Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Glenn Greenwald - Amnesty Day for Bush and lawbreaking telecoms

With the presidential election taking up all the oxygen and attention in the political sphere, legal expert and progressive blogger Glenn Greenwald keeps a critical eye on pivotal developments in the Bush administration's battle to legalize warrantless spying on the telephone calls and emails of Americans and provide full retroactive amnesty to lawbreaking telecoms:

"Chris Dodd went to the Senate floor last night and gave another eloquent and impassioned speech, warning of the consequences for our country from telecom amnesty. He specifically focused on the permanently and comprehensively suppressive effect it will have on efforts to investigate what the Bush administration did in illegally spying on Americans.

....The Dodd/Feingold amendment to remove telecom immunity from the bill just failed by a whopping vote of 31-67 -- 20 votes shy of the 50 needed for a passage. A total of 18 Democrats joined all Republicans in voting for immunity: Bayh, Inouye, Johnson, Landrieu, McCaskill, Ben Nelson, Bill Nelson, Stabenow, Feinstein, Kohl, Pryor, Rockefeller, Salazar, Carper, Mikulski, Conrad, Webb, and Lincoln. Obama voted against immunity, and Hillary Clinton was the only Senator not voting."


So, how could this have happened? Glenn Greenwald makes an important observation:

"There's a temptation, particularly on days like today, to talk about what motivates Democrats" -- as though they're a monolith acting collectively with the same drives. They're not. Some do what they do because their only concern is a craven desire to be re-elected. Others believe in one thing but are afraid to vote that way (because they'll be called Soft on Terror, Liberal, etc.), while others still are influenced by Beltway money and other cultural pressures. Some are motivated by a combination of those motives. But a large number of elected Democrats vote in favor of the radical Bush agenda for a very simple reason: they believe in it.

....The fault lines in the Beltway aren't primarily between Republican and Democrat but between those who support the core values of our political establishment (as reflected by the Bush administration) and those who don't."


While Senator Clinton's domestic agenda is progressive, on this issue of privacy and on so many other critical foreign policy and national security issues, it seems clear that Senator's Clinton's values are not mine. So when I hear that there is little policy difference between Obama and Clinton it's frustrating. There are very serious differences as so many analysts have attested - on authorizing the war in Iraq, on the Iran censure resolution, on the telecomm amnesty (skipping the vote in this case), on Cuba. These issues matter, and it is time for Democrats who care about such isssues to take note and take a stand.