June 3, 2023

Tower of Cowards

Tower of CowardsI don’t remember a political moment that made me happier than in the wee hours of November 7, 2006, after Jon Tester went over the top against Conrad Burns and Jim Webb nudged George Allen, and Claire McCaskill came from behind to beat Jim Talent, and the implausible was suddenly a reality, and the Democrats had regained control of the Senate, and the House Dems had picked up 31 seats. There was joy in Mudville. We had a mitigating two years before we could elect a real President.

Or so I thought. The new Democratic majority checked their testicles at the door. I understood Nancy Pelosi’s “No impeachment” pledge–even though there was far more than a blowjob they could have taken to the well to urge the removal of an immoral President who had no compunction about scattering fradulent intelligence toward bringing us into  a war that we had no business fighting, against a miserable dictator who was already marginalized. Yes, we removed his boot from the throat of his people, but we didn’t do a hell of a lot to lift their quality of life. It’s a sad testament to our purported might that the Iraqis had more electricity each day under Sadaam, as rotten as he was, than under our occupation.

But that’s a discussion for another blog. The new Democratic majority came into power with a proclaimed restraint towards punishing the excesses of the Bush Administration, but they proved themselves absolute cowards in even holding their ground against his abuses of his office.

They wiggled their dicks pretty good in the fight over the renewal of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. Until they fell like a house of cads.

The Bush Administration was demanding exoneration for telecom companies who eavesdropped at the behest of the President and his agenda (allegedly in the interests of national security). And they got it. Bush’s team couldn’t believe their good fortune when the House folded like a Chinese menu.

So, in essence, sorry if they got your emails and phone calls for the last several years, but it was in the interests of national security. And, if you didn’t do anything wrong, you shouldn’t be worried, right? But I’m kind of wondering, on your 3/13/04 email to your neighbor, did you really refer to your 13-year-old niece as a “cute”? I know we were looking for terrorists, and your reference may have been completely harmless, but…well, we’re just asking. Only because you mentioned in your earlier email that you and your wife were having problems, and, well, it’s just understandable how that kind of sexual frustation can be channeled. That’s the only reason we’re curious.

This is where we are right now.

We’ve had a pretty good FISA law in place. This is how it plays out: We have a Chicago man with Peshawar connections. We’d like to see what he’s doing. Is it okay if we check if he’s making calls to America, or that someone from Pakistan is making calls to him? Thank you, your honor.

That wasn’t good enough for the Bush Administration. They decided to use the NSA and the major telecommunications companies like AT & T and others to sidestep the FISA law–even though there had never been a FISA warrant refused by any judge–and monitor the communications activity of anyone deemed sufficiently suspicious. As a result, AT & T was–until Friday–facing some 40 lawsuits for warrantless wiretapping on citizens.

I’m monumentally disappointed in my Congress today. The House of Representatives collapses on FISA. This was a real pissing match that they set up early. letting the current FISA law lapse, which sparked the ire of the GOP, who said that the Democrats were leaving us vulnerable to the worst terrorism we’ve ever known.

And then…crickets. We didn’t die.

That’s why I’m first mystified that they caved. “This isn’t a compromise,” said Senator Russ Feingold, as he saw this measure heading toward the Senate. “It’s a capitulation.”

And I’m second disappointed with the Change Candidate for President, Barack Obama, who says he’s going to vote for this abomination of a law when it comes before the Senate.


“It is not all that I would want. But given the legitimate threats we face, providing effective intelligence collection tools with appropriate safeguards is too important to delay. So I support the compromise, but do so with a firm pledge that as President, I will carefully monitor the program, review the report by the Inspectors General, and work with the Congress to take any additional steps I deem necessary to protect the lives – and the liberty – of the American people. “

That is pandering at best, and political cowardice at worst.

The GOP won’t make much of it, because they’ll get better traction from Muslim accusations and race-baiting, this isn’t a moment of courage and priniciple for Barack Obama. He offered a tepid promise to try and remove some of the more onerous provisions from the bill. Too little, too lame. He just voted against the $87 million before he voted for it.

This is a far cry from February when he declared, “I am proud to stand with Senator Dodd, Senator Feingold and a grassroots movement of Americans who are refusing to let President Bush put protections for special interests ahead of our security and our liberty.” It’s really a shame for those among us who thought this was a Democrat with a backbone, but I guess it’s too much of a political gamble to break the party’s exoskeletal tradition.

I can forgive bowling a 37, but this is a step too far. Turn in your Man Card, Senator.