I received the following correspondence from NY State U.S. House Rep John Hall last Friday evening...
Dear Friends,I disagreed with Patrick Murphy once on his support for Mike Fitzpatrick's "Delete Online Predators" Act which purported to keep our kids safe by banning access to social networking sites at libraries and schools (which, to me, sounded more like the Act was trying to shield schools and libraries from legal liability), but I thought, "well, maybe the polling on this shows that most of the 8th District residents support it despite how I feel, so maybe THAT is why Patrick went along with it."
Today the House of Representatives voted on H.R. 6304, the FISA Amendments Act of 2008.
I have consistently supported modernizing the existing FISA law to give our intelligence community the tools it needs to identify and defeat terrorists in today's high-tech world, while at the same time preserving the freedoms and rights that define America. Three times I voted to pass legislation that would strengthen and modernize FISA and reaffirm the rule of law. Although today's bill made some improvements over previous attempts to update FISA, H.R. 6304 regrettably fell short of achieving that critical balance. The rule of law lies at the core of America's founding principles, and the language in this bill was too weak to ensure that any breach of our laws that may have occurred under the Bush Administration's warrantless wiretapping program will be fully addressed. It is wrong to deny Americans the right to pursue these matters in court, or to short-circuit the judicial review that lies at the heart of our system of checks and balances, the bedrock of our Constitution. Accordingly, I voted against this bill.
I will continue to support real protection of our country from terrorist threats, while at the same time fighting for robust oversight by the Legislative and Judicial branches of our government.
However, someone is going to have to present evidence to me that the 8th District majority of voters approve of granting liability to the telcos, since that is what this latest "compromise" boils down to (and if you don't want to believe me, fine; read Glenn Greenwald - I won't be offended). I believe it was Dana Milbank who told Keith Olbermann on "Countdown" Friday night something to the effect that some Dem U.S. House reps in conservative districts were saying "Hey, Pelosi and Hoyer, you've got to get me a FISA bill because I'm endangered" or something, so they came up with this mess. Either way, the "compromise" is nothing but a cheap sellout.
Also, please take note of some wording I've inserted into the right column of my home page on this, if you would. Thanks.
And as Darcy says again here, "more and better Democrats" (maybe in PA-08 and 07?) - for what it's worth, I'm going to be royally pissed off about this for a long time.