With the recent revelations on wholesale phone and internet spying by the NSA on U.S. citizens, we're asking ourselves, "How did FISA and the Patriot Act get renewed?"  And not just once but several times.

We generally associate trampling of constitutional civil rights with the GOP.  Sadly, a number of Democrats enthusiastically embraced FISA and the Patriot Act.  No price is too great to pay to rid ourselves of "terrorists" including the dismantling of the bedrock rights on which our republic rests. </sarcasm>

Did anyone envision the shear massiveness of the data mining that would result? That the government would collect information on every phone call made by Verizon customers (and presumably the other carriers as well)? Yes. Brian Schatz said,

"My first vote as United States Senator was against the FISA Amendments Act because it failed to provide transparency, accountability and reasonable limits when the federal government conducts surveillance for intelligence purposes. While I recognize that the FISA Amendments Act has helped to produce useful intelligence, I fear that we do not have a full understanding of the impact that this law has on the privacy of Americans. We need a comprehensive review of the FISA Amendments Act to ensure that Americans’ privacy and civil liberties are protected."
Sen Brian Schatz was joined by other progressive Hawai'i Congressional members. Both Daniel Akaka and Mazie Hirono have voted against the reauthorization of FISA.  

But one Hawai'i House member was not bothered by potential Constitutional violations and problems with Americans' civil rights.

Rep Colleen Hanabusa voted in favor of reauthorizing FISA.

This is a disturbing vote given that Hawai'i is a liberal state which regularly elects progressive Democrats.  One wonders if this is a trend developing for urban Honolulu, which forms the bulk of Hanabusa's district.

This same district voted in Charles Djou, a Teaparty Republican. But this could be shrugged off as an effect of a 3-way special election that split the vote between two Democrats and one Republican.  The next election, Democrat Hanabusa was able to beat Djou easily.

It is certainly clear that Colleen Hanabusa is an anomaly in progressive Hawai'i.  Instead of joining the Progressive caucus as did Mazie Hirono (and as Brian Schatz promised to do when he ran for the House) she joined the Blue Dog spin-off group, New Democrat Coalition (NDC).

Hanabusa's group continues to proudly tout that "We're ready to deal" (away Social Security) and pushes a hawkish foreign policy.  In a press release praising their member, Ellen Tausher, they congratulate her for:,

Protected our national security by working with House Leadership to negotiate a compromise and ensure passage of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA);
With recent revelations, one has to view politicians who worked to reauthorize FISA as lacking in foresight and willing to deal away our civil rights.

Originally posted to Karen from Maui on Fri Jun 07, 2013 at 11:53 AM PDT.

Also republished by The Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party and Community Spotlight.

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