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Former Sen. Feingold on the Loss of Liberties

Posted on Feb 25, 2012
litherland (CC-BY)

Foreseeing a threat to American citizens’ freedoms, Feingold issued the sole vote against the Patriot Act in the weeks after 9/11.

After the release of former Wisconsin Democratic Sen. Russ Feingold’s new book, “While America Sleeps: A Wake-up Call for the Post-9/11 Era,” Salon columnist and constitutional and civil rights lawyer Glenn Greenwald spoke with him about the deliberate curtailment of American civil liberties over the last 10 years.

See the first two segments of their conversation below, and click through and scroll down to hear the third part here. —ARK

Glenn Greenwald at Salon:

Feingold—even as he voices often vehement criticisms of his Party and of Obama—has been and remains a loyal Democrat. He was just named one of 35 national co-chairs for President Obama’s re-election campaign. He argues that whatever flaws plague the Democratic Party—and they are substantial, he will be the first to tell you—the GOP has become so extreme that their defeat is imperative. To the surprise of many people, he gave an interview last week to The Huffington Post in which he appeared to support President Obama’s due-process-free assassination of U.S. citizen Anwar Awlaki.

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By Sadclown, March 1, 2012 at 6:18 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

All this just makes me very sad. If THESE are the leaders we hoped would save us from the crushing oppression of the elite, now who can we trust? Is it really all going to have to come crashing down in order to create something new out of the ashes?  I have been trying to believe in the Dems, but it is just getting harder and harder. 
So, so, sad….

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By heterochromatic, February 28, 2012 at 12:45 pm Link to this comment

no, I don’t think that surveillance equates to punishment….it’s a different violation,

back when I was a punk, the Attorney General and the President were suggesting
“preventive detention” ....THAT’S punishment prior.

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By gerard, February 28, 2012 at 12:37 pm Link to this comment

Hetero:  You think it is not “punishment previous to infraction” to be surveilled without proven reasons for the necessity of surveillance?  You think it is not punishment pti to be suspected of committing some crime in the future even though there is no evidence to support the suspicion?  Not punishment pti to live under constant or sporadic intrusions into personal privacy?  Not punishment pti when an entire society is poisoned by suspicion, fear and lack of access to information relevant to self-government and self-defense?  Pti to have to request, pay for, wait endlessly for, and then finally be refused secret suspicions without evidence that are being held against you?  You think living in a police state is not punishment previous to infraction?

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By heterochromatic, February 27, 2012 at 6:55 pm Link to this comment

gerard—- could you clarify the “punishment previous to
infraction” thing a bit?

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By heterochromatic, February 27, 2012 at 3:10 pm Link to this comment

vec—- you have several times raised the point that Awlaki’s son was killed in a
drone strike (that targeted and reportedly killed Al Qaeda members).

what great significance does this kid’s death have for you?

are you outraged that Al Qaeda allowed a 16 year old to join up with their fighters
or merely upset that Al Qaeda members get killed?

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By gerard, February 26, 2012 at 1:42 pm Link to this comment

My reception was cut off to the point where it is not possible to comment.  Yet the problems of the Patriot Act and other legislation and actions restricting, even negating, civil liberties is for me a primary issue.  I cannot see how we can pretend to be a democracy when recent restrictions on civil liberties and “punishment previous to infraction” maintained by “surveillance” are upheld and tolerated.

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By john poole, February 26, 2012 at 12:50 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Feingold is the Democratic party’s designated au contraire guy ringer so down the
road he can be useful as a faux “outsider” voice. It’s actually very clever and works
every time.

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By bigchin, February 26, 2012 at 12:33 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

ah gee, mr. comment editor… does the word “ass” offend you?

Truthdig, like the coward Feingold, progessive?


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By PatrickHenry, February 26, 2012 at 7:51 am Link to this comment

Hats off to the OWS movement’s attempts of Ghandi-esque tactics of non violence, however America’s steady diet of violence either on TV, magazines, daily news broadcasts, returning combat veterans and record numbers of release criminal parolees places violence and the supporting tactics mainstage in our culture.

This is one reason the draft was ended as TPTB know the explosive nature of the American people and how quickly Wall Street can be shut down and our Congress replaced.

Power only respects power.

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By THX 1133 is not in the movie..., February 26, 2012 at 7:37 am Link to this comment

So sorry to hear his lame justification for his illegal
The apologists in the American government are as guilty
as the actual minions who carry out the criminal
My only question is; when will the perps be held
Feingold is despicable behind his obvious rhetoric…

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By bpawk, February 26, 2012 at 7:10 am Link to this comment

He’s just like Obama - talk left wing civil rights, behave right wing erode civil rights (among other things).  You see a lot of celebs criticize Obama (Bill Maher, Robert Redford et al) yet they go back into the fold come election time (Maher just gave $1M to Obama superpac).  People love to talk cool left wing, but act right wing - they sheepishly excuse themselves by saying it’s the lesser of the two evils - but they are both evil. Therefore nothing changes. Don’t believe the rhetoric, go by their record - if you want more of the same, vote Obama 2012.

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By Bisbonian, February 26, 2012 at 6:21 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I used to admire Feingold.

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By louiss123, February 26, 2012 at 4:50 am Link to this comment

We’re doing it again…buying into the fear that “if we don’t elect our guy, things
will be horrible”! As far as civil liberties Obama is as bad as Romney,Sanitarium, or
Grinch. Obama hasn’t uttered a peep about kida and old folks getting groped in
the airports. We all have to take responsibility for this. Just electing a Ron Paul
freedom loving figure won’t do it alone.
We constantly have to support our fellow americans if they are being abused by
our government, even if we don’t like the ‘style’ of american that they are. When
liberals come to the defense of a conservative and vice versa, then we are on the
road to being a functional country.
When liberals and conservatives come unglued over what ‘their’ president does
with illegal foreign policy actions, then we are getting somewhere.

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By skeptic888, February 25, 2012 at 11:31 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Thank you for your balanced comments about Feingold.  Unfortunately, he is just as flawed in his support of Congress’ and the Administration’s sanctions against Iran (and his justification for them).  And, while I’m not familiar with his position on Wikileaks or Manning, or Assange, I suspect he would, notwithstanding the due process and substantive law issues, take a shamefully hard line on them, as well- or, if not, then remain silent so as not to contradict Obama in public on such an embarrassing matter.  So, while he may have been better than most on many issues while he was in Congress, he will never measure up to Kucinich.

With Obama, it is tragic that he has so misused his education and skills in so many policy areas.  It seems as if he has, instead, put all of it to use to craft more sophisticated legalisms, in order to create an aura of legitimacy for, and perpetuate, many of the same draconian foreign policy and civil liberties abuses initiated by Bush.

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By my name is nobody, February 25, 2012 at 7:48 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)


blah, blah, blah…

and Liberty is gone…

but continue supporting the democraps and oreobama…

what can I tell you…

a jew is a jew is a jew
is a neocon, a zionist, a warmonger, a racist (towards Arabs), an apologist for his party which is just as much as the other a destroyer of Liberty.

Go back to Wisconsin to pack to go back to israel.

Some, myself included, truly believed in you for a time.

No more, you’re just like the rest…

Fifth column jew undermining these United States from within.

Some pose as progressives, some not, but it’s always America’s interests come second with this crowd.

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By vector56, February 25, 2012 at 7:22 pm Link to this comment

The interview was something of a patch-work, but the few seconds Greenwald got Feingold to talk about the murder of Anwar Awlaki, Russ declared that he was glad that the man was dead, but the process that killed him should be questioned?  Not once did Greenwald ask him about the other US citizen that was killed or Awlaki’s 16 year old son.

What Feingold is implying is that Muslim Men are “in reason”; they can be killed without trial or charge and old Russ will never lose any sleep over their guilt or innocence.

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By bigchin, February 25, 2012 at 2:30 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Feingold’s star has fallen completely… just another mouthpiece for the now loathesome Democratic Party.

Progressive, my ass…

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