Last Week’s Take Back America Conference – Building Bridges

I attended the Take Back America conference last week, and it was great. I am inspired, and you should be, too.
Two years ago I was at this same conference and it was a very different experience. I felt it was attending a tired, demoralized gathering of people associated with the older, Washington-based, established, celebrity-driven issue-organizations. I left discouraged, wondering when the liberal establishment would start to catch up with the ideas circulating around the blogosphere – especially with the ideas about building “progressive infrastructure” organizations for reaching out to the public and promoting core progressive values and ideas, instead of the focus on issues.
After that conference I wrote,

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Conservative Movement Sleeper Cells

Atrios links to Digby, who writes that the appeals court is likely to reverse Scooter Libby’s conviction because the particular judges are Federalist Society activists who have been working behind the scenes for years to reverse convictions of conservative movement operatives like Oliver North, while bending the law as far as possible to enable political investigations of Democrats like Bill Clinton.

And it does go back. Digby quotes from Robery Parry, writing about what Iran/Contra prosecutor Lawrence Walsh found himself up against – facing some of these same judges.

“Walsh recognized that many of the appeals judges held a “continuing political allegiance” to the conservative Federalist Society, an organization dedicated to purging liberalism from the federal courts.

“It reminded me of the communist front groups of the 1940s and 1950s, whose members were committed to the communist cause and subject to communist direction but were not card-carrying members of the Communist Party,” Walsh wrote.”

Atrios calls it a “conservative protection racket.”

And now we know from the Justice Department probe that these operatives are in place throughout the government – “sleeper cells” waiting to jump out and sabotage any attempt at actual positive governance. Digby writes,

Sentelle and Silbermann appointed Ken Starr, whom Robert Bork defended for his high minded, straight devotion to duty.

Sentelle is still on the court. Lawrence Silberman is now a senior judge. Rehnquist’s replacement, John Roberts was on that same court. The extremist Janice Rogers Brown is also on that court.

Perhaps the long term friendships, shared legal history and blind partisan loyalties among these people will not be relevant in this case. But let’s just say I wouldn’t be shocked if we get a surprising appellate decision based upon a novel, intellectually inconsistent theory set forth by a bunch of powerful wingnut legal enforcers. It happens.

A few years back in a post titled The Right Will Fight Dirty I wrote about the same problem (quoting the same Walsh quotes.) I wrote,

With The Party’s Federalist Society judges in place every special prosecutor appointed to investigate Republican wrongdoing was a right-wing Party operative, and those appointed to investigate Democrats was … a right-wing Party operative. Every motion before the Courts went against Clinton and the Democrats.

… And, finally, the 2000 election. The Supreme Court demonstrated the extent and power of Party operatives, positioned within the mechanisms of our government, whose loyalty is to an ideology and a Party rather than the country.

These years of this Bush’s hands on the controls mean that our government is now infested with ideological operatives, waiting for their opportunity to prove that their loyalty lies with The Party, not American democracy.

And here we are, sleeper cells planted throughout the government, just waiting to destroy any Democrat elected to the Presidency while blocking any efforts to hold even a single conservative movement operative accountable for anything.

Suppose a Democrat does win the Presidency in 2008. Will that President be able to accomplish anything? Or will these sleeper cells awaken and wreak havoc?

They’re Going To Ban BuzzFlash

UpdateWE WON! Go read.

The Republicans are trying to “deregulate” the Internet. They’re about to allow the big telecommunications companies to decide which websites their customers (YOU) can and can’t see. This is what “Net Neutrality” is about. If you are against letting big companies decide what websites you can see, that means you are in favor of Net Neutrality.
MAKE NO MISTAKE about what this will mean. In the 1980s the Republicans “deregulated” radio and television by getting rid of the Fairness Doctrine and allowing a few big companies to buy up all the stations, and now you can’t turn on the radio without hearing that conservatives are good and liberals are bad. And you will not ever see a representative of organized labor on your television telling you about the benefits of joining a union. In the South the ONLY viewpoint you ever hear is the Republican Party viewpoint. MAKE NO MISTAKE about what “deregulating” the Internet will mean. It means they will ban BuzzFlash, and DailyKos, and Digby and any other voice that speaks out against the corporate takeover of your country.
Here is what you can do today. Matt Stoller has a post up at MyDD with a list of members of Congress to call TODAY. Matt says

Urge them to support the bipartisan Sensenbrenner-Conyers Net Neutrality bill (HR 5417) in the Judiciary Committee on Thursday — and to support it without amendment. Saying without amendment is key.

Here is the list:

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