Wednesday, August 22, 2007

More on the Spying Bill

From the Poorman:

The NY Times is shrill:

It was appalling to watch over the last few days as Congress — now led by Democrats — caved in to yet another unnecessary and dangerous expansion of President Bush’s powers, this time to spy on Americans in violation of basic constitutional rights. Many of the 16 Democrats in the Senate and 41 in the House who voted for the bill said that they had acted in the name of national security, but the only security at play was their job security.

The following 41 Democratic Representatives voted for it:

Jason Altmire (4th Pennsylvania)
John Barrow (12th Georgia)
Melissa Bean (8th Illinois)
Dan Boren (2nd Oklahoma)
Leonard Boswell (3rd Iowa)
Allen Boyd (2nd Florida)
Christopher Carney (10th Pennsylvania)
Ben Chandler (6th Kentucky)
Rep. Jim Cooper (5th Tennessee)
Jim Costa (20th California)
Bud Cramer (5th Alabama)
Henry Cuellar (28th Texas)
Artur Davis (7th Alabama)
Lincoln Davis (4th Tennessee)
Joe Donnelly (2nd Indiana)
Chet Edwards (17th Texas)
Brad Ellsworth (8th Indiana)
Bob Etheridge (North Carolina)
Bart Gordon (6th Tennessee)
Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (South Dakota)
Brian Higgins (27th New York)
Baron Hill (9th Indiana)
Nick Lampson (23rd Texas)
Daniel Lipinski (3rd Illinois)
Jim Marshall (8th Georgia)
Jim Matheson (2nd Utah)
Mike McIntyre (7th North Carolina)
Charlie Melancon (3rd Louisiana)
Harry Mitchell (5th Arizona)
Colin Peterson (7th Minnesota)
Earl Pomeroy (North Dakota)
Ciro Rodriguez (23rd Texas)
Mike Ross (4th Arkansas)
John Salazar (3rd Colorado)
Heath Shuler (11th North Carolina)
Vic Snyder (2nd Arkansas)
Zachary Space (18th Ohio)
John Tanner (8th Tennessee)
Gene Taylor (4th Mississippi)
Timothy Walz (1st Minnesota)
Charles A. Wilson (6th Ohio)

Those in boldface were also among the 59 Dems who voted against HR 2237, allowing Bush to get no-strings attached funding to continue the war. A lot of overlap here. These folks might find new reasons to worry about their job security.

… Also:

Ike Skelton (4th Missouri)

Voted for the war and abstained from voting either way on the FISA bill Bush demanded. Another useless person.

… Two-time loser Lipinski has a primary opponent, one Mark Pera. Everyone on this list should get one - exactly one - primary challenger.

Monday, August 20, 2007

The New FISA Law

Here's what we do know. We know that the Democratic leadership rightly conceded to Adm. Michael McConnell, the once widely respected director of National Intelligence, to allow eavesdropping on foreigner-to-foreigner communications routed through American phone companies (no biggie; we've always spied on foreigners). We know that the Democrats thought they had a deal until McConnell, who is supposed to be nonpartisan, went back to the White House and got fresh marching orders to squelch reasonable judicial oversight by the FISA court. And we know that the administration's new position was that the attorney general (the disgraced Alberto Gonzales) should have the sole authority to spy without a warrant on any American talking to a foreigner, even if it's you and the guy from Mumbai fixing your printer.

Then the Democrats said: "Wait a minute! That's unconstitutional!" Right? Actually, no, they didn't. Even liberals like Rep. John Conyers, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, argued in two heated, closed-door meetings on Aug. 3 that the Democrats might as well cave. Otherwise, they would be pounded during the August recess for ignoring national security and destroyed as a party if the country were actually attacked. Even though the leadership and 82 percent of House Democrats voted against the bill, they did not block it, delay the recess and hold the Congress in session. The private excuse was that the liberal base wouldn't be satisfied no matter what they did, and that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid couldn't make the more conservative Senate go along anyway. Apparently, there's always an excuse for leaving for vacation on time.

Afterward, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said publicly that many provisions were "unacceptable" and the House would revisit the newly signed legislation "as soon as possible." Democrats obtained a sunset clause that requires the whole thing to be reauthorized in six months. But real damage has been done.