George W. Bush | News

Senate Approves Telecom Immunity, Broader Surveillance

The Senate voted yesterday to give the U.S. government more unconstrained power to spy on its citizens as it granted telecom companies immunity from lawsuits related to such surveillance.

Surveillance"On a 68 to 29 vote, the Senate approved the reauthorization of a law that would give the government greater powers to eavesdrop in terrorism and intelligence cases without obtaining warrants from a secret court. The Senate's action, days before a temporary surveillance law expires Friday, sets up a clash with House Democrats, who have previously approved legislation that does not contain immunity for the telecommunications industry. The chambers have been locked in a standoff over the immunity provision since the House vote Nov. 15, with President Bush demanding the protection for the industry."

House leaders have vowed to oppose the measure until the White House releases more information about the warrantless surveillance program it began after 9-11.

The WaPo adds: "'This is the right way to go, in terms of the security of the nation,' said Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV (D-W.Va.), chairman of the intelligence committee, which wrote the Senate bill. Rockefeller was one of 17 Democrats who joined 49 Republicans and one independent to reject an amendment offered by Sen. Christopher J. Dodd (D-Conn.) that would have stripped the immunity provision from the bill. Two-thirds of the Democratic caucus opposed immunity. 'It is inconceivable that any telephone companies that allegedly cooperated with the administration's warrantless wiretapping program did not know what their obligations were. And it is just as implausible that those companies believed they were entitled to simply assume the lawfulness of a government request for assistance,' said Sen. Russell Feingold (D-Wis.), who co-sponsored the amendment."

Not good.

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  1. 12 Warning Signs of Growing Fascism

    Posted by: rjp3 | Feb 13, 2008 10:11:47 AM

  2. Most who took some basic political science classes remembers this ...

    Sign #6 of Growing Fascism

    Corporations Shielded

    Corporate power is protected. Typically, a segment of the business elite plays a major role in bringing fascists to national leadership, often from an unsavory obscurity. This marriage of big money and raw violence is often considered by historians to be the hallmark and backbone of fascism.

    Posted by: RJP3 | Feb 13, 2008 10:16:21 AM

  3. McCain voted for it.
    Obama voted against it.
    Clinton didn't bother showing up.

    Posted by: Ladd | Feb 13, 2008 10:49:13 AM

  4. LOVE those 17 Democrats. What a party.

    I read somewhere that Obama was absent?

    Posted by: Bill W | Feb 13, 2008 10:55:51 AM

  5. And to think the American voter put trust in the Democrats to protect their rights and to bring some accountability to this administration. The Democrats have aided Bush in being the most successful President ever. What has he wanted that he hasn't been given by this Congress? The joke's on us. I know what to expect from the Republicans, now I know the Democrats are no different. If I can't vote for the real Republican (and I can't) I'll be damned if I'll vote for the Republican wannabe. The Democratic party needs to be put out of it's misery and out of existence and perhaps a real "opposition" party will rise out of the ashes. The arrogant Democratic pols that think they'll do as they please because progressives have "no where else to go" need to be shown we don't need to go anyplace at all, we can just stay home. I no longer send them any money. I'm now tired of rewarding Democrats for their betrayal and lies with my vote. No more, I'll stay home or go Green.

    Posted by: Bob R | Feb 13, 2008 10:57:40 AM

  6. Wow, I just watched "America: Freedom to Fascism" the other day, and they talked about this kind of thing. Scary.

    Posted by: ridwah | Feb 13, 2008 10:59:14 AM

  7. Bill

    Obama voted NO to immunity

    Clinton didn't show up

    DODD and FEINGOLD need to be commended and donations should flow to both's future re-election campaigns. They showed true balls by trying to filibuster this crap

    DODD and FEINGOLD for Senate leadership positions.

    Feingold would make a great replacement for turn coat reid and Dodd would make a great whip to kick fellow dems in the ass to do what is right in the future. Vs versa would also work, Dodd majority leader and feingold as majority whip

    Posted by: Jimmyboyo | Feb 13, 2008 11:37:05 AM

  8. In every single article about this, they should say over and over again that this started BEFORE 9/11 and didn't do a damn bit of good to prevent that! Now, please explain how this stops the terrorists?

    Posted by: TroyTooner | Feb 13, 2008 12:05:38 PM


    GO DEMOCRATS - keep trying and lets be sure to VOTE OUT OF OFFICE the Democrats that voted against the measure.

    THERE IS A HUGE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE PARTIES ... just look and who made the effort and the small number of Democrats that voted against it vs the huge number of Republicans.

    Posted by: rjp3 | Feb 13, 2008 1:36:11 PM

  10. Bah do any of you protesting bother to read what it does? Before you start throwing words around maybe you should read first. The bill protects companies that complied with the gov't, the bill allows the gov't to follow phone calls that bounce thru american servers. Christ on a stick, you say this is illegal and against our rights but you think the DC gun ban is okay? prioritize People !

    Posted by: Tim | Feb 13, 2008 1:52:37 PM

  11. Tim

    Maybe you should read a little.

    The imunity part of the bill allows the companies who ILLEGALY wiretapped without FISA COURT warrents.

    The laws of the land did not change, yet these companies and bush acted as if they had.

    Sorry kid but you are mistaken.

    An order coming from the executive branch isn't legal simply because it comes from the executive branch.

    Bush/ cheney
    Justice department
    etc all have to submit to the rule of law themselves.

    The companies F'd up. They should be prosecuted

    Hillary didn't even bother to show up to the vote

    Posted by: Jimmyboyo | Feb 13, 2008 3:05:55 PM

  12. I forgot to add "get away without being prosecuted"

    Posted by: Jimmyboyo | Feb 13, 2008 3:09:41 PM

  13. The OCD is kicking in, so forgive this comment: The people who signed the petition are "signers" not "signees".

    (They're also "sinners" in my eyes, but that's another story.)


    Posted by: Seattle OCD | Feb 13, 2008 6:08:58 PM

  14. Oops. The computer hiccuped and my comment got posted in the wrong place. Apologies.

    Posted by: seattle ocd | Feb 13, 2008 6:10:28 PM

  15. All those spineless sob's on Capital Hill need to go. They always swallow Bush's BS hook line and sinker. To protect the Nation? What do they mean by protect the Nation? The borders are wide open for any terrorist to walk in anytime yet.. they talk about protecting the Nation. Common everyday citizens can't even walk down the street for fear of being robbed, raped or murdered yet they claim they want to protect the Nation.....from Who? From What? Some boogey man named Al Queada. This administration has its panties pulled so tight and attempts to terrorize the nation on some 2 bit punks halfway across the globe. We can't even protect the Nation from ourselves. Gimmee a break, this is the biggest bunch of bull since Hitler scammed the people of Germany.

    Posted by: Mickey Splane | Feb 13, 2008 8:46:50 PM

  16. I'm happy to see that my two senators (Cantwell and Murray) voted against the measure. Check for your senator's vote at "Roll Call":
    If they voted Yea, call their office and complain!

    Posted by: David R. | Feb 13, 2008 11:44:59 PM

  17. Oh, and Dodd and Feingold make a fine looking couple.

    Posted by: David R. | Feb 13, 2008 11:46:39 PM

  18. FUCK THE GODDAM SPINELESS DEMOCRATS WHO VOTED WITH BUSH! Damn, I hate saying that but I can't help it!!! When will the motherf*ckers do what they were elected to do and stand up to Bush and his fucktards???? Where do we turn for representatives that will actually listen to the people that voted them into power? We have been shown time and again that many Dems just don't seem to give a damn what they were elected to do. I do appreciate that my two Senators voted Nay (Go Jersey!), but seriously, when we have a majority and still can't pass legislation, we are in serious trouble. The GOP are permanently in lock-step with Bush, and unfortunately a bunch of Republican-like Democrats just seem to wanna march along with them... (yes, you Dems who voted Yea, that is YOU!)

    Posted by: CK | Feb 14, 2008 8:54:11 AM

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