First of all, let me say that I'm extremely pleased to see your name among the "Nays" on Congress' Roll Call Vote 836 on S.1927, the bill that allows unlimited warrantless surveillance of American citizens with no meaningful oversight whatsoever. We're essentially now in a pre-FISA era, with the government able to spy on us at its leisure.
The WaPo's Dan Froomkin tells us a very sad tale of Democrats trusting in a Bush official to be non-partisan, high-minded and disinterested (i.e., willing to act without regard to the Republican Party's self-interest). I'm aghast and astonished to see that Democrats were expecting any such thing from any Bush loyalist. Regardless of how Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell performed in his job prior to this vote, Democrats should have known that nobody serving under this President could be trusted a single inch. McConnell's spokesperson claims that McConnell's arm was not twisted and that there was no back-room pressure applied to make him cooperate with Bush to bamboozle the Democrats. I believe the spokesperson. I see McConnell as enthusiastically and joyfully participating in a long-arranged plan to put one over on the hapless Democrats.
Why was FISA gutted? The progressive blogger Digby points out that the "existential threat" that stampeded the Democrats into cooperating with Bush & McConnell doesn't come from abroad, but from right here at home:
"It's coming from within, from a governing class of both parties who are creating a national security apparatus that is going to end up squeezing the lifeblood of liberty right out of this country --- all in the name of keeping us safe."
The blog Crooks & Liars relates the extremely depressing tale of where America appears to be headed. A group of "non-stop transit" passengers who never had the slightest intention of setting foot outside the gates of the airport where they were transferring from one flight to another, go through hours and hours of annoying and humiliating "processing." All of the passengers left with the determination never to enter US territory ever again.
I've reproduced the email conversation I had with my fellow PRAWN members because I'd like for you to inform your fellow Democrats in the House how very badly this vote has hurt them. It also shows that no, it's not at all impossible for Democrats to be "outflanked on the left." There is the Green Party to consider. I never saw a single Democratic button or banner or sign at an anti-war demonstration until about six months prior to the 2004 election and I don't remember seeing very many at the last big protest either. Standing up for Constitutional rights shouldn't be a left vs center issue. It should, if anything, be a far-right vs everybody issue.
Herewith, the conversation:
|From:||Anne Ewing||[Add to Address Book]||Flag Message | Mark Unread|
|[This is spam]|
|Subject:||Don't let Congress off the hook for letting Bush wiretap our phone calls|
|Date:||Aug 7, 2007 8:06 PM|
The Democratic-controlled Congress did the unthinkable on Saturday night: They gave President Bush and Attorney General Alberto Gonzales more unchecked power to wiretap Americans without a warrant. Yes, that's the same Attorney General who is currently mired in scandal and probably committed perjury on this very issue.
Enough is enough. We have to send a strong message to Congress that there is no trade-off between fundamental liberties and security. Preserving our Constitution is essential to our security--we can't lead on freedom around the world when we're actively undermining the rule of law at home.
I signed onto this petition demanding that Congress reverse this capitulation to Bush and the politics of fear. (I also suggested that I would not want to vote for anyone who voted for this disgraceful legislation.) Can you join me? Just click here: