The Obama Accountability Movement Begins

by: Matt Stoller

Wed Jun 25, 2008 at 18:01


I talked to the Wall Street Journal's Susan Davis yesterday about Obama's decision to capitulate on FISA.  Obama stalwart Larry Lessig referenced it on his blog and in his speech to the Personal Democracy Forum.  Maplight has done a great analysis of the telecom cash that disproportionately favored the Democrats who helped shepherd the FISA deal through.  Here's what the anonymous Democratic lawmakers say.
Matt Stoller :: The Obama Accountability Movement Begins

"I applaud it," a senior Democratic lawmaker said. "By standing up to MoveOn.org and the ACLU, he's showing, I think, maybe the first example of demonstrating his ability to move to the center. He's got to make the center comfortable with him. He can't win if the center isn't comfortable."

If by center he means the telecom PACs that sit at the center of the Beltway network, he's correct.  If he means the American people, he is of course wrong.  But his opinion is widely shared; here's Steny Hoyer, who is probably the senior Democratic lawmaker in the article (or might as well be).

"You can take a position and be a purist and sort of sit around yelling at each [other] across the [political] divide and nothing gets done," Hoyer said. "The American people, they want us to get this done. That's the whole thing to me."

As Glenn demonstrates repeatedly, deals like this are not popular with the public at large, whether you go by polling data or by viewing it through the lens of electoral politics, where the charge of terrorism and wiretapping was explicitly used by Republicans who then lost their races.  But the inertia towards this kind of policy-making, corruption really, is immensely strong.  Despite electing more than 40 new Democrats in 2006, not one single Democrat criticized the Democratic leadership for ushering this FISA bill through.  Not one.  And the standard-bearer for the party, Barack Obama, waffled on a core constitutional principle that combines big business corruption, national security, and standing up to Bush.

So this was a serious wake-up call for Obama partisans who did not live and breath the Lamont race in 2006 and his betrayal, or who did not witness his behavior during the Military Commissions Act debate in 2006.  Though he voted against the act, he waited so long to speak out against it that the game was already decided.  Atrios, who usually does not criticize Democrats in harsh terms, said at the time: "Hey, Senator Obama, now'd be a nice time to stop fucking talking about "America coming together" and start getting America to come together to oppose torturing people."

If you weren't there to see Obama endorse Lieberman and limply oppose the Military Commissions Act while chiding Democrats, it was hard to imagine that he could be a craven opportunist in the face of his successful campaign to change politics.  He did after all slay the icon of Democratic establishment politics, Hillary Clinton, using his opposition to the war to generate activist support and beat her in caucuses and through savvy organizing methods.  How could you see him caving on core constitutional issues?  Many of the skeptical but supportive crowd expected his behavior, but those who did not engage in the somewhat weedy fights over party apparatus and within the Connecticut primary did not.  They were shocked.  No longer, and that his betrayal came so starkly and on an issue that involves national security, the constitution, big business, and the surveillance state is a good thing.  There is simply no excuse for falling down on this, and that skeptical supporters are around to offer perspective is quite useful.

Here's what I told the journalist.

Popular liberal blogs criticized the senator after he announced his support of the bill Friday. "There's an element of distrust now," Matt Stoller, a liberal activist and co-founder of the blog OpenLeft.com, said Monday at an Internet politics conference in New York.

Mr. Stoller said that Sen. Obama's position on the spy bill may not alienate the majority of his supporters, but the issue gives activists "a strong reason not to trust him or give him the benefit of the doubt."

The article also mentions Obama's endorsement of Bush Dog John Barrow in Georgia 12th's primary against a progressive, which was arranged through another Blue Dog's office.  This is the key element; not only did Obama choose to go sour on the core substantive issue at hand, but he also chose to throw his weight behind a Congressional candidate facing the voters who acted badly against a true progressive, doing so in a deal brokered by one of the key right-wing Democrats in Congress.

By marginalizing the policy liberals within his campaign the way he has mowed down the outside groups, Obama is limiting his range of motion going forward and showing key progressive allies that he may not be a good faith operator after all unless he can be forced in that direction.  And so they will dedicate more energy going forward into ensuring that they aren't embarrassed again by the person that we are all trusting as our party leader.


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Thanks, Matt . . . (4.00 / 2)
for continuing to highlight (since the race here in CT) the disjunction between Obama's reformist/progressive rhetoric and his political maneuvering.  It's the only way to pressure Obama into being the kind of candidate we want.


Wait (4.00 / 3)
so you try to hold him accountable and to do that you talk to the Wall Street Journal?

One thing is sure Matt. The WSJ is not operating in good faith. They love writing stories about how divided we beacuse it helps them.

Take on Obama if you want but don't do it in the Wall Street Journal for god sakes.  

John McCain: Beacuse lobbyists should have more power


so sounds perfect to me (4.00 / 3)
Obama needs a solid slap in his face for this. He'll still win the presidency with out a doubt - McCain is a joke - but if Obama wants to hold on to the romantic kennedyesq mystique he has created for himself, then he must atone.

Michael Bloomberg, prince of corporate welfare

[ Parent ]
That's a good point . . . (4.00 / 2)
but I wonder which forum(s) might put the most pressure on Obama to live up to his language from the primary.

[ Parent ]
Did your read the article? (0.00 / 0)
It actually downplays the anger over this.

In any case, to blame Matt and the WSJ for the (mild) division in the party right now is to misplace blame.  


[ Parent ]
I think you are flat out wrong on this (4.00 / 3)
and that Matt was right to speak out. You do not just blindly follow a supposed leader. That is the same cult of personality that gave us Bush for the last 8 years.

Wake up, but this is not change I can believe in.


[ Parent ]
Wrong on what? (0.00 / 0)
I said it is fine to take on Obama if you feel that way but just don't do it in a bad faith medium.

Your response to that point




John McCain: Beacuse lobbyists should have more power

[ Parent ]
Nothing wrong with talking to WSJ about this. (0.00 / 0)
On a core constitutional issue, we should hold nothing back in criticizing Obama.  What will the Republicans do, agree with the netroots on this?  Not a chance.  IMHO, Obama is going to win in a landslide so there is no problem on that level.  

[ Parent ]
Wrong on not talking about Obama's Cave on FISA... (0.00 / 0)


[ Parent ]
KaBoom! (4.00 / 4)
I'm pissed about this. Like I said last week, it takes about a week for outrage in the left online grassroots to wedge its way into the big media. But if we keep bitching, keep hell raising on this, particularly on Obama, this could be on CNN by Thursday. or with some real hard work, on the Sunday morning talk shows. Not only is Obama's take on FISA wimpy and pathetic, his statement about the bill was complete BS and ran 100% counter to his rhetoric against fear mongering and pledges to restore civil rights. This bill is crap and so is Obama for supporting it.

Excellent write up and great summary about this Matt.

Hillary of course was too much of a centrist (and sadly so was Edwards actually) to make this a campaign issue. If she had wanted to yank grassroots support from Obama this was the issue to do it on! But out of the whole field only Dodd and Kucinich could muster the nuts to vocally oppose this. Her loss, she turned out to be one of the worst campaigners ever. I have no regrets about seeing Obama beat her out, and I had no interest in seeing the left roil itself and O's campaign over Fox appearances and the like. But this FISA stuff has real importance, and retroactive immunity completely goes against the principle of having laws and speaks to the overwhelming ability of corporations to get away with whatever they want.  

Michael Bloomberg, prince of corporate welfare


Corporations? Don't forget the Bushies.. (0.00 / 0)
I would rather ATT walk than Bush and company.  

[ Parent ]
Where is the fundraiser thing for this again? (4.00 / 1)
Lets get that thing pinned up top the center column.

wait, do i need to run ad block off... ACK! no, i dont.

Matt you should pin that sucker up and maybe talk to Greenwald about some smart ideas about how to use it to create an Obama Accountability movement. Smoking $300K on a Steny Hoyer challenge may not be worth it.

Michael Bloomberg, prince of corporate welfare


Adblock (4.00 / 1)
You should probably disable it on OpenLeft anyway, since you're taking revenue away from openleft by keeping it on.

[ Parent ]
There was one Democrat..my Congressman (4.00 / 1)
JERROLD NADLER
8th Congressional District of New York

Rep. Nadler Speaks Against FISA "Compromise" Legislation

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Friday, June 20, 2008

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Congressman Jerrold Nadler (NY-08), Chair of the Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties today spoke on the House floor in opposition to H.R. 6304, the FISA Amendments Act.  The bill was adopted on a vote of 293 to 129.

"This bill is a fig-leaf, granting blanket immunity to the telecom companies for possibly illegal acts without allowing the courts to consider the facts or the law," said Rep. Nadler.  "It abandons the Constitution's protections and insulates lawless behavior from legal scrutiny.  I hope that the courts will find that, because the Constitutional rights of Americans have been violated, Congress' attempt to prevent court review is unconstitutional."

Rep. Nadler's full remarks for the record follow:

"Madam Speaker, Members of the House must decide today whether to uphold the rule of law and the supremacy of the Constitution or whether to protect and reward the lawless behavior of the Administration and of the telecommunications companies that participated in its clearly illegal program of spying on innocent Americans.

"This bill limits the courts hearing lawsuits alleging illegal wiretapping to consider only whether the telecom companies received a "written request or directive . . . indicating that the activity was [ ] authorized by the President; and [ ] determined to be lawful" -- not whether the request was actually lawful or whether the telecom companies knew that it was unlawful.

"The bill is a fig-leaf, granting blanket immunity to the telecom companies for illegal acts without allowing the courts to consider the facts or the law.  It denies people whose rights were violated their fair day in court, and it denies the American people their right to have the actions of the Administration subjected to fair and independent scrutiny.

"Even the courts' limited review will remain secret.  The lawsuits will be dismissed, but the basis for the dismissal - that the defendants were innocent of misconduct, or that they were guilty but Congress commands their immunity - must remain secret.

"And the constitutionality of the immunity granted by this bill is very questionable.  As Judge Walker put it in the AT&T case:

AT&T's alleged actions here violate the constitutional rights clearly established in [the] Keith decision.  Moreover, because 'the very action in question has previously been held unlawful,' AT&T cannot seriously contend that a reasonable entity in its position could have believed that the alleged domestic dragnet was legal.

"I would hope that the courts will find that, because the Constitutional rights of Americans have been violated, Congress' attempt to prevent court review is unconstitutional.

"The bill also reiterates that FISA and specified other statutes are the exclusive legal authority for electronic surveillance.  The Act has always said that.  This bill adds some new mechanisms to ensure that any future legislation may not be read to override this exclusivity by implication, but only by explicitly saying that that is its purpose.

"No one and no court should draw the false conclusion that we are thereby implying that the exclusivity provision was, or could have been, overridden either by the President's claim of inherent authority under Article II of the Constitution, or by the Authorization for the Use of Military Force of 2001.  This bill does not say or imply that.  If there is any doubt of this point, the blanket immunity provisions of this bill reflect Congress' understanding that this domestic spying was not legal.   If it were, there would not be any necessity for these provisions.

"This bill abandons the Constitution's protections and insulates lawless behavior from legal scrutiny.  

"I urge a no vote."

###

Jerrold Nadler has served in Congress since 1992.  He represents New York's 8th Congressional District, which includes parts of Manhattan and Brooklyn.

And I have to agree with Matt...these betrayals were always clear to those who did see him in the Lamont campaign and read his 2005 DKos diary in which he defended the Democrats who voted for Roberts to his backtracking on NAFTA (Goolsbee's signaling to Canada was not a mistake)..they all were there to be seen if you wanted to look.

He's not a progressive...never was and won't be.  You all supported a moderate to slightly left Democrat.  Richard Nixon signed and supported more progressive legislation than he even contemplates.  

"Incrementalism isn't a different path to the same place, it could be a different path to a different place"
Stoller


I've known this about Obama since late 2005 (4.00 / 3)
When he decided to help Rahm Emanuel pull the rug out from under progressive grassroots candidate Christine Cegelis in IL-6 in favor of Rahm's (and Dick Durbin's) candidate Tammy Duckworth, who refused to stand for anything and had no field operation.

Cegelis has put the district into play by running a strong challenge against Henry Hyde in 2004, hastening his retirement. She was all set to run for the open seat when Rahm dropped in Duckworth with $1 million of primary support and paid Democratic Party workers to get her on the ballot at the last minute. She barely won the primary, a TV ad featuring Barack making the difference. The DCCC then spent $3 million on the general election race (that could have gone to better candidates like Dan Seals in IL-10), where Duckworth's lack of a volunteer base ensured her loss.

I still support Obama for President, of course and did my part to help him win the primary (canvassing, phone banking, donating, etc.).


equally frustrating to me (4.00 / 6)
are the number of posters I've encountered in my strolls through blogoland who insist, and I mean insist, that Obama is right to go along with the FISA capitulation because he has a plan, he is smarter than all of us, it's the only way to get elected and then he can really do something because he's actually against it but has to appear that he's for it, blah blah blah.  It saddens me to see how many people who would call themselves progressives have internalized the idea that the only way to win is by being meek and silent because we of the angry left are the only ones who care about the Constitution.

The Good Germans really came out this decade (4.00 / 2)
First on the right, now they're out on the left.

[ Parent ]
Being meek never got anyone anywhere (0.00 / 0)
I'll vote for Obama in November, but stuff like this makes me much more reluctant to give money, make phone calls, or provide other forms of more active support.

On this particular issue, it goes without saying that Hillary wouldn't have been an improvement, though.

This is why I keep saying we need a DFH political party.  How long will it take for us to change the Democratic Party into an institution that speaks for us anywhere near to the extent that our votes and our money provide their support?

Either that, or we should have backed a wave of primary challengers this year.  So far, I've only heard of four netroots-backed primary challenges to sitting Dem Congresscritters this cycle.  That was far too little.


[ Parent ]
Have you seen (4.00 / 3)
Obama's new astounding comment on FISA:

My view on FISA has always been that the issue of the phone companies per se is not one that overrides the security interests of the American people.

http://tpmelectioncentral.talk...

Buckle if you must but please stop sounding like a Republican. Thanks.


Right (4.00 / 4)
My view on FISA has always been that the issue of the security interests of the American people is not one that is overridden by the issue of immunity for George Bush and the telecom companies. Our security is ENHANCED, not diminished, by obeying the strictures of the 4th Amendment and allowing for robust judicial oversight of executive branch operations in the area of signals intelligence and electronic surveillance. Weakening our liberties by severely curtailing 4th Amendment protections and weakening the checks and balances of our constitutional system in no way buys us more security. In fact, I strongly believe that obeying the 4th Amendment causes us to have to prioritize our finite intelligence operations in a thorough and intelligent manner, thus improving our security.

Fear-mongering and putting up false strawman arguments does not make us more secure. Rather it makes us look paranoid, scared, and weak. That's not the kind of campaign or administration that I plan on running.

...

Oh, well, I guess his high-paid speechwriters and 'strategists' couldn't think that one through. Too bad.

I sure as hell am not going to clap louder for that. I'll vote for the guy and work as part of coordinated field campaigns for his election, but this is a profile in expediency and cowardice. Very disgusted by him at this point and time.


[ Parent ]
Ron, you are so right on this... (4.00 / 1)


[ Parent ]
The 'chess game' (4.00 / 4)
I think one problem is that people's ideas about what moves Obama to fight--to stand on principle--have been largely formed out of campaign rhetoric and not actual experience with him moving through a legislative moment of symbolic importance.  A lot of Obama supporters have this idea of him that's almost one-dimensional.  But the record does seem to show that this is a guy who favors looking for a way to 'make it work for everyone' so that things can actually get done,  which means in situations like this--vis-a-vis the telecoms--it looks like capitulation from our perspective.  From the telecom perspective, it probably looks like compromise.  They probably want the Congress to stand up and call them heroes for doing their part in a time of national security crisis--who knows.

But this moment seems to be what Obama is--he is someone who takes very principled stands in rhetoric, but then in actual legislative moments, he tries to find balance that moves the ball forward, so that governing doesn't get stymied in moments of confrontation.  

What Lessig seems to be saying about this is...from a narrow time frame, this feels like betrayal, but from a larger time frame--the time frame of the whole 'chess game'--it's actually strategy and deep down we want a strategist.  

If that's the case, then what Obama needs to do is stand up and speak to exactly what the chess game is--he needs to give a policy speech in which he explains how this bill fits into a broader vision for the country that is good, but different from what we've had since 2001.  

I think the millions who support Obama deserve to hear that speech sooner, rather than later and I think they'll give him at least a few days to make it.  But if there's silence from him on what the 'chess game' is, then I think the grumbling will get worse.


That speech can't be given becasue there is no good reason (4.00 / 2)
to support this bill.

And moving the legislation forward is just, in the old days called playing politics and is what the left condemned people like Hillary Clinton for.

Lawrence Lessig and you can dress this up as short term betrayal and some chimerical long term strategy.  there is no long term strategy.  this is for waht ever poorly conceived ratioal a way to get elected.  Even worse it's what he believes.

Sorry ...he ain't the guy you and people like Mark Schmitt thought he was.  He is though  just the middle of the road Democrat I always said he was.

Nothing he has said since he won the nomination....I don't think my vision of him has been betrayed...it's been vindicated.

Though I will say that even I found this to be a shocker..

http://digbysblog.blogspot.com...

Going One Better

by digby

Democrat Barack Obama says he disagrees with the Supreme Court's decision outlawing executions of people convicted of raping a child.

Obama told reporters Wednesday that he thinks the rape of a child, ages six or eight, is a heinous crime. He said if a state makes a decision, then the death penalty is potentially applicable

.

From Scotusblog on how using the death penalty as punishment for non death related crimes....a "descent into brutality.."

On Wednesday, in Kennedy v. Louisiana (07-343), the Court's five-Justice majority said at one point: "When the law punishes by death, it risks its own sudden descent into brutality, transgressing the constitutional commitment to decency and restraint." For a Court not yet ready to end the long-running constitutional experiment with the death penalty, it was a revealing utterance of near-revulsion at the process.



"Incrementalism isn't a different path to the same place, it could be a different path to a different place"
Stoller


[ Parent ]
whoops (0.00 / 0)
I must've accidentally stepped onto the express train back to the primary slap fights.  I'll just jump off here and grab a cab to the nearest non-accusatory comment...

[ Parent ]
It is frustrating to see this happen (0.00 / 0)
If he's acting just like everyone feared Hillary clinton would act and that's why she wasn't supported...then it is of course frustrating to see that he is acting just like everyone feared Hillary Clinton would act.  I bet she won't backtrack on NAFTA.

If she votes for the FISA bill, I will be angry...but at this point she's hemmed in by what he does...to show him up deliberately could be read by many as a vote that undermines unity.  She, more than any other senator, has less discretion at least till the convention or the election.

"Incrementalism isn't a different path to the same place, it could be a different path to a different place"
Stoller


[ Parent ]
Such a speech would be more powerful if it were given (0.00 / 0)
as an explanation of why he was leading the fight against this bill.  After voting for it, such would appear to be pandering, or flip/flopping.


"It sounds wrong...
     ...but its right."


[ Parent ]
Obama, a Transitional One Term President (4.00 / 2)

It's not as if FISA is so central an issue that taking a principled stand on it might cost Obama the presidency.

His caving on FISA is all the more cowardly because he is a lawyer and he does know what constitutional issues are at stake here.

We are all going to have to vote for him, no doubt about it, but it's also clear that he is now and will probably always be driven more by realpolitik than principle.

I view him as nothing more than OUR stepping stone away from the Bushies and the Rovian generation of Republicans.

As soon as he is in office, assuming he beats McCain, and consolidates the control is his taking over the machinery of the Democratic machinery, progressives need to planning how to replace him with a true progressive and build an indomitable progressive movement that can win electoral control of government.



Obama has control of party machinery and will be in 8 years. (0.00 / 0)
I cannot imagine otherwise.  

[ Parent ]
Of course this is the way he is (4.00 / 4)
He could be better, but he has to get elected president, and he's a politician.  A key confusion of many people working to elect him is between electoral and broader pressure politics.  With perhaps the minor exception of people like Finegold, you simply never elect someone with the expectation that they will become the pure person you wish they would be.  Almost invariably politicians live in a world of multiple pressures.  People who have elected people and expected them to automatically solve their problems are invariably disappointed.  

This raises concerns about Obama's effort to centralize a broad organization of volunteers around him in a manner unlike many others, and his apparent effort to eliminate other pressure organizations. (See this diary on his organizing effort.) Others will know better, but it at least seems like this goes beyond simple resistance to 527 advertisements.  

So outside of blogs like this and Move On, what structures exist to pressure him when he does get elected?  Exactly how much does he need to pay attention to blogs if he can steal some republicans for a centrist effort?  

The question of organizing structures to pressure him needs to be worked on before he gets elected.  

How do we help people understand the difference between electoral politics and a movement for specific social changes?

--Aaron Schutz (Core Dilemmas of Community Organizing)


Of course this is the way he is (0.00 / 0)
He could be better, but he has to get elected president, and he's a politician.  A key confusion of many people working to elect him is between electoral and broader pressure politics.  With perhaps the minor exception of people like Finegold, you simply never elect someone with the expectation that they will become the pure person you wish they would be.  Almost invariably politicians live in a world of multiple pressures.  People who have elected people and expected them to automatically solve their problems are invariably disappointed.  

This raises concerns about Obama's effort to centralize a broad organization of volunteers around him in a manner unlike many others, and his apparent effort to eliminate other pressure organizations. (See this diary on his organizing effort.) Others will know better, but it at least seems like this goes beyond simple resistance to 527 advertisements.  

So outside of blogs like this and Move On, what structures exist to pressure him when he does get elected?  Exactly how much does he need to pay attention to blogs if he can steal some republicans for a centrist effort?  

The question of organizing structures to pressure him needs to be worked on before he gets elected.  

How do we help people understand the difference between electoral politics and a movement for specific social changes?

--Aaron Schutz (Core Dilemmas of Community Organizing)


Not unexpected (0.00 / 0)
Obama isn't someone interested in antagonizing those who disagree with him.

Which is an important part of being a leader.

The liberal wiki
Send an email to terra@liberalwiki.com


I'm Sorry so many of you are willing to go along with ... (4.00 / 1)
Capitulation on this scale. I agree with Ron when he says this issue is actually something where we have better security with following the 4th Amendment.

Obama has proven he is not the one. And he campaigned with different rhetoric, in fact, his campaign said that he was behind the filibuster. Now he says the bill has changed. Yes, it has gotten worse. Hoyer let the telecoms write their side of immunity in, and Kit Bond wrote in for Bush Admin permanent surveillance state.

And Obama now comes out for Bush style Permanent Surveillance! Is not this the same type of triangulation that so Many Open Left folks told me Hillary was so guilty of? Will do anything to get elected? Now the same commenter are saying chill for 5 months. Hypocrites!

No dollars for DNC, DCCC, or www.barackobama.com

I will vote for down ticket races, but sit out the Prez. I can't vote for such a wimp.

When he has the chance to lead, he falls into line with the current Dem leadership? And you guys think we should hold our noses and vote for him?

Thanks Matt, I will find the donation button for Hoyer.


Explain for us all again (4.00 / 1)
why you endorsed this guy?  Why it was so important to wage war on the Clintons to destroy the DLC, and to take out the Bush Dogs?

What left-leaning credibility you might have had if you remained neutral is gone.  Catch a clue.  You can't hold Obama accountable.  You have no leverage.  Obama has been laughing his ass off at you, and the rest of the "progressive activists" for months.  Welcome to the joke that is your "movement."


I take your point (0.00 / 0)
but re-fighting the Clinton/Obama battle doesn't seem productive.  She caved on this issue, as well.


"It sounds wrong...
     ...but its right."


[ Parent ]
I'm Not Trusting Obama As My Party Leader (0.00 / 0)
I don't do "trust" in leaders.

I do "verify."

Sorry, no can verify.

I'm one of those hated Boomers, remember?  Been through it before with a guy named "Johnson."

And he did more good in office than Obama could even dream of.  But, still, Vietnam...

No. I don't do "trust" in leaders.

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3


Wow...I forgot why I stopped reading blogs in '04 until now (0.00 / 0)
It's the combination of self-righteousness, single-issue blindspots, and self-defeating action that festers in the netroots and hijacks everything that everyone has worked to put together.

Frankly, on FISA, I trust Al Giordano more than Matt or Sen. Obama:

As for FISA, you do understand that it is aimed precisely at people like me, right? A US citizen and journalist that spends most of his time in foreign lands, reports on controversies and social movements and narco-trafficking and money laundering and such, and FISA is specifically aimed at giving the US government and telecom companies permission to tap international calls and emails. So, on paper, I ought to be more concerned than people that don't have much or any international contact, who would not be personally affected by its provisions, but are are evidently very upset whereas I kind of shrug my shoulders.

That's because all the things that people fear FISA will allow are being allowed already. There are many loopholes that already allow the US government to surveil upon international communications simply by doing it through surrogates, be they governments or foreign telecom companies. So why should I be upset about something that only puts a legal imprimatur on what they're already doing anyway?

I also concur with Markos who was quoted today in the Huffington Post saying it's not yet clear what Senator Obama will or won't do on this specific FISA bill, and so I see the "fairly... ordinary Chicken Littling" going on in some corners, a lot of it frankly stoked by former Clinton and Edwards supporters that can't let go of the argument that the presumptive nominee is just the same as any politician, which is a narrative I reject.



Wow (4.00 / 1)

why should I be upset about something that only puts a legal imprimatur on what they're already doing anyway?

Wow.  Just, wow.


former Clinton and Edwards supporters that can't let go of the argument that the presumptive nominee is just the same as any politician, which is a narrative I reject.

So this is all about disgruntled Clinton supporters.  And Obama is still Jesus incarnate.

Idiots like this parody themselves.


[ Parent ]
Feel comfortable describing Al Giordano as an idiot? (0.00 / 0)
Not sure I know anyone that would, but ok.  The guy has shown to have the insight of every major blogger and pundit combined over the course of the election thus far.

[ Parent ]
Well in 2004 Al Giordano thought John McCain (0.00 / 0)
was wonderful...absolutely wonderful...wanted him for VP

so how much good judgement does he really have?

"Incrementalism isn't a different path to the same place, it could be a different path to a different place"
Stoller


[ Parent ]
Citation? (0.00 / 0)
I'm not saying he didn't say that, but I'm curious to read what exactly he said.

[ Parent ]
Obama risks an abuse of power trap with this hideous law (0.00 / 0)
I think Atrios summed it up best by pointing out that when we have an Obama President, the GOP will, without reservation, use any application of this law as an abuse of power by a president Obama.  And for people to think that this can't happen, haven't been paying attention.  But it is also another brick, in the slow, ominous slide to authoritarianism.  The question is why?  Does the political elite fear open government and not have faith in it's ability to manage and reverse climate change and the energy shortage?  Does the political elite feel that authoritarianism will be a necessity in the future?

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