A GUEST POST FROM MARTIN HEINRICH, DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATE FOR CONGRESS IN NEW MEXICO
MY STORY, OUR LIBERTIES
by Martin Heinrich
When my father was just a boy, his parents fled Nazi Germany and immigrated to the United States. The older I get the more I realize how much that history shaped my dad's world view and informed the values he and my mother taught me.
At an early age, I gained a real appreciation for our Constitution, our Bill of Rights, and our civil liberties. In my family, patriotism wasn't just about how high you could fly the flag, but rather how effectively you could live up to the democratic ideals that our flag and our country represent.
The Telecom Amnesty provision in the FISA legislation currently before Congress threatens those liberties we all hold so dear. If the Senate FISA bill passes, illegal spying programs will never be investigated and lawbreakers will never be prosecuted.
We all know too well what this means. It means that a company that broke the law and listened in on the phone conversations of millions of innocent Americans can not be prosecuted. It means that a company that illegally intercepted millions of faxes and emails sent by innocent Americans can not be prosecuted. And, it means that a company that illegally stored those faxes, emails and phone calls in a massive database is also immune from prosecution.
I believe that the House's RESTORE Act must be passed. The House bill provides the government with the resources it needs to keep our country safe and ensures that those who violate our civil liberties can be prosecuted. The Senate bill grants amnesty to lawbreakers and ensures that the Bush administration's illegal spying programs will never be investigated and the guilty parties will never be brought to justice.
Unfortunately, some House Democrats are thinking about siding with the Republicans on this critical piece of legislation. This is exactly why America needs more and better Democrats in Congress who will stand up for our values and vote to preserve the Constitution and the rule of law.
UPDATE FROM HOWIE: FORGET MORE; CONCENTRATE ON BETTER
Not all Democrats are nearly as enlightened as Martin on this-- or on any number of important issues. Obviously Bush's rubber stamps in Congress are working hard to pass the shameful Senate version of the FISA bill. We expect that from Republicans. But there are also a number of reactionary Democrats-- mostly the usual suspects who support the right-wing Bush agenda down the line-- who are aiding and abetting this week. We know where Martin will be when he gets to Congress. But let's keep in mind that there are far too many Democrats voting like Republicans on these crucial matters.
House Republicans engineered a series of procedural votes Wednesday in a bid to derail the Democrats’ proposed extension, which President Bush said he would veto. They argued that the House should simply take up and send to the White House a surveillance overhaul bill that the Senate passed by 68-29.
Because 21 conservative Blue Dog Democrats have endorsed the Senate-passed bill, Republicans might be able to win approval of the Senate bill through a motion to recommit the extension with instructions to amend it with the text of the Senate bill.
Ironically, it is the Bush arch-rubber stamp, Heather Wilson, who is abandoning the congressional seat Martin will probably win, who one of the most outspoken members of the right-wing coalition pushing retroactive immunity and warrantless spying on Americans.
And the list of reactionary Democrats who have crossed the aisle and deserve nothing but scorn and contempt from patriotic Americans? Glad you asked. I think you'll recognize most of this list of creeps:
• Leonard Boswell (D-IA)- $5,000
• Marion Berry (D-AR)- $11,300
• Mike Ross (D-AR)- $6,000
• Earl Pomeroy (D-ND)- $2,000
• Bud Cramer (D-AL)- $4,000
• Melissa Bean (D-IL)- $11,802
• Rahm Emanuel's Heath Shuler (D-N.C)- $4,000
• John Barrow (D-GA), the single worst Democrat in Congress- $7,000
• Allen Boyd (D-FL)- $6,000
• Joe Baca (D-CA)- $10,100
• Dan Boren (D-OK)- $3,000
• John Tanner (D-TN)- $12,300
• Jim Matheson (D-UT)- $11,500
• Jim Cooper (D-TN)- $5,386
• Lincoln Davis (D-TN)- $4,500
• Brad Ellsworth (D-IN)- $10,500
• Tim Holden (D-PA)- $2,000
• Charlie Melancon (D-LA)- $11,000
• Dennis Moore (D-KS)- $6,500
• Chris Carney (D-PA)- $3,000
• Zack Space (D-OH)- $3,000
These congressmen may call themselves Democrats but they are part of the problem not the solution-- and should be treated as such. Or you could call them and try to persuade them to mend their ways... good luck with that though. The dollar amounts next to their names are the Telecom bribe money they accepted from the companies, unlike QWest, that went along with Bush on illegal spying. So if any of these are your reps, now you know how much it costs for them to sell out the Constitution. Look at what cheap whores Carney, Holden, Pomeroy, and Boren are! (Fascinating study of the relationship between corporate Telecom bribes and voting patterns among Colorado congressmen and candidates.)
Too late for the phone calls and persuasion. The House 21 day Protect America Act extension just failed 191-229. Thirty Democrats joined the GOP for this one. We need more like Martin Heinrich and a lot fewer of the ones on the list above.