Why I won't contribute to the DCCC

I usually vote Democrat. That's because where I live they are much more likely to uphold democratic values -- including the value of personal liberties guaranteed in the US Constitution. The current Republican Party is hopeless on civil liberties, being such cowards they are ready to throw personal freedoms under the bus whenever George W. shouts "terrorist." Upholding personal liberties is not the sole property of Democrats. Many Libertarians also hold this position strongly, although not all do. And unfortunately, not all Democrats do either. I will not support any Democrat whose regard for Constitutional guarantees is so weak they are willing to authorize Bush's demand he be allowed to conduct wiretaps without court oversight -- warrantless wiretaps.

But that is exactly what 16 weakling Democratic Senators did when they joined all of their spineless Republican colleagues in passing Bush's FISA bill. None of the Democratic presidential candidates voted for this monstrosity. 28 Democrats voted against it. Senators Boxer, Kerry and Harkin wimped out and didn't vote. For shame. In the House there were 43 Democratic turncoats -- willing to sell out personal freedoms for what? Not having to worry about an assault from some right wing Republican in their next election? Profiles in Courage -- not.

I don't care if they are Democrats or Republicans or Independents. They voted to sell out rights guaranteed to all of us in the US Constitution, rights many generations have sacrificed for. They will not get any of my support. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) solicits campaign contributions to get Democrats elected to congress. They help support these scumbags. I won't actively work against them because the Republican alternatives are worse or as bad and a Democratic congress is better for most of us who aren't rich than a Republican one. But I won't support them, either, and that means I won't send a goddamn cent to the DCCC. Not one penny. Instead my paltry contributions will go to Act Blue, a creature of the civil liberties respecting netroots and an opponent of Democratic hacks like Rahm Emmanuel and Chuck Schumer of the DCCC.

And the outrage of the netroots is papable. Here are the occupants of the Democrat Hall of Shame:

In the Senate

Evan Bayh (Indiana); Tom Carper (Delaware); Bob Casey (Pennsylvania); Kent Conrad (North Dakota); Dianne Feinstein (California); Daniel Inouye (Hawai?i); Amy Klobuchar (Minnesota); Nancy Mary Landrieu (Louisiana); Blanche Lincoln (Arkansas); Claire McCaskill (Missouri); Barbara Mikulski (Maryland); Bill Nelson (Florida); Ben Nelson (Nebraska); Mark Pryor (Arkansas); Ken Salazar (Colorado); Jim Webb (Virginia)

In the House:

Altmire (PA)
Barrow (GA)
Bean (IL)
Boren (OK)
Boswell (IA)
Boyd (FL)
Chandler (KY)
Cooper (TN)
Costa (CA)
Cramer (AL)
Cuellar (TX)
Davis (AL)
Davis (TN)
Donnelly (IN)
Edwards (TX)
Ellsworth (IN)
Etheridge (NC)
Gordon (TN)
Herseth Sandlin (SD)
Higgins (NY)
Hill (IN)
Lampson (TX)
Lipinski (IL)
Marshall (GA)
Matheson (UT)
McIntyre (NC)
Melancon (LA)
Mitchell (AZ)
Peterson (MN)
Pomeroy (ND)
Rodriguez (TX)
Ross (AR)
Salazar (CO)
Shuler (NC)
Snyder (AR)
Space (OH)
Tanner (TN)
Taylor (MS)
Walz (MN)
Wilson (OH)

As for the Republicans, to a person they are even more vile than these Democrat losers. At least the Democrats were two to one against this butchery of the Constitution. For the one third that weren't, they get and deserve nothing but my contempt and, I think, the contempt of many Americans, Republican and Democrat alike.

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I note not one representative or senator from the states of RI, MA, CT, NH, VT, NY, NJ and ME are on that list.

But then I watch the RI delegations votes via WaPo's rss feeds so this was no surprise to me.

The northeast really is a much different from the rest of the U.S. I wish we'd secede to be honest.

"I note not one representative or senator from the states of RI, MA, CT, NH, VT, NY, NJ and ME are on that list."

Brian Higgins of NY is on the list. Additionally, this list is only the Democrats who voted to pass. Add independents and Republicans and you add Lieberman (CT), Collins (ME), Snow (ME), Sununu (NH), Shays (CT), Ferguson (NJ), Frelinghuysen (NJ), Garrett (NJ), LoBiondo (NJ), Smith (NJ), Fossella (NY), Higgins (NY), King (NY), Kuhl (NY), McHugh (NY), Reynolds (NY), Walsh (NY).

That said, it's true that the Northeast is the region that came down against this by the largest margin.

Tony P: "I note not one representative or senator from the states of RI, MA, CT, NH, VT, NY, NJ and ME are on that list....The northeast really is a much different from the rest of the U.S. I wish we'd secede to be honest."

You seem to have missed Higgins (NY). Also, the list only provides the names of Democrats that voted for the bill. It doesn't list republicans from the northeast that voted for the bill. I'm sure there are some.

McHugh and Walsh of NY are Republicans. They represent the districts neighboring mine. I determined that they're a couple of dick heads years ago.

"...including the value of personal liberties guaranteed in the US Constitution."

Uh, except of course to the right to bear arms. You really should include that caveat, as the 2nd Amendment is part of the Constitution and you don't support it.

- The second amendment is less important for sustaining a democracy than the first
- While the meaning of 'freedom of speech', as written in 1776, is still pretty clear, the meaning of "right to bear arms" in a world of nuclear weapons isn't so clear anymore.

Both of those said, I'm a liberal who has no intention of taking away anyone's hunting rifles or shooting ranges.

AF: Correct. If you think that the personal right to bear arms is the same as the right of free speech, unlawful search and seizure and privacy than you may. I'm not sure what country you are in, but in this one, you are free to believe that. I don't. And presumably 16 Democratic Senators,, 41 Democratic CongressThings and all the Republicans in the Senate and House couldn't care less about free speech, unlawful search and seizure and privacy. But I do and so do lots of Libertarian, Republican, Democrat and Independent citizens of this country.

Maldita!Entonces sostenga Sr. Ron Paul.Jose Morelos. Un inmigrante ilegal que espera pronto llegar a ser Americano.

By Jose Morelos (not verified) on 06 Aug 2007 #permalink

Jose -

If you are actually Mexican - or anyone at all who is not white - then the very last person on earth you should trust, actual card-carrying KKK and Minuteman nutcases excepted, is Ron Paul.

I can provide details of his extracurricular activities should you be interested. The good people at Orcinus have been digging up the skeletons he would prefer to keep deep-sixed around the more naive Libertarians.

By Charles Roten (not verified) on 06 Aug 2007 #permalink

As usual the moronic, single-threaded, Second Ammendment yahoos have tried to insert their miopic misinterpretation of the constitution into any discussion they can.

Failure to understand that the strength of our constitution rests in its balance. And, when any one piece of it is weakened the whole becomes endangered. This vote not only weakens the Fourth Amendment, it institutionally compromises the integrity of the balance of powers that is the foundation for our enduring democracy.

How will your guns help you correct the balance. And, how will guns help bring justice to the American People who have now become the victims of crimes that are no less than treasoness - in my opinion.

By Snicklefritz (not verified) on 06 Aug 2007 #permalink

I have read the above and Revere's post and have to say really for a change on a little on it. First is that each and every time we have gone down this road it has initially netted a lot of new leads. Charles R., Revere and I and some here remember that Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon used illegal wiretaps during those administrations first to detect people like the Weathermen, Symbionese Liberation Army and in particular during Kennedy, Russian spies.

Then the system was turned against the public, enemies of the state (state at the particular time in this country and who defined it), and foreign countries. Libertarians of the NE have names like Republicans and Democrat attached to them but they are still regionalized. There is no authorization of this new bill that allows single person or facility wire tapping or eavesdropping. Hell, you can eavesdrop on your next door neighbor's calls now with a couple of simple things from Radio Shack. This bill starts with an "en masse" eavesdropping capability that looks for keywords, possible codes, numbers and they run thru both NSA and CIA computers. No one could process that many faxes, emails, and general calls. It HAS to be done by computer. Voice recognition is a product of a DARPA program, the same with TWAIN recognition on your scanner. Both are used each day and we all use the above programs ourselves.

As to the thought that this is sinister under FISA is a definite cause for concern. Every political party has pulled a lot of dirty tricks and illegal deeds done on the others and its about the power. FISA is a necessary evil in the world. No one is changing the Constitution and even before the Bush Court began, it ran all the way back to the FDR administration when wire taps became a thing. The courts consistently came down on behalf of the administration at the times right to do it. The reason given by most of the jurists was that the Constitution and the laws subordinated to it require that for the country to exist that both be fluid and modifiable. E.g. Internment of Japanese Americans into the camps in WWII was found to be legal, with no compensation given post of the situation. Secondarily, those citizens cannot be deprived of life, liberty, pursuit of happiness, or property without due process of law. Well, thats what happened then, this is whats happening now.

I perceive that GWB may have this one right. There are those that scream infringement on the Constitution and the laws of the US. But we are not in those melllow times any longer. The request wasnt made to spy on Joe Blow in Birmingham. Joe probably cant spell ECHELON but he should know what it is able to do so that he can elect people that provide oversight to the process. That doesnt mean a H. Waxman oversight. A general oversight. This law can be changed in about a week if any administration starts to abuse it as Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon did. They used it to be both cop and criminal in the same breath. This one though it has to remain as cop and only to interdict the true enemies of the state both within and without. We will just have to constantly define who and what are the the enemies of the state.

By M. Randolph Kruger (not verified) on 07 Aug 2007 #permalink

Randy: This law makes illegal (and unconstitutional) activities legal (although it can't make them constitutional; they are too difficult to challenge, however, because you can't show you have standing). Read some history -- not jus tthe history of your lifetime but of each generation before. Each has said what you said -- maybe those guarantees were OK in the past but this is different, and then they go onto justify trampling on constitutional rights. This is not the first time they have done it, either. Woodrow Wilson was worse than Bush and subsequent Presidents did lots of bad stuff, too. I condemn that as well. None of it made us any safer but all of it made us less free.

As I understand it, the issue is how to obtain a warrant to perform a wiretap if the intelligence will be lost in the resulting delay. Much of the world's electronic data is being routed through US paths, so intercepting it becomes a domestic act even if it is routed between two guys in Pakistan. It seems reasonable to make exceptions for this, times have changed since the original legislation. Does the currently defined procedure constitute an unreasonable search act? Depends on circumstances IMO.

stu: no time issue. FISA warrants can be obtained within hours and are just about the easiest warrants to get. But there is at least the check that they won't be used for the wrong purposes. The other thing is that it is just the "circumstances" that Constitutional guarantees are all about. They aren't to protect speech no one is offended by, just as due process is not just to protect innocent people. Due process is to protect us all, regardless of "circumstances."

This brings up some interesting problems. I am British and living in the UK, if I send an Email or make a phone call to someone in the EU there is a possibility it will be routed via a switch situated in the US at which point Mr. Bush and friends may have a snoop. That would not be legal in the EU, so if I demand that BT, Deutsch Telekom or my ISP guarantee my calls/E-mails are not put at risk they are going to have to restructure the Internet and phone switching to isolate the United States as an unsafe area or I am able to sue them. This could get interesting and cause serious problems for US based IT companies.

JJ - do a web search for the keyword ECHELON. All of your communications have been subject to review by the US/Aussies/UK/NATO for about the last 20 years. With the voice recognition, twainscan, fax, and other types of communications they are and have been just looking for keywords. Its been illegal to spy on US citizens for some 45 years unless there was a legal reason to do so... a warrant. So our smart guys at NSA simple moved up to Canada and have been 10-10 and listening in for about 40 years.

With the advent of higher speed computers and lets face it digital communications has made it a lot easier than analog they simply scan for the appropriate codes and recurrent codings on all formats. As for Reveres assertion that is not Constitutional then I assert that its legal until its challenged as being un-Constittuional. Less free? More safe? Depends on who you talk to.

The USS Cole bombing was noted in a ramp up of communications just ahead of its docking. We got it but we didnt get it. We had a lot of indications but nothing hard. It was a guess and they missed. Same with 911. Its not a perfect science and it uses a HUGE amount of bandwidth, storage space, keyword and hot memory recognition. They are surely dragging behind at least a day or two with the recognition (every used a text scanner?).

All the countries above get the briefings daily on this stuff so relax unless your name is Osama and friends. You have been under surveillance for years. We both still got bombed. Now there is the loss of freedom Revere speaks of.

By M. Randolph Kruger (not verified) on 07 Aug 2007 #permalink

This comment applies, somewhat.
The Diane Rehm show today had Economics Professor Alan Kruger, Princeton University, talking about civil liberties and promoting his new book 'What Makes a Terrorist'.
Sounded interesting for the short amount of time I was able to catch it.

Any relation MRK?

As with Revere's identity, I wont divulge that kind of information pro/con. Its a rough world we live in politically in the US. I for one liked the fact that Ward Churchill is outta there, but its a two edged sword. Was the comment (more like posture with this guy) that all Americans are terrorists of some sort and in particular Nazi's if you took the ride down on the WTC's so egregious that he lost his job? Its censorship and without free thought and the right NOT to be persecuted for them is what the US is about.

Dr.K would likely have the Hillary/Bill crew on his ass if he didnt toe the line. Its not so much the PHd's that I worry about, its the grad students and the wannabe grad students. Most of the docs can take hits for being controversial, but their grant processes are sometimes hammered by politics. Honest to God its like a reverse thing with each party. The Dems throw too much money at things and the Republicans too little. BOTH when throwing the bucks are looking at a guys resume so to even say yay or nay to a question like this Lea could lose someones funding.

The book is pretty good and describes the situation. Genetic link? I will let you make your own decisions. As long as both Revere and people like me hammer back and forth in an open manner without repercussions then we have a democracy. If said democracy targets even the Ward Churchills of the academia then we have to both step back and take a long hard look at it.

By M. Randolph Kruger (not verified) on 08 Aug 2007 #permalink

Hearty thanks for your out-and-out, no compromise attitude and words, Revere! You're right!!! Cut the bastards off! They'll never get a penny out of me, either. (Not that they would anyway, but it is great to shout it out!!) This bill is such an outrage and it warms my heart to hear others express the OUTRAGE that I feel about it. Keep up the good work, Revere!