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On the Keith Olbermann program, "Countdown,"  John Dean explains that he is troubled by the FISA bill.  But he goes on to explain that the bill is so poorly written it could possibly leave an opening from criminal liability litigation later.

    Former Nixon White House Counsel and Author of the book "Broken Government," John Dean joined Keith Olbermann on the MSNBC program "Countdown" on Friday, June 20th, 2008.  I don't know if this has been diaried before, but I wanted to get this diary out to put some peoples' minds at ease in the sense that there may be a method to Obama's "madness" when it comes to the FISA bill.  I found this video on YouTube.

    To start off, John Dean unequivocally states that the FISA bill is damaging to the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution.

John Dean: "Well I think you've got to give one to the terrorists for a notch on our Fourth Amendment.  They really did some damage today, uh, in this, so-called compromise.  Contrary to what the speaker (Pelosi) said, it really does hurt the Constitution so, uh, it's very troubling and it's not a good day, for civil liberties particularly."

    Following is a discussion that speculates on the suddenness of the cave-in from some House Democrats on the domestic spying issue.  John Dean believes that certain "conservative elements" in the Democratic Party leaned on the leadership and said something to the effect of, "Listen we've got some real tough opponents from Republicans in close districts - we need this - we don't want to have this hanging over our head.  Let's get it solved now before it's too late."

    Olbermann then opines that Obama's position is a tad confusing given his very stern previous opposition to any telecom immunity.  He then sounds the alarm that passing the bill would be somewhat of a point of no return, but John Dean gives an alternate scenario.

Keith Olbermann: "If this gets in through the Senate there's no way to get it out again, is there?  I mean, the history of this nation in terms of lost civil liberties is pretty bad about restoring them."

John Dean: "Well I spent a lot of time reading that bill today and it's a very poorly drafted bill.  One of the things that is not clear is whether it's not possible later to go after the telecoms for criminal liability.  And that's something Obama has said during this campaign he would do - unlike prior Presidents who come in and merely give their predecessor a pass, he said, 'I won't do that.' And that might be why he's just sitting by saying, 'Well, I'm just gonna let this go through but that doesn't mean I'm gonna give the telecom a pass.'  I would love it if he gets on the Senate floor and says, 'I'm keeping that option open.'

    Olbermann and Dean then discuss the idea of letting the private lawsuits against the telecoms fade away and have someone like Obama or someone else go after the telecoms later on.

Keith Olbermann:  In other words, let the private suits drop and get somebody in there to actually use the laws that still exist to prosecute and make the actual statement and maybe throw a few people in jail.

John Dean:  Exactly.  Exactly.  It looks to me as I read this bill and I talk to a number of people in Washington familiar with the bill, and some who are involved in the negotiations, and they say, 'You know, we just didn't think about this issue.'  So as it goes to the Senate, maybe Obama's got a shot to take a future look at this thing and not let them have the pass they think they're getting.

    So let's proceed with an open mind.  Obama has displayed good judgment in the past and let's not forget he is a Constitutional Law expert.  Perhaps he is fully aware of the bill's shortcomings, if in fact, there are some as John Dean points out.  Maybe Obama's strategy is to let this flawed bill pass and revisit this issue at a better time and to prosecute the telecoms full-throttle.


Originally posted to ObamaManiac2008 on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 09:00 PM PDT.

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  •  Tips and Recs for the wisdom of John Dean. (395+ / 0-)
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    Louise, gpclay, Jeff in CA, DavidW in SF, Ducktape, Upper West, catdevotee, Phoenix Woman, importer, abarefootboy, RonV, MarkC, demnomore, Fenric, tin woodswoman, TrueBlueMajority, nicolemm, mattman, PeterHug, Sprinkles, billlaurelMD, cotterperson, Byron from Denver, iconoclastic cat, devtob, Bexley Lane, ZAPatty, FyodorFish, Creosote, Vitarai, sardonyx, RubDMC, bara, Gustogirl, missLotus, 88kathy, parker parrot, leveymg, groggy, megs, SecondComing, CoolOnion, highacidity, Mlle Orignalmale, gakke, roses, dgb, peraspera, murphsurf, L0kI, kanuk, turneresq, dchill, VA Gal, thingamabob, lilnubber, Terre, ThatsNotFunny, rioduran, Cedwyn, Janeo, stridergambit, kharma, Dube, Getreal1246, lvv, Chicago Lulu, wordene, mad ramblings of a sane woman, electionlawyer, churchylafemme, niteskolar, GN1927, defluxion10, snakelass, lcrp, alizard, TheJohnny, barbwires, bwintx, Donna in Rome, side pocket, shadowplayer, KayCeSF, Vicky, tomjones, Wife of Bath, Ameranth, Josiah Bartlett, rmx2630, gsbadj, MNPundit, Gowrie Gal, luvmovies2000, Brecht, rapala, davidincleveland, G2geek, chumley, bloomer 101, marina, radarlady, 3goldens, lilypew, rimstalker, JanetT in MD, SherwoodB, mjd in florida, PBen, Alice Venturi, Omir the Storyteller, Cynical Copper, ChemBob, fixxit, cfk, Heartcutter, Pam from Calif, Frank Palmer, eaglecries, Phil S 33, kaliope, Cyber Kat, FunkyEntropy, Marcus Junius Brutus, noemie maxwell, shiobhan, Ginny in CO, wiscmass, serrano, Silence is Complicity, Spiffydigs, Lisa Lockwood, sbdenmon, loggersbrat, Ekaterin, ZinZen, Alan Arizona, Snud, Asinus Asinum Fricat, begone, Philpm, Mother Mags, dus7, Jennifer Clare, gwilson, dsteele2, PatsBard, cybersaur, 417els, BlueInARedState, hungrycoyote, Kimball Cross, Starseer, rl en france, mooshter, martyc35, Samwoman, fizziks, greenearth, SarekOfVulcan, SherriG, TalkieToaster, Ashaman, Rachel in Vista, imabluemerkin, real world chick, Terminus, JVolvo, joe shikspack, armadillo, bleeding heart, el cid, ER Doc, bonesy, SingerInTheChoir, rage, Clive all hat no horse Rodeo, Stripe, The Blue State Bandit, lynneinfla, AmySmith, DanC, Intercaust, Temmoku, blueintheface, AllanTBG, markthshark, Pandoras Box, b3citizen, Aaa T Tudeattack, john07801, YoyogiBear, Mike McL, DorothyT, Randall Sherman, ibonewits, high coup haiku, dotsright, Cronesense, dmh44, camlbacker, FWIW, scienceworm, bfbenn, Searching for Truth, NovatoBon, godwhataklutz, dallasdave, Alfonso Nevarez, LoosCanN, Outrider, CTMET, DrWolfy, kath25, tbirchard, flumptytail, SJLeonidas, terabytes, greenchiledem, deepeco, ballerina X, walkingdeer, rainmanjr, jayden, manwithnoname, akdude6016, vbdietz, geejay, Demi Moaned, Junglered1, SeaTurtle, jnhobbs, Demosthenes112358, Moderation, Got a Grip, Puffin, Badabing, eyesoars, willb48, Empower Ink, cville townie, Theghostofkarlafayetucker, trivium, kafkananda, Dem in the heart of Texas, lindsayin72, Hippokleides, ShadowSD, Blackacre, TheFatLadySings, zerone, OleHippieChick, elwior, Mannabass, ShastaTodd, Lujane, CenFlaDem, evora, geomoo, Jake Williams, DailyKingFish, pickandshovel, bluesheep, pooh74, Quicksilver2723, Jeff Y, SottoVoce, makettle, luckylizard, get the red out, joy sinha, xysea, BYw, dogheaven, CatfishBlues, allie123, binkycat, dont think, mtosner, Guadalupe59, goofygringirl, caps lock on, palantir, dmhlt 66, shortgirl, tuckerm, ibinreno, fayea, maxcat06, Sadameatsit, Design the Future, csaw, maggiejean, 1BQ, artmartin, MufsMom, Zorge, arainsb123, Mr Tentacle, Texanomaly, ARS, Unseen majority, snackdoodle, traviscs2k, divineorder, writerswrite, Trips, sunhaws, Shhs, eroded47095, CanyonWren, Ohiodem1, ScientistSteve, velvet blasphemy, SciVo, remingtonsteele, shopkeeper, zackamac, Daily Activist, Mercuriousss, GreenMtnState, ancblu, beijingbetty, prgsvmama26, Virginian in Spain, Dude Brooklyn, moonbatlulu, anim8sit, ourhispanicvoices, bfitzinAR, DClark4129, soms, buckeyemike, MooseHB, hyper, allep10, paintitblue, Craig Hickman, RadioGirl, CityLightsLover, flahawkfan, augustin, karenina044, Little Flower, the new blasphemy, stillonline, jfromga, Sleepwalkr, Dragon5616, mel70, myelinate, etara, karma13612, loveendures, RieRie, Kid From Vegas, Super Grover, Larsstephens, LogicaLizE, SPD, Clyde the Cat, TruthandTrust, MariaWr, Alohilani, Matt Keener, Junah, Erica Jan, maveg, Jez, roadbear, stonepier, insomniakv, blueyescryinintherain, amk for obama, kjoftherock, hobgoblin, AxmxZ, Big Danny, Obamacrat, LeanneB, kemetcc, Delore, cgirard, wvmom, Mara Jade, rommelo, ronin122, sunny skies, NurseReek, fmpol, ypsiCPA, amelia b, Lize in San Francisco, Yasuragi, bozwinderlaldeep
  •  Interesting thought (12+ / 0-)

    I'm all for keeping an open mind here. Let's see what happens when the vote occurs.

    "Yes, this (political) season has gone on for ever. And for Senator Clinton, it has now obviously gone on too long." -Andrew Sullivan

    by turneresq on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 09:04:59 PM PDT

  •  Watched it today (13+ / 0-)

    (I had recorded it) and was quite pleased to hear that analysis.

    Maybe this isn't a game of go fish, but rather some kind of high stakes poker...

    Or to mix the metaphores a bit, maybe the ReThugs have brought a knife to a gun fight.

    Let's get some Democracy for America

    by murphy on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 09:12:58 PM PDT

  •  Well it's not like FISA is a SCOTUS decision (8+ / 0-)

    that's pretty much final. A law can always be re-written.

    Having said that I see no evidence that Obama is a "kick ass and take names" kind of guy. I hope it turns out that he is because it really would be a crime to let this administration get away with some of the things that they have - at least up 'til now.

    This ain't no party. This ain't no disco. This ain't no foolin' around!

    by Snud on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 09:14:42 PM PDT

  •  sometimes (10+ / 0-)

    in the pursuit of a goal, it is better to lose a battle and win a war.  Potentially the dems see a flanking manuever opportunity that allows them to continue the fight on a different battlefield.  And maybe its capitulation.

    All of the battles created by Bushco's predation on public decency, morality, and the constitution are important, worth fighting, and would bring meaningful improvement if they won.  But if there aren't enough votes, and filibuster only poses real threats to keeping other important business going forward, maybe this battle isn't the most important one right now.

    So far, most of the time, Obama has been smarter than me.  He may know he can't get the support on this without paying too high a price, disuniting democrats, giving McCain a bludgeon.  Maybe he's just a corporate shill playing progressive afterall.  But I already bet on him, I refuse to support McCain, and I am just going to let him play out the hand.

  •  hope that obama will do right by fisa bill (7+ / 0-)

    This is an important blog. I hope you will put it on   blog, too.

    So many are threatening to leave the campaign en masse and that is a mistake.
    I understand  that emotions are high and rightly so. People need to calm down a little and see what happens.

    thanks for writing it

    •  You are certainly welcome. If you wish to (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      shiobhan, artmartin

      cross-post it at feel free.  I haven't figured out how to use the blogs there yet.

    •  Many worked just as hard on the FISA issue (4+ / 0-)

      as they did to get Obama the nomination. I think emotions are raw but time will heal the wound. Anyway, Obama has yet to really DO anything so it's just "wait and see" until this is taken up in the Senate.

      It is going to be a very long week.

      John Dean's comments give us a glimmer of hope, but I've become too wary to put too much stock into it. Most likely, time will dilute the importance of the issue.

      Through all your faults and all my complaints, I still love you.

      by jayden on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 09:30:36 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  see what happens? (0+ / 0-)

      We've seen what happens when Congress obeys Bush's orders and rubberstamps his demands. How much longer does one has to 'wait and see' to realize he's only being played? What people are waiting for is for someone to finally take a stand. To make it clear that certain policies will end, that things are seriously going to be shaken up, people held accountable for their past actions. And if you don't have the votes, then work towards changing people's minds. No more muddy waters, no more maneuvering. NO MORE WAITING.

  •  Bottom up or top down? (9+ / 0-)

    Dean seems to think the leadership was getting pressure from House members in tough races. Other folks think this was a calculated decision to capitulate by the leadership because of their own complicity in what went on with the illegal eavesdropping program.

    I find it hard to believe it was about upcoming House races this year because for a No vote on FISA to hurt you you'd basically have to tie your own hands behind your back and not respond to whatever spin the Republicans put on this vote. Any claim that this is about national security can be easily refuted by pointing out that this is not about any security measures we need going forward, it's about letting big corporations off the hook for actions they took in the past. Is the average voter going to burst into tears for the awful fate of some huge corporation possibly having to deal with legal ramifications for their past actions? And therefore switch his or her vote from the Democratic incumbent to the Republican challenger? Does that really seem credible?

    A practical question: if Dean is right and the possibility of criminal prosecution has not been ruled out, would the jurisdiction have to be federal? Based on the past behavior of Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, incoming Democratic Presidents don't seem to encourage their Justice Departments to prosecute illegal activities that their Republican predecessors have been involved in. But if state or local prosecutors could find grounds we might have a better shot at putting some of these crooks away.

    •  Well he does seem to indicate that is was (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Washington-type folks who told him that it was the conservative Dems who wanted this passed.  There are many valid possibilities.

    •  Also (3+ / 0-)

      They could easily have killed this bill in committee, or via procedural maneuvers, or in conference, or even on a floor vote, and allowed these few red district Dems to vote for it to innoculate themselves in their elections. So I don't buy the argument that this was done to protect endangered Dems. Then again, large yellow streaks do run down many of their backs, and I've not exactly been overwhelmed by their political acumen. They slipped into the majority as the result of massive GOP wrongdoing more than they actively won it.

      Who knows why they did this. Personally, I think that Turley had it right--they're complicit and are just covering their tracks. In which case, there is little chance that Obama will criminally investigate this, for fear that it would incriminate or at least negatively affect these Dems. A deal was cut, he's in on it, and they're hoping to move on.

      And it's our job to not let them.

      And we'll be right back...

      by kovie on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 10:54:07 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Unless Obama plans to take down a complicit... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        kovie, fayea

        Democrat or two to prove his even-handedness. Perhaps Steny Hoyer could be one, and Harry Reid another. (Why, by the way, did Jay Rockefeller make a point of endorsing Obama before the WV primary? Perhaps it was in the hope of building a little political capital to avoid retribution for fecklessly fumbling his intelligence oversight responsibilities.)

        But the first prosecutions would likely be directed against the most heinous criminals: those who actively approved the use of torture--in clear violation of U.S. law, as well as of international accords. (Prosecuting those who lied us into invading Iraq is probably just not possible from a pragmatic point of view, even though doing so was a classic Nuremberg-caliber war crime.)

        Next on the list would likely be the more egregious examples of fraud by the looting class, from the subprime mortgage bundling industry to assorted Ponzi-scheme hedge fund managers and oil commodities speculators.

        Next up would be corporations that committed massive fraud in government contracting, especially those such as Halliburton, KBR, and Blackwater that have been deeply involved in the fiasco in Iraq.

        Somewhere down on the list would be those who ordered unlawful surveillance activities in violation of the already existing FISA statute and legal precedents under court rulings on Fourth Amendment protections.

        But eight years under an Obama Administration will be a long time to clean our house and set things right. Many wealhy Republicans, and a few corrupt Democrats as well, will be spending large amounts of their accumulated loot on hourly billing fees for their defense attorneys.

        •  If he genuinely intends to do this right (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          FMArouet, ObamaManiac2008

          Then he's probably going to work his way from the bottom up. Starting with the low-hanging fruit and low-level players in these various schemes, and slowly working his way up to the real criminals as the lower-level people rat out the people at the next-higher level. This is going to take years, and has to be done right.

          And we'll be right back...

          by kovie on Mon Jun 23, 2008 at 12:45:37 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  The problem is (6+ / 0-)

    that it is not the telecoms that should be prosecuted.  They did what they did with a gun to their head from W, Ashcroft and Gonzales.  It is these three that should be criminally prosecuted.

    My reasoning is that the telcos were not the primary reason for this illegal behavior.  It was the W admin.  

    These companies are not at fault fully.  The W administration is at fault.  If you are a corporate head and the gov't is threatening you, it is understandable that you may cave in to save your own ass.  

    I think some kind of amnesty is warranted for these guys, but the flip side of it should be that this should be investigated.  A fair compromise is that a conditional immunity be given to the telecoms, i.e. they are given immunity provided that they fully cooperate with investigators.
    Or Specter's proposal that the gov't be the defendent in the suits against the telecoms.

    John McCain's Something for Everyone Plan: Military draft for youth, SS benefit cuts for elderly, Middle Class destruction, stock market plunge for wealthy.

    by IhateBush on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 09:44:09 PM PDT

  •  Is it possible that talk of it being so bad (6+ / 0-)

    a bill that it leaves everyone open to criminal prosecution will make the senate reject it?

    Someone did mention chess, right? Or maybe it's going to be more like playing chicken?

    Would Bush be stupid enough to sign a bill that allowed folks to come after HIM??

    Is it possible that we are not witnessing a capitulation so much as a highly brilliant political maneuver by the Dems?

    Time will tell...

  •  Whistling Past the Graveyard (3+ / 0-)

    So let's proceed with an open mind.  Obama has displayed good judgment in the past and let's not forget he is a Constitutional Law expert.  Perhaps he is fully aware of the bill's shortcomings, if in fact, there are some as John Dean points out.  Maybe Obama's strategy is to let this flawed bill pass and revisit this issue at a better time and to prosecute the telecoms full-throttle.

    Yea and maybe the bank robbers are planning on putting the money back when no one is looking.

    "Mr. President, I'm not saying we wouldn't get our hair mussed." General Buck Turgidson

    by muledriver on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 09:57:00 PM PDT

  •  I watched that segment, too (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FyodorFish, shiobhan, jayden, ancblu

    and thought KO and Dean handled it very well.  

    I don't think this is over and all is not lost.  The Project for the New American Century was written over 20 years ago, and the Patriot Act is several years old.  Turning this around is going to take time.  

    There's a lot to be done.  Thanks for the  diary, OM.

  •  It won't work (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    raatz, shiobhan

    Bush will take care of any and all criminal liability with pardons on his way out of office. So civil liability is the only chance we have of ever holding anyone accountable.

  •  Pure fantasy (6+ / 0-)

    It's not going to happen. No way, no how. Anyone who's seriously pinning hope on a President Obama pursuing telecoms criminally needs to email me. I have a bridge in Brooklyn I want to sell.

    -7.75, -7.64 "When the intellectual history of this era is finally written, it will scarcely be believable." -- Noam Chomsky

    by scorponic on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 10:10:36 PM PDT

    •  People Who Behave As the Neocons, Bushco (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      and other operatives across a broad swath of government don't typically relinquish power, from what I very imperfectly see. They've been acting from the first moments in the door as though there cannot exist threats to them.

      It's worth considering that the only way to get them to relinquish power is the assurance that they'll live happily ever after.

      I'd be disappointed in Obama but this country never deals appropriately with high serious crimes. I figure there are reasons for that.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 10:32:48 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Dawn over the miasma (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shiobhan, alba, tuckermom8, shenderson

    Glad my nose isn't broken from a weekend of knee-jerks.

    Really, people.

    You LOVED Obama.

    Then somebody said, "Obama hasn't made a statement against FISA," last Wednesday.

    And then you went berserk.

    I'm stupid but I can give a smart man room to breathe.

    Look at yourselves calling his staffers and harassing them all this time.

    Calling him "Constitution hating."

    Look at your backstabbing selves.

    EDUCATE yourselves.

    BREAKING! Senator Obama wants bush to spy on his campaign!

    by eroded47095 on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 10:26:26 PM PDT

  •  Get raped, not struggle, hope to get 'em later? (5+ / 0-)

    Acquiesce: to assent tacitly; submit or comply silently or without protest; agree;

    Olbermann:  "I mean, the history of this nation in terms of lost civil liberties is pretty bad about restoring them."

    This diary supports a very weak-kneed strategy.

    This bill rapes the 4th amendment of our Constitution.

    YOU suggest we ACQUIESCE?

  •  Why is Obama showing up for this vote? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shiobhan, ObamaManiac2008, Junah

    I've been thinking about this for most of night and examining this question.

    When this bill came up on Thursday Obama could have easily made plans to be somewhere else on Tuesday and avoided the whole controversy.  He could have pulled a McCain and commented on the bill after it has been voted on in the Senate and not put his name anywhere on it in yes or no terms. He's missed tons of votes on the Senate floor this year. That move wouldn't have had any serious risk and most of the fallout of the vote would have been on Congress.  

    Sure, he would have taken hit about that from the net but he is taking even more heat for thinking about voting for it and putting it in a statement.  And if he only wanted to sign the bill to shore up his security creds he could have just waited for it to pass and praised it.

    Why go into the Senate and pass a bill that would pass without him there?  

    Guess we'll find out on Tuesday.

  •  This occured to me too (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    alizard, shiobhan, FWIW, ancblu

    I haven't heard mention of whether this bill in any way limits potential criminal, as opposed to civil, suits against these telcoms--let alone against the administration officials who are the originally and primarily guilty parties here (while I despise what they did, I never viewed telcom officials as primarily blameworthy for these illegal wiretaps, and would have been more than willing to see some sort of settlement reached with them provided that they came fully clean as to what they did and why, and who told them to do it, and why).

    However, since I have no way of knowing whether a president Obama would persue such criminal investigations--assuming that it was even possible--I'm a lot more comfortable not having the civil action path blocked before we've even had a chance to see if Obama would go after them criminally--assuming that he even wins.

    I don't know about everyone else, but I don't throw away my spare tire when going out for a drive just because I've ordered new tires that are due in any day now...

    And we'll be right back...

    by kovie on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 10:42:14 PM PDT

  •  IANAL, but ... (3+ / 0-)

    ... I always listen to what Dean has to say. You said: "Maybe Obama's strategy is to let this flawed bill pass and revisit this issue at a better time and to prosecute the telecoms full-throttle."

    I hope you and Dean are right. But my concern is that the Constitution says, no "ex post facto Law shall be passed" (Article I, Section 9). From Wiki:

    An ex post facto law (from the Latin for "After The Fact") or retroactive law, is a law that retroactively changes the legal consequences of acts committed or the legal status of facts and relationships that existed prior to the enactment of the law.

    I'm afraid that that H.R.6304 (FISA Amendments Act of 2008) is going to let BushCo get away with their illegal searches, and all the other things that a real investigation would have discovered.

    "We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them." - A. Einstein

    by FWIW on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 10:57:57 PM PDT

    •  No, that's not it (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Phoenix Woman, FWIW

      If the immunity has a loophole (i.e. they're still criminally liable), they can still prosecute without passing anything else at all.

      (BTW, I love it how anyone saying "IANAL" is almost always in fact being anal :-D )

      Denny Crane: But if he supports a law, and then agrees to let it lapse ... then that would make him ...

      Shirley Schmidt: A Democrat.

      by Jyrinx on Mon Jun 23, 2008 at 12:45:46 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Can (0+ / 0-)

        But if you're expecting THIS Congress to actually hold someone liable...........

        I'm still waiting for Waxman and Conyers to do more that send stern letters!

        It's like asking a contractor, already paid, to finish the job!

        "All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent."T.J.

        by smkngman on Mon Jun 23, 2008 at 10:50:45 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  John Deanm sees a possible opening (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cotterperson, ancblu

    Jonathan Turley, professor of Constitutional law, commented at length on Olberman's show - according to Turley, (my interpretation of his words) the bill is an abomination. It would be worthwhile to find Turley's comments and read them. This tells you how to view a youtube of Turley's interview on Olbermann.

    His comments are a must listen!!

  •  I ask the people who are unhappy about the (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    FISA compromise to please take action.

    Check out these diaries for inspiration and details as to what to do.

    There is still time to halt this Bill. Make your voice heard, give your senator reasons to pause.

    John McCain "Beware the terrible simplifiers" Jacob Burckhardt, Historian

    by notquitedelilah on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 11:09:44 PM PDT

  •  BULLSHIT!!! (6+ / 0-)

    Former Nixon White House Counsel and Author of the book "Broken Government," John Dean joined Keith Olbermann on the MSNBC program "Countdown" on Friday, June 20th, 2008.  I don't know if this has been diaried before, but I wanted to get this diary out to put some peoples' minds at ease in the sense that there may be a method to Obama's "madness" when it comes to the FISA bill.  I found this video on YouTube.

       To start off, John Dean unequivocally states that the FISA bill is damaging to the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution.

       John Dean: "Well I think you've got to give one to the terrorists for a notch on our Fourth Amendment.  They really did some damage today, uh, in this, so-called compromise.  Contrary to what the speaker (Pelosi) said, it really does hurt the Constitution so, uh, it's very troubling and it's not a good day, for civil liberties particularly."

       Following is a discussion that speculates on the suddenness of the cave-in from some House Democrats on the domestic spying issue.  John Dean believes that certain "conservative elements" in the Democratic Party leaned on the leadership and said something to the effect of, "Listen we've got some real tough opponents from Republicans in close districts - we need this - we don't want to have this hanging over our head.  Let's get it solved now before it's too late."

       Olbermann then opines that Obama's position is a tad confusing given his very stern previous opposition to any telecom immunity.  He then sounds the alarm that passing the bill would be somewhat of a point of no return, but John Dean gives an alternate scenario.

    Bluntly, I don't buy any of it.  Obama caved!  Or worse yet, he was the instigator of this capitulation.  Per Digby:

       I do know this: they would not have made this "compromise" and then brought this to the floor without [Obama’s] ok, and probably without his direction. He is the leader of the Democratic Party now, in the middle of a hotly contested presidential campaign. If he didn’t come to them and say to get this thing done before the fall, then they came to him and asked his permission. That’s just a fact. They aren’t going to do anything he doesn’t want them to do.

       So, it’s not really a capitulation. It’s a strategy.

    And, I think that Glenn Greenwald has the right idea on how to react to Obama, the new chair of the Democratic party.  I think we should burn some of his good-old boys:

    The very idea that Democrats would lose elections if they didn't support this bill is false on numerous levels. They could have easily removed the issue simply by voting to extend the PAA orders for 6-9 months. More importantly, Karl Rove's central strategy in the 2006 midterm election was to use FISA and torture to depict the Democrats as being Weak on Terrorism, and the Democrats crushed the Republicans and took over both houses of Congress. Pelosi's claim that they support extremist Bush policies in order to avoid election losses in "swing districts" is dubious in the extreme -- an excuse to feed to Democratic voters to justify their complicity in these matters.

    But whether true or false, this "justification" is precisely why I believe so fervently that the only option we have to battle against continuous assaults on core constitutional and civil liberties is to target the very seats that the Democratic leadership constantly points to in order to justify their behavior. What the Democratic leadership is saying is quite clear: we will continue to trample on the Constitution and support endless expansions of the surveillance state because that is how we'll win in swing districts and expand our Congressional majority (Hunter at Daily Kos -- "one leftist blogger" who spews rage "on the Internet" -- has one of the clearest statements on why this bill is so abominable). The only objective of Nancy Pelosi and Steny Hoyer is to have a 50-seat majority rather than a 35-seat majority, and if enabling the Bush administration's lawbreaking and demolishing core constitutional protections can assist somewhat with that goal, then that it what they will do. That's what they are saying all but explicitly here.

    Until that calculus changes, their behavior never will. That's why it is so vital to target and defeat selected Democrats in Congress who are enabling these unconstitutional and lawless assaults. Democratic leaders need to learn that this strategy won't work. Right now, they think there is no price to pay from doing things like giving telecoms amnesty and destroying the Fourth Amendment, because those who oppose that won't do anything other than continue to support them. If they start losing seats when they engage in that behavior rather than gaining them -- if people who want to defend the Constitution and impose limits on the lawless Surveillance State work together to destroy this risk-benefit calculus by punishing them rather than rewarding them when they do things like this -- only then will they stop doing it.

    If, as a result of their destruction of the Fourth Amendment and the rule of law, they see that they lose seats -- that John Barrow and Chris Carney are removed from Congress and Steny Hoyer's standing in his district is severely compromised and that list of targets continues to grow -- then they'll conclude that they can't build their Vast and Glorious Democratic Majority by dismantling the Constitution and waging war on civil liberties. The Democratic Party in Congress is enslaved to the goal of winning more "swing districts" by supporting extremist measures -- such as the FISA "compromise" -- that please the right-wing. They need to learn that they won't benefit, but will suffer, when they do that.

    •  Did you actually read this diary? (0+ / 0-)

      Calm down and try again.

      Bill Clinton was able to finish out his second term because the perjury trap set for him was very poorly crafted.  It's not at all unlikely that the people drafting this bill messed up in a similar fashion.

      John McCain will end Roe v. Wade if he's president.

      by Phoenix Woman on Mon Jun 23, 2008 at 06:00:33 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Not only did I read it, but I saw the orignial. (0+ / 0-)

        And, I read Obama's statement.  And, I'm appalled that a professor of constitutional law wold tell the naion that it's okay to gut the fourth amendment, because (in effect) "I can be trusted with such power."

  •  doesn't work (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    for criminal charges to be filed you first need standing. You get standing by showing evidence you've been harmed by the wiretapping. To do that you need proof you were tapped but it's secret. So no trial.

    Who controls the past, controls the future. Who controls the present, controls the past. George Orwell

    by moon in the house of moe on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 11:55:07 PM PDT

  •  so, Obama should let this pass for political (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    reasons?  To help those Dems who are scared they'll be painted as weak on national security we damage the Constitution? That's not "change" I can believe in.

    •  "let this pass" (4+ / 0-)

      He has one vote, and he can make a speech.  That is as much power as he currently has.  If others stand with him, it is their decision.  

      peace and justice

      by vmm918 on Mon Jun 23, 2008 at 03:51:19 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  An interesting comment from HuffPo: (12+ / 0-)

        This is an interesting perspective...

        "I'm not American and so this shouldn't concern me - but it does, because a McCain presidency would be disastrous for the entire world. I'm also an avid Glenn Greenwald reader. Still, I'd like to say five things in Obama's defense (and no, I'm not an Obamabot and I've always felt that he is a centrist politician).

        (1) Obama is in the process of consolidating his leadership of the party, and cannot at this precise moment in time pick a major fight with the House Dems and their Speaker, let alone accuse them of being traitors to the Constitution, which is essentially what Glenn wants him to do.

        (2) Glenn and many others think the Blue Dogs would roll over if Obama spoke on this issue. I don't believe that at all. On the contrary, the bill would pass anyway and Obama would suffer a major defeat at the hands of his own party, just a few months before the election (which he would then probably lose).

        (3) What makes people angry is especially the fact that the bill prevents civil suits against wiretapping. But that was always a strange way to "prosecute" crimes, and criminal prosecution is definitely preferable. Obama is very clear that he will support the latter.

        (4) If the bill is unconstitutional, SCOTUS can stop it - on condition that McCain is prevented from nominating one or two Scalia clones.

        (5) A lot is at stake in this election and the big picture is very big"

        The "really big picture" part of this got my attention.

        "The eyes of the future are looking back at us and they are praying for us to see beyond our own time." - Terry Tempest Williams

        by your neighbor on Mon Jun 23, 2008 at 08:10:29 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  you forgot the part where (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        he's our nominee for President so he carries a megaphone.

  •  Wishful thinking. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    WisVoter, JJC
  •  This seems like wishful thinking (0+ / 0-)

    What else is there at this point though?

    You know we live in strange times when hearing something as simple as the truth almost seems shocking.

    by redhaze on Mon Jun 23, 2008 at 02:18:14 AM PDT

  •  Most of these people are too smart to listen. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Phoenix Woman

    Too smart and too angry.

    Thank you, ObamaManiac2008!

    This time it's personal.

    by apostrophe on Mon Jun 23, 2008 at 02:24:07 AM PDT

  •  I will kill you now and try to revive you later (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mary2002, JJC

    You can't say for instance, let's kill this dude today because we need to, but maybe leave him on comma, and perhaps come back at some other time when it's convenient for us and try to revive him.

    Would it make sense to say that for a person?

    Well, it's the same thing when it comes to the Constitution!

    Not to mention that it's almost impossible to revive it later, because you will need some of the Repubs anyhow to go along, no matter what majority (if) you get in Congress. Which they probably won't go along, since all but one of them voted Yes to the FISA bill.

  •  Can I get the Cliff Notes version?? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Phoenix Woman, cotterperson

    Is it like this?

    1.  Civil suits can be thrown out because of this bill.
    1.  Criminal suits can be brought later when a Democrat is in the WH?

    Wouldn't THAT be nice?

    -6.5, -7.59. Dump Harry Reid. Put in someone who can rid us of Holy Joe Lieberman.

    by DrWolfy on Mon Jun 23, 2008 at 03:07:53 AM PDT

  •  We need more and better Democrats like Dean (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
  •  if that were to be true, then Obama truly (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lysias, Muzikal203

    takes us for idiots. The least he could have done is explaining to us exactly that what John Dean thinks Obama could do with that bill later on instead of making an statement that punches you in the stomach.

    •  If he telegraphs that move... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      ...then that gives the Republicans the chance to try and "fix" the bill before it goes up for a vote.

      It also alerts them to the need to play "AG nominee whack-a-mole" with him the same way they did with Bill Clinton, in the hope that they can run out the statute of limitations clock.

      John McCain will end Roe v. Wade if he's president.

      by Phoenix Woman on Mon Jun 23, 2008 at 05:55:58 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I guess he's done talking to us like we are (0+ / 0-)


      People! Remember, we can disagree without being disagreeable! Our candidate can do it with all the stuff leveled at him, so why can't we do it here?

      by Muzikal203 on Mon Jun 23, 2008 at 06:02:33 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It's not about talking to us (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        If this is the case, it's about not telegraphing his moves to the other side.

        Here's the deal:  The statute of limitations for FISA is five years.  That means that any criminal prosecutions done by Obama's AG have to hit the ground running in January of 2009.  But, if the Republicans think he might try to push criminal actions, they could delay them by playing the "AG nominee whack-a-mole" game that they did with Bill Clinton (they zapped Zoe Baird and Kimba Wood before letting him have Janet Reno).

        John McCain will end Roe v. Wade if he's president.

        by Phoenix Woman on Mon Jun 23, 2008 at 06:09:07 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  My biggest problem with his statement, is that (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Phoenix Woman, mimi

          it all seems to rely on the notion that he WILL be President, which may not happen. I'm not saying it's not a probability that it WILL, but there's a possibility that it won't. The idea of having something where one person basically has control, and you have to trust that one person to do right, bothers me. And what if we are attacked again or something comes up, and OBAMA is the one that abuses his authority under the bill? Will we then be so willing to justify what he does?

          There are other ways, I'm sure, to deal with terrorism and possible terrorists that don't pause some of the restrictions placed in the constitution. The question that no one seems to be able to answer is: how far are we expected to bend?

          I readily admit that Obama is smarter than I am, with that being said, I HATE it when people insult my intelligence. I'm tired of the games, and not being able to trust that there isn't always some secret motive out there.

          This whole situation is messed up, and it seems like once again it all boils down to being afraid of the Republicans, and no one has told me why we are supposed to be so afraid of the Republicans when the DEMOCRATS are the so called majority party right now in Congress.

          The most disappointing thing to me about his statement, was that he was using FEAR to justify what he did, and no one seems to have a problem with the fact that the candidate that spent the last year or so telling us he wouldn't use fear to win an election and that fear shouldn't be used to win an election, is using fear and is afraid of fear being used against him, and as such is doing the whole political posturing thing that he claimed to be above. He set very unrealistic expectations for himself in the primary, and some of it may come back to bite him in the ass during the general. It won't be enough to cost him the election, but it will be enough to piss some people off.

          People! Remember, we can disagree without being disagreeable! Our candidate can do it with all the stuff leveled at him, so why can't we do it here?

          by Muzikal203 on Mon Jun 23, 2008 at 06:22:31 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Oh, I think they'll let him have it (0+ / 0-)

            For the simple reason that all the little time bombs that they've set in our country's foundations aren't supposed to go off until after Bush leaves office.  It's like a Mafia bust-out:  The idea is to have the enterprise you're hollowing out look healthy from the outside for as long as possible, giving you time to make a clean getaway.

            Between Iraq, Afghanistan, the price of oil, the teetering of our financial system, and the loss of our manufacturing base, what sane person would want to be president right now?

            The deal is that they're hoping he fails -- and they won't be helping him at all -- so that they can retake the WH and Congress in 2012.

            John McCain will end Roe v. Wade if he's president.

            by Phoenix Woman on Mon Jun 23, 2008 at 06:28:58 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  And what happens if Obama does not win (0+ / 0-)

          and McCain becomes President?

  •  ObamaManiac2008, a small thread but (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Obama could turn this into a huge piece of rope to hang this whole thing. He is our hope for a brighter future for all of us.Thanks for this diary.

    *a hundred years from now, the future may be different because I was important in the life of a child*

    by bonesy on Mon Jun 23, 2008 at 03:57:35 AM PDT

  •  You mean to say that Barack Obama -- (6+ / 0-)

    the Columbia and Harvard educated, constitutional lawyer, experienced legislator, come-from-behind-to-trounce-one-of-the-most-
    powerful-front-runners-for-President-in-recent-history campaigner, record breaking orator, history making candidate, and all around person of integrity and stealthy political brilliance -- might have a better plan for dealing with the ultra-complex dilemma of voting on FISA during an election year than I - a do-nothing, barely employed, but oh so righteous web-surfer?  

    Impossible!  My opinion is God!  Bow down and worship before my hyper-reactive bipolarism (which swings wildly from idealism to cynicism at the first whiff of betrayal) or be smited!  

    "I have sworn upon the altar of God, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man." -Thomas Jefferson

    by delillo2000 on Mon Jun 23, 2008 at 04:16:00 AM PDT

  •  This seems very simple to me... (0+ / 0-)'s the beginning of Obama' general election swing to the so-called "middle" which is sure to disappoint us progressives.

    Alas, the middle of USA politics these days involves being OK with torture, illegal wiretapping, rendition, no-fly lists and a host of other attacks upon our civil liberties. I think Obama & Co. want to look "tough" on terrorists in the wake of the Muslim rumors and lapel pin dust ups.


    For business reasons, I must preserve the outward sign of sanity.

    --Mark Twain

    by redglare on Mon Jun 23, 2008 at 04:27:58 AM PDT

    •  Unfortunately, that 'middle' is far right. (4+ / 0-)

      The Democratic positions on 95% of the issues IS the middle.  He doesn't have to move an inch, and he will win in a landslide.  Any movement further right is an adoption of what used to be the ravings of the 'fringe' rightwing lunatics.

      Case in point.. he is now supporting the right of corporations and the government to spy on American citizens without a warrant, when those citizens were suspected of no crime whatsoever.

      How is that, in any possible description of the term, the 'middle'?

  •  could be (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cali Scribe, cotterperson

    Obama is quite brilliant, I suspect he has something up his sleeve, either this or just to cut immunity out of the bill and make Bush veto it.

    John McCain's priorities: Endless war = Good; Healthcare for children = Waste of money.

    by THEpersonal ISpolitical on Mon Jun 23, 2008 at 04:31:39 AM PDT

  •  It's (6+ / 0-)

    wishful thinking to speculate that Obama will take legal action once he is president.  Dragging the issue back from the dead during his first term will be a misstep that could hurt his chances of a 2nd term.  If he ever pursued legal action, it would be a pleasant surprise and gift, not something to be expected.  He would spend precious political capital to go after the telecoms that could be spent elsewhere on more popular causes.  He has already shown a reluctance to spend political capital in the name of compromise in the past 2 weeks.  What leads anybody to believe he'd take a stand later when the personal stakes are even higher once he is president?

    I take political action every day. I teach.

    by jbfunk on Mon Jun 23, 2008 at 04:43:02 AM PDT

  •  what if? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    WisVoter, blue coyote

    what if mccain wins the election by stealing the election. he is so layed back that he seems to know that he has the election by stealing the votes by the rigged voting machines, the new voter i.d. law. we gave up the 4th amendment to mccain. why take the chance? stop this bill now.

    •  No one wants to talk about that (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Phoenix Woman, blue coyote

      I guess we are so full of ourselves, that we are convinced there's no way we'd actually LOSE.

      Clinton did the same thing, and we see where she landed. . .

      People! Remember, we can disagree without being disagreeable! Our candidate can do it with all the stuff leveled at him, so why can't we do it here?

      by Muzikal203 on Mon Jun 23, 2008 at 06:03:36 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  That's why Florida is so important (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Charlie Crist, the current governor, shocked the poo out of me by actually overturning the laws keeping ex-felons from voting, laws which of course were a holdover from the rearguard action against the civil rights movement.

        It looks very much like the hundreds of thousands of formerly-disenfranchised Floridians will have a chance to make their voices heard this fall.

        John McCain will end Roe v. Wade if he's president.

        by Phoenix Woman on Mon Jun 23, 2008 at 06:12:02 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I think it's GREAT that he did that (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Phoenix Woman, cotterperson

          we talked about this in my Civil Rights class last semester, but I really don't see the point in not allowing them to vote, even when they are in prison, because the people that get elected will STILL control some aspects of their lives. I'm more concerned however, with the people who serve their time, what's the point in not allowing them to vote, while at the same time you want them to become productive members of society? It doesn't make sense.

          People! Remember, we can disagree without being disagreeable! Our candidate can do it with all the stuff leveled at him, so why can't we do it here?

          by Muzikal203 on Mon Jun 23, 2008 at 06:14:51 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  It is a SAD state of affairs folks (0+ / 0-)

    When your duly elected democrats, join forces with Corp America and the slimball Republicans, we are truly in deep doo doo.  Ms Pelosi needs to go away and soon.  She is in George's pocket or is that Dick's pocket.  Whatever it may be, we certainly did not get what we ask for in the last general election......
    My suggestion:  Throw the BUMS out!

  •  One step at a time (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    We can only back out of this police state slowly.  The mainstream media could easily rile the unknowledgable up to believe that not passing this awful legislation was treasonist and that people MUST VOTE REPUBLICAN in order to "be safe".

    We have to concentrate on electing a Democratic President with a Democratic majority in both houses.  Then we may have some hope.  People have been running scared for a long time now.  We need to elect Democrats and then proceed to bury the terror-mongering and the ills it has spawned.  It can't be done quickly, or in an election year.  And it won't be done by John McCain.

    Reality bites, but if Democrats go down fighting loosing battles the Republicans ALWAYS win, then they get the Supreme Court and at that point we might as well use the Constitution as toilet paper.

    Fox news: Proud sponsor of the "Watch `iss Ya'all" National ATV Championship in Mousie, Kentucky.

    by get the red out on Mon Jun 23, 2008 at 05:36:02 AM PDT

  •  The perjury trap set to catch Bill Clinton... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    ...was itself rather badly crafted, which is why he was able to be acquitted during impeachment proceedings.

    So it's not impossible or even unlikely.

    The biggie is whether Obama has the will to sic his AG onto the malefactors.  If I were him, I'd try not to telegraph my intentions in advance, as the GOP could try to run out the FISA statute of limitations clock by  playing "deep-six the AG nominee" like they did with Bill Clinton.

    John McCain will end Roe v. Wade if he's president.

    by Phoenix Woman on Mon Jun 23, 2008 at 05:53:56 AM PDT

  •  Possible, but I am not impressed... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SingularExistence, WisVoter

    I am voting for Obama, because in a 100 years, why make that a 1000, I can not vote for McInsane.

    BUT, I am not supporting Obama in everything he does. Perhaps John Dean is right, and Obama as a Constitutional scholar saw this minutest of openings and hence supported it. But it is also possible that Dean is wrong, and Obama is wrong.

    More importantly, this process looks like a sleight of hand - where only those who sieve with the finest toothcomb will find what they are looking for. What about the vast majority of informed citizens - namely here at DKos - who could not find such relief? Where is the transparency in the process?

    I will support Obama, but fully now realize he is a flawed candidate. God give him strength to negotiate the treacherous waters of the Congress and Blue Dog Democrats.

    Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts - Daniel Patrick Moynihan

    by Suvro on Mon Jun 23, 2008 at 06:02:38 AM PDT

    •  I'm not sure that's such a bad thing (0+ / 0-)

      Recognizing he's a flawed candidate. It beats all the convoluted mental contortions some are going through here to justify/re-cast his position on this issue rather than just face the fact that he appears to making a cold-blooded political calculation that trades off our civil liberties for electoral purposes.

      I'm disappointed in him as well; however, I didn't vote for him to begin with so I don't feel the same sense of betrayal many here do. And I certainly don't believe he has some grand scheme up his sleeve to make everything okay after the fact.

      I'll still vote for him in November, if for no other reason than the powers he's putting into the hands of the executive branch would be absolutely ruinous under a McCain administration.

      "I can't come to bed yet! Someone is WRONG on the Internet!" - XKCD

      by SingularExistence on Mon Jun 23, 2008 at 06:17:42 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I don't accept this approach... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Democratic politicians assume that the FISA dangers can't be explained to the American people in close elections. This playng coy on these issues is rationalizing for them, as though we know, and assume we know, what is in their heads. If they voiced support for it, I can't imagine thinking otherwise.

  •  I'd commented on this (3+ / 0-)

    several times over the past couple days but people were so engaged in their outrage, no one was listening.  Thanks for putting it up in a diary for all to see.

    -7.62, -7.28 "We told the truth. We obeyed the law. We kept the peace." - Walter Mondale

    by luckylizard on Mon Jun 23, 2008 at 06:06:56 AM PDT

  •  It would be nice but (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    do you really think that if there is a "gray area" in a bill where its purpose was debated in the public square for months on end and that affects national security, courts are going to rule that suits can go through based on a loophole?  After 20 of the last 28 years of Republican appointed federal judges?  With a supreme court that just barely decided that we can't hold people indefinitely with no charges and no trial?

    It's not bloody likely.  Enough's been said on the substance of FISA and Obama's position already, but anyone who thinks it somehow gets undone is IMO deluding themselves.

    Want a progressive global warming novel, not a right wing rant? Go to for a free audio thriller.

    by eparrot on Mon Jun 23, 2008 at 06:09:57 AM PDT

  •  Rationalizations help, I suppose. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I have great respect for John Dean, but I'm not inclined to leap on this as a rationalization for giving Obama and the Dems a pass on this one.  Trust me, they've always caved when push comes to shove, and they're about to do it again.  Once Obama is in (and I'm increasingly certain he'll win), you will never hear about this shit again.  Unless it's Obama monitoring your communications without a warrant.  But hey, it'll be "legal," in the sense that we've got a solid precedent that we simply ignore law breaking when it's politically difficult to have principles.

    When they cave, I'm finished with the Democrats.  And it's not like it matters, because you could run Squeaky Fromme against McCain and probably win. He's giving me genuine gut laughs on a daily basis now. I wonder if Regis Philbin can be booked to give out his $300,000,000 car battery prize.

    •  Bill Clinton was in a badly-made perjury trap (0+ / 0-)

      The reason he was able to finish out his second term is because the attempt to trap him was so badly crafted.

      It's not out of the question, especially if the lawyers who designed the thing are hacks from Regent U.

      John McCain will end Roe v. Wade if he's president.

      by Phoenix Woman on Mon Jun 23, 2008 at 06:18:19 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  FISA headline on GoogleNews (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    WisVoter, blue coyote

    Bush Praises US Congress for Cooperation on FISA, War Funding Voice of America


    When click through headline changes, wtf.  Anyways, "Bush Praises US Congress.."  

    Think I am going to puke, but will "take a deep breath" first as many seem to be counseling here re FISA and IRAQ Funding.

    Go, Moveon!

    MoveOn To Pressure Obama On FISA Bill

    via TPM

    PS The links are to the Google News search page where I read them instead of the originals because of the headline change on the VOA site.

    •  Pressure is good (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      blue coyote, divineorder

      Chris Dodd -- who has also promised to stop the FISA -- needs to feel a little heat, too.

      So does Hillary, especially since she skipped the February vote that would have stripped immunity from the bill.

      John McCain will end Roe v. Wade if he's president.

      by Phoenix Woman on Mon Jun 23, 2008 at 06:22:59 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  UR right. This is why I am about choosing... (0+ / 0-)

        ...our battles wisely.  If we get in an uproar over stupid shit like "Faux News" interviews, then when it comes down to something really important like, oh... say,  civil liberties and then try to put pressure on our leaders, our credibility is shot.

        Okay, that was my last parting shot at the DKos community for its "Faux" outrage over the Obama interview.

        However, I am in support of this push back.  It should not casue us to contemplate our support of him like children with temper tantrums, however, it should make us be ever more sober and vigilant with him as a candidate!

        "To kill one person is murder. To kill thousands is foreign policy." Chinese writer Moh-Tze

        by ILean Left on Mon Jun 23, 2008 at 08:53:39 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I Didn't See (4+ / 0-)

    John Dean's discussion but I have to ask how anyone reconciles this with 18 USC 3282, which establishes a general five (5) year federal statute of limitations for the prosecution of any non-capital criminal offense, considering that the violations commenced prior to 9/11/01.  Or reconciles it with the fact that the general federal wiretapping statute specifically exempts from criminal liability any wiretapping done pursuant to either a court order or a written federal government authorization that the wiretapping is both required and properly authorized by FISA. (18 USC 2511 subd. 2(a)(ii)).

    In other words, it is the very the amendment to FISA currently being made that eliminates the one risk factor for criminal prosecution that ever existed for the telecommunications companies :  an inability to point to the government's requests to wiretap and say that they were lawful.  Since it was the government's request itself that was unlawful under FISA, the requests not being coming 15 days of the commencement of war.  The new FISA provisions retroactively allow the government to make a legal certification that completely eliminates all criminal liability in each of the telecommunications companies, as I read these statutes.

    And, as has been repeatedly discussed, it has the bonus quality of wiping out all civil liability, too.

    Now I'm not a criminal lawyer, and definitely not one in the federal courts, but neither is John Dean anymore (since of course he has been disbarred since Watergate.)  It took me only 15 minutes to look up this basic federal law governing wiretapping this morning, so presumably someone who is currently qualified as a lawyer and has federal criminal prosecution experience that is meaningful can address this.  Certainly, these statutes read together, on their face, raise enough questions in my mind that it would seem someone far smarter and "in the know" than I would be concerned that anyone talking about possible criminal prosecution is selling a bit of a pig in a poke.

    And that's before I consider the reality that the likelihood of federal criminal prosecutions of anyone meaningful after Bush leaves office is virtually zero politically.

  •  I'll believe it when I see it (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SecondComing, wanderindiana

    but not a minute sooner.

    This country does not have the luxury to entertain idiocy as if it is reasonable. --Digby

    by Thought Crime on Mon Jun 23, 2008 at 07:08:21 AM PDT

    •  after all (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      blue coyote

      Bush can just issue a blanket pardon on his way out the door next January.

      This country does not have the luxury to entertain idiocy as if it is reasonable. --Digby

      by Thought Crime on Mon Jun 23, 2008 at 07:09:33 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  YOU have to FIRST be charged (0+ / 0-)

        before you get a pardon.  Obama can also issue pardon coming in the door.

        Obama is running for POTUS against the corporate news media not john mccain.

        •  This is (effectively) false. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          blue coyote

          Article II, Section 2 states the President:

          shall have power to grant reprieves and pardons for offenses against the United States, except in cases of impeachment.

          A President has many powers grouped under the 'reprieves and pardons' including clemency, commutations, and amnesties.  The latter option could be used on the way out the door to blanket-protect anyone involved in the warrantless wiretapping from criminal prosecution.

          As an example, Carter granted a general amnesty to all Vietnam draft-evaders, which included many not formally charged with anything.

  •  Idea... give US citizen's standing (0+ / 0-)

    One of the problems with this law is that the Cts have continually held that because of the secretive nature of the information being gathered, no US citizen can demonstrate harm sufficient to have "standing" to challenge the constitutionality of the substance of the law.

    Why not add a rider to the bill that explicitly gives all US citizen's who place calls overseas "standing" to challenge the constitutionality of the law's spying framework.  The 4th amendment has been severely weakened, but it ain't dead.  Moreover, this Ct seems like more than willing to slap the overreaching hand of both Congress and the President lately.

  •  Obama (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    must be aware of the shortcomings inherent in this bill. How could he not be? His judgememts have always been sound enough in the past. I see no reason to doubt him now. My support for him is still enthusiastic. His background in Constitutional Law stands him in good stead. Better than that-I trust him.

    "Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from a religious conviction." --Blaise Pascal

    by lyvwyr101 on Mon Jun 23, 2008 at 08:07:10 AM PDT

  •  The "plan" as discusses by Dean and Olbermann (0+ / 0-)

    works only if:

    1. Obama is elected.
    1. If the Justice Department can get away with hunting down Republicans for their "political" beliefs in an Obama administration. Imagine the tangled up mess that would be!  Sure, the law would allow it, but the politics are all screwed up.
    1. If the relationship between President Obama and the congress is solid enough to survive the same bull that passes for conventional wisdom in DC today.

    The best, and probably only way to salvage the constitutional guarantees trampled by this bill will be to find a way to fix it in conference committee, or for the courts to overturn it.  The problem is who has standing to bring the suit when no-one has rights under the statute....

    Man!  What a sad thing.

    Let's see what happens in the Senate.

    The best reason to support Barack Obama is not his ideas, his oratory nor his background. It's his genius for leadership.

    by DHinIA on Mon Jun 23, 2008 at 08:33:35 AM PDT

  •  I think Jonathan Turley called it. (5+ / 0-)

    TURLEY:  Well, there‘s no question in my mind that there is an obvious level of collusion here.  We now know that Democratic leadership knew about the illegal surveillance program almost from its inception.  Even when they were campaigning about fighting for civil liberties, they were aware of an unlawful surveillance program as well as a torture program.  And ever since that came out, the Democrats have been silently trying to kill any effort to hold anyone accountable because that list could very well include some of their own members.

    And, I‘m afraid this is Washington politics at the worst.  And, so, I think that what you‘re seeing with this bill is not just caving in to a very powerful lobby, but also caving in to sort of the worst motivations on Capitol Hill since 9/11.  You know, the administration was very adept at bringing in Democrats at a time when they knew they couldn‘t refuse, to make them buy in to this program, and now that investment is bearing fruit.

  •  I don't buy it. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wanderindiana, skrekk

    I'm as enthusiastic an Obama supporter as I can be, but when he's wrong he's wrong and we shouldn't hesitate to say so.  Failing to strenuously oppose this bill is just plain wrong.

    John McCain - all aboard the lobbyist express!

    by jrooth on Mon Jun 23, 2008 at 08:46:53 AM PDT

  •  Legal loopholes are Obama's bread and butter (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    If there's one thing that defines the "Obama strategy", it's paying extremely close attention to mastering the rules down to the letter. As a Constitutional Law professor, this habit is deeply ingrained in his political arsenal. It's how he coasted to victory in the IL state senate by challenging the number of his opponents' signatures. It's how he won the primary, by mastering strange process nuances in each state and recognizing from the very beginning that his strategy ought to reflect the mathematics of the delegate race. While I was disappointed with his lack of a more robust denouncement of the House bill, I find the exchange in this diary heartening. Obama has a strong civil libertarian record, and I honestly believe that he knows the loopholes in this bill give him the political cover to make a moderate statement in the election, but seriously pursue justice once elected. He has in the recent past suggested a willingness to conduct an investigation of Bush administration crimes.

    •  I'd like to believe this... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      but, seeing has how there will be 500 very pressing and controversial issues (e.g. Healthcare, the Wars, budget battles, carbon emissions, etc.) to deal with once he's in the WH, what will make this worth spending political capital on?

      As another comment pointed out, seeing as how the Rethugs voted unanimously for this bill, what will cause enough of them (and most of the Dems) to support Obama in turning this around when if it is revisited?

      Sorry. I don't buy it.

      Who Would Jesus Torture?

      by JJC on Mon Jun 23, 2008 at 09:58:11 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  For lawyers, burden of proof is everything. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    The Senate version of the FISA bill permits immunity if the defendant presents substantial evidence that the government told them to do it, leaving the administration free to deny it and obstruct efforts to prove it in later proceedings against them, civil or criminal.

    The compromise bill (HR6304) provides for immunity only if the government certifies that they told them to do it.  Now lawbreaking officials can argue it was legal, but not that they didn't do it.

  •  That would be hilariously ironic. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    paintitblue, JJC

    Obama: "Civil liability for telecoms is a bad thing, but if we don't strip it from the bill, we should still pass it."

    DailyKos: "OMG, Obama just ate the Constitution!!"

    Obama: #cleans fingernails#

    DailyKos: "We thought you were different!"

    Obama: #cleans fingernails#

    DailyKos: "Tell us why we shouldn't stay home this fall?!?"

    Obama, smiling like a shark: "Because there more... interesting... alternatives to civil lawsuits."

    DailyKos: O_0

    DailyKos: "You are scary, you know that?"

  •  This is Dean's attempt at appeasing (4+ / 0-)

    everyone who is currently pissed at Obama for not making more of a stand.

    Obama will never go into this after assuming the presidency.

    "Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others." - G. Marx

    by Skeptical Bastard on Mon Jun 23, 2008 at 09:21:49 AM PDT

    •  I don't think it's an attempt at appeasement (0+ / 0-)

      I think John Dean's trying to convince himself that Obama's really better than his (non)-actions last week indicate.

      I remember my jaw hanging down Friday when Dean made his statement on Countdown. Anyone who thinks there will be criminal prosecution of the telecoms is either a fool or deluding himself. The telecom legal departments will be all over the final legislation with a microscope, and if there's is even the slightest possibility of criminal liability, the companies will petition Bush for a preemptive pardon. And they'll get it.

      Dean's one of the great whistleblowers against government corruption in U.S. history, and he's been an outspoken critic of the authoritarian abuses of the current regime. In this instance, he has to reconcile himself to one of two realities. The first is that Obama is a pusillanimous weakling, which is exactly what is not needed to combat this horrible societal trend Dean's so thoroughly disparaged. The second is that Obama would prove to be a "meet the new boss, same as the old boss" successor to Bush who wishes to retain this tyrannical power for himself.

      I can well understand why Dean might have a hard time wrapping his head about the negative implications of Obama's conduct. But the speculation he proffered about Obama's possible motive is just fatuous.

  •  This is a ridiculous argument from Dean... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wanderindiana, ronlib, JJC, Pol C

    if the telcoms are granted immunity by Congress and signed by a President, noone is going after them in the future. That is simply nonsense, and only serves to make it look like we could accept this as a reasonable position.

    No, the immunity is like a pardon. It will not be taken away later.

    •  Not if the bill only covers civil liability... (0+ / 0-)

      And if they rollover on the Bush Administration, I'd say they earned a break.

      It's like going after the mob. You threaten the little fish and they roll on the bigger fish.

      •  BS...if the Congress grants the telcoms (0+ / 0-)

        immunity, they will NEVER be prosecuted, civilly or criminally. It's ridiculous to argue that some technical loophole in the law will result in a DOJ investigation and prosecution. You can't take it back and no President, even Obama, is going to take up that kind of controversey.

        •  Then what's the argument? (0+ / 0-)

          The telco's would get immunity from civil action anyway if they were compelled to drop a dime on the administration. Giving them retro from civil cases have no baring on criminal cases.

          Civil is a throw away if we still have the option for criminal charges to hold over there heads. Unless (and I'm not pointing fingers here) this is all about getting paid off thru civil class action l;awsuits because someone feels violated.

          And it is not necessary for a case to be brought by just the DOJ, there are plenty of local and state entities that would be more than willing to take up the case.

  •  sounds great (0+ / 0-)

    but does not help me with my quams and worries about the other aspect to this besides the immunity. This bill seems a classic example of a bamboozle as Obama calls them. It nullifies the Bill of Rights, the rights that protect us we the people. Obama's statement that he would 'monitor' the situation freaks me right out. He as the president should not have the power to monitor this.

    The fact that he is giving credence to the same bogus reasons behind the Bushies power grab, endless vague enemies, is alarming and does not bode well for 'Change you can believe in'. Instead it smacks of Bamboozle, by using fear of other or our neighbors or any he decides 'terrorist' to expand the powers of the commander in chief, endless war, endless power. A perfect enemy that never goes away is never really known and has always been here. 'Tools' to fight terrorism makes hair stand on end. Wasn't torture a tool we needed?

    Checks and balances between the branches make us more secure then this bamboozle of fear. The Bill of Rights is the only tool we have to protect us from tyranny and no matter how beguine the decider, it's still a dictator and not an executive branch of a system that was built to stem the consolidation and abuse of power. Who will protect us from the real enemy, the crimiinals who sit in the WH right now?      

    "And if my thought-dreams could be seen They'd probably put my head in a guillotine" Bob Dylan

    by shaharazade on Mon Jun 23, 2008 at 09:33:39 AM PDT

  •  But what's the upside (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wanderindiana, JJC, Pol C

    of letting the bill pass in the first place?

    Americans hate George W. Bush, and Americans are against telco immunity.

    Who does Obama think he's impressing in the short term?

    Play La Marseillaise! Play it!

    by VictorLaszlo on Mon Jun 23, 2008 at 09:36:13 AM PDT

  •  au contrare (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Bush can now blackmail the telecoms with liability for their previous actions.

  •  This diary or: How I learned to stop worrying... (3+ / 0-)

    This diary or: How I learned to stop worrying and love the FISA bill.

    Sorry, but in my view this is a red herring.

    Who Would Jesus Torture?

    by JJC on Mon Jun 23, 2008 at 09:52:16 AM PDT

    •  agreed. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      IndySteve, wanderindiana, JJC

      this is like saying 'it's immunity, but not REALLY immunity'.

      I'm pretty sure when I was immunized against polio that I became immune to it.  There's no secret backdoor way to give me polio.  That's what immunity means.  It means immune.  If the telecos were still vulnerable then it wouldn't be immunity.  And if the bill says 'immunity' then I'm pretty sure they're immune.

      This sounds like people trying to argue that water isn't really 'wet'.

      Ann Coulter in the interview from hell:

      by pullbackthecurtain on Mon Jun 23, 2008 at 10:13:19 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Feingold's fact sheet. (5+ / 0-)

    Many Obama fans are of the opinion that telco immunity is the only thing wrong with this bill.  Please refer them to Feingold's fact sheet:

    H/T: Christy Hardin Smith:

    •  Thanks...I wish Obama and his staff would read (0+ / 0-)

      this, not to mention Pelosi, rather than trying to pass one by us.

      Still, I don't hold Obama responsible for this POS legislation. That belongs to Pelosi succumbing the pressure of the Bluedog Dems.

  •  If what Dean has summized is true... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    this would be a win/win/win for us and Obama.

    What is our true goal here? Is it to hold the people responsible for implementing this attack on our Forth Amendment rights? Or are we just trying to get paid thru civil action claims in a way that may have detrimental lasting effects to our national telecomunications infrastructure?

    I would feel comfortable giving the telco's protection from civil liability if such protection did not interfere with the ability of an Obama DOJ to bring criminal charges against them.

    If I remember correctly, the most problematic issue voiced over telco immunity was the fear that under such immunity, there would be no way to compell them to testify as to who approched them, in what manner, and when. We were worried that with out the pressure that a prosicuter could apply by holdig criminal charges over the heads of the people in charge of the telcos, it would be impossible to compell them to turn over evidence against those who started the program in the first place.

    I see little reason to fuss over personal feelings of intrusion, represented by civil actions, if it would kill the political landmine and satisfy our need to persue the criminalality of the action.

    I truly feel for those who feel violated by the illegal actions involved in this domestic spying fiasco, but unless your information was misused in the commission of a criminal act, say prosicutorial misconduct, industrial esponage, or blackmail, civil action would represent little more than personal revenge for a creepy feeling.

    As I opined precariously in an earlier comment about this issue, we would be better served by alowing some wiggle room for the telco's, if it would help in the persuit of the greater criminal action. Remember, They have been recording all internet traffic since it's implimentation. How much of that traffic do you think contains some of those missing GOP e-mail accounts that the Bushies use in the lead up to Iraq?

    •  all internet traffic? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      The Blue State Bandit

      They may have been monitoring traffic, but they sure as hell haven't saved every email that's been sent in the past 5 years.  Who on Earth would be paying for that absurdly large amount of disk space?  

      Don't drink and blog. Think of the children.

      by RickD on Mon Jun 23, 2008 at 12:23:53 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'll revise in light of your point... (0+ / 0-)

        all internet traffic flowing thru the main hubs set up by the TALON/NSA program. That would be everything not running thru telcos that didn't capitulate like Quest.

        Concidering the number of e-mails claimed to have been destroyed by the White House, I'm sure that more than a few of the recipants had recived e-mails that traveled thru at least one of those listening posts.

  •  BS, BS, BS. Just won't happen. nt (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bartimaeus Blue
  •  As i've said in many other blogs across the net (3+ / 0-)

    "don't underestimate Senator Obama."  No I'm not one of those blind faith believers that are eluded to many times, but the simple fact remains; Obama has been four steps ahead of everyone else throughout this primary and general election campaign.  This IS a tactical decision.  He knows what he's doing, knows exactly what each side is going to say about him, and everyone is playing right into his hands.  It will be alright for all of us.  Just wait and see.

    "You can observe a lot by watching."  Yogi Berra

    •  Please, he is not perfect nor does he always make (0+ / 0-)

      the RIGHT decision. Per public funding, it is working much more against him than he truly gains.

    •  Of course it is a tactical decision (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Pol C

      but it is one that does great and irreparable harm to the rule of law for some political advantage.

      You have no way to know that Obama will undo immunity or revise the FISA in a way that strengthens, rather than weakens, the rule of law.

      "Terror is nothing other than justice...; it is ... the general principle of democracy applied to our country's most urgent needs." M. Robespierre

      by Bartimaeus Blue on Mon Jun 23, 2008 at 12:42:34 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I trust Obama to do the right thing... (0+ / 0-)

    but I implore the grassroots to keep his feet to the fire on this issue. No capitulation

  •  The other possible gotcha for the telcos (0+ / 0-)

    is that the immunity period starts from 9/11. There is evidence to suggest that the telcos began to work with the government before 9/11 to get this operation in place. This could still leave a window for civil suits. The administration cannot change the effective date of immunity without creating more suspicion about the nature and the starting date of the surveillance program. They have claimed 9/11 was the catalyst behind the program so they cannot realistically ask for immunity prior to this date..

  •  republicans don't go to jail! (0+ / 0-)

    Silly Mr. Dean.

    If there is even the slightest chance that anybody who worked with Bush would face criminal prosecution, we'll see a get-out-of-jail-free pardon for said individual come December.

    And then the media will talk endlessly about how we have to "move on" and "put the past behind us".  

    Don't drink and blog. Think of the children.

    by RickD on Mon Jun 23, 2008 at 12:21:59 PM PDT

  •  ugh, i read these comments (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    deafmetal, ObamaManiac2008

    and just think this place is turning into a joke.  everyone "knows what kind of President Obama will be now" because of this bill.

    bull shit, you do not.  you are not omniscient, you can't see the future, and you can't read minds.  I'm not saying this to the diarist, just to the purity trolls who don't understand that they're being purity trolls.

    you have two choice before you right now.  McCain and Obama.  deal with that reality.  this bill sucks, but it does NOT in fact "eliminate" the 4th amendment - it weakens it temporarily in a manner which will never withstand judicial review.  that is the reality here.  feel free to comment on that, but this hyperbolic projection of all you're angry at towards Obama makes people look like uninformed saps.

    •  No; but we now have evidence that (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      minorityusa, doe

      Obama is not willing to go to the wall to dismantle the "unitary executive," at least not now.

      So, healthy skepticism of an Obama presidency is warranted.  

      Second -- there is no real way to achieve judicial review of this bill. Any case raising questions about the bill, unless brought by a Telco, will fail because it will be dismissed under an AG assertion that the action is authorized.

      And there are insurmountable standing problems with any individual challenging the bill on the basis that it violates the 4th Amendment because no individual will be able to show any evidence of injury in fact.

      "Terror is nothing other than justice...; it is ... the general principle of democracy applied to our country's most urgent needs." M. Robespierre

      by Bartimaeus Blue on Mon Jun 23, 2008 at 12:40:18 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  "will fail because it will be dismissed under ... (0+ / 0-)

        ... an AG assertion that the action is authorized".

        Depends on exactly WHO the AG is, no?

        We are all atheists about most of the gods that society has ever believed in - some of us just go one god further
        -- Richard Dawkin

        by deafmetal on Mon Jun 23, 2008 at 12:57:23 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Probably not. (0+ / 0-)

          And again, that is a matter where any future administration has the power to follow or not follow the law at will.  In essence saying: trust us.

          I don't; you do (apparently).  

          "Terror is nothing other than justice...; it is ... the general principle of democracy applied to our country's most urgent needs." M. Robespierre

          by Bartimaeus Blue on Mon Jun 23, 2008 at 01:02:20 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  I don't think so (0+ / 0-)

      People just want Obama to start taking a lead. It's not just simply opposition to Bush, that happens by default, but it's about what's good and bad for this country. Obama is the leader. Opting to stay out of the fight around this bill because there are more important things to worry about in his campaign is just not what people are looking for. It's also not how you attract new and disaffected voters.

      I like Obama and I do have hopes that a person truly deserving of the office will win the election, but at the same time there is a fight going on a long months of a Bush presidency still ahead. Let's not pretend the elections will just magically change the world and what came before will no longer matter.

  •  Won't happen; you're defending the indefensible (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    by, in essence, saying we should trust Obama.  This is not about trust.  It's about the rule of law and accountability.  

    Any politician who asks you to trust him or her with unchecked power, doesn't deserve such power.

    "Terror is nothing other than justice...; it is ... the general principle of democracy applied to our country's most urgent needs." M. Robespierre

    by Bartimaeus Blue on Mon Jun 23, 2008 at 12:46:51 PM PDT

  •  Lame Obama Excuses (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    John Dean: "Well I spent a lot of time reading that bill today and it's a very poorly drafted bill.  One of the things that is not clear is whether it's not possible later to go after the telecoms for criminal liability.  And that's something Obama has said during this campaign he would do - unlike prior Presidents who come in and merely give their predecessor a pass, he said, 'I won't do that.' And that might be why he's just sitting by saying, 'Well, I'm just gonna let this go through but that doesn't mean I'm gonna give the telecom a pass.'  I would love it if he gets on the Senate floor and says, 'I'm keeping that option open.'

    So I should just trust Obama not to keep the tyrannical powers Bush created, even though he has the power to stop them now? I should just trust him until after the November 2008 "accountability moment", and then everything will get better, including Obama exercising the powers he's already got now?

    That is such pre-9/11 thinking. No sane person could think that kind of thing anymore about our government. I guess some people need to think that to pretend they're keeping their sanity, but I'm not lobotomized by the past 7 years.

    If Obama, the leader of the Democratic Party and the next president over a huge Democratic Congressional majority (that can afford to spare some fake Democrats from its caucus), isn't capable of more pressure in the House than are "a few 'Conservative' Democrats", then it's obvious that the "Conservative" minority has nothing to fear from an Obama presidency.

    It's just business as usual, stamping on a human face with an iron boot over and over forever.

    "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

    by DocGonzo on Mon Jun 23, 2008 at 12:50:38 PM PDT

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