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Dodd, Feingold To Try and Filibuster Immunity Bill 368

shma writes "This morning the senate has a scheduled cloture vote to cut off debate on the FISA bill which grants retroactive immunity to telecoms who engaged in warrantless wiretapping. Senators Russ Feingold and Christopher Dodd have pledged to try and filibuster the bill, but require the vote of 40 senators to keep the filibuster alive. The article states that a similar 'threatened filibuster failed in February, when the Senate passed a measure that granted amnesty and largely legalized the President's secret warrantless wiretapping programs.' Should they lose the cloture vote, the bill is all but assured of passing. A proposed amendment stripping the immunity provision from the bill is also expected to fail."
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Dodd, Feingold To Try and Filibuster Immunity Bill

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  • Obama (Score:2, Interesting)

    by timeOday ( 582209 )
    I have a feeling we're in for a big letdown on this one. I guess he will just skip the vote altogether to avoid the controversy.
    • Re:Obama (Score:4, Insightful)

      by dreamchaser ( 49529 ) on Wednesday June 25, 2008 @09:04AM (#23933179) Homepage Journal

      Skipping a vote to avoid controversy is worse than taking a stand, even the 'wrong' stand. It would be nothing but cowardice. If he really believes what he says he'll vote against it.

      Then again he skipped a LOT of votes in Illinois as a State Senator, probably for similar political reasons.

      • Re:Obama (Score:4, Insightful)

        by ShieldW0lf ( 601553 ) on Wednesday June 25, 2008 @09:44AM (#23933779) Journal
        This is why your constitution protected your right to bear arms. The rest of the world has spent decades listening to Americans wax lyrical about how and why those rights are needed. If you don't use them now, then everyone who said you were just a bunch of nut jobs spouting empty rhetoric will be proven right.
        • Re:Obama (Score:5, Funny)

          by thePowerOfGrayskull ( 905905 ) <.marc.paradise. .at.> on Wednesday June 25, 2008 @09:48AM (#23933825) Homepage Journal
          You head on down to the Capitol building. I'll meet you there.
        • Re:Obama (Score:5, Insightful)

          by eln ( 21727 ) on Wednesday June 25, 2008 @10:26AM (#23934439)

          Come on, do you really think there's a non-trivial number of people willing to take up arms against the government at this stage? Hell, most of the most strident 2nd amendment boosters are the ones that are most vocally defending these types of bills and defending the President's right to take away our civil liberties in the name of "security".

          Saying we have the right to overthrow the government by force is nice and all, but if you think it's actually going to happen any time soon, no matter how many freedoms are taken away, you're delusional. The only way to overthrow governments these days is via military coup, and the military doesn't seem in any hurry to get into politics in this country, and I doubt we'd be in any better shape if they did.

          • Re:Obama (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Mister Whirly ( 964219 ) on Wednesday June 25, 2008 @11:04AM (#23935093) Homepage
            I think your perception of 2nd amendment supporters is a little off. They are generally the ones who do not trust the government on any level, hence the reason to arm themselves. Do you really think those nutjobs out in the middle of nowhere in Montana or Texas really want to give the government the right to freely monitor their phone conversations??
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by sleigher ( 961421 )
            I am sure there are a non-trivial amount of people in the U.S willing to take arms to stop this nonsense. However the problem is organization. The US military and gov. are very organized. A bunch of angry people with guns aren't. So I think just "going down to the capitol" is not the right thing to do. Getting people active and organized is.
          • Re:Obama (Score:5, Insightful)

            by rtb61 ( 674572 ) on Wednesday June 25, 2008 @12:53PM (#23936957) Homepage
            Actually I believe you a quite wrong about the only way to overthrow a government is via a military coup. Based upon a outsiders perspective it is quite clear that there is another way to overthrow a government.

            You simply gather together a bunch of morally bankrupt lobbyists and get major corporation to fund them and provide them with sufficient capital to funnel that cash to a bunch of criminal politicians. Also you arrange for a proportion of those bribes to go to, well, somewhat less than Christian leaders of the various Christian right organisations, to ensure a whole lot of blind, listen to the words but ignore the actions, voters , do the right 'er' wrong thing.

            To push it all along you get the government department that is meant to ensure that mass media organisations do not become monopolistic, do not become a one eyed voice for the majority shareholders ands sociopath corporate executives, to do the exact opposite a work towards turning mass media into a propaganda network for endless war and corporate fascism.

            Now it also helps if you get the telecoms to start monitoring everyone who disagrees or might even consider disagreeing as well as every opposition politician and their supporters, to keep one step ahead of them and to ensure you can enact measures to isolate them.

            There you go, everything you need to over throw a government and blow me down but, you don't have to look to far to see the evidence of it. Now I can think of one reason why the immunity bill might make it through. It really all boils down to how much dirt the telecoms were able to dig up on the various political leaders and how much of this dirt would appear as evidence if those telecoms were prosecuted. Take a very careful look at the ones voting for immunity, they are likely not voting for the telecoms immunity from prosecution, so much as they are, voting for their own immunity from prosecution, really nasty stuff.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Danse ( 1026 )

          This is why your constitution protected your right to bear arms. The rest of the world has spent decades listening to Americans wax lyrical about how and why those rights are needed. If you don't use them now, then everyone who said you were just a bunch of nut jobs spouting empty rhetoric will be proven right.

          The rest of the world doesn't get to make the decision about when to make that stand. Americans do. We aren't there yet. We haven't even come to the point where people are willing to try to elect an outsider yet (i.e. outside of current political circles). If and when that happens, then we'll see whether our democracy holds up.

          Nobody wants to believe that the people running the show are doing it for themselves and pulling the strings to make themselves fat and happy at the expense of everyone else, bu

      • by Cheapy ( 809643 )

        Well, it's a lose-lose. If he votes against it, the Republicans will hammer him to hell about "not being tough on terrorists". If he votes for it, a bunch of his voters will be pissed with him.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by MrMarket ( 983874 )

          Well, it's a lose-lose. If he votes against it, the Republicans will hammer him to hell about "not being tough on terrorists". If he votes for it, a bunch of his voters will be pissed with him.

          How this is different from ANY bill with Republican support since 9/11/01? That's the way politics works. You have to take a stance and fight off the critics.
        • Re:Obama (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Danse ( 1026 ) on Wednesday June 25, 2008 @10:47AM (#23934801)

          Well, it's a lose-lose. If he votes against it, the Republicans will hammer him to hell about "not being tough on terrorists". If he votes for it, a bunch of his voters will be pissed with him.

          So what? He wants to be the president! He better be able to take a stand on things like this. If he can't, then he's wasting our time.
      • by 222 ( 551054 )
        I'm not sure how a low, single digit percentage could be considered "a lot".

        He skipped what, 3 percent? Even that may seem a little high until you consider the thousands of things that need to be voted on each year.
      • Re:Obama (Score:4, Insightful)

        by n0-0p ( 325773 ) on Wednesday June 25, 2008 @10:12AM (#23934229)

        Then again he skipped a LOT of votes in Illinois as a State Senator, probably for similar political reasons.

        That's a load of crap and should be downmodded to oblivion. Obama had an exceptional attendance record in the Illinois Senate, where he cast over 4000 votes in eight years.

        Perhaps you're instead referring to his "present" votes, of which he cast about 130 total. Of course, if you knew anything at all about the Illinois legislature you'd know that his use of the "present" vote is entirely normal. And if you tracked his votes you'd see that it falls in line with his policy of using "present" to identify bills that either require further refinement, are unconstitutional at their face, or as part of a larger policy strategy (such as with Planned Parenthood). That's why in Illinois the "present" vote is called a "'no' with an explanation."

        • That's a cop-out (Score:3, Insightful)

          by DesScorp ( 410532 )

          "Perhaps you're instead referring to his "present" votes, of which he cast about 130 total. Of course, if you knew anything at all about the Illinois legislature you'd know that his use of the "present" vote is entirely normal."

          It may be allowed, but the truth is, voting "present" is just a way for a politician to avoid taking a stand or going on record.

          • by n0-0p ( 325773 ) on Wednesday June 25, 2008 @02:58PM (#23938893)

            It may be allowed, but the truth is, voting "present" is just a way for a politician to avoid taking a stand or going on record.

            I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you just didn't take the time to read all six sentences of my comment. I would also encourage you to go back and reread my original comment, or just do a little research on the Illinois State Legislature if you're actually curious about how the "present" vote is used. Either way, please stop pretending to speak authoritatively on subjects you know nothing about. It just makes you look like an ass for getting it so wrong.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      Which is the worst move he could make. If he wants to present himself as a leader, he needs to show leadership on such an important issue. He's done nothing so far on this, and many other issues. I can't think of a bill which has Obama's name attached. If you like his legislation or not, at least McCain has done something - McCain-Feingold, McCain-Lieberman...
      • by stomv ( 80392 ) on Wednesday June 25, 2008 @09:45AM (#23933799) Homepage

        * Global Poverty Act (S.2433)
        * Legislative Transparency and Accountability Act (S. 230)
        * Lugar-Obama Nonproliferation Legislation

        There's three, related to three very different topics, and all were an improvement in my opinion.

        As for McCain-Feingold... he violates the spirit of it every time he catches a ride in his multi-millionaire wife's company plane. With respect to McCain-Lieberman, he both spoke against it to the press as the vote came up a few weeks ago, and then didn't bother to show up and vote one way or the other on the bill itself. Unlike Obama and Clinton, he wasn't in a contested race for POTUS nomination at the time.

        • Which is why I'm not a McCain fan - he's just out for the Presidency job. Of course, so is Obama, but most people are too dumb to see past the rhetoric. Has Obama ever had a major piece of legislation pass?
          • hehehehe (Score:5, Insightful)

            by WindBourne ( 631190 ) on Wednesday June 25, 2008 @10:10AM (#23934175) Journal
            Lets get real. EVERY candidate that runs is simply out for the president's job. That is the nature of these beast. The question is, who is likely to make an improvement. At this time, it almost does not matter. Both of these will improve on the disaster that W has left.
            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              The question is, who is likely to make an improvement.
              I prefer to phrase the question this way: I'm gonna get fucked either way, so which one is more likely to use lube?
          • by n0-0p ( 325773 ) on Wednesday June 25, 2008 @10:33AM (#23934591)

            Don't dismiss something as rhetoric if you know nothing about it. Obama actually has a very impressive legislative record. In less than four years the US Senate he's gotten three major pieces of legislation passed:

            Google For Government (earmark and government spending transparency)
            Counter Weapons Proliferation (loose nukes, etc.)
            Ethics and Lobbying Reform (banned a lot of the lobbyist perks)

            If you go back to the Illinois Senate the list gets much longer, so it's easier to point to his death penalty legislation as his biggest achievement. The outgoing Governor put a moratorium on the death penalty because of too many questionable convictions. So, the issue spent about a decade treated as a political hot potato on both sides. Working groups were formed and dissolved, but nothing got resolved.

            Obama took on the issue and got a compromise bill passed by an overwhelming majority. The only way he could do that was to get the police unions and civil rights groups to agree on a fair set of procedures for things like interrogations in death penalty cases. Just imagine what kind of skill it takes to get agreement between cops and the ACLU.

            Anyway, those are just a few highlights. I really have neither the time nor inclination to list all of the major legislation he's sponsored or cosponsored. But that should give you a sense of some things he's devoted his time to.

            • by Dachannien ( 617929 ) on Wednesday June 25, 2008 @11:17AM (#23935335)

              Actually, Obama claimed three pieces of legislation in one of his ads, and debunked [] all three claims to varying degrees.

              But a more careful review via reveals the following:

              110th Congress: 19 amendments to other bills sponsored and passed. All of these amendments (including parent poster's "ethics and lobbying reform" were passed by voice vote or unanimous consent.

              109th Congress:
              S. 2125, Democratic Republic of the Congo Relief, Security, and Democracy Promotion Act of 2006. Passed both Senate and House without recorded vote.
              S. 3757, Named a post office after someone. House version passed both House and Senate without recorded vote.
              A variety of other amendments to other bills were passed as well.

              I didn't see any major pieces of legislation at all, and I must have missed the other ones the parent mentioned above (though I was only looking at legislation that became law).

              As for compromise, Obama pales in comparison to his opponent.

              • by n0-0p ( 325773 ) on Wednesday June 25, 2008 @01:33PM (#23937577)

                You really need to learn how to use properly. Although, if the best you've got is to knitpick an ad, then it's no wonder you don't understand how to use a simple website. Honestly, the biggest complaint in that FactCheck page is that he's touting his accomplishments in the Illinois Senate. They debunked nothing; they just took issue with him claiming to have "passed" legislation (as is their policy) and not noting the Illinois Senate legislation separately.

                Now, I do have to admit that I was mistaken on the Feingold-Obama Ethics Reform Bill (S.230)--it hasn't been passed yet. However, here are three major pieces of Obama's legislation passed into law:

                Coburn-Obama Google For Government (S.2590)
                Global Poverty Act (S.2433)
                Lugar-Obama Nonproliferation Legislation (S.1949)

                It's funny really, for all McCain's constant bluster on earmarks it turns out that Obama's the one who's actually enacted legislation to help fix the system (S.2590). Of course, McCain was supposed to be involved in the Obama-Feingold Ethics Reform Act too, but he turned the first attempt into a very public, partisan car wreck. The resulting bill ended up being a watered down mess. Fortunately Obama and Feingold had the dedication to revisit the issue and revive the legislation.

                As for compromise, it's sounds like you've just bought into the McCain image. The fact is that being senselessly antagonistic doesn't make one a maverick, and flip-flopping for political expediency isn't compromising. You can take almost every issue McCain is campaigning on and make him debate his past positions. He was against the Bush tax cuts and now he's for them. He supported comprehensive immigration reform and now he's against it. He supported campaign finance reform after his Keating Five scandal, and now he's running a primary campaign in violation of finance laws and has established state funds allowing donations of up to $60k per contributor. He claims to be environmentally conscious but has a lifetime score of zero from the LCV and just flip-flopped on offshore drilling. I could continue, but frankly I'm getting bored.

                Look, maybe in the future you should be less focused on your candidate's hype and pay a little more attention to the substance.

                • by Dachannien ( 617929 ) on Wednesday June 25, 2008 @03:15PM (#23939187)

                  I need to learn how to use Thomas? Here's what I found out about your citations in less than five minutes:

                  109th Congress, S.2590: Half the freakin' Senate (47 senators) cosponsored this bill. Tom Coburn was the bill's sponsor. How does that translate into Obama being responsible for passing it into law?

                  110th Congress, S.2433: Neither it nor its House version (H.R.1302) have passed. The bill had been introduced in the 109th Congress in the House but not the Senate.

                  109th Congress, S.1949: Also did not pass. Obama is listed as its only cosponsor.

    • by n0-0p ( 325773 )

      It's a cloture vote, so if he's not there it can be taken with his public statements as support of the filibuster. However, we don't know at this time if Obama is actually providing any support in rounding up the necessary votes.

    • by Zymergy ( 803632 ) *
      Sounds like an Absentee-Landlord (as it applies to voting)...
      He is there about 1/2 the time, fixing trivial things (voting on non-controversial issues), but is mysteriously he is absent when the real work is to be done (as in THIS case on telecom immunity).
      Obama better get his act together ASAP. Hope and Change DO NOT constitute a *Plan Of Action*.

      Another reason to vote for the ONLY candidate who can say with pride: "IANAL".

      ON a side note, Dodd is a very bad person IMHO...
      -He has inserted terrib
  • Retroactive warrants (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Van Cutter Romney ( 973766 ) <> on Wednesday June 25, 2008 @09:04AM (#23933181)
    I simply don't understand why the Bush Administration doesn't want to use retroactive warrants. Spy on whoever you want just make sure you submit the warrants to the FISA courts later.
    • by kurt555gs ( 309278 ) <kurt555gs@ov i . c om> on Wednesday June 25, 2008 @09:09AM (#23933263) Homepage

      Because the Bush administration would look pretty silly going to FISA after the fact to get a warrant for spying the Democratic National Committee.

      This way, they can use the excuse of terrorists, and spy on any one they want to.

    • Badges (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I simply don't understand why the Bush Administration doesn't want to use retroactive warrants. Spy on whoever you want just make sure you submit the warrants to the FISA courts later.

      Because that would mean they're following the law. To quote a Bush Administration agent, "Badges!?! Badges?!? We don't need no stinking badges!"

      That's their mentality.

    • by WiglyWorm ( 1139035 ) on Wednesday June 25, 2008 @09:10AM (#23933287) Homepage
      Because then they could still be held accountable. This whole administration has been about avoiding accountability for bone-head moves.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by MoonBuggy ( 611105 )

        Of course the bill is going to pass, and that strikes me as a massive weakness in any representative system.

        Sometimes what's good for the representatives will be at odds with what's good for the rest of the public. The representatives are the ones who get to vote on the issue - whose well-being do you think they're going to choose?

        Short of direct democracy (which is impractical) I unfortunately can't really see a way around this.

    • by Notquitecajun ( 1073646 ) on Wednesday June 25, 2008 @09:11AM (#23933291)
      It's the issue on whether or not warrants are needed when investigating foreigners. There are many transmissions for cell phones and email where the signal passes through US equipment, but is between two non-Americans. It's debatable whether or not those need warrants. The issue is more complicated than ZOMG! NO WARRANTS WERE GOTTEN when we need to know if there was need for them at all. Most debate on this that I've seen has been too over-simplified on both sides of the issue.
      • by DeadCatX2 ( 950953 ) on Wednesday June 25, 2008 @10:51AM (#23934865) Journal

        A few things that make this debate simpler than you think...

        Foreign-to-foreign calls are just a red herring - if they really couldn't tap them without a warrant (and under current law, they already can; 50 U.S.C. Â1802(a)(1)) they could just write "except for foreign-to-foreign calls" into the FISA law.

        It came out a while ago that the issue really is email. You don't know where the person actually is with 100% certainty if the message hasn't been delivered, so that's why they want all this legalese with "reasonably believed to be outside of the US". This is what they really want and they're using foreign-to-foreign calls as an excuse to push for this.

        None of this changes the fact that the 4th Amendment protects American citizens from warrantless surveillance. If they want to be able to wiretap American citizens without a warrant for any reason whatsoever (including national security), they ought to pass a Constitutional amendment.

        None of this changes the fact that those private companies knowingly violated multiple federal laws [] that were put in place to prevent and protect against exactly this sort of behavior. Do you think Congress would give you immunity for breaking multiple federal laws? (assuming you had the connections and enough money) Isn't this two-tier system of justice, where the rich can buy the right to violate the law while everyone else must suffer justice, the antithesis of what makes America great?

    • by Bearpaw ( 13080 ) on Wednesday June 25, 2008 @09:12AM (#23933305)
      Getting the paperwork ready for the rubber-stamp is evidently too hard for them. The FISA court almost never turns down a request. What's that say about the kinds of things the Bush Admin and their toadies want to do, if they don't even want token oversight?
    • by elrous0 ( 869638 ) * on Wednesday June 25, 2008 @09:26AM (#23933517)
      Because they know that the scope of the people they're spying on would never hold up to FISA scrutiny (a truly scary thought, as FISA is basically a "rubber stamp" court in the first place). Even the FISA court wouldn't accept a warrant for wholesale email and phone call data mining on EVERYONE.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Hatta ( 162192 )

      In the FISA courts the government still has to show that they had a good faith belief that the correspondence was relevant to an investigation. The fact that they put a splitter [] on the backbone means that they are tapping the calls of millions of people. There's no way that they have a good faith belief that every one of those millions of calls is relevant to anything.

    • by Hoplite3 ( 671379 ) on Wednesday June 25, 2008 @10:13AM (#23934239)

      Because they're monitoring everyone's phone. FISA allows the feds to sneak a peak at someone's phone and apply for a warrent to tap THAT phone after the fact. It doesn't allow for wholesale surveillance of the nation.

      The White House plan was exactly that, so FISA wasn't enough.

      Moving away from facts to opinions, it makes me want to puke that this bill is called a "compromise". The things that are compromised are our civil liberties and the law. It busts me up inside. I'm a progressive minded guy, but I have to rank my priorities. The rule of law has to come before other things I'd like to see politically -- like national healthcare and so on.

      The Democrats like to promise both, but when it comes to the fight, they say to their civil libertarian base, "Hang on, children. It's just not viable to investigate that or impeach that guy. Not in an election year!" As if I care if you get elected if you're not holding some feet to the fire.

      The real tragedy is that there's a consensus on civil liberties that's divided across the party lines. The libertarian wing of the Republicans and the (civil) libertarian wing of the Dems are always left out in the cold by their party leadership. We just get fucked on both ends, don't we?

      If there was room for third and fourth and fifth parties, we wouldn't have to sit in the back of our respective conventions, holding our hats and pleading that this year they take our platform seriously. Instead, we vote along each year based on BS wedge issues like gun rights, gay marriage, and abortion when the truth is the real decisions on these issues matters so very little compared to nationwide surveillance.

      Screw it. I say make guns illegal for those over 18, but require minors to carry machine guns by law (and no nambly-pambly assault rifles either). Break up all heterosexual marriages and assign everyone a new gay spouse. No abortions during the first three trimesters, but free abortions during the first year after birth... just VOTE TO STOP THE PHONE TAPPING.

  • by _xeno_ ( 155264 )

    After claiming to be against immunity and against this bill, will Obama actually show up and participate in the voting? Or is he "too busy campaigning?"

    Oh, wait. He supports the bill now. [] Can't you just fell the change we can believe in?

    And on that first question, apparently Obama is currently campaigning in Las Vegas [], although given the second point, maybe that's just as well.

    • by Yvanhoe ( 564877 ) on Wednesday June 25, 2008 @09:08AM (#23933225) Journal
      Once again, you'll have to choose for the candidate that goes backward the slowest...
    • by elrous0 ( 869638 ) * on Wednesday June 25, 2008 @09:20AM (#23933437)
      Anyone who believes that any candidate from either of the two major parties is ever going to affect any real change doesn't know politics very well. Obama is selling the ILLUSION of change, but he is just as much beholden to special interests and the Washington political system as John McCain.

      People laugh at Jesse Ventura when he goes on Larry King and condemns both parties for exactly this kind of bill. But that's one ex-pro-wrestler who has Washington pegged PERFECTLY.

      • by revscat ( 35618 ) on Wednesday June 25, 2008 @10:55AM (#23934955) Journal


        You think that the a Democratic president would have invaded Iraq? Imprisoned and tortured innocent people? Pushed for telecom immunity in the first place? Undermined the military? Publicly exposed the identity of undercover agents? Ignored New Orleans after Katrina? Undermined habeas corpus?

        So, no. I disagree with Obama on this one, and hope he comes out strongly against it. But I'm not so shallow or pedantic as to think this makes the parties equal in any way.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Sure, it's a new pair of pants, but they're really a lot like your old pair of pants. Two legs, a few pockets, belt loops, zipper, etc. Maybe you get a button-fly! Or a pair with some extra pockets! But, regardless, they're still just pants.

    • by samkass ( 174571 )

      Please don't try to use Wired as a valid source for an argument. It's the Cosmo of our industry.

      As usual, almost no bill that comes before Congress is a single-issue bill. They're all full of a huge number of provisions that any given senator is going to support and oppose. The way our government works is to find a bill that gives everyone enough that it gets the votes despite the opposition. Perhaps Obama feels strongly enough about something else in the bill that even the wiretapping is worth it?

      In an

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Sabz5150 ( 1230938 )
      The way I see it, Bam supports the bill with the exception of the retroactive immunity. He has even stated that he will fight to strip it from the bill. [] If his words are true, he will support the filibuster.
  • Call (Score:5, Informative)

    by Rinisari ( 521266 ) on Wednesday June 25, 2008 @09:09AM (#23933249) Homepage Journal

    Call and remind your representative that he or she has an oath of office and a public image to sustain, and voting for this bill cannot possibly be a supportive action for either.

    Seriously, if this thing passes and becomes law, it should be the job of every /.er to write to their local newspaper and lambaste their representative for voting in support of a bill which violates every citizen's constitutional rights, and aids, abets, and forgives those who broke the law in ante facto.

    Conversely, if a /.er's rep votes against it, that /.er should write in support of their representative's action.

    • If it was about privacy you should be trying to put tougher penalities on the Government for the actions for they were the ones monitoring the information. The companies crimes were they were to much of a wimp to say no to the government. Where I could see the conversation between the company and the government kinda like this...

      government: We want to put some monitering devices to track terrorist, we assurue you it is quite legal.
      company: I'm not sure...
      government: Oh by the way hows your bid to put cell

    • I called my senators; I've never called a senator's office before and I found it to be incredibly easy. Took less than a minute each.

      I told them I was from their state and was calling to urge the senator not to support the cloture vote for H.R. 6304 regarding the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and that I urge the senator not to support the bill because it takes away rights from every citizen.

      You can find your senators' phone numbers at []

  • Dodd... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Bombula ( 670389 ) on Wednesday June 25, 2008 @09:09AM (#23933261)
    Well, it's great that Dodd is filibustering this insane bill, but quite frankly I lost all respect for the guy when he supported giving a $300 billion tax-payer funded corporate bail out to Country Wide (who owns 10% of the mortgages in the US) because he's pals with the CEO. At least with Dubya the game is up and everyone knows him and his cronies for the corporate whores and oil lobby monkeyboys they are. With guys like Dobb, who posture around with a BS charade of integrity it's somehow worse. If you're going to be a festering piece of shit, please don't insult me or waste my time trying to convince me you're a white rose.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Dripdry ( 1062282 )

      Sounds fair. Let's get down to brass tacks, though (I've always wanted to say that):

      Which is better? Knowing someone is a political ass master, or not? Which is going to allow for the possibility of change back toward a government by and for the people?

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by blindd0t ( 855876 )

      This [] is worth a look too. For those to lazy to RTFA much-less read yet another one, it is regarding a provision Dodd slipped into some housing legislation that would require just about all small businesses to "track, aggregate, and report information on nearly every electronic transaction to the federal government."

    • by sm62704 ( 957197 )

      With guys like Dobb, who posture around with a BS charade of integrity

      If they have an R or a D next to their name in the newspapers, they are a wholly owned subsidiary of a foreign owned corporation (MNC).

      Any politician who takes money from any company with a single foreign stockholder is a traitor to his country, no matter what country he represents. I'm sad to say I helped vote traitors into the Senate, House, and Presidency. I no longer do that.

      Slashdot is one of Heinlein's four boxes.

    • by cvd6262 ( 180823 ) on Wednesday June 25, 2008 @10:05AM (#23934083)

      I met Dodd once. He was trying to sneak a relative into an event where I was interpreting for foreign dignitaries. The woman working security told him his guest did not have the proper credentials to enter the VIP area. His response was quick:

      "But I'm SENATOR Dodds."

      She wasn't impressed:

      "Yes, I know that. And HE doesn't have the proper credentials."

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      Show me a politician who is not a "corporate whore". The may start out with the greatest of motives, and claim not to be corporate shills but eventually they all get bought and paid for by companies that want something, generally something that would otherwise be illegal, immoral, or just plain wrong. The problem is not the men and women that we elect, it is the lobbyist that work for the corporations and foreign interests that have free reign to manipulate them once we elect them.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by stinerman ( 812158 )

        The left flank of the Democratic Party aren't whores. I'm talking about Dennis Kucinich, Barbara Lee (who voted against going to Afghanistan), Pete Stark, etc.

        There are a few libertarian Republicans who aren't whores but tend to vote in such a way that one could construe them to be whores. Ron Paul, Jeff Flake, and others come to mind.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 25, 2008 @09:10AM (#23933281)
    As this bill was brought forth by the Democrats and expected to pass by a Democrat controlled majority why isn't this marked with a "Democrat" tag?

    Yeah, must be that evil, lame duck Bush Administration using his monarchy powers to get this through with the Republican Sith... ]sic[
    • Democratic is the adjective, as in the Democratic party. Some Republican did a study and found that dropping the -ic sounded worse, so they adopted it. Now if you're a Republican, fine. But I don't want anyone being mistakenly taken as a Republican in this day and age.

  • by faloi ( 738831 ) on Wednesday June 25, 2008 @09:19AM (#23933419)
    Both parties are in favor of increasing government control. On one side, you have a party that's voting to increase power because it's what they want to do, regardless of what their constituents have to say. On the other, you have a party that secretly wants to increase power, but has more vocal constituents. So instead of just voting to increase power, they vote to increase power and say things like "it's an election year" and "we can't afford to appear soft on ."

    There's *always* an election coming up. If you don't vote for people with a backbone when the chips are down, and keep accepting the excuses, nothing will ever change.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Tancred ( 3904 )

      Look at the voting by party. In the House, weren't the Republicans nearly unanimously for the bill and Democrats split nearly evenly?

  • by scubamage ( 727538 ) on Wednesday June 25, 2008 @09:40AM (#23933701)
    When you have elected officials, they learn rhetoric, idiocy, and how to play with the body politic. They rarely if ever campaign on what they truly intend to do. Now, in Greek democracy anyone could be elected through a lottery system for a one year term, based on regions of the country. It'd be awesome if we would institute something similar. No more pandering to lobbyists, etc. But oh no, that would be a democracy, and America doesn't want that.
  • by JLavezzo ( 161308 ) on Wednesday June 25, 2008 @09:41AM (#23933713) Homepage

    I'm pretty sure they will try TO filibuster since they'll be speaking English.

  • by GodBlessTexas ( 737029 ) on Wednesday June 25, 2008 @09:44AM (#23933781) Journal
    ... in a Democratic Party controlled Congress? I am not trying to play partisan politics, but it is absurd to think that the party that claims to be "of the people" would bow so easily to Big Business and a President that they have made no bones about despising. This is one of the most patently offensive laws to civil liberties that I've ever seen, and I'm just stunned that there isn't enough Democratic support to either strip the retroactive immunity provision or filibuster the bill. Isn't it the Republican Party's job to acquiesce to big business?
    • by oDDmON oUT ( 231200 ) on Wednesday June 25, 2008 @09:57AM (#23933975)

      Simply put, it's an election year and none of the Democrats want to appear "soft on terrorism/defense/insert-the-buzzword-of-the-day-here", out of fear of losing their jobs.

      Unfortunately for "we the people", their fear means the loss of more of our civil liberties.

      • by roystgnr ( 4015 ) <roystgnr&ticam,utexas,edu> on Wednesday June 25, 2008 @12:37PM (#23936703) Homepage

        Simply put, it's an election year and none of the Democrats want to appear "soft on terrorism/defense/insert-the-buzzword-of-the-day-here", out of fear of losing their jobs.

        A fear which is sadly [] confused []; how do you appear "strong" by doing exactly what your opponent wants but less enthusiastically? The Democrats are never going to be perceived as more zealously hard-on-terrorism than the Republicans, so their only hope is to try to motivate people who want them to be zealously strong-on-liberty instead. Weakling decisions like "I voted against the Fourth Amendment, but I felt really bad about it" aren't going to win them any voters from any part of the political spectrum.

  • 3 choices (Score:5, Insightful)

    by moxley ( 895517 ) on Wednesday June 25, 2008 @10:06AM (#23934101)

    If Obama votes to pass this, you know he is compromised.

    If he skips the vote, you know he will not stand up for what is right in the face of intimidation by big business etc - which is almost as bad as the first choice.

    If he votes the bill down, then he'll really be showing something...

    Unfortunately I don't expect him to show much of anything when it really comes down to taking a risk.

    He sounds great, and certainly is better than the other candidate(s), but anyone can get up and talk about freedom and healing, etc. It is an entirely diferent thing to stand up in front of the machine and refuse to play ball or roll over. If he cannot do this, then we're in for more of the same.

  • by flaming error ( 1041742 ) on Wednesday June 25, 2008 @10:36AM (#23934639) Journal
    From the OP:

    require the vote of 40 senators to keep the filibuster alive.
    From Wikipedia []:

    The term first came into use in the United States Senate, where Senate rules permit a senator, or a series of senators, to speak for as long as they wish and on any topic they choose, unless a supermajority of three-fifths of the Senate (60 Senators, if all 100 seats are filled) brings debate to a close by invoking cloture.
    So I'm not sure they need 40 supporters - they just need 40 who'll do nothing.

  • Coincidence? (Score:5, Informative)

    by iter8 ( 742854 ) on Wednesday June 25, 2008 @10:37AM (#23934667)
    House Democrats who flipped their votes to support retroactive immunity for telecom companies in last weeks FISA bill took thousands of dollars more from phone companies than Democrats who consistently voted against legislation with an immunity provision, according to an analysis by CBS News [].

    Why am I not surprised?

Recent investments will yield a slight profit.