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The You Work For Us Summer Tour Continues


A little toe-tapping incentive from our Blue America heroes — Tommy and Ken.  Huge thanks to them, to Rickie Lee Jones, to Howie, to Siun and Jacqrat for all the hard work on the 2006 campaign.  Love this song…

We get updates.  First from Bob Schacht and a visit to two Hawaii House members. Do read the whole piece that Bob posted, but this was of particular interest:

But Abercrombie did mention a few new (to me) elements [on impeachment]. First, he said that the Democratic leadership was looking for ways to “peel” Republicans away from the solid Republican block, but so far without much luck. The implication was that if they could figure out how to peal off a few more votes, impeachment would be back on the table.

When you consider what we are seeing with Senate races as well, as I detailed in the prior piece on McConnell and others, you can see what a sham the GOP public bluster really is: all huff and puff, and a crumbling house of sticks falls down entirely. It’s time for a whole lot more public push, don’t you think?  We can’t wait for Democrats in Congress to do this — we’re going to have to push for the reforms we want ourselves.

This next bit comes from a meeting that demi and Loo Hoo had with a staffer in Rep. Issa’s office in CA.  Not exactly Mr. Friendly To Progressives, and yet, demi and Loo Hoo had a meeting, aired out their views, and found out some very interesting stuff from Issa’s district deputy, who couldn’t quite figure out why two constituents were simply interested in better government. Huge thank you to demi for sending me the write up, and for Loo Hoo sending notes along as well.:

We started out with the issue of needing to reinstate Habeas Corpus. Oh, you have a problem with the Patriot Act, he asked. You probably think we don’t need Guantanamo. Those people are terrorists! Loo Hoo pointed out that we don’t know that, we haven’t tried them yet. He rolled his eyes like we were idiots. Leaning forward, he posed, “Did 9/11 not happen!?” Oh yeah, we missed that one completely. We tried to point out that if you take away Habeas Corpus for those who you suspect are terrorists, you take it away from all of us. Too bad. He didn’t see a problem with that.

Then, we naturally moved on to wire-tapping. He shared with us that he gets a lot of calls from those people who live in the trailer park in Oceanside….The inference…was that he didn’t have a problem with illegal wiretapping, but spending money on investigating those trailer trash people. He really wondered at our passion and interest in this subject. He asked Loo Hoo “You don’t really stay awake at night worrying about these things, do you?” Of course, she answered, “Yes, Phil, I actually do.” He shook his head at us. Unbelievable.

He did agree, albeit half-heartedly, that some parts of the act needed to be reviewed. He said that after 9/11, laws were changed too quickly, and like in our personal lives when that happens, mistakes can be made.

He really wanted to let us know that Darryl Issa is one of the good guys. Hey, “Darryl” has repeatedly disagreed with The President. He told us that “…we’re more civil libertarians then you people think.” He was really pressing Loo Hoo for a reason for her being there. It was our distinct impression that he might have thought she was considering running for his seat in the next election. (Hey good idea we thought! Thanks for that.)

We moved on to Iraq. (Darryl) thinks it’s a disaster in the Middle East. (Nothing gets by this guy.) He agreed that “at some point” we have to come up with an exit plan. Loo Hoo was passionate when she pushed for more. At some point? When would that be appropriate? What about a time table?

I pointed out that in the recent debates even the Republicans are saying that the war is a mess, and why is it that just now they have changed their tune. He responded that people have short attention spans and they are tired of hearing about the war in Iraq on the news.

Nothing was mentioned about the trillions of dollars we’ve spent…I asked him if he thought that Senators and Congresspeople care about what their Constituents feel about political issues. This was one of my the questions I thought would be politically neutral; one that would not set off any alarms. I was wrong. Up went his shields and again leaning towards me he questioned “Why would you think otherwise?”…

Loo Hoo brought up the issue of Blackwater wanting to build some sort of facility near San Diego and asked how Mr. Issa felt about that. Yeah, so what’s the big deal? She pointed out that we’re borrowing two billion dollars a week from China to pay for those private mercenaries. So? Again, what’s the problem? He explained to us that our country buys a great deal of goods from China. It was my impression that he feels we could not sustain ourselves without all of the crap we buy from them.

He told us that we have to buy our junk from China because America doesn’t manufacture anything anymore. (Because it’s cheaper to produce abroad — i.e. a way for the corporations to make more money!) We only produce lawyers. Every kid out there has new tennis shoes and iPods and cell phones. Neither Terry or I have cell phones we admitted, nor do we buy items manufactured in China. This was another time he pointed out just how much of an exception the two of us are. He brought up Wal-Mart. He shops there. We don’t.  When he enlightened us that they have the best prices, Terry explained to him that the only reason they have the best prices is that they treat their employees like dirt. Again, the shrug. So what.

We were trying to make the point that it’s not good for our country to have these corporations getting rich on the backs of the workers. Mr. Paule asked what’s wrong with a smart man getting rich off of a successful company he has made. (Please note the gender.) And we answered that they should be paying their share of taxes, to which he pointed out that they are. I guess he’s never heard of offshore accounts.

Back to Blackwater, we said it was wrong for them to be making money on the backs of our soldiers and Mr. Paule told us that we probably wouldn’t have a problem if, say, The Peace Corps wanted to build their headquarters here. Maybe I’m just stupid, but I just don’t see the comparison. To me that is a completely ludicrous analogy. But, that’s just me.

When we switched to the subject of the Libby trial, he accused Loo Hoo of being obsessed with it and asked her why. How do you explain all of the ties to the illegal war, the undermining of the CIA, all of the destruction of the Constitution to a guy who donated to Scooter’s defense fund and thinks that the jury’s decision was clearly wrong….He corrected my assumption that Scooter didn’t “out” Valerie Plame; that was Robert Novak. When we pressed him on the issue of lying, he did the but, but, but…Bill Clinton did.

I asked him did he not see the incredible differences between the ramifications of Libby’s lies versus Bill Clinton’s lies? Naaa. He told us we shouldn’t worry about her getting a new job. She’ll be fine. Same as all those [US] Attorneys who were fired. They won’t have a problem getting new and even higher paying jobs. Don’t you worry your pretty little heads about it was the implication. How does one have a discussion about right and wrong when he only sees dollar signs….

I was pretty exhausted by the time we got to the end of the meeting. It should have made me feel better when he explained to us that we have “packed up a great deal of power in congress” since the last election. I should have been relieved when he assured us that regarding our fears and anxieties about Bush/Cheney/Rove et all, that we “have an amazing and exaggerated mindset about how much power these people have.” He told us that we give them “far more credit than necessary.” He thanked us for being good citizens and participating in our Democracy and for remaining civil during the discussion….

Oh, and I almost forgot the money quote. Phil Paule told us, and I’m not quoting him, but to my memory and from what I wrote in my notebook, that Mr. Darrell Issa is just a bored millionaire. I swear to God. You can’t make this stuff up.

Hello, sunshine.  If you’ve had an encounter or a response from your contact with your elected officials, do let us know.  Let’s keep the accountability going, shall we?

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Christy Hardin Smith

Christy Hardin Smith

Christy is a "recovering" attorney, who earned her undergraduate degree at Smith College, in American Studies and Government, concentrating in American Foreign Policy. She then went on to graduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania in the field of political science and international relations/security studies, before attending law school at the College of Law at West Virginia University, where she was Associate Editor of the Law Review. Christy was a partner in her own firm for several years, where she practiced in a number of areas including criminal defense, child abuse and neglect representation, domestic law, civil litigation, and she was an attorney for a small municipality, before switching hats to become a state prosecutor. Christy has extensive trial experience, and has worked for years both in and out of the court system to improve the lives of at risk children.

Email: reddhedd AT firedoglake DOT com