Preznit Sez

Nice job, Steny, you suckhole.

Did I miss a meeting? Are the American people clamoring for protection for the phone companies? Did Bush’s approval rating shoot through the roof while I was mopping my floors this morning. What the hell, guys? Have Republicans suddenly surpassed, say, beastial perverts in the esteem of the average U.S. citizen? Whence cometh this unholy haste to compromise with a dickhead nobody likes, on an issue nobody who goes by the name of Joe Sixpack really cares about, in the direction of being utterly fucking useless?

I mean it, I’m never cleaning my house again, if this is the kind of thing that gets done when I’m not paying attention.

Update: Paging Chris Dodd to the white courtesy phone, please:

Last week, Sens. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., and Russell Feingold, D-Wis., urged the Democratic leadership not to bring forward the compromise solution, which they said was unacceptable.

In a letter sent to several senior Democrats in Congress, Dodd and Feingold said the result of the court’s evaluation would be predetermined.

This is because a declassified section of a Senate Intelligence Committee’s report admitted the existence of the presidential authorizations.

Might be time to make good on that filibuster now, Senator.

And Doddresponds:

“As I have said time and time again, the President should not be above the rule of law, nor should the telecommunications companies who supported his quest to spy on American citizens. I remain strongly opposed to this deeply flawed bill, and I urge my colleagues in Congress to join me in supporting American’s civil liberties by rejecting this measure.”

A.

11 thoughts on “Preznit Sez

  1. How difficult is it for the Democratic “leadership” to understand that, given that they control what does and does not come up for a vote, a vote does not even have to take place? If Reid and Pelosi are as opposed as they profess to be, don’t vote on the “compromise.” It’s really that simple.
    Also, what did the Dems get in return for agreeing to the compromise? Not seeing much of anything, except a further erosion of the 4th amendment they swore an oath to uphold.
    So go ahead and pass this bill. Once again you’ll hear the loud GOP chorus singing, their favorite tune of the past 6 years: “But you said it was okay in that bill you passed”

  2. Hopefully the Senate can sit on this thing to the end of the session. Steny had best hunker down in whatever hole he crawled out of and never ever come through Vegas if I’m out and about. Little weasel needs to be bitten on the butt by an angry ferret.

  3. My guess is a few Dems in Congress could possibly look bad in civil litigation and rather then risk that they prefer to cave on something trivial like the 4th Amendment. Like Lincoln said, “When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretence of loving liberty — to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be take pure, and without the base alloy of hypocracy.”
    Steny Hoyer is the guy House Democrats elected to lead them! It boggles the mind.

  4. You know, I’d be OK with the “compromise” as long as it included some provision that would automatically remove from office any admnistration official who signed, authorized the signing of, or consulted on the preparation of said letters to the private sector. I mean, isn’t that an admission of a conspiracy to break the law, in and of itself?
    In other words, I’d actually let the telecoms get away with “but X from the White House assured us it was OK” as long as X gets his ass kicked out of office and indicted.

  5. Dorothy, even though your proposed provision would NEVER pass, I really like it as a suggestion.
    But when you think about it, really, these telecoms aren’t run by idiots. They have wall to wall lawyers, and they know, or they certainly should know, what the law does and does not allow them to do. There is absolutely nothing in the existing law that gives them a “get out of jail [or civil litigation] free” card if the President tells them that they’re following the law, even if he gives it to them in writing, signed in blood. Therefore, they knew when they started down this road that they were in fact breaking the law and that there was no guarantee that they would be relieved of responsibility for their lawbreaking. They decided to go ahead anyway, figuring the cost of litigation as a cost of doing business, perhaps weighing that potential damage against the potential of great income from future Federal contracts. Whatever their thinking, they went into this with their eyes open, and they don’t get to waffle out of taking the consequences of their actions years after the fact.
    Though of course this really isn’t about the telecoms at all. It’s about GWB and his henchmen and their terror that the truth about what they have done to this country will come out. Which is, in my opinion, even less of a reason to give in on this issue.

  6. Hopefully the Senate can sit on this thing to the end of the session.
    Given that we’re only at this point because the House previously blocked the Senate’s complete capitulation on FISA, I’m not holding my breath. The chamber where Chris Dodd’s hold was ignored by Harry Reid, in order to ram through a bill bought and paid for by telecom lobbyists? All I have left is the hope that Reid, Hoyer, Pelosi et al. choke while gobbling down fistfuls of money like the swine they are.

  7. This particular Supreme Court would rule immediately that anything a president says is legal is legal. Of course, like their ruling putting the little shrub in office, they would limit that ruling to the current president only.
    But, the one thing that Supremo Court has no say on is impeachment. If a majority of the US Senate says the President is guilty of “high crimes and misdemeanors” he is guilty. So, I look for an impeachment process to start tomorrow. Uh huh. I also look for the rapture to lift me into the sky sans a stitch of clothing as women and children, as well as men, cheer mightily in the background.

  8. But when you think about it, really, these telecoms aren’t run by idiots. They have wall to wall lawyers, and they know, or they certainly should know, what the law does and does not allow them to do. There is absolutely nothing in the existing law that gives them a “get out of jail [or civil litigation] free” card if the President tells them that they’re following the law, even if he gives it to them in writing, signed in blood.
    I know nothing about criminal law, but there’s a standard indemnification clause in corporate contracts that basically says “If any part of this agreement is discovered to be illegal, or if you do anything illegal in the performance of this agreement, you take all the liability.” (I’m used to it in intellectual property contexts, like “If it turns out this product we’ve agreed to build or market together violates someone’s patent, they can’t come after me for any damages, etc.”)
    I honestly wonder if some of the “letters” we’re hearing about contain language like these indemnification clauses, or language that acknowledges they are breaking the law, which would tip this whole thing over into a conspiracy case, I think.
    I’d also love to see the lobbyists, administration flunkies, and reps who’ve pushed this immunity bullshit get hit with obstruction charges. They are consciously, actively, and intentionally trying to cover up illegal activity as well as interfering in several civil cases.

  9. Here’s the e-mail I sent Steny Hoyer after seeing this post. The Bob Dylan reference crept in for some reason…
    Rep. Hoyer,
    I am writing with great concern regarding the impending “compromise” FISA update bill.
    At its essence, the issues are:
    1. Whether the Executive Branch has the right to request that private corporations perform illegal acts;
    2. Whether the private corporations are insulated from liability for these illegal acts on the mere suggestion of legality by the Executive Branch.
    Taken alone, the second issue is a devastating precedent to certify and place into law. The President is not a king, and his word is not law, yet this “compromise” would seek to establish exactly that: the President says it is legal, so it IS legal. There are no words to Rep. Hoyer,
    I am writing with great concern regarding the impending “compromise” FISA update bill.
    At its essence, the issues are:
    1. Whether the Executive Branch has the right to request that private corporations perform illegal acts;
    2. Whether the private corporations are insulated from liability for these illegal acts on the mere suggestion of legality by the Executive Branch.
    Taken alone, the second issue is a devastating precedent to certify and place into law. The President is not a king, and his word is not law, yet this “compromise” would seek to establish exactly that: the President says it is legal, so it IS legal. There are no words to describe how wrong this idea is.
    Yet, the proposed “compromise” bill would endorse this idea: as noted by Sen. Dodd, the referral to a federal circuit court is a red herring. The judge would be instructed to consider only whether the telecoms were given assurances of legality — which has already been established to be the case, making this provision a sure win for the telecoms and a certain loss for our Fourth Amendment rights.
    (As to the first issue, it would be properly adjudicated in an impeachment hearing. For details specific to this issue, see Article XXV of Rep. Kucinich’s Articles of Impeachment placed before the House recently. I believe it wounds our nation to have an unaccountable Executive, and Speaker Pelosi’s refusal to consider impeachment, even in light of unprecedented levels of disregard for the rule of law, is damaging to our country in ways which are corrosive and long-lasting.)
    The refrain I hear, echoed by many concerned citizens, is that the time has come to begin to undo the damage done to our country by this Administration. The effects of our torture regime, our secret prisons on land and sea, illegal wiretapping, illegal government propaganda programs, legally dubious signing statements, politically motivated prosecutions, and on and on…
    The times are a-changin’, Rep. Hoyer, and it’s time to be on the side of justice. It’s time to be on the side of law. It’s time to act like a nation founded on principles worth upholding. It is incumbent upon you, Sir, to protect and defend our Constitution. It is your oath and your duty. Our liberty, our rights, are not to be sacrificed. Just remember that, keep it central, and you will rise with the tide.
    “You better start swimmin’, or you’ll sink like a stone…”
    Sincerely,
    /me

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