Monday, December 17, 2007

Virginians--Call James Webb today!

There's a fight brewing on the Senate floor today. President Bush wants Congress to give immunity to the phone companies that helped the administration spy on innocent Americans.

This fight strikes at the heart of accountability in our democracy. No president should be able to work with corporations to break the law and then use Congress to cover up the crimes. 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.1

Progressive Senators Chris Dodd and Russ Feingold are pledging to block any legislation that includes "telecom immunity." 2 And presidential candidates Joe Biden and Barack Obama have said they'll support a filibuster.3

It is critical that other senators support Senators Dodd and Feingold . Can you call Sen. Webb today and tell him to join progressives in the Senate in blocking any bill that includes immunity for lawbreaking phone companies? Tell him voters want accountability and oversight—not immunity.

Here's where to call:

Senator James Webb
Phone: 202-224-4024

Then, please report your call by clicking here:

An investigation into the illegal wiretapping could expose how far Bush and the telecoms went in breaking the law. President Bush keeps insisting that his illegal spying program was narrow and only targeted at suspected terrorists. But AT&T whistleblower Mark Klein—who has firsthand knowledge of the program—says the program was a massive invasion of Americans' privacy and AT&T is covering up the truth:

"They want to portray it like the president does, that it's a handful of international phone calls. That's the sound-bite, and that's not true. It affects millions of people domestically." 4

That's why the Bush Administration and the telecom companies are desperately seeking immunity to conceal their crimes. AT&T has even hired a consulting company headed by John Ashcroft, Bush's former Attorney General, to lobby for immunity.5

We need the Senate to stand up to their pressure and hold them accountable, not aid their cover-up.

Can you call Sen. Webb today and tell him to join progressives in the Senate in blocking any bill that includes immunity for lawbreaking phone companies?

Thanks for all you do.

–Nita, Tanya, Laura, Jennifer and the Political Action Team
Monday, December 17th, 2007


1. "Congress Stand Firm: America Deserves A Legal Decision on Warrantless Wiretapping," Electronic Frontier Foundation, October 10, 2007

2. Statement from Senator Chris Dodd on a filibuster, October 20, 2007

"Intelligence bill may hinge on immunity for telecoms," USA Today, November 27, 2007

3. "Obama Camp Says It: He'll Support Filibuster Of Any Bill Containing Telecom Immunity," TPM Election Central, October 24, 2007

Live Chat with Senator Joe Biden, Washington Post, October 19, 2007

4. "AT&T Whistleblower: Telecom Immunity Is A Cover-Up," Talking Points Memo, November 7, 2007

5. "Key Senators Raise Doubts on Eavesdropping Immunity," New York Times, November 1, 2007

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

there is a difference between data mining frequent overseas phone calls to this country and to other countries from here. Don't worry,no one has any idea you are taliking to your mistress.

12:40 PM  
Blogger Archie Levine said...

Jocular assurances not to worry do little to assure me that flagrant violations of the law do no harm.

My mistress not withstanding, if the President continues to tell us that the evil doers hate our freedom, then those freedoms really ought to be protected.

If what makes this nation great, as we have been told as recently as yesterday, is that we are a nation ruled by laws and not by men, then why is asking corporations and elected officals to abide by those laws something you find to be "quaint"?

The sad truth is that there is very little left of this country that is recognizable as America, and the only reason you don't care is because your boy is in the White House.

I assure you, if a Democrat were abusing power this boldly, and a Demmocrat were destroying the very fabric of our nation I would be every bit as outraged as I am that a Republican is doing it. Unfortunatly, your patriotism runs no deeper than your party afiliation, and that sir, is the thing most wrong with this country at the moment.

12:48 PM  
Blogger Archie Levine said...

Just out of curiousity, why is it that the only thing conservatives seem to get their panties in a bunch over is sexual impropriety?

The first place you went is to me wanting to protect my mistress...not me wanting to protect my dodgy tax practices, or protect my shady business dealings.

Not that I have any more of those things than I do mistresses.

One of the things we are really concerned about here is the abuse of this datamining operation to fix elections. But of course, that wouldn't worry you, because you're the one who comes out on top as long as it is your guys doing the fixing.

And why is it that you guys don't care about your own supporters and members when it comes to sexual impropriety? Gay fundamentalist ministers, the Assistant Director of Homeland Security emailing nude pictures of himself to underage boys while wearing his name tag, the gay male prostitute who gets a white house press pass any time he wants it, Congressmen soliciting sex in bathrooms, campaign directors offering to pay to give blow jobs...I you folks not remember that the thing that ticked Jesus off most was hypocrisy? Well, you don't remember that he advocated against the accumulation of wealth, giving money to the poor, healing the sick, clothing the naked, and turning the other cheek instead of seeking retribution...why should you remember that thing about hypocrisy. You clearly are more invested in Old Testement smiting than New Testement forgiveness. You guys are to Christianity what Joe Lieberman is to the Democratic Party.

1:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The difference between us is that if someone is a pervert pedophile or a gay soliciting perversion in a bathroom that's what conservatives and for the most part I will bet most Americans despise. You only despise it because they are priests or republicans.
And you are only entitled to life,liberty and the pursuit of happiness not privacy to plan and plot attacks from some Islamic country or from within our borders.

3:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One more thing. When you say things against Christianity you should remember that you are insulting 80% of this country.

3:20 PM  
Blogger Archie Levine said...

First, you are an idiot. This is my opinion, and I have the right to express it...for the time being, though that right too is being eroded.

Second, I belive there is a fundamental right to privacy, however most neo-con Republicans need to destroy that notion as being constitutional so that they can get at Roe v. Wade, which is founded on the notion of privacy. I'm sure you wanted an Ed Meese T-shirt that said "Only the guilty have reason to fear." It is unAmerican, sir, to invade my privacy illegally and sufficient legal statutes are already in place to protect us from the dangers your neo-con trainers have taught you to fear so that you don't notice the dangers they represent. It is called FISA.

Again, I ask you, why is it so terrible for you to think that our government officials should not consider themselves above the law? Why is it so wrong to demand that the President actually defend the Constitution as he has now sworn twice to do?

Lastly, remember (if the figure is accurate) that the 80% of Christians you somehow costrued me as "saying something against" includes myself and a great many other liberal Christians whose faith is based on the teachings of Christ, in particular the Sermon on the Mount in which Jesus essentially lays out the framework for a liberal agenda.

I suspect that when you hear a figure like "America is 80% Christian" you imagine that 100% of that figure are Chistians exactly like yourselfe because you can't concieve of any Christian who isn't a Christian with your narrow interpretation of a definition.

In reality, Christians like yourself are more likely the 30% or less in this country who unquestioningly fall into lock step behind this President and see him less as the political leader of the nation but some sort of spiritual leader of a neo-Promised Land.

Those who choose faith over reason, and who reject the sound, rational thought which founded this nation. People like you scream all the time about this being a Christian Nation, and to a certain extent, you are correct...however, most of the Christians who founded this nation were also immersed in Enlightenment thinking, and it wouldn't hurt you, if you want to really claim your "Christian National Heritage" to read some Voltaire or Rousseau along with your Jack Chick comic books.

For that matter, it wouldn't hurt you to read the Bible once in a while...I suggest the New Testement, since you claim to be a Christian, and stay away from Deutoronmeny and Exodus for a little while. And also, let Revelations take care of itself. You Millenialists aren't going to have any more success in hurrying God along than the rest of us are going to have in staving off the End Times.

No, we can't stop God, but we might be able to stop you and George Bush...If God hasn't forsaken us for using so much of his message against the people he commanded us to know...everyone.

Boy, I think you actually make me madder at you than I make you mad at me.

6:55 AM  
Blogger Archie Levine said...

Sorry...It also occurs to me as ironic that someone who is arguing against a right to privacy is only willing to post anonymously.

What was that thing Jesus said about hypocrisy?

Oh, yeah...that it was bad.

7:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I get it when you speak of Religion it is truly Christian and when a Conservtive is religious they are right wing neocon zealots.
Well thanks for clearing that up.
Oh and I don't walk in lockstep with the president which seems like a popular term that liberals use when someone doesn't agree with their ideas of telling the world how awful our president and our country is.
I just don't think it's good for our country to be acting like you are the only ones who know what's best for the rest of us. And yes it is you guys doing all the bashing,we just feel it's wrong to do especially to the extreme you do it.

1:55 PM  
Blogger Archie Levine said...

I am baffled by your logic and your grammar.

Weren't you the one who opened this entire discussion by "bashing" my over reaction to the crimes committed by this administration and my concern over privacy? And then made up the scurrilous charge, whether a joke or not, that I had a mistress I wanted to protect?

Now you want to claim the high ground?

Anyway, it isn't me or anyone on this earth who gets to decide who was and who wasn't a good Christian.

That would be Jesus who gets to decide that.

I doubt you'll read this whole thing, you'll just look at it and decide it would take too much effort to read it and you already know I'm wrong anyway so why bother?

Still, I can't resist...

I'm just saying that people who think Judge Roy Moore is the greatest thing since sliced bread bacause he wants to put the Ten Commandments in every courthouse in the country ought to be thinking more about the New Testement than the Old Testement if they claim to be followers of the guy who brought us the New Covenant. Maybe that logic doesn't fit into your brain, because it is so full of propaganda, but chew on it a while.

WWJD? Probably follow his own teachings, which you will find in the New Testement. Start with Matthew 25: 31-46, if you can't be bothered to read the whole thing.

Won't George be surprised when he walks up to the Pearly Gates and says, "I'm here to get my reward--get it?"

And Jesus, the guy he probably won't recognize replies, "Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the Devil and his angels. For I was sick and you did not provide healthcare. I was hungry and you left it to others to feed me. I was a stranger and you deported me and put up a wall to prevent my entry. I was detained in secret and you left me to rot without access to any hope of justice. I was waterboarded and tortured and instead of protecting me, you authorized even more torture."

George will say, "Jesus, I didn't do that to you! I'd have let you get access to the finest drugs money can buy, I'd let you sleep in the Lincoln Bedroom, I wouldn't torture you, I'd get you the finest folks to torture evil doer's for you...I'm trying to lessen your workload!"

And Jesus would sigh, and say, "George, didn't Condi ever read you any of the Bible? Truly, it is written that I have said, whatever you do to the least among you, that you have done unto me?"

And George would say, "People like the Presidency, and sometimes they like the President--Get it?"

Then Jesus would show him the door.

All I'm asking is that a President who swears to uphold the Constitution actuall do that.

That a nation who prides itself on being a nation of laws and not of men have consequences for leaders who break the law.

And that Christians maybe behave a little more like Christ if they are going to wear WWJD bracelets and put bumper stickers on their cars that proclaim Jesus is in the driver's seat, and cram legislation down everyone's throat that they think come from inerrant biblical truth.

Is that so wrong?
Am I really the one who is too "extreme"?


Jesus never had a job. He lived off the kindness and "welfare" and charity of others. He amassed no wealth. He advocated against wealth and didn't say that the acumulation of wealth was evidence of God's favor. He didn't have a litmus test for mercy. He was someone you probably wouldn't like very much if you sat next to him at the bus station and started talking religion and politics.

That whole "Love they Neighbor as thyself" thing is pretty hard for you guys to swallow. That's how you came up with the "Love the Sinner but Hate the Sin" variation on the theme, and that's why all the torture during the Inquisition wasn't punishing the sinner, they were punishing the sin. Mortifying the flesh purified the soul.

If Jesus believed that claptrap, wouldn't the New Testement be full of parables about the value of torture? Seems to me that most of the parables are about leading a perfect example, tolerance and forgiveness as being virtuous.

Where does "turn the other cheek" fit in with the Doctrine of Pre-emptive War?"

Have a look at the "Seven Woes" listed in Matthew 23. That ought to be the speech given at Liberty, Bob Jones, and Regent universities at graduation every year.

But, I'm only basing that on what I've read. You know, in that inerrant word of God thing.

5:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Saddam was found to be violating oil for food programs by selling the food received in exchange for oil for cash. His country was starving so he could build anther mansion/palace.
This was a violation of peace treaties enacted after the first gulf war, it is also an act of war and justification for disbanding the Iraqi leadership.
Before the war, Syria was receiving as much as 200,000 b/d of oil through the pipeline, paying as much as $1 billion/year to Iraq, making it the single largest source of revenue for Baghdad outside the UN’s oil-for-aid program.
But the US action put an end to that arrangement, ending Washington’s formerly benign policy towards Syria’s illicit imports of Iraqi oil.
Iraqi Firings: Since 2000, Iraqi forces have fired on U.S. and British pilots 1,600 times. In 2002, Iraqi forces fired on U.S. and British pilots406 times. Since September 18, just hours after Saddam promised to “allow the return of the United Nations inspectors without conditions” and expressed his desire “to remove any doubts that Iraq still possesses weapons of mass destruction,” Iraqi forces have fired on U.S. and British pilots 67times.
Saddam was also paying Palestinian suicide bombers families $25,000 ea. to go into Afghanistan and blow up Americans, this was most definitely an act of war.
So... as far as Bush changing his reasons goes you seem to confuse "mutiple choice" with selectivity.

Blackwater's "call function is composed of highly trained elite specialists whom alot of would qualify for major rank in the military seeing as how almost all of them served in the first Gulf war and quite a few have done at least one tour of Iraq while serving our military. They are able to provide private security that is not in a soldiers job description to perform.
Because they are not bound by the same rules as our military they are actually able to perform twice as many services in a day. Bushs friends they are not , they are the best private security firm in our country.

4:37 PM  
Blogger Archie Levine said...

I have no idea what the heck you are talking about, Anonymous...this doesn't seem to be at all on topic.

Did you cut and paste it from some other flame war?

One interesting phrase, though, in relation to the business of torture and war crimes which might have been revealed by the CIA tapes and other activities related to extraordinary renditions...

"They are able to provide private security that is not in a soldiers job description to perform.
Because they are not bound by the same rules as our military they are actually able to perform twice as many services in a day. "

Yes, I agree, contravention of the Geneva Convention and American Treaties are probably outside a soldier's job description to perform, however, if they are being paid by US tax dollars, those illegal activities are still done in our name. And they are still wrong.

And would seem to be contrary to the mission of our nation's second self professed born again Christian president. The first one being Jimmy Carter, who did live according to his professed values.

2:08 PM  
Blogger 1138 said...

Bush has only one God and that is money, if he professed a belief in Christ it is to trick fools into giving him more access to his God of money.

Tell it all to the talking snake

12:10 PM  

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