Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Dodd for Prez!!

FISA Press Coverage
posted by Matt Browner-Hamlin, Campaign Blogger on December 18, 2007 - 9:26am
Matt Browner-Hamlin's picture

There's been a great deal of press coverage of yesterday's FISA success. I wanted to share a few clips with you. The first thing I read this morning was in the New York Times. Eric Lichtblau begins his article:

In a setback for the White House, Senate Democrats on Monday put off until at least next month any decision on whether to give legal protection to the phone carriers that helped with the National Security Agency’s eavesdropping program.

The Bush administration had pushed for immediate passage of legislation to grant immunity to the phone companies as part of a broader expansion of the N.S.A.’s wiretapping authorities. But that will not happen now.

I had to read that again: "In a setback for the White House...The Bush administration had pushed for immediate passage...But that will not happen now." I think anyone reading this - from Senator Dodd to his staff on the Hill and his presidential campaign to all the bloggers and activists and organizations that were with us in this fight should read these words and feel tremendously proud of what was accomplished yesterday. The fight isn't over, but we should enjoy this victory.

Ryan Singel at Wired's Threat Level blog, which is a great source for coverage of everything related to domestic surveillance and the telecoms, describes how Senator Dodd was able to win a delay in FISA consideration:

Dodd showed his moxie and determination all day, as he held the floor for long stretches, railing against an administration-backed bill that would have freed telecoms from 40-odd lawsuits pending against them in federal court.

The presidential candidate threatened to filibuster and hold the Senate floor if the Senate shot down his amendment to strip immunity from the bill. That threat moved Reid to postpone a vote on the bill, so that the Senate could take up war funding bills, a massive domestic spending bill and changes to the Alternative Minimum Tax before the winter break.

At Ari Melber writes:

After waging an all-out battle against the Bush administration and leaders of his own party, Senator Chris Dodd achieved a legislative victory on Monday, halting President Bush's attempt to rush a Senate vote on a bill granting retroative amnesty to companies accused of illegally spying on American citizens.
Halting the amnesty bill was also a victory for the netroots, which ferociously backed Dodd's legislative strategy and pressed Harry Reid, who ultimately backed down by announcing he would delay the vote until January. Over half a million people lobbied against the bill via email, Democratic bloggers rallied support and pressed the presidential candidates, and MoveOn targetted specific Senators to back Dodd's efforts. "No president should be able to work with corporations to break the law and then use Congress to cover up the crimes," wrote MoveOn's Nita Chaudhary, urging web activists to lobby Congress on Monday morning. "Holding the phone companies accountable may be the only way that the American people find out the extent of the Bush administration's illegal actions," she added.

While Dodd's effort shows that a little leadership and backbone can get results, the battle is far from over. Bush is demanding that Reid get the spying bill passed -- with retroatctive amnesty -- in January, when the critical fight over accountability for spying could be overshadowed by a presidential campaign in full swing. The Constitution-netroots wing of the Democratic Party will keep fighting for accountability, thankfully, but it's up to the presidential candidates and the Senate leadership to ensure that Bush does not steamroll the rule of law once again.

There's obviously much more worth sharing, but I'll leave it here for now. Take a few minutes to poke around news articles about Chris Dodd's efforts to stop a bad FISA bill and the victory we all won yesterday.


Carey said...

They're voting today on the FCC crap.

I was up till 2 watching Kevin Brown and Markey go at it in a Dec. 5th hearing.


This don't look good at all.

micki said...

In a rush for right now, but Carey....look at your email.

I sent another idea for your cheesecake pan.

Carey said...

Michael Copps, one of the FCC Commisioners, is a good guy. I've seen him in other interviews and in last night's Dec. 5th FCC hearing.

Kevin Brown is sickening.

Thanks for the idea Micki. Thank you Carol for the recipe.

I've lost my car keys. This is not good.

David B. Benson said...

Will even this get Bush's attention?

Social Democrats in Germany call for climate-related sactions on U.S.

micki said...

Dr. B -- If I may impose on you, would you please copy and paste that article about the German Social Dems -- for the life of me, I cannot figure out why I cannot access the International Herald Tribune website. No matter which avenue I take!

I'd really like to read the article. I cruised around trying to find the article in other spots, but all I could find were links to IHT (which don't work for me).

However, the comments at the sites yakking about these sanctions are mindboggling in their arrogance, nationalism, and stoooopidity.

micki said...

Media ownership rules thrown under the bus, 3-2, on party lines @ FCC.

And the band plays on.

David B. Benson said...

climate-related sanctions on U.S.
By Judy Dempsey
Published: December 18, 2007

BERLIN: Energy-intensive exports are the target

The Social Democrats are calling for sanctions on energy-intensive U.S. export products if the Bush administration continues to obstruct international agreements on climate protection, the party's leading environmental expert said Tuesday.

The move, after the United Nations climate conference last week in Bali, Indonesia, has won strong support from the Greens and other leftist groupings in the European Parliament. Those factions will renew their bid to impose such levies when the Parliament reconvenes next month.

It also signals a big effort by the Social Democrats to take the initiative on the environment and perhaps reshape it as a foreign policy issue that could affect relations between Berlin and Washington.

Chancellor Angela Merkel has taken the lead on climate change, both domestically and internationally, leaving her junior coalition partners, the Social Democrats, frustrated. The opposition Greens have also lost ground on an issue they had long dominated. But with three important state elections next year, the Social Democrats, still floundering in the opinion polls, are revamping their program to stem the decline of public support, party officials say.

"Merkel has made climate change a big issue and has tried to bring the Bush administration on board, so far without success," said Ulrich Kelber, deputy parliamentary leader of the Social Democrats and an environmental expert who is leading the campaign to impose levies on energy-intensive U.S. products.

"We cannot let the U.S. continue to block multilateral agreements, as it tried with Kyoto, or weaken them, as it did in Bali," he said, referring to a compromise agreement on reducing greenhouse gases during the UN climate conference last week.

"The U.S. is a major part of the problem. Levying special taxes or sanctions on energy-intensive U.S. products, such as steel and aluminum, which are exported to Europe, could be the first step," Kelber said.

U.S. officials and the American Chamber of Commerce in Brussels said Tuesday that it was too early to react to the proposals.

Environmentalists inside the Social Democratic Party and in the European Parliament said the idea behind levying taxes went beyond pressuring the Bush administration to ratify the Kyoto Protocol on reducing greenhouse gases. They also want to widen the European carbon emissions system, which at the moment excludes steel and other intensive energy products imported by EU member states. Unless such products are included, they said, it was unrealistic to believe that the trading system could reduce climate change significantly.

"We have tried in the past and we will try again to introduce some kind of import duties for products from the U.S. and other countries that do not subscribe to the Kyoto Protocol," said the energy expert Claude Turmes, a European Parliament legislator and vice chairman of the European Greens. "The steel and aluminum sectors should be included in the European trading system."

The EU's emission trading program was launched in January 2005, becoming the first international trading system for carbon dioxide emissions. It covers more than 11,500 energy-intensive installations across the EU, which represent nearly half of Europe's CO2 emissions, according to the European Commission. The installations include oil refineries, coke ovens, iron and steel plants and factories making cement, glass, lime, brick, ceramics, pulp and paper.

Earlier attempts by Germany's Social Democrats and the European Parliament to widen such levies met with opposition from G√ľnter Verheugen, the EU's commissioner for industry and enterprise, who is German and a Social Democrat.

Turmes said Verheugen wanted to protect industry and Germany's car sector rather than support moves to either impose levies on steel and other imports or expand the European emissions trading system.

"If the German Social Democrats are serious about their environmental policies, then they should put pressure on Verheugen," Turmes said.

Verheugen has said he supported a worldwide approach to a low-carbon economy.

"This inclusive approach needs to be adopted worldwide to increase the effectiveness of mitigation and adaptation strategies," he told environmental experts in Brussels last month.

But Kelber, of the German Social Democrats, said that with opposition from the United States, China and India to a multilateral agreements to combat climate warming, it would be impossible to reach a worldwide accord.

"What we don't want is a situation where the U.S., between now and the next climate accord, which is supposed to be concluded in 2009, will do everything they can to block it," Kelber said.

micki said...

IHT article much appreciated.

Danke schoen.

micki said...

As you know, pressure from ordinary citizens, bloggers, and certain progressive/liberal organizations played the BIGGEST role in getting Harry Reid to pull the FISA bill (for now).

That was accomplished ONLY because there was an intense effort to ZERO IN on ONE Senator and put pressure on him to take an irrevocable stand on a promise to filibuster the bill. CHRIS DODD was that senator.

Soooooo....with that in mind, does anyone know of an effort to derail the FCC's 3-2 vote on rolling back ownership rules. Somehow!

Bush and Martin and the other sleezeballs have pledged to turn back any congressional action that seeks to undo the agency vote.

So, what can we do about this? Seriously.

Carey said...

Yes, as Den's intro post testifies, Dodd's a good guy in this. I heard him on Ed Schultz.

Hey, Micksters! You have me singing Wayne Newton songs now.

Fuck a duck. Fuck Kevin Brown. Or is it Kevin Martin? I'm confused with Christmas looming.

The German Social Democrats are a very interesting lot. They were foremost in the post-war recovery of the German psyche trampled by Nazism.

They're the people to watch in Germany. The progressive movers and shakers along with the Greens. Far more socialist than Americans.

I've gotten most of the ingredients for the cheesecake. We'll see how it turns out.

Found my keys, mercifully. In my other coat pocket, naturalment.

I'm not sure I spelled that correctly, my French dictionary is in deep storage.

micki said...

You have me singing Wayne Newton songs now.

How'd I do that?

Hey, good on the keys!!

David B. Benson said...

Micki --- Spiegel Online might also have run something regarding the Social Democrats. (Some local problem means I can no longer read it.)

Carey --- There are many free online translation dictionaries.

micki said...

Oh, duh.

Danke Schoen.

David B. Benson said...

Funny story:

Japanese Govenment Spokesman: UFOs Exist

but the Japanese air force has never spotted one...

Carey said...

I know there are Dr. B. I hid my beloved French dictionary after a breakup with a French man, determined never to learn another word of French.

I should be able to remember. It's that sort of thing.

DEN said...

Dear Den,

Millions of people stopped the FCC in 2003. Let's do it again!

Sign the Open Letter to Congress

It happened. A few minutes ago, FCC Chairman Kevin Martin and his two fellow GOP commissioners approved new rules that will unleash a flood of media consolidation across America. The rules will further consolidate local media markets -- taking away independent voices in cities already woefully short on local news and investigative journalism.

In 2003, the FCC tried to do the same thing, but millions of people demanded that Congress reject the FCC's rules. And they did. It's time to do it again.

We need 100,000 people to get Congress to reverse the FCC's rules right now.

Sign Our Open Letter to Congress
Then get three of your friends to do the same.

This is about whether we will have access to the information that democracy requires. It is about whether or not we'll have real news and local voices on radio, television and in the newspaper in your town. It's about whether the public airwaves will represent our nation's diversity.

Just yesterday -- spurred by your calls and letters -- 26 senators from both parties sent a letter to the FCC Chairman promising "to revoke and nullify the proposed rule" if the FCC voted to lift the longstanding ban on "newspaper-broadcast cross-ownership." But Chairman Martin did it anyway.

Congress has the power to throw out these rules -- and if 100,000 people demand it, they'll have to listen.

Take action now and spread the word.

Some say that nobody listens to letters like this. Well they definitely do, and it's a way you can truly help the cause with just a few clicks. Sign on now -- and get your friends to do the same.

Your actions are making a difference. Let's keep up the pressure. And stay tuned -- this fight is far from over.

Thanks for bringing us this far,

Robert McChesney
Free Press


David B. Benson said...

Good idea:

A Solar Grand Plan

David B. Benson said...


New Type of Coal Plant Moves Ahead, Haltingly

The more haltingly-er the better, IMO.

David B. Benson said...

Here is why its bad:

Coral reefs are on the ropes

Carey said...

I think we can take it as a given that the ladies of the blog are a little more busy than the gents.

Just a tad.

Moms at Christmas: BUSY!

David B. Benson said...

Carey --- You could always change to another religion.


Gerald said...

I believe that Dodd has the credentials to be president. I do not understand why he has never been considered a serious candidate past, present, and possibly future. Nazi Americans are too screwed up to know whom they want.

I agree with Bill Clinton Obama one year in the Senate won't cut for me.

I will use Father John Dear's words for my Christmas Prayer for Peace.

May God Grant Us Peace on Earth

Carey said...

Shoot. I mean with other things besides gift buying, like decorations, food, etc.

David B. Benson said...

But if you switched to zen, you wouldn't be doing any of those things.

Just quiet meditatiion and tea ceremonies.


David B. Benson said...

Oh yes. And reading the most important book in Zen, Dogun's seventh century classic, Instructions for the Zen Cook.

I'll quote, from memory, the most important passage:

When you are washing rice, just wash rice. Pay attention to every grain.

Gerald said...

Christianity and Bigotry

Gerald said...

Carey, here is a thought. Spend some time in relaxation prayer! Find a comfortable chair at night, turn the lights down, meditate on one word for each relaxation prayer, a word could be love, God, mercy, etc. Hopefully, God will speak to you in silence. Practice, practice, practice!

Gerald said...

The Phrase that Could Defeat Hillary
by Paul Rogat Loeb

Ever since Hillary Clinton supported the reckless Kyl-Lieberman Iran bill, her Democratic competitors have been blasting her for her stand, and rightly so. By defining Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps, a core branch of the Iranian military, as a foreign terrorist organization, the bill put the U.S. Senate on record as vindicating the Bush-Cheney line that Iranian proxies are part of a global conspiracy, linking Al Qaeda, Iraqi insurgents, Hamas, Hezbollah, and any other enemy the administration wants to conjure up. It made a US attack on Iran just that much more possible. And Clinton’s support for the bill confirmed that she has learned little from her earlier Iraq war vote.

But what none of the candidates challenging her have done, as far as I can tell, is use the most succinct and damning description of the vote’s implications that’s been expressed, when Senator James Webb called it “Dick Cheney’s fondest pipe dream.” “It could be read as tantamount to a declaration of war,” Webb also concluded, and his descriptions go to the heart of the issue, with an eloquence likely to stick in the minds of the voters. But the other candidates have to publicly quote them, and so far they haven’t.

Now Jim Webb’s not always right, but he knows war, and has thought and written about what leads to it. He’s not one to use words casually, so his judgment carries weight. When competing candidates say Hillary’s made it easier for Bush and Cheney to even consider the insanity of an attack (or to encourage Israel to do so in their place), it’s true and damning. But her supporters can still dismiss this as self-serving exaggeration. Quoting Webb makes her vote harder to dismiss. It goes to the key issue–that once again Hillary empowered a recklessly belligerent administration in their efforts to go to war. Now a US attack is probably less likely since the National Intelligence Estimate found that Iran had halted its nuclear weapons programs in 2003. But Clinton had no way of knowing this when she voted for Kyl-Lieberman, and Bush continues to talk confrontationally in the wake of the report. The fact that Hillary later supported a resolution saying Bush needed Congressional permission to attack is fine and good, but it only partially closes the opportunity for potential catastrophe that she’d just finished helping open.

Reports out of Clinton’s campaign suggest that her support for the resolution may actually reflect less a heart-felt political judgment, than a politics of triangulation, an approach where she’s driven more by policies she thinks will help her win than those necessarily the best choice for America and the world. As the New York Times reported, “Part of the reason for Mrs. Clinton’s vote some of her backers say privately, is that she has already shifted from primary mode, when she needs to guard against critics from the left, to general election mode, when she must guard against critics from the right…. Mrs. Clinton is also solidifying crucial support from the pro-Israel lobby.”

As Clinton’s once seemingly unassailable lead seriously crumbles, her Iran vote has played a major role in the process. But those raising it as an issue have been withholding the most powerful way of telling it. They need to, in their talks, their ads, and in the arguments they ask their supporters to use. If Democrats really reflect on what it means to potentially enable “Dick Cheney’s Fondest Pipe Dream,” I believe they’ll select a different candidate.

micki said...

The Tea Ceremony is DEMANDING

Through the Way of Tea, it is believed respect and harmony among people is achieveable.

Peace through a bowl of tea. A very zen concept.

Carey said...

You just like to rub it in that I'm complaining about fun things as if they're a chore.

Carey said...

Zen and The Art of Archery

Read it at the end of college and so loved the ways.

DEN said...

Zen and the art of Christmas cookies.

Screw the tea, gimme cookies!

Alan said...

Hey Dr. B,
One of the sites the FutureGen Alliance might choose is Jewett, Tx. There's a coal-fired plant there already... two units as a matter of fact. A small interesting fact of that is... I intalled the 3-man elevator up the side of their 485-ft tall smoke stack on unit #2. Before we got much of a start on it, we went over to unit #1 and pulled down the top 6 sections and replaced them with 6 stainless steel tower sections. They hadn't come in yet when our fellow elevator constructors did unit #1. Soooo, in effect, I didn't have the option of getting used to the heighth a little at a time like they did... me and my helper had to go all the way to the top right off.
K, these elevators are like outside construction elevators, but smaller, and we put them in because they are permanent (for EPA to ride up and take air samples coming out). Union-wise, ironworkers install/take down outside elevators for construction, but like I said, these were permanent, so us I.U. of E.C. guys in local #31 (houston local of International Union of Elevator Constructors) were paid good expenses to live up there and put 'em in. 'Twas a wee bit scary, to say the least. Out in the open, and working off the top of this little cage, NOT inside of it, is way different from installing an elevator in a closed-in elevator shaft. We're talking me and my helper standing on the roof of the 'car', that was maybe 4ft square. It was like being on a 500-ft ladder! I got a few pictures here somewhere.

micki said...

Alan, show us your pics. Interesting story!

I heard on NWPR today that Illinois had been picked for the DUBIOUS honor. Sure 'nuff:

The New York Times

December 19, 2007
Illinois Town Chosen as Site for New Type of Coal Plant

WASHINGTON — An industry consortium planning a coal plant that will capture its carbon dioxide and pump it underground selected a site near Mattoon, Ill., on Tuesday for the $1.5 billion project. A second site in Illinois and two in Texas had been considered.

But the project, called FutureGen, faces financing problems; the price is up from an original estimate of $750 million. The budget deal concluded in Congress on Sunday gives it $75 million for its first year, $33 million less than the Bush administration’s request.

The project will create 700 construction jobs and more than 100 jobs when the plant operates. The Mattoon site, in southern Illinois, won in part because the storage area is meant to be directly beneath the plant and the builders could get clear legal title to it.

Alan said...

I looked, but couldn't find 'em. There were only 3 or 4. They aren't with the few pictures I have of other elevator jobs I was on.
They must've been with the tons of pictures the ex ended up with.