hi! forgive the OT post, but i was hoping to correct the record re: blumenauer and this FDL nonsense.
blumenauer signed a letter, which FDL characterizes thusly (scroll down and it's on the right):
In July, 60 Democratic Members of Congress signed a letter (PDF) to Speaker Pelosi and House Leadership saying they would vote against a health care bill from conference committee if it didn't have a public option.
But when you click through and read the letter, you learn it was written in specific response to a proposal being worked in the Energy and Commerce Committee. More specifically, it was about an agreement between Waxman and the Blue Dogs. The words "conference report" don't even appear in the letter. And nobody says anything about their final vote on anything.
That letter is completely separate from the pledge, which FDL describes as:
16 progressive Members of Congress pledged to vote against any bill without a public option that was available nationwide and on day one.
Earl Blumenauer never signed this pledge and everyone who did sign it has already disregarded it in voting for the House bill.
i sent my paper my ranting screed to Senator Smith; with any luck, it could be featured as a Sunday opinion piece.
but if not, I also submitted this shorter LTE:
Our Constitution explicitly states that judges are to be appointed by and with "the advice and consent of the Senate." But after the embarassment of the Miers nomination, Bush consulted instead with his Chief of Staff, White House Counsel, and leaders of the religious right to decide on the nomination of Samuel Alito. This aberration should put any true "strict constructionist" on edge, but little has been made of it.
Until now - the filibuster is on and not a moment too soon. The Constitution also fails to mention "signing statements" or anything else about the president "interpreting" legislation, yet Samuel Alito supports these and other expansions of executive branch power. This is especially disturbing in light of Bush's extralegal domestic spying and similar snubbing of constitutional checks and balances. I applaud those Senators standing up for Americans' rights and the separation of powers so crucial to our democracy. Won't you?
Sustaining a filibuster on Alito is critical to the future of Congress
Confirmation will condemn America to decades of radically expanded government power and intrusion into citizen's lives --while diminishing the role Congress will play in government
If ever a filibuster was justified, this is it! We must not let Judge Alito, through his unitary executive theory, bestow apparent legitimacy on President Bush's power grabs.
For the indefinite future, Washington will remain Tom DeLay's capital. Dislodged by a criminal indictment last week from his post as House majority leader, DeLay in his decade of steering the Republican caucus dramatically -- and in many cases inalterably -- changed how power is amassed and used on Capitol Hill and well beyond.
...even more than people, DeLay's lasting influence is an ethos. He stood for a view of Washington as a battlefield on which two sides struggle relentlessly, moderates and voices of compromise are pushed to the margins, and the winners presume they have earned the right to punish dissenters and reward their own side with financial and policy favors.
...Most of all, DeLay stood for a blurring of the line between lawmakers and lobbyists so that lobbyists are now considered partners of politicians and not merely pleaders -- especially if they once worked for Republicans on Capitol Hill.
A much more succinct version of the above rambling is in today's Alito letter:
In 1989, Supreme Court nominee Samuel A. Alito Jr. denounced the high court's decision that year upholding a Watergate-era law that allowed independent counsels to investigate wrongdoing in the White House, arguing that the decision amounted to a ''congressional pilfering" of presidential power.
Speaking at a convention marking an anniversary of the Bill of Rights, Alito endorsed the strong view of presidential power described by Justice Antonin Scalia, the only member of the court to vote against the independent counsel law, calling Scalia's opinion ''a brilliant but very lonely dissent." Scalia argued that no president should be subject to a prosecutor who is not also answerable to that president under the Constitution.
Such remarks are highly alarming in light of the current constitutional crisis faced by the United States, where the President has not only admitted to committing an impeachable offense, but has declared his intention to continue breaking the same law. Furthermore, President Bush has asserted the power to hold prisoners without trial, shield documents, and authorize aggressive interrogations without congressional approval. Because the President has been so openly disdainful of the Constitution and rule of law in this country, I question his choice of nominee for the Supreme Court.
The advice and consent clause of the Constitution gives the Senate the vital role of asking the hard questions and, where necessary, withholding confirmation. Because of his radical right-wing judicial philosophy and the damage that his confirmation could inflict on American citizens for many years to come, I am urging you to oppose the confirmation of Samuel A. Alito Jr. to the Supreme Court.
Please use this information to convince your friends, co-workers, congress - anybody - that alito is a menace to this country. Feel free to copy or adapt the sample letter to send to Congress (Senate, and House), as well as the members of the the Judiciary Committee. You can even send a fax via the web!