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Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Senate Passes Unconstitutional Spying Bill And Grants Sweeping Immunity To Phone Companies; HILLARY R. C. VOTED AGAINST IT, FOLKS!

American Civil Liberties Union : Senate Passes Unconstitutional Spying Bill And Grants Sweeping Immunity To Phone Companies


Blogtalk: Obama’s F.I.S.A. Vote

By Michael Falcone

It should come as no surprise to Senator Barack Obama that his vote today in favor of expanding the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act is drawing cries of outrage from many corners of the liberal blogosphere. After all, the senator’s own campaign Web site had become a focal point for his supporters to express their displeasure with Mr. Obama’s stance on the bill.

That was the case again today. Carl from Ft. Worth, Texas, posted a message on Mr. Obama’s Web site this afternoon. The subject line read: “Obama just lost my vote.” He continued:

“I am disgusted. Obama will NOT receive my vote in November, regardless of whether it means McCain wins (at least HE’S being honest with us). Once again, Dems picked the wrong guy in the primaries. Time to leave the party I guess.”

Other comments struck much the same theme. Patrick in Chicago wrote “Can I get my money back this candidate appears to be defective” and Christopher from San Francisco put it simply “Senator Obama, you fail.”


(Recall that Mr. Obama tried to calm his critics last week with a statement on his site emphasizing that his position on the surveillance plan, “…was not an easy call.”)

Armando Llorens, who blogs under the name Big Tent Democrat, at took issue with the comments Mr. Obama made yesterday saying that his support for the bill was not politically motivated, but rather represents a genuine policy disagreement with more liberal elements of the Democratic Party:

“I do not believe Barack Obama. I will go further. I do not want to believe him. Because the alternative is worse. Because if Obama believes the BS he said about the FISA Capitulation bill, then he is not fit to be President. If Barack Obama really believes this about the FISA Capitulation bill, then he is as dangerous as George W. Bush.”

Mr. Obama’s vote for the bill, which provides legal immunity for phone companies that participated in the government’s wiretapping program, represents a reversal for the presumptive Democratic nominee. He previously opposed that provision. Senator John McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee, was not present for the vote.

The F.I.S.A. bill passed 69 to 28 in the Senate today, and a number of prominent Democratic senators, including Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, Chuck Schumer of New York, Chris Dodd of Connecticut and Mr. Obama’s former rival, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, voted against it. (Here’s the official tally of individual votes.)

In a statement released by her Senate office today Mrs. Clinton said: “While this legislation does strengthen oversight of the administration’s surveillance activities over previous drafts, in many respects, the oversight in the bill continues to come up short.” The statement continues:

“…even as we considered this legislation, the administration refused to allow the overwhelming majority of Senators to examine the warrantless wiretapping program. This made it exceedingly difficult for those senators who are not on the Intelligence and Judiciary Committees to assess the need for the operational details of the legislation, and whether greater protections are necessary. The same can be said for an assessment of the telecom immunity provisions.

On an issue of such tremendous importance to our citizens – and in particular to New Yorkers – all senators should have been entitled to receive briefings that would have enabled them to make an informed decision about the merits of this legislation. I cannot support this legislation when we know neither the nature of the surveillance activities authorized nor the role played by telecommunications companies granted immunity.”

Blogging on Open Left, Matt Stoller wrote: “It’s interesting to consider how Clinton would have voted were she the nominee, and there’s no way to know now.” But, he added, “kudos to Clinton. It’s ironic so far I suppose that Clinton is of late a more reliable ally than Obama, at least on this issue.”

Senator Obama received some support from the blogger HatchInBrooklyn who posted on the popular liberal site, DailyKos, that “it’s time to put the ‘Obama Caved On FISA’ talk to an end”:

“The FISA bill is obviously imperfect, but I do not believe that a serious Presidential candidate can afford to vote ‘no’ on legislation that is intended to help prevent terrorist attacks. If Obama were to oppose the bill as a whole, he would be handing McCain — who didn’t even bother to show up and vote today — a huge opening to scare voters and paint Obama as weak on terrorism.”

“No. No no no no no. No,” replied Josh Orton of MyDD. “Democrats must always stand against Republicans on national security - because Republicans have proven miserable failures on national security, and yet still try to politically intimidate Democrats by painting them as weaklings yearning to surrender.”

Moe Lane at the conservative blog, Red State, appeared to relish Mr. Obama’s stand on the F.I.S.A. bill: “…the netroots went with the equivocator. Barack Obama brazenly lied to them about his intent to filibuster FISA, and they support him anyway. And now they have to go give him some more money, so that he can lie to them some more.”

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