From 1984 to Brave New World

( – promoted by buhdydharma )


From the ACLU:

Congress Drops the Ball on Upgrading Patriot Protections

We’re sorry to say, but is anyone surprised that Congress has capitulated to post-underpants bomber fear-mongering and passed the three expiring provisions of the Patriot Act without so much as a debate?

Oh, you didn’t hear about that?

Wednesday night, the Senate passed a straight one-year extension by voice vote, and last night, the House followed suit.

That’s right. No changes. Nothing. Nada. Zip, zilch, zero. (You get the picture.)

That leaves ordinary Americans like you and me without the civil liberties safeguards proposed by several bills last year. Both the House and Senate had bills that would have improved the Patriot Act…

And of course, President Obama signed the bill with nary a public statement, no muss, no fuss.

From September 2009, a diary by Jesselyn Radack talking about her disappointment with Obama over his lack of action on FISA and bringing up the message to fight for changes to the Patriot Act, urging folks to support the Durbin-Feingold bill, which would add more protections to citizens.

In the comments section are the usual Obamacrat denials that Obama has any responsibility here, exemplified by this one (emphasis mine):

What’s Obama’s position re Dubin-Feingold

If you don’t know it why assume he’s against it? Because someone like Rahm said something to an unnamed source that you assume signals a willingness to “cave” on important privacy issues? If he’s not come out clearly against it why write a critical diary about Obama at this point? If you write prematurely negative or critical diaries about Obama how does that affect the willingness of people here to defend him where he’s correct and expend energy trying to get his agenda passed where it’s warranted? Basically, why is it good for the country to lead with your fears about what he’ll do until he articulates or supports a specific policy which you believe to be detrimental to the rights of our citizens? He hasn’t done that….yet. Not saying he won’t and, I’ll be the first person to rec your diary if and when he acts to jeopardize our rights to privacy under the Constitution.

He should be called out after he states his support for what is unacceptable or clearly takes action behind the scenes as a facilitator of it. He hasn’t done that just yet. He did state, during the campaign that he wanted to revisit the provisions in this legislation. As you stated in your last paragraph, what he is doing now may be totally consistent with that stated desire and, hence, completely correct behavior.

followed by this one by the same commenter:

I disagree

OK, I’ve read the letter. It recapitulates what Obama said last year. It does nothing more than that.

Obama’s been accused of trying to do too much by some and, of course, too little by every group which hasn’t yet directly benefited from his presidency. In the case of FISA I feel more comfortable with Russ Feingold leading the overhaul effort than Obama, and it makes a whole lot more sense, politically. Feingold is the person most heavily invested in this bill and I have confidence that he can work with Justice to craft a bill that achieves the objectives outlined by Obama in his letter.

Of course we’ll have to see how Justice and Obama define their objectives and which capabilities they insist on preserving. We’ll have to evaluate their level of support or hinderance of this this bill.

None of us want to allow the Obama administration or ANY administration to have unfettered ability to investigate conversations and records of private citizens in the name of stopping terrorism. None of us want to allow terrorists to operate freely here either, if there are effective and generally noninvasive means to prevent that.

The current law does need to be changed, immunity needs to be eliminated.  Individual rights trump threats in the end, except during a full-scale war, which we’re not currently engaged in. However, there is still some balancing that inevitably needs to be done to allow some ability to keep tabs on terrorists, once they are properly identified, and potential terrorists, once sufficient evidence supporting that claim is presented to a court.

I trust that Feingold-Durbin will achieve a good balance. I’m going to adopt a “wait and see” attitude regarding whether Justice and Obama give the proper amount of deference to privacy rights, or whether they do the politically expedient “cave”. If they do I’ll be right with you and you can say “I told you so”

Um … I told you so?

Like that helps.

And this scenario is going on all the time by the Obamacrats on any issue you could think of.

Note that the commenter admits this is an “important privacy issue.”

Obama could have vetoed the bill and sent it back to Congress to fix and restore those important privacy rights.

Instead we hear zero from him and zero from Congress.

What’s really bad, though, is we’re pretty much hearing zero from the liberal blogosphere as well.

I don’t think this is a conspiracy.  With the scary economic system calling almost all attention to the plight of folks losing their jobs and homes and families hurting, it seems downright selfish to bring up such luxuries as civil rights, doesn’t it?

I’m only being half snarky here.  It really does make it tough to show the real connection between our rights and freedoms and our happiness as human beings, and how that fact is as important as our need for food, clothing and shelter.

It is all interconnected, we know that.

In any event, we are hearing nothing (or almost nothing if you want to get picky) about this from the liberal blogosphere, and especially the leading lights of the white liberal blogosphere.

That is a dangerous circumstance, I believe.

I’m sure there ought to be a bloggers’ ethics conference over what I’m about to do — quote a commenter at Daily Kos (typos and all) without even giving him notice.  Sue me.

From bruh1:

I say that if the Bush Administration was

1984, then the Obama Administration is Brave New World. It is funny that there is something one else who felt similar. It is funny to see someone else use Brave New World. That if Bush controlled us through our fears, Obama controls us through our desires. We all hope for something better, and some of us are willing to go for much less because taps into hopes rather than actualities. But, that’s going too far out side of the discussion. The main point is that we have been through a lot of bad years under bush so many seemed to have reset their standard where we were pre bush in the 90s where times were more prosperous. That would be great if 2010 remotely looked like the 1990s. But it doesn’t. We are not considering if neo-liberalism will fail anymore. It has failed. At this point any one spouting , but we haven’t done it right is an ideologue in the same with that communism and conservatives are ideologues. They believe that communism or conservativism can never fail.

THey can only fail communism, etc. That’s why they always say someone else really wasn’t a communist (you will hear this with those who discuss russia) or Bush really wasn’t conservative. Now we have a set of center right rigid ideologues who are so rigid that they are not willing to admit that neo-liberalism has failed.

Add to that all the elitist crip, all the loyalty to identity party and personalty crap, the economic reality, the personality of the president, the corruption, etc, and you get what we are seeing. so, yes, they are stuck in a different era, but that’s as you say part of the Brave New World. We are not supposed to admit that our hopes were misplaced in the PResident. Those who said that must be killed or else the happiness can not continue.

That is the real trap here.  The fake “soma” of faux security is being touted as indistinguishable from not allowing ourselves to be informed citizens.  This dynamic takes away all of the power we have as citizens.

For all our talk about how important it is that we get out in the “real world” and do something, it’s also equally important, imo, that we have folks who’ll watch what’s happening in our government and if this information is being disseminated enough to create an informed and active citizenry.

I have a lot of criticisms of the leading lights of the white liberal blogosphere.  But they have a big voice, I can’t deny that.  I think we ought to email them, Atrios, Markos, big tent democrat (Armando) over at OpenLeft, Josh Marshall, Jane Hamsher etc., etc. and ask them why they aren’t weighing in on this “important privacy issue.”

Freedom may not seem important sometimes … when you’re scared of boogeymen terrorists, when you’re scared of losing your job and your home, scared of not being able to take care of your family, seems you’d trade all the freedom in the world for just a fair share of security.

That’s a primal need I don’t deny.

But I believe freedom is also a primal need I can’t deny.  Folks sometimes don’t even know they’re dying from the lack of it, seems.  Huh.

To pass this bill in the shadows, to assume it’s ok to do so, to thereby tell those citizens who have been yelling for years about this menace to freedom that they don’t even get the dignity of a statement, this is dangerous.

Seriously.  I would ask that we all email the folks I’ve partially listed above and ask them why they feel this isn’t worth some noise.


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  1. … to let go of this story for some reason.

    • Edger on March 1, 2010 at 23:19

    because so far there is nothing they can say to defend Obama’s signing this into law, without defending the Bush/Cheney administration as well and admitting the Obama administration is an extension of the same policies.

    They are waiting, I suppose, for their talking points to be handed down from someone like Plouffe, just like Bush’s 26 percenters waited for theirs from Rove.

    • rossl on March 2, 2010 at 00:05

    Really?  That’s surprising.

  2. Plus Seig Heil assume the position full body excessive radiation scanners arrive at Boston’s own Logan Airport for the benefit of $6 an hour perverts.

    Also boogeymen come in LNG tankers simply because the port of loading was that evil “terrorist” state Yemen.  All this for a trade center tower we dare not or rather it would be RETARDED to call the Freedom Tower.

    Insert Eschelon trigger keywords here.

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    Fuck the Bilderberg New World Order parasites.

  3. Hmmm.  Sometimes when you drop the ball it’s an error, i.e. you tried to catch the ball and didn’t.  Sometimes when you drop the ball it’s an out even though you didn’t catch it, i.e. infield fly rule.  The infield fly rule penalizes intentionally dropping the ball so you can make a double or tripe play through connivance.  So when we say that “Congress Dropped the Ball” on civil liberties and in particular on extending the Patriot Act what kind of dropping the ball do we have?  Most of the liberal blogosfera thinks somehow it’s an error, i.e. Congress thought about letting these provisions expire and said they might, but, ut oh, Congress didn’t come through on that promise.  If you think it’s (just) another error, you don’t make a big story out of it.  You just add it to the box score as an “E” and keep on playing the game.  The part of the liberal blogosfera that thinks the extension of the Patriot Act is an intentional drop and a violation of the rules is very small.  But that is what leads to a big essay, an essay like this one, which clearly points out that despite all their Congressional hoohah, our civil liberties aren’t worth a cup of warm spit.  They drop the ball on purpose all the time and make believe the sun was in their eyes.

    I’m happy that NPK is part of that part of the blogosfera that calls bs on this.  I only wish there were more.

    • Robyn on March 2, 2010 at 04:39
    • TMC on March 2, 2010 at 04:46

    that the renewal of these provisions may have something to do with this

    From Politco:

    Rahm Emanuel and Lindsey Graham: D.C.’s odd couple

    Graham has had more in-person meetings with Emanuel than any other Republican lawmaker, roughly eight or 10 since Obama took office, aides said. The two men also talk regularly by phone.

    The main topic these days is Guantanamo Bay – how to close the military prison on the U.S. Navy base there. But their conversations are broader than that, embracing a wide-ranging deal pitched by Graham that would shut down the prison; provide funding to move detainees to Thomson, Ill.; keep the Sept. 11 trials out of civilian courts; and create broad new powers to hold terror suspects indefinitely.

    I think I’m getting the picture and I like it even less than when Bush was President.

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