If you have "no place to go," come here!

National Fourth Amendment Defense Day

UPDATE: And on Capitol Hill, the clocks are striking thirteen. At least in the House. I'm sure that in the Senate, cooler heads will prevail, Obama will heed the wise words of Lord Kos, make a great speech.... ]

[I propose June 20, which is sooner rather than later, because this thing is greased; read on for the detail.]

[See the Strange Bedfellows Coalition:

Ron Paul supporters, the ACLU and liberal blogs are uniting

Excellent! See their money counter at the bottom of this post!]

[Call your Representatives; call your Senators. And feel free to post on your polite conversations....]

* * *

Have you read the Fourth Amendment lately?

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

The Fourth Amendment, along with the other amendments to the Constitution that form our Bill of Rights, came into effect on December 15, 1791.

The Framers of our Constitution -- and the voters in the states that passed the Bill of Rights -- understood how tyranny worked, and they took a dim view of King George breaking into their homes, rummaging through their desks, opening their mail, and reading whatever the Fuck he wanted, whenever the fuck he wanted to, without going to a judge for a warrant, and without having to explain what he expected to find when the warrant was executed. The Framers had already had a bellyful of kings.

The Framers understood tyranny, even though they didn't have computers in 1791. And if the Framers had computers, it's plain as day they wouldn't have wanted King George breaking into their hard disks, rummaging through their desktops, or reading their data--whether the data was email, documents on your hard disk, your telephone calls, your Google searches, or the sites that you surf.

Tyranny is tyranny, no matter the technology.

So it's simple and crystal clear: The Fourth Amendment means that the government doesn't get to read your data--to the Framers, "paper"--without a warrant.

It's simple. And anybody who tries to make it complicated is trying to fuck you.

Well, surprise! The Democrat leadership is trying to fuck you. How?

For those who came in late:

The government has been reading all your email without a warrant. This is a felony. The excuse was 9/11, but the government was pushing the program before 9/11. The government did this with the help of the telcos, since they own the networks. The telcos had to have known the program was illegal, but went ahead anyhow, profiting enormously, even though (surprise!) the Bush administration didn't pay its bills.

So, some brave people decided to defend the Fourth Amendment by suing the telcos, with the goal of (a) holding the telcos accountable for illegal acts, and (b) exposing the scale of the program, which is, of course, secret.

So now, the Democrat Party is giving the telcos a sloppy wet kiss in the form of retroactive immunity from the lawsuits.* Some so-called Democrats -- Jello Jay Rockefeller, Steny "Putting the 'Ho' In" Hoyer**, and Blue Dog traitors -- are giving the telcos some tongue; and others, like Leader Nance and "Give 'em Hell" Harry Reid, can't even be bothered to tell them to get a room. And some true Democrats, like Russ Feingold and Chris Dodd, are defending the Constitution. Understand that there's no good reason for any of this except servicing huge corporations; there's no political price to be paid. Last I heard, there wasn't a public outcry in favor of letting the government read all our mail, and the telcos are about as popular as the last dropped connection or fucked up bill that you had.

It may be too late; but we can hope not. The good Glenn has a number of allies, and there's an ActBlue page.

What I'm proposing is that on June 20, all the blogs who read this post their defenses of the Fourth Amendment, and explain what they're doing to protect it, and then go cross-link crazy. Again, the issue is very, very simple:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons [online], houses [including computers], papers [including digital paper, like email], and effects [including digital effects, like cell ohone calls, documents, and Google searches] , against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Reader, thoughts?

It's a simple issue. I'm all for the D's winning the election, but they shouldn't be doing it by giving the government the tools of a tyrant and destroying our Constitution.

NOTE Leah suggested that I write this post. Needless to say, as emptywheel pointed out on June 10, and I pointed out on a week later, and BTD points out today, Senator Obama, as the presumptive Democratic nominee and party leader, is a, perhaps the, key player in preserving the Constitution and making the Bush administration accountable. (Just as he was on January 4, 2008). His staff may be reached via voice at (202) 224-2854, or via fax at (202) 228-4260. Naturally, you'll be polite! Note that both Hillary and Obama said they would filibuster a previous version of this bill.

NOTE * It would take a lawyer to muster the proper level of outrage here, but I believe it's extraordinary, unprecedented, for Congress to intervene in an ongoing lawsuit to force a result. What do we have a court system for if they can do that?

NOTE Ol Steny's been trying to fuck us for some time. I hoped he'd seen that the right thing to do is the smart thing to do but.... Silly me.

NOTE Of course, there's no reason to think they won't open physical mail, too. Where does it end? Answer: It won't.

No votes yet


bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

Send some to Lambert as well.

The news of the latest break in the FISA/telecom saga was up here at Corrente more than 24 hours ahead of when Greenwald first mentioned it, and Lambert as well as others have written and campaigned extensively about the abuses for years now.

Glenn is a great guy, but this little blog is no slouch either. The single best monetary way to combat the continuing threat to our Constitutional rights is by supporting a site that has since its inception been a leader in that fight.

Freedom isn't free, as the wingers so often remind us; neither is bandwidth, or food. Support those who support your rights, including the right to speak your mind, and who so generously provide you with the opportunity to do so.

Buttons are near the top of the olivine column. $$$ for Lambert now, please - and thank you.

orionATL's picture
Submitted by orionATL on

may i add:

-the Nineth Circuit Court of Appeals recently gave ICE, our Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, (sounds like some russian agency in a james bond movie, doesn't it)

the authority to search the hard drives on our computers if they see fit.


ICE is part of our department of Homeland Security, another name which sounds like it was generated in 1950's soviet union.

may i suggest, lambert, that corrente actively SOLICIT commenters and posters to recount here at corrente, in this post or in others specifically set up to do so,

u.s. govt actions they have read about (or experienced) involving bill of rights (and maybe habeas) abuses in the last eight years.

there really needs to be an aggregation, a list in one place , a kind of 91 theses to nail to the door of our national government - bush admin, dem and repub congresses.

this crap has gone unchallenged by us for way too long.

leah's picture
Submitted by leah on

To all of our readers, let other blogs know about this effort by leaving a link to Lambert's post in comments, or by sending them an email.

My only question is if Friday is too soon. It doesn't look like it can get through this week. Or, maybe the 4th amendment is deserving of two days of defense; Friday and Monday. And that for at least a day or two blogs all over the place, on the left side of the blogisphere, are all over this.

My main point is that we generate a lot of calls to congress, and to specific people there,

Look, we stopped this before by making a big enough stink, I think we can do it again.

orionATL's picture
Submitted by orionATL on


precisely - friday is too soon.

things like this need a little time to mature and catch on - kind of like a youtube video

(hasn't life turned upside down when video serves as teacher to the written word).

getting the word out to other weblogs and giving them some time to reflect and then act is important.

i've no idea of the congress's time line, but, in terms of strategy, an opposition strategy focued on the message of

a fourth of july celebration of a LIVING fourth amendment might be appealing.

Submitted by hipparchia on

if it is, i'll spend this evening emailing everybody i know and leaving comments at their blogs.

ignatz's picture
Submitted by ignatz on

I totally agree with the sentiment, but what is this "Democrat Party" shit?

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

This will go to the floor of both chambers as soon as the war supplemental is cleared, and that will likely happen by Thursday (June 19) late afternoon. If Steny can get enough people to agree, they will bring it up in the House on Thursday evening and do the deed before anyone can muster any defense. Barring something dramatic, it will go through both House and Senate no later than Friday.

Deal with the devil. Never goes as well as the dealmakers anticipate.

BDBlue's picture
Submitted by BDBlue on

send a few bucks Regina Thomas's way next week. Try to stop it, but if we can't, work for a little political payback. The only thing these people care about is retaining their own power. Nothing warms a heart more than a primary challenge from the left to one of the more noxious GOP enablers.

BDBlue's picture
Submitted by BDBlue on

as is giving to Corrente.

These kind of executive powers only go away if you beat them back initially or the courts step in. Politicians of all stripes like their power and I've never seen a President who didn't think he knew best and would, unlike his opponents, only use his power for good.

Dangerous regardless of who wins in November.

leah's picture
Submitted by leah on

Today, Glenn Greenwald focuses his cross-hairs at Obama for failing to lead on FISA now, when it counts the most, and worse still, cutting an ad for John Barrow, one of the doggiest of blue dog Democrats. And I don't mean that in a kindly way. (lest you think I'm turning on my many canine buds, every last real doggie I know is against this legislation; they told me to go for it.)

It is Barrow that Regina Thomas is running against in the primary, as per BDBlue above. Here's Glenn on Barrow:

As noted yesterday, Blue Dog Rep. John Barrow of Georgia has been one of the most enthusiastic enablers of the radical and lawless policies of the Bush administration. When running for re-election, he ran ads accusing his own party of wanting to "cut and run in Iraq," and was one of the 21 Blue Dogs to send a letter to Nancy Pelosi demanding that they be allowed to vote for the Rockefeller/Cheney Senate bill to give warrantless eavesdropping powers to the President and amnesty to lawbreaking telecoms.

Glenn also publishes the same number for the Obama campaign as Hobson did above, but I'll put down here, too: (866) 675-2008.


Go oneline and leave a message on his campaign website. Call his Senatorial Office. Google "congressional addresses" and Juan, to find phone numbers for all Senators and Representatives.

Glenn promises to publish more contact info as it comes in. I know Salon is subscription, although Glenn's blog might not be - but I'll keep checking.

Hey, let's leave it for Friday, and do it again on Monday if it isn't too late.

Glenn's post is here

Also, call Senator Clinton's Senate office. When you call a Senatorial office, don't mention anything about elections; they're not allowed to have anything to do with that side of the political equation, just register your desire that she step up to the plate; both of them promised to lead on these issues.

Other Senators to call; Kerry, Dodd, Leahy, Whitehouse, and especially your own Senator, if he/she is a Democrat; for get about the Republicans, they're already in the tank; ask why no filibuster. Ask why they are letting this happen? Get your friends and relatives to call.

The only way to keep this from happening is to shine a little sunlight on it; they're counting on being able to make it a fait accompli while no one is watching. Let them know we are.

Anyone who has the time, assemble a list of Senators and Reps to call - ones who are on our side and should be doing something, and those who are collaborating, to warn them - list the numbers, and we'll put it up as an update.

Also, come back and let us know what response you are getting.

Please be aware that this is about getting Obama to do something now - to lead; it's not about whether or not you think he should be the nominee or any such issues, which we will continue to talk about in other posts. Keep your eyes on the prize!

And if you're feeling a bit weary - google Fannie Lou Hamer, the great lady who transformed the Democratic Party; read about what she went up against.

dotcommodity's picture
Submitted by dotcommodity on

This is a very funny video ad - I hope this youtube embed works:

if not, its over at TXSharon's Texas oil blog

back when rational people posted at dailykos, she wrote the prescient

I Will Kill You For Water

As another imperfect PUMA like vastleft, gradually suspecting theres not much that we can do to change this now - wavering between the lesser of two evils.

Batocchio's picture
Submitted by Batocchio on

Good idea, although I'm certainly going to observe it today, and tomorrow, and as long as key Dems try to push telecom immunity through, with a vote as soon as tomorrow.

orionATL's picture
Submitted by orionATL on

seven weblogs notified by email or comment.

BDBlue's picture
Submitted by BDBlue on

will be listening to Democrats claim that they had to do this or else people will think they're weak on terror.

How to make people think you're weak:

1. Claim to oppose something for deeply principled reasons;
2. Take oodles of money from people trying to pass what you claim to oppose for deeply principled reasons;
3. Work in secret to enact what you claim to oppose for deeply principled reasons;
4. Stage it so that the party "leaders" are able to vote against the bill and look like they suppor their deeply held principles even though the only reason the measure is even up for a vote is because they allowed it; and
5. Work with the GOP to enact the law that you claim violates your principles.

Then, of course, sit and wonder why the American people don't see you as any better than the GOP or as willing to fight for them.

That is a mystery.

The upside is that under an Obama Administration, the Democrats will now be able to monitor firsthand my phone calls and emails in which I repeatedly call them spineless, traitorous wankers. They will no longer have to rely on those brief outtakes provided by the current Administration.

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

The Democrats in Congress are not being blamed by the electorate for their actions; they are being encouraged. While people are in general displeased with Congress, that displeasure is focused dominantly on the Republicans. Democrats are highly favored in every poll, and by increasing margins.

Polls from the last three months, with historical data when available:

ABC News/Washington Post Poll. June 12-15, 2008. N=1,125 adults nationwide. MoE ± 3. Fieldwork by TNS. Results below based on registered voters.

"If the election for the U.S. House of Representatives were being held today, would you vote for the Democratic candidate or the Republican candidate in your congressional district?" If other/neither/unsure: "Would you lean toward the Democratic candidate or toward the Republican candidate?" Options rotated

Democrat 53%
Republican 38%

NBC News/Wall Street Journal Poll conducted by the polling organizations of Peter Hart (D) and Neil Newhouse (R). June 6-9, 2008. N=1,000 registered voters nationwide. MoE ± 3.1.

"What is your preference for the outcome of this year's congressional elections: a Congress controlled by Republicans or a Congress controlled by Democrats?"

6/6-9/08 – Democrats 52%, Republicans 33%
4/25-28/08 – Democrats 49%, Republicans 34%
3/7-10/08 – Democrats 49%, Republicans 35%
12/14-17/07 – Democrats 48%, Republicans 34%
11/1-5/07 – Democrats 46%, Republicans 37%

CNN/Opinion Research Corporation Poll. June 4-5, 2008. N=921 registered voters nationwide. MoE ± 3. .

"If the elections for Congress were being held today, which party's candidate would you vote for in your congressional district: the Democratic Party candidate or the Republican Party candidate?" If unsure: "As of today, who do you lean more toward?"

6/4-5/08 – Democrat 54%, Republican 44%
11/2-4/07 – Democrat 53%, Republican 42%
6/22-24/07 – Democrat 53%, Republican 41%

George Washington University Battleground Poll conducted by the Tarrance Group (R) and Lake Research Partners (D). May 11-14, 2008. N=1,018 likely voters nationwide. MoE ± 3.1..

"And, still thinking about the 2008 elections: If the election for Congress were being held today, and you had to make a choice, would you be voting for the Republican candidate or the Democratic candidate in your congressional district?" If unsure: "And which party's candidate do you lean toward at this time?" Options rotated

5/11-14/08 – Democrat 49%, Republican 40%
12/9-12/07 – Democrat 46%, Republican 40%
7/15-18/07 – Democrat 47%, Republican 40%

CBS News/New York Times Poll. April 25-29, 2008. N=956 registered voters nationwide. MoE ± 3..

"If the 2008 election for U.S. House of Representatives were being held today, would you vote for the Republican candidate or the Democratic candidate in your district?"

4/25-29/08 – Democrat 50%, Republican 32%

When it comes to casting a ballot, most voters don’t care about issues like preserving the Constitution. This election is about seeking relief from pain, not about pursuit of pleasure. Republican policies have caused widespread pain, from the debacle that is the Iraq Occupation to the housing crisis to declining real income for 95% of American households to increasing worry about health care. There is a long list of pain-producing issues, and Republicans are on the wrong end of them all.

The only place where the Republicans can hope to claim superiority is on “national security” and if, Goddess forbid, there is another terrorist attack on the US between now and November, the electorate will want someone to blame. The Democratic leadership have decided that they can not trust the American electorate to sort out fact from lies, and so they will do a deal where they cannot be blamed in any way for any diminishment in governmental powers. The voters will not punish the Democrats for abandoning constitutional principles or protecting the telecoms from criminal prosecution, but they might blame Democrats if there is another attack. Simple as that, really; disgusting, but simple.

I don’t agree with what they are doing, and I am all in favor of mustering an opposition. Everyone in the House and Senate who is reachable has heard from me already. All I’m saying here is that there is reasoning behind their action, however craven and calculated, and that they do not believe that they will suffer in the election as a result. That in turn brings us back to an electorate that votes the way they do for the wrong reasons.

leah's picture
Submitted by leah on

I think anyone who isn't content to just let this happen should focus on the Senate.

The only way to stop this is to make sure Democrats know we are watching, with disapproval.

I talked to Leahy's office; he doesn't support the compromise but they couldn't tell me any particular thing he was prepared to do to stop it in the Senate.

Call Dodd, call Kerry, call Whitehorse, call Wyden.

Call the DNC, and call the DCCC.

Everyone is talking about this on other blogs, check out Memeorandum - but it isn't clear that anyone is mounting anything more potent then collecting money to help future challenges of Democrats who vote for it.

Submitted by lambert on

And maybe FOX would cover it. That might do some good.

I'll do my duty as I see it, but it's clear that our wonderful party, and its wonderful presumptive nominee, already have the Constitution bent over and fully lubed on this one. Just sayin.

[x] Very tepidly voting for Obama [ ] ?????. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

orionATL's picture
Submitted by orionATL on

has been writing about the fisa matter for the better part of two years, actually longer if you count her coverage of the roberts/rockefeller song-and-dance with the senate intelligence committee.

it think it was she who coined the moniker "jello jay" for the ever-vacillating senator john rockefeller (d-wv), chairman of the senate intelligence committee.

here's what emptywheel posted this morning:

details on fisa compromise

p.s don't neglect to read her commenters; they are some of the sharpest in the weblog world.

orionATL's picture
Submitted by orionATL on

as a supplement to leah's citation above (11:24)

here is greenwald's second post of the day on telecom immunity:


so why should you be OUTRAGED instead of just a little p.o'd at what a democratic congress is about to do?

here why:

greenwald sez

[ ...Perhaps the most repellent part of this bill (though that's obviously a close competition) is 802(c) of the telecom amnesty section. That says that the Attorney General can declare that the documents he submits to the court in order to get these lawsuits dismissed are secret, and once he declares that, then: (a) the plaintiffs and their lawyers won't ever see the documents and (b) the court is barred from referencing them in any way when it dismisses the lawsuit. All the court can do is issue an order saying that the lawsuits are dismissed, but it is barred from saying why they're being dismissed or what the basis is for the dismissal.

So basically, one day in the near future, we're all going to learn that one of our federal courts dismissed all of the lawsuits against the telecoms. But we're never going to be able to know why the lawsuits were dismissed or what documents were given by the Government to force the court to dismiss the lawsuits. Not only won't we, the public, know that, neither will the plaintiffs' lawyers. Nobody will know except the Judge and the Government because it will all be shrouded in compelled secrecy, and the Judge will be barred by this law from describing or even referencing the grounds for dismissal in any way. Freedom is on the march...]

got that?

"... basically, one day in the near future, we're all going to learn that one of our federal courts dismissed all of the lawsuits against the telecoms. But we're never going to be able to know why the lawsuits were dismissed or what documents were given by the Government to force the court to dismiss the lawsuits."

sweet, huh?

Submitted by lambert on

doesn't apply to large corporations that have a piece of paper from the President saying, ya know, whatever they do is jake with the angels, that's no reason to become hysterical! N stuff.

Let's maintain our perspective.

Move along, people, move along. There's no story here!

[x] Very tepidly voting for Obama [ ] ?????. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

"... The negotiations underscored the political calculation made by many Democrats who were fearful that Republicans would cast them as soft on terrorism during an election year. Earlier this week, Hoyer told reporters that many Democrats, particularly those from conservative districts, were prepared to side with Republicans and approve the Senate version of the bill if talks broke down completely. ..."

BDBlue's picture
Submitted by BDBlue on

It's occurred to me the only way this gets rolled back (I think it's a done deal no matter how big a fit gets thrown) is for Obama to be elected President and the Republicans to take over Congress in 2010. Because unlike Democrats, the GOP will have problems with a Democratic President having this power and won't be afraid to do something about it. The problem right now is they aren't thinking beyond this election. Once they get beyond this election, they'll be targeting Obama in 2010. Followed, of course, by a call for hearing into the Obama Administration's abuses.

Even more of a protection, of course, would be if Hillary were President because the VRWC would have a fit over her potentially listening to everythign they say.

Gee, remember when the GOP thought Government should stay out of our lives?

leah's picture
Submitted by leah on

That is just an excuse for doing nothing.

And even if it turns out that major efforts don't change the outcome today, or next week, that doesn't mean that such efforts accomplish nothing.

This can be stopped in the Senate. It could even be filibustered.

Remember, this isn't only terrible policy and a sell-out of the constitution, in a double whammy on Democrats seem capable of, it's also ridiculously bad politics. The Republicans are already crowing over it being a capitulation. Add to that, this: 8 out of 10 Americans think the country is headed in the wrong direction.

The black folks of Montgomery Alabama didn't take a bus for over a year. And when they won a place on the bus other than in the back or on their feet, a lot of them still couldn't vote.

There is simply no excuse for this kind of defeatism.

The Democratic party is an imperfect vehicle, and ultimately we may need to organize outside the electoral process to defend the constitution and to demand accountability for what has gone on for the last eight years - and by accountability I don't necessarily mean jail time, I couldn't care less where any of these people spend the rest of their lives, I mean finding out the details of what happened - and who made it happen. Richard Clarke, whose militarist and security wonk credentials are impeccable has called for a truth commission - that means the idea is out there.

And it can only help an effort like that if we can show NOW that we can generate light and heat about the sell-out that is being engineered by a relatively few Democrats, when it comes to that.

As sick and tired of being sick and tired as Fannie Lou Hamer was, that's how sick and tired I am of despair and defeatism. Harry Truman integrated the US Armed Forces in 1948, Hubert Humphrey gave his stunning speech on civil rights at the Democratic Convention that year. What year did the Civil Rights Act pass? 1965.

We are talking about making phone calls, for Pete's sake, not putting our bodies on the line, or walking everywhere we go for over a year.

Lambert, check your tomatoes - your virtual tomatoes. (yes, this is a coded message)

hobson's picture
Submitted by hobson on

EFF has a sight with contact info for your representative here. Just put in your zip.

willyjsimmons's picture
Submitted by willyjsimmons on

defending the bill on the floor RIGHT NOW (10:56am CST).

That is your leadership.

Nancy herself!!!!!

"It's an IMPROVEMENT over the previous FISA bill!!"

Shall I say "In Your Face" bringiton? Anyone else?

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

Well, why not? Why ask permission? Why not just go ahead and do it?

Not that I give a fig, but out of curiosity and for the sake of clarity and possibly more importantly, why would you? Don't be shy, willyj, speak right out. Why, exactly - nah, how about just more-or-less why - is this "in your face" to me in particular? Or in any way at all?

Take your time, no rush, and none of your one-liners followed by assertions that everyone should be able to understand what you're trying to say; express yourself in complete thoughts, please.

Truly, I'd be fascinated.

orionATL's picture
Submitted by orionATL on

thanks for the link.

willyjsimmons's picture
Submitted by willyjsimmons on


13 Not voting. 3 Dems.

Tally not official, I was clicking around when the final count was read and didn't catch it. So sorry! ;)

BDBlue's picture
Submitted by BDBlue on

People work different ways. Some are the happy warrior. So just keep plodding along. I'm more a fight, get pissed, then rage, then think and regroup and then fight again.

I'm only a defeatist when it comes to efforts to get the god damned Democratic leadership to do anything (although this could also be considered part of the thinking and regrouping process). The Dem "leaders" aren't going to do anything (which doesn't mean we shouldn't try, putting them on record is important, documenting the atrocities is important). They've been telling us they aren't going to do anything repeatedly for at least eight years. And yet we go through this every fucking time. Call Nancy Pelosi. Call Harry Reid. And at most all we get a delay, which isn't nothing I admit, so they can go back and regroup and figure out a new way to unite with the GOP to fuck over the American people.

But that doesn't mean we lose or quit, it means we have more work to do. That simply relying on pressuring our elected representatives isn't goign to do it so we have to come up with another way.

The good news is that I think people are growing restless and angry - at not only the way the country is going, but at the fact nobody in Washington is doing what they want and that never changes even when they vote for the other party. That's an opportunity. We also have incredibly new technological ways to organize and protest (although I think we rely on these ways too much when there should be more demonstrations).

But trying to harnass people's discontent into a real movement isn't easy and we need to try to figure out how. The challenge is that many of these abuses don't affect people's daily lives in the same way Jim Crow did. Whatever's going on is happening in secret, which is, IMO, what this law is really about - keeping the Government's secrets, not uncovering yours. If people knew what was happening or has happened, they might really do something. If they don't, then all those D.C. politicians* are safe, which is why I think relying on them is unlikely to work and we need to come up with a new way.

Going back to technology, I think it's great, but there are limits and we get too reliant on it. Blogs can be great, particularly for a call to arms in an emergency like the current vote, but they aren't great for long-term planning and action. Perhaps what we need is some sort of Fourth Amendment summit where people can meet and try to figure out a real plan of action. One that sets out a number of fronts - legal, political (these people, Democrats and Republicans,* should have primary challengers in 2010), protest. Now, maybe this is already being done and I'm unaware of it. But right now it seems like we have all these people who are trying to do something, but no real plan. We just go from one crisis to another. Stop this. Stop that. When what we need is a more methodical way to try to undo all the damage. We didn't get here in a day and we're not going to fix it in a day. It's going to take years, IMO. That kind of effort takes real planning and then execution.

* I'm just about convinced that at least some Democrats have complicity in the abuses, that they were briefed and signed on.

** We should not limit the responsibilty for fixing this to Democrats. There are conservatives and GOP members who are appalled. They should be running primary challengers from the libertarian wing of their party against their people. This truly needs to be a united effort. This isn't about liberal/progressive it's about authoritarian/non-authoritarian. One of the way the authoritarians and their enablers have been able to succeed is by getting us to view this in the two-party binary system, which has the effect of dividing the opposition and isolating it within each party. Glenn is absolutely right when he says we need something more like the British coalition that has recently arisen.

BDBlue's picture
Submitted by BDBlue on

This is why I say the American people may be dumb, but they aren't stupid. They may not know the specifics of the policy differences or the capital of Iceland. But they understand on a basic level that the Democratic Party is weak. That it doesn't fight for things it claims to believe in. And that's why even when they prefer the Democrats' policies, they often vote GOP. Because who can trust the Democrats to do what they say they will.

So Nancy and Harry and Jello Jay can claim they cave because they don't trust the judgement of the American people, but every time they do they give the American people one more reason not to trust them. And then they wonder why Democrats lose.

Aeryl's picture
Submitted by Aeryl on

Just made me throw up in my mouth a little.

I tried to embed and it won't work, so go look.

There are more of these to be found at the new HuffPo satire site, 24/6.

Via garychapellhill, at The Confluence.

This is from OUR side. The Obama campaign unleashed a monster this campaign season, and I hope that now they are realizing it.

Bill Clinton for First Dude!!!

BDBlue's picture
Submitted by BDBlue on

I did a post on it late last night, but deleted it because it wasn't very well done due to tiredness.

But, if that's what you're talking about, yes they are offensive. Two reduce her to essentially a male fantasy (experimenting with lesbianism, dressed as a seductress giving sex tips), the golf one with the whitey reference is also awful (because only white people golf, FUNNY!), and let's not forget angry black woman with a gun promising to recant the time she almost shot Hillary (because that's what angry black people do and because HuffPo readers laugh at the idea of anyone shooting Hillary).

Thank goodness the Democrats have agreed with the GOP and the media that it's open season on their women members. They can now be treated with the same sensitivity normally reserved for Paris Hilton. Keith Olbermann must be so pleased.

BDBlue's picture
Submitted by BDBlue on

Double post due to thinking first one got lost in the ether.

leah's picture
Submitted by leah on

OrionATL we're on the same wave length here.

Even if we don't prevail this time, making a stink puts Democrats on notice that they are skating on thin ice, which helps to make it harder next time, if nothing else.

I'm not suggesting calling anyone in the House at this point; the bill passed.

I am suggesting calling Senator Clinton's office, in numbers, it's the numbers that make the difference, as well as the Obama campaign, the DCCC, the DNC, or send them emails, and then go after all the liberals who stopped this kind of FISA bill last time. Tell them there isn't going to be money for Democratic institutional fund-raising, and that there most active supporters, the Democratic base is only going to contribute to clearly liberal/progressive candidates.

You can call over the weekend and leave messages, or you can send them emails, usually at their own website.

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

Besides the general Clinton Rules filters that her actions are judged through, at this point the last thing that will be tolerated is for her to upstage the presumptive nominee.

If Obama is planning (or can be convinced to plan) something serious, I would hope and expect she'll team up with him (if her help is wanted), but there is no one in the country who would be more misunderstood for seizing a leadership role right now.

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

Omigosh, it was glorious! Obama made the Greatest Antiwar Speech Evah, chained himself to the door to the Capitol Men's Room, and all of Congress quickly ratified the plan.

But, fair is fair. You said he didn't lift a finger, and he proposed a piece of doomed legislation (which he failed to vigorously use his oratory gifts to make any memorable impact with). It's something. Just not very much.

BDBlue's picture
Submitted by BDBlue on

Otherwise he gets a pass for not doing anything.

From what I can tell about Obama's record, he loves taking the easy way out. If you don't embarrass him for not doing anything, you're right he won't. He probably won't anyway, but I say make it unpleasant for him. That hasn't happened often enough in his career, IMO. It's good for a politician.

willyjsimmons's picture
Submitted by willyjsimmons on

I do believe it is YOU who launches into the "Don't Say Anything Bad About My Nancy!!!" spiel every time her name comes up.

Am I wrong? No? Didn't think so. (do you want the links??!!Haw!)

express yourself in complete thoughts, please.

I don't think you want that.

And Lambert won't like it, so why tempt fate?

But yeah "In Your Face!"

That you ever gave Nancy the benefit of the doubt when every indication was that she's been complicit in the fuckery that is the 110th U.S. Congress from the moment she let the words "Impeachment is off the table" slip from between her lips.

Yeah, "In Your Face!"

Now go ahead and "defend" her actions on the floor today as being part of her grand scheme to maneuver during difficult times.

I'm certain you want to.

Complete enough?

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

WJ: I do believe it is YOU who launches into the “Don’t Say Anything Bad About My Nancy!!!” spiel every time her name comes up.

Am I wrong? No? Didn’t think so. (do you want the links??!!Haw!)

Everything I have ever said in defense of Nancy Pelosi has been to decry unwarranted, unsubstantiated attacks. I've always balanced that by saying warranted, substantive criticism is certainly justified and desirable. If you have links to anything different than that, by all means put 'em up.

express yourself in complete thoughts, please.

I don’t think you want that.

And Lambert won’t like it, so why tempt fate?

It is what I asked for, why wouldn't I want it? Of course I do; if you have something on your mind, by all means please share. You can let Lambert decide for himself what he will or won't like, people bashing on me doesn't actually seem to bother him much - nor should it. "Tempt fate"? Really, what's the worst that can happen?

That you ever gave Nancy the benefit of the doubt when every indication was that she’s been complicit in the fuckery that is the 110th U.S. Congress from the moment she let the words “Impeachment is off the table” slip from between her lips.

Hardly "slipped" did they? Pretty bold and open and straightforward, IIRC. There has been considerable outrage among some who are discomfited by the reality, but that isn't actually Nancy's problem or mine. Impeachment has been "off the table" because there are not enough votes in either chamber to make it stick; therefore, it would be a waste of time. No impeachment motion or bill has ever gotten more than tepid support; even John Conyer’s motion to open an investigation into the possibility of impeachment only got IIRC 38 co-sponsors. Impeachment (wikipedia, sorry, but otherwise a dozen links are needed to make a simple point) has never been a majority opinion among the American electorate, and it is precisely the American electorate who have installed a Congress composed of a Republican + BlueDog coalition majority that opposes impeachment; neither of those facts is the fault of Nancy Pelosi, who does not control American popular opinion nor the people’s electoral will. Pitiful, disgusting even, but the truth of democracy is none the less thus – sometimes, The People fuck up. Damning the messenger for pointing this out is IMHO never productive.

Now go ahead and “defend” her actions on the floor today as being part of her grand scheme to maneuver during difficult times.

Link please. Anywhere that I've offered to "defend" this decision. I have consistently said that I disagree with this decision, that I think it is wrong and unjustified; not once have I defended it. Go ahead; find a link.

I’m certain you want to.

Well, you know; I am tempted. Perhaps you're on to something here, willyj. Perhaps an argument should be raised, precisely because the universal consensus opinion – including mine – is that she's wrong. Great idea, actually, to take a stance in opposition; I believe I shall and do so openly. No sense in being coy.

willyjsimmons's picture
Submitted by willyjsimmons on

Fuck your fascination.

Lest I forget.

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

-- Confidence in Congress at record low -- '... The Democrats have controlled both houses of the Congress since January 2007. It remains to be seen whether the Democratic Party brand will find itself chained to the poor public view of the legislative branch. A recent analysis of ABC News-Washington Post polls found that in April the Democrats held a 24-point lead over President Bush as "the stronger leadership force in Washington." Today, it's a tie. ..."

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

everything Nixon did from the break-in to spying would have been legal--simply bec he ordered it.

Everything a President orders will now be legal no matter what if this becomes law--we're a dictatorship now, officially (more officially?).

Submitted by lambert on

Your point?

Both candidates on offer -- McCain and our presumptive nominee, Obama -- are about consolidating the authoritarian gains of the Bush administration.

The only reason I would have felt slightly more, er, hope on this with Hillary is the way she threw caution to the winds, for her, anyhow, on the way to winning the popular vote in the primaries. Oh well.

[x] Very tepidly voting for Obama [ ] ?????. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

--it only became law precisely because of those abuses.

I "hope" this goes to court quick and gets struck down--but even then the Supremes would probably uphold it (altho with detainees/habeas, they finally grew spines, so who knows?)

Submitted by lambert on

Sorry I came in late, I'm just catching up.

[checks around]

Oh, wait....

You know, one of the things I was really, really looking forward to in 2009 was living under a legitimate, Constitutional government again, instead of an tyranny, no matter how soft its edges, for the privileged like me, are... So far.

Silly me. Hope, and all that. Hope tends not to arrive in a crock. Have you noticed?

[x] Very tepidly voting for Obama [ ] ?????. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

orionATL's picture
Submitted by orionATL on

takes us to the legal heart of the telecom immunity issue:

[ "Under current law, telecoms are legally forbidden from assisting the government's surveillance of their customers unless they receive a court order or receive from the Attorney General a particular sort of certification stating that the surveillance would be consistent with FISA.

See 18 U.S.C. 2511(2)(A)(ii)(B) (certification must be "that no warrant or court order is required by law, that all statutory requirements have been met, and that the specified assistance is required").

Apparently the telecoms in some "TSP" cases did not receive the proper certification (because, in fact, the surveillance violated FISA), and in at least one case, the certification came from the White House Counsel rather than the AG (in early 2004, when Acting AG Comey refused to approve the surveillance after the Ashcroft hospital visit). Thus, it appears that the telecoms have violated FISA -- or so it is alleged -- and certain parties have brought suit asking the courts to so hold. The new provision does not appear to repeal the existing prohibition, or cause of action. Instead, it requires the courts hearing such actions to dismiss them -- regardless of the merits -- upon a certification from the AG or his surrogate that some other form of non-FISA-compliant "written request or directive" was provided to the telecom:... ]


" requires the courts hearing such actions to dismiss them -- regardless of the merits -- upon a certification from the AG..."


Submitted by lambert on

Are they the same as "written request[s] or directive[s]"? Or different, somehow?

Does it makes a difference what the request (or directive) is written in? Crayon? Blood?

[x] Very tepidly voting for Obama [ ] ?????. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

Submitted by lambert on

From WKJM's link to Obama's extremely wordy statement:

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

Time will tell what that means. It would have been simpler to deal with this matter last August, or when Dodd was filibustering it, or....

[x] Very tepidly voting for Obama [ ] ?????. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

Submitted by lambert on

You're right. That is the key phrase.

[x] Very tepidly voting for Obama [ ] ?????. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

willyjsimmons's picture
Submitted by willyjsimmons on

[Note: Please, review again that the cabal operating here is Steny Hoyer, Jay Rockefeller, the BlueDog/Bushbitch Coalition and congressional Republicans, with Bush and Cheney no doubt cackling in the background. Neither Nancy Pelosi nor Harry Reid is part of this seditious usurpation of constitutional decency and there is probably nothing they can do to stop it, so I don’t want to hear even one word of blame for them. Condemnation where condemnation is due, and there’s a damn long list of people with dirt all over their hands here; go chew on them.]


Was that not your pre-defense from over a month ago (yeah, long ass memory I know).

Which was "inspired" by a conversation we had in comments (would find it if I could search the site) some days prior, IIRC. About how Nancy was just simply trapped by circumstances.

Not only is Nancy not "trapped", she's actively working for neo-con ends.

As far as this

Impeachment has been “off the table” because there are not enough votes in either chamber to make it stick; therefore, it would be a waste of time.

It was also a "waste of time" contacting Nancy's office.

It will also be a "waste of time" contacting Obama.

It is also a "waste of time" dealing with the rest of what you wrote, so have a great weekend.

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

WJ: Was that not your pre-defense from over a month ago (yeah, long ass memory I know).

Truly great find; let's dissect.

At that time, as I wrote, neither Nancy nor Harry had made any public statement one way or the other, nor was there any evidence available to support the idea that they were in favor. That's what I said, that's what was true; if you have evidence that I was wrong, please post it. Absent evidence substantiating support by Nancy or Harry, I called for condemnation of the many others for whom evidence did exist.

IMNSHO, accusation and condemnation ought to be evidenced-based. Condemning people because it is believed they are complicit in something isn't generally compatable with my progressive and liberal ethic. [Exceptions include OJ Simpson, and anyone with an (R) after their name.] YMMV, but I'm still not much interested in hearing about it.

Things have certainly changed with Nancy since then, and I do believe that I will do as you suggest; another review of events with the clarity of hindsight is due.

It is also a “waste of time” dealing with the rest of what you wrote, so have a great weekend.

You have yourself a great weekend too; we'll have many more opportunities to chat, I feel certain.

BDBlue's picture
Submitted by BDBlue on

Read the concluding paragraph again:

It is not all that I would want. But given the legitimate threats we face, providing effective intelligence collection tools with appropriate safeguards is too important to delay. So I support the compromise, but do so with a firm pledge that as President, I will carefully monitor the program, review the report by the Inspectors General, and work with the Congress to take any additional steps I deem necessary to protect the lives - and the liberty - of the American people."

That doesn't just indicate he's not going to stop it (although it pretty much confirms that with the "too important to delay"). There is no promise to undo any of it or not use these powers when he's President. Instead he promises to monitor it to see if there are any additional steps necessary to protect the "lives - and liberty - of the American people." Notice how his monitoring won't just be for abuses, it's also to protect lives, which to me leaves open the possibility that more power might be needed.

So, he's not going to stop this, but don't worry he'll use those powers awesomely if elected President. Trust him.

I do not trust any person with this kind of power. Not George Bush. Not John McCain. Not Barack Obama. Not My Own Mother.

It's unconstitutional, anti-American, anti-Democratic and wrong. I don't care who the President is.

Submitted by lambert on

Well, I didn't believe him on the public financing pledge, and I don't believe him on this one, either, so I guess there's no story when he breaks it.

Not that the "pledge" means anything anyhow, if you read it carefully.

As I remember, everything Bush did was carefully crafted according to The Extremely Constitutional Theory Of We Get To Do Whatever The Fuck We Want. Looks like we can expect the theory to be in force, in good bi-partisan, reach-around-across-the-aisle-fashion, for the forseeable future, if any. I know I'm feeling safer, knowing my email is read and my phone calls are recorded. Let's go shopping!

[x] Very tepidly voting for Obama [ ] ?????. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

BDBlue's picture
Submitted by BDBlue on

As Turkana at the Left Coaster points out, the Democrats have not only caved on FISA, they did so after writing the President a blank check on Iraq.

In addition, it's official, Cheney has won his battle to not disclose documents. I like Waxman and I don't blame him. It would take the entire Congress to really put pain to Cheney. Although I would've loved to see Congress strip his office of funding and then make the GOP filibuster to get it back. But that's a kind of hard ball that only the GOP knows how to play.

So now that the Democrats are protected from charges of being soft on terror, how do they protect themselves from being soft on Republicans?

cenobite's picture
Submitted by cenobite on

Sen Obama wrties:

I support the compromise

They're worth a few words, and different promises to different audiences.

Oh well. I can't say that I'm surprised but I will say I'm disappointed. And sorry to anyone that I argued with about it earlier, when I was hoping for something more.

orionATL's picture
Submitted by orionATL on

now that's a clever idea.

after all, that's exactly what 30 years (1980-2008) of absorbing "repub think" have done to the democratic party.

let's go to the repubs and start talking "liberal". they're out of ideas. their "brand" is in disrepute. i bet they'd listen a whole lot quicker than today's democratic "leaders" would.

orionATL's picture
Submitted by orionATL on

on democratic leaders:

"how do they protect themselves from being soft on Republicans?"

that is one VERY funny comment.

orionATL's picture
Submitted by orionATL on

one of the really sharp ones at firedoglake

(former federal presecutor, southern district of new york - think patrick fitzgerald's first command)

sez, of senator obama's response on fisa:

[ ... It’s a good thing I didn’t eat lunch today or I would have ralphed it up.

Not another dime. Dry up his money. and the next time some Obamabot gets all dreamy about how their demi-god is “transformative” I am going to vomit on that person's shoes. While their feet are in them.

He is a two bit Chicago politcal hack–and he has conned the democratic party with a nice suit and pretty speech.

He sure is good at talking the talk, but he is utterly incapable of walkingthe walk.

Somebody may owe Big Dawg an apology. He may have been right all along.

Yo! Edwards! Yeah you! Time to unsuspend that campaign of yours. The convention vote has not been cast yet... ]

man, them is angry words!!!

orionATL's picture
Submitted by orionATL on


[ show me said...

I guess I'm a little slow but I really did not realize until this last primary cycle that we have NO ONE representing the interests of the American people in our leadership.

June 20, 2008 12:19 PM ]

see anglachel's journal

as lambert might say,

that's the "nut graph" of this whole sorry episode.