Thursday, July 3, 2008

FISA Thoughts On The Eve Of Independence Day

I will leave the particulars as far as the evils of the FISA bill awaiting the Senate after their holiday break to those that are more knowledgeable than I am but suffice it to say I am extremely disappointed. The disappointment involves not only South Dakota's 2 national Democrats Tim Johnson and Stephanie Herseth Sandlin who have voted at least once to pass the legislation, Johnson shoots for the double whammy with the vote next week, but with the apparent flip flop of Barack Obama.

I had written extensively over at A South Dakota Moderate on the subject and will not rehash it here but it appears that at least in Barack Obama's case, his pledge to filibuster any FISA legislation containing Telcom immunity and then subsequent flip flop isn't going to die without a fight from some of his more loyal supporters.

Along those lines, The Nation has an article this week discussing the grassroots effort to get Obama to keep his promise that has formed on his own campaign site. The effort has gotten so large that it has become the biggest such group on his the site surpassing a student group that has been around for months.
A grassroots group of activists has been organizing on MyBo, Obama’s official social networking portal, to protest the Senator’s recent decision to back controversial legislation granting the President more spying powers. The effort hit a big milestone on Tuesday afternoon: It is now the largest self-organized group on Obama’s website, topping networks that were launched over a year ago. The spying protest, “Senator Obama - Please Vote NO on Telecom Immunity - get FISA Right,” launched last week. (See Obama Network Organizes and Revolts Over Spying, The Nation.)

Membership spiked to about 8,900 people on Tuesday, edging out a student group with roughly 8,600 members, and one organizer estimated that the growth rate reached a rapid four percent during the daytime. The group initially spread through the Obama network, since the site’s platform instantly connects members through a dedicated email listserve. On Monday, for example, over 200 emails shot across the wire, reaching the roughly 2,300 members who opted to receive individual messages. The exchanges ranged from policy debates, like whether immunity was acceptable if the telephone companies acted in good faith, to organizing strategies, such as promoting the group on sharing sites like Digg. Then some activists open-sourced the project, creating a wiki-hub for additional actions — from calling Obama’s office to urging Keith Olbermann to promote the group — and launched partner groups on other sites like Facebook. (Update: Total membership over 12,000 as of this writing)

I have long since given up being surprised when politicians go back on their word, heck that is why this site is named "Politics and Hypocrisy" but given the power of Obama's online fundraising machine, I will be curious to see what if any effect this grassroots effort has on Obama's decision. Obama's campaign of change has gone the way of the Susan B. Anthony dollar so now we will see if his core supporters can at least keep him somewhat in line with what they had hoped he would be when they got behind him.

FISA will be the first real test.

UPDATE: Faced with the growing dissention on his own site, Obama responds to critics of his FISA flip flop...yada, yada, yada I could care less what you think.

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