A Day of Mourning — And Anger

Want to know how to lose an election? Pretend your base will vote for you no matter what. The problem is not that the disaffected will vote for the opposition — they just won’t vote at all because, in the end, what difference does it really make? *sigh* Today’s cover-up of surveillance crimes and Barack Obama

[T]oday, the Democratic-led Congress — with the support of both John McCain and Barack Obama, neither of whom will even bother to show up and vote — will cover-up those crimes. Law Professor and Fourth Amendment expert Jonathan Turley was on MSNBC’s Countdown with Rachel Maddow last night and gave as succinct an explanation for what Democrats — not the Bush administration, but Democrats — will do today. Anyone with any lingering doubts about what is taking place today in our country should watch this:

As Turley says, and as I’ve written many times over the last two weeks, what is most appalling here beyond the bill itself are the pure falsehoods being spewed to the public about what Congress is doing — and those falsehoods are largely being spewed not by Republicans. Republicans are gleefully admitting, even boasting, that this bill gives them everything Bush and Cheney wanted and more, and includes only minor changes from the Rockefeller/Cheney Senate bill passed last February (which Obama, seeking the Democratic Party nomination, made a point of opposing).

Rather, the insultingly false claims about this bill — it brings the FISA court back into eavesdropping! it actually improves civil liberties! Obama will now go after the telecoms criminally! Government spying and lawbreaking isn’t really that important anyway! — are being disseminated by the Democratic Congressional leadership and, most of all, by those desperate to glorify Barack Obama and justify anything and everything he does.

Thomas’ summary for H.R.6304

Later: Congress votes to immunize lawbreaking telecoms, legalize warrantless eavesdropping; Senate Backs Wiretap Bill to Shield Phone Companies

I think the worst thing about this, and the real long term problem for the Democratic Party, is that, up until today, they had deniability — they could always say that they hadn’t been given the whole story or were steam-rollered or were lied to. But no Democrat who voted for this bill has that excuse this time around. Instead, we have been treated with the spectacle of watching the Party leadership lie to themselves (and, by the way, to their constituents) to satisfy political expediency. Given that kind of intellectual and ideological dishonesty, I am left with this ugly question — what’s the difference between someone who is opposed to my political ideology and someone who shares my political ideology, but won’t act on it? Who’s the more honest actor?

Ah, well — time to give money to the ACLU and the EFF so they can continue the fight. And, see ; Constitutional Drift: Obama Veers to the Right, But Does He Need to Take the Constitution With Him?.

Later: more fallout: Was Obama’s FISA vote “calculated?”; The Audacity of Listening; Democrats take Obama shift in stride (pdf); Democrats’ strategy: Strength through bowing; Interview with ACLU re: constitutional challenge to new FISA law; Betrayed by Obama. From the last one:

Of course, the only thing more offensive than Obama’s yes vote on FISA was McCain’s decision to skip the vote entirely — and then trash Obama for “flip-flopping” on FISA. Unfortunately, Obama did flip-flop on FISA, but McCain didn’t bother to show up. So far, this has been a really dispiriting campaign. Part of the problem, I think, is that the two finalists are guys beloved by the media, who’ve had a fairly free ride to here. With their rivals out of the way, they’re getting more scrutiny, and it’s not all adoring. Having won impressive underdog victories, neither campaign seems ready for prime time. I know one thing, I’d really like to vote for the guy who said this:

“This Administration has put forward a false choice between the liberties we cherish and the security we demand. When I am president, there will be no more illegal wire-tapping of American citizens; no more national security letters to spy on citizens who are not suspected of a crime; no more tracking citizens who do nothing more than protest a misguided war. Our Constitution works, and so does the FISA court.”

Too bad Obama doesn’t believe that anymore.

Later — the letters to the NYTimes editor are pretty striking, too — The Day of the New Surveillance Law