Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Democrats Waver on Protect America Act Stance

The Protect America Act, passed in August amidst a rush to vacation and huge pressure from the NSA and Bush Administration, is up for permanency this week. And it looks like the Democrats are getting lazy. You remember the Democrats, don't you? That party that was voted into power almost a full year ago in the desperate hope of the American people that they would end the war in Iraq and stop the Bush Administration's runaway grip on the pseudo police state into which America is evolving.

The Protect America Act gives the National Security Agency much broader, more sweeping powers, specifically to wiretapping any foreign target (not just the terrorists) including those communications within the United States, all without a warrant. Remember FISA, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act that the Bush Administration was ignoring without accountability? The Administration is saying The PAA modernizes FISA; it's really making legal what they've been doing illegally all along and eliminating the basic - and obviously ineffective at that level - oversight that did exist.

And the icing on the cake? It provides immunity to telecommunications companies for illegally turning over private records whenever the Bush Administration deems that necessary: "It's illegal, but if you do it for us whenever we say, that's okay." It turns telecommunications companies into a private record clearinghouse encompassing all phone and internet use.

This is carte blanche for the president to wave his big terrorist stick and turn America into a police state. That little man in the White House is says we need to support the troops because they're fighting for our freedoms as he slowly strips them away.

And what are the Democrats doing? Eh, they're a little busy and they don't really have the votes. Democrats: get on the stick and get the votes; if you don't start doing something that drove you to power in congress, the American people will have gone full circle to high disillusionment with the Democratic Party by elections next year, and we'll be looking at Republican White House and Congress in January 2009.

Readers: As always, contact your local representatives. This is not popping out on the networks, and you won't hear about it locally, but it might rear its ugly head in the Repub debates this evening.

Expect notes on that tomorrow.

[UPDATE]: Don't expect notes on that right away - family emergency had me up until 2:30 without seeing the debate. Thank God for DVR. Now for the time to watch it.

[NOTE]: The above posting focuses specifically on what the Democrats hastily passed in August. The changes being unconvincingly discussed for this round include killing the immunity of telecommunications companies and the necessity of court approval for wire taps/eavesdropping. But then some asshat Repub comes out and says that this version protects Osama bin Laden, Democrats shiver, hem, haw, and "I just don't think we have the votes" drools from their numb lips. I want to see a fight, damnit!

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