I always thought that when an incumbent was running for re-election to Congress, he or she would say the things that people tend to agree with. Kissing babies, advocating for helping little old ladies across the street, upholding the Constitution, you know, the important things. Apparently Vito Fossella wants out of his job representing Staten Island and is determined to let us know it. Fellow Republican Peter King penned an Op-Ed in the NY Daily News today to call for the Democrats to pass a bill that violates the rule of law and our Constitution, all in one shot. How would one go about that? By passing retroactive immunity and lying about the situation to the readers of the Daily News.
From The NY Daily News:
Over the past two months, the House of Representatives has found the time to pass legislation on such pressing issues as establishing a National Watermelon Month and designating 2008 as the International Year of the Reef.
But legislative leaders haven't found time to restore one of the most important tools in the war on terrorism - a tool the Democrats took away from our intelligence officials in February when they failed to modernize the law that governs the surveillance of terrorists overseas.
The clock is ticking with more urgency every day.
Since right after Sept. 11, under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, intelligence agents have had the authority to quickly monitor foreign-to-foreign communications of terrorists without having to first obtain a court order. Knowing in real time exactly what the enemy is going to do has helped foil numerous attacks, including the Heathrow Airport plot last year, which could have claimed the lives of thousands of innocent people.
Yet, 77 days ago, House leaders allowed the law to lapse. There's a clear way to break the deadlock: embrace the Senate bill passed in a bipartisan fashion by the Democratic-controlled Senate. That bill would close the terrorist loopholes, protect our civil liberties and also provide liability protections for the telecommunications companies that have played a key role in helping the government defend our nation since 9/11. We hear lots of talk about bipartisanship these days, but the party in power seems unwilling to practice it on the most pressing national security issue of the moment.
With our pleas for action ignored, we have been forced to take the extraordinary step of organizing a discharge petition. Once a majority of the House signs onto the effort, the bill would bypass normal procedure and go directly to the House floor for a vote. We began circulating the petition last week. So far, 184 members have joined our effort. That's 34 short of the magic number of 218.
So they couldn't even get the signatures of the entire Republican caucus. That is not good for the case, just for starters. The statements up above and in the rest of the Op-Ed are arguments of the worst sort, meaning false and misleading. First off, passing Watermelon Month does not tear away at our system of laws and open, accountable government. Passing the old Senate legislation to let telco companies off the hook would.
They also fail to mention that anti-terrorism activity is still on going and will do so for several more months. There is plenty of time to allow for legislation that will continue protecting Americans while holding those that acted illegally along with the President in monitoring American citizens without using the proper channels, such as obtaining court orders. When you spy for the President and you feel good about your culpability in the matter, then let the case go to trial and stop hiding behind George Bush.
Peter King and Vito Fossella try to dismiss themselves of being fearmongers, but that is exactly what they are doing. It is written throughout the Op-Ed. They do not care for following the rule of law and are willing accomplices to letting George Bush, AT&T, Verizon, etc go free from prosecution that they so justly deserve. That makes them criminals too and for that both need to be kicked out of office by the people that live in their district.
I would love to see Peter King lose in November, but the demographics in that part of Long Island are not in our favor yet. However in Staten Island, there is a sea change going on and we have a great opportunity to show Fossella the door. If you disagree with the Republicans desire to revamp FISA to let Bush and telecommunication giants, then it is time to come together and rid Staten Island of the stench Vito Fossella creates in the Borough, New York City and in the Congress itself.