Thursday, June 16, 2005

The Right Honorable Gentleman Is A Totalitarian Fucktard

I've been procrastinating about ..something, so I watched a little C-SPAN.

Rep. Bernie Sanders (I - VT) introduced an amendment to stop the funding of that part of the PATRIOT Act by which the FBI, without probable cause, can demand that libraries and bookstores turn over their records to the government. The Bushies quite like that power, of course. Most Orwellianly, "oversight" is provided by a secret court. This is the current status quo, and I suppose it was naive to think that such fascists would let go of such power without a fight. The prospect of keeping tabs on dissidence is too great a temptation to let go of -- wouldn't it be great if the government kept tabs on anyone checking, say, Gramsci's books out of the library? Collect a lot of anti-war anti-Bush people's names that way. What? We wouldn't do that! How dare you imply...

Rep. Frank Wolf (R - Politburo) led the counter-attack, and every Congressperson who spoke with Wolf against Sanders's amendment was, as you might guess, a Republican. Wolf waved the bloody shirt of 9-11 shamelessly, even by Republican standards: he explicitly said that if the FBI had had this power pre-9-11, the attack would have been thwarted. (This would be news to the 9-11 Commission.) His comrades followed suit but I should mention that Rep. Christopher Shays of Connecticut was especially hysterical and offensive.

On the side of Constitution and what Jefferson called "the decent opinion of mankind" the speakers were Sanders, several of the ladies from California including Ms Pelosi, Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida (I am at your disposal, ma'am) and many others including, tellingly, two Congressmen who are extremely conservative yet are not Republican party hacks. Indeed, their conservatism seems to consist, at least in this instance, of the desire to conserve the Fourth Amendment. Rep. Butch Otter of Idaho and Rep. Ron Paul of Texas both gave good (and blessedly brief) speeches in favor of Sanders's amendment, Otter deserving special credit for using an earthy farm metaphor.

The amendment lost the voice vote. But decency won when the "real voting" began.

Here are the totals. Sanders's Amendment passed 238 to 187. 38 Republicans broke ranks to side with Sanders; only one Democrat sided with authoritarianism and the "Secret Government Mentality" of the Bushies, something to remember next primary.

Here's the AP's version.

* I wrote this post yesterday but it was eaten by Firefox. Following the resultant tirade.. well, I was in no mood to try to blog anymore, thus my absence. Sorry.