Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Strange Bedfellows Effort Launches

By: Harry Waisbren

In the founding post of this blog, I cite the progressive blogosphere and movements' success on retroactive immunity as a prime rationale for suggesting we have achieved a "Mad" amount of progress. However, in that post I also cite how I have learned (the hard way) never to underestimate the Democratic Party's ability to capitulate to big money interests and/or succomb under political cowardice. This is precisely the situation that is occurring, and it is also why I will be emphatically supporting the Strand Bedfellows campaign. This campaign aims to publicize and prevent the latest episode of this, in which the Democrats are aiding the Republicans and the Whitehouse in their efforts to sell out our privacy rights and ensure that no one will ever be held to account for the illegal warrantless wiretapping program.

This campaign combines the efforts of some of the very best liberal blogs alongside both the ACLU and Ron Paul supporters. I suggest this post by Glenn Greenwald if you want to be updated on the need to push the Democratic leadership to prevent retroactive immunity, and Jane Hamsher details the coalition's goals here. I'm copying and pasting the official press release below as well:

Washington, DC — A sham spying deal could be rammed through both the Senate and House this week. It's moving that fast. If we don't stop this, telecom companies that broke the law by supplying mountains of personal information to the government without a warrant will be let off the hook.

A broad alliance of strange bedfellows is now forming to support a campaign to fight the gutting of FISA (The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) with the intent to work together on all civil liberties, constitutional rights and rule of law issues.

The ACLU is joining with activists from the Ron Paul campaign, represented by Break the Matrix, Rick Williams and Trevor Lyman, and civil liberties writer Glenn Greenwald of Salon, and leading liberal bloggers including, Jane Hamsher of firedoglake, Matt Stoller of Open Left, John Amato of Crooks and Liars, Howie Klein of Down with Tyranny, Digby, Josh Nelson of The Seminal and activist Josh Koster to tell Congress that we will not let them ignore the Constitution or give immunity to telecoms which deliberately broke our laws for years.

This group of Strange Bedfellows is mobilizing a broad-based left-right coalition of office holders and candidates, public interest groups and individuals who are devoted to preserving basic constitutional liberties to join in the fight. The goal is to work together to impede the corrupt FISA/telecom amnesty deal.

Glenn Greenwald said, "The Beltway establishment has made clear that they support the Bush administration's assault on our basic constitutional protections and the rule of law. Constitutional rights and the rule of law are not liberal or conservative principles. They're American principles, and this broad-based alliance is devoted to defending them from the bipartisan political class that wants to trample upon them."

Lust for freedom can lead to some pretty strange bedfellows.

This issue has already been covered by the New York Times, and the Washington Post has began covering this particular effort. Mad Progress will be aiding the campaign as much as we possibly can, and if anyone wants to contribute or has any advice or ideas for how we can best do this please email me at

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