Tales of the Sausage Factory

The Final FISA Sellout and My One Last Desperate Push for Sanity

The capacity of the Democratic Leadership to destroy the party will never cease to amaze me. In 2006 the Dems ran to take over Congress on a platform that included, among other things, ending illegal wiretaps on Americans. Now, the same Democrats propose to grant immunity to the telcos who cooperated with the Administration on a theory that — and I kid you not — if we don’t immunize the telcos for breaking the law this time, they might not break the law for us next time. Alternatively, some argue we should not “punish” companies whose only crime was that they cared so deeply about the safety and security of the United States that they “stepped up to the plate” when the President asked them to break the law and spy on people for their own good. Of course, these same selfless, patriotic, noble companies refused to implement judicially authorized wiretaps because the DoJ neglected to pay the fees. But it appears that Republicans, and now a sufficient number of Democrats, understand that we cannot expect patriotism to extend to things that actually cost megacorporations money. You can read this shameful betrayal of everything the Democrats pledged in ’06 here, with EFF’s analysis here.

What makes this more astounding is that there is not a single, rational reason for the Democrats to do this, and every reason not to do it. The Republicans tried to scare monger and make this an issue for them. That tactic failed miserably. You may recall how back last winter when the Republicans pulled out all the usual stops about how this was about national security and blah blah blah. No one bought it. The magic deadlines lapsed and nothing happened.

So either the Democratic Leadership continues to suffer from a pre-11/06 mentality, or they think they can continue to abuse their active base and collect corporate contributions as well. After all, the thinking goes, it’s not like the mainstream electorate cares about this and its not like the netroots are going to vote Republican. So why not treat them the way we’ve treated unions, African Americans, and unions over the years? i.e., talk tough, but cave when it counts because we know there are no consequences for it.

I’ve already made my impassioned plea based on the ideal of the Rule of Law. Now, in a last desperate effort, I shall make my plea based on practicality and — in what is apprently the universal language of party leadership — cash.

Democrats, meet me below . . . .

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Posted in How Democracy Works, Or Doesn't, Tales of the Sausage Factory | Also tagged , , , , , , | 5 Comments (Comments closed)

Tales of the Sausage Factory

Tales of the Sausage Factory: Homeland Security and the Rubik's Cube

While busier than I could have imagined, I just have to share this.

According to the Daily Oregonian, the Department of Homeland Security is now keeping us safe from Rubik’s Cube Knock-Offs. What next threat to our national security will they foil? Perhaps they will save us from those counterfeit “Garfield” dolls with suction cups? (Does anyone even _buy_ Rubik’s Cubes anymore?)

Stay tuned . . .

Posted in Tales of the Sausage Factory | Also tagged | 3 Comments (Comments closed)

General Exception

Judge overturns ISP provisions of PATRIOT act

A judge has struck down a portion of the PATRIOT act which requires ISPs to hand over records on their customers and keep silent about the handover. The ruling means the FBI can no longer use National Security Letters to demand an ISP’s record on a customer without any sort of recourse.

The enforced silence is one of the more nasty aspects of the PATRIOT act… in fact, we covered one aspect of this earlier when the ACLU was prevented from discussing a lawsuit they filed against the NSL provisons of the PATRIOT act itself.



Read more over at News.com
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Posted in General Exception, I Fear These Things | Also tagged , , , | Comments closed

General Exception

“Patriot” Act used to supress news of lawsuits against it

I hadn’t heard about this when it happened a few days ago (but then, I’m out of touch, so maybe everyone has heard about this). The ACLU filed suit over certain provisions in the Patriot Act, and were slapped with a gag order based on… The Patriot Act itself.

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Posted in General Exception | Also tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments (Comments closed)
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