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Wetterling named a "Progressive Patriot" by Sen. Russ Feingold

Today I received this e-mail from the DFL:

Last week Patty Wetterling was one of the top two vote-recipients in John Edwards’s online One America Votes contest. Through your efforts, John Edwards will be coming to Minnesota to help raise money for Patty!

Now you can help support Patty again by voting for her in an online Progressive Patriots Fund contest.

The candidate to receive the most votes will receive a $5,000 campaign contribution. So vote for Patty and help send her to Congress this November!

The e-mail quoted a letter from Sen. Russ Feingold of Wisconsin, a probable candidate for President in 2008 and one of the most principled and courageous members of the Senate. Here is that letter:

I'm proud to announce that today is the beginning of our next "Pick a Progressive Patriot" event. We're once again featuring great candidates for the House of Representatives who were nominated by you: the grassroots. Now it's up to you to decide whom we should support next. Please vote for your favorite candidate, and whoever receives the most votes will receive a $5,000 contribution to their campaign from the Progressive Patriots Fund.

Vote Now!

It wasn't easy choosing just twelve candidates. You nominated some outstanding people from all fifty states. But these candidates are all running in tough races, and our support can make the difference. As we've seen in recent months, without Democratic control of Congress, we can't hold this President accountable for his actions, so I need you to help me choose who to support in our effort to take back the House.

Vote Now!

If you're not familiar with the candidates in our "Pick a Progressive Patriot" event, you can learn a little more about them by visiting our website. They're all fantastic candidates who I'm proud to support. With the crucial midterm elections just a few short months away, these candidates need your support. Please cast your vote today.


Russ Feingold

Russ Feingold
United States Senator
Honorary Chair, Progressive Patriots Fund

I especially like what Senator Feingold has to say about accountability. Michele Bachmann will follow in Mark Kennedy's footsteps as a Bush rubber-stamp, and may even outdo Kennedy in the lockstep-voting department. He's now trying to run away from that record of consistently voting over 95% with Bush; something tells me that Bachmann would outdo that impressive record. As long as folks like Kennedy and Bachmann are willing to sacrifice principle and the Constitutional system of checks and balances to party loyalty, the failed domestic and foreign policies of the Bush administration and the Republican leadership will never change. As long as one-party rule continues, Congress will refuse to investigate the misdeeds and mistakes of the Bush administration. Democrats have a golden opportunity to re-take the House. Patty Wetterling is one piece of that puzzle.


Can you give even one example where the "Constitutional system of checks and balances" were sacrificed to party loyalty?

(And supporting policies you don't agree with doesn't count.)


Here is the definition of "checks and balances" on Wikipedia, as set forth by Montesquieu:

In a system of government with competing sovereigns (such as a multi-branch government or a federal system), "checks" refers to the ability, right, and responsibility of each power to monitor the activities of the other(s); "balances" refers to the ability of each entity to use its authority to limit the powers of the others, whether in general scope or in particular cases.

Keeping each independent entity within its prescribed powers can be a delicate process. Public support, tradition, and well-balanced tactical positions do help maintain such systems. Checks and balances makes sure not one branch is too powerful.

There are plenty of examples where the Republicans have sacrificed their constitutional duty to balance the power of the executive branch to party loyalty.

The Republican Congress has failed its responsibility to oversee the activities of the Bush administration. Congressional oversight has been nonexistent on some fronts. Where are the committees investigating the contracts awarded for reconstruction in Iraq? What about the year-plus delay in forming the 9/11 Commission? Why did Republican leaders attempt to subvert the commission by attacking witnesses, like Richard Clarke, rather than holding the administration accountable for its intelligence failures? Why did the Democrats have to shut down the Senate to force Republican leadership to discuss pre-war intelligence?

Why has Congress rolled over on the issue of domestic warrantless wiretaps? Yesterday's court decision is the first blow against it. Congress did not reprimand Bush or investigate the program. Ditto on "extraordinary rendition," Guantanamo, secret prison camps, and torture.

John Conyers on oversight is great.

On another front, the Republican Senate has been a complete rubber-stamp for Bush's political appointees-- with the exception of Harriet Miers. A principled few Republicans stood up and refused to kill the filibuster; most wanted to go ahead with the "nuclear option" to end filibusters.

Bush has abused his power terrifically and Congress has done absolutely nothing to stop it.

This NSA surveillance program did not consist of agents with their feet up on the desk randomly picking phone calls, getting their jollys by seeing if someone was having an affair with their secretary, or listening to Susie ask Madison to her 5th Birthday party.

The calls being monitored originated or ended outside the country with suspected terrorists.

And what drives us conservatives nuts is that your side's reaction is not "Yes! Do what it takes to find these terrorists". Apparently this is not a "smarter approach." This is not the reaction of people who have the fire in the belly to do what it takes to protect ourselves.

It is the reaction of weak, short-sighted people.

As for the legality, as I said in a comment BvW, I'm not a lawyer. But here is reaction to the court decision you refer to. Sound arguments that deserve a reasoned reply, not cries of treason.


I didn't accuse anyone of treason. You accused me, and anyone who has concerns about the "Terrorist Surveillance Program," of being "weak" and "shortsighted."

"Weak"? Don't you mean the people who are so afraid of "the terrorists" that they are willing to give up the liberties this country was founded on, to allow the President to break the law and ignore the Constitution?

"Short-sighted"? You mean those who willingly allow our freedoms to be taken away, eroded a little at a time? What's going to be left in the future, Jeff?
Sure, it's foreign calls now, but what if the President decides it's necessary to monitor domestic calls without warrants as well? Is he going to make his own law then? This is the real shortsightedness, because once these liberties are gone it is very hard to get them back again. Especially in a "war on terror" that will never end, according to Michele Bachmann.

All that "my side" is saying is that these things should be done within the law, within the Constitution, with warrants. If the emergency procedures are not there, as that article you link to suggests, then they should be there. But there need to be records and warrants to stop abuse of power.