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Coming To Terms With Obama's FISA Vote

By   Follow Me on Twitter     Message Mary Shaw     Permalink
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Still fuming over the FISA sellout, and greatly disappointed by Barack Obama's "Yea" vote, I decided to do more research.

What I found did help a bit, but I'm still disgusted by the fact that the telecoms who illegally spied on us now have retroactive immunity.

What I found, the thing that helped me feel a tiny bit better about all this, was a statement by Barack Obama about why he decided to support the FISA bill.

In a nutshell, he voted for the bill because:

• it brings the FISA court back into the picture and demands compliance with the court;


• it requires the Inspectors General to investigate past misconduct, so maybe someone(s) -- other than the now-immune telecoms, of course -- will be exposed for their role(s) in the illegal wiretapping and perhaps even held accountable.

So he obviously put a great deal of thought into it and did what he felt was best for now. That's his prerogative.

But I still strongly oppose this legislation.

Sure, the FISA court is back as a requirement, but that never stopped the Bushies from sidestepping the court.

And the Inspectors General may launch an investigation, but we know that the Bushies are good at dodging any kind of proceedings through which they might be held accountable for their misdeeds. They just play the "state secrets" card, or the "executive privilege" card, like they're above the law. And they always seem to get away with it.

And the fact still stands that Congress gave the telecoms a get-out-of-jail-free card.

Imagine the outrage if Bill Clinton had illegally spied on us like Bush has. They probably would have used that to impeach Clinton all over again, not pass a bill supporting the activity.

But Bush -- with a 25% approval rating -- gets a free pass and a Congressional blessing. Why?

No wonder this Congress now has a 9% approval rating.

In an ideal world, Obama would have joined with Senators Russ Feingold, Chris Dodd, Pat Leahy, and others who firmly opposed the bill, and we would have seen a filibuster.

But this is not a perfect world, and Obama is not a perfect person. He is a politician, and this is a very important election year. We know that the Republicans will continue to play the fear card. Hence, Obama's "Yea" vote.

Disappointed as I am, however, I will still support Obama's campaign in every way I can.

Because no one is perfect.

Because this election is about more than just one issue.

And because the alternative -- a McCain presidency -- is unthinkable.
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Mary Shaw is a Philadelphia-based writer and activist, with a focus on politics, human rights, and social justice. She is a former Philadelphia Area Coordinator for the Nobel-Prize-winning human rights group Amnesty International, and her views (more...)

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