[Marxism] cartoon

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Thu Aug 9 08:47:25 MDT 2007

Dbachmozart at aol.com wrote:
> <_http://www.ajc.com/shared-blogs/ajc/luckovich/luckovich0808.jpg_ 
> (http://www.ajc.com/shared-blogs/ajc/luckovich/luckovich0808.jpg) > 

Speaking of which:

NY Times, August 9, 2007
Congressional Memo
The Blogs Are Alive With the Sound of Angry Democrats

WASHINGTON, Aug. 8 — Progressive and liberal groups and left-leaning 
blogs are furious, tossing around fighting words like “spineless,” 
“craven” and “weak.”

So much for the hopes of Democratic leaders that they could avoid a 
withering political attack by clearing the way for Congress to approve 
an expansion of the Bush administration’s terrorist surveillance program 
before the August recess.

“Democratic leaders in Congress didn’t put up much of a fight and they 
didn’t stand up and say ‘no’ to Bush,” said an e-mail message that 
political operatives for the group MoveOn sent Tuesday to the 
organization’s members, urging them to sign an online petition calling 
on Congress to reverse the new law.

Activist groups were somewhat forgiving earlier this year when Democrats 
backed down in a fight with President Bush over war spending, but the 
concession on changes to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act seems 
to have touched a nerve.

 From the perspective of liberal critics, Democrats again let themselves 
be hoodwinked into handing Mr. Bush substantial new power on the basis 
of White House warnings of an imminent threat. And they did so when Mr. 
Bush’s poll numbers are low.

“Ultimately, it was the Democratic leadership on the Hill that rolled 
over to this demand,” said Caroline Fredrickson, a top lobbyist for the 
American Civil Liberties Union. “Instead of standing strong and standing 
on principle, they panicked and gave the administration not only what it 
has been asking for, but more.”

Democratic officials in the House and the Senate say they understand the 
dismay that greeted the measure’s passage and point out that most 
Democrats opposed the bill, including the four senators seeking the 
party’s presidential nomination. But they say that given classified 
security briefings and the approach of the recess, Democrats had little 

“Everyone who heard the briefings from the administration agreed that 
the intelligence community did not have what it needed,” said Jim 
Manley, a spokesman for Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the majority 
leader. “Both Democrats and Republicans alike agreed that going home 
without addressing this issue was not an option.”

And once the Senate left town after approving the Republican proposal 
making it possible to institute wiretaps without warrants, House members 
found themselves in the position of either acting or being the last 
roadblock to the changes sought by the White House.

“We agreed with the administration that there was a problem with FISA 
that needed to be fixed,” said Brendan Daly, a spokesman for Speaker 
Nancy Pelosi of California. “We thought we had a bill that protected 
civil liberties and addressed their problems, but it did not have the 
votes on its own.”

Still, many House Democrats argued Saturday both in private party 
meetings and again on the floor that Democrats should either prevent a 
vote on the Republican proposal or join together to defeat it no matter 
the political cost. They believed the measure went too far in handing 
surveillance power to the administration, particularly Attorney General 
Alberto R. Gonzales, without sufficient judicial review.

“We should have stood our ground,” said Representative Jerrold Nadler, 
Democrat of New York. “We had a bill that did everything they said was 
necessary for national security. I think we could defend that.”

Progressive bloggers agreed. “Cowards,” said the headline on a post 
Tuesday on the Daily Kos Web site, which listed the 41 House Democrats 
and 16 Senate Democrats who sided with the White House and Republicans.

As they dealt with the political fallout, Democrats noted that 
Congressional aides were already drafting a revision of the bill, which 
expires in six months. But they also acknowledged that reaching 
agreement on changes would not be easy.

The A.C.L.U. wants to make sure that Congress and the country have all 
the information they need for the renewed debate. On Wednesday, the 
group filed an unusual request with the Foreign Intelligence 
Surveillance Court, which operates in near-total secrecy, asking it to 
make public its recent opinions on the scope of the government’s ability 
to wiretap Americans.

The executive director of the A.C.L.U., Anthony D. Romero, said, “Unless 
the FISA court discloses the documents leading up to the recent law and 
shedding light on the government’s claimed surveillance authority, an 
informed and meaningful debate — the cornerstone of our democracy — 
cannot occur.”

Democrats and political analysts said they expected the long-term 
political consequences of last week’s votes to be minimal because most 
of those who are irate would not be inclined to back Republicans.

“At the end of the day, how many choices do they have?” asked Stuart 
Rothenberg, a nonpartisan political analyst, about liberal voters. “How 
many Democratic primaries are going to be determined by this? Base 
voters have a way of complaining, being angry, of holding their breath 
until they turn blue. But I don’t see it as having any real consequence.”

Others say frustration with the party over issues like the surveillance 
vote is at the heart of the dismal poll ratings for Congress.

Some are already talking about primary challenges for Democrats whom 
they consider enablers of Mr. Bush, like moderate Blue Dogs who formed 
the core of Democratic support for the eavesdropping proposal in the 
House. On the Web site Open Left, the blogger Matt Stoller accused the 
Blue Dogs of one of their “standard betrayals.”

“The upside,” Mr. Stoller wrote, “is that organizing is beginning 
already around fixing the FISA legislation, and a campaign to destroy 
the brand of the Blue Dogs is not far away.”

Eric Lichtblau contributed reporting.

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