Other than Trouble The Water, the two best things I saw at Netroots Nation were Larry Lessig's lunchtime keynote on Saturday, devoted to his new Change Congress initiative, and the panel called "Guantanamo, Habeas Corpus, Torture and Military Contractors: The Roadmap to Accountability in the First 100 Days," with Vince Warren (executive director of the Center for Constitutional Rights), the ACLU's Jameel Jaffer, Jeremy Scahill (author of Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army, and Slate's senior legal correspondent Dahlia Lithwick. As someone who has music "inspired" by rendition and Blackwater, you have to know I wasn't about to miss this discussion, and it did not disappoint.
The take-home message is that we cannot allow ourselves to become complacent, either before the election or after it. We must hold Obama's feet to the fire on these issues, and the time to do that is now -- because, as Scahill pointed out, after the election, he doesn't need us anymore. Don't allow excitement about Obama's candidacy lull you into complacency -- as we saw in his heartbreaking capitulation on the FISA bill, if he is left to his own devices, Obama will play it safe. It is up to us to ensure that he is not left to his own devices, to ensure that there is constant pressure on him to do the right thing on Gitmo, on Habeas, on torture, on military contractors (who are, by the way, providing Obama's security in Afghanistan), on executive privilege, on the rule of law.
This being a blogger conference, naturally there is embedable webcast video, so y'all can watch for yourselves.
Larry Lessig (skip the painfully lame introductions and fast-forward straight to Lessig's speech, which starts about 6 minutes in):
Guantanamo, Habeas Corpus, Torture and Military Contractors: The Roadmap to Accountability in the First 100 Days: