House Dems Stand Strong: Say No To Telecom Immunity

By Big Tent Democrat

Some good news:

The House Dem leadership's surveillance bill just cleared the House by a vote of 213-197 with 1 vote of present. 12 Dems crossed the aisle to vote against it.

The bill has stricter privacy safeguards than the Senate's version -- and of course does not contain a provision granting retroactive immunity for the telecoms' participation in the administration's warrantless wiretapping program.

Good show.

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    I'm stunned (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by litigatormom on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 02:22:33 PM EST
    but in a good way.

    What? Good news? (5.00 / 1) (#22)
    by Robot Porter on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 04:13:01 PM EST
    And on a real issue?

    Well, break my elbows and call me Slappy!

    (Have no idea where that homespun comment came from, but it sounded good when I typed it.  So I'm going with it.)

    Kucinich (1.00 / 1) (#9)
    by eric on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 02:23:39 PM EST
    the great liberal that he is, seems to have voted with the Republicans.


    That's our guy (none / 0) (#11)
    by Steve M on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 02:35:58 PM EST
    he must have had one of his purity-trolling episodes again, like when he voted against the S-CHIP expansion.  Oh how I wish he would have lost in the primary.

    Kucinich is one of the only true Democrats (none / 0) (#32)
    by jtaylorr on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 07:25:04 PM EST
    left in Congress. He's a Democrat's Democrat and frankly, he's too good for America. He belongs in Norway.

    Anyways, when it's clear his vote wont matter, whether yes or no, he votes solely on his principle, and he voted against SCHIP because it didn't cover legal immigrants.


    Hw Also Voted No To Override (none / 0) (#13)
    by squeaky on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 02:42:03 PM EST
    Bush torture veto. I don't understand either vote.

    The torture bill (none / 0) (#31)
    by jtaylorr on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 07:19:16 PM EST
    would have set a precedent that an act of torture is only considered torture if it is declared so by Congress and that the Geneva Convention is non binding.

    Thanks For The (none / 0) (#34)
    by squeaky on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 09:03:00 PM EST
    That makes sense.

    See Greenwald (none / 0) (#14)
    by Warren Terrer on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 02:44:50 PM EST
    Some progressives voted against the bill because they felt it still gave too much to Bush, i.e. they want no bill at all.

    Thanks (none / 0) (#15)
    by squeaky on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 02:54:51 PM EST
    Apart with Greenwald being impressed with the only impressive House debate he has ever seen he translates the bottom line:

    What matters is not that this bill becomes law, but that the Rockefeller/Cheney bill does not. And House Democrats, including Blue Dogs, are obviously comfortable with defending the bill they just passed as more than sufficient to protect the nation, extend fairness to telecoms, and safeguard basic liberties. So there should never be any reason why they feel compelled to vote for the Rockefeller/Cheney bill, or any bill granting amnesty, given that they have just done their jobs. That is the real benefit of today's vote



    Wonderful (none / 0) (#19)
    by faux facsimile on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 03:54:57 PM EST
    So we get a kinder gentler surveillance bill. Remind me what is so very wrong with the original FISA arrangement, pre-Bush?

    Victories these days seem to consist of slowly extending the national security state, rather than doing so rapidly. Progress, I suppose.


    Not Sure What You Are Saying (none / 0) (#21)
    by squeaky on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 04:07:51 PM EST
    We will be left with the pre Bush FISA law. It will not be replaced.

    Not exactly (none / 0) (#24)
    by faux facsimile on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 04:38:59 PM EST
    The house just passed a bill. Assuming it makes it to the president...

    If Bush vetoes the bill, we will be back at the status quo ante.
    If Bush signs the bill, we will have some (amount depends on who you ask) expansion in the scope of legal FISA surveillance.

    I for one would rather not send Bush bills increasing surveillance powers, regardless of whether he intends to sign them or not.


    The Senate (none / 0) (#28)
    by squeaky on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 05:07:18 PM EST
    Is not likely to pass the bill, if it does Bush will veto it. End result we are back to the old FISA because the Rockefeller/Cheney bill will go nowhere. Glen Greenwald makes the point that the house dems have been sticking to the point that trashing the consitution is not making us more secure.

    Making that argument has been hard to do post 9/11. I for one am glad there is some light of reason shining through.


    Bush will veto it (none / 0) (#25)
    by Warren Terrer on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 04:42:06 PM EST
    anyway. The key for the Dems is that they stick to their guns and not pass any bill that includes amnesty.

    Personally I would prefer that they pass no bill at all after Bush's veto because as long as they are willing to consider a bill there is always the chance they will gave in and give Bush what he wants, just as they did on the original Iraq funding bill last year.


    Yes but (none / 0) (#26)
    by faux facsimile on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 05:00:46 PM EST
    What about Jan. 2009? Will it simply be reintroduced  if a Dem. is elected? I'm not sure, but I see a possibility. That's why, regardless of Bush, I see the bill as an unpleasant compromise - possibly necessary to keep a worse bill from being floated and passed - but dangerous nonetheless.

    As I said, (5.00 / 1) (#27)
    by Warren Terrer on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 05:05:49 PM EST
    I prefer no bill at all.

    I'm not sure I understand your point. If no bill passes now, and if a Dem enters the WH in 2009, why would the Dems introduce a new FISA bill then? I can't see Obama or Clinton demanding such a bill.


    Whatever his reason (none / 0) (#16)
    by eric on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 02:58:04 PM EST
    was, he still voted with the Republicans.

    It's EXACTLY that kind of thinking (5.00 / 1) (#30)
    by jtaylorr on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 07:16:16 PM EST
    that is the reason why Congress has gotten NOTHING done since the Democrats took power.

    It's exactly that kind of thinking (none / 0) (#33)
    by Warren Terrer on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 07:26:17 PM EST
    that led to the funding capitulation. Sometimes no bill at all is the best way to go, and that requires a NO vote, even if the GOP is voting no too.

    The only think Kucinich and the GOP have in common on this is neither is willing to compromise. That hardly means they are on the same side, as eric seems to think.


    Well (none / 0) (#17)
    by Warren Terrer on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 03:02:27 PM EST
    you can criticize his vote as a strategy. Indeed I invite you to do so.

    But he didn't vote against the bill because he supports Bush or telecom amnesty, or the Republican party. So it's overly simplistic to dismiss his vote as merely 'voting with the Republicans'.


    So if the Republicans..... (none / 0) (#18)
    by kdog on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 03:37:56 PM EST
    proposed a bill to legalize marijuana for example, you would want Democrats to vote against it?  Only because it was proposed by Republicans?  That seems incredibly dumb.

    I would hope every rep votes on every bill based on the merits of the bill, and not base their vote on what the guy sitting next to them is doing.  It's the freakin' US Congress, not a junior high school cafeteria.

    Kucinich strikes me as one of the good guys, and probably one of the few who reads the bills he votes on.  Since he voted against, I'm inclined to believe there must be something very wrong with this bill.


    No he isn't one of the good guys (none / 0) (#35)
    by eric on Sat Mar 15, 2008 at 12:57:53 AM EST
    He's a guy that is full of himself.  If there was a bill in Congress to condemn genocide as of tomorrow, he would feel he is taking the high ground by voting against it because it doesn't condemn genocide today.

    You are totally missing the point.  I am just saying that Kucinich is voting with the Repubicans.  He did.  It's on the record.  He might claim he had some kind of high-ground, but he didn't further the better result.

    And finally, yes, I am saying it is bad to vote with the Republicans because they do bad stuff.


    The fact that Kucinich (none / 0) (#40)
    by jtaylorr on Sat Mar 15, 2008 at 01:27:21 AM EST
    is not a slave to partisan politics, like every other Congressman, only makes me like him more.

    I know, it's hard to believe, but the Democrats in Congress really aren't a whole lot better than the Republicans.

    "The Republicans are 95 percent corrupt and the Democrats are 75 percent corrupt." -RFK


    Because he's principled (none / 0) (#29)
    by jtaylorr on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 07:15:08 PM EST
    and realizes that the lesser of two evils is still evil.

    Kucinich is ten times the Congressmen any of the other Democrats will ever be.


    Ego (none / 0) (#36)
    by eric on Sat Mar 15, 2008 at 01:01:41 AM EST
    Except for, voting for certain evil will deliver evil.

    He didn't vote for the "lesser", he voted to defeat a bill that was good.  Shame on him and his ego.


    SHAME ON YOU DENNIS KUCINICH! (none / 0) (#39)
    by jtaylorr on Sat Mar 15, 2008 at 01:23:15 AM EST
    Shame on you for not allowing the government to spy on it's citizens!


    Sorry, I had to do it.

    I like how Democrats have had to lower their standards so much that a bill that gives the government the ability to violate the Constitution by spy on its citizens is now "good" because it doesn't explicitly let the telecoms get away with murder, even though we all know they'll get off the hook in the end.


    jtaylorr (none / 0) (#37)
    by eric on Sat Mar 15, 2008 at 01:04:55 AM EST
    I would also like to send a shout-out to "jtaylorr" who apparently thought so little of my comment as to rate it a "1".  Classy.

    No probs! (none / 0) (#38)
    by jtaylorr on Sat Mar 15, 2008 at 01:17:10 AM EST
    I'd like to know since when it became unclassy to give a comment a low rating if you think it's totally ignorant.
    And I mean, I get you are trying to be snarky, but the ability to rate comments is there for a reason. I take personal offense when anyone insults Congressman Kucinich.

    I just don't understand how anyone on a "progressive" blog could ever attack Kucinich, who is literally the best Congressman in the whole country  (and one of my personal heroes).


    The revelations of the last month (none / 0) (#1)
    by magster on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 02:13:58 PM EST
    combined with progressive pushback helped get us here.

    Hopefully the Senate dynamics have changed.

    Let's be clear on what happened (none / 0) (#2)
    by andgarden on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 02:14:31 PM EST
    Democrats, including Jim Marshall just voted to strip the immunity provision from the Senate bill. I think that's even better than just passing some different bill.

    Essentially, the House and the Senate are having an Airplane! debate

    Male announcer: The white zone is for immediate loading and unloading of passengers only. There is no stopping in a red zone.
    Female announcer: The white zone is for immediate loading and unloading of passengers only. There is no stopping in a red zone.
    Male announcer: The red zone is for immediate loading and unloading of passengers only. There is no stopping in a white zone.
    Female announcer: No, the white zone is for loading. Now, there is no stopping in a RED zone.
    Male announcer: The red zone has always been for loading.
    Female announcer: Don't you tell me which zone is for loading, and which zone is for unloading.

    wow (none / 0) (#4)
    by TheRefugee on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 02:15:17 PM EST
    good on ya Congress.

    Good (none / 0) (#5)
    by JJE on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 02:16:53 PM EST
    There are ads running here about how the evil House is letting the terrorists win.  The Dems need to get out there and point out that Bush will veto anything that doesn't include telecom immunity, even though the house is willing to pass a bill that has everything else he wants.  Thus it's Bush who is putting us all at risk simply to protect the telecom company.

    The point needs to be made loud and clear to illustrate the broader point that the GOP is primarily interested in defending the interests of wealthy corporations, and cares about national security only to the extent it serves that overarching goal.

    A nice demonstration (5.00 / 1) (#20)
    by faux facsimile on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 03:57:34 PM EST
    That the strategy of giving in to Republicans on 'security' is pointless. You give them FISA 'reforms' and you'll still be tarred as pro-terrorist. No matter how much you give, they'll ask more, and smear you in the process. (Of course, you could then ask why you'd give them anything in the first place.)

    we can only hope (none / 0) (#6)
    by TheRefugee on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 02:18:37 PM EST
    what has McCain had to say about Telco immunity?

    He likes it (none / 0) (#12)
    by JJE on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 02:37:55 PM EST
    Link. I'm not sure if he's had anything to say about it other than voting for it.  He probably avoids public pronouncements.  Because of the straight talk, you see, and his disdain for lobbyists of all stripe.

    lol, straight talk (none / 0) (#23)
    by TheRefugee on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 04:38:06 PM EST
    so long as your willing to bob and weave to line your ears up with the 'straight talk'.

    thanks for the link.


    wow, good news (none / 0) (#8)
    by Capt Howdy on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 02:22:34 PM EST
    I almost didnt recognize it

    Leonard Boswell set the tone for the blue dogs (none / 0) (#10)
    by desmoinesdem on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 02:30:03 PM EST
    He was one of the 21 Dems working with Republicans a few weeks ago, but he stood strong today:


    Raise your hand if you think Boswell would have changed his position on this issue if he weren't facing a tough primary challenge from the progressive, Ed Fallon. Send Fallon some love here: