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post #31 of 36 (permalink) Old 06-20-2008, 03:12 PM Thread Starter
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The fact that you would characterize adherence to our Constitution and the rule of law, along with a suggestion that a U.S. president should not be granted unlimited dictatorial authority as "political hysteria" is quite revealing. Did you feel the same way toward unchecked presidential authority before 2000? Do you consider fascism a form of conservatism?

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post #32 of 36 (permalink) Old 06-20-2008, 03:15 PM
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Originally Posted by bottomline1 View Post
We had this discusion on an earlier thread. Recall that the suits against the phone companies were civil in nature. To win in civil court, you must prove damages. Think it over.

You can object on principle all you want. But you have no facts to dispute or to dispute with. End of case. The rest is political hysteria, pure and simple.
Yes that should excuse to government to eavesdrop on my calls and there is not a damned thing I can do about, unless I use encryption that the brightest of the NSA will not even consider touching; is that what it will take to protect my rights? Should I start marketing such encryption to the general public and thumb my nose to the billions our government is willing to spend to have a balcony view of whatever I feel like doing?
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post #33 of 36 (permalink) Old 06-25-2008, 09:33 PM
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Feingold, the Senate's last civil libertarian

Published on Wednesday, June 25, 2008 by The Madison Capital Times (Wisconsin)

Feingold to Filibuster Warrantless Wiretapping Bill

by John Nichols

Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wis., will take steps this week to filibuster a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) reform proposal that provides retroactive immunity to telecommunications corporations that violate the privacy rights of customers by sharing information with illegal spying programs.

Feingold and Connecticut Sen. Chris Dodd — both longtime critics of the immunity provision — indicated they would take steps to block the bill after members of groups such as on Tuesday urged senators to use all procedural strategies available to them to stall the rapid progress of Bush administration-backed legislation that would bar consumer lawsuits against telephone companies that are guilty of spying on Americans.

“This is a deeply flawed bill, which does nothing more than offer retroactive immunity by another name,” declared Feingold and Dodd. “We strongly urge our colleagues to reject this so-called ‘compromise’ legislation and oppose any efforts to consider this bill in its current form. We will oppose efforts to end debate on this bill as long as it provides retroactive immunity for the telecommunications companies that may have participated in the President’s warrantless wiretapping program, and as long as it fails to protect the privacy of law-abiding Americans.

“If the Senate does proceed to this legislation, our immediate response will be to offer an amendment that strips the retroactive immunity provision out of the bill. We hope our colleagues will join us in supporting Americans’ civil liberties by opposing retroactive immunity and rejecting this so-called ‘compromise’ legislation.”

Speaking with Amy Goodman on the radio program “Democracy Now!,” Feingold elaborated on the plan to fight the immunity scheme.

“We are going to resist this bill,” he said. “We are going to make sure that the procedural votes are gone through. In other words, a filibuster is requiring 60 votes to proceed to the bill, 60 votes to get closure on the legislation. We will also — Senator Dodd and I and others — will be taking some time to talk about this on the floor. We’re not just going to let it be rubber-stamped.”

Goodman pressed Feingold, specifically asking him to confirm that he would attempt a filibuster.

“That’s what I just described,” said the Wisconsinite, who chairs the Constitution subcommittee of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

To be maintained, a filibuster must be supported by more than two-fifths of the 100 senators. If opponents of a filibuster can muster 60 votes, Feingold and Dodd will fail — a distinct possibility as key Democrats in the Senate have made moves to compromise with the Republican White House on this issue. (Dodd’s attempt to filibuster an earlier version of the legislation in February gained only 29 supporters, far less than the 41 required to prevent a bill from advancing.)

But the news that a filibuster effort would be made was cause for celebration among activists who were worried that no senators would be willing to take extraordinary steps to battle an extraordinary assault on the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution.

“We spoke; they listened,” TrueMajority online director Matt Holland said of the decision to filibuster. “Senators Dodd and Feingold understand that we don’t have to break the law to keep America safe. It doesn’t take secret surveillance to understand that the greatest threat to our liberty comes not from foreign elements but rather from those would undermine the basic principles and values that keep our nation strong.”

Holland explained that “the White House guarding our right to privacy is like the fox guarding the hen house. We’re pleased that Senators Dodd and Feingold are standing up to this inanity. Now it’s time for others in the Senate to join them and remove the immunity provision. Americans just don’t like being spied on.”

TrueMajority had urged Feingold, Dodd and Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill. — all past champions of efforts to block the immunity provision and related assaults on the ability of citizens — to challenge corporate and governmental abuses.

Abandoning a previous commitment to lead the fight to protect privacy rights, Obama has indicated that he will vote with the Bush administration to undermine those rights.

Feingold describes Obama’s choice as a “wrong vote” and “regrettable.”

Instead of aiding George Bush’s attack on the Fourth Amendment, Feingold said of Democrats in the Senate: “We should be standing up for the Constitution.”

© 2008 The Madison Capital Times
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post #34 of 36 (permalink) Old 06-25-2008, 09:42 PM Thread Starter
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Good news that, let's see how it plays out.

"If spending money you don't have is the height of stupidity, borrowing money to give it away is the height of insanity." -- anon
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post #35 of 36 (permalink) Old 06-26-2008, 04:45 AM
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The biggest problems we are facing right now have to do with George Bush trying to bring more and more power into the executive branch and not go through Congress at all and thats what I intend to reverse.

~ Senator Barack H. Obama
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post #36 of 36 (permalink) Old 07-10-2008, 08:04 AM Thread Starter
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Senate OKs surveillance revamp

WASHINGTON — The Senate approved a major revision of the 30-year-old law regulating the government's electronic surveillance program Wednesday, ending a debate that threatened to freeze intelligence operations.

The bill, which President Bush promised to sign, is designed to end at least 40 lawsuits against telecommunication companies that have aided the government.

The Senate passed the bill, 69-28, after rejecting amendments aimed at limiting the companies' ability to gain immunity from the current and future lawsuits. The House of Representatives approved the bipartisan compromise last month by a 293-129 vote.

Bush said the bill will allow the government "to quickly and effectively monitor the plans of terrorists outside the USA, while respecting" civil liberties.

Congress faced pressure to pass the bill because wiretaps granted under interim legislation were to expire in August. If the government had to get new orders, it could have delayed ongoing operations.

The bill would give a secret court the power to supervise the administration's warrantless surveillance program, which was launched after 9/11 to hunt terrorists.

An amendment that would have allowed the lawsuits was killed on a 32-66 vote.

The amendment was supported by Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., who left his presidential campaign to vote. He voted for the overall bill.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, was campaigning and did not vote. He said he supported the bill and immunity.

Opponents said the bill codifies an unconstitutional program. The American Civil Liberties Union and the Electronic Frontier Foundation vowed a court challenge.

"This program broke the law, and this president broke the law," said Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wis., a leading opponent. Senators will regret they passed the law if they learn more about the program, he said.

Bush authorized warrantless intercepts of international calls between suspected terrorists abroad and people in the USA soon after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Warrants for such surveillance typically must be approved by a special court created by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978, which aimed to better regulate surveillance of foreign spies or terrorists operating in the USA.

The 1978 law was passed after revelations of domestic spying by the FBI and CIA.

After The New York Times revealed the warrantless surveillance program in 2005, Bush agreed to place the program under the FISA court's supervision — but only if Congress provided immunity for telecommunication companies being sued for cooperating with the eavesdropping.

"If spending money you don't have is the height of stupidity, borrowing money to give it away is the height of insanity." -- anon
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