Tag: Chris Dodd

Telecom Immunity: It’s still about the spying

With FISA Deform again imminent, discussion has focused on telecom immunity, Senator Reid’s inexplicable refusal to honor Senator Dodd’s hold, and Senators Clinton, Obama and Biden following Senator Dodd’s lead, in at least attempting to filibuster. In purely electoral terms, this has been one more reason why it is too bad Senator Dodd’s candidacy likely won’t have any impact on the presidential campaign. It is also further proof that we need him to replace Senator Reid, as Majority Leader.

But the real story is still about domestic spying. The real story is still about the Bush Administration breaking a law that was specifically designed to stop abuses of government that had been going on for decades, but most egregiously by the Nixon Administration.

As mcjoan wrote:

The illegal activities of the telcos in aiding our government in domestic, warrantless spying extends far beyond 9/11 and preventing another terrorist attack on the U.S. Not that that was a valid justification for the government to overthrow the rule of law in the first place, but what a cynical effort by this administration to deceive.

Congress should not be voting on any amnesty for the telcos until full investigations of these new revelations have been conducted. The pending legislation on FISA, or at least this provision of it, should be shelved until Congress has a full picture of what these companies have been doing on behalf of our government.

Just so. It’s not only about shielding the telcos for having violated the trust of their customers, and possibly the law, it’s about preventing a full, fair accounting of what exactly the Bush Administration was doing, spying on the American people. The Constitution, the law, history, and the concept of individual privacy demand this accounting. That’s the real story, here.

Should Edwards and Obama Be In Prison?

In the ending minutes of the Democratic Presidential Debate on MSNBC two weeks ago, Tim Russert asked the candidates if any of them disagreed with Sen. Chris Dodd’s recent statement that he supports the decriminalization of marijuana.  Sen. Barack Obama and former Sen. John Edwards both raised their hands.  Edwards gave his reasons for his opposition:

“I think it sends the wrong signal to young people. And I think the president of the United States has a responsibility to ensure that we’re sending the right signals to young people.”

This is a very interesting statement on the part of John Edwards, and on the part of Barack Obama.  Because John Edwards admitted to having used marijuana during the 2003 Democratic Presidential debate sponsored by “Rock the Vote”.  Obama has gone even further; in his book “Dreams From My Father”, Obama wrote:

“I blew a few smoke rings, remembering those years.  Pot had helped, and booze; maybe a little blow when you could afford it.  Not smack, though.”

What is particularly fascinating about these statements by these candidates for the Presidency is that they are supporting criminal penalties which they themselves admit having avoided, which in many cases would not only prevent them from being viable candidates for their current and previous elected offices, but would prevent them from even having the opportunity to vote for themselves.  Nationwide, an estimated 5.3 million Americans are denied the right to vote for current or former felony convictions.  Over two million of those Americans are denied the right to vote after having completed their sentence and parole or probation, for the rest of their lives.  

Dodd Leads On FISA Telco Amnesty

Against the odds, Senator Chris Dodd has led the fight against FISA telco immunity.

The first step is to make sure retroactive immunity doesn’t make it out of the Senate Judiciary Committee — where it will be considered shortly.

If we can get it stripped there, it will have to be offered as an amendment to the overall bill where it will be a lot easier to get 41 votes against retroactive immunity than 41 to sustain my filibuster if necessary

This is a vitally important issue, as the Dodd campaign demonstrates in this video of the whistleblower Marc Klein, who told the story of the telco’s failure to respect the privacy of its customers that the law (the Communication Storage Act) requires.

My name is Mark Klein. I used to be an AT&T technician for 22 years.

[Former AT&T Technician Mark Klein Speaks Out on Retroactive Immunity and Domestic Surveillance]

“What I figured out when I got there is that they were copying everything flowing across the internet cables, the major internet links between AT&T’s network and other companies’ networks.”

“It struck me at the time that this was a massively unconstitutional, illegal operation.”

“It affects not only AT&T’s customers, but everybody because these links went to places link Sprint, Qwest, a whole bunch of other companies.”

“And so they’re basically tapping into the entire internet.”

[But isn’t the government only monitoring suspected terrorists and not ordinary Americans?]

“To perform what they say they want to do, which is look at international traffic, none of this makes any sense. These installations only make sense if they’re doing a huge, massive domestic dragnet on everybody in the United States.”

[Shouldn’t the telecoms trust that the Bush administration’s requests are legal?]

“These companies know very well what’s legal and illegal. They’ve been dealing with this for decades. And it’s a fact that Qwest refused the NSA’s approaches because they didn’t have, they weren’t shown any legal justification for it. And they did the right thing and said, “no.” “

“What I’m here for is it looked like a few weeks ago that the Senate bill which passed the Intelligence Committee would give immunity to the telecom companies and that would probably put an end to the lawsuits.”

[The Senate Judiciary Committee is currently reviewing retroactive immunity]

“So I came here to lobby against giving immunity to the telecom companies. Let the court cases proceed and Congress should not interfere in that.”

Tell the Senate to oppose telecom immunity

Chris Dodd, leading on the issues now and demonstrating the leadership we will need from our next President.

Now call the Judiciary Committee Senators now. Use this. Chris Dodd will pay for your call.

Barack Obama is ready to take on the enemy!

Senator Barack Obama has finally decided to forcefully take on the enemy!


“I think you reserve impeachment for grave, grave breaches, and intentional breaches of the president’s authority,” he said.

USA Today

As opposed to the trivial breaches committed by Bush.

The war?

The leading Democratic White House hopefuls conceded Wednesday night they cannot guarantee to pull all U.S. combat troops from Iraq by the end of the next presidential term in 2013.

I think it’s hard to project four years from now,” said Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois in the opening moments of a campaign debate in the nation’s first primary state.


Maybe for someone who is not ready to lead.


Obama said only that “if the bill comes to the Senate floor in its current form, he would support a filibuster of it” — a transparent hedge given that it is virtually certain that the bill (being marked up this week by the Senate Judiciary Committee) will not come to the floor in its “current form.” That makes Obama’s statement virtually worthless, filled — as intended — with plenty of room for him to vote for amnesty if and when the Senate votes on it.

Glenn Greenwald

Following in Dodd’s footsteps, but not following all the way.


“First, Pastor McClurkin believes and has stated things about sexual orientation that are deeply hurtful and offensive to many Americans, most especially to gay Americans. This cannot and should not be denied.

At the same time, a great many African Americans share Pastor McClurkin’s beliefs. This also cannot be ignored.

Finally, we believe that the only way for these two sides to find common ground is to do so together.”

Huffington Post

Common ground? With bigots?

Well, okay- not those enemies. This enemy…

Move On Joins The FISA Bandwagon

And cheers to them for that:

In a move that will up the pressure on Hillary and Barack Obama to stand firm against the Senate telecom immunity FISA bill, MoveOn and a dozen top progressive blogs will launch an all-out campaign tomorrow to pressure the two Senators into publicly declaring their support for Chris Dodd's threat to place a hold on and filibuster the bill, Election Central has learned.

. . . If Hillary and Obama don't comply, Green added, “it would send an unfortunate signal to Democratic voters about whether they're willing to stand up to George Bush. The idea is to get Democrats to stand on principle and exercise the powers of their office to stop Bush from covering up how far he went in illegally spying on the private emails and phone calls of innocent Americans.”

Well done Move On.


Sometimes, a number is so stunning that all you can do is stare.


Look at it.

Think about it.

Less than one-fourth.

The most unpopular president ever.

According to Reuters:

Bush’s job approval rating fell to 24 percent from last month’s record low for a Zogby poll of 29 percent.

Down five percent. In one month.

Down five percent, in one month, from the previous record low!

The mind reels. The mind stumbles. The mind falls down.

The national telephone survey of 991 likely voters, conducted October 10 through October 14, found barely one-quarter of Americans, or 26 percent, believe the country is headed in the right direction.

The poll found declining confidence in U.S. economic and foreign policy. About 18 percent gave positive marks to foreign policy, down from 24 percent, and 26 percent rated economic policy positively, down from 30 percent.

You know what’s worse than being a president with a record low 24% approval rating? Being an opposition party that is incapable of opposing a president with a record low 24% approval rating.

It’s embarrassing.

It’s humiliating.

Considering the real life consequences, it’s also disastrous.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi spent part of yesterday running from her Democratic colleague, Rep. Pete Stark. Stark said bad things about Bush.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid spent part of last week running from his colleague, Sen. Chris Dodd. Dodd tried to stop a bad Bush policy.

Pelosi and Reid did not spend much time running from Bush.

They did not resolve to stop his war.

They did not resolve to stop him from torturing people.

They did not resolve to stop him from indiscriminately spying on the American people.

They did not resolve to force him to comply with subpoenas.

They did not resolve to force him to comply with laws, national and international.

The elected leaders of the Democratic Party are afraid to stand up to a president with a 24% approval rating.

The elected leaders of the Democratic Party are afraid of being criticized for standing up to a president with a 24% approval rating.

Perhaps that’s why Reuters also reported this Zogby poll result:

A paltry 11 percent gave Congress a positive grade, tying last month’s record low.

Paltry. That’s a good word for it: paltry.

Congress always polls poorly. But this is a record. A record of paltriness.

11 percent!

They’re less popular than Bush.

They’re less than half as popular as Bush!

It’s clearly not from opposing him, because they clearly haven’t.

Maybe it’s time they tried something different.

Maybe it’s time they tried opposing him.

For real.

Because if you can’t stand up to a president with a 24% approval rating, what can you stand up to? What can you stand for?

Dodd To Filibuster FISA Telecom Amnesty

Join Senator Dodd in this fight.

Chris Dodd: The Audacity of Modesty and Decency.

We live in an age of hypertrophic indecency and immodesty.  This is perhaps best symbolized the Presidency of George W. Bush and his aggressive wars, rendition torture, illegal search and seizure, and absolute disregard for human suffering.  A fundamental indecency and immodesty suffuses us.  We have suffered a collapse of the sense of “enoughness.”

Send Chris Dodd some love


Dodd Places Hold On FISA Telco Amnesty

Let the DoddMania begin:

The Military Commissions Act.  Warrantless wiretapping.  Shredding of Habeas Corpus.  Torture.  Extraordinary Rendition.  Secret Prisons.

No more.

I have decided to place a “hold” on the latest FISA bill that would have included amnesty for telecommunications companies that enabled the President's assault on the Constitution by illegally providing personal information on their customers without judicial authorization.

I said that I would do everything I could to stop this bill from passing, and I have. 

It's about delivering results — and as I've said before, the FIRST thing I will do after being sworn into office is restore the Constitution.  But we shouldn't have to wait until then to prevent the further erosion of our country's most treasured document.  That's why I am stopping this bill today.

Thank you Senator Dodd. You make me proud to be a supporter of your candidacy for President.

Dodd Fights To End The Iraq Debacle Now, And That Gives Him A Chance In Iowa

Chris Dodd’s campaign is based on one major issue – that the leadership we will want in our next President is demonstrated by the leadership a candidate shows now on the major issues of the day. The biggest issue is, of course Iraq, and Chris Dodd is fighting to insure a Democratic Congress does not fund the Iraq War without a date certain for ending the war. This fight is attracting notice in Iowa:

Yepsen: 1st-tier Dems’ timidity on Iraq may create opening

Connecticut Sen. Christopher Dodd is the longest of long-shot candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination. But he doesn’t seem too agitated about that. He’s an experienced politician. He knows how the caucus game often breaks late. Because of his 33 years of experience in Congress, he also knows something about U.S. foreign policy and the war in Iraq.

He does get agitated about that, particularly when the leading candidates for the Democratic nomination appear to be in no big hurry to get out. Hillary Clinton, John Edwards and Barack Obama all declined in last week’s debate to say they’d have U.S. troops out of Iraq by the end of their first term – in 2013. “I was stunned, literally stunned” to hear them say that, Dodd said in
an interview for last weekend’s Iowa Press program on Iowa Public Television. “It was breathtaking to me that the so-called three leading candidates would not make that commitment. That’s six years from today.”

“The one issue that gave us the majority in the House and Senate last year was Iraq. It’s the dominant issue in the country. We’re spending a fortune, $10 billion a month. Reconciliation is no closer today. I think for anybody out there wondering whether or not Democrats get this at all, or not … to stand up and say six years from now, I will not make the commitment that U.S. forces will be out of Iraq, I found breathtaking.”

Chris Dodd is showing leadership now.

Iraq: The Power of The Purse


Senator Chris Dodd: [T]he question is not just how you bring the troops out, but why are we there? As president of the United States, your first responsibility is to guarantee the safety and security of the American people. And so the question you must ask yourself as president: Is the continuation of our military presence enhancing that goal?

I happen to believe very strongly that this policy of ours, military involvement in Iraq, is counterproductive. We’re less safe, less secure, more vulnerable and more isolated today as a result of the policy. So I believe that we ought to begin that process of redeployment here.

I would simultaneously engage in the kind of robust diplomacy that’s been totally missing from this administration, to enhance our own interests in the region as well as to provide some additional security for Iraq. You can do this, Tim. Practically, it can be done, by military planners — can tell you — you can move a brigade to a brigade to a brigade and half, maybe even two a month out of Iraq. So the time frame we’re talking about is critical.

But Congress has an obligation here. It’s not enough that we just draft timetables. The Constitution gives the Congress of the United States a unique power, and that is the power of the purse. As long as we continue drafting these lengthy resolutions and amendments here, talking about timelines and dates, we’re not getting to the fundamental power that exists in the Congress.

And that is to terminate the funding of this effort here, give us a new direction. As everyone who’s looked at this issue over the last two or three years have concluded, there is no military solution here, and we need to do far more to protect our interests not only in that region, but throughout the world. We’re not doing it with this policy.

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