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Saturday, February 04, 2006

FDL Late Nite: In the Trenches

Glenn Greenwald continues his sojourn in DC:
[T]he fact that we were able to obtain access to high-level staffers in the days before these hearings is an encouraging reflection of the growing recognition that the blogosphere is something they cannot ignore or simply use for their benefit, but instead is a substantive and genuine (and growing) force that needs to be recognized, respected and taken seriously. I think we need to look at this as a mid-range project, not something that will yield immediate, overnight results. We've had lots of successes in the past several weeks, with multiple episodes, in having a real impact on the establishment media and even what happens in DC. But it's going to be an incremental process.


Specifically as to the NSA issue, Monday is only the first day and Gonzales (who will be under oath) is only the first witness (Senate Democrats are essentially unanimous that additional witnesses -- perhaps Comey, Ashcroft, Yoo and others -- need to testify, and Gonzales will likely have to come back both because they won't be done questioning him and because additional documents will likely be released by the Justice Department which they are currently trying to withhold). We should be able to build on the access and contacts we created this time by obtaining even more influential access for the coming days of testimony (I say "we" not in the royal sense, but because the meetings I had were enabled by the work of numerous bloggers and inside-DC types who want to help the blogosphere gain more access and influence).

Regarding the hearings themselves, I have a lot of trepidation about what will happen on Monday, to be honest. Democrats are clearly scared of this issue. They believe that Republicans are going to accuse them of "wanting to give Al Qaeda our playbook" (a phrase several different people used independently) and that those tactics will work to obscure the real issues here. They seem -- at least to me -- to be more frightened than impassioned, more worried about how to avoid looking like Al Qaeda allies than how to question Gonzales in order to prove that the Administration here broke the law and that it is intolerable for the President to break the law.
People have been asking what they can do to support Glenn specifically but the NSA hearings in general. One of the things the GOP machine does really well is have a network of people all across the country who are available for booking on any local radio or TV show at the drop of a hat to push right wing talking points. Over at Kos a diarist has a tremendous link to local media in your area (by zip code) where you can find places to write LTEs and call in to radio talk shows. Let them know directly and succinctly that the wiretapping scandal is a matter of bipartisan concern -- people like Grover Norquist and Bob Barr know that the right to privacy is a fundamental American value and the President should be held accountable for breaking the law. That it is cowardly and weak for him to dismiss his critics as "terrorists."

You can then stop by the site and let them know about it, since they're keeping track of media outlets that have been contacted. It's a great, grassrootsy way to counter Karl's army.

And we've now raised $5625 for Ciro Rodriguez here at FDL.

I am so lovin' this.