SHOW DOWN AT THE OK CORRAL-- BUSH AND HOYER vs AMERICA
Shove the bouquet; Steny wants the cold hard cash for his services
Yesterday we had an explosion of reactions from members of Congress and from our Blue America-endorsed candidates regarding what many people feel is a betrayal by House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer. Hit that link and read why respected congressional legal minds like Jerrold Nadler, Tom Allen Russ Feingold, and Chris Dodd are saying no to Hoyer's
When I was in DC recently I ran into Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT) and I congratulated him on finding a very nasty little loophole the Bush Regime had somehow inserted in some legislation when no one was looking. He beamed and was happy that someone recognized his efforts... and then told me his re-election was in jeopardy and asked for help from our PAC. "Congressman Welch," I said politely, "you can't be in jeopardy when the Republicans can't even find a third-tier candidate to run against you." He laughed. He wasn't laughing today, though, when he explained why he would vote against the Hoyer-Bush plan that proposes such grave violence to the Constitution:
“I simply do not believe any president, especially this president, should have unilateral or unchecked authority to conduct surveillance without judicial oversight. Congress has an obligation to protect our national security without sacrificing basic rights provided in our Constitution.
“While this compromise reflects improvements over previous flawed proposals, it is a compromise I will not support. I have consistently opposed any legislation that grants retroactive immunity for telecommunication companies that cooperated with the Bush administration’s warrantless wiretapping. Regrettably, this latest proposal fails to hold the administration and the companies accountable for their actions. The American people deserve to know exactly what happened and they deserve to know who is accountable. This bill fails that test."
Very polite but very much to the point. Peter Welch stands with the people of Vermont and the people of the United States, not with Bush, Hoyer and their big criminal campaign donors. Another member, who has asked to remain anonymous, for obvious reasons, just said this: "Steny Hoyer is the best friend money can buy." We'll see all the competition for the best friends money can buy during the vote today.
Down the road a piece, Debbie Cook is running for Congress against lunatic fringe rubber stamp Dana Rohrabacher who, basically, doesn't see why anyone has a problem with wiretaps. I get the idea that Debbie wants to be in Congress because she knows her expertise on energy is desperately needed and because she's dead serious about protecting the environment. Those are really the issues she's most concerned with and almost anything you bring up she can trace back to energy policy. When we asked her about illegal wiretaps, though, a different Debbie came out, one just as passionate about old fashioned American liberty as about clean drinking water:
Our nation was founded on a system of checks and balances. Unfortunately, the checks and balances in the Constitution and the freedoms Americans hold dear have been slowly eroding. Finally, last week the Supreme Court drew a line in the sand and restored habeas corpus, one of the Constitution's most basic and essential protections against government abuse.
Some in Congress wish to eliminate another essential freedom by allowing the government to spy on its citizens without a warrant and giving lawbreakers who do so immunity from prosecution. Our founding fathers would be outraged at the bargaining away of the Bill of Rights.
You don't fight terrorism abroad by taking away at our freedoms at home.
I would expect no less from anyone who offered herself or himself up for public service. Another Blue America candidate who feels very strongly about this is Alan Grayson, the Orlando Democrat, taking on, Ric Keller, another Republican who would be utterly lost without his rubber stamp. Like Rohrabacher, Keller is all gung-ho to tape every American's phone on any president's whim. Alan is probably more in sync with most Americans-- regardless of political party-- when he says No Way. He's a celebrated attorney and, predictably, a stickler for the fine print and, in this case, the bold print:
This is what the Fourth Amendment actually says:
"[N]o warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."
What, exactly, is the Right Wing's problem with the Fourth Amendment? Why do they constantly seek ways to evade and subvert the Fourth Amendment? It seems to have worked pretty well, for over 200 years. And over 99% of the time, the federal judges give all POTUS the warrants he wants.
What it really comes down to is that they want a dictatorship. It's issues like this one, where the Right has to choose between conservatism and fascism, when you see their true colors.
Now that's what I call straight talk, not that mealy-mouthed flip flopping we're hearing from John McCain on every issue that comes up. And another straightforward, straight-talking attorney-- this one from McCain's own state-- is Howard Shanker. His point last night was basic and went right to the obvious core of what it means to be an American and why our country is unique:
It was Ben Franklin who said that “any man who is willing to sacrifice essential liberties for the sake of security deserves, neither.” We seem to have a country full of people who are willing to sacrifice essential liberties for the sake of an empty promise of security. As a free country, founded on concepts like justice and liberty, the de-evolution of our free society should not be tolerated by any people of conscience.
I think it's more the Insider leadership than the people themselves, who are willing to sacrifice our liberties... if the price is right.
The ACLU explained yesterday why Hoyer's contemptible deal with Bush is unconstitutional and crap. And how can Steny Hoyer feel about being described in the NY Times as one of Bush's allies? "In the waning months of his tenure, President Bush and his allies are once again trying to scare Congress into expanding the president’s powers to spy on Americans without a court order." Hoyer will attempt to do the dirty deed today. We'll be watching. And meanwhile, we can only wish there were more members of this current Congress like Colorado's progressive candidate Jared Polis. Jared worries about our country's prestige abroad.
“It is disappointing that some of our Democratic leaders are rushing FISA reform through Congress. I strongly oppose telecom immunity that paves the ground for the further erosion of our privacy and civil liberties."
"Our Democratic leaders in Washington should stand firm against allowing Republicans and the Bush Administration to violate the civil liberties of our citizens any more than they already have; phone companies should not be given a pass and should be held fully accountable for their involvement in unwarranted wiretapping.
"Rather than providing cover for the Bush administration, our leaders should show backbone and not allow FISA reform to be rushed through Congress"
“The fear mongering tactics of President Bush and his cronies on Capitol Hill are tired; the American public now understands that we can have security at home while also protecting the civil liberties of our law abiding citizens.”