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Election '08

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Congress Caves…Americans Lose Yet Again

This week Congress passed a six-month free pass for the Bush administration to spy on us unfettered by silly little things like laws. If you have a friend in another country and happen to talk to them on the phone, be careful what you say. If you say something too anti-Bush, you might end up in some secret prison being held as an "enemy combatant" with no civil rights. Who knows if this extends to the internet. Can a blogger with international readers now be spied upon because they happen to think that the people at the top might be criminals better removed from office? While I don’t tend to subscribe overall to slippery slope theories, this administration has actually slid down the slope a ways and is not showing any signs of even thinking about slowing down let alone stopping. Alberto Gonzales lies to Congress and is still Attorney General. Dick Cheney thumbs his nose at the Constitution and is still Vice President. George W. Bush claims Executive privilege more often than most mobsters plead the Fifth while evidence is mounting of possible criminal conduct within his administration and yet is not even under real consideration for impeachment.

Where in all this are the Democrats with their majority in Congress? They’re on vacation. They gave the keys to the domestic spying candy store to the administration right before going home to tout what a good job they have been doing so that their constituents will be convinced to give them money and vote for them again. Nevermind that they have pretty much lost every battle with the White House since obtaining their majority in both houses of Congress. At least some of them can say that they voted against the authorization, which should be recognized.

Here are the Representatives that voted against the bill and for the principles of the Constitution:

Abercrombie Ackerman Allen Andrews Arcuri Baca
Baird Baldwin Berkley Berman Berry Bishop (GA)
Bishop (NY) Blumenauer Boucher Boyda (KS) Brady (PA) Braley (IA)
Brown, Corrine Butterfield Capps Capuano Cardoza Carnahan
Carson Castor Cleaver Clyburn Cohen Conyers
Costello Courtney Crowley Cummings Davis (CA) Davis (IL)
DeFazio DeGette DeLauro Dicks Dingell Doggett
Doyle Ellison Emanuel Engel Eshoo Farr
Fattah Filner Frank (MA) Giffords Gillibrand Gonzalez
Green, Al Green, Gene Grijalva Gutierrez Hall (NY) Hare
Harman Hastings (FL) Hinchey Hirono Hodes Holden
Holt Honda Hooley Hoyer Inslee Israel
Jackson (IL) Jackson-Lee (TX) Jefferson Johnson (GA) Johnson (IL) Johnson, E. B.
Jones (NC) Jones (OH) Kagen Kanjorski Kaptur Kennedy
Kildee Kind Kucinich Langevin Larsen (WA) Larson (CT)
Lee Levin Lewis (GA) Loebsack Lofgren, Zoe Lowey
Lynch Mahoney (FL) Maloney (NY) Markey Matsui McCarthy (NY)
McCollum (MN) McDermott McGovern McNerney McNulty Meek (FL)
Meeks (NY) Michaud Miller (NC) Miller, George Mollohan Moore (KS)
Moore (WI) Moran (VA) Murphy (CT) Murphy, Patrick Murtha Nadler
Napolitano Neal (MA) Oberstar Obey Olver Ortiz
Pallone Pascrell Pastor Payne Pelosi Perlmutter
Price (NC) Rahall Rangel Reyes Rothman Roybal-Allard
Ruppersberger Rush Ryan (OH) Sanchez, Linda T. Sanchez, Loretta Sarbanes
Schakowsky Schiff Schwartz Scott (GA) Scott (VA) Serrano
Sestak Shea-Porter Sherman Sires Slaughter Smith (WA)
Solis Spratt Stark Stupak Sutton Tauscher
Thompson (CA) Thompson (MS) Tierney Towns Udall (CO) Udall (NM)
Van Hollen Velazquez Visclosky Wasserman Schultz Waters Watson
Watt Waxman Weiner Welch (VT) Wexler Woolsey
Wu Wynn Yarmuth


Forty-one Democrats broke ranks with their colleagues and gave the rubber stamp Republicans the votes they needed to give our freedom away. Notable also is the fact that only two Republicans voted against the measure. (The lesser of evils would still seem to be the best that the American people can do in the two-party system.)

On the Senate side these Senators stood up for the Constitution and voted no on the bill as well:

Akaka (D-HI) Baucus (D-MT) Biden (D-DE) Bingaman (D-NM)
Brown (D-OH) Byrd (D-WV) Cantwell (D-WA) Cardin (D-MD)
Clinton (D-NY) Dodd (D-CT) Durbin (D-IL) Feingold (D-WI)
Kennedy (D-MA) Kohl (D-WI) Lautenberg (D-NJ) Leahy (D-VT)
Levin (D-MI) Menendez (D-NJ) Obama (D-IL) Reed (D-RI)
Reid (D-NV) Rockefeller (D-WV) Sanders (I-VT) Schumer (D-NY)
Stabenow (D-MI) Tester (D-MT) Whitehouse (D-RI) Wyden (D-OR)


Sadly, twelve Senators showed no spine and didn't vote on the measure at all and the rest of the Democrats sided with the Republicans agreeing that the administration indeed needed another six months of trampling on due process in order to keep America safe from the "enemies of freedom". Perhaps this new strategy of relieving us of our freedoms will make them hate us less and keep us safer. It was truly no surprise that the once Democrat, now Independent and likely to soon be a Republican Joe Lieberman voted for trampling on our Constitution.

It is worth noting that the Democratic candidates for President overwhelmingly voted against the measure while on the Republican side Sam Brownback voted for the measure. Also on the Republican side Tom Tancredo and John McCain were among those who didn't vote at all leaving room for coming down on either side of the debate.

For many Americans, this should be a wake-up call for you on where your Senators and Representatives stand on the principles of the Constitution and due process as well as the concept of innocent until proven guilty. People voting to authorize this extension of the FISO boundaries have made it clear that they don’t believe in the principles of due process and will do anything regardless of legality if it makes things easier to promote their agenda. Instead of keeping high standards for law enforcement, they would rather employ people spying on innocent Americans who happen to talk to people overseas. Instead of building a case and presenting evidence to lawfully monitor potentially dangerous plots, this law will allow the administration to spy on whomever they choose and find or manufacture a way to make it legally acceptable later.

It begs the question if George W. Bush might not have an "enemies" list similar to Nixon’s and a plan to make sure that those who oppose him are dragged through the mud on trumped up allegations based on snippets of "monitored" conversations taken out of context. It will be interesting to see in this upcoming election season if tapes of phone conversations mysteriously make their way into the campaigns damaging Democrats and others who have not supported the administration publicly.
Troy Wilson-Ripsom - Staff Writer | Give your feedback on this article. | Visit Troy's blog at http://reform-america.blogspot.com | Visit Troy's MySpace page at www.myspace.com/reform_america

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