Libertarians and Liberals Unite: (Money) Bomb’s Away
We’ve formed a new PAC, called Accountability Now (a name suggested by cbl2 and voted on by our readers). We’re going to be splitting off our positive, candidate-supportive activities that BlueAmerica engages in from the accountability campaigns which will now be handled out of Accountability Now.
With that in mind, we’ve joined together with the BreaktheMatrix folks, Trevor Lyman and Rick Williams (who did the Ron Paul money bombs) in a campaign to fund it. We’re coming together as liberals and conservative libertarians (a la Bob Barr) because we’re extremely concerned about our eroding civil liberties, and the politicians in Washington DC who seem consumed with protecting their own power and not very worried about what’s happening to American right to privacy.
It was covered today in the Wall Street Journal:
The fight over immunity for telecom companies in domestic-spying legislation is creating an unexpected side effect: unity among liberal bloggers and Ron Paul supporters.
Liberal activists and supporters of the Texas Republican and former presidential candidate plan to join forces Thursday and begin a "money bomb" protest of lawmakers who support telecom immunity in the Foreign Surveillance Intelligence Act. During a "money bomb," grassroots activists donate money during a short period of time — usually a day — to create buzz and raise money for their candidate.
The effort is timed to coincide with a planned Senate vote on the bill. Libertarians and liberal activists have blasted Democratic lawmakers, including presidential hopeful Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois, for supporting the legislation.
Both groups are upset about a provision in the bill that would provide retroactive immunity from civil actions for telecom companies alleged to have provided information to the government as part of its secret, warrantless wiretapping program. The House passed the legislation on June 20 and a Senate vote could come as soon as Thursday.
"There’s entrenched power in Washington that protects itself and there are people on both sides who don’t feel like they’re having their rights protected," says Jane Hamsher, one of the organizers behind the effort and founder of the popular Democratic blog Firedoglake. "It’s really about right and left coming together to fight the entrenched power and take their power away."
The fund-raiser represents a novel partnership between the two groups, which have separately proven themselves adept at organizing activists and readers to take action. If it goes well, organizers say it could mark the beginning of a more far-reaching partnership between the two groups, which agree on issues from ending the Iraq war to protection of civil liberties.
"For us, it’s a natural alliance," says Trevor Lyman of BreaktheMatrix.com, and one of the organizers behind the famous Ron Paul "money bombs" which stunned the political establishment by raising about $14 million total for the Texas congressman’s now-suspended presidential campaign.
"When it comes to civil liberties, we’re absolutely aligned" with liberal activists, he says, although he notes the two groups remain far apart on other matters such as economic issues. "We stand so closely on this issue."
Mr. Paul missed the recent House vote on the domestic-spying legislation but later released a statement that he "strongly opposed every previous FISA overhaul attempt and I certainly would have voted against this one as well."
Discussions between the liberal bloggers and Mr. Paul’s supporters for a joint venture only began about a week ago, but took off as anger about the telecom immunity increased in both communities. The two groups agreed to form a bipartisan political action committee, Accountability Now, and to use the Democratic fund-raising site ActBlue.com to handle the paperwork involved in legally processing political donations.
As Glenn Greenwald has written before, there’s a similar global movement already afoot — in England, the labor government is trying to extend the amount of time they can hold someone with no charges whatsoever, based on powers they got in the wake of the subway attack. The far left of the Labor Party and the libertarian wing of the Tory Party are coming together to fight it.
Much the same thing is happening with this effort. We plan to hold both Democrats and Republicans accountable on this front who have become more responsive to the lobbyist money pouring into their coffers than they are to the interests of their constituents. (An article in The Hill this morning talks about how the Blue Dogs have more money than they can spend, and are essentially looking for a Senator to buy — things are only getting worse.)
This is a problem that transcends party identification. If you’d like to be part of the money bomb, you can pledge to give money here. We’ll be working with Trevor and Rick to pick a day for the bomb to go off (when the money actually gets donated, which we’ll be doing through the highly reliable ActBlue).