Friday, July 26, 2013
We Didn't Send You to Congress to Be a Blue Dog, Annie (part 3)
Thanks to Edward Snowden, we now know that there's a huge US spy program that is able to collect all manner of data, including our phone call records.
I've never had contact with anyone I knew was a terrorist - yet I'm on an airline watch list. I'm allowed to fly, but not unmolested. Every time I fly, I get hauled out of line, felt up, wanded, and everything I have with me is searched: computer bag, purse, and checked baggage. Why? I don't know. I can't find out either, because no one will admit that I'm even on a list, because that's protected information, thanks to the Patriot Act. I can't find out how I got on a list or how to get off - because there is no list. Frisking me at airports keeps the rest of you nationally secure - middle aged women being such a big terrorist threat and all.
Neither the CIA or the Dept. of Fatherland Security can stop actual terrorist attacks, probably because they're too busy spying on US citizens. Since the beginning of the good old USA, whenever the opportunity arose, there were those brave patriots who thought the answer to any threat was spying on their fellow Murkins.
This week, there was an amendment to the bloated Defense Appropriations bill that would have limited the NSA's (National Security Agency) ability to collect electronic data, including phone call records.
It was called the Amash amendment. Most of us thought it was a fine idea. We don't like the idea that we're being spied on. Obama, of course, supports the spying, as do many in leadership. Surveillance means big bucks being shoveled at contractors, and they certainly wouldn't want to interfere with that.
The amendment failed, on a vote of 217-205.
Here in NH, our Congresswomen were split. Carol Shea-Porter voted for the amendment:
This week, after very careful analysis and meetings with those pro and con, I voted for the Amash Amendment. As we have all seen in the last few months, government intelligence activities are in dire need of more transparency. I voted for the amendment because it would have helped keep our government accountable to the people and still allow for the collection of necessary information.
Annie Kuster, who ran for Congress as a progressive, got there, and settled in as a Blue Dog, voted in favor of continued surveillance.
"Rep. Kuster strongly believes we can and must protect both our national security and our constitutionally protected right to privacy, and she is committed to conducting vigorous oversight of our country's intelligence operations. She supports a bipartisan measure that would ban the NSA from acquiring the content of Americans' phone calls and emails without undermining counterterrorism tools that help keep our country safe," Kuster spokesman Rob Friedlander said in a statement Wednesday night.
Pre-election progressive Annie was concerned about military spending, war, surveillance, etc. Blue Dog Annie marches in lockstep with the wingnuts on the far right, far too often.
Kuster has surrounded herself with bad advisors from the Lieberman wing of the Democratic Party. She didn't have to. I don't know why she felt the need to veer sharply to the right the minute she landed in DC. I do know this: many of her former supporters are disgusted, and will not contribute to her fundraising for 2014. Groups that supported her last time are disgusted, and won't support her again. If only the NH Democratic Party were smart enough and strong enough to encourage someone strong to mount a primary challenge against Kuster. They aren't.
O'Brien doesn't have a chance, but if Charlie Bass wants his old seat back, he's likely to win it.
We didn't send you to Congress to be a Blue Dog, Annie.
We Didn't Send You to Congress to be a Blue Dog Annie, Part 1
Honorable Mention: Kuster joins No Labels
Newspaper stories about this vote: Concord Monitor and the Union Leader