Let every American, every lover of liberty, every well wisher to his posterity, swear by the blood of the Revolution, never to violate in the least particular, the laws of the country; and never to tolerate their violation by others.

As the patriots of seventy-six did to the support of the Declaration of Independence, so to the support of the Constitution and Laws, let every American pledge his life, his property, and his sacred honor; let every man remember that to violate the law, is to trample on the blood of his father, and to tear the charter of his own, and his children's liberty.

Let reverence for the laws, be breathed by every American mother, to the lisping babe, that prattles on her lap; let it be taught in schools, in seminaries, and in colleges; let it be written in Primers, spelling books, and in Almanacs; let it be preached from the pulpit, proclaimed in legislative halls, and enforced in courts of justice. And, in short, let it become the political religion of the nation; and Let the old and the young, the rich and the poor, the grave and the gay, of all sexes and tongues, and colors and conditions, sacrifice unceasingly upon its altars.

While ever a state of feeling, such as this, shall universally, or even, very generally prevail throughout the nation, vain will be every effort, and fruitless every attempt, to subvert our national freedom.

- Abraham Lincoln, January 27, 1838
  Address Before the Young Men's Lyceum of Springfield, Illinois

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Epic 'Blue Dog' betrayal of our Constitution

41 House Democrats voted today to roll over, pant, beg for a bone and pass Bush's eavesdropping amendment. 30 were Blue Dogs.

One of them was mine.

The bill, with a typical neocon opposite-of-the-truth name -- the 'Protect America Act' -- passed 227-183, with 181 true Democrats and two Republicans opposed.

My hat is off to the two Republicans. You proved yourselves more loyal to your nation than these simpering Blue Dogs.

Democratic traitors to our Constitution include:

Jason Altmire (4th Pennsylvania)
John Barrow (12th Georgia) Blue Dog
Melissa Bean (8th Illinois) Blue Dog
Dan Boren (2nd Oklahoma) Blue Dog
Leonard Boswell (3rd Iowa)
Allen Boyd (2nd Florida) Blue Dog
Christopher Carney (10th Pennsylvania) Blue Dog
Ben Chandler (6th Kentucky) Blue Dog
Rep. Jim Cooper (5th Tennessee) Blue Dog
Jim Costa (20th California) Blue Dog
Bud Cramer (5th Alabama) Blue Dog
Henry Cuellar (28th Texas)
Artur Davis (7th Alabama)
Lincoln Davis (4th Tennessee) Blue Dog
Joe Donnelly (2nd Indiana) Blue Dog
Don Edwards (16th California)
Brad Ellsworth (8th Indiana) Blue Dog
Bob Etheridge (North Carolina)
Bart Gordon (6th Tennessee) Blue Dog
Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (South Dakota) Blue Dog
Brian Higgins (27th New York)
Baron Hill (9th Indiana) Blue Dog
Nick Lampson (23rd Texas) Blue Dog
Daniel Lipinski (3rd Illinois)
Jim Marshall (8th Georgia) Blue Dog
Jim Matheson (2nd Utah) Blue Dog
Mike McIntyre (7th North Carolina) Blue Dog
Charlie Melancon (3rd Louisiana) Blue Dog
Harry Mitchell (5th Arizona)
Colin Peterson (7th Minnesota) Blue Dog
Earl Pomeroy (North Dakota) Blue Dog
Ciro Rodriguez (23rd Texas) Blue Dog
Mike Ross (4th Arkansas) Blue Dog
John Salazar (3rd Colorado) Blue Dog
Heath Shuler (11th North Carolina) Blue Dog
Vic Snyder (2nd Arkansas)
Zachary Space (18th Ohio) Blue Dog
John Tanner (8th Tennessee) Blue Dog
Gene Taylor (4th Mississippi) Blue Dog
Timothy Walz (1st Minnesota)
Charles A. Wilson (6th Ohio) Blue Dog

Obviously Bush and Cheney have these 'representatives' on a short leash. Perhaps Bush threatened to withhold their Greenies. Maybe Cheney was threatening to keep them from their Kibbles n Bits. We'll never know. Maybe they were just... afraid.

And what exactly have we the people lost with this latest betrayal of our trust? What constitutional rights have been sold out from under us by these 'Democrats' we sent to represent us? Marty Lederman at Balkination:

The key provision of S.1927 is new section 105A of FISA (see page 2), which categorically excludes from FISA's requirements any and all "surveillance directed at a person reasonably believed to be located outside of the United States."

For surveillance to come within this exemption, there is no requirement that it be conducted outside the U.S.; no requirement that the person at whom it is "directed" be an agent of a foreign power or in any way connected to terrorism or other wrongdoing; and no requirement that the surveillance does not also encompass communications of U.S. persons. Indeed, if read literally, it would exclude from FISA any surveillance that is in some sense "directed" both at persons overseas and at persons in the U.S.

The key term, obviously, is "directed at." The bill includes no definition of it.

So they can spy on any of us now. Anyone, with no cause. And as Robert Parry of Consortium news pointed out, it is we the citizens of the Unite States that our government is watching... not Al Qaeda:

But al-Qaeda terrorists always have assumed that their electronic communications were vulnerable to interception, which is why 9/11 attackers like Mohamed Atta traveled overseas for face-to-face meetings with their handlers. They limited their phone calls to mostly routine conversations.

The terrorists also had no reason to know or to care that the U.S. government was or wasn't getting wiretap approval from the secret court created by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. They simply took for granted that their communications could be intercepted and acted accordingly.

It never made sense to think that al-Qaeda terrorists suddenly would get loose-lipped just because the FISA court was or wasn't in the mix. The FISA court rubber-stamps almost all wiretap requests from the Executive Branch for domestic spying, and overseas calls don't require a warrant.

Can anyone really imagine a conversation like "Gee, Osama, since Bush has to get FISA approval, we can now call our sleeper agents and plan the next attack."

Similarly, there's no reason to think terrorists would change their behavior significantly if they knew that the U.S. government was engaged in massive data-mining operations, poring through electronic records of citizens and non-citizens alike.

The article went on to state that the real reason for this bill was to cover up past wrongdoings in the domestic spying program that was already in place:

The chief reason, especially for the excessive secrecy around the data-mining operations, appears to be Bush's political need to prevent a full debate inside the United States about the security value of these Big Brother-type procedures when weighed against invasions of Americans' privacy.

Bush knows he could run into trouble if he doesn't keep the American people in the dark. In 2002, for instance, when the Bush administration launched a project seeking "total information awareness" on virtually everyone on earth involved in the modern economy, the disclosure was met with public alarm.

The administration cited the terrorist threat to justify the program which involved applying advanced computer technology to analyze trillions of bytes of data on electronic transactions and communications. The goal was to study the electronic footprints left by every person in the developed world during the course of their everyday lives -- from the innocuous to the embarrassing to the potentially significant.

The government could cross-check books borrowed from a library, fertilizer bought at a farm-supply outlet, X-rated movies rented at a video store, prescriptions filled at a pharmacy, sites visited on the Internet, tickets reserved for a plane, borders crossed while traveling, rooms rented at a motel, and countless other examples.

Another reason for the last minute desperate FISA bill, was apparently due to the fact that an anonymous judge (anonymous judge?) struck down a 'key element' of Bush's original wiretapping program, stating that the government had overstepped it's authority:

A U.S. intelligence court earlier this year secretly struck down a key element of President George W. Bush's warrantless spying program, The Washington Post reported in its Friday edition.

The decision is one reason Congress is trying to give legal authorization to the spying program in fevered negotiations with the Bush administration this week, the Post reported.

The intelligence-court judge, who remains anonymous, concluded that the government had overstepped its authority by monitoring overseas communications that pass through the United States, the Post said, citing anonymous government and congressional sources.

The Democrats have once again, caved.

Ellen Nakashima and Joby Warrick at the Washington Post reported:

The 227 to 183 House vote capped a high-pressure campaign by the White House to change the nation's wiretap law, in which the administration capitalized on Democrats' fears of being branded as weak on terrorism and on a general congressional desire to proceed with an August recess. ...

Privacy and civil liberties advocates, and many Democratic lawmakers, complained that the Bush administration's revisions to the law could breach constitutional protections against government intrusion. But the administration, aided by Republican congressional leaders, suggested that a failure to approve what intelligence officials sought could expose the country to a greater risk of terrorist attack. ...

"There are a lot of people who felt we had to pass something," said one angry Democratic lawmaker who requested anonymity, citing the sensitivity of caucus discussions. "It was tantamount to being railroaded." Cowards!! You are the MAJORITY!!

In a sole substantial concession to Democrats, the administration agreed to a provision allowing the legislation to be reconsidered in six months. ...

Tonight, several Democrats said the bill would "eviscerate" the Fourth Amendment. Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) said that lawmakers were being "stampeded by fearmongering and deception" into voting for the bill. Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.) warned the bill would lead to "potential unprecedented abuse of innocent Americans' privacy."

Carl Hulse and Edmund L. Andrews at The New York Times reported:

The House Democratic leadership had severe reservations about the proposal and an overwhelming majority of Democrats opposed it. Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the measure "does violence to the Constitution of the United States."

But with the Senate already in recess, Democrats confronted the choice of allowing the administration’s bill to reach the floor and be approved mainly by Republicans or letting it die.

If it stalled, that would have left Democratic lawmakers, who have long been anxious about appearing weak on national security issues, facing an August spent fending off charges from Mr. Bush and Republicans that they left Americans exposed to terrorism threats. (So you SOLD US OUT. Better you had let Bush 'call you names.' This is unforgivable.)

Despite the political risks, many Democrats argued they should stand firm against the president’s initiative, saying it granted the administration far too much latitude to initiate surveillance without judicial review. They said the White House was using the specter of terrorism to weaken the privacy rights of Americans and empower Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales, an official Democrats say has proved himself untrustworthy.

"Legislation should not be passed in response to fear-mongering," said Representative Rush Holt, Democrat of New Jersey.

Time to replace these Blue Dogs with real Democrats. Or Republicans that value the Constitution. Or everyday, patriotic Americans that have read the Constitution and are capable of standing up to fear-mongering bullies.

These people should never be elected to public office again. Never. Note the names. Remember these names.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

i was a lifelong repug,and had decided to vote democratic next time.now i just feel crapped on and betrayed but i refuse to give up.my total attitude toward the law is disrespectful and i really look forward to serving jury duty as the words "i dont recall" are now acceptable defenses.the jury deliberations should be very interesting.as for the dems that sold out well obviously they need replacing with new bodies that are going to swear allegiance to the constitution and not to cowardice principals.

10:22 AM  
Blogger Maire said...

I never thought I'd live to see the day when we'd be fighting to defend our Constitution from our government. This is surreal.

Thanks for commenting.

11:34 AM  

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