One Of The NSA's Biggest Critics In The Senate May Lose His Seat

from the don't-let-that-happen dept

In the past, we've noted how unfortunate it was that the Senator who fought strongest for our civil liberties in Congress, Russ Feingold, got voted out of office back in 2010 -- in favor of a "Tea Party" candidate who has consistently voted in favor of the intelligence community since replacing Feingold. Since then, plenty of attention has gone to Senator Ron Wyden for picking up where Feingold left off, but with him on issues of civil liberties as it relates to the intelligence community has always been Senator Mark Udall -- who has been perhaps even more vocal than Senator Wyden on these issues.

And, worryingly, it appears that Udall may be facing a Feingold moment, where he's facing a candidate that has positioned himself more on "Tea Party" type issues. Udall hasn't campaigned very much on his amazing support for civil liberties, since many observers don't think that's an "election issue" in Colorado. However, recently, Udall has been willing to point to his important work on the Senate Intelligence Committee as one of a very small number of Senators who actually worked hard to push back against unconstitutional surveillance, to push for transparency and accountability for the intelligence community, and who pushed, repeatedly, to defend our civil liberties. It would be a huge loss for civil liberties if Udall were to lose this election, and a clear victory for the NSA, the intelligence community and those who like to spread FUD to retain power and take away your rights.
“I do think it would be a significant loss for the movement,” said Laura Murphy, the head of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Washington office.


“Were Sen. Udall to lose, I think he would be sorely missed,” echoed Scott Roehm, a senior counsel at The Constitution Project. “He was one of the earliest voices for meaningful surveillance reform even before the Snowden leaks.”
The Denver Post recently endorsed Udall's opponent, complaining that Udall wasn't enough of a "leader" in the Senate (not an easy thing to do as a first-term Senator). And while the editorial at least does call out Udall's work on the Intelligence Committee, it suggests that his opponent, Cory Gardner, is fine there too because he voted for the USA Freedom Act in the House. Except, of course, voting for a bill is one thing. Leading the charge on these issues is another thing altogether. Besides, the version of the USA Freedom Act that was voted on wasn't a good thing. It was the bill that the White House undermined at the last minute, leading all civil liberties groups to pull their support, and most members of the House who are big on civil liberties voted against the bill due to the compromises shoved into it. Voting for it didn't show a similar viewpoint, but rather the opposite.

There are lots of other issues for voters, of course, but feel free to check out Udall's stance on things. If you're in Colorado, please consider voting for one of the very few principled voices for civil liberties in Congress.
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Filed Under: civil liberties, colorado, cory gardner, mark udall, nsa, surveillance

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  1. icon
    tqk (profile), 22 Oct 2014 @ 8:34pm

    Re: Re:

    "At this point Americans, as a whole, are not really deserving of any civil liberties."

    So you're saying Tibet doesn't deserve its own sovereignty because it got conquered by an "overwhelming force?"

    That doesn't make sense. Tibet didn't have much of a chance, and their spirituality pretty much demands non-violence. They virtually chose to lose because they are virulently anti-war. That's a value judgment on their part. I wouldn't go that way, but to them it was the better choice. Meh.

    I don't want to put words in his mouth (the person you're replying to), but remember that B. Franklin quote, "Those willing to sacrifice freedom for security, ...". Freedom is bought with the blood of heroes, and all that. Americans are abrogating their right to their freedoms by sheepishly allowing them to be bled away, drop by drop, by tyrannical forces. If you're not willing to stand up to tyrants, you do deserve what you get; tyranny. This is the nature of life. Your Founding Fathers taught you this, enshrining those thoughts in the Constitution.
    Are you implying that everyone singled out in the mass-murders of history don't deserve life because an "overwhelming force" decided they don't want them around anymore?

    It may be politically incorrect, but yeah. The Jews in Nazi Germany who sheepishly allowed themselves to be herded into cattle cars bound for the ovens did deserve it. The Jews in the Warsaw ghetto fought back. The inmates of Sobibor fought back. The Poles who lost the invasion to the Nazis fought back. Wolves are going to make you their dinner if you can't be bothered to arm yourself and defend your right not to become their dinner.
    Are you telling me that slaves deserved their lifestyle because they were captured and traded by an "overwhelming force?"

    Frankly, yeah. CF. the slave rebellion vs. Imperial Rome. They could have escaped over the mountains into Gaul, but they chose to try to end the tyranny (they had overwhelming numbers, including trained gladiators), and lost. Tough luck. If all the black slaves in the US had risen up against their masters, they might have won. Liberia was founded by freed slaves. "Some days, you get the bear. Some days, the bear gets you." -- Riker.

    You've got to try, or submit and accept the tyranny. You might win, and you might lose. But if you really want it, you've got to step up and take it, or accept the alternative. Tyrants aren't going to nicely respect your freedoms or rights. They want to eat you, and they believe they have that right! It's up to you to teach them you won't let them get away with it without it costing them more than they're willing to pay.

    I preferred MLK's and Ghandi's way of doing things, but it's a little extraordinary when their way works. More often, Mandela's or Ho Chi Mihn's the way to go, even if it means aligning yourself with the USSR to do it.

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