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A Tale of Two Stories
Author: BobR    Date: 02/13/2008 13:14:26

There were two big stories yesterday, one which dominated the news, and the other which seemed to slip through unnoticed by most of the MainStream Media. The one getting all the press is that Obama swept the Potomac primaries and now leads in the delegate count.

The story that was eclipsed by the primaries was the spying bill vote. Yesterday, the Senate once again gave Bush everything he wanted:
After more than a year of heated political wrangling, the Senate handed the White House a major victory Tuesday by voting to broaden the government’s spy powers after giving legal protection to phone companies that cooperated in President Bush’s warrantless eavesdropping program.

The Senate rejected a series of amendments that would have restricted the government’s surveillance powers and eliminated immunity for the phone carriers, and it voted in convincing fashion — 69 to 29 — to end debate and bring the issue to a final vote. That vote on the overall billwas an almost identical 68 to 29.

The House has already rejected the idea of immunity for the phone companies, and Democratic leaders reacted angrily to the Senate vote. But Congressional officials said it appeared that the House would ultimately be forced to accept some sort of legal protection for the phone carriers in negotiations between the two chambers this week.

The Senate debate amounted to a proxy vote not only on the president’s warrantless wiretapping program, but also on a range of other issues that tested the president’s wartime authority, from secret detentions to wiretapping issues. The discussion in effect presaged the debate over national security that will play out this year in the presidential and congressional elections.

Senator Christopher J. Dodd of Connecticut, who spoke on the Senate floor for more than 20 hours in an unsuccessful effort to stall the wiretapping bill, said the vote would be remembered by future generations as a test of whether the country heeds “the rule of law or the rule of men.”

But with Democrats defecting to the White House plan, he acknowledged that the national security issue had won the day in the Senate, even among many of his Democratic colleagues. “Unfortunately, those who are advocating this notion that you have to give up liberties to be more secure are apparently prevailing,” Mr. Dodd said. “They’re convincing people that we’re at risk either politically, or at risk as a nation.”

To add insult to injury, it appears that the White House admits that the telecoms broke the law. From a press conference yesterday with Dana Perino
Q But were the telephone companies told that it was legal to wiretap six months before 9/11?

MS. PERINO: The telephone companies that were alleged to have helped their country after 9/11 did so because they are patriotic and they certainly helped us and they helped us save lives.

They've also apparently been discussing pending litigation with the telecoms. From Raw Story:
A US government attorney working for the Director of National Intelligence secretly discussed pending litigation with a telecommunications carrier, a top Intelligence official acknowledged this month. But much remains unknown about when the conversation took place or what advice the government attorney may have offered, as the Intelligence Director works to keep notes of the conversation classified.

In a filing released as part its ongoing lawsuit with a privacy watchdog, the government for the first time revealed the contents of a telephone message slip it previously withheld from a Freedom of Information Act response. A DNI administrative assistant took a message from a telecommunications company representative and gave the telco rep's name and number to a govenrment lawyer, who returned the phone call and took notes on the message slip, according to the filing.

What better way to hide the misdeeds of the government then to classify them as Top Secret?

So while everyone is talking about the amazing come-from-behind story of the skinny kid with the funny name, our personal privacy and the rule of law are both slowly being eroded.

Chip by chip, the mountain is reduced to sand...


164 comments (Latest Comment: 02/14/2008 04:10:12 by Mondobubba)
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Comment by m-hadley on 02/13/2008 14:03:16
Nice post BobR,

We were thinking along the same lines, although as I was fact checking my post last night before publishing it, I discovered much to my dismay that Obama did not cast a vote in the final call for upholding the Feingold amendment that would have cancelled the immunity provision, so I'm going to have to rework my post, probably won't get around to it til this evening - its another busy day here at the liberry. Carry on, freedom fighters ;)

Cheers,

mfaye

Comment by Will in Chicago on 02/13/2008 14:17:59
Good morning, bloggers!



This vote is distressing, and I will say it: we need a change in the leadership of the House and Senate. Both Reid and Pelosi have been too accommodating to an administration which views civil liberies as optional and seems more interested in protecting its financial backers than in defending our rights.



The early edition of the UNN Daily Headlines are up.



Comment by BobR on 02/13/2008 14:19:23
Comment by Will in Chicago on 02/13/2008 14:25:43
Quote by BobR: Oh no she di'int!






Lack of Tranquility Base to Houston.



The Ego has landed. I repeat, the Ego has landed.

Comment by velveeta jones on 02/13/2008 14:27:35
Morning ya'll.



My power is going in and out, so I prolly won't be around much today. Won't get any editing done on my project either, *grumble*.



I am angry at both Obama and Clinton for missing votes. I don't know which is worse, not showing up at all or only showing up for half!!



It seems they care more about what people will think - than what is good for our Country, or, what's in their heart.



Anyway, yesterday my darling wife decided that our local Vetrans needed valentine's day cards, so she sat down and made 250 handmade cards to deliver to the troops. What a (crazy) woman!!!! She has arthritis fer cryin' out loud.



But I applaud her. Next year................we'll be asking for ya'lls help.

Comment by velveeta jones on 02/13/2008 14:31:38
Quote by BobR: Oh no she di'int!


Aw HELL no!!!!



Comment by Will in Chicago on 02/13/2008 14:33:08
Good morning, VJ! Your wife sounds like a remarkable woman.



I think that if either Obama or Clinton become president, cleaning up the FISA mess should be something done in the first 100 days.



If a Democrat becomes president, I fear that there will be a lot of cleaning up after the circus elephants and the clowns. Oops, I mean the Bush administration. (No offense meant to members of the entertainment industry, especially those known to wear large shoes and rubber noses.)

Comment by shelaghc on 02/13/2008 14:45:38
Quote by will in chicago: Good morning, bloggers!



This vote is distressing, and I will say it: we need a change in the leadership of the House and Senate. Both Reid and Pelosi have been too accommodating to an administration which views civil liberies as optional and seems more interested in protecting its financial backers than in defending our rights.



The early edition of the UNN Daily Headlines are up.





I agree we need new new leadership, but the way the system is set up, only the people who've been *in* the system for years and years can be the leaders.



It's a vicious cycle and I don't know how we lowly peons can break it.



Comment by shelaghc on 02/13/2008 14:50:17
Quote by velveeta jones: Anyway, yesterday my darling wife decided that our local Vetrans needed valentine's day cards, so she sat down and made 250 handmade cards to deliver to the troops. What a (crazy) woman!!!! She has arthritis fer cryin' out loud.



But I applaud her. Next year................we'll be asking for ya'lls help.




VJ, your wife is a gem.



I work near a VA Hospital. I wonder if I could put together something like that tonight. I don't think I could do handmade, but certainly I could come up with something on the computer, head out early before work and drop them off on my way in......



How would one find out how many of our finest are in that hospital and what would be appropriate as basic greeting(s) to add to the cards?



Comment by Will in Chicago on 02/13/2008 14:50:26
Quote by shelaghc:
Quote by will in chicago: Good morning, bloggers!



This vote is distressing, and I will say it: we need a change in the leadership of the House and Senate. Both Reid and Pelosi have been too accommodating to an administration which views civil liberies as optional and seems more interested in protecting its financial backers than in defending our rights.



The early edition of the UNN Daily Headlines are up.





I agree we need new new leadership, but the way the system is set up, only the people who've been *in* the system for years and years can be the leaders.



It's a vicious cycle and I don't know how we lowly peons can break it.





Actually, the Republicans broke it in 1994, when Newt Gingrich and others replaced a pre-existing GOP leadership that many in the Republican party saw as two accommodating to the Democrats.



Maybe Feingold or Durbin might be good for the Senate, and there are a lot of good people in the House.



Comment by Raine on 02/13/2008 14:53:16
I just went and double checked what faye was saying, and yes indeed, I see the FINAL vote AFTER the vote for cloture, yes, both did not vote at all. I am mixed about this. To me the big vote was to allow for the lawsuits, which Obama DID vote yay, where Hillary was a no show.



IT is friggin time to go BACK to the house and tell them NOT to cave in. Good f*cking god.





Comment by Raine on 02/13/2008 14:54:39
Wow. lisa doen't really have a clue about woman World leaders.

Comment by livingonli on 02/13/2008 14:54:55
Good morning everyone.



We're supposed to get up to 2 inches of rain here today. Too bad I can't move it to the ATL to fill those reservoirs.

Comment by Raine on 02/13/2008 14:55:43
Heya Will! how did the taping go?

Comment by Raine on 02/13/2008 14:56:26
Actually, my apolologies...



GOOD MORNING EVERYONE!

Comment by m-hadley on 02/13/2008 15:06:01
Mornin' Raine ;)

Lisa is a clueless wonder - I got my post finished and up. I guess Momma doesn't realize that Barack flaked out on the final vote either... I am still fuming about that entire thang

Comment by Will in Chicago on 02/13/2008 15:07:14
Quote by Raine: Heya Will! how did the taping go?




The show was taped last week, and Robin was in and out of the city quick. It was shown on TV yesterday and I will look around for a YouTube video later.



In the meantime, here is something for you, my friend's myspace page:

Robin.

Comment by starling310 on 02/13/2008 15:07:30
Quote by Raine: I just went and double checked what faye was saying, and yes indeed, I see the FINAL vote AFTER the vote for cloture, yes, both did not vote at all. I am mixed about this. To me the big vote was to allow for the lawsuits, which Obama DID vote yay, where Hillary was a no show.



IT is friggin time to go BACK to the house and tell them NOT to cave in. Good f*cking god.







Morning!



I called BBOX yesterday. I said "She isn't my Senator, but I wanted to thank her for her vote today and for never letting me down." The girl who answered said "The Senator will be glad to hear that!"



I BBOX.



Comment by Will in Chicago on 02/13/2008 15:07:52
Okay, time to shovel snow.

Comment by Raine on 02/13/2008 15:07:56
Quote by velveeta jones:
Quote by BobR: Oh no she di'int!


Aw HELL no!!!!

Not to pick a scab at a huge controversy... But isn't Aretha the Queen of Soul?







Comment by livingonli on 02/13/2008 15:09:05
Quote by Raine:
Quote by velveeta jones:
Quote by BobR: Oh no she di'int!


Aw HELL no!!!!

Not to pick a scab at a huge controversy... But isn't Aretha the Queen of Soul?









I believe she's been called that.



Comment by Raine on 02/13/2008 15:10:43
:rofl: Thom at a mensa meeting!!!

Comment by livingonli on 02/13/2008 15:11:17
Do they tell fart jokes at Mensa meetings?

Comment by Raine on 02/13/2008 15:12:01
I must say, I don't like seeing a lot of Strollers outside of bars.



But a lot of these bars also are restaurant Bars.

Comment by starling310 on 02/13/2008 15:13:32
Ugh...I've had to talk to 4 people at work this morning already.





Comment by shelaghc on 02/13/2008 15:14:35
Quote by starling310:
Quote by Raine: I just went and double checked what faye was saying, and yes indeed, I see the FINAL vote AFTER the vote for cloture, yes, both did not vote at all. I am mixed about this. To me the big vote was to allow for the lawsuits, which Obama DID vote yay, where Hillary was a no show.



IT is friggin time to go BACK to the house and tell them NOT to cave in. Good f*cking god.







Morning!



I called BBOX yesterday. I said "She isn't my Senator, but I wanted to thank her for her vote today and for never letting me down." The girl who answered said "The Senator will be glad to hear that!"



I BBOX.





I should call Durbin and thank him since I voted for him and he's my former senator.



Comment by livingonli on 02/13/2008 15:15:04
It sounds like is encased in the salt this morning.

Comment by Raine on 02/13/2008 15:17:41
HEre in Goewrgia a lot of restaurants that have bars do not allow ANY children under 16.



IT really is a downer when you have visitors with Kids... Some of the best IRish pubs were therefore out for my family when they came here. No bangers and mash... :(

Comment by shelaghc on 02/13/2008 15:19:14
Quote by starling310: Ugh...I've had to talk to 4 people at work this morning already.







I feel for you. I've already had a doctor get annoyed with me as the messenger of annoying news, fielded about ten calls for situations I don't know anything about and had to shunt around several people while trying to find the doctors they actually wanted to speak with.



This kind of work is frustrating and I don't want to do it anymore.

Comment by starling310 on 02/13/2008 15:19:21
Quote by livingonli: It sounds like is encased in the salt this morning.




Salt, I don't mind. But, people coming to my desk asking me questions first thing in the A.M.?

Comment by BobR on 02/13/2008 15:19:41
Quote by Raine: Not to pick a scab at a huge controversy... But isn't Aretha the Queen of Soul?



That's why she was pissed!

Comment by Raine on 02/13/2008 15:19:59
I still call my formers senators, I mean, seriously, now that I have Isaakson and CHAMBLISS... What good does any of it really do?





I mean Saxby Chambliss Wants to date the pResident.

Comment by starling310 on 02/13/2008 15:21:08
Valentine's Day.





Comment by shelaghc on 02/13/2008 15:21:11
Quote by starling310:
[Morning!



I called BBOX yesterday. I said "She isn't my Senator, but I wanted to thank her for her vote today and for never letting me down." The girl who answered said "The Senator will be glad to hear that!"



I BBOX.




Why can't BBOX be House Leader instead of Pelosi?


Comment by starling310 on 02/13/2008 15:22:17
FaceBook has a feature where you can "Super Poke" your friends with all sorts of actions; suckerpunch, hug, etc. One of the actions is "Boycott Valentine's Day with."





Comment by livingonli on 02/13/2008 15:23:57
Quote by starling310: Valentine's Day.





I can relate to that. Being unattached myself, it can be depressing and right now I can't even afford to date.

Comment by BobR on 02/13/2008 15:24:24
Quote by starling310: Valentine's Day.





Any excuse to eat chocolate works for me!

Comment by livingonli on 02/13/2008 15:24:52
Quote by shelaghc:
Quote by starling310:
[Morning!



I called BBOX yesterday. I said "She isn't my Senator, but I wanted to thank her for her vote today and for never letting me down." The girl who answered said "The Senator will be glad to hear that!"



I BBOX.




Why can't BBOX be House Leader instead of Pelosi?






Because she's a Senator. She or Feingold could replace Reid though.


Comment by m-hadley on 02/13/2008 15:24:57
I've had many people in my office this morning and I am trying to prepare a presentation that I am giving later today, plus I am listening to Momma, and answering e-mails - it's getting thick and deep in here...

Comment by starling310 on 02/13/2008 15:25:25
Quote by shelaghc:
Quote by starling310:
[Morning!



I called BBOX yesterday. I said "She isn't my Senator, but I wanted to thank her for her vote today and for never letting me down." The girl who answered said "The Senator will be glad to hear that!"



I BBOX.




Why can't BBOX be House Leader instead of Pelosi?




Seriously!

I always knew Harry Reid was a spineless wimp, but Nance really let me down BIGTIME!



Comment by shelaghc on 02/13/2008 15:26:14
Quote by livingonli:
Quote by shelaghc:
Quote by starling310:
[Morning!



I called BBOX yesterday. I said "She isn't my Senator, but I wanted to thank her for her vote today and for never letting me down." The girl who answered said "The Senator will be glad to hear that!"



I BBOX.




Why can't BBOX be House Leader instead of Pelosi?






Because she's a Senator. She or Feingold could replace Reid though.




Comment by starling310 on 02/13/2008 15:28:33
S'ok Shelagh. . .



I think your overall feeling is legitimate. Why can't someone AWESOME replace the same old shit?

Comment by starling310 on 02/13/2008 15:30:55
Oh YAY! The STEROID DEBATE IS BACK!!!





Comment by m-hadley on 02/13/2008 15:30:58
Valentine's Day - ugh ;)

I've tried to get my doggies to get it together to do something romantic for their mum, but so far have had no luck - they just look at me and beg for treats

Comment by shelaghc on 02/13/2008 15:31:05
Quote by BobR:
Quote by starling310: Valentine's Day.





Any excuse to eat chocolate works for me!




Speaking of chocolate, there's an open house for a re-furbished department going on right outside my door. One of the goodies they're providing is a *chocolate fountain*!!!!!







Comment by Raine on 02/13/2008 15:31:54
UNO the BEAGLE WON!!!!

Comment by livingonli on 02/13/2008 15:33:01
Quote by m-hadley: Valentine's Day - ugh ;)

I've tried to get my doggies to get it together to do something romantic for their mum, but so far have had no luck - they just look at me and beg for treats


Snausages. They're just happy to be fed.

Comment by m-hadley on 02/13/2008 15:33:18
Quote by Raine: I still call my formers senators, I mean, seriously, now that I have Isaakson and CHAMBLISS... What good does any of it really do?





I mean Saxby Chambliss Wants to date the pResident.




That's how I feel here in Oklahoma with Coburn and Inhofe as the Senators - there is no reasoning with 'em



Comment by livingonli on 02/13/2008 15:39:11
Quote by m-hadley:
Quote by Raine: I still call my formers senators, I mean, seriously, now that I have Isaakson and CHAMBLISS... What good does any of it really do?





I mean Saxby Chambliss Wants to date the pResident.




That's how I feel here in Oklahoma with Coburn and Inhofe as the Senators - there is no reasoning with 'em





And Inhofe has that wonderful assistant who is always on Thom Hartmann arguing that global warming does not exist.



Comment by shelaghc on 02/13/2008 15:42:53
Quote by Raine: UNO the BEAGLE WON!!!!




Yay Uno! You done Snoopy proud!



If only Charles Schulz were still around to see this and write a li'l cartoon to commemorate the occasion.