by Mike Masnick

Filed Under:
civil liberties, democrats, power

2012 Democrats: Remember That Civil Liberties Thing From 2008? Um, Nevermind

from the what's-that-about-power-corrupting? dept

For years, we've pointed out that neither major political party in the US seems to be very good on the issues that concern us most around here -- which is truly disappointing. With the Democratic National Convention going on this week, some are pointing out what a difference four years make. Back when President Obama was the outsider running for office, he made reversing Bush-era attacks on civil liberties a target for change in his platform. And then he won. Not only did he leave in place most of the programs against civil liberties, but he often expanded them. So here we are, after four years in power, and with the new platform out, some are noting that the strong defenses of civil liberties found four years ago are conspicuously absent this time around. Adam Sewer goes through this year's platform and the one from four years ago and points out all of the differences. Here's just one example, but click through to read them all:
Warrantless Surveillance/PATRIOT Act

2008: "We support constitutional protections and judicial oversight on any surveillance program involving Americans. We will review the current Administration's warrantless wiretapping program. We reject illegal wiretapping of American citizens, wherever they live. We reject the use of national security letters to spy on citizens who are not suspected of a crime. We reject the tracking of citizens who do nothing more than protest a misguided war...We will revisit the Patriot Act and overturn unconstitutional executive decisions issued during the past eight years."

2012: The platform is silent on this issue.
This is not surprising, but it's depressing just the same. Once they're in power, people tend to want to keep power, and one way to do that is to suppress the civil liberties of the public. Wouldn't it be nice if we actually elected a principled politician? Do they even exist any more?

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Sep 2012 @ 10:55am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Just to add some teeth to that last part:

    "The United States continues the decline that began a few years ago, falling two more positions to take 7th place this year. Although many structural features continue to make its economy extremely productive, a number of escalating and unaddressed weaknesses have lowered the US ranking in recent years. …some weaknesses in particular areas have deepened since past assessments. The business community continues to be critical toward public and private institutions (41st). In particular, its trust in politicians is not strong (54th), perhaps not surprising in light of recent political disputes that threaten to push the country back into recession through automatic spending cuts. Business leaders also remain concerned about the government’s ability to maintain arms-length relationships with the private sector (59th), and consider that the government spends its resources relatively wastefully (76th). A lack of macroeconomic stability continues to be the country’s greatest area of weakness (111th, down from 90th last year)."

    From this year's WEF Global Competitiveness Report.

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