Archive for the ‘FISA’ category

Followership from Barack and Hillary

October 24, 2007

Me too! Me too! seems the be the message from the Clinton and Obama campaigns in response to Chris Dodd’s principled stand on FISA — Dodd stepped up to the plate right out of the gate to oppose the FISA compromise (read:  giveaway to the telecoms).   Plus there were immediate statements from Wyden, Feingold and Biden.  Now we have two more presidential candidates deciding that they had better get on board because Chris Dodd is getting favorable press on this.  This is not spine.  This is not leadership.  This is just a rush to not look bad on this issue from people who say they want to be the leader/president of this country.

Look at the statements from the Clinton and Obama campaigns below.  Notice that Hillary gives herself plenty of wiggle room to change her position and support the bill if she gets “additional information”.   Pretty lame, if you ask me.

Chris Dodd may be trailing Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama in the polls, but he’s leading them when it comes to standing up against retroactive immunity for telecommunications companies.

When members of the Senate Intelligence Committee cut a deal with the Bush administration and approved retroactive immunity for telecommunications companies that helped the government spy on their customers, Dodd said pretty immediately that he’d put a hold on the bill, then said subsequently that he’d filibuster the bill if the Senate votes to overcome his hold.

That was last week. On Tuesday, in what appears to be a response to a push from MoveOn and others, Barack Obama’s campaign put out a statement saying that if the bill containing immunity for the telecom companies comes to the floor in its present form, Obama “would support a filibuster of it.”

Shortly thereafter, Clinton told reporters on a conference call that while she hasn’t seen the legislation yet, “as matters stand now, I could not support it and I would support a filibuster absent additional information coming forth that would convince me differently.”

Followership, not leadership is what we are seeing from these two supposedly top-tier presidential candidates.  Not much spine but perhaps some cartilage forming.


Net neutrality and the money trail

October 22, 2007

It was just revealed that Comcast, one of the largest ISP’s, is blocking some kinds of content, namely, BitTorrent file sharing. The company claims that they are just “managing” their network for the benefit of all users but this kind of discrimination against a particular type of content runs counter to the principle of net neutrality, a standard that has been part of the internet since its inception.

Take a look at this article in the Globe and Mail (UK). The key point is that Comcast has not been even acknowledging that they are doing this so there has no way to complain about problems.

U.S. ISP blocking BitTorrent users

Associated Press

NEW YORK — Comcast Corp. actively interferes with attempts by some of its high-speed Internet subscribers to share files online, a move that runs counter to the tradition of treating all types of Net traffic equally.

The interference, which The Associated Press confirmed through nationwide tests, is the most drastic example yet of data discrimination by a U.S. Internet service provider. It involves company computers masquerading as those of its users. (more…)

Spine and FISA

October 21, 2007

There is a lot of talk these days about Dems in Congress lacking backbone. But I’ve recently come across several examples of several who are demonstrating vertebrate behavior vis-a-vis the Bush administration.

First, there is my own Senator Ron Wyden. Despite the horrible cave-in of the Dem leadership on important issues concerning the so-called “compromise” on FISA. the senior Senator from Oregon managed to insert an amendment into the FISA bill that would protect the rights of Americans traveling or living abroad. He makes the legitimate point that our privacy rights do not stop at our shores but are carried with us wherever we go.

Wyden is a member of the Senate Intelligence committee and his word should carry weight with is colleagues. The handwringing “leaders” are warning that this provision will cause the entire bill to be vetoed. I say, so what? Without such protections of citizen’s rights overseas (and perhaps without giving a free pass to the telecoms) the bill may be a toothless wonder anyway. You can find more about Wyden’s smooth moves on FISA at blueoregon. It is interesting to note that there is another Senator joining Wyden in his dissent — Russ Feingold, the independent-minded former presidential candidate from Wisconsin.

Wyden: You keep your rights when you go overseas

From his perch on the Intelligence Committee, Senator Ron Wyden continues to press the Bush Administration on warrantless wiretapping – even though the majority Democrats have been pushing for a “compromise” reform bill. (more…)