Thursday, June 26, 2008

Education Education Education

Those pesky voters

While sitting back and watching the significant and approriate backlash against Obama, I'm struck by the fact that Obama probably knew quite well that this would happen but chose the path he did anyway. He's not stupid. He weighed out the costs vs the benefits and decided that screwing the netroots would be less costly than creating a vulnerabilty among low-attention TeeVee viewers.

He may or may not be correct in his assessment, but we'd be derelict in our own efforts if we don't come away with a serious lesson about the limits of our influence.

I think the ActBlue effort is important not only because I'm sure there will be a measurable dip in Obama's fundraising efforts but because our actual mission should be to reach the people who don't necessarily follow the issues closely and teach them why it matters.

It remains an important mission.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Chris Dodd speaks

Glenn Comments

I opine:

He tied the core corruption of the FISA bill's telecom amnesty and warranltess eavesdropping provisions into the whole litany of the Bush administration's lawless and destructive behavior over the last seven years -- from torture and rendition to the abuse of secrecy instruments and Guantanamo mock trials -- with a focus on the way in which telecom amnesty further demolishes the rule of law among our political class.

To me this has always been the core issue. It is well known that David Addington and John Yoo authored a set of documents that basically rewrote the Constitution to conform to Richard Nixon's assertion to David Frost, "If the President does it then it's not illegal".

It is also well known that ever since entering office, Dick Cheney's primary mission has been to systematically dismantle every statute, argument and interpretation that in any way impinges on the President's ability to act as a law unto himself. The result is as predictable as sunrise and the list above, including the indefinite detentions of citizens, cruel and degrading treatment of POW's, extraordinary rendition of vocal opponents (from Canada) and, need I add, the destruction of public records, follows from this as surely as day follows night.

FISA is just one battleground, but the larger war is for the soul and conscience of America.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Left at The Obama Campaign Blog

I've been watching the comments over at Glen Greenwald's and remained quite alarmed at the number of people, many of whom I respect who are now on record that they can no longer support our Candidate.

I think Obama has seriously miscalculated the passion and reach of what the the MSM tries to write off as "those, like Senator Russ Feingold and assorted civil liberties activists" (Joe Klein) and also underestimated the fatigue Americans experience when exposed to 24/7-9/11 attack ads designed to gin up fear and nothing else.

Americans are notably brave and are looking for someone to actually FIGHT for what is right.

Obama has seriously let us down.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Matt Stoller solicited comments for Steny Hoyer

Open Left

Here's what I wrote:

While everyone may have varying opinions about what level of leeway the NSA should have in accessing raw telco data, the bottom line remains that the President can't and shouldn't have unlimited leeway in circumventing the law. By pressing for the current "compromise" you are giving the current President and all future Presidents the freedom to act contrary to any and all controls that were put in place by the Framers of our Constitution.
If the President is free to order violations of the law and his AG is free to shred whatever civil recourse the victims of those violations may have, then we might as well go ahead and declare the rest of the Constitution null and void as well.

I know it's hard to believe

But Joe Klein is once again, shockingly wrong about FISA.


My response:

Well at least if we're going to vehemently disagree, I finally have a coherent paragraph or two to disagree with.

Your bullet 4 is the one that is entirely wrong. The telecom immuninty is not a subsidiary issue. It is the sole issue.

Everyone agrees that the law needed to be updated in order to cover gaps in the existing law. However the correct procedure for updating a law is to bring a draft of the law you want to Congress and ask them to vote on it.

The last time I checked ordering companies to violate the law extensively and continuously for a period of years, and then only pushing for changes in statute when caught out by the NYT is doing things a$$-backward.

It is precisely when "everybody is freaking out" that constitutional protections become the most important because that is precisely when the temptations to sweep them under the rug is greatest.

I won't even begin to address why your "Roe vs Wade anaology" is flawed. We've already been down that road.

In short Joe, your efforts to be reasonable are putting you squarely on the wrong side of an important issue. And your wading into some sketchy truth-value waters in order to get there.

Friday, June 06, 2008

left on a Swampland thread....

You should familiarize yourself with the standard Time/Warner response to questions about FISA and telecom immunity. It goes like this:

I have neither the time nor legal background to figure out who's right.....

But having said that, the current issue before the gallery isn't whether the telecoms should be allowed to skate. The current issue is how John McCain feels about David Addington's expansive interpretation of Article II allowing the President to break existing laws with impunity.

His current position appears to be I have neither the time nor legal background to figure out who's right.....

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

A Phrase I'd like to see take off...


McCain performs a reverse-double-flip-flop with a twist and embraces BushCo's all-encompassing reinerpretation of article II to read "The President can do whatever he wants. That's why he's the President"