Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Keith Olbermann flip-flops on telecom immunity

How sad to see political partisanship turn him into an advocate for bad legislation. The telecoms shouldn't get civil or criminal immunity for violations of our constitutional rights.

UPDATE (July 8, 2008): Ed Brayton comments on Obama's attempt to explain his change of position on this issue.


Hume's Ghost said...

Methinks that Olbermann has run into a bit of cognitive dissonance and has tried to rationalize it away.

In Olbermann's defense, he is at least considering criticism and trying to be consistent. His special comment last night was an improvement in that he abandoned the "Obama isn't capitulating to the left" angle and also demanded that Obama either vote against the legislation or promise to criminally prosecute the telecoms.

Several problems with his stance, however.

1.Olbermann seems to believe that the only problem with the legislation is the immunity, but in reality the bill grants the Exeuctive greater spy powers with less oversight.
2. Olbermann also misses the point when he keeps saying the bill establishes FISA as the relavant statute. This is meaningless: FISA was already the relevant statute and Bush ignored it. Giving him more powers and then reiterating that FISA applies does what exactly? Without punishment for lawbreaking this has no teeth.
3.Glenn Greenwald has pointed out today some problems with criminal prosecutions. The most obvious problem I have is that I'm not inclined to bet my liberties on the naive belief that Obama would prosecute the telecoms - if Dems can't censore Bush for breaking the law there is no way that is going to happen. Olbermann also seems to believe that the appearance of impropiety would somehow prevent Bush from pardoning the telecoms before he leaves office - where has he been for the last 7.5 years?!
4.This is really an extension of the same point in 3, but I think it merits emphasis.

The greatest problem I have with Olbermann's approach is that he is willing to trade citizens' access to the courts as a means of protecting their liberties on the belief that a candidate will do that for them. I am not willing to trade my liberty on the belief that every 4 to 8 years someone will be elected that might protect them.

Hume's Ghost said...

Mistakes Were Made (but not by me) - which is plugged in the cognitive dissonance link - is a book that I think all skeptics should read or be familiar with.

Hume's Ghost said...

"What they're doing is tantamount to someone who steals your wallet, takes all the money out, gives the empty wallet back to you, and then tells you that you should be grateful to them because you have your wallet."

That is Greenwald describing the claim of Democrats that their bill is a compromise because it says FISA is the law that applies to spying. My favorite was an Obama advisor saying that Obama has to "compromise" and vote for telecom immunity because he doesn't want the bill he previously voted against to expire.