 2005?

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., invoked a rarely used rule to force the Senate into closed session to discuss the investigation and the recent perjury indictment and resignation of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, a senior White House aide who was a key figure in making the case for war against Iraq.

Reid's actions caught the Republican leadership off guard, prompting an unusually angry outburst from Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., before a fragile peace was restored with an agreement for a bipartisan task force to look into why the intelligence investigation has taken so long.

"It was an amazing thing to watch," said Lew Gould, an emeritus professor or American history at the University of Texas. "The Senate is a very civil place except when it isn't. But this may have gone well beyond the intelligence matters. It may have been a warning from the Democrats that they are not going to roll over on anything, including Alito's nomination."

Yeah, well. That was when the Democrats were in the minority, so they couldn't really do anything (and didn't, on Alito. Sigh.)

But now, when the Dems are in the majority, Reid can't use those same rules to protect the Constitution? Something's really wrong here. It stinks.

(Especially since Reid got a lot of very good press out of the incident, and also deballed Frist very neatly.)

No authoritarians were tortured in the writing of this post.

First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win. -- Mahatma Gandhi

chicago dyke's picture
Submitted by chicago dyke on

to know which to believe.

on the one hand, you have the narrative of the embattled, poorly understood, lifetime functionary in service to some hazy "public good." this sort of person, which i believe reid wants us to think he is, tries hard but can't often succeed. not because they don't try, but because "The System" prevents them from accomplishing anything the rest of us would perceive as meaningful. 'weep for the congresscritter of gold, who has to survive in a cesspool of corruption, but has your interests at heart.' we're told to excuse, forget about, and otherwise not blame the heroes of this narrative when they utterly fail to deliver upon that which was of Utmost Importance just a few months before the election.

the other kind: those who are working "for us," but in ways we "just can't understand" because it truth, it's all a behind the scenes give and take, and the republicans are evil overlords with all the power, and the democrats are basically like the Jedi/Rebellion Alliance- they only win when they get a lucky break. but again, "their hearts are in the right place, they care about us/our issues, they're trying and that's what counts."
so we are again told not to critique them, because we just can't understand what challenges they really face.

i spit on both these narratives. as lambert points out, there's "procedure," and procedure. ANY member of the house or senate has tools with which to "shut down" government or make a stink or redirect the legislative putsch...there is so much one could do as an elected official functioning within the legal confines of our Constitution. and yet...what is actually accomplished? here: go play hunt and peck. get back to me with a list of what the dem leadership has 'done for you' in the last ~7mos.

the bottom line is that they don't care about these things like you are i do. the "issues" aren't really relelvant, personal, pertinent, however you want to describe them. what the issues are is smoke, cover, a false discourse by which the majority is distracted from the real give and take that is the process of "legislation." here's a fun question: how much of dem legislation of the last six months is written in house? that is, not written by lobbyists and interest orgs? i highly doubt the dems have a much better record than the thugs in this. so the dems are the kinder, gentler total security party, is that supposed to comfort me?

no, this was on purpose, and reflects the truth that despite glenn's observation that there is no "burning desire for more gov't intrusion" in the electorate, our "representatives" will continue to vote as they are told, by those with enough money to command their attention. which isn't you, or me, or most of us.

intranets's picture
Submitted by intranets on

What is with this Democrombie mantra I keep reading (usually on big orange) that says Brrrraaaaains Elect more Capitulators.

IMHO what’s needed is what Darcy Burner said: “We have got to elect more and better Democrats.”

This is maybe as insane as the people who still give Bush a positive approval rating. The only thing that is clear besides the GOP corruption and power grab is the fact that this country really, really does not need anymore Democrats.

You can take the best, most favorite shining examples and look at what they have done. Feingold and his "Censure" derailing of Impeachment... MCA capitulation, Surge supplementals, FISA II, Patriot Act II, Holt HR811 (HAVA II), etc.

With friends like these... Look, at least you know where you stand with the GOP crooks. There can be nothing more dangerous and evil as those people pretending they are listening to the people and want all of these things, like troops out of Iraq, etc. But when push comes to shove, they don't impeach Fredo, they approve Alito or any other obvious Bad Idea, they cave everytime it matters. Where is the Meirs contempt charges?

These are the best of the best that are betraying you, not the Lieberman types or "blue dogs".. These are your Webbs. what good is electing 10 more like him do?

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

What part of "better Democrats" don't you understand?

kelley b's picture
Submitted by kelley b on

...is always sharper than the difference between good and better.

There is too much still at stake. You aren't in a concentration camp yet, are you?

You had better continue to vote and fight Democratic if you want to stay out of the camps.

Yes, aside from the casinos, AT&T and Citibank (among others) have a big piece of Harry Reid. And Nancy too.

They're crooks, and not just capitulators, they're active manipulators. But the they aren't neo-nazi TheoCon Dominionists, and they won't sign on to imprisonments and torture of their political opposition. Look at what Bu$hCo has shown itself capable of. This crap isn't going away because Rove leaves his Washington office. He's still out there.

And there are others worse than Rove working behind the scenes. Does the name David Addington mean anything to anyone here?

The DINOcrats steal and trash the Constitution. They steal millions, and dump on the concepts that built this country. They are corrupt.

The Rethuglicans steal billions and use the Constitution to light their cigars. The really cold blooded ones, the Reptilicans, think nothing of starting wars of conquest that kill thousands of innocent Americans and hundreds of thousands - if not millions- of others. They think nothing of stealing trillions of dollars. They are willing to advocate the use of thermonuclear weapons for political ends and would have used them by now if they could.

Yes, there is venal corruption among the DINOcrats. But there is gibbering madness in the intellects behind the Rethuglicans. Don't forget it. Criticize the Democrats, but realize there is a significant difference between the two evils.

No Hell below us
Above us, only sky

intranets's picture
Submitted by intranets on

"there is a significant difference between the two evils."

I hear this mantra. And how there are better Democrats out there. Who is more ideal candidate for federal office than Webb or Feingold, or even Pelosi for that matter. I thought these were strong examples of the best Democrats in office. I have never heard them called DINOcrats by folks, so tell me again...

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE?

Would 435 Democrats have passed Patriot II? (yes, unless you find 200 more Kucinich's)
How about MCA, FISA II, Surge supplemental. I tend to think enough "Democrats" would have still voted for it.

"if you want to stay out of the camps." WTF?! If I end up in a CC it wil be because Democrats authorized it and signed it into law. Because Democrats gave budget approval to Haliburton to built the camps in the first place. It will be because Democrats approved domestic spying. (And yes, I realize the Rethugs are also to blame, but freakin' duh... that is assumed and goes unsaid anymore)

At this point I am sick of hearing how it is all the Repugs fault. It isn't. They are cracked out whores turning tricks for their pimp in the WH. Sure they *could* run away and try and turn their life around, but they are pretty much stuck on a street corner trying to make some quick cash so their pimp doesn't beat them, and to keep them in steady supply of what ails them. The Dems have higher expectations (except Loserman) and it's the adage about when good people are silent and do nothing.

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

Is it "When good people are silent and do nothing, clear the way for bad people to keep doing their worst"?

kelley b's picture
Submitted by kelley b on

...do you not understand, Intranets?

Without getting into the argument about whether it was an "inside job" (hint: follow the money, not the buildings), it was Bu$hCo-Cheneyburton who took full advantage of it.

Similarly in the 70s, without getting into the argument about whether Carter was set up, Ollie North and General Boykin headed Carter's hostage rescue planning fiasco, benefiting Bu$hCo-Raygun, and later in the 80s the secret wars & the Iran-Contra cocaine-for-guns deals, again benefiting a certain nameless Iron Triangle.

These people have been at the bottom of most of the blight of the world for the last 50 years, and are responsible for the deaths and suffering of millions. Maybe even you, too, Intranets, if you follow the money. They're Republican.

The DINOcrats are small time operators, the Soros wing of the Carlyle Group, and the only thing standing in the way of the Reptilicans and utter global conflagration.

Don't drink DINOcrat Kool-Aid. They're as scared as you are about what's going on, and their Kool-Aid is designed to sedate you. You observe that correctly.

Do support them when they do the right thing. Do take advantage of their noise machine. Do vote for more and better Democrats, even if they do turn into DINOcrats along the way.

Why? Because they are the only chance we have.

You think some mystic and ubiquitous Revolution will change things? I have news for you: the Reptilicans have ubiquity and mysticism all sewn up, with AT&T and the major religions. No, it's even harder and messier than that.

The only chance we have is for open, intelligent, argumentative, back-biting, non-violent messy representative Democracy. Because the Reptilicans control the secret ways of violence, and you do not fight an enemy using the weapons of their choice.

No Hell below us
Above us, only sky

We are doomed. America is no more. Our national conscience was perverted by the propagandists who illegally took power in 2000 and then again in 2004.

The states of Florida (2000 election) and Ohio (2004 election) should literally have the living shit kicked out of them for their action or lack of action in each instance.

Reid and Pelosi should be run out of Washington DC on a rail following a dipping in hot tar and being rolled in feathers.

The rest of us should be screaming at the top of our lungs out in the streets. If all we have left is our voices, they should be used as effectively as possible as weapons .... if we have actual weapons, those should be shouldered and at the ready as right minded citizens take to the streets and TAKE OUR COUNTRY BACK from the Fascists who currently think they are in charge.

It is appalling that not one member of the newsmedia has taken note that the powers that be are even manipulating the language to draw attention away from their own pathetic, treasonous acts. I.E. Islamofascist. New word which certainly does not fit and person, entity, or tribe in the middle east. Fascism is a form of government controlled by the corporatists. How stupid does an Average American have to be to fail to see the propaganda. Islamofascist my aching posterior.

This country is made up of mostly cowards. Were that not the case, we wouldn't have been so willing to retaliate over the loss of 3000 lives on 9/11 with the loss of thousands and thousands of Iraquis and closs to 4000 of our nations finest and still counting. Were we not cowards, we could not have been sucked into the proposition that a pre-emptive war was acceptable behavior. Were we truly Christians, we all would be wearing wristbands stating Who Would Jesus Bomb or some other catchphrase that would bring attention to our Old Testament way of conduction ourselves with absolutely no regard for the New Testament Beatitudes. We we not cowards, we would not allow Bush to over and over and over again pick his audience and keep those of us with bumperstickers they don't like out of his speeches, Were we not cowards we would take it to the streets for the sake of our children, our grandchilder, and our Republic!

Sarah's picture
Submitted by Sarah on

Dangerous as all hell, but then again... if we're afraid of the government, we've already lost the "Republic, if you can keep it."

Sexy, too, because it calls out every faction of the evil coalition currently in charge of the clusterfuck that's replaced our Constitutional government, drowned our cities, ignored our children, repudiated our principles, and spat in the faces of our uniformed service members.


We can admit that we’re killers … but we’re not going to kill today. That’s all it takes! ~ Captain James T. Kirk, Stardate 3193.0

1 John 4:18

Sarah's picture
Submitted by Sarah on

and not just an item in the Bill of Rights, but I'm too lazy to go look it up right now ...

We. Are. Going. To. Die. We must restore hope in the world. We must bring forth a new way of living that can sustain the world. Or else it is not just us who will die but everyone. What have we got to lose? Go forth and Fight!-- Xan


We can admit that we’re killers … but we’re not going to kill today. That’s all it takes! ~ Captain James T. Kirk, Stardate 3193.0

1 John 4:18

Submitted by lambert on

We really need to get into that mindset.

When they talk about law or the Constitution, what they mean is that they got some conscience-free lawyer in Cheney's dank basement to write them a memo.

We. Are. Going. To. Die. We must restore hope in the world. We must bring forth a new way of living that can sustain the world. Or else it is not just us who will die but everyone. What have we got to lose? Go forth and Fight!—Xan

First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win. -- Mahatma Gandhi

Shane-O's picture
Submitted by Shane-O on

From someone with a conscience and not in Cheney's undisclosed, dank basement:

Ex post facto in our Constitution (Federal, Art. I Sec. 9 or state, Art. I Sec. 10) only applies to acts that when committed were not criminal acts under the law. If a statute is enacted later and deems such prior act illegal, there can be no prosecution of acts done before its codification.

The reverse, however, is not true. An act that was illegal when done, then later made legal by act of Congress or the proper state is not unconstitutional.

Lambert - you know I respect you, but conclusions about the criminality of a group just don't cut it - I cherish and respect the laws even when they don't - otherwise, we're no better - just criminals with a righteous streak.

But what do I know?

The Bill of Rights is a born rebel. It reeks with sedition. In every clause it shakes its fist in the face of constituted authority. . . . it is the one guaranty of human freedom to the American people. - Frank Irving Cobb

Submitted by lambert on

So, we're not in "When the President does it, that means it is not illegal" territory. At least on this one point.

Retroactive legalization is still what we're looking at, though, and it's wrong, even if it is Constitutional. (And the withholding of evidence to make the legalization politically feasible is illegal, and unconstitutional, yes?)

We. Are. Going. To. Die. We must restore hope in the world. We must bring forth a new way of living that can sustain the world. Or else it is not just us who will die but everyone. What have we got to lose? Go forth and Fight!—Xan

First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win. -- Mahatma Gandhi

Shane-O's picture
Submitted by Shane-O on

Oh, if only those three concepts overlapped more (at least as to what might be our collective concept of "wrong"!)

Retroactive legalization - I agree - so wrong. Unfortunately legal.

Withholding evidence - definately illegal - maybe unconstitutional. And if illegal and not unconstitutional, then impeachable, constitutionally...

But what do I know?

The Bill of Rights is a born rebel. It reeks with sedition. In every clause it shakes its fist in the face of constituted authority. . . . it is the one guaranty of human freedom to the American people. - Frank Irving Cobb

This FISA capitulation certainly represents the abomination of desolation standing in democracy's Holy of Holies. Reid and Pelosi should be drenched in the same spit in which every last Republican should be drowned.

However, the legalization and indemnification of what Bushco and the telcos have been doing is being saved for the next act, in six months. For now, only what they do for the next year and a half is legalized and indemnified.

Yeah, I know, really good news. On the order of "by the boundless mercy of this court, you will be drawn only after you have been quartered."

Submitted by wonderland (not verified) on

I am so disappointed with those who permitted the gutting of the Constitution. I hear the pain. I share it. But let's not overreact. It does make a difference who gets elected, and it's all about the Supreme Court. Clinton, for all his faults, made good appointments. Bush--well, read those recent decisions and weep. 'Nuff said.