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Senate Delays Telecom Immunity Vote Until After July Recess 148

ivantheshifty writes with news of a delayed vote (failed filibuster attempt aside) on the updated FISA bill which has been discussed here recently, in particular because it would grant telecom companies immunity (under certain conditions) from suits for wiretapping conducted at government request. According to the Associated Press story carried by the Washington Post, "Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wis., and more than a dozen other senators who oppose telecom immunity threw up procedural delays that threatened to force the Senate into a midnight or weekend session. The prospect of further delays was enough to cause Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., to postpone the vote until after the weeklong July 4 vacation."
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Senate Delays Telecom Immunity Vote Until After July Recess

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  • by paroneayea ( 642895 ) on Friday June 27, 2008 @07:54AM (#23965281) Homepage
    So, there's a chance here, in this brief window of opportunity, to drum up proper opposition to this bill. I'm sure I'm not the only one who felt deeply hurt by Obama not really opposing this bill. Perhaps now's a good chance to get him to show us that he's a candidate of change we can actually believe in?
  • I guarantee you that (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 27, 2008 @07:56AM (#23965301)

    this bill will not be voted on until after November.

    Which tells us what a hot potato it is and give us time to turn it into a rotten potato for the politicians. IOW, lobby them to not vote for it.

  • Good news (Score:5, Interesting)

    by sixintl ( 956172 ) on Friday June 27, 2008 @08:09AM (#23965423)
    This is the best outcome anyone hoping to hold politicians accountable for this could hope for. Now they can't just vote and shuffle it off into the past and tell people to get over it; their constituents have plenty of time to slam them with letters and phone calls and make them seriously rethink their support. Is it likely to still pass? Yes, that's the US for you. But now at least the bill's opponents have got a fighting chance.
  • by shma ( 863063 ) on Friday June 27, 2008 @08:42AM (#23965723)
    The only reason we have this delay is because the cloture vote occurred on the eve of a week long holiday. When cloture is invoked, there is a limited amount of time you can delay in the senate before a full vote must be held. When the senate returns it will be forced to vote on this wiretap bill, and unless 51 senators vote against the bill, it will pass. I'd like to believe this is possible, but it really isn't. Telecom immunity is all but guaranteed.

    One additional piece of information: the results of the cloture vote []. Look very carefully at the names under "not voting".
  • by I_Voter ( 987579 ) on Friday June 27, 2008 @08:46AM (#23965759)
    AC wrote:
    Forge a revolutionary workers party


    Political parties have been effectively outlawed in the U.S. - at least as they are traditionally understood.

    We now lack enforceable party platforms. This weakened the ability of the citizens to make deals between different interest groups in society. IMO: A classic case of "divide and conquer." (the electorate)

    Can You Define What a Political Party is? []

    Great Quote from 1927
    "Here in the last generation, a development has taken place which finds an analogy nowhere else. American parties have ceased to be voluntary associations like trade unions or the good government clubs or the churches. They have lost the right freely to determine how candidates shall be nominated and platforms framed, even who shall belong to the party and who shall lead it. The state legislatures have regulated their structure and functions in great detail."
    SOURCE: American Parties and Elections,
    by Edward Sait, Published 1927 (Page 174)
    As found in The tyranny of the two-party system / Lisa Jane Disch c2002

  • by Smidge204 ( 605297 ) on Friday June 27, 2008 @08:54AM (#23965839) Journal

    Bear in mind that this is the same "Vital anti-terrorist" FISA bill that President Bush refused to sign last time when it came through without telecom immunity.

    In other words, it's all about covering their ass and has little or nothing to do with actual terrorist monitoring. If it was so important for national security, why would Bush refuse to sign it without telecom immunity?

    Unless I'm mistaken, all activities started before the most recent FISA bill expired on Feb 2007 are still valid for a whole year, so survielence will continue up to Feb 2008 even if this bill does not pass.

    That makes this bill doubly-moot and perfectly "safe" to vote against. Unfortunately the public will never understand this.

  • by WmLGann ( 1143005 ) on Friday June 27, 2008 @09:16AM (#23966087) Homepage
    The Dems don't actively oppose some of these abuses (e.g. politicizing the intelligence apparatus, politicizing the Justice Dept., rendition, warrantless wiretapping, etc., etc.) because they're looking forward to this coming January, when (odds are) they will have both houses of Congress and the White House in their control. They don't want to legislate away any powers that they might make use of in the coming four (or eight) years. I think our only hope of a restoration of some of our recently abrogated civil rights is if lots of test cases make it to the Supreme Court. SCotUS is now sufficiently conservative, and will be for some time, that maybe they'll start striking down some bad laws just to spite the other two (soon to be Democratic-controlled) branches of government.

    We need more serious political parties, less winner-take-all elections, and more niche representation.

  • by monxrtr ( 1105563 ) on Friday June 27, 2008 @09:36AM (#23966331)

    Who cares. Let it fail, and let the politicians voting for it take the political hit to their reputations. It's not going to stand up in the courts anyway. And the Telecom companies can spend extra tens of millions in legal fees defending the law (or let the subpar public defender presidential administration attorneys lose even bigger for them), before it's overturn and thrown away, and they have to defend against civil damages suits later (and perhaps criminal violations).

    I foresee Telecom executives being paraded in handcuffs just like we saw mortgage brokerage employees being paraded in handcuffs last week. This is the process by which big city and State Attorney generals get their names in the paper to run for the next terms of governor.

    Congress would have been better off passing a legal defense fund act for Telecom companies and executives. So think of this law as more of a corporate welfare subsidy to the legal profession. Just look at the non-stop lawsuits against municipal employees. It wouldn't surprise me if massive corruption kick backs were involved in setting up such law suits to bilk taxpayers money toward law firms.

  • by TubeSteak ( 669689 ) on Friday June 27, 2008 @09:50AM (#23966531) Journal

    Is there any reasonable way to appear more guilty?

    Accidentally give the defense counsel call logs of wiretapped conversations they had with their client? []

  • Re:Deal with it! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 27, 2008 @10:58AM (#23967467)

    I won't argue their relative strengths as lawyers but Greenwald has been and remains the definitive source in the press/blogs on all things FISA and immunity. The guy is simply superb on this issue and impressively prolific. After reading his material and then reading or listening to the MSM you just want to pull your hair out over what a collection of witless posers most of the talking heads really are.

  • by EgoWumpus ( 638704 ) on Friday June 27, 2008 @10:59AM (#23967505)

    I think you're correct; most good judges wouldn't deign to listen to an illegal directive. However, the federal courts are being stacked with cronies - people who are going to listen to the directive and know that there is no one that can second-guess that decision.

    My biggest fear is that despite seeing the obvious corruption in the system, few people realize the extent to which the neo-conservative (fascist) movement has infiltrated the mechanics of our system. They're breaking down the matrix of checks and balances in a systematic way, and it's going to cost us in the long term.

    (Hell, the short term, too, if you consider what this war has done to our economy.)

Life in the state of nature is solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short. - Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan