Monday, August 06, 2007
Sen. Akaka votes against warrentless surveillence law but Sen. Inouye votes Yes
by Larry Geller
The "Protect America Act" expands on the horrible Patriot Act. For one thing,it allows the Bush administration to order the nation's telephone and Internet companies to create permanent spying facilities that will gather information on American citizens.
I've never written to a Congressperson questioning their vote. After all, it's after the fact and the vote can't be changed. And in the future I hope they will pay attention when I urge them to vote one way or another on something I feel strongly about, so I try not to antagonize.
This was just too much, though. I assumed that both Hawaii senators would vote against this bill, and Senator Akaka did not disappoint, nor did Rep. Abercrombie or Rep. Hirono on the House side. Inouye was alone among Hawaii's Congressional delegation to cast a Yes vote.
So just now I fired off the following fax to Sen. Inouye's Hawaii office. I just had to.
I was disappointed to learn that you voted for, rather than against, this terrible legislation.
As a result of its passage, the administration will have broad new powers to conduct warrantless surveillance on American citizens. Congress handed President Bush a major legislative victory. Voters returned control of both houses of Congress to Democrats in order to put an end to these raids on our civil liberties, among other reasons.
Terrorists are already using encryption and other methods to avoid monitoring. It will be the average American who will be entrapped by this law. It will be the American citizen who suffers identify theft when data is lost or stolen, as must inevitably happen in a project of this scope. The data may also be used to suppress dissent. Congress has allowed the president to do as he wishes with our private conversations.
I am deeply disappointed and hope to hear from you on your motivation for casting a Yes vote on this measure.
So there. I sent it. It doesn't make me feel much better, but it's sent.
Maybe if a few people express some disappointment or even outrage, he may think twice about supporting this again in six months when it comes up for a revote.
If you feel so inclined, please write, call or fax Sen. Inouye. Here is his contact information:
300 Ala Moana Blvd., #7-212
Honolulu, HI 96850
Phone: (808) 541-2542
Fax: (808) 541-2549
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