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Saturday, August 04, 2007

Senate Dems set House Dems up for a fall -

From CNN/Politics posted a couple of hours ago ...
Last night, the House rejected a Democratic version of the FISA bill, 218-207, with a two-thirds majority required for passage, but the Senate passed a Republican-sponsored bill Friday night, 60-28.

Some Democratic sources have predicted the House will pass the Republican-sponsored measure, and send it to Bush.

"All but one Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee voted for it," House Minority Whip Roy Blunt said. "If it's good enough for the Senate Intelligence Committee Democrats, it would seem to me it should be good enough for House Democrats.

"It would also seem to me that it's critical to get that done before we leave here today, and we intend to see that that happens," Blunt said at the news conference with Hoekstra and others.
So, the cowards in the Senate set the House Dems up for a fall.

More thoughts on the new Wiretapping Bill

Some more thoughts on the Democrats that voted for George Bush's bill and what we really got for the last election from PoliBlog:
In regards to Democratic voters who thought they were getting change out of the new Congress, I suspect that the Majority Leader’s words will sound a tad hollow:
“My Republican colleagues chose to rubber-stamp a flawed administration proposal that fails to provide the accountability needed in the light of the administration’s past mismanagement of key tools in the war on terror,” said Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.).
Last time I checked, Reid was the Leader and the Senate was in Democratic hands. I am not sure, therefore, that Reid can peg this on the Republicans, per se. Some of those 60 “yes” votes came from the Democrats–not to mention that if the majority really wanted to find a different solution, they could have worked a little harder at it.

In all honesty, it is rather stunning that they actually have voted here not just to continue a controversial program, but to expand it:
Privacy advocates accused the Democrats of selling out and charged that this bill gives the government more authority than it had under a controversial warrantless wiretapping program begun in secret after the 2001 terrorist attacks. Under that program, the government could conduct surveillance without judicial oversight only if it had a reason to believe that one party to the call was a member of or affiliated with al-Qaeda or a related terrorist organization. This bill drops that condition, they noted.
The only saving graces are that the legislation, as currently written, requires legislative review in six months and apparently does seek some controls over certain activities:
White House and intelligence officials have sought a broad overhaul of the act to allow spy agencies to listen in on terrorism suspects quickly, without having to apply for a court order, as is required for surveillance that targets U.S. residents. But Democratic leaders say the administration’s proposals could lead to broad searches of phone calls and e-mails by ordinary Americans without judicial review.
I know many of my readers, and many, many citizens will find any concerns about the government and surveillance to be unfounded. After all, this is just the government trying to keep us safe, right? However, I would submit to you all that in the grand scheme of things it is always more likely that human being are more likely to make mistakes and abuse powers than they are to do precisely what they ought. As such, the more we empower the federal government in these matters, the more we allow for some monumental errors to take place. This is, after all, the administration that held a US citizen, captured on US soil as an “enemy combatant” for years without charges and without basic legal rights just because it thought it needed to do so.

And to appeal to the Reagan Republicans in the audience, I would note his famous quip: “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are, ‘I’m here from the government and I’m here to help.’” He was there speaking mainly of things like fiscal policy. The matters we are discussing here go well beyond with how the government might spend tax dollars, but to how it treats its citizens.

As a slight digression, and as I ponder the politics of the situation, I wonder what hardcore Second Amendment types think about this kind of behavior. After all, they typically argue that one of the main reasons why they ought to be allowed to keep whatever weaponry they wish is to protect against tyrannical or abusive government. As such, that is a segment of the population that one would think would be concerned about expanded police powers in the hands of the federal government. However, I suspect that they are unconcerned, as they tend to also be stronger pro-defense (which is ultimately rather ironic, actually, as a stronger defense mechanism means a more powerful state that could more easily disarm the even heavily armed citizen.)

It's a year old but still brilliant -

Sometimes while I'm roaming around the web and making prayers to google a bit of wisdom hits me literally in the face. What follows is a great example of the whole process. While wondering why the blogosphere wasn't throwing a collective grand mahl fit about 16 Dems voting for Bush's wiretapping bill I googled the phrase "sold out" and discovered this gem.

Its not directly on topic but it does explain something about the system and why we, the workers bees of the Dem Party, are ultimately supposed to shut up and take what they give us. In the case below the Party gave us Lieberman and by god we were supposed to like it.

From Ezra Klein's blog a July 21, 2006 posting:
It's Not About Lieberman
Josh Marshall on Lieberman:
I think the Lieberman skeptics are really on to something when they point out that in the Kondrackes and others there is this sense that for a well-liked-in-the-beltway senior pol like Lieberman to face a primary challenge is somehow a genuine threat to the foundations of the system. You'd think he was a life peer, if not an hereditary noble, suddenly yanked out of the House of Lords and forced to run for his seat like they do in the Commons.
That's what's so stunned me about this debate. I had it out the other night with a very pro-Lieberman writer who, it came clear to me, believed the entire concept of a primary challenge against Lieberman a simply illegitimate form of opposition. Lieberman, as a Democratic incumbent, had a claim on his party's nomination and his Senate seat that couldn't be challenged by a bunch of bloggers and a cable television executive named Ned. It was the impudence of the whole thing that so offended.

I've really been saddened, in fact, by how often, when I drill down into anti-Lamonter motivations, I find their ideological and electoral motivations mere sandrock obscuring a core rage at this affront to tradition and orderly succession. I didn't believe this even a few months ago, but I've been forced to conclude that what scares folks about Lamont is that he represents an assault on privilege -- Joe Lieberman's, to be sure, but also theirs, no matter what sector of politics they currently represent.

In some ways, Lieberman is the canary in their coal mine, and if his sanctimonious song stops, so too may all of theirs. They never reacted this way to the Club for Growth primaries, or the Unions' promise to work against Melissa Bean, or NARAL's threats to primary Casey, because they were comfortable with the role and global motivations of those groups -- they were part of the structure, and they sought only to make it work better for them, not substantively challenge its mechanisms. The bloggers, however, are different, more unpredictable, less obviously invested in the perpetuation of this fine political system we have. And so they represent not a challenge to Joe Lieberman, but a challenge to the establishment as a whole. And that's why the establishment as a whole is howling.
Here's to my ferverent hope that somebody out there takes the 16 Dems that just sided with Bush to task. I'm tired of being viewed as a doormat by the elites of the Democratic Party. A few more opponents from the Left during general elections will do wonders to make the system wake up and take notice.

Filthy Democratic Cowards

From Kos.

These are the Filthy Democratic Cowards that voted for George Bush's Wiretapping Bill:

Evan Bayh (Indiana)
Tom Carper (Delaware)
Bob Casey (Pennsylvania)
Kent Conrad (North Dakota)
Dianne Feinstein (California)
Daniel Inouye (Hawaii)
Amy Klobuchar (Minnesota)
Nancy Mary Landrieu (Louisiana)
Blanche Lincoln (Arkansas)
Claire McCaskill (Missouri)
Barbara Mikulski (Maryland)
Bill Nelson (Florida)
Ben Nelson (Nebraska)
Mark Pryor (Arkansas)
Ken Salazar (Colorado)
Jim Webb (Virginia)

They deserve our unending contempt for their attack on the Constitution.

If these folks won't stand up to George Bush why should anybody think they will stand up to a bunch of terrorist.