Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Too pissed to blog

I really thought that with the elevation of Democrats to the leadership of both houses of Congress that the worst of my politicocentric rages were behind me—but today, my cardiovascular system and I discovered that I was wrong.

WASHINGTON, Oct. 8 — Two months after insisting that they would roll back broad eavesdropping powers won by the Bush administration, Democrats in Congress appear ready to make concessions that could extend some crucial powers given to the National Security Agency.

Administration officials say they are confident they will win approval of the broadened authority that they secured temporarily in August as Congress rushed toward recess. Some Democratic officials concede that they may not come up with enough votes to stop approval.

Say what??? Are you fuckin’ kidding me? Have we learned nothing. . . again? Did the Democratic leadership fail to read the editorials back in August that shot their cavalier strategizing square through the strangely missing moral core? Did they fail to read my blog???

Sadly, everything—absolutely everything—that I, the New York Times, the Washington Post and Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) said back in August still applies (please take a moment to click back to that post—I can’t bear to write it out again). And that leaves me seething to point of crimson face and bulging eyes.

Today, even the previously resolute and admirable Rep. Nadler seems to be showing his jelly-leg.

Mr. Nadler said that he was worried the Senate would give too much ground to the administration in its proposal, but that he was satisfied with the bill to be proposed on Tuesday in the House.

“It is not perfect, but it is a good bill,” he said. “It makes huge improvements in the current law. In some respects it is better than the old FISA law,” a reference to the foreign intelligence court.

Not perfect, in this case, is not good enough. . . and not at all good. Calling the proposal an improvement on the current law is like calling a stake through the heart an improvement on water-boarding followed by a stake through the heart. I will remind everyone, including Mr. Nadler, that all the Democrats have to do (like all they had to do in August) is NOTHING. This colossal capitulation mistake is set to expire around Valentine’s Day—this no time to pen another love letter to the Bush Administration and its cowardly pals in Congress.

Jerrold Nadler is my Representative, and I plan to give him a piece of my mind. I urge all of you to do the same with the men and women that claim to represent you. . . especially if he or she is a Democrat. (I can’t believe I just wrote that. . . I can’t believe I just had to write that.)

Remind them that you support moral representatives that uphold their oath to defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic—including the Bush/Cheney Administration.

Remind them that our most basic liberties hang in the balance. Tell them that you will stand by them if they stand strong themselves. Teach them what you and civil liberties experts already know about this purported FISA compromise:

‘This still authorizes the interception of Americans’ international communications without a warrant in far too many instances, and without adequate civil liberties protections,” said Kate Martin, director of the Center for National Security Studies, who was in the group that met House officials.

Caroline Frederickson, director of the Washington legislative office of the American Civil Liberties Union, said she was troubled by the Democrats’ acceptance of broad, blanket warrants for the security agency rather than the individualized warrants traditionally required by the intelligence court.

“The Democratic leadership, philosophically, is with us,” Ms. Frederickson said. “But we need to help them realize the political case, which is that Democrats will not be in danger if they don’t reauthorize this Protect America Act. They’re nervous.

“There’s a ‘keep the majority’ mentality, which is understandable,” she said, “But we think they’re putting themselves in more danger by not standing on principle.”

Indeed, they are putting us all in danger. Let we the people try not to let that happen.

(Gosh, I guess that you just can’t really be too pissed to blog—who knew?)

Update: Apparently things are at least a little grayer than the Gray Lady would have us believe. According to Glenn Greenwald and Christy Hardin Smith, there is much to feel good about in the House version of this legislation. Christy is urging folks to call their Reps in support of the work of the House Progressive Caucus in restoring some safeguards and adding some new requirements to the FISA process.

Serves me right to go on record after only reading the paper of record.

Of course, the proof is in the endgame, which will involve the Senate and some serious backroom bullying and front room grandstanding by the likes of GW, Dick, and Mike McConnell. I am still uncomfortable with the idea of “umbrella warrants,” and, frankly, the whole idea of a secret FISA court strikes me a singularly anti-American, but, from a lobbying and calling your Representatives standpoint, perhaps it is best we keep our powder dry for the moment, and call to support what we like about this Conyers-Reyes proposal.

(cross-posted on guy2k and Daily Kos)

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