Tuesday, January 22, 2008



John Edwards has a chance to show he's for real and not just another Clinton or Obama

Why do Senate Democrats keep electing fatally conflicted colleagues as their leaders? They didn't learn their lesson from red state compromiser Tom Daschle, who the Republicans could twist into a babbling pretzel anytime they wanted to by pitting the progressive national party against his... more conservative South Dakota constituents. So when the Republicans humiliated them by defeating their leader with a third rate hack, they promptly selected another vulnerable centrist would could be easily pulled in a dozen different directions by a dozen conflicting needs. To most Democrats-- the real ones in America, not the compromised careerists and bribe-besotted swine Inside the Beltway-- granting law breaking corporate executives (who helped Bush and Cheney shred the Constitution by spying on Americans) retroactive immunity is just plain wrong. (You can see how we got here here and here.) I think there are even a considerable number of Republican voters who would agree. I mean this crap is just plain unpatriotic and criminal-coddling.

This afternoon Jane put up a plea at FDL to the more progressive of the Democrats seeking the presidential nomination, John Edwards, to do what the compromised Insiders, Hillary and Obama, have refused to do: LEAD.
John Edwards should challenge his rivals Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton to go back to Washington, DC and fight against retroactive immunity for the telecoms.

The Republicans are not going to let Reid punt and extend the Protect America Act for another 18 months so it looks like the FISA bill is going to come back up again on Monday. Chris Dodd's objection to Unanimous Consent still stands, so they will pick up in the middle of the Motion to Proceed debate.

Glenn Greenwald is also on the case. Corporate Media, of course, is demanding the Democrats-- who are always prone to do so without much pushing anyway-- to capitulate to Bush and the Far Right.
As always, conventional media wisdom is that Democrats will be harmed politically if they don't capitulate to the Big, Strong, Tough Republicans on all matters relating to national security (even though the efficacy of that fear-mongering tactic was empirically disproved in 2006). But isn't it painfully evident that a far greater liability for Democrats at this point than being "soft on terrorism" is their refusal and failure to demonstrate that they will take a stand -- any stand -- against this extremely weakened President and his discredited political party, and therefore prove they stand for something?
The only way for there to be any prospect of impeding Bush's most extreme demands for vast warrantless eavesdropping powers and immunity for lawbreaking telecoms is for the presidential candidates -- Obama, Edwards and Clinton -- to demonstrate (rather than speak about) real "leadership" and take a stand in support of Chris Dodd and his imminent filibuster. There will be campaigns beginning this week to persuade and pressure them to do so -- I will be posting extensively about them here. Any efforts to stop warrantless eavesdropping and telecom immunity is almost certain to fail without the active support of the presidential candidates, who these days have a virtual monopoly on the ability to set agendas and shape media attention.
The three leading recipients of telecom money for this election cycle are, unsurprisingly, [starting with "Mr. Clean Filthy"] the three sitting Senators running for President (with two Democratic members who are key to amnesty -- Jay Rockefeller and [surprise, surprise] Rahm Emanuel -- close behind). That's how "Washington works" -- the process they are all pledging to battle and change. Needless to say, all of the viable GOP presidential candidates will be blindly supportive of whatever surveillance powers and lawbreaking immunity the President demands, but thus far, Obama and (less emphatically) Clinton have both claimed that they oppose such measures and thus pledged to support a Dodd-led filibuster.

But that will have meaning only if there is an active effort on their part. It will be increasingly difficult to listen to Edwards, Obama and Clinton tout their supreme leadership attributes and their commitment to "changing the way Washington works" if they choose to sit by, more or less mute, and allow such a blatant and corrupt evisceration of the rule of law -- and such a vast and permanent expansion of the limitless surveillance state -- to occur without a fight. Any one of them, or all three, has a unique opportunity to actually demonstrate with actions, rather than pretty speeches, their commitment to the principles they claim to espouse.

Is Edwards just another Insider faker or will he stop talking about being a leader and BE a leader? We already know that neither Clinton nor Obama is even capable of such a thing, not in any real sense.


"Putting off the vote for a second time riled White House officials and Republicans on Tuesday, because they insist that national security will be put at risk if Congress does not meet a Feb. 1 deadline to amend the eavesdropping law." So? Who gives a damn if these clowns are riled. The most hated man to ever occupy the White House is going to call Democrats names? Who cares what George Bush or his despised surrogates say about anything? If he doesn't get retroactive immunity for his cronies and campaign contributors does that mean he won't be able to find Osama bin-Laden? Does it mean Rudy Giuliani will put on an evening gown and go on all the late night shows and talk about how he save America after 9/11? Or does it mean Jay Rockefeller will switch parties so he can feel good about all the bribes he takes from the telecom companies he's supposed to be watching?
Advocates for civil liberties fault the Senate majority leader, Harry Reid of Nevada, for what they see as a weak effort to block the White House immunity plan. Mr. Reid opposes immunity, but his decision to allow an initial vote on the Intelligence Committee plan, with immunity, has angered opponents.

“If Senator Reid wanted to win, he would have put the judiciary vote on the floor first,” Caroline Frederickson, director of the Washington legislative office of the American Civil Liberties Union, said. “It seems as if he wants to lose.”

...Even if the Senate does approve a bill that includes immunity, it seems unlikely that such a plan could be signed into law before the Feb. 1 deadline, Congressional officials said.

Because the House has passed a measure that did not include immunity, the issue would first have to go before a conference committee to work out an agreement between the two versions. That could take weeks.

And who in the House has taken the most bribes from the telecoms? Not an actual Republican, but Rahm Emanuel. You want to count on him to defend our civil liberties?


I don't understand why Democrat senators-- other than the ones like Jay Rockefeller who are being massively bribed-- would support Bush on this travesty of Justice. Usually when the spineless wonders on Capitol Hill buckle under this way, it's because they fear The People will back the Republican Insiders. Well, every poll shows that the American people do not want retroactive immunity granted. No senator who votes for it, is fit to call himself a Democrat. Needless to say, Bush shill and fake moderate Susan Collins came out in favor of retroactive immunity today (the Lieberman position that she always buys into); Tom Allen, the progressive congressman opposing her re-election effort is strongly opposed to retroactive immunity for all criminals, not matter who they tried to bribe. A statement from Congressman Allen's office:
“Congressman Allen opposes providing retroactive immunity to telecommunications companies for their involvement in warrantless domestic surveillance. Immunity would effectively end the case the Maine PUC filed on behalf of Maine consumers. The pending cases can be resolved in a way that protects national security. The Administration’s attempts to derail litigation with the claim of ‘state secrets’ is merely an attempt to avoid giving substantive answers about their possible violations of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. Neither the government nor large telecommunications corporations are above the law; everyone must be held accountable.”

May I suggest that any DWT readers who care about the Constitution, consider making a donation to Tom Allen's campaign today.

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At 7:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Go JOHN GO! (please...)


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