The last two days have been simply an amazing whirlwind of political debate, netroots action and a groundswell of anger over the FISA bill. The FISA bill as you can see has been taking my attention... but watching the dynamics of the FISA breakaway community on MYBO has been captivating.
After a couple of days, the rhetoric and anger has settled into kind of a muted sense of lost hope and despair as progressives and people who REALLY CARE about constitutional issues seem to be settling into a "OK, there's not much I can do about this now, I'm going to send my money elsewhere and just vote for Obama".
Additionally, it appears to me that the folks at Obama headquarters looked at the sheer disaster facing them and decided to go with a sort of kind and gentle approach that sounded something like this: "OK everyone, now that you have had a chance to cool down, let's just be reasonable. He is still the same man we love and care about and he's going to revisit this once he gets into office... the bill does not do THAT MUCH harm so lets all just hold hands again and get him elected."
After nearly 25,000 people joined the Get It Right Group on MyBo, the news media started to catch wind of this. The group... in which I am a member, is the largest group on MYBO, formed a new website, http://www.getfisaright.com/, started a FISA activist wiki, started a very large Facebook group and began urging members to donate to the ACLU, Electronic Frontier Foundation and Bluesky.org.
Will Mitchell, the rep for the group hand delivered a letter to the Senator that reads:
We ask that you back up your words with action by addressing your constituents on the floor of the Senate with the same oratorical power you used in Philadelphia to lay out your vision of a 'More Perfect Union.' The American people have just as much right to know of the dangerous precedent this Congress would be setting by granting retroactive immunity to those who "may have violated the law" and allowing spying on law-abiding citizens .... We ask you to reconsider your current position on the bill as a whole and strongly oppose a bill about which you said, "I know that the FISA bill that passed the House is far from perfect. I wouldn't have drafted the legislation like this, and it does not resolve all of the concerns that we have about President Bush's abuse of executive power."
In your statement you also wrote, "In a dangerous world, government must have the authority to collect the intelligence we need to protect the American people. But in a free society, that authority cannot be unlimited." We agree.
We appreciate your willingness to continue the discussion. We represent a large and vocal part of the movement you have nurtured and that has nurtured you during this campaign season, and include many of your most active and ardent supporters. As you have said time and again Senator, "we are the ones we have been waiting for," and we are here, working to bring about real change in Washington. We have grown to over 20,000 strong in the space of just a few days.I also want to provide you with a taste of the debate going on in the group listserv... its one of the most profound netroots flash movements I have ever seen. The amazing thing is that the very tools that the campaign created to get Senator Obama the nomination could be the same that could ruin his chances if he keeps veering off course and breaking promises. Its a truly delicate situation... these are the folks that walked districts, organized grass roots, rang door bells, called caucus delegates... you just don't take these people for granted.
The internet has given new life to the progressive movement and they are now MAD AS HELL AND NOT GONNA TAKE IT ANYMORE. I would suggest that the Senator from Illinois tread lightly and not take these folks for granted again. Here is snapshot of my inbox: (click on it to enlarge)
This may die down, but on its face, this was one of the most intense couple of days I've seen in the land of politics... and while I was burning mad about "the betrayal" of the 4th Amendment, I now feel somewhat encouraged by the response of so many people to this. It could have gone unnoticed were it not for a newly politiced public. From one of the hero's of the debate, Senator Chris Dodd:
Thank you Senator and thanks to Senator Feingold as well. We do have some that we can count on perhaps, but this is an issue that's going to have to go to the courts.
A Heavy Heart
It is my hope that the courts will undo the damage done to the Constitution.
But let us stand tall, knowing that by working together we were able to make wiretapping and retroactive immunity part of the national discourse these last number of months.
We came together - all of you, Senator Feingold, bloggers like Jane Hamsher and Glenn Greenwald, organizations like the EFF and ACLU, and untold hundreds of thousands of Americans who simply wanted to make sure that this one, last insult did not happen with ease.
I’m sorry we weren’t successful.
I just hope I’m lucky enough to have you by my side in the next fight, whatever that may be.
Thanks for all you’ve done.
I was told today by one of my readers that they like the videos. So I'll end with a video. Note the particularly disturbing idea of WHY The Real News believes the Democrats approved this bill: to give them cover in the event of a terrorist attack between now and the election. Essentially, they can't be BLAMED for not doing anything to stop it. I can't even comment its so despicable and cowardly if its actually true. Now we know who really frames the debate in this country for now and forever... the NeoCons. I am rendered speechless. Enjoy and weep for us.
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