Senator Obama, let the record show that I, one of your most energetic and earnest supporters in the blogosphere, am extremely disappointed to learn that you're apparently okay with the FISA compromise bill. I'm still crossing my fingers that you'll surprise all the naysayers and support a big old filibuster in the Senate--because, well, I'm just hopeful that way. From Glenn Greewald:
It is absolutely false that the only unconstitutional and destructive provision of this "compromise" bill is the telecom amnesty part. It's true that most people working to defeat the Cheney/Rockefeller bill viewed opposition to telecom amnesty as the most politically potent way to defeat the bill, but the bill's expansion of warrantless eavesdropping powers vested in the President, and its evisceration of safeguards against abuses of those powers, is at least as long-lasting and destructive as the telecom amnesty provisions. The bill legalizes many of the warrantless eavesdropping activities George Bush secretly and illegally ordered in 2001. Those warrantless eavesdropping powers violate core Fourth Amendment protections. And Barack Obama now supports all of it, and will vote it into law. Those are just facts.
The ACLU specifically identifies the ways in which this bill destroys meaningful limits on the President's power to spy on our international calls and emails. Sen. Russ Feingold condemned the bill on the ground that it "fails to protect the privacy of law-abiding Americans at home" because "the government can still sweep up and keep the international communications of innocent Americans in the U.S. with no connection to suspected terrorists, with very few safeguards to protect against abuse of this power." Rep. Rush Holt -- who was actually denied time to speak by bill-supporter Silvestre Reyes only to be given time by bill-opponent John Conyers -- condemned the bill because it vests the power to decide who are the "bad guys" in the very people who do the spying. [...]
Making matters worse still, what Obama did yesterday is in clear tension with an emphatic promise that he made just months ago. As the extremely pro-Obama MoveOn.org notes today, Obama's spokesman, Bill Burton, back in in September, vowed that Obama would "support a filibuster of any bill that includes retroactive immunity for telecommunications companies." MoveOn believes Obama should be held to his word and is thus conducting a campaign urging Obama to do what he promised -- support a filibuster to stop the enactment of telecom amnesty. You can email Burton here to demand that Obama comply with his commitment not just to vote against, but to filibuster, telecom amnesty:firstname.lastname@example.orgIncidentally, Chris Dodd made an identical promise when he was running for President, prompting the support of hundreds of thousands of new contributors, and he ought to be held to his promise as well.
I'm composing my e-mail to Bill Burton even as I type out this post. Please join me. The Fourth Amendment--when it isn't being pissed on and shredded, that is--is a thing of timeless beauty, and it is absolutely beyond me to understand how Democratic Congressmen (indeed, how any Constitution-respecting Congressmen) can buckle and collapse--so quickly, so hopelessly and haplessly!--before the blasts of fearmongering and hot air coming from the Bushian factions of our legislature. Perhaps it has something to do with them not having even a modicum of spinal rigidity--something with which I had long believed Senator Obama was blessed.
Say it ain't so, Senator--say it ain't so!
Also at Cogitamus.