Bad news: the telecomm immunity/warrantless spying bill cleared the House. It wasn't even close. Father Tyme is pretty mad about it:
These "things" who call themselves Democrats are worse than the dog-shit on the bottoms of your shoes; worse than the full ditch beneath an outhouse;maybe even worse than the Republicans themselves. At least we knew the Republicans were lying pieces of shit. These asses stabbed us and our country in the back...and for what?
* * *
Let's give a big round of applause to Nancy Pelosi and Steny Hoyer for showing us that kissing Bush's ass is more important than protecting the Rights of Americans.
Worse news: Barack Obama supports the bill:
"Under this compromise legislation, an important tool in the fight against terrorism will continue, but the President's illegal program of warrantless surveillance will be over. It restores FISA and existing criminal wiretap statutes as the exclusive means to conduct surveillance - making it clear that the President cannot circumvent the law and disregard the civil liberties of the American people. It also firmly re-establishes basic judicial oversight over all domestic surveillance in the future. It does, however, grant retroactive immunity, and I will work in the Senate to remove this provision so that we can seek full accountability for past offenses. But this compromise guarantees a thorough review by the Inspectors General of our national security agencies to determine what took place in the past, and ensures that there will be accountability going forward. By demanding oversight and accountability, a grassroots movement of Americans has helped yield a bill that is far better than the Protect America Act.
"It is not all that I would want. But given the legitimate threats we face, providing effective intelligence collection tools with appropriate safeguards is too important to delay. So I support the compromise, but do so with a firm pledge that as President, I will carefully monitor the program, review the report by the Inspectors General, and work with the Congress to take any additional steps I deem necessary to protect the lives - and the liberty - of the American people."
Either Obama has not actually read the bill or he is out to deliberately deceive people into believing that the bill "firmly re-establishes basic judicial oversight over all domestic surveillance." As the ACLU's Caroline Fredrickson notes:
This bill allows for mass and untargeted surveillance of Americans’ communications. The court review is mere window-dressing – all the court would look at is the procedures for the year-long dragnet and not at the who, what and why of the spying. Even this superficial court review has a gaping loophole – ‘exigent’ circumstances can short cut even this perfunctory oversight since any delay in the onset of spying meets the test and by definition going to the court would cause at least a minimal pause. Worse yet, if the court denies an order for any reason, the government is allowed to continue surveillance throughout the appeals process, thereby rendering the role of the judiciary meaningless. In the end, there is no one to answer to; a court review without power is no court review at all.
All of this is enough for Atrios to bestow the coveted Wanker of the Day award on Senator Obama.
I was going to send Obama another $25 today; I think I'll send it to the ACLU instead.