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Dodd, Feingold To Try and Filibuster Immunity Bill

CmdrTaco posted more than 6 years ago | from the battling-the-inevitable dept.

Government 368

shma writes "This morning the senate has a scheduled cloture vote to cut off debate on the FISA bill which grants retroactive immunity to telecoms who engaged in warrantless wiretapping. Senators Russ Feingold and Christopher Dodd have pledged to try and filibuster the bill, but require the vote of 40 senators to keep the filibuster alive. The article states that a similar 'threatened filibuster failed in February, when the Senate passed a measure that granted amnesty and largely legalized the President's secret warrantless wiretapping programs.' Should they lose the cloture vote, the bill is all but assured of passing. A proposed amendment stripping the immunity provision from the bill is also expected to fail."

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Obama (2, Interesting)

timeOday (582209) | more than 6 years ago | (#23933157)

I have a feeling we're in for a big letdown on this one. I guess he will just skip the vote altogether to avoid the controversy.

Re:Obama (4, Insightful)

dreamchaser (49529) | more than 6 years ago | (#23933179)

Skipping a vote to avoid controversy is worse than taking a stand, even the 'wrong' stand. It would be nothing but cowardice. If he really believes what he says he'll vote against it.

Then again he skipped a LOT of votes in Illinois as a State Senator, probably for similar political reasons.

Re:Obama (4, Insightful)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | more than 6 years ago | (#23933779)

This is why your constitution protected your right to bear arms. The rest of the world has spent decades listening to Americans wax lyrical about how and why those rights are needed. If you don't use them now, then everyone who said you were just a bunch of nut jobs spouting empty rhetoric will be proven right.

Re:Obama (5, Funny)

thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) | more than 6 years ago | (#23933825)

You head on down to the Capitol building. I'll meet you there.

Re:Obama (5, Insightful)

eln (21727) | more than 6 years ago | (#23934439)

Come on, do you really think there's a non-trivial number of people willing to take up arms against the government at this stage? Hell, most of the most strident 2nd amendment boosters are the ones that are most vocally defending these types of bills and defending the President's right to take away our civil liberties in the name of "security".

Saying we have the right to overthrow the government by force is nice and all, but if you think it's actually going to happen any time soon, no matter how many freedoms are taken away, you're delusional. The only way to overthrow governments these days is via military coup, and the military doesn't seem in any hurry to get into politics in this country, and I doubt we'd be in any better shape if they did.

Re:Obama (2, Insightful)

Danse (1026) | more than 6 years ago | (#23934775)

This is why your constitution protected your right to bear arms. The rest of the world has spent decades listening to Americans wax lyrical about how and why those rights are needed. If you don't use them now, then everyone who said you were just a bunch of nut jobs spouting empty rhetoric will be proven right.

The rest of the world doesn't get to make the decision about when to make that stand. Americans do. We aren't there yet. We haven't even come to the point where people are willing to try to elect an outsider yet (i.e. outside of current political circles). If and when that happens, then we'll see whether our democracy holds up.

Nobody wants to believe that the people running the show are doing it for themselves and pulling the strings to make themselves fat and happy at the expense of everyone else, but eventually, that realization could set in. We've got a long way to go before we're likely to see any real stand against the government.

Re:Obama (1)

Cheapy (809643) | more than 6 years ago | (#23934039)

Well, it's a lose-lose. If he votes against it, the Republicans will hammer him to hell about "not being tough on terrorists". If he votes for it, a bunch of his voters will be pissed with him.

Re:Obama (3, Insightful)

MrMarket (983874) | more than 6 years ago | (#23934197)

Well, it's a lose-lose. If he votes against it, the Republicans will hammer him to hell about "not being tough on terrorists". If he votes for it, a bunch of his voters will be pissed with him.


How this is different from ANY bill with Republican support since 9/11/01? That's the way politics works. You have to take a stance and fight off the critics.

Re:Obama (3, Insightful)

Danse (1026) | more than 6 years ago | (#23934801)

Well, it's a lose-lose. If he votes against it, the Republicans will hammer him to hell about "not being tough on terrorists". If he votes for it, a bunch of his voters will be pissed with him.

So what? He wants to be the president! He better be able to take a stand on things like this. If he can't, then he's wasting our time.

Re:Obama (1)

222 (551054) | more than 6 years ago | (#23934129)

I'm not sure how a low, single digit percentage could be considered "a lot".

He skipped what, 3 percent? Even that may seem a little high until you consider the thousands of things that need to be voted on each year.

Re:Obama (2, Interesting)

dreamchaser (49529) | more than 6 years ago | (#23934187)

130 'Present' votes is a lot, regardless of the percentage. Some of those times he was following instructions from his Party, but others it was just politics as usual.

I didn't excoriate him for it, I just pointed it out. He is no different than any other politician.

Re:Obama (4, Insightful)

n0-0p (325773) | more than 6 years ago | (#23934229)

Then again he skipped a LOT of votes in Illinois as a State Senator, probably for similar political reasons.

That's a load of crap and should be downmodded to oblivion. Obama had an exceptional attendance record in the Illinois Senate, where he cast over 4000 votes in eight years.

Perhaps you're instead referring to his "present" votes, of which he cast about 130 total. Of course, if you knew anything at all about the Illinois legislature you'd know that his use of the "present" vote is entirely normal. And if you tracked his votes you'd see that it falls in line with his policy of using "present" to identify bills that either require further refinement, are unconstitutional at their face, or as part of a larger policy strategy (such as with Planned Parenthood). That's why in Illinois the "present" vote is called a "'no' with an explanation."

Re:Obama (3, Interesting)

Notquitecajun (1073646) | more than 6 years ago | (#23933215)

Which is the worst move he could make. If he wants to present himself as a leader, he needs to show leadership on such an important issue. He's done nothing so far on this, and many other issues. I can't think of a bill which has Obama's name attached. If you like his legislation or not, at least McCain has done something - McCain-Feingold, McCain-Lieberman...

You can't think of any? That's your argument? Ugh. (5, Informative)

stomv (80392) | more than 6 years ago | (#23933799)

* Global Poverty Act (S.2433)
* Legislative Transparency and Accountability Act (S. 230)
* Lugar-Obama Nonproliferation Legislation

There's three, related to three very different topics, and all were an improvement in my opinion.

As for McCain-Feingold... he violates the spirit of it every time he catches a ride in his multi-millionaire wife's company plane. With respect to McCain-Lieberman, he both spoke against it to the press as the vote came up a few weeks ago, and then didn't bother to show up and vote one way or the other on the bill itself. Unlike Obama and Clinton, he wasn't in a contested race for POTUS nomination at the time.

Re:You can't think of any? That's your argument? U (1)

Notquitecajun (1073646) | more than 6 years ago | (#23934035)

Which is why I'm not a McCain fan - he's just out for the Presidency job. Of course, so is Obama, but most people are too dumb to see past the rhetoric. Has Obama ever had a major piece of legislation pass?

hehehehe (4, Insightful)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 6 years ago | (#23934175)

Lets get real. EVERY candidate that runs is simply out for the president's job. That is the nature of these beast. The question is, who is likely to make an improvement. At this time, it almost does not matter. Both of these will improve on the disaster that W has left.

Re:You can't think of any? That's your argument? U (3, Informative)

n0-0p (325773) | more than 6 years ago | (#23934591)

Don't dismiss something as rhetoric if you know nothing about it. Obama actually has a very impressive legislative record. In less than four years the US Senate he's gotten three major pieces of legislation passed:

Google For Government (earmark and government spending transparency)
Counter Weapons Proliferation (loose nukes, etc.)
Ethics and Lobbying Reform (banned a lot of the lobbyist perks)

If you go back to the Illinois Senate the list gets much longer, so it's easier to point to his death penalty legislation as his biggest achievement. The outgoing Governor put a moratorium on the death penalty because of too many questionable convictions. So, the issue spent about a decade treated as a political hot potato on both sides. Working groups were formed and dissolved, but nothing got resolved.

Obama took on the issue and got a compromise bill passed by an overwhelming majority. The only way he could do that was to get the police unions and civil rights groups to agree on a fair set of procedures for things like interrogations in death penalty cases. Just imagine what kind of skill it takes to get agreement between cops and the ACLU.

Anyway, those are just a few highlights. I really have neither the time nor inclination to list all of the major legislation he's sponsored or cosponsored. But that should give you a sense of some things he's devoted his time to.

Re:Obama (0)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#23933593)

My money says you're right. I looked his voting record up, and he only votes half the time.

McCain has missed more. (4, Informative)

drewness (85694) | more than 6 years ago | (#23934733)

Obama has missed 42.7% of votes, McCain has missed 61%.

Source [washingtonpost.com]

Bought like whores (0, Troll)

FreeUser (11483) | more than 6 years ago | (#23934003)

and I most emphatically include Obama, McCain and Clinton in that assessment.

Re:Obama (1)

n0-0p (325773) | more than 6 years ago | (#23934025)

It's a cloture vote, so if he's not there it can be taken with his public statements as support of the filibuster. However, we don't know at this time if Obama is actually providing any support in rounding up the necessary votes.

Re:Obama (1)

Stew Gots (1310921) | more than 6 years ago | (#23934621)

However, we don't know at this time if Obama is actually providing any support in rounding up the necessary votes.

He is not just another senator now. He is the de facto leader of the party. If he can't get 39 other Dems to kill this then he (a) doesn't really want to do so or (b) isn't the leader he claims.

It's time to roll up the "change" mantra and throw it out like soiled bedding. This is politics-as-usual. Sorry, but in my experience when candidates take the safe way out it is an indication that they will do the same when in office. There are always political risks and voters to be alienated. Either they are the kind of persons who take principled stances or they aren't.

People are begging for a leader and Obama just disappointed them again.

Re:Obama (1)

Zymergy (803632) | more than 6 years ago | (#23934111)

Sounds like an Absentee-Landlord (as it applies to voting)...
He is there about 1/2 the time, fixing trivial things (voting on non-controversial issues), but is mysteriously he is absent when the real work is to be done (as in THIS case on telecom immunity).
Obama better get his act together ASAP. Hope and Change DO NOT constitute a *Plan Of Action*.

Another reason to vote for the ONLY candidate who can say with pride: "IANAL".

ON a side note, Dodd is a very bad person IMHO...
-He has inserted terrible legislation into the housing bill on surveillance of anyone that does online transactions for the benefit of the IRS and any part of the government that wants to conduct non-anonymous consumer spending data analysis WITHOUT A WARRANT.... Read all about it:
http://www.freedomworks.org/newsroom/press_template.php?press_id=2571 [freedomworks.org]
-Unethical if you consider that he is the Chairman of the Banking Finance Committee and whole hearted member of Countrywide's VIP Mortagagor club... Even IF he does have good credit, that in the least is a serious conflict of interest. He should have secured a loan from an institution that is not affiliated with any government bailout (which is clearly the case...) and at a rate that is considered "average for his credit rating, which is listed there too".

Riders (1)

dj245 (732906) | more than 6 years ago | (#23934185)

Whats surprising to me is that many riders and amendments that do the American people harm are slipped into bills all the time. But when has anyone slipped in a section that does the average person any good? How hard would it be to slip in a last-minute amendment that canceled the immunity? If billions (trillions?) of appropriatiations and Avg. Joe-screwing legislation can be slipped in to irrelevent bills, why is correcting it so hard?

Re:Obama (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23934309)

If you look at the wikipedia page linked, cloture requires 59[there are currently 2 vacancies WY, AL] hard votes irrespective of how many senators are present for the vote. So 'skipping the vote' is essentially a vote against cloture[and to continue debate].

Retroactive warrants (5, Interesting)

Van Cutter Romney (973766) | more than 6 years ago | (#23933181)

I simply don't understand why the Bush Administration doesn't want to use retroactive warrants. Spy on whoever you want just make sure you submit the warrants to the FISA courts later.

Re:Retroactive warrants (5, Insightful)

kurt555gs (309278) | more than 6 years ago | (#23933263)

Because the Bush administration would look pretty silly going to FISA after the fact to get a warrant for spying the Democratic National Committee.

This way, they can use the excuse of terrorists, and spy on any one they want to.

Re:Retroactive warrants (1)

Van Cutter Romney (973766) | more than 6 years ago | (#23933647)

You're kidding right? Agreed that POTUS has an IQ equivalent of a brick but I'm sure his "advisers" have learned a lesson or two from Watergate.

Re:Retroactive warrants (4, Insightful)

hardburn (141468) | more than 6 years ago | (#23933697)

Learning from watergate means they'll be more careful about getting caught. Such as making sure there are no tapes that inconveniently crop up.

Re:Retroactive warrants (1)

cparker15 (779546) | more than 6 years ago | (#23933905)

You think he actually listens to his advisers?

“... I hear the voices, and I read the front page, and I know the speculation, but I'm The Decider and I decide what is best ...” (full context [youtube.com] )
Ring any bells?

Re:Retroactive warrants (4, Informative)

n0-0p (325773) | more than 6 years ago | (#23933945)

Dick Cheney was part of Nixon's administration during Watergate. He's said before that it taught him to never write anything down if he could avoid it. Hence his famous quote "I learned early on that if you donâ(TM)t want your memos to get you in trouble some day, just donâ(TM)t write any."

DNC spying (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23933707)

It's very simple. Find out in which hotel the DNC has located their headquarters, then send in some guys disguised as Cubans (nationality, not Mark's relatives), plant some listening devices.....

Badges (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23933285)

I simply don't understand why the Bush Administration doesn't want to use retroactive warrants. Spy on whoever you want just make sure you submit the warrants to the FISA courts later.

Because that would mean they're following the law. To quote a Bush Administration agent, "Badges!?! Badges?!? We don't need no stinking badges!"

That's their mentality.

Re:Retroactive warrants (4, Insightful)

WiglyWorm (1139035) | more than 6 years ago | (#23933287)

Because then they could still be held accountable. This whole administration has been about avoiding accountability for bone-head moves.

Re:Retroactive warrants (2, Insightful)

MoonBuggy (611105) | more than 6 years ago | (#23934317)

Of course the bill is going to pass, and that strikes me as a massive weakness in any representative system.

Sometimes what's good for the representatives will be at odds with what's good for the rest of the public. The representatives are the ones who get to vote on the issue - whose well-being do you think they're going to choose?

Short of direct democracy (which is impractical) I unfortunately can't really see a way around this.

Re:Retroactive warrants (1)

JerkBoB (7130) | more than 6 years ago | (#23934829)

Sometimes what's good for the representatives will be at odds with what's good for the rest of the public. The representatives are the ones who get to vote on the issue - whose well-being do you think they're going to choose?

Short of direct democracy (which is impractical) I unfortunately can't really see a way around this.

Remove incentives for representatives to vote at odds with their constituency.

The single biggest way to make this happen is to enact real campaign finance reform, such that representatives and senators can only get money from citizens (not corporations) whom they represent. Even better, outlaw the practice of campaign contributions altogether. Everyone gets the same amount from pools of money provided at local, state, and federal levels.

Oh, wait, tried that (at the federal level)... Didn't work. Can't force groups of "concerned citizens" to not pool money and support their favorite candidate (with their candidate's approval, of course).

Oh, well. I guess we could... could burn the building down. STOP TAKING MY STAPLER!

Re:Retroactive warrants (3, Insightful)

Notquitecajun (1073646) | more than 6 years ago | (#23933291)

It's the issue on whether or not warrants are needed when investigating foreigners. There are many transmissions for cell phones and email where the signal passes through US equipment, but is between two non-Americans. It's debatable whether or not those need warrants. The issue is more complicated than ZOMG! NO WARRANTS WERE GOTTEN when we need to know if there was need for them at all. Most debate on this that I've seen has been too over-simplified on both sides of the issue.

Re:Retroactive warrants (4, Interesting)

DeadCatX2 (950953) | more than 6 years ago | (#23934865)

A few things that make this debate simpler than you think...

Foreign-to-foreign calls are just a red herring - if they really couldn't tap them without a warrant (and under current law, they already can; 50 U.S.C. Â1802(a)(1)) they could just write "except for foreign-to-foreign calls" into the FISA law.

It came out a while ago that the issue really is email. You don't know where the person actually is with 100% certainty if the message hasn't been delivered, so that's why they want all this legalese with "reasonably believed to be outside of the US". This is what they really want and they're using foreign-to-foreign calls as an excuse to push for this.

None of this changes the fact that the 4th Amendment protects American citizens from warrantless surveillance. If they want to be able to wiretap American citizens without a warrant for any reason whatsoever (including national security), they ought to pass a Constitutional amendment.

None of this changes the fact that those private companies knowingly violated multiple federal laws [eff.org] that were put in place to prevent and protect against exactly this sort of behavior. Do you think Congress would give you immunity for breaking multiple federal laws? (assuming you had the connections and enough money) Isn't this two-tier system of justice, where the rich can buy the right to violate the law while everyone else must suffer justice, the antithesis of what makes America great?

Re:Retroactive warrants (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23934877)

Oh, BS. If they don't have to get warrants for [class of intercept], then they'll just claim that they're doing those intercepts when they don't want to be bothered.

We need oversight. If they want to wiretap, they should get a warrant. Period.

Re:Retroactive warrants (4, Insightful)

Bearpaw (13080) | more than 6 years ago | (#23933305)

Getting the paperwork ready for the rubber-stamp is evidently too hard for them. The FISA court almost never turns down a request. What's that say about the kinds of things the Bush Admin and their toadies want to do, if they don't even want token oversight?

Re:Retroactive warrants (5, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 6 years ago | (#23933517)

Because they know that the scope of the people they're spying on would never hold up to FISA scrutiny (a truly scary thought, as FISA is basically a "rubber stamp" court in the first place). Even the FISA court wouldn't accept a warrant for wholesale email and phone call data mining on EVERYONE.

Re:Retroactive warrants (2, Informative)

Hatta (162192) | more than 6 years ago | (#23933855)

In the FISA courts the government still has to show that they had a good faith belief that the correspondence was relevant to an investigation. The fact that they put a splitter [wired.com] on the backbone means that they are tapping the calls of millions of people. There's no way that they have a good faith belief that every one of those millions of calls is relevant to anything.

Re:Retroactive warrants (4, Interesting)

Hoplite3 (671379) | more than 6 years ago | (#23934239)

Because they're monitoring everyone's phone. FISA allows the feds to sneak a peak at someone's phone and apply for a warrent to tap THAT phone after the fact. It doesn't allow for wholesale surveillance of the nation.

The White House plan was exactly that, so FISA wasn't enough.

Moving away from facts to opinions, it makes me want to puke that this bill is called a "compromise". The things that are compromised are our civil liberties and the law. It busts me up inside. I'm a progressive minded guy, but I have to rank my priorities. The rule of law has to come before other things I'd like to see politically -- like national healthcare and so on.

The Democrats like to promise both, but when it comes to the fight, they say to their civil libertarian base, "Hang on, children. It's just not viable to investigate that or impeach that guy. Not in an election year!" As if I care if you get elected if you're not holding some feet to the fire.

The real tragedy is that there's a consensus on civil liberties that's divided across the party lines. The libertarian wing of the Republicans and the (civil) libertarian wing of the Dems are always left out in the cold by their party leadership. We just get fucked on both ends, don't we?

If there was room for third and fourth and fifth parties, we wouldn't have to sit in the back of our respective conventions, holding our hats and pleading that this year they take our platform seriously. Instead, we vote along each year based on BS wedge issues like gun rights, gay marriage, and abortion when the truth is the real decisions on these issues matters so very little compared to nationwide surveillance.

Screw it. I say make guns illegal for those over 18, but require minors to carry machine guns by law (and no nambly-pambly assault rifles either). Break up all heterosexual marriages and assign everyone a new gay spouse. No abortions during the first three trimesters, but free abortions during the first year after birth... just VOTE TO STOP THE PHONE TAPPING.

Re:Retroactive warrants (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23934415)

Because they don't want to have to explain why they need these wiretaps. If they submit them all for warrants, there's the chance someone at the courts will question what they're doing. Simpler to just ignore the courts, he's the president he can do whatever the hell he wants.

So will Obama be there? (2, Informative)

_xeno_ (155264) | more than 6 years ago | (#23933183)

After claiming to be against immunity and against this bill, will Obama actually show up and participate in the voting? Or is he "too busy campaigning?"

Oh, wait. He supports the bill now. [wired.com] Can't you just fell the change we can believe in?

And on that first question, apparently Obama is currently campaigning in Las Vegas [usatoday.com] , although given the second point, maybe that's just as well.

Re:So will Obama be there? (5, Interesting)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 6 years ago | (#23933225)

Once again, you'll have to choose for the candidate that goes backward the slowest...

Re:So will Obama be there? (1, Redundant)

Dripdry (1062282) | more than 6 years ago | (#23933361)

Well? A politician who needs to compromise in order to get where they want is nothing new.

Why not show in your post that Obama needs the intelligence community and cannot afford to anger his constituents who have worked hard on a compromise?

Granted, this compromise stills appears to be a potential death knell for the separation of the real church (big corporate money) and state, but condemning someone for doing what may be necessary doesn't seem very productive especially when the alternative is someone who works toward very sinister ends as well (looking at you, Mr. McCain). I'm not saying Obama can't be evil, but I will say he seems like a better (if slightly) chance at some forward progress.

Re:So will Obama be there? (2, Interesting)

_xeno_ (155264) | more than 6 years ago | (#23933549)

condemning someone for doing what may be necessary doesn't seem very productive especially when the alternative is someone who works toward very sinister ends as well (looking at you, Mr. McCain). I'm not saying Obama can't be evil, but I will say he seems like a better (if slightly) chance at some forward progress.

I agree, Obama is probably a better choice than McCain. (Although it's still a little early to be making decisions now, especially with no VP picks yet.)

That doesn't mean he shouldn't be called on his bullshit, though. If he's going to change his mind, that's fine, but he needs a reason. The reasoning here appears to be "the Republicans called me weak on terrorists" which is a rather lame reason.

Re:So will Obama be there? (4, Insightful)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#23933869)

Well? A politician who needs to compromise in order to get where they want is nothing new.

A good negotiator will give up something he doesn't need for something he does. He doesn't give up something important for something trivial.

Why not show in your post that Obama needs the intelligence community and cannot afford to anger his constituents who have worked hard on a compromise?

If he is elected President, he will be the "intelligence community's" boss. If he isn't elected then as Senator he still holds power over them, not the other way around.

Granted, this compromise stills appears to be a potential death knell for the separation of the real church (big corporate money) and state

A vote for a Democrat or Republican is a vote for a politician beholden to the national religion (money worship and corporations). Both are corporate funded entities. Neither is pro-human, both are pro-corporate.

condemning someone for doing what may be necessary doesn't seem very productive especially when the alternative is someone who works toward very sinister ends as well (looking at you, Mr. McCain).

Dammit man, there are more than two candidates for President!!!!! So far I plan on voting for Barr, even though he doesn't have a snowball's chance in hell of winning. I stopped voting for "the lesser of two evils a while back.

If you say "if you don't vote Democrat or Republican your vote is wasted", well if that's so then a vote for loser Gore was a wasted vote too, now wasn't it? You should have voted for Bush rather than wasting your vote on a loser. Just look at the popularity polls, vote for the guy you think has the best chance of winning and vote for him so you don't waste your vote.

If you follow that twisted corporate logic, then I plan on wasting my vote this November. Wasting my vote on a loser is better than voting for a man who wants me in prison.

Re:So will Obama be there? (3, Funny)

ozbird (127571) | more than 6 years ago | (#23934465)

Dammit man, there are more than two candidates for President!!!!!

Don't tell me Hillary Clinton is still at it... "It's just a flesh wound!" [wikipedia.org]

Re:So will Obama be there? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23934747)

Gore didn't lose. The five Fascist Supreme Court justices ordered Florida to not count votes, thereby throwing the election to the Fascist party candidate.

Re:So will Obama be there? (3, Interesting)

MobyDisk (75490) | more than 6 years ago | (#23934367)

I know several people in the intelligence community, mostly hackers, CS researchers, and technical people. They are all against telecom immunity and against the current wiretapping procedures. (One of them actually works for the company that made the P2P throttling software for Comcast). Whenever I discuss the subject, they are sympathetic and tell me that the U.S. government abuses their powers far more than is publicly known.

Things will TRULY be bad when they are afraid to tell me that they are against it.

Never any real change in a two party system (5, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 6 years ago | (#23933437)

Anyone who believes that any candidate from either of the two major parties is ever going to affect any real change doesn't know politics very well. Obama is selling the ILLUSION of change, but he is just as much beholden to special interests and the Washington political system as John McCain.

People laugh at Jesse Ventura when he goes on Larry King and condemns both parties for exactly this kind of bill. But that's one ex-pro-wrestler who has Washington pegged PERFECTLY.

Re:Never any real change in a two party system (1)

MobyDisk (75490) | more than 6 years ago | (#23934503)

It may be that Obama changes nothing. However, I think this statement is an exaggeration:

but he is just as much beholden to special interests and the Washington political system as John McCain.
Obama doesn't take the kind of money McCain does. He is a junior Senator so he doesn't have the contacts that a Washington insider like McCain does. He hasn't ever been under investigation for any scandals, so he probably doesn't owe anyone the kinds of favors McCain does.

I'm not arguing who is better, I'm just saying that Obama is definitely not as beholden to anyone in the way McCain is.

It's like changing your pants... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23933483)

Sure, it's a new pair of pants, but they're really a lot like your old pair of pants. Two legs, a few pockets, belt loops, zipper, etc. Maybe you get a button-fly! Or a pair with some extra pockets! But, regardless, they're still just pants.

Re:So will Obama be there? (1)

samkass (174571) | more than 6 years ago | (#23933611)

Please don't try to use Wired as a valid source for an argument. It's the Cosmo of our industry.

As usual, almost no bill that comes before Congress is a single-issue bill. They're all full of a huge number of provisions that any given senator is going to support and oppose. The way our government works is to find a bill that gives everyone enough that it gets the votes despite the opposition. Perhaps Obama feels strongly enough about something else in the bill that even the wiretapping is worth it?

In any case, since it's looking like we'll have a Democratic executive and legislative branch come January, perhaps he's not as worried about the ongoing issues and doesn't see a one-time pardon as THAT big a deal.

Re:So will Obama be there? (3, Informative)

Sabz5150 (1230938) | more than 6 years ago | (#23933683)

The way I see it, Bam supports the bill with the exception of the retroactive immunity. He has even stated that he will fight to strip it from the bill. [cbsnews.com] If his words are true, he will support the filibuster.

Call (5, Informative)

Rinisari (521266) | more than 6 years ago | (#23933249)

Call and remind your representative that he or she has an oath of office and a public image to sustain, and voting for this bill cannot possibly be a supportive action for either.

Seriously, if this thing passes and becomes law, it should be the job of every /.er to write to their local newspaper and lambaste their representative for voting in support of a bill which violates every citizen's constitutional rights, and aids, abets, and forgives those who broke the law in ante facto.

Conversely, if a /.er's rep votes against it, that /.er should write in support of their representative's action.

Re:Call (-1, Troll)

Prune (557140) | more than 6 years ago | (#23933509)

it should be the job of every /.er to write to their local newspaper

You crudely assume that every slashdotter is located in the USA.

Re:Call (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 6 years ago | (#23934011)

People in other countries writing to their newspapers would likely be as effective as Americans writing to their newspapers...

Nope (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23933581)

Call and remind your representative that he or she has an oath of office and a public image to sustain, and voting for this bill cannot possibly be a supportive action for either.

While we don't like it, the rest of the great unwashed have no problem with this because it's a war on terrorism and this is the way to fight those people. The only folks who'd have a problem are those sniveling cowards who believe in all of that Civil Liberty nonsense.

Re:Call (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 6 years ago | (#23933689)

If it was about privacy you should be trying to put tougher penalities on the Government for the actions for they were the ones monitoring the information. The companies crimes were they were to much of a wimp to say no to the government. Where I could see the conversation between the company and the government kinda like this...

government: We want to put some monitering devices to track terrorist, we assurue you it is quite legal.
company: I'm not sure...
government: Oh by the way hows your bid to put cell towers across federal interstate 87 in upstate NY going?
company: Sure we will let you put some monitoring devices in, it for the good of the people right... We are patriotic.

It seem the want to punish the last step in the process, however we are not out for blood on the people who pushed these actions from the government.

Having the Telco's Pay will only end up with you the Victims of the privacy validation paying, as they will just pass the costs down to their customers. The lesson learned from the companies is not Violating Privicy is bad, it is not to trust the government. So any further dealing with government will require a (Larger) team of high prices lawers. (whos expence will be sent down to the customers as well), to make sure they will not get punished again and again. As the Telco's need government support because their infrastructure spans many properties and offers a wide service.

Putting greater punishment on the government who did the crime is more approprate because they will be less likely to ask the telco's to do something simular again.

Re:Call - it was easy and quick to call! (3, Informative)

ElNotto (517377) | more than 6 years ago | (#23934699)

I called my senators; I've never called a senator's office before and I found it to be incredibly easy. Took less than a minute each.

I told them I was from their state and was calling to urge the senator not to support the cloture vote for H.R. 6304 regarding the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and that I urge the senator not to support the bill because it takes away rights from every citizen.

You can find your senators' phone numbers at http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm [senate.gov]

Re:Call (1)

Rastl (955935) | more than 6 years ago | (#23934797)

I don't have to call. Russ is my Senator.

Go Wisconsin!

Dodd... (4, Interesting)

Bombula (670389) | more than 6 years ago | (#23933261)

Well, it's great that Dodd is filibustering this insane bill, but quite frankly I lost all respect for the guy when he supported giving a $300 billion tax-payer funded corporate bail out to Country Wide (who owns 10% of the mortgages in the US) because he's pals with the CEO. At least with Dubya the game is up and everyone knows him and his cronies for the corporate whores and oil lobby monkeyboys they are. With guys like Dobb, who posture around with a BS charade of integrity it's somehow worse. If you're going to be a festering piece of shit, please don't insult me or waste my time trying to convince me you're a white rose.

Re:Dodd... (2, Insightful)

Dripdry (1062282) | more than 6 years ago | (#23933435)

Sounds fair. Let's get down to brass tacks, though (I've always wanted to say that):

Which is better? Knowing someone is a political ass master, or not? Which is going to allow for the possibility of change back toward a government by and for the people?

Re:Dodd... (2, Interesting)

blindd0t (855876) | more than 6 years ago | (#23933571)

This [freedomworks.org] is worth a look too. For those to lazy to RTFA much-less read yet another one, it is regarding a provision Dodd slipped into some housing legislation that would require just about all small businesses to "track, aggregate, and report information on nearly every electronic transaction to the federal government."

Re:Dodd... (1)

Stew Gots (1310921) | more than 6 years ago | (#23933641)

supported giving a $300 billion tax-payer funded corporate bail out...

It never ceases to amaze me. The return on investment for contributing (bribing) to federal legislators is just phenomenal. There is nothing else like it in the known universe. For a couple hundred thousand you can often walk away with tens of millions. Politicians seem to have little sense of the value of their favors or they wouldn't sell themselves so cheaply. Maybe the fact that it isn't their money has something to do with it...

Re:Dodd... (1)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#23933995)

With guys like Dobb, who posture around with a BS charade of integrity

If they have an R or a D next to their name in the newspapers, they are a wholly owned subsidiary of a foreign owned corporation (MNC).

Any politician who takes money from any company with a single foreign stockholder is a traitor to his country, no matter what country he represents. I'm sad to say I helped vote traitors into the Senate, House, and Presidency. I no longer do that.

Slashdot is one of Heinlein's four boxes.

I met Dodd once. Struck me as typical politician (5, Interesting)

cvd6262 (180823) | more than 6 years ago | (#23934083)

I met Dodd once. He was trying to sneak a relative into an event where I was interpreting for foreign dignitaries. The woman working security told him his guest did not have the proper credentials to enter the VIP area. His response was quick:

"But I'm SENATOR Dodds."

She wasn't impressed:

"Yes, I know that. And HE doesn't have the proper credentials."

Re:Dodd... (2, Insightful)

belligerent0001 (966585) | more than 6 years ago | (#23934089)

Show me a politician who is not a "corporate whore". The may start out with the greatest of motives, and claim not to be corporate shills but eventually they all get bought and paid for by companies that want something, generally something that would otherwise be illegal, immoral, or just plain wrong. The problem is not the men and women that we elect, it is the lobbyist that work for the corporations and foreign interests that have free reign to manipulate them once we elect them.

Where's the Democrat logo? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23933281)

As this bill was brought forth by the Democrats and expected to pass by a Democrat controlled majority why isn't this marked with a "Democrat" tag?

Yeah, must be that evil, lame duck Bush Administration using his monarchy powers to get this through with the Republican Sith... ]sic[

Democratic (1)

Tancred (3904) | more than 6 years ago | (#23934179)

Democratic is the adjective, as in the Democratic party. Some Republican did a study and found that dropping the -ic sounded worse, so they adopted it. Now if you're a Republican, fine. But I don't want anyone being mistakenly taken as a Republican in this day and age.

It's all gamesmanship (5, Insightful)

faloi (738831) | more than 6 years ago | (#23933419)

Both parties are in favor of increasing government control. On one side, you have a party that's voting to increase power because it's what they want to do, regardless of what their constituents have to say. On the other, you have a party that secretly wants to increase power, but has more vocal constituents. So instead of just voting to increase power, they vote to increase power and say things like "it's an election year" and "we can't afford to appear soft on ."

There's *always* an election coming up. If you don't vote for people with a backbone when the chips are down, and keep accepting the excuses, nothing will ever change.

Re:It's all gamesmanship (2, Insightful)

Tancred (3904) | more than 6 years ago | (#23934315)

Look at the voting by party. In the House, weren't the Republicans nearly unanimously for the bill and Democrats split nearly evenly?

God Bless (-1, Troll)

bzudo (1151979) | more than 6 years ago | (#23933487)

America!* *with wiretaps.

Blaming the wrong people... (1)

diehard2 (1132885) | more than 6 years ago | (#23933635)

I have no especially strong feelings on whether telecoms should get immunity. They were asked to help their country and got some bad legal advice. So, give them immunity. They thought they were doing the right thing and were misled (as were many) by the administration. The people who should be tarred and feathered for this are in the Bush administration. They planned this and then initiated it. Why is no one trying to hold them culpable? Lets place the blame where it truly belongs, with the conspirators who planned this.

Re:Blaming the wrong people... (5, Insightful)

Jaysyn (203771) | more than 6 years ago | (#23933773)

Ignorance of the law is no excuse for breaking it. That's the line of crap they give us proles & the Telcos have squadrons of attack lawyers who should have knew better, if in fact they were consulted at all. Qwest had enough sense to say no, the rest of them can die in a fucking fire.

Re:Blaming the wrong people... (5, Insightful)

Stew Gots (1310921) | more than 6 years ago | (#23933853)

They were asked to help their country and got some bad legal advice.

The companies knew they were breaking the law. They have the best FISA lawyers in the world on retainer but decided to break the law anyway.

But it really isn't about the corporations or the outcome of law suits. By granting them immunity the illegal Bush programs will never make it to court and thus the public will never know exactly what went on or how extensive the spying is. Do you seriously believe the Bush administration is obeying any laws at all in an area they can keep in the dark just by mumbling "National Security"?

taco: who cares? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23933665)

taco - you might find this stuff interesting but I bet most of your international audience couldn't care less! Read your own top line - "news for nerds - stuff that matters". Why is the latest in the US wiretapping saga news worthy from a nerd perspective? Please think of your international audience before you post drivel like this again.

Re:taco: who cares? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23933785)

Read the FAQ [slashdot.org] lately? Is this not clear enough for you?

This is why Republics Fail (4, Interesting)

scubamage (727538) | more than 6 years ago | (#23933701)

When you have elected officials, they learn rhetoric, idiocy, and how to play with the body politic. They rarely if ever campaign on what they truly intend to do. Now, in Greek democracy anyone could be elected through a lottery system for a one year term, based on regions of the country. It'd be awesome if we would institute something similar. No more pandering to lobbyists, etc. But oh no, that would be a democracy, and America doesn't want that.

Re:This is why Republics Fail (1)

Penguinisto (415985) | more than 6 years ago | (#23934421)

Now, in Greek democracy anyone could be elected through a lottery system for a one year term, based on regions of the country.


Knowing my luck, Bill Gates would win this region (Pacific Northwest)...

/P

Re:This is why Republics Fail (1)

lawaetf1 (613291) | more than 6 years ago | (#23934811)

Agreed. It's a bug in democracy, or at least our implementation. Leaders chronically ignore looming issues because they can be ignored for one more term. Or the solutions would require hardship -> unpopularity -> !reelection -> !solution

Just look at our national debt. It is now pretty much at critical mass where you *must* keep borrowing to pay off the interest. Certain foreign governments could now more or less make us dance a jig on command with the threat of "we buy no mo' dolla!" It would be comic were it not going to devastate those on fixed incomes when inflation takes off thanks to the feds having to print money all day to pay off the debt with "empty" dollars.

Of course by then there will be a whole new lineup of rhetoric with each side blaming the other when, in fact, they both did squat as the cyclone formed. That's why I view party loyalists with utter disdain. It's hard to work to equip yourself with enough info to have the beginnings of an independent opinion but there's no excuse for not doing so. Instead most are happy to parrot the latest party line (e.g., Karl Rover on Fox regarding Scott McLellan's book "this doesn't sound like Scott, this sounds like a left-wing blogger!").

Anyways, point being, I can't remember when a mainstream pol said anything about our debt. They happily huff and puff about their plan to fix "the economy" but say nothing of the white elephant in the room that is starting to get restless.

Doomed, doomed, it's all doomed.

Try TO Filibuster (4, Funny)

JLavezzo (161308) | more than 6 years ago | (#23933713)

I'm pretty sure they will try TO filibuster since they'll be speaking English.

Try And (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23933747)

"Try and"? Are we in third grade now? It's "try to", you illiterate slob.

How does this happen... (4, Interesting)

GodBlessTexas (737029) | more than 6 years ago | (#23933781)

... in a Democratic Party controlled Congress? I am not trying to play partisan politics, but it is absurd to think that the party that claims to be "of the people" would bow so easily to Big Business and a President that they have made no bones about despising. This is one of the most patently offensive laws to civil liberties that I've ever seen, and I'm just stunned that there isn't enough Democratic support to either strip the retroactive immunity provision or filibuster the bill. Isn't it the Republican Party's job to acquiesce to big business?

Re:How does this happen... (4, Insightful)

oDDmON oUT (231200) | more than 6 years ago | (#23933975)

Simply put, it's an election year and none of the Democrats want to appear "soft on terrorism/defense/insert-the-buzzword-of-the-day-here", out of fear of losing their jobs.

Unfortunately for "we the people", their fear means the loss of more of our civil liberties.

Re:How does this happen... (1)

Mick Malkemus (1281196) | more than 6 years ago | (#23934353)

I have to totally agree with you. And I commend you for being against the President, being from Texas and all. You must be in the far minority in the Lone Star State. My hat is off to you. I'm afraid that big business is so much bigger than the government now, that ultimately, they are in control. I call it the military/industrial complex.

Re:How does this happen... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23934373)

Yeah, the guys behind secret wiretaps seem to be able to get almost anyone to agree to their agenda. It's almost like they had somehow got their hands on blackmail-worthy material on hundreds of people... I wonder how they do that.

"democrats"or fascists? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23933909)

democrats=fascism lite

land of the free home of the brave

it would be funny if you werent bombing the crap out of innocent brown people around the world.

the germans had the excuse that they really could say "ich hab das nicht gewusst"

what is yours?

paranoia (2, Insightful)

DavidM01 (1123199) | more than 6 years ago | (#23934007)

FISA only applies to calls made to or from foreign parties or under control of a foreign power. The F in FISA stands for 'Foreign'. Additionally, the whole process has always been under judicial review. Telecom immunity is important in this litigation-crazy country we inhabit. Companies should not be held liable for cooperating with the Feds. I know the slashdot stance is anti-business(except perhaps RedHat), but punishing them for following the law is ridiculous. The opposition is from lawyers and their lobbyists, not some principled stand by the lionized Democrats. Oh yeah, if you think they will waste money spying on you or Joe Blow up the street you are simply being paranoid.

3 choices (4, Insightful)

moxley (895517) | more than 6 years ago | (#23934101)

If Obama votes to pass this, you know he is compromised.

If he skips the vote, you know he will not stand up for what is right in the face of intimidation by big business etc - which is almost as bad as the first choice.

If he votes the bill down, then he'll really be showing something...

Unfortunately I don't expect him to show much of anything when it really comes down to taking a risk.

He sounds great, and certainly is better than the other candidate(s), but anyone can get up and talk about freedom and healing, etc. It is an entirely diferent thing to stand up in front of the machine and refuse to play ball or roll over. If he cannot do this, then we're in for more of the same.

Re:3 choices (2, Insightful)

Digital End (1305341) | more than 6 years ago | (#23934725)

yeah, his stances on net-neutrality are like that as well... I like what he says, and at this point I'm willing to run the risk it. I mean serious, what do we have left to lose?

Bush is a genius... (-1, Troll)

Mick Malkemus (1281196) | more than 6 years ago | (#23934291)

Whatever you think of Bush, in the area of being able to avoid punishment for all of his wrongdoings, he is a pure genius. This is just one more law that will help protect all war criminals in the Bush Admin after he is gone. Well, at least in the US. I doubt it will help him in the Hague. Please, no spamming by Bushites... I understand you love and adore the man no matter what he does. I accept your right to be this way.

Re:Bush is a genius... (1)

FishWithAHammer (957772) | more than 6 years ago | (#23934847)

The Hague? You can dislike Bush all you want, but he's done absolutely nothing that is an offense punishable by the ICC. Anyone who says "Bush is a war criminal" does not know nor understand international law.

"Try and"? (0, Flamebait)

Bullseye_blam (589856) | more than 6 years ago | (#23934473)

Epic grammar fail.

A possible suggest would be "Will try to..."

sorry for being picky, but seriously!

Canada had this since 1996, what is the big deal? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23934511)

Canada had this since 1996, when Alan Rock, a left wing joker, created a law which allows the Police to take, and do anything they want, with out fully telling the judge who is issuing the warrant.

Even if the Police in Canada just thought you might be guilty of something, they can act upon 'their feelings', and than get the warrant for the crime they say you committed. Or just fore go the warrant based on what they tell the crown.

If you are a firearm owner in Canada, the Police can enter your home, place of work, friend's homes, family's homes, looking for firearms 24/7.

This has happened in Canada more often than what is reported in the media.

HowManySenatorsDoesItTakeToScrewAFilibuster? (4, Insightful)

flaming error (1041742) | more than 6 years ago | (#23934639)

From the OP:

require the vote of 40 senators to keep the filibuster alive.
From Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] :

The term first came into use in the United States Senate, where Senate rules permit a senator, or a series of senators, to speak for as long as they wish and on any topic they choose, unless a supermajority of three-fifths of the Senate (60 Senators, if all 100 seats are filled) brings debate to a close by invoking cloture.
So I'm not sure they need 40 supporters - they just need 40 who'll do nothing.

Coincidence? (5, Informative)

iter8 (742854) | more than 6 years ago | (#23934667)

House Democrats who flipped their votes to support retroactive immunity for telecom companies in last weeks FISA bill took thousands of dollars more from phone companies than Democrats who consistently voted against legislation with an immunity provision, according to an analysis by MAPLight.org. CBS News [cbsnews.com] .

Why am I not surprised?
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