Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Privacy Communications Government United States News Politics

Senate Passes Telecom Immunity Bill 1088

Posted by timothy
from the always-been-at-war-with-oceania dept.
zehnra writes "The U.S. Senate this afternoon passed the FISA Amendments Act, broadly expanding the president's warrantless surveillance authority and unconstitutionally granting retroactive immunity to telecommunications companies that participated in the president's illegal domestic wiretapping program. The House of Representatives passed the same bill last month, and President Bush is expected to sign the legislation into law shortly." The New York Times has a story, as does the Associated Press (carried here by Yahoo!). Reader Guppy points out the roll call for the vote.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Senate Passes Telecom Immunity Bill

Comments Filter:
  • by Fred_A (10934) <fred AT fredshome DOT org> on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @04:31PM (#24123703) Homepage

    I'm sure you're all feeling a little bit better now right ?
    Um, right ?

  • Note: (Score:4, Interesting)

    by morgan_greywolf (835522) * on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @04:36PM (#24123805) Homepage Journal

    McCain abstained.
    Obama voted yea.
    Biden voted nay
    Kerry voted nay
    Hillary voted nay

    Now you know for real who stands for freedom and change and who doesn't.

  • Deplorable (Score:5, Interesting)

    by seanadams.com (463190) * on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @04:37PM (#24123837) Homepage

    Deplorable

    Why didn't Obama try to stop this? He could have spoken out and got the rest of the dems behind him. Instead he voted in favor of it. This is what his campaign said in October:

    "To be clear: Barack will support a filibuster of any bill that includes retroactive immunity for telecommunications companies."

    And on Dec 17:

    Granting such immunity undermines the constitutional protections Americans trust the Congress to protect. Senator Obama supports a filibuster of this bill, and strongly urges others to do the same.

    Oh sure, he voted for the amendments which attempted to remove or limit the immunity, but everyone already knew those would fail.

    This is from his most recent statement last week:

    The ability to monitor and track individuals who want to attack the United States is a vital counter-terrorism tool, and I'm persuaded that it is necessary to keep the American people safe -- particularly since certain electronic surveillance orders will begin to expire later this summer. Given the choice between voting for an improved yet imperfect bill, and losing important surveillance tools, I've chosen to support the current compromise.

    Another nail in the coffin for our constitution. This is a sad day. And to think that most of the senate voted on this WITHOUT EVEN KNOWING WHAT THEY WERE GIVING THE TELCOMS IMMUNITY FOR!!!.

    This stinks of a grand-scale coverup. There is still the possibility of suing the government, and perhaps striking this bill as unconsitutional. Let's hope we get to the bottom of this and put some people in jail.

  • by crhylove (205956) <rhy@leperkhanz.com> on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @04:38PM (#24123859) Homepage Journal

    And why are they not marching on Washington to protect the constitution? If they bring the M16s, I'll be right there with the bullhorn, stretchers, and snacks. Unless they want to teach me how to use an M16.

  • by bughunter (10093) <bughunter@noSPaM.earthlink.net> on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @04:39PM (#24123891) Journal
    On June 16, I wrote a check for $100 to Obama for America.

    On June 23, I learned that Obama would not oppose this bill, and regretted my donation.

    On June 24, I called Obama for America and asked for my donation to be returned, and that I would reinstate the donation once I saw Sen. Obama "take effective steps to protect our 4th amendment rights." Needless to say, I was forwarded to a voice mailbox.

    On July 9, I still have not received my refund, nor even the courtesy of a return phone call. But I went ahead and donated the $100 to Courage Campaign instead [couragecampaign.org].

  • by hav0x (984818) on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @04:41PM (#24123929)
    Stupidly, the sad thing is everyone is less safe after this legislation goes into law.
    The Telcos are just off the hook, for this particular clusterfuck.
    That and your administration has close to card blanche to fuck around.
    Sure glad i'm european
    ... gah
  • by maillemaker (924053) on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @04:42PM (#24123947)

    It's time for encryption of electronic communications to be the standard rather than the exception.

    Make it too expensive to eavesdrop.

  • Unconstitutional? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by hardburn (141468) <hardburn@wumpus-cav e . n et> on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @04:42PM (#24123965)

    Can somebody explain the constitutional argument here? I can understand the illegal nature of warrentless wiretapping, but not the retroactively granting amnesty part. That seems like something that'd be within congress' power to grant, should it so choose.

  • Re:Some days... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by qbzzt (11136) on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @04:43PM (#24123983)

    I'm thinking its time we start looking at the French Revolution for advice.

    Just remember, it ended with a Napoleon that was every bit as authoritarian as the old kings.

  • by Free the Cowards (1280296) on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @04:44PM (#24124011)

    It's axiomatic that any person who does what is necessary to become a viable Presidential candidate will not be worth voting for.

  • Ex Post Facto (Score:5, Interesting)

    by chinakow (83588) on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @04:45PM (#24124039)

    Doesn't this fly in the face of article 1 section 9 [wikipedia.org] of the constitution? In paragraph 3 is states, "No bill of attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed." That seems rather straightforward to me and since this decriminalizes something after the fact it sounds like an Ex Post Facto law to me.

  • Re:More On Immunity (Score:4, Interesting)

    by sesshomaru (173381) on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @04:47PM (#24124079) Journal
    Is it a fact that the Democrats lack spine? Or is it that Democrats believe that the President should be above the law and those who aid him should be above the law. I'd say it is the latter.

    Ultimately, I've always felt that watching the Democrats and Republicans is along the lines of watching a rivalry between say, Harvard and Yale (almost literally). In other words, while they might have the odd tiff, they still see each other as Ivy Leaguer's and the rest of us as schmucks.

    .

    Here's a test, what did Nancy Pelosi say was "Off the table" when she became Speaker:

    A. Nuking Iran

    B. Drilling in ANWAR

    C. Impeaching the President or Vice President

    If you answered C, you've been paying attention, are very cynical or both (likely because paying attention will inevitably lead to becoming cynical.).

  • by sm62704 (957197) on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @04:48PM (#24124111) Journal

    Of the two Corporate Party candidates, one voted "yes" and the other didn't vote at all. I urge everyone to vote Green, Libertarian, or Constitution Party this November.

  • The actual impact (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @04:49PM (#24124125)

    In between reading the legislation (which none of you will do) and reading only the summary, you might consider reading some analysis of this by someone who Is A Lawyer:

    Dean explains why current legislation regarding FISA would not hamper the next president's ability to push forward with criminal charges; cites the position regarding possible criminal charges that Obama had previously voiced; and describes the pardon dilemma with which President Bush may be faced if Obama continues to adhere to that position.

    Article here: http://writ.news.findlaw.com/dean/20080702.html [findlaw.com]

  • by plasmacutter (901737) on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @04:51PM (#24124173)

    This is yet the second time i'm mentioning slashdot helped bury this.

    I'm an old school moderate, which, since 1994, means I'm "OMG PINKO LEFTIST GODLESS COMMIE ENEMY OF THE STATE", and I sacrificed karma by the pana-max shipfull pointing this out.

    All to no avail, the leftist version of the moronic bushite scum we love to hate descended upon my posts and anyone who dared to agree with my assertions this man should be examined under the same scepticism as any other beltway sellout with zealous fury, "-1 troll" mods in hand.

    If you hate the irrational blindness of bush supporters, then mod someone calling for skepticism of Obama, you are a hypocrite.

  • by BinBoy (164798) on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @04:53PM (#24124211) Homepage

    I wasn't expecting that either. Obama voted for it and McCain didn't. Weird.

  • by rtilghman (736281) on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @04:57PM (#24124297)

    Good faith?

    Companies capitulated in the face of jingoist rhetoric and executive branch shenanigans, essentially offering up constitutional protections with barely a peep.

    Whether they "thought they were doing the right thing" or not isn't the point... THEY DIDN'T HAVE THE LEGAL RIGHT TO DO IT. It's illegal, it's a violation of the constitution, and they're lawyers KNEW THIS.

    Undoubtedly the Bush administration promised to cover their ass, and that's exactly what they've done.

    People scream about how unfair and overused civil suits are, but the truth is that in a capitalist society civil suits and monetary settlements are how you keep irresponsible corporations honest. Companies DO NOT CARE about you in any way shape or form, but they care about money, and the prospect of loosing large amounts of it can help to keep them honest.

    I can't believe Obama was stupid enough to vote for this tripe. At least McCain had the brains to avoid voting entirely. I favored Obama if only on the tax issue, but this has immediately made me question that decision.

    Lieberman I always knew you were a weasly little maggot coward, climb back into GWB's pants.

    Nice to see NY's senators did the right thing. Schumer and HC, I tip my cap to the correct call... you may have voted for your own reasons, but you voted right.

    Goddamn I hate my government. This and the Patriot Act... it might as well be 1938.

    -rt

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @05:04PM (#24124435)

    I'm proud to say that the senator that represents me (and that I actually voted for) voted Nay!

  • Re:Unconstitutional? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by scorp1us (235526) on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @05:05PM (#24124453) Journal

    It is not really retroactive immunity. This is how they work around it - by allowing dismissals by presidential order from here on out.

    There is some question if it can apply to ongoing cases. If it does, then it is definitely unconstitutional and "void ab inito".

    But even if held that it cannot apply to cases already in progress, the cases of the past are just a drop in the bucket of what is to come.

  • Re:Some days... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by 0100010001010011 (652467) on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @05:05PM (#24124471)

    That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

    Every day I wish more that this is going to be during my lifetime.

    Sadly I don't see such a revolution happening again. In the past you got a quite a few guys with weapons and you were about equal. I look around at non violent drug offenders being locked up. Abuse of power by all 3 branches. A minority of public that actually knows what is going on and a majority that wants to know when the next American Idol starts.

    If I were to get a few hundred people together and try to split off I'm sure the Police, National Guard, US Army would have something to say. I'd be locked away for life for "Terrorism". If I blew up a few buildings (killing no one), I'd be a terrorist. If I organized a protest I'd be locked in the corner and labeled a nut.

    There have been revolutions against insurmountable odds, but I don't think there has been any army in history that is as one sided as what the US currently has.

    Just a minute, someone's knocking at the door...

  • by nurb432 (527695) on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @05:11PM (#24124581) Homepage Journal

    I'm going to be limiting my choice to the Libertarian or Green candidates for President this fall.

    And that won't do a bit of good in a two-party system, unfortunately, and in fact it may just get McCain elected. I don't like the way it is, but it is what it is.

    Perhaps its time to change 'the way it is'. We did it once before.

  • by EvanED (569694) <evaned.gmail@com> on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @05:13PM (#24124633)

    If everyone did that we might no longer have a two-party system.

    Even if this is true, I'm not convinced what we'd have is better though. We really need to fix the one-person-one-vote thing to have viable third parties.

    There's an interesting bit of economic theory which I think I remember from my game theory class. Imagine you have a beach, represented simply by a stretch of land. (i.e. it doesn't go all the way around a lake or something like that.) There are two competing snack stands that stake out the beach. Suppose they start 25% and 75% of the way across the beach, respectively. Assume a uniform (or at least symmetric about the midpoint) distribution of visitors on the beach, and that everyone goes to the nearest snack stand for food.

    What will happen is that each snack stand owner will keep nudging closer to the center of the beach in an effort to get more of the visitors. Eventually they will reach a stable position with both in the exact center.

    What's interesting about this is that if a third snack stand enters the picture, there is no stable solution. It will always be in someone's best interest to move.

    The parallels to elections I think is pretty clear, even if the model is extremely simple even for the beach world, let alone an election where you have rich political views that don't just fall on a single axis. (Even the thing you'll see with some online tests that rate you on, say, economic and social axes are really simple.)

    But I really think that if magically we were to arrive at the situation where there were three parties and a third of the country identified with each, after a few election cycles we'd be back where we are, at least for presidental and probably Senate elections. You need something more, like proportional representation (which doesn't work for the president and not really for the Senate) or a different vote counting system.

    It's possible that I'm wrong of course.

  • by Free the Cowards (1280296) on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @05:13PM (#24124635)

    I doubt it has much to do with Islam, aside from Muslims also knowing this very obvious fact. Anyone who wants power shouldn't have it, as should be clear to anyone who understands how these things work. I'm sure that the idea predates Islam, and Christianity for that matter.

    The trouble is that this sentiment doesn't point to a solution. Just how do you choose a good leader without having a huge bias toward those people who want the position? I personally have no idea.

  • Re:We had one. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Firehed (942385) on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @05:16PM (#24124691) Homepage

    And if all else fails (and it will, as the elections are probably rigged and everyone running for office is just a different brand of polish on the same extremely rank turd anyways), bombing the state capital. Hardly the ideal solution, but we need a REAL revolution and letter-writing and phone calls quite frankly don't do shit (at least if my canned "here's why I didn't bother reading your letter nor address your concerns and will continue to fuck you over" response is anything to go by).

    Of course, attempt this at your own risk, VMMV, IANAL, etc.

  • by Mitreya (579078) <mitreya.gmail@com> on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @05:18PM (#24124755)
    I happen to believe that companies acting in good faith to help after 9/11, and who were given assurances that they would be immune from legal sanction, should in fact be immune from legal sanction. I feel reasonable minds can disagree on matters of public policy. But to you I am a traitor?

    That's why companies have lawyers on payroll, to advise them of legality of their actions. Assurances of immunity against legal sanction should be no good against doing something illegal. Presumably, if the government agent comes to you and asks you to kill someone promising legal immunity, that does not and should not make you immune in court of law. I hear QWest refused the demands until a warrant is shown.

    You might not be a traitor for thinking that, but anyone who swore to uphold the Constitution and serve their district are pretty much traitors - yes. I would think upholding the Constitution would involve not sanctioning and immunizing (allegedly) illegal behavior without even knowing what it involved. Not to mention Obama who explicitly promised to oppose the immunity before his Democratic candidacy was ensured.

  • by Applekid (993327) on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @05:21PM (#24124843)

    And since the only way to change it is in Congress and not the Executive branch, and they know this, you know they're doing it intentionally for publicity.

    Um... you do realize that the Electorates of each state are bound by the rules of THAT state, right? It's not the Federal government's job to change the current winner-take-all environment: it's each state.

    Maine and Nebraska know the score, anyway. Contact your state legislature.

  • by Shakrai (717556) * on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @05:25PM (#24124941) Journal

    I'm proud to say that the senator that represents me (and that I actually voted for) voted Nay!

    All three of my representatives voted nay as well. At least that's something.

    I'm extremely dismayed to see Obama's reversal on this issue. I'd really like to hear what his reasoning was. I'm angry enough right now that I'm questioning why I've been supporting him all this time and wondering why I should be using my vacation time to go campaign for him (as I have been planning) when he just reversed himself on a major promise to his supporters? Why the hell should I keep giving him money when I could give it to my own representatives that actually had the backbone to oppose this?

    I'll probably take a few days to cool off and then evaluate this situation further. Right now I'm mad as hell about it and if the election was held tomorrow I'd probably be voting for Nader. Hell, a write-in for Hillary even -- she had the balls to vote against it.

    This just sucks no matter how you slice it.

  • by sunburntkamel (834288) on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @05:36PM (#24125175) Homepage
    Which is worse, McCain skipping, or Obama present and voting yea?
  • Re:Unconstitutional? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Chineseyes (691744) on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @05:42PM (#24125285)
    It amazes me how many people think this bill provides some sort of amnesty from criminal prosecution. This bill gives telecoms civil amnesty, given the proper government is voted in the executives at the telecoms may very well be brought up on criminal charges and be put in prison.
  • Wire tapping (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @05:44PM (#24125327)

    What they WONT tell you was how DHS put a trojan in Skype last year when Skype had to release a new client, and another thing you probably don't know is how the DHS is concerned with "2nd Life".

    Because 2nd life is such a distributed system, and people mostly use psuedonyms, it's all but impossible to "tap" and know what you're listening to.

  • by commodoresloat (172735) * on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @05:49PM (#24125433)
    We are only going to use it to snoop on phone calls to and from Sweden. The Russians asked us to do it.
  • Re:We had one. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by megaditto (982598) on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @05:51PM (#24125469)

    Let me get this right. Are you saying that the Democrats had to pass the Telecom immunity bill because the Republicans threatened to filibuster it?

  • by chimpo13 (471212) <slashdot@nokilli.com> on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @05:55PM (#24125555) Homepage Journal

    Yeah, let's see... it's been 63 years since Hitler died ending the Nazi party. 63 years since Mussolini died ending the National Fascist Party. 38 years since Salazar died which ended the New State party 4 years later. 33 years since Franco died putting the lid on the Falangists party.

    Maybe the regimes that violate civil liberties have been absorbed by multinational corporations.

  • Not quite (Score:3, Interesting)

    by dj245 (732906) on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @05:58PM (#24125607) Homepage
    Thus, any libertarian or green party candidate running for President is only hurting their cause by making it less likely the representative that best supports their view wins. And since the only way to change it is in Congress and not the Executive branch, and they know this, you know they're doing it intentionally for publicity.

    Unless you feel that there is no practical difference between candidates and would rather vote for neither than be forced to choose.
  • by EMG at MU (1194965) on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @06:00PM (#24125653)
    Obama said he would oppose any bill that granted immunity to the telecoms.

    For all who think Obama stands for change, YOUR WRONG.He voted yes. Yes to the immunity that he said he would oppose. He is just as useless as Bush.

  • by Gilmoure (18428) on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @06:00PM (#24125657) Journal

    Weird thing is Clinton voted against it. And Jim Webb voted for it. I wonder what they know that we don't?

  • Greenwald makes the point [salon.com] that this bill couldn't get passed when Republicans held the House and Senate.

    Apparently Bush needed a Democrat-controlled Congress to get his get-out-of-jail free card.

  • Revolution (Score:2, Interesting)

    by BloodyIron (939359) on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @06:04PM (#24125731)

    What I don't understand is why the fuck you americans are standing idly by. What ever happened to the government working for you? If they don't, replace them.

    Get your guns
    Get your presidents, dead.

    Stop fucking around and do something about it, clearly your government isn't representing you, otherwise you wouldn't be fucking sitting here bitching about it. I'm a Canadian citizen and I'm outraged at the apathy you fucking "citizens" have. If you don't fucking do something soon you're going to be slaves. Don't give up your freedom that you "fought so hard to protect".

  • by Shakrai (717556) * on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @06:14PM (#24125907) Journal

    Obama will say "green" a lot in the next few weeks, babble about "corporations", promise "free" healthcare and you'll be right back in line.

    Nice attempt at a troll, but none of those things are the reason why I started supporting him in the first place.

    I started supporting him because he seemed to "get it". He wanted to end the war on science. He spoke of following the Constitution. He seemed geninuely informed about tech issues (including network neutrality). He talked about a new kind of politics where we can disagree without being disagreeable.

    Now he has sold out a fundamental principle because it would probably have been too hard to defend it. He has exposed himself as the standard issue politician, willing to say anything to get elected and willing to retreat from past promises when they become inconvenient.

    I may still vote for him but he has lost my support beyond that. Come to think of it, I live in a fairly blue state -- so I don't even feel an obligation to vote for him as the "lessor of two evils".

    Guess I'll start reading up about Nader and Barr. I don't particularly like Nader and Barr scares the hell out of me but at this point in time I'm almost beyond caring. The bigger slap in the face is the fact that the person [hillaryclinton.com] who opposed Obama actually had the balls to vote against this.

    Whatever happens now I feel like I owe HRC supporters a big fat apology.

  • Re:Some days... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by jfern (115937) on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @06:23PM (#24126103)

    You can in Nevada, but it doesn't make any difference. Even if None of the above actually came in first, the first actual candidate would win.

  • by Shakrai (717556) * on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @06:24PM (#24126115) Journal

    "All three of my representatives voted nay" -- that's not quite how the House works. One of those Representatives is "yours." The other two represent different districts, and are not subject to your vote.

    Actually I was referring to my Federal representatives, not merely my representative in the House. That would include my Congressman (Hinchey, NY-22) and both of my Senators (Clinton and Schumer).

    It was probably still a poor choice of words on my part though.

  • by NormalVisual (565491) on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @06:41PM (#24126363)
    Why the hell should I keep giving him money when I could give it to my own representatives that actually had the backbone to oppose this?

    We're not the ones to ask. You should call his office and ask them instead.

    I'm not an Obama supporter, and I've felt all along that he was talking a good game, but couldn't back it up when push came to shove. However, I had the hope that I might be wrong about him. I'm truly disappointed to see that he seems more and more to be just a politician that's not able/willing to stand up for anything of import.
  • by teshuvah (831969) on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @07:05PM (#24126677)
    I'm sure he won't read this, won't care, but nonetheless I wrote this:

    ----------------

    Mr. Obama,

    I am writing to you in regards to your vote on the telecom immunity/FISA bill today. I have never voted in my life, mostly because I've always felt that all politicians, especially presidential candidates, are all corrupted to the core. Bribes, AKA "campaign contributions", are what get laws passed in this country. I feel that we have become the United Corporations of America, in such that the country is completely run by corporate-bought politicians.

    Then you came along. Your message of change and hope, your rejection of lobbyists, and your sincerity caused me to believe in a candidate for the first time in my life. I was a big evangelizer of yours. I thought that maybe, just maybe this country had a chance to return to the ideals that our founding fathers believed in. You seemed to be our country's last hope.

    But then you voted in favor of the FISA/telecom immunity bill. For months you've been saying that you did not support it, but then after you won the primaries, you seemed to have changed your tune. I cannot fathom how the Barack Obama I supported in the primaries could vote for such a bill. The bill is beyond unconstitutional. Increasing the president's abilities to illegally spy on Americans is bad enough, but now the telecoms who illegally participated in the past get immunity. How is this change? How is this hope? How is this anything different than the past decades of corporate bought and paid for government? Removing even more of our civil liberties, and giving a "get out of jail free" card to those telecoms is not change. It's more of the same.

    I'm sure your position was switched because your top analysts told you that a vote against it would make you seem soft on terrorism. I had assumed you would do what you do best though - stand up and explain the situation from your perspective, and straighten everyone out. You did the same thing with the whole Jeremiah Wright ordeal. The media was having a frenzy, and you did something unprecedented - you talked to the media and the American people like a real person, not a politician. I had assumed you would stand your ground with the FISA bill, and address the American people as to why you voted that way. But instead, you fell into the trap that the current administration's fearmongering has laid.

    I'm very sorry that you voted for this bill. With one single vote of yours, you have now lost me as a voter. I will no longer endorse you to those I know, and will work to make sure people I know understand the implications of this illegal bill you voted for. I know I am not the only one that feels this way. The internet is swarming with angry, upset supporters of yours, who feel the same as I do. They too will be abstaining from voting this November.

    I haven't given up on you yet, and I'm hoping that you will do something publicly in the next few days to address this, and win my support back. I want to believe in hope and change, but frankly all I see now is another politician who managed to trick me. I hope you can prove me wrong.

    Sincerely,

    A Former Obama Supporter

  • by I cant believe its n (1103137) on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @07:55PM (#24127275) Journal
    Its kind of funny (not really) how a lot of countries ended up with a similar scheme of no wiretap warrants needed - the "terrists" are out to get us - kind of laws.

    If I didn't know better I would think that a couple of "old boys" from each country got together and decided what to force into local legislation. The recommended way: to use some "great external threat" to get the parliament moving in the right direction.

    In my [european] country, the threat from terrorists was cited. When an MP asked when our country had ever even experienced terrorism, it was mentioned that an old primeminister was shot to death, a minister of foreign affairs was stabbed to death and a man had been arrested who had planned to kidnap an old minister of justice.

    These are all very serious crimes, but the first was commited by a single run down alcoholic, the second was commited by a single psycologically unstable man, which was also the case in the third crime. How many believe that these three violent crimes would have been stopped by using warrantless wiretapping?

    More importantly, how did these crimes constitute terrorism? Needless to say, we now have warrantless wiretapping.
  • by cyberjock1980 (1131059) on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @07:55PM (#24127285)

    I swear in the last 2 years I've heard more and more laws being passed, with OUR voted in representatives, that quite a few people claim are illegal before they are even signed into law. Has anyone stopped to think about this? In this case, all these lawsuits involving the telecoms will be dismissed. A big fight will ensue over the legality of this new law... 5+ years from now it might(or might not) get struck down as unconstitional. What happens then? Oops, your right to sue has expired since the statue of limitations has long expired. Congress accomplished what they wanted, to protect the telecoms. And they will do JUST that, even if this law is completely unconstitional. What I want to see is a law that requires that all laws be found constitional by a court before they can be passed. This system of being able to pass unconstitional laws KNOWING that they are unconstitional is just out of control.

    I've watched our government(the USA) worry about the "zomg right now we need gas for cheap" instead of stopping to think that we'll still need it for cheap next year, 10 years from now, maybe 50 years from now. The government deal with the RIGHT here, RIGHT now. They don't think about tomorrow. That's part of the problem with the USA. We don't think ahead at all. Our attempts to think ahead are only because some other company 'thought ahead', and they know just how to make ALOT of money off of the government, our government.

    My dad told me of a song by the Grass Roots called "Let's live for today". Apparently quite a few radio stations refused to play it because the words to the song basically ignore what could happen tomrrow, and just worry about right now. This is the world we live in. We're living for today.

    Look at how people are handling the war in Iraq. We went in there, now the Democrats are saying that they only gave permission to invade, not stay for years to clean up the government that WE removed. Are they serious!?

    Look at our government spending. We're spending money faster than we ever have, and there's no attempt to control it. The dollar is weakening daily as a result and Bush and Co. want to spend more money? Are they serious!?

    Stop and look at all of your gripes about the government mishandling things, and then ask yourself how much of them could have been handled better had we simply thought ahead.

    Quite often the gripes people have that they want the government to fix are because they didn't think ahead themselves. Variable home loans and you signed up for more house than you could afford? Gas prices out of control? Hurricane destroyed your house and although you could have had insurance you didn't spend the money? You gotta own up to your own mistakes.

    We need to start thinking ahead folks. Plain and simple.

    Do I plan ahead in my life? I didn't choose 'the perfect spot on the beach that's 45 mins away in my Hummer'. I chose a location that is close to work. I am 10 minutes from work, and I drive a minivan(vice an SUV) because it is more fuel efficient than an SUV. I also have my beater car around for when I drive alone. It gets slightly better gas mileage than my minivan.

    I try to think of what COULD go wrong in the future, instead of dealing with the future when it fsck me in the a$$. Why can't my government do the same?

    I just wonder what our founding fathers would think of the USA if they were here now.

  • by catpsi (991360) on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @08:37PM (#24127681) Homepage
    If you donated to the Obama campaign, may I suggest a toll fee phone call asking for a refund? (866) 675-2008. You might also consider a better place for your donation: http://www.accountabilitynowpac.com/ [accountabilitynowpac.com]
  • Re:You linked to it (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Shakrai (717556) * on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @08:47PM (#24127787) Journal

    I supported the telecom immunity

    I'd like to hear an explanation for that, because from where I sit it's the Government using "National Security" as an excuse to give a get-out-of-jail-free card to companies that willingly violated the law just because the Government asked them to do so.

    The Government that still won't come clean about it's actions. Now it's the Executive and Legislative Branches of Government coming together to deny the people access to the third branch and any remaining ability to find out exactly what the hell happened and to hold those that broke the law accountable.

  • by Shakrai (717556) * on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @08:51PM (#24127813) Journal

    It actually put *more* restrictions on the executive branch.

    While taking away our ability to find out exactly what the hell happened and to hold those that might have broken the law accountable.

    Just because part of it smells like roses doesn't mean the legislation as a whole doesn't stink.

  • by TheoMurpse (729043) on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @08:58PM (#24127863) Homepage
    How the hell is this informative? Ron Paul isn't even in the Senate! It's the exact opposite of informative! It's false.
  • by TheGratefulNet (143330) on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @09:02PM (#24127897)

    When you don't vote, you have given up that voice.

    and yet, here is the late george carlin's view:

    http://209.85.141.104/search?q=cache:UKAsJypmKkUJ:thinkexist.com/quotation/i-don-t-vote-two-reasons-first-of-all-it-s/761194.html+george+carlin+I+don't+vote&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=1&gl=us [209.85.141.104]

    "I don't vote. Two reasons. First of all it's meaningless; this country was bought and sold a long time ago. The shit they shovel around every 4 years *pfff* doesn't mean a fucking thing. Secondly, I believe if you vote, you have no right to complain. People like to twist that around - they say, 'If you don't vote, you have no right to complain', but where's the logic in that? If you vote and you elect dishonest, incompetent people into office who screw everything up, you are responsible for what they have done. You caused the problem; you voted them in; you have no right to complain. I, on the other hand, who did not vote, who in fact did not even leave the house on election day, am in no way responsible for what these people have done and have every right to complain about the mess you created that I had nothing to do with."

    before you reject it right away, give it a bit of thought. carlin was insightful, way ahead of his time.

  • by Trepidity (597) <delirium-slashdot AT hackish DOT org> on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @09:27PM (#24128123)

    He voted for all three amendments that would have stripped or at least delayed consideration of immunity. Granted, he should have voted against the final bill as unacceptable when those amendments did not pass, but he did at least vote for the amendments, the closest of which failed only 42-56. Had any Republicans except Arlen Specter bothered to stand up for the Constitution and rule of law, immunity might well have been removed.

  • by magus_melchior (262681) on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @10:37PM (#24128619) Journal

    Let's put it this way: If you're in a developed country where the media cartels or the US have influence on the politics, there is no way you will escape the trend of free nations becoming police states. The US has a responsibility to protect and uphold its Constitution by protecting the rights of its citizens, and it has blown it spectacularly because its cash cows need to be protected. Should this persist, in a few decades the traditional "democratic" nations will make today's North Korea and Iran look libertarian, if they haven't annihilated them first.

    The next amendment to the Constitution will no doubt amend the Preamble: We the corporations of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish profits, ensure domestic dominance, provide for defense of our wealth, promote our own welfare, and secure the blessings of property control, to ourselves and our posterity...

  • by Weaselmancer (533834) on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @11:16PM (#24128941)

    Well, it's rare when it's this freaking blatant. But you do make a good point. For every time we get to actually see it, I'm sure ten more go zinging by in the night.

    So speaking of blatant, have the Democrats given any sort of explanation at all why they've decided to give this administration a pass on this? What's their cover story on this one?

    I already know the answer - "Because we're paid for." Of course they won't say that. It'd be the truth, which is like freaking Kryptonite to politicians. But I'd love to hear the excuse to cover.

  • by cryptodan (1098165) on Thursday July 10, 2008 @12:02AM (#24129295) Homepage

    Why did you want it to pass (assuming your post is not a troll)? Do you actually believe the "Global War on Terror" is a legitimate, well-founded, and sincerely pursued enterprise? Do you think people are lining up to come and attack us out of sheer irrational hatred? Do you think it is credible that "we are fighting them there so we don't have to fight them here," and it doesn't occur to the bad guys to just come over here and attack us anyway instead of waiting in line patiently to fight one-on-one with our hero like in an old Batman episode?

    Surely you can't be so gullible, so willing to take everything at face value and without analysis, so ready to assume that "they must know something we don't, so I'll trust them." Have you never ever wondered whether the vast sums of money changing hands have a significant bearing on the situation?

    Well after working at the NSA while in the US Navy you tend to see things in a whole different light in regards to how much effort and money is spent on intelligence collection and analysis of such information. You also see more of the "real" news in raw unedited format of what exactly is going on. Some of the crap i have seen and read would make your jaw drop, and make you think why do we allow this to happen or propagate well within our borders, and why do we allow them to constantly put our civilians in danger. It is absurd the amount of trouble the intelligence communities do to make sure our borders are safe, and the amount of money and research and development goes into the programs that people want to see stopped because they think it infringes on our rights when in all actuality they do not.

  • Violence? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by RecycledElectrons (695206) on Thursday July 10, 2008 @12:30AM (#24129515)

    Just a reminder: The legal system is a replacement for violence to settle disputes as long as both parties agree to it. Once one sides refuses to use the legal system, the result is that both parties begin to use violence.

    In this case, Congress and the Telcos have refused to use any option other than brute force & violence. Our options are clear.

    Andy

  • by WalkingWounded (1307899) on Thursday July 10, 2008 @04:22AM (#24130957)
    ... and he doesn't have a majority of pledged delegates. If Democrats (and the public) can kick up enough of a stink that enough superdelegates take notice, it's still possible to have a nominee who voted against this.

System checkpoint complete.

Working...