Arcuri Intends To Vote For Warrantless Spying On Americans
It’s not a cheery morning for me, seeing what passes for our “Democratic” representation in Congress. I have called Congressman Mike Arcuri’s office in Washington D.C., and the aides there confirm that Representative Arcuri will vote in favor of the FISA Amendments Act of 2008 (H.R. 6304).
If you call Arcuri’s office (202-225-3665), you will be told by the aide who answers the telephone that Congressman Arcuri does not support retroactive immunity for telecommunications corporations. You will be told that H.R. 6304 is a “compromise” bill that does not offer retroactive telecom immunity.
When you are told this by the aide who answers the telephone, ask the aide if he has actually read H.R. 6304. The aide I talked to admitted that he has not read the bill.
I have read the bill, and the assertion that it does not offer retroactive legal immunity for telecommunications corporations is laughable. But, I’m not a lawyer, so maybe you shouldn’t take my word for it. Consider what Senator Russ Feingold, who knows how to read a piece of legislation, has to say about the bill:
“The proposed FISA deal is not a compromise; it is a capitulation. The House and Senate should not be taking up this bill, which effectively guarantees immunity for telecom companies alleged to have participated in the President’s illegal program, and which fails to protect the privacy of law-abiding Americans at home.”
Or, you could take the word of attorney Kevin Bankston, who works for the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Bankston has read the legislation, and he concludes,
“Whatever gloss might be put on it, the so-called ‘compromise’ on immunity is anything but: the current proposal is the exact same blanket immunity that the Senate passed in February and that the House rejected in March, only with a few new bells and whistles so that political spinsters can claim that it actually provides meaningful court review.”
Political spinsters – that’s what we’re getting in the office of Congressman Michael Arcuri. They’re counting on you to not read the legislation for yourself. Maybe Representative Arcuri himself hasn’t even read the FISA Amendments Act. He admitted that he didn’t bother reading the Military Commissions Act before approving it.
You can choose to go along with the political spin offered by Arcuri’s staff, or you can be one of the few Americans who has read the FISA Amendments Act. I don’t expect many people to bother to read it. I don’t expect many people to care that much. I don’t expect many Democrats to question Arcuri, and make this a campaign issue. We’ll hear the same old claims that it’s somehow our duty to support Arcuri because he carries the name of Democrat, and for most Democrats, that will be a good enough argument.
We are not living in an age of idealism. Congressman Arcuri knows that, and that’s why he’s confident that he won’t lose much support on account of his vote for Bush’s spying bill today.
You get to decide whether you’re willing to go along with that, and confirm Arcuri’s sad judgment of the character of our citizens.