Wednesday, December 13, 2006

INCOMING SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE HEAD LEAHY VOWS INVESTIGATIONS AND ROLLBACK OF BUSH ADMINISTRATION SURVEILLANCE

The Senator from Arizona is recognized for 2 minutes.

AMENDMENT NO. 3801

Mr. KYL. Mr. President [Ed.-of the Senate], we are going to be asking unanimous consent to withdraw amendment No. 3801, which is an amendment Senator Chambliss and I offered to deal with the problem of overlapping and redundant civil rights and privacy investigations, entities, or individuals that would be added to those that already exist to protect civil rights and privacy in the national intelligence director office and other offices of the intelligence community.

--the beginning-of-the-end of the Patriot Acts, Oct. 6th, 2004


WASHINGTON--Reuters has reported that Sen. Patrick Leahy will be fighting Bush administration infringements of civil liberties that have occurred without oversight during the last six-years. Leahy is one of a handful of Senators (along with Russ Feingold) who opposed key-provisions of the Patriot acts that have allowed for extra constitutional surveillance of American citizens. It will be an uphill battle for allies of these unconstitutional provisions in both parties to make a good case against sunsetting the legal-aspects. If illegalities are uncovered, their chances of prevailing are virtually-nil. Civil libertarians will be a little more relieved by his comments today at Georgetown University for the Constitution Project:

We have a duty to repair real damage done to our system of government over the last few years...Americans' privacy is a price the Bush administration is willing to pay for the cavalier way it is spawning new databanks. But privacy rights belong to the people, not to the government," Leahy said.

The newspapers have already reported a few crimes (the President has openly-admitted to warrantless-wiretaps and surveillance, which is illegal under the 1978 FISA law), so some of this will be a mere formality. It appears the sunlight is beginning to come out again in America, which is heartening. It's the best disinfectant. If you don't know what your government is up-to, you've already lost a lot of your freedom, and it's time to take-it-back. Leahy has said this is the primary-agenda for his panel. He should be given complete-support from the public and his peers in the Senate, but we know he won't. There will be a fight over this, rest-assured. Note the players who argue-against sunsetting these provisions, because they're unworthy as guardians of democracy and our liberties. Only the public can do that. Because of the way they are, they'll have to be removed through the electoral-process again.

Leahy's fellow Senator from Vermont--Bernie Sanders--will definitely have his back, as will Senators Robert Byrd, Dennis Kucinich, Daniel Akaka, Jim Jeffords, Tom Harkin, Ron Wyden, Jeff Bingaman, Carl Levin, and Patty Murray. Where's John Kerry or Hillary Clinton? Where's Barbara Boxer? Where is Diane Feinstein? If they don't change on this issue, they're going to pay a political-price. Ten Senators is a pretty hefty-bloc to counter, and they can use this as a wedge-issue. They can slow-things, or even kill bills (pun-intended) by letting them die in-committee (I watched my Schoolhouse Rock, pal). There are even a tiny-minority of GOP Senators who might join them to survive, politically.

This is real political power, forget Joe Lieberman, he's one guy. This is why he's being pumped-up by people like DCCC chairman, Rahm Emanuel, who is as questionable as Lieberman-himself. This is a smokescreen, Lieberman isn't as crucial as they're making-out. It's true, Bush could veto these measures, but it will be difficult with several ongoing-investigations against the political-backdrop. One also has to factor-in that Iraq is going to continue-to-disintegrate, which will render the Bush/Cheney/Rice axis virtually impotent and politically-toxic. You wouldn't want to be them, trust me. The irony of all this is: Joe Lieberman is going to join these Senators in the fight, you watch. He already has joined them in 2004 with the Collins-Lieberman Act, which was fought by the same forces who will fight many of the oversight-suggestions of Leahy in the near-future. Here's some excerpts from Leahy on October 6th, 2004 on the Collins-Lieberman bill:

The civil liberties board outlined in the Collins-Lieberman bill makes great strides toward meeting these goals [of adequate oversight]. It represents a true bipartisan effort from conception to introduction. I was pleased to work with these Senators along with Senator [Dick] Durbin to make this civil liberties board the kind of board that would honor the 9-11 Commission’s intent...Unfortunately, Senator Kyl’s Amendment 3801 [Ed.--it was withdrawn, but who put him up-to-it originally? It should be noted that Kyl worked on another bill with Sen. Charles Schumer. Was it him? Was it Tom Delay? The Bush administration?] attempts to gut the carefully crafted, bipartisan civil liberty and privacy provisions that are the hallmark of the Collins-Lieberman bill. It is inconsistent with the recommendations of the 9-11 Commission and would undermine the civil liberties that we cherish.

And we thought Joe Lieberman was a total rat. Boy, were we wrong! Look at his social-spending record, it's pretty liberal in a good-sense. But the central-question is: who backed Kyl (R-Arizona) on this amendment? I would wager it was the White House. Not even Mr. Macaca would back it. Are some doors too frightening to open? Democrats had better not have the same fears during the investigations, we've had too-close of a brush with a coup in the United States. Congressional Democrats had better be thorough with the upcoming-investigations, going wherever the trail leads--even if it's some of their own.

Most-importantly, there had better be firm and strictly-worded legislation with adequate enforcement provisions attached. Watch your elected-officials have to show their true-colors, grab the popcorn! We're probably going to be surprised who some of the worst-enemies of democracy really are...or maybe-not. We know that two of them are Hillary Clinton and John Kerry, and that there are several-others in the House and Senate just like them. This is one reason for the dip in Kerry's popularity--his unresponsiveness to the public-will. Another one of them is Evan Bayh. They have to be dealt-with if they aren't willing to change-course of all-fronts.
Vote with a vengeance.


Leahy-Leahy-Leahy (get you adverbs here):
http://leahy.senate.gov/press/200410/100604D.html
http://www.constitutionproject.org/article.cfm?messageID=268
https://www.law.georgetown.edu/news/releases/December.6.2006.html

Leahy on Scalito:
http://leahy.senate.gov/press/200601/011906.html

The ACLU on Patriot Act II and the failed Kyle Amendment (read, or perish):
http://www.aclu.org/safefree/general/17203leg20030214.html
http://www.aclu.org/safefree/general/18582leg20041004.html

More on the failed S.3801 (PDF):
http://jameslandrith.com/index2.php?option=com_content&do_pdf=1&id=438

The Death of S.3801 Using the 'Riddim Method':
http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/R?r108:FLD001:S60477

The Populist Party of America on Liberty:
http://www.populistamerica.com/