Amanda Simon is blogging the debate over the amendments to the FISA bill for the ACLU. This is a tough one to take, and honestly I don’t expect the next President to make things any better regardless of who it is. Here’s Gore Vidal in September 2000:
You have two candidates. Gore is by far the better trained and more intelligent and is going to win. It’s as simple as that. But I worry because he, too, is funded by corporate America. Luckily he’s intelligent and will hopefully turn out pretty well. But what I’m concerned about is how the corruption of the system has become totally accepted. This can be changed by an act of Congress, but no one will be propose it.
Will it happen? No burglar who ever reached the second floor ever kicked the ladder away.
That last sentence is one that has come to mind frequently in the years since. Vidal’s incorrect prediction that Al Gore would win stings a bit, too.
Here’s Glenn Greenwald on today’s events:
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. Many of these are the same people who spent the last five years screaming that Bush was shredding the Constitution, that spying on Americans was profoundly dangerous, that the political establishment did nothing about Bush’s lawbreaking.
It’s been quite disturbing to watch them turn on a dime — completely reverse everything they claimed to believe — the minute Obama issued his statement saying that he would support this bill. They actually have the audacity to say that this bill — a bill which Bush, Cheney and the entire GOP eagerly support, while virtually every civil libertarian vehemently opposes — will increase the civil liberties that Americans enjoy, as though Dick Cheney, Mike McConnell and “Kit” Bond decided that it was urgently important to pass a new bill to restrict presidential spying and enhance our civil liberties. How completely do you have to relinquish your critical faculties at Barack Obama’s altar in order to get yourself to think that way?