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Madame Speaker has written a letter to the House Judiciary and Intelligence Committees, requesting that they convene as quickly as possible (after vacation, of course) to amend the FISA legislation they just green-lighted.

Forgive my stupidity, but I don't know how this game works.

In all games I've ever played, the object is to win, by scoring points, by gaining territory, or by maneuvering the opponent into an inescapable trap. I've somehow missed the concept of 'win by capitulation'; of 'surrender for victory'; of 'kiss ass for the brass ring'.

Forgive me for using some of the same epithets normally reserved by those on the "right", the warmongering chickenhawks who accuse us of being such things as "surrender monkeys", or "terrorist sympathizers", for demanding an end to the administration's illegal and immoral war. We all know this is an entirely different matter.

Speaker Pelosi's letter to the Honorables Conyers and Reyes:

August 4, 2007

The Honorable John Conyers, Jr.
Chairman, Committee on the Judiciary
2138 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable Silvestre Reyes
Chairman, Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence
H-405 The Capitol
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Chairman Conyers and Chairman Reyes:

Thank you for your leadership on matters affecting the security of the American people and the protection of the liberties that define our country.

I know that your committees have been working diligently on a proposal by the Administration to amend the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). I also understand that your work has been hindered by the Administration’s refusal to provide all of the documents you believe are relevant to your consideration of the proposal.

Tonight, the House passed S. 1927, a bill approved by the Senate yesterday, which is an interim response to the Administration’s request for changes in FISA, and which was sought to fill an intelligence gap which is asserted to exist. Many provisions of this legislation are unacceptable, and, although the bill has a six month sunset clause, I do not believe the American people will want to wait that long before corrective action is taken.

Accordingly, I request that your committees send to the House, as soon as possible after Congress reconvenes, legislation which responds comprehensively to the Administration’s proposal while addressing the many deficiencies in S. 1927.

Thank you for your attention to this request and for your service to our country.

best regards,

Nancy Pelosi

But this is NOT a game, Madame Speaker. This is our Constitution at stake. Political games do not help the American People, especially when the strategy is to give away territory, then burn valuable time playing catch-up ball.

Rather than standing firm against an administration that ignores the law, lies to the People, and treats the Congress like an annoying swarm of houseflies, the Democrats we elected for change have instead chosen to hand them even more power. As if this isn't enough, the additional power the Congress has ceded to the Executive Branch falls squarely in the lap of an Attorney General who has repeatedly perjured himself before the nation, and who has repeatedly displayed both his incompetence and his loyalty to a man, rather than loyalty to the Constitution and the law.

You and your colleagues will have much to answer for in the coming months. I truly hope you are able to rectify this travesty, but, in all honesty, it seems too little, too late. The precedents are now established. In the interim, there will be innocent people swept up in the vaccuum of "total information awareness" given a patriotic name, and there will no doubt be a flurry of "terrorist plots" foiled by this miraculous new legislation -- legislation which serves only to further weaken the Bill of Rights, and to push this administration's activities further into the dark, and out of sight.

If this is your idea of "protecting America", I respectfully request that you cease and desist in your efforts to "protect" me. I am willing to accept the risks that go along with freedom, but this notion of freedom becomes an ironic joke under the boots of a government out of control. Please, I beg you, and all of your colleagues in the Congress who swore to defend the Constitution against all enemies, both foriegn and domestic, do not protect this once-proud nation to death.

Originally posted to Executive Odor on Sun Aug 05, 2007 at 02:31 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Is there a time limit... (11+ / 0-)

    On this legislation?  Otherwise, basically is what she is saying, "OK, first I will allow you to have sex with me and get me pregnant, and then we can talk about birth control methods."

    "We have the war we deserve." - Jean-Paul Sartre

    by RichM on Sun Aug 05, 2007 at 02:28:43 PM PDT

  •  With mpeachment "off the table" (12+ / 0-)

    Nancy wanted to give Bush/Cheney/Gonzo et. al preemptive pardons for all their illegal spying.

    Thanks Madame Speaker, Americans do really want our Presidents to be above the law.

    God I hate all of these people.

    What FDR giveth; GWB taketh away.

    by Marie on Sun Aug 05, 2007 at 02:32:35 PM PDT

  •  As my Dad used to say... (5+ / 0-)

    "It had better be good....!"

    Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

    by fatdave on Sun Aug 05, 2007 at 02:33:38 PM PDT

  •  Sould have worked to defeat the damn thing (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RichM, fritzrth, NonnyO, lisastar

    Not sat back and decided to play catch-up after the fact.
    This moron in the WH needs his wings clipped, not given expanded powers.
    Good luck on righting this wrong Madame Speaker.
    We need Pelosi and Hoyer to step down and let a true leader emerge in the House.

    •  Nancy & The Cavemen (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      fritzrth, NonnyO, North Country Dem

      I'm afraid Nancy didn't want to put up a fight because that might have threatened her precious recess - because then the Dems would have to answer throughout August to the Mighty Wurlitzer blaring on and on about how Dems are terrorist lover. And that would have apparently been too much work - more than our constutional liberties are really worth to Nancy & The Cavemen at the helm of the Dem party.

      Damn George Bush! Damn everyone that won't damn George Bush! Damn every one that won't put lights in his window and sit up all night damning George Bush!

      by brainwave on Sun Aug 05, 2007 at 02:42:01 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  She's not on our side (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      She brought the bill to a vote knowing that it would pass.

      "Victory means exit strategy, and it's important for the president to explain to us what the exit strategy is." - George W Bush

      by jfern on Sun Aug 05, 2007 at 02:56:24 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Sort of dumbfounded (5+ / 0-)

    but also don't know how common this type of action is.

    Whatever. Too late. Pelosi and Reid need to go.

    You don't pay any attention to what your parents tell you, but you watch the way they live their lives...Tom Waits

    by lisastar on Sun Aug 05, 2007 at 02:42:31 PM PDT

  •  oh (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    "oh, and John, about that impeachment idea..."

    Now THAT's what I'm talking about.

    You don't pay any attention to what your parents tell you, but you watch the way they live their lives...Tom Waits

    by lisastar on Sun Aug 05, 2007 at 02:45:00 PM PDT

  •  double talk again (9+ / 0-)

    This lady is some piece of work!  She now says that many pieces of this legislation is unacceptable!  Well, if it was unacceptable, why in the hell didn't she say that from the House floor last night!  Why didn't she round up all of the Democratic members of the House and told them that it was an unacceptable piece of treacherous legislation and that those who voted for it would face the full wrath of the Democratic leadership!  Why did she even allow this bill up for a floor vote?

    I just don't buy it.  There is something sinister going on behind the scenes.  Does she think we're stupid?  In my opinion she is not incompetent, she is truly competent, but on the wrong side.  She is complicit in the loss of our Constitution.  If she purposely planned on pissing off the Democratic base she could not have done a better job of it.

    I now proudly officially put on my tinfoil hat.  There is no other way to explain this pure plain incompetence and malfeascene of duty.  The elites are working hand in hand to enrich themselves.  This is truly an inside job.  She knows darn well what she is doing.  She, and her penpal Harry Reid in the Senate, must be replaced immediately.

    My thanks goes out to those brave Democrats in the House who stood up for freedom.  You fought the good fight.  I think you should all demand the speaker's resignation.  If not, you should officially change your party id to Green, Socialist, Social Democratic, or whatever the hell you want.  But we cannot continue to take these outright betrayals from the Democratic party.

  •  Isn't she just trying to make the best of a bad (3+ / 0-)

    result? She doesn't want to wait til the last minute to pass another bill. She wants to revisit the issue now and pass a better bill in the fall, before the campaign season goes into full swing.

    •  Maybe so (5+ / 0-)

      but they're tampering with laws that don't need tampering with.

      In fact, the whole notion of secret courts is anti-American from the get-go.

      But now, even the secret courts are pretty much irrelevant.

      If history provides any clue, they'll slap some lipstick on this law in six months, and it will be adopted permanently, just like the ironically-named "PATRIOT" Act.

      Okay, I'm here. Now, where's that free government cheese?

      by Executive Odor on Sun Aug 05, 2007 at 02:55:43 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well, sure, but I don't have any problem with (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        forbodyandmind, MyBrainWorks

        this letter, in particular. In fact, I think she's trying to do the right thing---to make Congress revisit the issue immediately, and pass a better bill as a first order of business.

        •  Well, I'm still confoosed (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Karmafish, lotlizard, Lovo, xaxado

          If they caved in the first round, then how are they ever going to face the shitstorm the loyal bushies will create when they try to change it?

          I can hear the know-nothings in the media now: "Democrats flip-flop on national security"... "Democrats undermine intelligence on terrorism"... "Democrats seek to appease terrorists"...

          They are already afraid, I presume, of being called "weak on terra". So, after the bushies have a chance to trot out a couple of trumped-up "terror plots" that were supposedly disrupted by this legislation, how will they justify changing it?

          I don't have a problem with the letter, either. It's the water-under-the-bridge aspect that I'm disgusted with.

          Okay, I'm here. Now, where's that free government cheese?

          by Executive Odor on Sun Aug 05, 2007 at 03:44:00 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  a bad result (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      that she could have stopped and didn't.

      -7.25 -6.77 Primaries have consequences too.

      by Lovo on Sun Aug 05, 2007 at 04:42:36 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Madame Speaker (9+ / 0-)

    With all due respect:

    Lead, follow, or get the hell out of the way to let our Representatives to do the job we sent them to Washington to do!

    The original FISA law, as written, provided for emergency wiretaps with post-approval from judges immediately thereafter.  What, pray tell, don't Georgie and Dickie and Gonzo understand about that?

    What you really need to do is repeal all the extra provisions for open-ended wiretaps ~ and repeal all the bad legislation both houses of Congress have passed to enable the war criminals leading this country since 2001.

    Besides which, any criminal with half a brain could figure out that emails and phone calls could be tapped into and devise ways of communicating that can't be traced, such as disposable phones.  Giving Georgie and Dickie and Gonzo all these extra - and, I might add, illegal and unconstitutional - powers to spy on Americans is just the most idiotically stupid thing Congress could possibly do.

    Everyone already knows they have gotten "laws" passed that make "legal" the crimes they've already committed, that they have treated the Constitution as toilet paper, broken the Geneva Conventions (which is incorporated into our Constitution under the treaties clause), ignored the Bill of Rights, and trampled US Code, Title 18 having to do with war crimes.

    Madame Speaker:  You've collaborated with Georgie and Dickie and Gonzo at every turn.  You should be stopping them from trampling every aspect of every law we have, whether overtly or by implication, not enabling them to treat our Constitution and our laws with contempt.  If you can't abide by your oath of office to defend the Constitution "from all enemies, foreign and domestic" (that includes domestic enemies like Georgie and Dickie and Gonzo, who should all be impeached), perhaps you should consider resigning from office.

    "War is contempt for life." To Youth/Nordahl Grieg

    by NonnyO on Sun Aug 05, 2007 at 02:51:24 PM PDT

    •  Umm (8+ / 0-)

      The original FISA law, as written, provided for emergency wiretaps with post-approval from judges immediately thereafter.  What, pray tell, don't Georgie and Dickie and Gonzo understand about that?

      It takes some shopping around to find a judge willing to give you a warrant to spy on your political opponents. Too much effort for Bush.

      "Victory means exit strategy, and it's important for the president to explain to us what the exit strategy is." - George W Bush

      by jfern on Sun Aug 05, 2007 at 02:58:28 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  True (0+ / 0-)

        He doesn't want to spy on criminals anyway.

        He wants to spy on Democrats, Democratic web sites, et cetera and so on and so forth, so he (and/or Rove looking to the '08 pretzelnitwit selection) can have blackmail leverage over them if they're doing anything remotely shady.

        If the Democrats who voted in favor of this latest FISA unconstitutionality are too dumb to figure that out, perhaps they are not intelligent enough to be senators or representatives either.

        "War is contempt for life." To Youth/Nordahl Grieg

        by NonnyO on Sun Aug 05, 2007 at 04:20:07 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I Sure That Neither the Executive (4+ / 0-)

    not the Legislative branch can actually take away our constitutional rights. The Constitution would need to be ammended for that.

    So all the legislature are saying is that they feel it's OK for the executive to violate our rights.


    This is CLASS WAR, and the other side is winning.

    by Mr X on Sun Aug 05, 2007 at 03:02:57 PM PDT

  •  I agree (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Karmafish, Executive Odor

    They need to stop "protecting" me too!!!

    •  Oh. You needn't worry about that. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      zbctj52, Lovo, Executive Odor

      They aren't protecting you.

      Whatever else the War on Terror might be, it has damn little to do with protecting the citizenry and everything to do with beating the hell out of Democrats, undermining the Constitution, and concentrating economic power at the top.

      "War does not determine who is right - only who is left." - Bertrand Russell

      by Karmafish on Sun Aug 05, 2007 at 04:08:19 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  That's how I see it (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        zbctj52, Karmafish, Lovo

        I get a pain in the brain when I try to reconcile the idea of "protecting the Constitution" with political action that undermines it.

        It's the same contradictory reasoning that says we have to destroy the village in order to save it; that we have to bomb the civilians in order to protect them from tyranny.

        War is peace.
        Ignorance is power.
        Freedom is slavery.

        What planet is this, again?

        Okay, I'm here. Now, where's that free government cheese?

        by Executive Odor on Sun Aug 05, 2007 at 04:17:11 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I don;t know a lot about Washington, but it (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    should never have come to a vote right before vacation. Its like in football - Somebody missed their coverage assignment, and the little runningback squirted through for a touchdown and a dance in the end-zone (applause last night after the vote ended).  

    Don't tell them to end the war! Tell them to END THE OCCUPATION .

    by CTMET on Sun Aug 05, 2007 at 04:55:04 PM PDT

  •  I now put in a quarter (0+ / 0-)

    and play this song again:

    Angry black woman: Are you sayin' the Democratic Party don't care about the African-American community?
    Bulworth: Isn't that OBVIOUS? You got half your kids are out of work and the other half are in jail. Do you see ANY Democrat doing anything about it? Certainly not me! So what're you gonna do, vote Republican? Come on! Come on, you're not gonna vote Republican! Let's call a spade a spade!
    [Loud, angry booing]
    Bulworth: I mean - come on! You can have a Billion Man March! If you don't put down that malt liquor and chicken wings, and get behind someone other than a running back who stabs his wife, you're NEVER gonna get rid of somebody like me!

    I hear this song a lot more these days.

  •  THIS diary really connects (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Executive Odor

    For me the last paragraph really is a slam dunk.

    tip an a rec

    FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

    by Roger Fox on Sun Aug 05, 2007 at 06:52:07 PM PDT

  •  Today's exchange rate (0+ / 0-)

    Votes come from people.  Campaign funds come from 'corporate persons'.  Nancy sold impeachment to a high bidder.  After that, auctioning off the 4th Amendment no doubt brought a dear price.  The powder is hopelessly wet from blood sweat and tears -- squandered in the vain hope that Democrats stood for Democracy.  The cash is surely dry and crisp, since freshly laundered.

  •  Conyers Can Have Some More (0+ / 0-)

    one or two day dramatic hearings that lead nowhere in particular, to give us the feeling that "our concerns are being addressed."

    How're the censure/investigation of impeachment/impeachment of Gonzales, and the contempt actions against the Gonzales clones, Rove, and Miers coming along?

    Anyone pushing to sneak any of those through the House or Senate, the way this FISA bill was handled?

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