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Senate Votes to Grant Legal Immunity to Telecom Companies for Warrantless Surveillance, ACLU defeated -- again

The Senate voted 67-31 on Tuesday to grant legal immunity to telecom companies to protect them from potentially-vexatious lawsuits in connection with their cooperation with the federal government in the post-9/11 investigation of potential terrorist suspects, designed to help prevent another mass-casualties attack. The vote was a defeat for the Senate's liberal wing -- including Barbara Boxer, Ted Kennedy, John Kerry, and Barack Obama -- along with a major defeat for several well-financed leftist groups, most notably the ACLU.

* * *
Here's a link to the roll call vote. Here's a link to the liberal Associated Press' version of events, which for obvious reasons is couched quite differently.


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Comments (41)

Good news for sure. The bad... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica, Immigrant:

Good news for sure. The bad news is that the "savior" Obama is still on the side of the terrorist friendly ACLU liberal leftists.

Hooray to giving immunity t... (Below threshold)
Brent:

Hooray to giving immunity to telecoms for breaking the law. /sarcasm

I am shocked, shocked </... (Below threshold)

I am shocked, shocked I tell you, that Clinton couldn't find time to vote on this one. She can't afford to come down on either side of any issue at this point, other than the "Is Bush the worst thing to ever happen to America" question, of course. I tell ya, Bush doesn't stand a chance against her in November!

(shh, don't tell the Democrats what they haven't figured out)

That this was even a real p... (Below threshold)
SPQR:

That this was even a real proposal by Democrats shows just how lost and immature they are. To show their spite for the Bush administration, they'll work to punish telecom companies that cooperated with the administration in pursuing terrorism intel.

Unbelievably juvenile partisanship.

I'm sorry: did they break t... (Below threshold)
matthew:

I'm sorry: did they break the law? And if so, who decided that these particular laws were not worth paying attention to?

Not to worry. Any laws brok... (Below threshold)
Scrapiron:

Not to worry. Any laws broken were laws made up by the democrats and the anti-american media. If laws were really broken the court cases would already be flying. Lawyers like Shrillary and B Hussein Obama (with backing from they're friends the terrorists) would have lawsuits in every court.
I understand that Dingy Harry (anti-american party) is still using some procedures to make sure his friends get richer, no matter how many Americans it gets killed. The next four years are going to be great fun, 'for those few of us who survive'.

To show their spite for ... (Below threshold)
Brian:

To show their spite for the Bush administration, they'll work to punish telecom companies that cooperated with the administration in pursuing terrorism intel.

Take out your Bush fanaticism and your terrorism paranoia. Break it down to this:

Should a private company be allowed to break the law at the direction of the government?

This question does not presume you agree that they broke the law.

The Supreme Court already a... (Below threshold)
SPQR:

The Supreme Court already answered your question, Brian. "The Constitution is not a suicide pact."

Its bizarre that these disc... (Below threshold)
SPQR:

Its bizarre that these discussions actually take place. Prior to WWII, the FDR administration had the military illegally intercepting wire communications - it was explicitly contrary to federal law with no exceptions. That is how the Navy was decoding the Japanese diplomatic traffic.

No one proposed prosecuting Western Union. Today's Democrats would have sued Western Union in December of 1941 for those criminal acts.

The Democratic Party is not the party of adults.

Brian - "Should a priva... (Below threshold)
marc:

Brian - "Should a private company be allowed to break the law at the direction of the government? This question does not presume you agree that they broke the law."

Guess you missed this part of the amendment:

"In a separate voice vote Tuesday, the Senate expanded the power of the court to oversee government eavesdropping of Americans. The amendment would give the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court the authority to monitor whether the government is complying with procedures designed to protect the privacy of innocent Americans whose telephone or computer communications are captured during surveillance of a foreign target."

marc, the FISA court alread... (Below threshold)
SPQR:

marc, the FISA court already had a role in supervising "minimization" procedures. Note that the NSA reports to Congressional oversight in these topics as well.

No wonder Obama voted for t... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica, Immigrant:

No wonder Obama voted for this bill.

------------------------------------
From Rush

Obama's Dangerous Ignorance

February 12, 2008

RUSH: I'm sitting here reading this Obama interview, and I am in stunned disbelief. Nobody can be this ignorant. Scary ignorant.
...
It's a Q&A with Barack Obama December 20th in the Boston Globe, Charlie Savage wrote the story. Try this one. This is number five. "Does the Constitution permit a president to detain US citizens without charges as unlawful enemy combatants?" Obama's answer: "No. I reject the Bush Administration's claim that the President has plenary authority under the Constitution to detain U.S. citizens without charges as unlawful enemy combatants." Memo to Obama: It is not the Bush administration's position. The Supreme Court held in 2004 -- this is the famous case, US vs. Hamdi. The president has the power to detain American citizens without charges as enemy combatants. Now, I just have to think here -- I don't know what to think. He's either ignorant or he's saying something far more dangerous. If he is saying that he's not bound by the Supreme Court's interpretation of the law, liberals would have a stroke if Bush claimed the kind of authority that Obama is claiming in this -- and ignorance.

Liberals are out there going bonkers every day over how stupid Bush is. This Obama interview is just scary. Let's see. Find another one here. He gets it wrong on who ratifies treaties and who consents to them. He says the president doesn't have the authority to abolish treaties. And the president does! Bush abolished the ABM treaty shortly after taking office because Bush said it's irrelevant. The Soviets are gone. I'm getting rid of this. The liberals went nuts, but they couldn't stop him because the president does have the authority to get rid of treaties. Obama says here that the president does not have the authority to undermine Congress, the Senate here, which ratifies treaties. The Senate doesn't ratify, they consent to them. The president makes treaties, negotiates them, comes up with them. When's the last time you saw Gorbachev meeting with some senator at Reykjavik or anywhere else? Gorbachev met with Reagan, for crying out loud.


Whew! That\'s a relief. I t... (Below threshold)
tty:

Whew! That\'s a relief. I thought for a second the organization dedicated to protecting the Bill of Rights was going to win a round.

Luckily we have protected the privacy of telcomm companies from the invading eyes of those who want to protect our privacy. The telcoms might be spying without warrents on american cintizens. Luckily it is unlikely we will ever know. and if they were... it\'s A-Ok now because if ou break the law for the Bushies ou don\'t have to face the music!

You really must be t... (Below threshold)
dr lava:


You really must be the most insidious moron to cheer this failure of the pussies in the senate to stand up for we the people.

If you ever needed proof that the authoritarian streak that cheered the rise of Hitler is alive and well in the USA. Here we have proof.

Have any of you submissives ever read the Constitution?

Guess you missed this pa... (Below threshold)
Brian:

Guess you missed this part of the amendment:
"...The amendment would give the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court the authority to monitor whether the government is complying with procedures...

Great. Now show us the part where it gives the FISA court the power to travel back in time to monitor the government from 2001 until now. Moron.

Lovie, actually in the Sena... (Below threshold)
BarneyG2000:

Lovie, actually in the Senate it is called the resolution for ratification, and it is sometimes referred to as "ratify".

It is not clear if the President has the power to terminate an existing treaty. That power is included in the Constitution.

The ABM treaty included a clause that stated either party could terminate the treaty if the treaty's provisions did not apply or under extra ordinary circumstances. Bush just executed a clause to terminate that already existed in the treaty.

The Hamdi case also concluded, by a majority of Justices, that a US detainee does have the right to due process.

From Rush...Nobod... (Below threshold)
Brian:

From Rush...
Nobody can be this ignorant. Scary ignorant. ...
"Does the Constitution permit a president to detain US citizens without charges as unlawful enemy combatants?" ... Memo to Obama: It is not the Bush administration's position. The Supreme Court held in 2004 -- this is the famous case, US vs. Hamdi. The president has the power to detain American citizens without charges as enemy combatants.

Relying on Rush is a dangerous platform. But thanks for showing us where you're getting your talking points from.

Justice O'Connor wrote a plurality opinion representing the Court's judgment, which was joined by Chief Justice Rehnquist and Justices Breyer and Kennedy. O'Connor wrote that although Congress had expressly authorized the detention of unlawful combatants in its Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) passed after 9/11, due process required that Hamdi have a meaningful opportunity to challenge his detention. However, Justice O'Connor used the three-prong test of Mathews v. Eldridge to limit the due process to be received. This required notice of the charges and an opportunity to be heard...

Yes, it's Wikipedia. Deal with it.

Memo to LAI: You're ignorant. Scary ignorant.

Not as ignorant as you, Bri... (Below threshold)
SPQR:

Not as ignorant as you, Brian, as evidenced by your ignorance of FISA above.

As for your quote from Wikipedia, if you think that the vague term "charges" somehow proves something, you are not correct. There is no need in Hamdi to prove a criminal charge to hold detainees, only to establish their status as combatants.

dr lava, I'm looking forwar... (Below threshold)
SPQR:

dr lava, I'm looking forward to the part where you point to the language of the Constitution you think I've not read.

There is no need in Hamd... (Below threshold)
Brian:

There is no need in Hamdi to prove a criminal charge to hold detainees

Huh? Nor did I claim there was, nor did LAI claim Rush claimed Obama claimed there was.

Let me simplify it for you:

Rush: The president has the power to detain American citizens without charges as enemy combatants.

SCOTUS: ...although Congress had expressly authorized the detention of unlawful combatants... due process... required notice of the charges...

If being able to read equates to "ignorant", you'd be well served by becoming a little more "ignorant" yourself.

Brian, You are so ... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica, Immigrant:

Brian,
You are so dishonest again. Here is a simplification for you. No wonder you can support Obama!

http://www.law.duke.edu/publiclaw/supremecourtonline/commentary/hamvrum
Americans Captured on the Battlefield Can Be Detained Without Criminal Charges -- But They Are Entitled to a Hearing


Here is another dumb post due to your BDS
Take out your Bush fanaticism and your terrorism paranoia
------------------------------------
This bill is so fanatical that only 29 democrats, including Obama, voted for it. If you know logic, those 29 democrats (including Obama) are a prime example of liberal fanaticism in their agenda of "killing babies, not terrorists"!

Brian, How about th... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica, Immigrant:

Brian,
How about the other points? Are you honest enough to acknowledge Obama's ignorance? Or you are one of those liberals who think that Obama is the messiah?


http://obamamessiah.blogspot.com/
Is Barack Obama the Messiah?
"... a light will shine through that window, a beam of light will come down upon you, you will experience an epiphany ... and you will suddenly realize that you must go to the polls and vote for Obama" - Barack Obama Lebanon, New Hampshire.
January 7, 2008.

Lovie, the only candidate t... (Below threshold)
BarneyG2000:

Lovie, the only candidate that is talking about performing a miracle is Huckabee. Also, I already addressed Rush's BS accusations.

Barncommie, And Huc... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica, Immigrant:

Barncommie,
And Huckabee is losing. Obama is beating even the best modern dem politician Bill Clinton with his salvation message. And your arg is as "honest" as Brian. We don't expect you to acknowledge Obama 's ignorance of American constitution. Otherwise, you wouldn't be able to support Obama in any case. Why are you supporting Obama, Barncommie?

Lovie, show me the article ... (Below threshold)
BarneyG2000:

Lovie, show me the article in the constitution that says the President has the power to terminate an existing treaty.

BArncommie, The con... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica, ImmigrantL:

BArncommie,
The constitution gave the pres the power with the advice and consent of the Senate (actually 2/3) so that he can not be allowed to put treaties with foreign countries above the constitution of the US. He has the power to make treaties, so he has the power to withdraw from treaties. Where does it say in the constitution that the US is bound by treaties? The president is bound to uphold the constitution of the US. He has the power to withdraw from international treaties if he deems them harmful to the US. That 's his constitutional duty.

Surprised that Obama didn't know that and I have to explain that again here.

SPQR... (Below threshold)
dr lava:


SPQR


I take it from your posts that you are one of those fools that say, "It's OK for the government to spy on me...I got nothing to hide. As long as it protects me from the scary ragheads"


Amendment IV


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

This pretty much exp... (Below threshold)
dr lava:


This pretty much explains how you folks have totally lost the revlutionary ideals of our founders to become weak-kneeded authoritarian submissives:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xp3j103Tb_0

Lovie, you did not include ... (Below threshold)
BarneyG2000:

Lovie, you did not include the article in the constitution that states the president can break treaties. You are just making sh*t up. Just because it says he can make treaties with consent of 2/3 of Senate doesn't mean he can break treaties.

If you are going to assume that the power to make also includes the power to break, then you have to assume that the Senate would have to consent to breaking the treaty as well since it takes 2/3 to consent.

So, it looks like you and Rush are far stupider than Obama.

Barncommie, You are... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica, ImmigrantL:

Barncommie,
You are so stupid. Using your own arg: the constitution explicitly says the pres has the power to make treaties with the advice and consent of Senate. Where does it say that the pres doesn't have the power to break treaties? Where does it say that the pres cannot break treaties without the consent of the 2/3 of the Senate. Please show me. Do you understand why it is written that way? Or you need to explain to you again so that you can feed it back to Obama?

No wonder you can support Obama. "Audacity of Ignorance" in the service the "killing babies, not terrorists" agenda.

BTW, Lava "the liberal traveler of places where America is feared more than AlQ" is truly a perfect example of a brainwashed moron. Lava got his idea about revolution and "democracy" from Hamas!

Just went to the MSNBC webs... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica, ImmigrantL:

Just went to the MSNBC website
Hil Oba Others
White 53 52 42 2
Black 37 15 84 1
Hispanic / Latino 4 55 45

Clearly a division among race there among the dem primary. Obama won simply because blacks are voting for him in much larger percentage.

Last post is a wrong thread... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica, ImmigrantL:

Last post is a wrong thread!

Got you Lovie. You're just... (Below threshold)
BarneyG2000:

Got you Lovie. You're just too much an a-hole to admit that you and Rush are wrong. The constitution does not tell each branch what it can't do, it states what each branch has the power to do, and nowhere does it say a president can break an existing treaty.

Ha Ha!

Barncommie, The con... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica, ImmigrantL:

Barncommie,
The constitution explicitly says the pres has the power to negotiate and make treaties. But treaties must have consent of 2/3 of Senate. Where does it say that pres must get 2/3 of Senate to withdraw from treaties? Can you be honest just for once? This is your own arg. No wonder you can support Obama, "the audacity of ignorance", Ha Ha Ha.

The constitution does not t... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica, ImmigrantL:

The constitution does not tell each branch what it can't do
------------------------------------
The United States Constitution says...."Congress shall make no laws...abridging freedom of speech"

Yes, Barncommie, defender of ignorance. No wonder he is so excited about the audacity of ignorance.

the constitution explici... (Below threshold)
Brian:

the constitution explicitly says the pres has the power to make treaties with the advice and consent of Senate. Where does it say that the pres doesn't have the power to break treaties? Where does it say that the pres cannot break treaties without the consent of the 2/3 of the Senate. Please show me.

Oh, you're such a moron. The Constitution lists the powers the President has, not the ones he doesn't have.

Do you understand why it is written that way?

Yes, but it's clear you don't.

And Dodd!Don't for... (Below threshold)
drjohn:

And Dodd!

Don't forget about Dodd the horrible! He's part of that scumbag cabal.

Brian, You are so s... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica, Immigrant:

Brian,
You are so stupid and so dishonest again. The constitution specified the power Congress doesn't have here. At least Barney is more honest than you. Just tells us how bad you are.

The constitution does not tell each branch what it can't do
------------------------------------
The United States Constitution says...."Congress shall make no laws...abridging freedom of speech"

Sorry about 28 youtube remo... (Below threshold)
dr lava:

Sorry about 28 youtube removed it.

New address:

http://blimptv.blogspot.com/2007/11/lapdogs-of-corporate-press_21.html

This is in response to the ... (Below threshold)
Monica:

This is in response to the first commentator, who said this is "good news for sure." WHY is this good news -- please explain it to me? And about your description, "terrorist-friendly liberal leftists..." -- we're trying to protect YOU, the average american, not the terrorists. WAKE UP. All of the news about the govt's actions lately is straight out of pre-Nazi Germany or pre-Soviet Russia -- warrantless surveillance of Americans, constitutional protections being taken away (like the president's power to throw anyone in jail that HE deems an enemy of the state, such as anyone who speaks out against the govt), and now a new law about to be passed (HR. 1955) that VERY vaguely defines "terrorists" and effectively lumps activist groups into that definition, so that they may later be thrown in jail, never to be heard from again. WHY do you keep believing the lies?? Do a little research, there are 800 architects and engineers out there who say the official story of 9/11 was a fat lie (ae911truth.org) - why would they make it up?? Read the Patriot Act, read the military commissions act of 2006, read HR. 1955, READ BETWEEN THE LINES. They are trying to turn this into a military dictatorship...it's happening. it's real. Look up "American Concentration Camps" on Google....Hundreds of new, secretive detention centers have been built all over the country....if they were just new prisons, wouldn't we have heard about them? Stop fighting your fellow citizen - this is not a Conservative vs. Liberal debate, there are people involved from both sides -- and start really looking at what the powers-that-be are doing.

The Nazi's said it best: <b... (Below threshold)
Monica:

The Nazi's said it best:
"Naturally the common people don't want war; neither in Russia, nor in England, nor in America, nor in Germany. That is understood. But after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country."  Hermann Goering, 1946




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