Pussification of House Democrats hits all time high.

Someone explain to me what we accomplished in giving the Democrats control of both halves of Congress back in 2006? Because so far I’m not seeing them do much of jack shit with it. Not only have they not brought the troops home, but the House just passed a bill giving the telephone companies immunity on illegal wiretapping:

WASHINGTON – The House Friday easily approved a compromise bill setting new electronic surveillance rules that effectively shield telecommunications companies from lawsuits arising from the government’s terrorism-era warrantless eavesdropping on phone and computer lines in this country.

The bill, which was passed on a 293-129 vote, does more than just protect the telecoms. The update to the 30-year-old Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act is an attempt to balance privacy rights with the government’s responsibility to protect the country against attack, taking into account changes in telecommunications technologies.

Opponents of immunity believe civil lawsuits are the only way the full extent of the wiretapping program will ever be revealed.

Key senators voiced strong opposition to the compromise, although they’re unlikely to have the votes to either defeat or filibuster the bill. Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, the top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, condemned the immunity deal. He said that nothing in the new bill would prevent the government from once again wiretapping domestic phone and computer lines without court permission.

Specter said the problem is constitutional: The White House may still assert that the president’s Article II powers as commander in chief supersede statutes that would limit him actions.

“Only the courts can decide that issue and this proposal dodges it,” Specter said.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi of California disputed that, saying FISA would from now on be the authority for the government to conduct electronic surveillance.

“There is no inherent authority of the president to do whatever he wants. This is a democracy, not a monarchy,” she said.

Someone please explain to me how it’s a Republican that’s criticizing this compromise while a Democratic leader is supporting it. What the fuck is this? Opposites day? Supposedly FISA was the authority before this bill came along and yet the Bush Administration got away with ignoring the FISA court altogether. What’s to stop that from happening again?

Most annoying of all is the fact that Senator Obama voted for this so-called compromise. I am, much like the ACLU, outraged over how the Democrats are bending over and smiling while Bush rams it up their collective asses. With a bunch of spineless pussies like this in power it won’t matter if the Democrats win the White House.

13 thoughts on “Pussification of House Democrats hits all time high.

  1. The Democrats are a bunch of pussies. They don’t deserve the White House and if Obama voted for this amnesty, he doesn’t even deserve to be a candidate.

    So the choice will be between a party of fuckwads and a party of dickweeds. What to do…

  2. I’m afraid I’m not surprised in the least.  The push for legal immunity began with Senator Rockefeller (D), one of the earliest out-spoken critics of Bush and the NSA systems. 

    “What you’re doing is bad so let me write this press release condemning you while I ensure that no one goes to jail for the things I’m supposedly condemning”  confused

    Politicians will go with the wind and tell the people what they want to hear.  But when its time to vote, they’ll vote with what the money wants.  Dodd, the anti-immunity hero, was probably too busy taking bribes from Countrywide to realize he was supposed to play ball on the spying, too.  Pelosi?  She was in on it from the beginning, and could be as guilty as Bush is if there were ever to be a trial to uphold the constitution against our political aristocracy. 

    I also don’t know why a party would give up significant power such as being able to spy on political and personal opponents, just a few months before they’re expected to sweep into office.  Imagine all the great conservative scandals uncovered once blue-team party loyalists take over at the headphones.

  3. Obama’s support of this pissed me off so much that I actually wrote to his office (big whoop, I know), but I’ve never been moved to do something like that before.

  4. Just to play devil’s advocate, the class action dollars every telephone company might somehow expect to pay if they weren’t given immunity could basically ensure that every single one in the country was owned by a foreign country or dissolved entirely in a fire sale. I don’t agree with what the telephone companies did, but I’m not sure the consequences of letting the public rake them over hot coals legally is as important as writing strong laws that make certain that it never happens again.

    Dismantling the power of the telecommunications industry is less important to me than dismantling the power of the Executive branch at this point, and I can only hope that Obama has the sense to see that – because I know that no “small government” Republican exists anymore who can. Small government to Republicans these days means that government rests in the hands of one man.

  5. Small government to Republicans these days means that government rests in the hands of one man.

    Frightening but true and well-said.  Like they’re closet monarchists.

  6. DOF that’s unfair

    A democracy is where a lawyer or accountant takes part in a beauty contest, making all sorts of unrealistic promises to try and win the support of people who don’t understand the issues, but rely on a biased media’s sound bites.

    A monachy is where someone who has been trained from birth can make the decisions that people need, not having to bribe them.

  7. the class action dollars every telephone company might somehow expect to pay if they weren’t given immunity could basically ensure that every single one in the country was owned by a foreign country or dissolved entirely in a fire sale.

    My understanding is that this is NOT about suing the telcoms for money, as much as it is getting to the Truth. This bill legalizes many of the warrantless eavesdropping activities George Bush illegally ordered back in 2001 (maybe even earlier) and in turn locks away the truth, as we’ll never get the chance to challenge yet another crime against us.

    I mean, if what the telecoms are doing is legal as per Bush Co and their Republican lapdogs, then why the need for immunity? Simple, They can not allow the public to see what’s happening to our rights.

    As to why the Dems folded, again the answer is pretty simple, they knew about it and let it slide or worse yet agreed with Bush Co. One just needs to think about the reason(s) behind even bringing this up. Why? Why did the leadership bring this to a vote? Why now?

    The Republicans couldn’t, Bush couldn’t, the Blue Dogs couldn’t, the only one that could is Harry Reid! Why? I’m pretty sure it’s not because it’s a good bill, nor is it because he had no choice, after all they defeated this same style bill back when he was in the minority. Yet he was pissed when Dodd stopped this months back and now he shoves it back out again.

    This whole thing is ripe, there is much more to this than just protecting telcoms pocket books, the problem is we may never know…

  8. Whether it’s “about” money it would inevitably snowball into money. If someone’s going to bring a suit to force discovery then they have to assert damages, and if they’re going to assert damages then that always basically boils down to “how much?”

    And really, whether or not what the telecoms were doing was legal, things are distinctly muddier about their personal liability when they’re acting under instructions from the government. In normal circumstances that’s immunity, because in the process of carrying out the government’s orders a company and its representatives are acting as agents of the government (which are usually immune from prosecution as long as they’re carrying out lawful orders.) Now, the lawful orders thing is where it gets murky: You can be lawfully carrying out illegal orders based upon apparent authority. If a cop comes up to you, waves a badge in your face and tells you to hold a gun on someone because he’s a bad guy then you’ve got a pretty good argument that even if the cop wasn’t a real cop, or even if the cop was way out of bounds, that you’re not a kidnapper.

    The same argument is fairly strong in favor of the telecoms, whether or not they knew it was wrong, or illegal, or whatever, depending on on what authority whatever was asked of them happened, in the face of a government administration that was clearly strong-arming the public pushing the boundaries of executive branch power, I’m not at all sure it’s clear that they’re liable for the misdeeds of complying with the administration. Basically all fault stems from the administration and that’s firmly where liability should lie. That’s because if anyone should know what the government should and shouldn’t be allowed to ask someone to do, it’s the government; and if anyone should be obeying the nation’s laws, it’s the government.

    That’s the only way to understand this for the compromise declared too: Whether or not the telephone companies were unlocking the pearly gates of domestic and foreign surveillance nirvana or not, they were abused by the exercise of power as much as the private citizens they may or may not have helped the government spy on if they were compelled without compensation. If, on the other hand, they were compensated, then they already probably possess some large measure of immunity already (because building bombs is illegal too, unless the government contracts out for you to build bombs and then you better build bombs for them, etc.)

    Like I’ve said – I still think it’s all ass. I’d be really happy if the government, in the interest of mopping this all up, were to produce a Joe G-Man who thought up this whole cocked up cluster screw-up and throw him in prison or make a public and humiliating firing of, or something, of the guy(s) because rule number one of government contracts is “Thou Shalt Obey The Law Because When You Fuck With Her She Fucks You Back.”

    At the worst case there’s someone up in the realms of the high and mighty somewhere with his named signed on a waiver authorizing a little group of toadstools to toss away all normal common sense and trample the Constitution “using the telephone companies, figure something out.” That guy needs to lose his job even if nothing he did was technically illegal, because technically is a dirty word. Technically is how losers get laid and failures win, it’s not how you’re really supposed to get the job done.

    I just don’t think the telecoms are the problem here, even if no one ever called them up and asked them to spy on the public but instead they wrapped it up as a present and tied it pretty with a bow. You don’t take gifts when you’re the government, especially ones that are possibly violations of several laws against domestic wiretapping. Going after the telecoms is useless except in a sort of irresponsible blame game.

  9. I Agree with you about this may/will snowball into money. That said, I really don’t care if money comes into or not. The point remains laws were broken and there is always a prices to pay. I’m lost as to your analogy, though I think your point made it’s way in.

    As I said laws have been broken, regardless of whom directed what. The US of America is a land of laws NOT men. Our Government has to heed the same laws as it’s citizens, if not we are no longer a democracy. Now Bush, the Republicans and sadly some Democrats want to make what can only be seen as every criminals wet dream (rob a bank, then lobby Congress to make bank robbery legal and make it retro active to boot).

    I for one do NOT want to just mop this up, well only if by mopping up you mean, frog marching Bush , Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, Wolfowitz, half the GOP and any one else involved. I know this may seem extreme to some, but I’m/We’re not talking about a simple crime here, We are talking about shitting on the Constitution, the life blood of our democracy, the reason thousand upon thousands have payed the ultimate sacrifice for and I for one can not and will not accept that they don’t have to pay for their crimes.

    I understand that you and maybe some others feel that the telecoms are getting a raw deal here, but this is far from a “Blame Game” The telecoms knew it was illegal (Qwest) yet, they agreed to commit a crime, knowingly and willfully, so I have zero remorse for them or anyone else involved.

    As I’ve said before and I’ll say again and again, if the telecoms backs are forced into a bent over position, because we are all stand on their heads to get to Truth and if/when the proverbial giant class-action dildo bears down on their collative asses, well I can pretty much guarantee you they’ll receive no lube from me, let alone a retro-active reach around   wink

  10. MM writes…

    And really, whether or not what the telecoms were doing was legal, things are distinctly muddier about their personal liability when they’re acting under instructions from the government. In normal circumstances that’s immunity, because in the process of carrying out the government’s orders a company and its representatives are acting as agents of the government (which are usually immune from prosecution as long as they’re carrying out lawful orders.)

    And there’s the rub: It’s likely that the orders being carried out were not legal so even by your standard they shouldn’t be shielded from a lawsuit, but we won’t know for certain either way now because it’ll never come out thanks to the immunity granted by this bill.

    If a cop comes up to you, waves a badge in your face and tells you to hold a gun on someone because he’s a bad guy then you’ve got a pretty good argument that even if the cop wasn’t a real cop, or even if the cop was way out of bounds, that you’re not a kidnapper.

    You also still have the right not to take the gun and hold it on someone. The telecoms didn’t have to agree to the government’s request. They could have insisted on a FISA order as per the law. In fact at least one company, Qwest, refused to participate in the program. And if the former Qwest CEO is to be believed, the Bush Administration started asking companies to participate well before 9/11 ever happened:

    Former chief executive Joseph P. Nacchio, convicted in April of 19 counts of insider trading, said the NSA approached Qwest more than six months before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, according to court documents unsealed in Denver this week.

    Details about the alleged NSA program have been redacted from the documents, but Nacchio’s lawyer said last year that the NSA had approached the company about participating in a warrantless surveillance program to gather information about Americans’ phone records.

    In the court filings disclosed this week, Nacchio suggests that Qwest’s refusal to take part in that program led the government to cancel a separate, lucrative contract with the NSA in retribution. He is using the allegation to try to show why his stock sale should not have been considered improper.

    But, again, we may never know because this bill grants all the telecoms immunity.

    The same argument is fairly strong in favor of the telecoms, whether or not they knew it was wrong, or illegal, or whatever, depending on on what authority whatever was asked of them happened, in the face of a government administration that was clearly strong-arming the public pushing the boundaries of executive branch power, I’m not at all sure it’s clear that they’re liable for the misdeeds of complying with the administration.

    If that’s true then there’s no harm in allowing the trials to take place and for justice to run its course, but, and it bears repeating again, now we’ll never know.

    That’s the only way to understand this for the compromise declared too: Whether or not the telephone companies were unlocking the pearly gates of domestic and foreign surveillance nirvana or not, they were abused by the exercise of power as much as the private citizens they may or may not have helped the government spy on if they were compelled without compensation. If, on the other hand, they were compensated, then they already probably possess some large measure of immunity already (because building bombs is illegal too, unless the government contracts out for you to build bombs and then you better build bombs for them, etc.)

    I realize I risk invoking Goodwin’s Law, but isn’t that the same argument that the Nazi officers tried to use? “It’s not my fault. I was just following orders.”

    Granted illegal wiretapping pales in comparison to the Holocost, but the point remains that when people and/or companies knowingly break the law on the behalf of the government they aren’t supposed to be shielded from the repercussions of those decisions.

    I just don’t think the telecoms are the problem here, even if no one ever called them up and asked them to spy on the public but instead they wrapped it up as a present and tied it pretty with a bow. You don’t take gifts when you’re the government, especially ones that are possibly violations of several laws against domestic wiretapping. Going after the telecoms is useless except in a sort of irresponsible blame game.

    It’s not useless if it serves the purpose of bringing the illegal programs out into the open as well as giving the companies involved good reason to be sure what they’re doing is legal before agreeing to do it.

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