Saturday, August 04, 2007

Open letter time - FISA bill

There are a lot of topics that I could write about tonight...

...the parliamentary meltdown on the House floor last night, during consideration of the Agriculture Appropriations bill...

...the U.S. Court of Appeals in D.C. standing up to the executive branch by ruling that the FBI overstepped its bounds when it raided Rep. William Jefferson's House office and took legislative documents...

...the fingerpointing has already begun in the case of the bridge collapse in Minneapolis...

...and there are others that would be just as worthy, but there is one topic that is of overriding concern tonight.

Bush's latest attack on civil liberties, the Senate's meek acquiescence, and the House's failure to pass a version of the bill that calls for tighter judicial oversight.

From the Washington Post -
The Senate bowed to White House pressure last night and passed a Republican plan for overhauling the federal government's terrorist surveillance laws, approving changes that would temporarily give U.S. spy agencies expanded power to eavesdrop on foreign suspects without a court order.

The 60 to 28 vote, which was quickly denounced by civil rights and privacy advocates, came after Democrats in the House failed to win support for more modest changes that would have required closer court supervision of government surveillance. Earlier in the day, President Bush threatened to hold Congress in session into its scheduled summer recess if it did not approve the changes he wanted.

The legislation, which is expected to go before the House today, would expand the government's authority to intercept without a court order the phone calls and e-mails of people in the United States who are communicating with people overseas.

Folks, it's time to write letters to our Congresscritters (Harry Mitchell in my case)...

Congressman Mitchell -

As it is late here in Arizona, I'll be brief...

First, let me commend you for your support of HR3356. Even though it didn't gain the 2/3 majority to pass, it was a superior bill to the Senate's FISA bill because of its stronger judicial oversight component.

Later today, it is likely that the House will consider the Senate's FISA bill.

I am writing to strongly urge you to stand fast against the President's attempt to further bypass judicial oversight of his actions.

The fact that he is trying to railroad Congress into passing a bill with no oversight should raise red flags all over Washington, much as it has all over the country.

The President has threatened to keep Congress in session until he gets his way; so be it.

The extra time will allow the House time to take up Congressman Inslee's call to investigate, and if appropriate, impeach, Attorney General Gonzales.

Thank you for your consideration.


...And let me now strongly urge everyone who reads this to contact their Congressman or -woman *today.*

Use the email contact form on their websites, or simply pick up the phone and call his/her office, but let them know that it is time to stand up to Bush, and that we are watching.

Perhaps the best argument to make to a Congresscritter would be to mention the idea that the reason for Congress' dismal approval ratings (below Bush's!) could be the fact that one of the reasons for the Democratic wave last year is that we wanted people in office that would stand up for America, and to date, these folks haven't done it.

The House phone list can be found here.

Good night...


Desert Beacon said...

Excellent letter!

Francine Shacter said...

Whew!! What a relief to hear someone else say what I've been saying: tell your elected representative what you want them to do - applaud them when they do and, by all means, let them know when they don't! I was beginning to think I was a voice crying in the wilderness - I'm so glad I'm not alone!

cpmaz said...

Thanks, Francine. I just wish it had been enough. :(