Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Constitutional Rights and Civil Liberties

Despite the general rancor that flows between the left and right wings of the blogosphere, suggesting that partisanship is an insurmountable plague in this country, there have been a few issues over the past 8 years on which lefties and righties have felt the need to join forces to tell the US government that we, the people, still run the place. And those who abuse our trust will be held accountable.

Now is one of those times.

On August 8, 2008, the anniversary of the day Richard Nixon was force to resign as POTUS for breaking the nation's laws and abusing his power, bloggers from across the political spectrum will be highlighting how little impact that sad day in our history seems to have made on the current crop of Congresscritters and the resident of the White House.
That day illustrates how far we have fallen in this country in less than 35 years, as we now not only permit rampant presidential lawbreaking and a limitless surveillance state, but have a bipartisan political class that endorses it and even retroactively protects the lawbreakers.
The effort is being organized by the political action committee AccountabilityNowPAC, under the name of Strangebedfellows:
Strangebedfellows is a unique and diverse left--right coalition which has come together to put a stop to the eradication of civil liberties in America. Modeled on a similar group in Britain, the initial Strangebedfellows group encompasses Ron Paul supporters (BreakTheMatrix.com, Rick Williams and Trevor Lyman), leading bloggers from the left (Glenn Greenwald of Salon.com, Jane Hamsher of firedoglake.com) and many more who share the view that warrantless surveillance, telecom immunity and other such outrages of the lawless surveillance state MUST END—AND END NOW. Our group of Strangebedfellows is organizing a moneybomb on behalf of AccountabilityNowPAC, and we’re reaching out to friends and colleagues from across the political spectrum who believe in the Bill of Rights and freedom in America. So join us-- become a Strangebedfellow! Add your name and group to our list of backers, and enter your pledge today to donate to AccountabilityNowPAC. Let’s reverse these police state sellouts by our political leaders—FOREVER.
I'll be honest, I'm not big on Money Bomb efforts typically. I understand nothing grabs Congress' attention like money does, and sometimes freedom isn't exactly free, but it's often difficult to be sure where the money is going. In this instance though, Glen Greenwald explains in detail what the plans are:
This campaign, just in its incipient stages, has already been covered by numerous news outlets, including The Wall St. Journal, Politico, Wired, and numerous others. All of this is intended as just a start. We will spend the entire $350,000 already raised for the Blue America fund between now and November by targeting selected, vulnerable Democratic members of Congress who supported this FISA bill and who generally have enabled Bush radicalism.

The August 8 Money Bomb is intended to be used to fuel a long-term campaign and an enduring organization devoted to changing the behavior of the political class with regard to these issues. We intend to begin now actively recruiting and promoting credible primary challengers against the likes of Steny Hoyer and other key culprits; to target for defeat those members of Congress who continue to support policies of this sort, Democrat or Republican; and to find ways to affect the public discourse on these issues, which are jointly distorted and ignored by both the so-called "liberal Beltway establishment" and the crux of the Republican Party.

In fact, read Greenwald's entire column for a background on why this issue is so important. The Democrats many of us were so happy to elect in 2006 with hopes of undoing the damage the Bush Administration has been doing, have not only failed us, but perpetuated many of the abuses:

Since that overwhelming Democratic victory, this is what the Democratic-led Congress has done:

  • Repeatedly funded -- at the White House's insistence -- the Iraq War without conditions;
  • Defeated -- at the White House's insistence -- Jim Webb's bill to increase the intervals between deployments for U.S. troops;
  • Defeated -- at the White House's insistence -- a bill to restore habeas corpus, which had been abolished by the Military Commissions Act, enacted before the 2006 election with substantial Democratic and virtually unanimous GOP support;
  • Enacted -- at the White House's insistence and with substantial Democratic and virtually unanimous Republican support
  • -- the so-called Protect America Act, vesting the President with extreme new warrantless eavesdropping powers;

  • Overwhelmingly approved the Senate's Kyl-Lieberman Resolution, to declare parts of the Iranian Government a "terrorist organization," an extremely belligerent resolution modeled after those which made "regime change" the official U.S. Government position towards Iraq;

  • Deleted from a pending bill -- at the direction of the House Democratic leadership and at the insistence of the White House -- a provision merely to require Congressional approval before the Bush administration can attack Iran;
  • Overwhelmingly enacted -- at the White House's insistence, and with substantial Democratic and virtually unanimous GOP support -- the "FISA Amendments Act of 2008," to vest the President with broad new warrantless eavesdropping powers and to immunize lawbreaking telecoms, all but putting an end to any chance for a real investigation and judicial adjudication of the Bush administration's illegal NSA spying program;
  • Confirmed, with the indispensable support of two key Democratic Senators, Bush's nominee for Attorney General, Michael Mukasey, despite his support for radical Bush theories of executive power and his refusal to oppose torture;
  • Stood by passively and impotently while Bush officials flagrantly ignored their Subpoenas and refused to comply with their investigations.
In the spirit of joining forces to highlight this effort, I'm co-posting about Strange Bedfellows with Franklin Einspruch of artblog.net, with whom, if you read here or there often, you'll know that I frequently disagree. On this topic, however, we're perfectly in sync. Washington is not only out of touch with the public, they're out of touch with the Constitution. It's time to remind them they work for us, and we're not at all pleased with them amassing personal power at the expense of our privacy or civil liberties.

Labels: politics


Blogger Mark Creegan said...

that list is unbelievably depressing!

7/22/2008 11:20:00 AM  
Blogger zipthwung said...

i am moderating you now.

7/22/2008 12:37:00 PM  
Blogger George said...


Another, from today's NYT.

Madness and Shame

"She quotes a colleague as saying of Mr. Addington: “No one stood to his right.” Colin Powell, a veteran of many bruising battles with Mr. Cheney, was reported to have summed up Mr. Addington as follows: “He doesn’t believe in the Constitution.""

7/22/2008 02:00:00 PM  
Blogger joy said...

hi Ed,
Someone just sent me a link to an interesting article (with 3 amazing comments) at the Washington Post -- it's where we're at through the lens of The Dark Knight (which I actually stood in line for this weekend - worth it, warts and all). I just reblogged the piece to newsgrist:

The Hero We Deserve (As Opposed To One We Need)

Not too limnal to your post I hope.


7/22/2008 03:48:00 PM  
Blogger Balhatain said...

So should we call both parties the Republicrats or the Demopublicans? A little observation always reveals that the two parties work hand in hand... while getting the little people to bicker over which party is better so that they will not notice until it is pointed out by the people. We have to protect ourselves.

7/23/2008 01:06:00 AM  
Blogger the expat/pissedpoet said...

From the outside looking in it seems to be a choice between Chicago Chapatsu v Arizona Alzheimer's.

What a choice, Good luck Ü

7/23/2008 08:17:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

LOL Expat! I call it the race between Crabby Old Grandpa and Preacher Healer Brother.

Great post Edward. Unless we hold our politicians feet to the fire this is the government we get, the one we deserve by not participating more actively.

Notice we had the most corrupt Republican Administration and Republican members of Congress in our lifetimes and there is absolutely NO call for reform within that party even though there are countless numbers of people indicted in the last few years. That tells you all you need to know, they don't care about right or wrong, only about winning vs. losing. Sadly, we all lose with that mentality. Notice that rampant corruption in the Republican Party is not even one of the outcries from the Democrats, pretty telling.


7/23/2008 10:03:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We need to run progressives against every Bush dog Democrat, and I include Pelosi, Feinstein, Schumer in that group. Only by funding "real" Democrats can we push their right winger attitudes into a more moderate position. Actblue is a good group for funding individuals, not someone else's wish list.

7/23/2008 02:28:00 PM  
Anonymous Jim in Washington, DC said...

I've stopped voting for democrats & republicans and have begun to devote my time & money to the Green Party of the United States. America needs a real opposition party.

7/23/2008 05:36:00 PM  
Anonymous Franklin said...

Jim, if you're going for a third-party protest vote this year, allow me to recommend Bob Barr. The libertarians are causing the Republicans significant headaches this year, so much so that people here and there are suggesting that Barr is going to do to McCain what Nader did to Gore. Besides, Cynthia McKinney is looney tunes.

7/23/2008 08:18:00 PM  
Blogger jeff f said...

The Democrats are spineless and toothless as an opposition party.

They don't have the guts to impeach the Vice President let alone Bush.

They wont arrest Carl Rove who as I write is in contempt of Congress and should be led in handcuffs into the halls of Congress to testify.

Then lets get into how this administration has been allowed to shred our Constitution, and the polocies they have supported have all but bankrupted the country.

7/25/2008 02:48:00 PM  

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