So America Decided To Turn Itself Into A Surveillance State?
Yesterday, the NY Times slapped the Obama Administration down big time:
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...This stunning use of the act shows, once again, why it needs to be sharply curtailed if not repealed.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 "yes" and were elected and wretched New Dem Shelly Berkley (NV) voted "no" 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:
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