2Progressives care about a wide range of issues, from universal health-care to an end of our imperialistic wars abroad. Many progressives voted for Ralph Nader in 2000 but have beenso cowed by the Bush Presidency that they are willing to sell their ideals short for the lesser of two evils. This strategy will ensure that the Democratic Party will continue to take theprogressives vote for granted and we will not see real change. However, progressives still appearto be flocking to Obama.In spite of this, progressives and American Muslims need to temper their enthusiasm forObama. A close look at his record on civil liberties, foreign policy, economic policy, andpersonal actions indicate that support for Obama is misplaced.
Over the past eight years, civil liberties have rapidly declined and this has been a causefor consternation amongst progressives. Issues such as the National Security A
illegal warrantless wiretapping program, the Patriot Act, and Faith-Based initiatives have
curtailed basic rights. Obama‘s stance on these issues has been both highly pernicious and
seriously misplaced. Furthermore, he slighted the Muslim community during his March 18, 2008Speech on Race.
The NSA wiretapping is arguably the most blatant government intrusion on Americancitizens in a generation. This secretive program was exposed in December 2005 by the
New York Times
and allowed the Bush Administration through to illegally monitor
phone calls, e-mails, Internet activity, text messaging, and other communications involving anyparty believed by the NSA to be outside the U.S. In May of 2006, the
the NSA had been secretly collecting the phone records of millions Americans with the help of AT&T, Verizon, and BellSouth. This program went above and beyond the legal method tomonitor the electronic communication of Americans which was to obtain a warrant from thesecret court authorized by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). Russel Tice, anNSA whistle-blower, explained:
The FISA court
—it‘s not very difficult to get something through a FISA court. I kinda
liken the FISA court to a monkey with a rubber stamp. The monkey sees a name, themonkey sees a word justification w
ith a block of information. It can‘t read the block, butit just stamps ―affirmed‖ on the block, and a banana chip rolls out, and then the next
paper rolls in front of the monkey. When you have like 20,000 requests and only, I think,four were turned down,
you can‘t look at the FISA court as anything different.
So, you have to ask yourself the question: Why would someone want to go around theFISA court in something like this? I would think the answer could be that this thing is alot bigger than even the President has been told it is, and that ultimately a vacuum cleaner
approach may have been used, in which case you don‘t get names, and that‘s ultimatelywhy you wouldn‘t go to the FISA court. And I think that‘s something Congress needs to
address. They need to find out exactly how this system was operated and ultimatelydetermine whether this was indeed a very focused effort or whether this was a vacuumcleaner-type scenario.