Saturday, January 19, 2013

Thank You Note

To any observer back in the summer of 2008 it became clear what kind of president Obama would be. He voted to support Bush’s FISA amendment allowing for warrantless eavesdropping on Americans while exonerating telecoms for tapping our communications.

Last month the FISA Amendments Act Reauthorization Act of 2012 was up for renewal. Of course it passed.

One thing stood out, though. Republicans were far more in lock-step than Democrats in voting for this continued gutting of our Fourth Amendment.

More Democrats than Republicans had the courage and conviction to do the right thing for our Constitution. I guess this would be more proof the only right the Republicans care about is the Second Amendment. Since there was civilian gun ownership in the Third Reich, I’m not very comforted by the GOP’s narrow interests in our freedom.

I want to thank the following senators for not supporting the Bush/Obama Surveillance State.

Akaka (D-HI)
Baucus (D-MT)
Begich (D-AK)
Bingaman (D-NM)
Brown (D-OH)
Cantwell (D-WA)
Coons (D-DE)
Durbin (D-IL)
Franken (D-MN)
Harkin (D-IA)
Leahy (D-VT)
Lee (R-UT)
Menendez (D-NJ)
Merkley (D-OR)
Murkowski (R-AK)
Murray (D-WA)
Paul (R-KY)
Sanders (I-VT)
Schatz (D-HI)
Tester (D-MT)
Udall (D-CO)
Udall (D-NM)
Wyden (D-OR)


free0352 said...

Way to go Rand Paul. Best damn Senator in the Senate.

Jerry Critter said...

Way to go Bernie Sanders. Best Senator in the Senate. (He is not damned.)

free0352 said...

Well if Rand Paul is damned, I'd be proud to go to the hell he's headed for!

S.W. Anderson said...

It would be helpful if Obama could/would explain himself about this matter and the even worse, IMO, exceptional power to ignore habeas corpus strictly on his say so. I suspect he feels he can't explain or debate these measures for national security reasons. I don't find that a good enough reason.

The most worrisome part for me is not that Obama will abuse these measures. I trust him. The problem — and he should be as concerned about this as I am — is that one of these deays we'll get another George W. Bush, or worse, a Dick Cheney in the White House and the measures will be abused early and often.

Jefferson's Guardian said...

Free0352: "Well if Rand Paul is damned, I'd be proud to go to the hell he's headed for!"

You can hold hands and go together.

S.W Anderson: "I suspect he feels he can't explain or debate these measures for national security reasons."

Or, he's just another in a long line of corporatists who have been given a long leash to dismantle the Constitution...along with the American middle class.

"I trust him."

Why? He's given us no reason to believe he'll do as he campaigned -- either time.

"The problem — and he should be as concerned about this as I am — is that one of these deays we'll get another George W. Bush, or worse, a Dick Cheney in the White House..."

Isn't that how a brilliant heist always works -- in incremental steps?

Each corporatist sets the stage for the next. We've been seeing this pattern for a long time.

free0352 said...

For once I agree wiyh Jefferson. Obama has a pretty horrible civil rights track record. I find it astonishing Anderson uses Chaney and Bush as his examples, when the plain truth is Obama has expanded everything he objects to Bush doing by many degrees of magnitude and turned it on Americans car more often with less oversight. I kinda think Anderson is a bit of a kool aid drinker who has no problem with government bendi ng the Constitution so long as he likes the guy shredding our rights. Never trust a political fanboy.

S.W. Anderson said...

Jefferson's Guardian, I'm sure you don't see it this way, but you're in a place where you can't disagree with Obama on this policy and that decision without qoing after his character, motives and basic honesty. That leaves you doing from the left the very same things, in much the same way, as people like Limbaugh, Beck and Hannity do from the right every day. You have a perfect right to question and be critical; I don't question or criticize any of that. I do think you've lost all sense of balance and proportion.

You find me the perfect presidential prospect, the person whose every idea, ideal and policy choice is perfect from a very progressive point of view. You show me that person and I'll show you someone who stands virtually no chance of ever getting elected president.

free0352 said...

Is it too much to ask for a President that follows our laws? Hey, I might have some disagreements on policy with the left. About taxes for example. Or even adventures in nationalized health care. But those things are legal and its fine to have a debate on those things. But this President is more than that. And for that matter on some things so was the last administration. I freely admit that. I was a big boy and could admit some of the things Bush was doing were dangerous, and liberals had no problem pointing that out at the time and at that time I agreed with them. But now that it's "their guy" in the White House I find their sudden lack of concern a bit astonishing. That utter lack of integrity. Obama has not only continued Bush's anti-constitutional pracitices he has expanded them. In many ways Obama has taken the worst parts of the Bush presidency and put them on steroids. Bush bailed out failed business who deserved no such thing. Obama doubled down. If you didn't like the Bush forign policy, you have no right to like Obama's. He continued every aspect. He even took the detainee program and outsourced it to countries who use actual, authentic torture. Obama railed against extending the debt limit as a Senator, today he's exploded it. He has attacked the 1st amendment, 2nd amendment, 4th amendment, 10th amendment, seperation of powers, and while I understand liberals wouldn't be found of congress I can't understand this recent liberal support of attacking its control of the federal budget. Something clearly the Constitution puts under their control. This President is out of control.

It was once said that Conservatives simply think liberals are wrong and liberals think Conservatives are evil. I think that is true for the most part on both accounts. Only in this situation this President really is ethically bankrupt- and too many liberals are ignoring it because of their belief that anything is better than the "evil" of the Conservatives, and support this President as he continues to assault the laws of this country. Thats a sad day for the Democrat party.

S.W. Anderson said...

"Is it too much to ask for a President that follows our laws?"

First, get an answer to that from George W. Bush and Dick Cheney. Then we'll talk.

S.W. Anderson said...

"This President is out of control."

No. I've seen a couple of presidents out of control, and Obama is nowhere near out of control.

In fact, one thing that has his harshest critics nearly out of control is the fact that Obama has such exceptional self-control.

Darrell Michaels said...

Free, bravo for a very well-said analysis of our leftist friends supporting "their guy" even when he does the same or worse that a Republican did previously.

Mr. Anderson, you just proved Free's point quite clearly. The fact that you don't see it is quite telling, sir.

Jefferson's Guardian said...

S.W. Anderson: "...but you're in a place where you can't disagree with Obama on this policy and that decision without qoing after his character, motives and basic honesty."

So what's the alternative? It sounds as if though you prefer I knowingly acquiesce just because he's not a "conservative" or Republican. If you haven't figured it out, I'm also not an Obama apologist.

"I do think you've lost all sense of balance and proportion."

Expecting, and demanding, that the President of the United States not take part in the shredding and dismantling of basic civil rights -- not to mention basic human rights -- then yes, I guess I have lost all sense of "balance and proportion".

The continuing, and expansion of, Bush policy of spying on U.S. citizens' telecommunications, the ordering of the killing of U.S. citizens overseas, the continuing indefinite detention of "combatants" at Guantanamo, and his signature on NDAA 2012 which authorizes the military to arrest and indefinitely detain anyone -- even U.S. citizens -- suspected of "assisting terrorists" (whatever that means), certainly does make me question his character.

Why is it that you don't?

"You show me that person [whose every idea, ideal and policy choice is perfect from a very progressive point of view] and I'll show you someone who stands virtually no chance of ever getting elected president."

But he or she would have character, sincere motives, and basic honesty. Do you accept anything less in your president?

Postscript: To even suggest that Obama is progressive is an overstatement at best. He's a corporatist from the word go. Isn't it time democrats finally admitted this to themselves? Until they do, they're only aiding and abetting the conservative cause.

free0352 said...

The fact that you don't see it is quite telling, sir.

Yes. It tells us someone drank the KOOL AID.

free0352 said...

And one more thing. When the Patriot Act passed years ago I was against it, and I at the time being in the military, well a lot of people said I was crazy. My response then was that we had the legal structure to defend the homeland against terrorism in August of 2001. Heck, the NSA knew about the hijackers for months, and simply refused to tell the FBI those guys were in this country. Some would connect some unseen dot and say thats some evil conspiracy. I don't think so. Knowing what I know about both agencies, what some give evil intentions to is really just mind numbing incompetence I've seen time and again from our government. Truth is, NSA was so obsessed with operational security they forgot the whole reason they are in the intelligence business is to give actionable intelligence to the people who need it. We never needed a Patriot Act, we needed the bean counters in the community to stop being OpSec crazy and remember why they exist.

At the time a lot of Republicans told me not to worry about some of the things in the Patriot Act and what I was actually more concerned about, which was the executive orders coming out of the administration. I warned them then, that even **IF** we could trust the administration with this power, that power would one day on a long enough time line fall into the hands of the **WRONG** person and it would be a bad day for America. Is that bad day here? We'll have to wait and see. The ability to indefinitely detain anyone without due process is wrong, and its too much power not only for one man but for even a government to hold. I thought at least when Obama was elected that he'd end that. Instead he EXPANDED IT. He built even more black sites, he used Rendition even more. At least there was some oversight at Gitmo. Now there is only a black hole when enemy EPWs go and I promise they are not treated well in the hands of where they go. Look, I've no sympathy for terrorists. We had a great battle drill for what to do with them handed down to us from FDR. Trial by military tribunal for being a spy and if found guilty the gallows. Thats what FDR did to German terrorists and spies during WWII and I think those laws would have worked just fine in 2001 as well as today. Instead we handed too much power to government to keep us "safe" and Obama has taken ten fold more.

On a long enough time line, it will end badly.

Dave Dubya said...

SW and Free,
I share the thought both of you have stated. When a president’s abuses of power are unchecked, the next one could take it a step further. Bush and Cheney have shown you can start a war based on non-existent “nukular” aluminum tubes, biolabs, connections to al-Qaeda and other falsehoods, and get away with it. Obama’s failure to even allow an investigation into how that happened will come back to haunt us.

Obama’s foreign and domestic “drone war” and detention policies shall do the same.

JG and SW,
You are both correct that a progressive cannot be allowed into the White House. Equal rights is an American value, not conservative or liberal, although there are fringe types that would make us think otherwise.

Only Big Money approved candidates can afford a national campaign of any durability. Only AIPAC and MIC approved candidates can make it to the top of a ticket. Support for the drug war and death penalty have also been requirements for office. Gotta be “tough on crime”.

I don’t think Obama’s social polices alone are enough to make him a progressive. He is a moderate at best.

Did you read the post? The fact that more Democratic senators rejected the Bush/Obama FISA law contradicts your accusation. Sure some people on the left, and the right, behave as you indicated. If you can’t acknowledge that’s true for both sides you’re selectively viewing the world again.

free0352 said...

We can hash over the Iraq war some other time. Lord knows it isn't a post here on Freedom Rants without Dubya talking about alluminium tubes. Lets stick to what most of us agree on shall we?

1: That the Patriot Act was not needed to protect the homeland after 9-11. The legal framework to do that was long in place.

2: Executive orders for detaining anyone without judicial review or due process are unconstitutional. We can have a debate over jurrisdiction, but agree someone beyond the executive branch has that jurrisdiction.

3: Barack Obama took the above actions of the Bush administration that were wrong and unconstitutional and expanded them, after his explicitly promised to do otherwise.

Those are facts most of us should be able to agree on.

The fact is, being progressive or conservative or what ever should be irrelevant to this disscussion. Both should follow our laws. Period.

S.W. Anderson said...

FWIW, Obama is a moderate with liberal leanings on some things. I've been saying that for a long time.

Of course the Patriot Act provisions, FISA court rigamarole, breaching of habeas corpus and such are wrong, bad, potentially dangerous things. Obama is wrong about them. However, he might say (and this is just a guess) that had he let himself appear to be a softy at fighting the terrorist threat, he could've easily ended up in the same boat as Jimmy Carter and Mike Dukakis instead of winning a second term.

Obama isn't a perfect president from my perspective. Looking back, I can't find a president who has been perfect from my perspective. You take the good with the bad and keep in mind presidents are human beings with blind spots, flaws and foibles like the rest of us.

I've seen, and am seeing, Obama grow in the office. He has decent values and instincts, despite getting it wrong on a few things. I like him and trust him.

As for the "corporatist" label, come on. As mentioned above, getting to be president, and being president, means a person has to have some non-adversarial things to do with some corporations. Anyone who thinks Obama is in bed with the Wall St. banksters, the Chamber of Commerce crowd, Business Roundtable misanthropes, and so on, should go back and review who donated how much and to whom in the last election. Did Obama get some corporate money? Yes. Did Romney get the lion's share of corporate money, with huge sums from the banksters and brokers, the Kochs, Chamber of Commerce gang, etc? Yes.

Do I see Obama selling out the broad public interest to corporations and the rich at every turn? No, not by a long shot.

Dave Dubya said...

The contrast between Obama and Republicans is significant.

There's no avoiding the necessity of pandering to Big Money interests in our rigged electoral and political system. And this can put the lesser corporatist party at a disadvantage. The great flaw in our system is unequal representation, whether by influence of money, or gerrymandered districts, or population distribution or access to polls. The Right has the advantage in all respects.

The war on democracy continues.

We can be thankful Obama cares to advance any social policies at all in such a corrupt and unbalanced environment.

Dave Dubya said...

The fact the powers that be operate against principles we both share is disturbing, to say the least. Our democratic republic is undermined and tilted ever towards empire and a police state. If people can't notice and support something where Rand Paul and Al Franken agree, something's seriously wrong.

free0352 said...

If people can't notice and support something where Rand Paul and Al Franken agree, something's seriously wrong.

Exactly. Obviously I'm more hawkish of foreign policy than you guys. But I don't think we should wipe our asses with the constitution.

Jerry Critter said...

I'd say fighting wars not declared by Congress as wiping your ass with the Constitution, be it republicans or Democrats starting it and continuing to fight it.

S.W. Anderson said...

Jerry, that's a point I've made for some time. It's not a preventative for the kind of no-win, quagmire wars one president after another has gotten us into, but it at least offers the prospect of push-back going in. That could cause some overly gung ho presidents to proceed with less gusto in the early stages.

BTW, a defining feature of no-win, quagmire wars is that the major belligerent is located on Russia or China's border. Or the major belligerent borders some other country, such as Pakistan, that the president knows, or should know, we're not about to get into an all-out war with.

Weaseldog said...

There's a huge difference between Bush and Obama.

Bush says Republican Party things in speeches and Obama says Democratic Party things in speeches.

Oh and Bush is a white guy and Obama isn't.

But both love war, torture, civil rights violations, putting whistle blowers in prison, killing people in other countries, extra-Constitutional acts and laws, Wall Street, Bankers, The Defense Industry, Corruption, White Collar Crime, Oil, Drone Attacks against innocents....

And now Obama has started assassinating Americans and American children overseas...

But for a man who's responsible for slaughtering many thousands of children in his lust for oil, Obama does look good in a suit. Better than his friend Sociopath Bush.

free0352 said...

Wow, for once we pretty much all agree.

We may need a new topic to argue over.