Civil Rights (Minorities, Race, Immig, Vets) Politics

With Senators Like These …

Our Congressman (Tom Osborne, Rep, NE 3rd District) is running for Governor. He used to manage a major NCAA football program (remember the once mighty Nebraska Cornhuskers?). He wants to leave Congress and move to the Governor’s office because there you have some real power and responsibility. In D.C., you just show up and do what they tell you. (I’m sorry I can’t quote him, but that is the point, and pretty much the language, of what he said.)

It seems, oh surprise!, that even mighty Senators also just show up and do what they’re told.

The Washington Post tells us the Senate has “compromised” with the Administration on renewal of the so-called Patriot Act.

even the Republican negotiators said they had to yield to the administration on several points.

They “had to yield.” I feel so sorry for these little boys and girls being shoved around like that.

The article includes a photo of these senators explaining their support of the compromise.
Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.), Larry E. Craig (R-Idaho), John E. Sununu (R-N.H.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.).

But with virtually all 55 GOP senators now on board, and Democrats joining them, the plan appears to have enough support to overcome the Senate filibuster that has thwarted a four-year renewal of the statute for months.

Sen. Sununu’s libertarian sentiments apparently took a back seat.

He said that he and his fellow negotiators had to make more concessions to the administration than they wanted to, but that Congress will monitor the law’s application over the coming years and perhaps revise it.

“Had to make more concessions … than they wanted to.”

Wait. I thought Senators could actually vote on such things – you know, the old “one man one vote,” “vote your conscience,” defend your constituents kind of thing. But I guess if the White House insists, you kinda have to do what they want, no matter what status or dignity you and your constituents imagined you to have.

He promises “that Congress will monitor the law’s application over the coming years.” Oh, I feel so much safer! Now, you know, that my alcoholic spouse has promised to try to protect me from beatings in the future. But I tend to wonder, Why not start protecting me now?

Sen. Richard J. Durbin (Ill.), one of several Democrats who agreed to back the compromise yesterday, said “it falls far short” of the bill that was passed by the Senate last year but rejected by the House. “But if you measure it against the original Patriot Act . . . we’ve made progress”.


Senate Minority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) called the compromise “a step in the right direction.”

We don’t need “a step” in dealing with such a monster. We need a lot of movement on that journey that was so well begun back before the new year began. Back then we thought the Democrats were developing some courage and vision.

Still, I have to admit, this compromise is a little better than the original version that was set to expire.

The compromise bill also addresses “Section 215 subpoenas,” which are granted by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act court. Recipients of such subpoenas originally were forbidden to tell anyone about the action. The proposed Senate measure would allow them to challenge the “gag order” after one year, rather than the 90-day wait in earlier legislation.

Sununu said the administration insisted on the longer waiting period. “You now have a process to challenge the gag order,” he said, defending the concession. “That didn’t exist before.”

I still find it hard to believe that people justify prohibiting harassed people from informing on their harassers – especially when that harasser is the mighty arm of government! But that’s what we had going for us (“against us”, actually). Now, though, it is slightly better. After a year of such harassment, you can “challenge” their action in preventing you from speaking up.

I thought this was America? Who are you people, and what have you done with my country?

Apparently the frog in the kettle was starting to feel the water warming up. He might have jumped! So let’s just turn the temperature down a little, and tell him we’re going to watch out for his interests. He’ll have to admit that it’s an improvement; then he’ll be happier. And when he’s a little more sleepy, well, you know what to do.

Sununu said he and his allies were disappointed that the compromise does not require agents to “show a connection to a suspected terrorist or spy” before obtaining a Section 215 subpoena.

They’re disappointed. How sweet. Apparently they don’t expect such legislation to ever be used against them personally. They are “disappointed” that it will be used against some of the rest of us. But what can they do? They are only US Senators.

Several liberals condemned the bill. “I am gravely disappointed in this so-called deal,” said Sen. Russell Feingold (D-Wis.). “The White House agreed to only a few minor changes” that “do not address the major problems,” he said, adding: “We’ve come too far and fought too hard to agree to reauthorize the Patriot Act without fixing those problems.”

Amen. Go Russ! It makes you wonder where he got the idea that he could vote for what he sees as right and necessary. All those other guys and gals feel they “have to” do things contrary to what they know is good.

What is the purpose of being a US Senator, I wonder?

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