These revelations that our government is collecting all our communications didn't shock me. Piss me off? For sure. We lost all pretense to privacy in 2007 when FISA was revamped to allow for warrantless wiretapping. In conjunction with the Patriot Act, we began living in the United Police States of America.

All of Minnesota's media seems to be talking about Sen. Al Franken's role in oversight of the United Police States of America's ever-growing and intrusive surveillance of everybody and everything. But Sen. Amy Klobuchar has been around longer and has a track record of not caring the least about our civil liberties. She voted poorly on FISA every time it's come before the Senate since she joined it in 2007.

In 2007, the Republican-controlled Senate rammed through changes to FISA the night before everyone left town for the August recess. This bill allowed for warrantless wiretapping without any oversight. Klobuchar did what she was told and rubber-stamped it.

When I confronted her in October of 2007 about her unwillingness to protect our civil liberties and our privacy, here's how she responded:

I was really angry with Amy for voting for the FISA legislation that was forced through the Senate the evening before everyone left for the August recess. I felt that she had abandoned our rights and her campaign claim to hold the Bush Administration accountable. She clarified her position and provided a little more insight into the process. I am less angry with her now and feel more confident that she will not allow unsupervised wiretapping of Americans in the future. I'll begin by recapping the issue.


However, she admitted that she wouldn't vote for legislation like this again. She claimed that she wasn't part of the negotiations over this bill and realizes that this is a vote she'd like to have back. [I got an email clarification. She does not regret her vote. Her Aide says "She did say it is not something she will vote for in the long term, and that the version she did vote for could have been better."] Also, this bill didn't go through the Judiciary Committee and was forced through quickly all on that Friday night. She claims that she and the rest of the Committee will carefully examine the upcoming legislation and make sure that American's rights are not ignored again.
(mnblue.com, my old blog)

In December of 2007, Klobuchar voted against retroactive immunity for the telecom's who coughed up all of our phone calls, emails and etc. Without immunity, citizens could have sued over their breach of our privacy rights. She did so again in January of 2008 and I mistakenly thought all was well.

These changes to FISA enacted in 2007 were only temporary and the Senate had to reconsider it in 2008. Sadly, in June of 2008 Klobuchar went back on her promise to protect our privacy and civil rights.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) voted for cloture on the FISA bill yesterday. Now the bill cannot be filibustered and will likely become law. This is the second time that Amy has abandoned the committment she made during her campaign to defend the constitution and our civil rights. The first time was last August when she voted for the first FISA bill (the one that expired in February). So much for standing up for what she claimed to believe in.

I'm sure she will vote against the bill (and issue a press release with strong language about how she opposes it) when it passes, but the real vote was yesterday. She failed us all again.

And here's how she tried to spin it:
It's shameful. My Senator, Amy Klobuchar, blew it by voting for the cloture and attempting to cover her poor vote by having her staff insist that:
"The motion to proceed allows the bill to be debated and amended, which allowed Dodd and Feingold to offer their amendment to strip [telecom] immunity. You'll notice that 13 other senators joined her today [i.e., 13 other Democratic senators who also voted for cloture and against today's final passage]. The motion to proceed was to allow the bill to be debated and amended. Without that, Senators Dodd and Feingold are not able to introduce amendments to improve the legislation."
(Minnesota Independent)

I repeatedly contacted the Senator's office seeking a comment, but only got one brief explanation that was similar to what her staff told the MN Independent. She wins by 20% in a campaign ripe with promises to stand up to the Bush Adminstration ... no more business as usual ... she promised to defend our Constitution. Why couldn't she have stood up for what's right when it mattered most.

I do my best to pay attention to privacy and constitutional issues, but apparently everybody in the progressive community missed the extension of FISA in 2011. The Senate passed all the objectionable provisions of the Patriot Act and FISA in February.

And now everyone is feigning shock that the United Police States of America is capturing all communications and there is no public awareness that this is occurring until some contractor grows a conscience.

Shee it.

It's like getting angry with the weather. Our civil liberties were sold down the river years ago.

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