Friday, June 07, 2013

So America Decided To Turn Itself Into A Surveillance State?


The Patriot Act should have been repealed the second the Democrats won control of Congress. Instead, many Democrats worked with Republicans to keep it in place. Same for FISA. Now people are demanding Congress investigate the NSA's and Verizon's indiscriminate, bulk spying on American citizens. Congress? Investigate? What a joke! Congress is responsible for this-- and in a very conservative consensus ("bipartisan") way. Lindsey Graham, hardly an Obama apologist, was just on Fox saying "I’m sure we should be doing this.”

Yesterday, the NY Times slapped the Obama Administration down big time:
Within hours of the disclosure that the federal authorities routinely collect data on phone calls Americans make, regardless of whether they have any bearing on a counterterrorism investigation, the Obama administration issued the same platitude it has offered every time President Obama has been caught overreaching in the use of his powers: Terrorists are a real menace and you should just trust us to deal with them because we have internal mechanisms (that we are not going to tell you about) to make sure we do not violate your rights.

Those reassurances have never been persuasive-- whether on secret warrants to scoop up a news agency’s phone records or secret orders to kill an American suspected of terrorism-- especially coming from a president who once promised transparency and accountability. The administration has now lost all credibility. Mr. Obama is proving the truism that the executive will use any power it is given and very likely abuse it. That is one reason we have long argued that the Patriot Act, enacted in the heat of fear after the 9/11 attacks by members of Congress who mostly had not even read it, was reckless in its assignment of unnecessary and overbroad surveillance powers.

...This stunning use of the act shows, once again, why it needs to be sharply curtailed if not repealed.

When FISA came up for reauthorization last year it passed the House in a landslide, 301-118. 74 Democrats joined 227 Republicans in favor, including Hoyer of course, but also, very disappointingly, Pelosi. Meanwhile 7 Republicans joined the 111 Democrats who opposed it. The Congressional Progressive Caucus, led by Raúl Grijalva and Keith Ellison, rallied votes against it. The one member of the Democratic House leadership who bucked that leadership and voted "no" was Xavier Becerra (CA). It's worth noting that then-Senate candidates Chris Murphy (D-CT) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) voted "no" and were elected and wretched New Dem Shelly Berkley (NV) voted "yes" and was defeated.

Bernie Sanders wasn't as surprised as he was ready to tear someone's head off. "As one of the few members of Congress who consistently voted against the Patriot Act, I expressed concern at the time of passage that it gave the government far too much power to spy on innocent United State citizens and provided for very little oversight or disclosure. Unfortunately, what I said turned out to be exactly true. The United States should not be accumulating phone records on tens of millions of innocent Americans. That is not what democracy is about. That is not what freedom is about. Congress must address this issue and protect the constitutional rights of the American people."

Voting with the Republicans in favor of reauthorizing FISA was one of the last votes in the dreadful careers of Jason Altmire (Blue Dog/New Dem-PA), Joe Baca (Blue Dog-CA), Howard Berman (D-Israel), Dan Boren (Blue Dog-OK), Leonard Boswell (Blue Dog-IA), Ben Chandler (Blue Dog-KY), Mark Critz (PA), Kathy Hochul (New Dem-NY), Tim Holden (Blue Dog-PA), Larry Kissell (Blue Dog-NC), Silvestre Reyes (TX), Mike Ross (Blue Dog-AR), and Heath Shuler (Blue Dog-NC). Ed Markey (D-MA), who will face Massachusetts voters June 25, voted against reauthorizing FISA. The Republicans in opposition to Boehner and Obama on this included libertarian-leaning conservatives like Walter Jones (NC), Ron Paul (TX), Jimmy Duncan (TN), Tom McClintock (CA) and Justin Amash (MI).

And I might add that corrupt New Dem Colleen Hanabusa of Hawaii, currently challenging progressive Hawaii Senator Brian Schatz, was a proponent of FISA, voted for it and continues to be one of the most shady Democrats when it comes to taking legalistic bribes from the worst players in the Military-Industrial Complex President Eisenhower warned us against. Hanabusa has been a real problem in the House and she wants to get into the Senate-- where she can do even more damage. You can help keep her out of the Senate by backing Schatz's reelection bid. He has a very different approach to domestic spying than Hanabusa:

"My first vote as United States Senator was against the FISA Amendments Act because it failed to provide transparency, accountability and reasonable limits when the federal government conducts surveillance for intelligence purposes. While I recognize that the FISA Amendments Act has helped to produce useful intelligence, I fear that we do not have a full understanding of the impact that this law has on the privacy of Americans. We need a comprehensive review of the FISA Amendments Act to ensure that Americans’ privacy and civil liberties are protected."
Not just different... better, much better.

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At 2:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just discovered your blog through twitter and was surprised to see so much written about Hawaii politics here.

There are so many reasons to vote for Brian Schatz and so many more reasons NOT to vote for Colleen Hanbusa. Lately she seems to think that if she invokes the name of Dan Inouye enough that somehow, magically she will be elected senator. Personally I think she is in for a big surprise.

Here is a link to some interesting back information on Senator Schatz:


At 5:11 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't know why but I woke up thinking Florence Henderson (a/k/a Mrs. Brady) is one hot MILF! I would like to provide her with some of the deepest most intense vaginal intercourse she has ever experienced!


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