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September 26, 2007


Hey, EW.
Pretty soon I'm gonna start whining. More. How pathetic is it that I feel impotent in the face of a feckless Congress? Powerless to do anything about powerful people doing nothing about other powerful people who have it in mind to screw my ass. Sounds like Wonderland, don't it? The 20+ Democrats who just voted for Kyl-Lieberman in the Senate must be too busy fundraising to pay sufficient attention to the issues--raising money for issues they have no time or inclination to address in their mad rush to return to their govt job being feckless. It's Cheshire-Cat Land! Good for Jane Harmon! It's about time the feckless powers started speaking truth to the real powers! Representative/Chair Waxman is well-intentioned. But after all his years in Congress he wasn't aware of the concept of "inherent contempt"? Come on! Leahy has a big voice in his Chair's chair, but seems to be more like Atom Ant without his spectacles when we really need a powerful voice on the floor. What is it with these people? Don't they realize we're being sold down the river? Or is it as my old Marxist acquaintance once described elections in this country--it's just a choice between oppressors. Was he right? Are the Democrats really just wolves in sheep's clothing, pretending to care about us little people, but when push comes to shove (and we're there), they'll side with the only power they've ever truly recognized--that of the corporations--and a political mindset that's essentially fascist? It's despicable, but quite possibly true. Jane Harmon isn't one of them, apparently. Jay Rockefeller is (might have known with his last name!). I'm slowly coming around to the notion that we can't wait for 2008 to (maybe) get a bunch of right-minded (read: progressive) people into the Congress. I think we have to make something happen much sooner. And, as I see it, the only way to get anywhere is to identify those few who (one hopes) have enough scruples left to stand up and start making a lot more noise than they've ever made before, and then to motivate them to do so. Kucinich is one. Harmon may be one. Farr is one (I think). There's three of the four hundred plus. As I see it, we have exactly one Senator willing to do so--Feingold. Who are the rest? We need to know who they are. And then we need to keep the message simple, clear-cut, impossible to ignore, even for the 30% still standing behind the Wizard of Oz. Sending a raft of rubber stamps was funny, and showed that the net is at least able to mount a coherent voice. Getting a bunch of people elected last year was exhilarating. But not enough. Calling Petraeus names is bold, but makes no new converts. Who are the brave hearts? We need to identify them and then get them talking to each other. They need to know who they are, and they need to share their information. And we with them. The state of this nation is perilous, and I feel like Chicken Little. I'll stop now.

I saw Harman on Countdown last night. While I'm glad she was willing to call bs on this, I was stunned that she followed that with a pathetic routine about bipartisanship. It was such a classic Beltway Dem move. Catch the other guys red-handed terrorizing you to get you to support their law-breaking and you respond by begging them to work with you.

Yes indeed, and how aggrevating is it that a rumor hits the fans of Congress and Jane Harmon is the only one, that we know of, who takes the initiative to track it down for verification? Seems to me it could be argued that we're stuck in a war right now because members of Congress failed to familiarize themselves with an NIE and juxtapose it with Bush's request. Not like they don't have staffs to help out here.

So why hasn't she called for McConnell's resignation, at bare minimum? Using the country's intelligence apparatus as a lobbying instrument is unarguably a high crime (I would say treason) that really screams for impeachment. If we're not going to get that, is it too much to ask that we get some action other than going on a friendly news show and complaining?

OT, but if the VP is having super dupper secret meetings, I'd be more than a little curious as to what they really were talking about.

'Cheney to address secret group
The conservative Council for National Policy will meet in downtown Salt Lake'

By Thomas Burr
The Salt Lake Tribune
Article Last Updated: 09/26/2007 02:11:44 AM MDT

EW, correct me if I'm wrong, but I think Harmon was the Dem member of the Gang of 8 who signed off on all the spying W wanted. And, IIRC that was one of the reasons postulated that Pelosi didn't give Harmon a committee chair. I'm pleased she spoke up on this, but her hands are far from clean. I take it from this post that there is a primary challenger to Harmon... are they on the ActBlue page? If so, let me know and I'll go give the challenger a little $love$. If that what it takes to motivate the Dems, I'm all for it...

I'm beginning to think that Cheney is a mole for the Israelis.

If 'we' are so afraid of what this 'administration' can do, imagine if you knew so much more than the 'average' person, but who could you tell?
They have access to your's, your family and your friends phones, they can track you with their camera's, they have access to your financial/medical/private records. They know where you, your families and your friends live. They are not 'nice' people and anyone who steps out of line, something bad happens to them or their families.

What Bush and Co 'day-job/titles' are, is completely irrelevent They and Friends, have been linked to several on-going criminal investigations/trials
There is more than enough 'evidence' to bring these individuals in for questioning re; 'possible' criminal assocations and activities.
Why are they not doing this? It's easy. You get a probable cause? warrant and you bring them in for questioning. They bring their lawyer and you ask them questions. If their answers don't match your facts, you hold them pending further investigation and their lawyers try to arrange bail.
That how they do it in the real world...

Here's a question. The reason for the DC threat was to get a vote and that would help protect DC. But why not just adjourn Congress early so it would be easier to defend the Capitol? With all the high value targets scattered around the country, it would be pointless, and difficult to attack.

If someone informs me my home is a target, I don't hang around installing an alarm system, I leave.

Jane Harman has been going along with the WH all along. Suddenly she is alarmed by bogus intelligence being flogged to Congress. She should have done this two years ago when it might have made a difference.

Sounds like another Hillary Clinton "they deceived me" into voting for the Iraq war authorization. Based on the Iran war authorization bill today, there's a lot of other Vichy Dems just like her.

Speaking out of my ass (Tom, can I draw you in with that?) there were two action items for the new FISA legislation: 1) retroactive immunity, and 2) close the loop-holes that allowed non-compliance by some of the telcos. Much of the heinous machinations in the passed bill are actually just dotting "i"s and crossing "t"s to make sure they can force #2.

So here is what I think happened...

In addition to scooping the data the telcos were possible beneficiaries of the storage and sifting outsourcing. Not necessarily primary contractors. But possibly substantial subcontractors. And in the lucrative contract war post-award fallout those telcos in the losing keiretsu knew how to say "go Cheney yourself". 'Never more' quoth the raven, and hence FISA part deux.

Now, if that is what happened, what would be the odds that some phoney intel might appear? Sure... billions of dollars (but not necessarily all in the liability row of the statement) but would any responsible multi-national with billions of dollars at stake and a Dubai golden parachute actually trick our congress-critters?

Oops... don't start a comment with "'left bracket' donning tinfoil hat'. The bracketed material gets stripped. I guess preview is also a good idea...

phred: EW, correct me if I'm wrong, but I think Harmon was the Dem member of the Gang of 8 who signed off on all the spying W wanted. And, IIRC that was one of the reasons postulated that Pelosi didn't give Harmon a committee chair.

Pelosi was a part of the gang of 8 too. It is Chair and ranking member of House Intel, of Senate Intel, Speaker and Minority Leader in the House, and Maj Leader and Minority leader in the Senate.

Pelosi hasn't ever really come completely clean with why she kicked Harman off, but to be honest I wish she hadn't. Reyes is truly horribly bad and at least Harman is sharp. IMO, Pelosi wasn't all lily white in what she agreed to and with and that's why she won't support impeachment efforts, production efforts etc. and to give Harman her due - while she did come out strong about tyring to have investigations of the people who leaked "the program" she has also been much tougher than Pelosi lately on all things FISA. Plus, she had far and away the best FISA amendment going earlier (IMO) and no Dem leadership would get behind it.

She's got her pretty recent and well fleshed skeletons, but I think lately she's shown up Pelosi on every intel front.

The further we get into the 110th Congress the more I believe that Nancy Pelosi is another good example of the Peter Principle in action. Harry Reid, too.

Mary -- I agree completely about Pelosi. She's at the top of my list of Dems I would love to see lose in a primary challenge. My point was simply that when the Gang of 8 flap first came up, Harmon was the only one of the 4 Dems to not issue a statement saying she had not approved of the WH plan (as did Daschle, Rockefeller, and I thought Pelosi). As I said, I'm glad she has lately come around on "all things FISA", but I'm not prepared to give her a pass on her earlier collusion with BushCo.

HowAppealing posts an entry on a FISA ruling, where the Oregon District Court found parts of FISA as amended by the USA PATRIOT Act, to be unconstitutional.


I'm skimming through it now ... this is the second ruling against a part of the USA PATRIOT Act this month.

As I started reading the case, I wondered how the judge would handle "In re: Sealed Case," The FISCR ruling that said "significant purpose" was enough of a hook to bootstrap a foreign intelligence snoop into a criminal snoop.

Judge Ann Aiken expressly rejects that conclusion, citing the case while doing so. Pretty "hot" stuff in this case. Good on her, this is the only way an outsider can get the issue to SCOTUS.

I would love to say I see a trend building here, and I do; but I only see it in the 9th Circuit. Sadly, that raises the potential that it is an illusory trend. The Mayfield decision is certainly refreshing. I hope it sticks.

-- but I only see it in the 9th Circuit --

The case that smacked-down the (also warrantless) National Security Letters aspect of the USA PATRIOT Act was in New York. But I agree that the electronic surveillance cases are concentrated in the 9th Circuit. That's the inevitable result of consolidating the cases in a multi-district proceeding.

Exactly, but the point I was making (not very well explained I admit) is that due to those forces they are in the 9th, and getting traction there; but if there is one circuit in the country that you have to wonder can be upheld, it is the 9th. The watercooler humor at SCOTUS is literally "Oh, it's a 9th Circuit case.....". Like Rodney Dangerfield, they "can't get any respect I tell ya".

Heheh. I well understood the point, not very well acknowledged on my part, that the 9th is frequently reversed, and in some circles is used as a laughingstock.
FWIW, my "standard" is more fine-grained. I prefer to look at cases and arguments each one "on it's own," without prejudice based on who is fronting the point.
That doesn't mean I don't hold some entities as laughingstocks in general; just that I try not to let my prejudice there cause me to jump to a conclusion without carefully considering their various points and support.

Yeah, I knew you knew. Wanted to make sure others did. You and I may think without prejudice, but I really almost think the conservative SCOTUS block relishes bouncing decisions from the 9th.

On the issue of immunity, and options thereto, you'll get a kick out of the article linked from http://howappealing.law.com/092707.html#028443.

It notes capping damages, indemnification for damages only, and the government stepping into the shoes of the telecoms for all of the purposes of the suits.

"One alternative could lead to the government's substituting itself for the defendants, meaning it would pay any subsequent damages.
Another scenario would have the government indemnify the phone companies."

Heh heh. Gee, ok. These wouldn't take to much work, since the government already has substituted itself in the place of the defendants for many practical purposes and I still maintain the telcos have an extremely strong indemnification claim anyway. I will sign up for this one right now; but the administration has to litigate from the same shoes as the telcos, they don't get to transfer or bootstrap a boatload of privileges etc. the telcos didn't have.

Hell, I could live with a cap just fine, long as EFF and CRR get their full attorney's fees for doing the right thing.

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