04 August 2007


Our intensely unpopular president says, “Jump!” and
once again, Congressional Democrats ask, “How high?”

Washington Post:
The Senate bowed to White House pressure
last night and passed a Republican plan for
overhauling the federal government's
terrorist surveillance laws, approving
changes that would temporarily give U.S. spy
agencies expanded power to eavesdrop on
foreign suspects without a court order.

The 60 to 28 vote, which was quickly
denounced by civil rights and privacy
advocates, came after Democrats in the
House failed to win support for more modest
changes that would have required closer
court supervision of government surveillance.
Earlier in the day, President Bush threatened
to hold Congress in session into its scheduled
summer recess if it did not approve the
changes he wanted.

As Glenn Greenwald notes, this is only the latest in
a series of pathetic compromises by a Democratic
Congress that can’t seem to find its backbone, even
when they have the support of the American public.

Examine virtually every Bush scandal and it
increasingly bears the mark not merely of
Democratic capitulation, but Democratic
participation. In August of 2006, the
Supreme Court finally asserted the first real
limit on Bush's radical executive power
theories in Hamdan, only for Congress,
months later, to completely eviscerate those
minimal limits -- and then go far beyond -- by
enacting the grotesque Military Commissions
Act with the support of substantial numbers
of Democrats. What began as a covert and
illegal Bush interrogation and detention
program became the officially sanctioned,
bipartisan policy of the United States.

Grave dangers are posed to our basic
constitutional safeguards by the replacement
of Sandra Day O'Connor with Sam Alito,
whose elevation to the Supreme Court
Congressional Democrats chose to permit.
Vast abuses and criminality in surveillance
remain undisclosed, uninvestigated and
unimpeded because Congressional Democrats
have stood meekly by while the
administration refuses to disclose what it has
been doing in how it spies on us. And we
remain in Iraq, in direct defiance of the will
of the vast majority of the country, because
the Democratic Beltway establishment lacks
both the courage and the desire to compel an
end to that war.

And now Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, with
revealing symbolism, cancel their scheduled
appearances this morning at Yearly Kos
because George Bush ordered them to remain
in Washington in order to re-write and
expand FISA -- a law which he has
repeatedly refused to allow to be revised for
years and which he has openly and proudly
violated. Congressional Democrats know
virtually nothing about how the Bush
administration has been eavesdropping on
our conversations because the administration
refused to tell them and they passively
accepted this state of affairs.

And what’s their excuse? The same old bullshit. If we
don’t give give George W. Bush unlimited power, the
terrorists will get us.

"We're at war. The enemy wants to attack
us," Lieberman said during the Senate
debate. "This is not the time to strive for
legislative perfection."

How convenient. I do hope you’ll let us know when all of
America’s enemies have been destroyed and Congress
can go back to doing its job of upholding the
Constitution and keeping overzealous executive power
in check. But no rush... it’s only democracy.