Friday, June 10, 2005

Tyranny of the Majority! Civil Liberties In Tatters!

Mud at Mudholer has alerted me to a very serious issue that just happened this morning. The Judiciary Hearings on the Patriot Act were illegally shut down by the Republican Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, James Sensenbrenner. Better yet, let me put some of this up and you can find out the rest - this is huge!
June 10, 2005

(Washington, DC) -- Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, in her new role as a member of the Judiciary Committee, today witnessed first hand the disrespectful conduct of the Republican majority at a Committee hearing today, requested by the Democratic minority, to hear testimony on civil rights and civil liberties abuses resulting from the USA Patriot Act.

“What happened today was not only an attempt to silence Democratic Members of Judiciary, it was a silencing of Democracy in America,” said Rep. Wasserman Schultz. “As a new member of the Judiciary Committee, I was appalled by the treatment we received today and the disrespect that Minority Chairman Conyers was shown. Minority Chairman Conyers has dedicated over forty years of his life to this country as a member of the House of Representatives --he and the Americans who are deeply concerned about the Patriot Act deserve better.”

The majority acted shamefully today, attempting to silence Democrats at the Judiciary Committee hearing this morning on the impact of the Patriot Act. Throughout the hearing, run by Judiciary Committee Chairman James Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin, witnesses and members were cut-off in mid sentence, the Chairman refused to yield to Democratic members points of order, or points of personal privilege. Finally, the hearing was adjourned by the Chairman, in violation of the Rules of the House and cutting off the microphones of Democratic members while they attempted to speak.

Sixteen provisions of the USA Patriot Act automatically sunset (expire) at the end of the year unless reauthorized by Congress. As such, the Judiciary Committee is holding hearings on the reauthorization of the USA Patriot Act.

The hearing this morning was the first time in roughly ten years that the minority on the Judiciary Committee has been forced to invoke its right to continue hearings in order to have its own witnesses.

Folks, this is really, really serious.

This is about the Patriot Act and the fact that they are trying to make it permanent, and are illegally denying the minority voice a chance to speak. This involves people being detained without recourse to lawyers. This involves 'law enforcement' (whatever the hell that means) having access to all your records - without your knowledge, much less your consent.

This is fascism, and it's happening now.

Go here to read the rest and watch the video.


BTW - 'Real I.D.'? Sensenbrenner's idea - shoved into an Iraq military appropriations bill.


oldwhitelady said...

I read about this on another blog, earlier in the day. It was on Steve Bates site "Yellow Doggeral Democrat".

These happenings are so frustrating.

afb said...

I can't help but feel some of this is fall out about the Downing Street Memo and not as much about the Patriot Act.My hubby, the Republican, was shocked at Sensenberger's behavior. I have to wonder how many other Republicans felt the same way. Conservative fundamentalists are on their way out. It's just too bad this didn't happen in Bush's first term.

Alicia Morgan said...

Good point, Marie. I think (and hope) that we may look back upon Downing Street as the beginning of the end, where the general public, and not just us liberals, get a sense of 'something's not right here'. And as incident after incient happens, as it's been happening all along, people may start to 'connect the dots' in a way they haven't before.

Republicans need permission to feel as if they can jump off the Crazy Train befroe it heads over the cliff...