FISA passes providing immunity to wiretapping telcos

From TPM today:
The Senate overwhelmingly approved a new federal wiretapping law this afternoon by a vote of 69-28. After last month's approval of a similar measure in the House, today's vote essentially clears the way for the bill to go to the White House for a final signature. ... Sen Barack Obama (D-IL) voted for the bill.
From TPM in 2007, a quote from Obama's campaign:
"To be clear: Barack will support a filibuster of any bill that includes retroactive immunity for telecommunications companies."
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24 Responses to FISA passes providing immunity to wiretapping telcos

  1. citykids says:

    The phrase “Two sides of the same coin” just became crystal clear in my mind after reading this piece.

  2. mujadaddy says:

    Haha, suckers. “Go ahead–THROW your vote away!”

  3. stenz says:

    My Country ’tis of Thee
    Sweet Land of Tyranny
    For Thee I weep…

  4. hemidemisemiquaver says:

    Get on the bus or get run over by it.

    Obama might be the leader of the party right now, but he had nowhere near the support he needed to pass the Dodd/Feingold immunity-stripping amendment. Given that his vocal opposition could not have resulted in any change except to give the GOP powerful ammunition to make him the next Kerry, it’s prudent for him to reluctantly vote for the bill. Disappointing in the extreme, but he needs to get into office before he can effect any real change.

    Hopefully he won’t renege on his promise to investigate if criminal prosecution is possible once he’s president. That’s about all we have left.

  5. Ceronomus says:

    After reading what the Obama campaign had to say on this issue (when it was first announced that he was backing this bill? I get it. In a fight that the Democrats aren’t united enough to win, he instead got some legislation in there that the Dems wanted, meaning it isn’t a complete loss.

    Hell, it means it is a compromise. One that the Democrats aren’t incredibly thrilled with, but one that allowed them to gain some ground.

    Hopefully we’ll sweep more Republicans out of Congress this fall so we can really get some things done.

  6. ianm says:

    If you want to send a message to Obama telling him that this is unacceptable, I would encourage all supporters to boycott fund raising for a defined period of time.

    I don’t write this with the intention or desire to see his campaign strangled for funds, but a sharp, short boycott of contributions is the strongest signal the American people can send and this juncture in your history. Citizens of conscience I think must work to undertake this.

    This is not a strategic liability in the long run; Obama maintains a sizable fund raising lead and a head start in popular support. That said, there must be repercussions for the candidate for such an egregious vote. Further, I believe it could be argued that any representative that did not vote an emphatic “Nay” on this resolution would be violating their oaths and worthy of condemnation.

    This is a precedent that cannot remain if you wish to see the true demise of the Bush ascendancy. If there is not a hard tack towards a principled defense of Rule of Law democracy, little hope remains for the United States. As a Canadian (aka ripe target), the developments in the United States are an intimately alien affair; the elephant in the bed, the sneezer who transmits the cold (to borrow oft quoted sayings). In both our interests, I think the only way to help right the American ship of state is a concerted fundraising boycott against Obama for a limited, predefined period of time.

    [Trimmed and cross posted from the main page thread]

  7. mightymouse1584 says:

    someone should turn that quote into one of those superblockquote game thingies.

  8. pcastine says:

    Note that Obama, Clinton, and about 30 other Senators voted to to strike the Title granting immunity for telecoms. The motion to strike the amendment failed by a long shot, though, thanks to the Republicans and a handful of conservative Democrats.

    I’m disappointed that Obama voted for the bill as a whole (which is about a hell of a lot more than telecom immunity), but I can just see the conservative blogosphere going to town with “Obama votes against security” if he had nayed.

  9. jacob says:

    Maybe it would have been better if Obama just skipped voting on the bill like McCain did?

  10. pork musket says:

    A politician didn’t do what he said he was going to do? Shock and awe! What is this country coming to?

  11. retroschooner says:

    We can only hope that this turn of events will be enough for the AT&T-hating Joel Johnson to finally cancel his iPhone plan. Please lord, let him come to his senses. Amen.

  12. theophrastus says:

    i don’t have any illusions about politicians (and Obama is clearly a “good politician”) but why the #@$! did he vote for this anti-civil liberties bill?! so ok, he couldn’t stop the bill but why did he feel it necessary to provide approval for it!? !!#@!!! @#$#%$!

  13. Gary61 says:

    You can ALWAYS count on a politician ……

    to say whatever they think the voting public wants him/her to say ….

    and to back away from what they’ve said when it becomes politically expedient ….

    and to have their hands out when the lobbyists come calling …..

    and to bang the pages when they think nobody’s looking …..

    and generally show the world the worst side of human nature – lies, lies, and more lies to get what they want (money and power).

  14. Brainspore says:

    So begins the long, sad descent from idealism.

  15. pastafaria says:

    He said he’d block it, he lied. And if he lied about something that he is clearly on the record about, what’s next?

    And for the “we have to appear meek before the mighty Republicans” crowd… fuck that. The Republicans are as weak now as they will ever be. If we can’t stand up now there is no hope.

  16. acb says:

    Obama has already won the primary; all he now needs to be is the lesser evil (which he is by a long shot), whilst courting the centre and moderate right. He just needs to be un-evil enough to get enough liberals/progressives out to vote to ensure that McCain doesn’t get in.

    The tricky thing is that, while he is bound by these rules (if he’s going to be a successful politician, rather than an idealistic wingnut tilting ineffectually at windmills), he cannot acknowledge them, because of the polite fiction that he’s not a politician as we know them. Hence, we can expect to see a lot more cognitive dissonance from Obama, a lot more expediency and realpolitik, along with a desperately blinkered refusal to acknowledge the nature of the game, even when it’s spelled out.

  17. rAMPANTiDIOCY says:

    well, if i didn’t see it coming a mile away, i might be disappointed. a democrat is a democrat is a democrat is a republican. . .

  18. koolkev says:

    Could the techi people out there do a little work and do a web page with a spread sheet with
    All the senitors/congrespersons who voted against the constitution and when they are being elected again and their competitors. I would especially like to donate to independents against republicans, but vote them out and donate against them!!

  19. Secret_Life_of_Plants says:

    Definitions of turncoat on the Web:

    * deserter: a disloyal person who betrays or deserts his cause or religion or political party or friend etc.

    * In law, treason is the crime that covers some of the more serious acts of disloyalty to one’s sovereign or nation. …

    * a traitor; one who turns against a previous affiliation or allegiance; a defector, renegade or apostate

  20. FoetusNail says:

    Change you can believe in! My butt. How many times does this guy have to reverse course, flip-flop, turnabout, and on and on. Anyone left who thinks he’ll keep any promise to withdraw troops or prosecute the current administration? Anyone left who thinks he’ll turn back the clock on the sweeping changes Bush implemented increasing Executive Branch power and privilege? Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

    So, the conventional wisdom is he had to do this or face a firestorm from the Republicans. Republicans calling a Democrat soft on national security that’s a new one. Do whatever you want Obama, Republicans would never think of outing you for promising to do X and then doing Y, over and over? Jacob @#7 is right, if being wary of looking soft on security was the case and nothing could be earned by voting nay, then close your door and turn off the lights. At least pretend to preserve some of your credibility. Don’t worry, he can cry about Nader costing Democrats the White House.

  21. zuzu says:

    This is the final straw…


  22. Brian Carnell says:

    Perhaps Obama concluded that only bitter people without jobs cling to anger over illegal wiretapping.

    Its interesting that Obama’s criticism of Hillary was, in part, that she wasn’t far enough from Bush on important matters like her vote for the war, but when it comes to endorsing a Bush policy on wiretapping, Hillary votes against and Obama votes to affirm.

    And, clearly, if Hillary was the nominee and Obama the loser, the votes would have been reversed.

  23. DeWynken says:


    They are really making taking over the world on a nightly basis rather difficult.

  24. Anonymous says:

    Hope and change, eh?

    I hope he changes his mind!

    …how’s it feel to get suckered?

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