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Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Very Reassuring...Not

An e-mail reply from Senator Stabenow:
Thank you . . .

. . for contacting me about reauthorizing the Patriot Act. I appreciate you taking the time to share your concerns with me.

In October of 2001, Congress passed the USA Patriot Act (P.L. 107-056) in response to the terrorist attacks of September 11th. This law gives federal officials broader power to investigate and track communications for both law enforcement and intelligence gathering. Many of these provisions are set to expire in 2005. The reason that Congress set limits on these provisions is to allow time to take a look at the consequences of this new law before deciding whether to make them permanent. I share your concern for protecting our civil liberties and agree with you that Congress must not rush to a decision on this critical matter. In the war on terrorism, we need to be careful that we do not sacrifice the very freedoms we are fighting to protect. I agree that we need thorough debate and examination of this law before Congress makes any decision on whether or not to make these provisions permanent.

Thank you again for taking the time to contact me. Please do not hesitate to do so again whenever I may be of assistance to you or your family.

Debbie Stabenow
United States Senator
I don't remember exactly what I wrote; I probably just used a form letter from FCNL or MoveOn. But I'm pretty sure that I didn't say "Congress must not rush to a decision on this critical matter." I would have said to repeal the whole thing, and the sooner the better. Like almost all Democrats, Stabenow easily validates the "war on terrorism," which will continue to threaten our liberties until some president in the distant future has the guts to say that the whole idea was a crass imperial sham that will, by then, probably have killed millions.

However, in my 2 1/2 years or so of activism, I do tentatively claim Stabenow's vote against the Iraq war as one of the few successes. Lots of us here in Michigan worked hard on Levin and Stabenow to vote against the war, and they did, making Michigan one of only four states to have both senators vote no (the others were Vermont, Minnesota, and Hawaii). And Stabenow is a DLC Democrat!

Here are a couple of posts from my blog from October 2002, with some added emphasis:

October 11
The Joint Resolution to Authorize the use of United States Armed Forces Against Iraq, passed by the House and Senate yesterday and early this morning, mentions September 11 three times, even though no links between Iraq and 9/11 have been made. As far as I can tell, in mathematical terms, the intersection of the stated reasons for war with Iraq and the real reasons is the empty set, which is congruous with the contents of George W. Bush's smirky little head. Most wars are criminal, and this one will be no exception. My hopes for living in a more peaceful and just world are giving way to the meager anticipation that someday soon I may still be alive and able to poke my head above the rubble and say "I told you so." Ain't worth it!

I called the offices of Senators Levin and Stabenow and Representative Rivers this morning to thank them for voting against the resolution. I am extremely disappointed in Senator Harkin of Iowa, who voted for the resolution. I gave some money to his re-election campaign through the Council for a Livable World website, and he votes for war! Scum!

October 14
...An e-mail I just sent to Senators Lieberman, Daschle, Kerry, Clinton and Edwards, and Representative Gephardt:

Senator/Congressman ___:
You are frequently mentioned as a candidate for the presidency in 2004. I just want you to know that your vote giving our current President the authority to start a pre-emptive war has convinced me that you are not fit to be president, and I will never vote for you. Last week's vote was probably the most important vote of your Senate career, and you could not have gotten it more wrong. The blood of thousands from the upcoming war will be on your hands.

We've got two years. We've either got to take the Democratic Party away from the Republicrats listed above or get a viable third party going. I haven't researched it thoroughly, but it seems as though Senators Feingold and Wellstone and Representatives Lee and Kucinich could form a core on which to build. We'll be fighting the Republicrat control of government and media, but the declining economy and rising body counts may contribute to a Peace party, or at least a peace takeover of the Democratic party.
Well, I told you so. And I was right--it ain't worth it. Wellstone is dead, Kucinich is supporting Kerry, and Kerry and Edwards are promising to do a better job of fighting the various wars than Bush and Cheney are currently doing. And Stabenow and the rest of Congress think renewing the Patriot Act deserves serious consideration, when in reality it should be shreaded into tiny little pieces and dropped on Russ Feingold's victory parade as confetti (Feingold was the only senator to vote against it, and he's running for re-election this fall).