Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Capital Hill Capitulation

So now the Democrat-controlled Congress gave Bush the new spying law he wanted.

I'll let Russ Feingold take this one (and once you are done, go read what Digby says):

Last week law-abiding Americans were once again forced to surrender their rights and freedoms. The event was eerily similar to the unwise passage of the PATRIOT Act some six years ago. We once again had a power hungry executive and a Senate controlled by Democrats. The only difference was that the House of Representatives is now under the control of Democrats - which makes what happened all the more troubling.

The Democratic-led Congress voted to allow the President and his administration to intercept the phone calls and emails of American citizens, without a warrant, with virtually zero judicial oversight, and no reporting whatsoever to Congress. The government is now allowed to grab any communication believed to be from outside the U.S. That includes American citizens who live overseas, service members such as those in Iraq, journalists reporting from overseas, or even Members of Congress who are abroad and call home to the United States - all without any sort of court oversight. This goes far beyond the identified problem of foreign-to-foreign communications that we all agree needed to be fixed.

We cannot allow these abuses to go unchallenged. With your help and valuable input over the last two weeks, late last Friday I formally introduced two censure resolutions to hold President Bush, and his administration, responsible for undermining the rule of law time and time again, and for misleading this country into an unwise war in Iraq and mismanaging the situation that followed.

The first censure resolution addresses the administration's numerous attacks on our Constitution and the rule of law. The President and Attorney General have violated the foundation of our government. This censure resolution will condemn the President and Attorney General for the administration's illegal domestic wiretapping program, for redefining torture, for its extreme positions on the legal status of detainees that has been rejected by the U.S. Supreme Court more than once, and for its refusal to cooperate with Congress' responsibility to conduct adequate oversight as mandated in the Constitution.

The second censure resolution holds the President and Vice President responsible for both leading our country into Iraq under false pretenses and for leading our country into a war without adequate planning. The administration exaggerated the threat from Iraq, overstated the case that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, and falsely linked Iraq to al Qaeda and the horrific attacks of September 11th, 2001. They must be held to account for leading our nation down a path that has made America less safe and has hurt our ability to fight terrorism around the world.

Congress cannot continue to stand by and allow the actions of this President and his administration to go unchallenged. The legislation that passed last week expires in six months, and at that point we will likely see a fight similar to the one that took place last week. We cannot let this President, or any President, continue to thumb their nose at the Constitution and the rule of law.

Congressman Maurice Hinchey (D-NY) has joined me in this effort and has introduced both censure resolutions in the House - but we cannot do it alone. Please sign on as a Citizen Co-Sponsor of Censure so we can show other elected officials in Congress that the American people will not give up in their demand for accountability.

Sincerely,

Russ Feingold
United States Senator
Honorary Chair, Progressive Patriots Fund

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