In DC, there's good bipartisan and there's bad bipartisan. Bad bipartisan, which is far, far more prevalent, usually revolves around corruption like, for example, when Wall Street whores from both sides of the aisle– lets' say Republican Sean Duffy (WI) and New Dem Patrick Murphy (FL)– get together to try to hobble the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. That's bad bipartisan and that's what usually happens on Capitol Hill. Every now and then you'll find a dedicated progressive and a dedicated conservative– one Democrat and one Republican– with the intent and the savvy to go around their parties' establishments to pass legislation that's actually good for America… a concept that sleaze-bags like Sean Duffy and Patrick Murphy would never grasp.
Remember about a week and half ago– when there were far fewer women on TV recounting stories about Trump grabbing their pussies– a real scandal broke (for a few hours), the one about Yahoo spying on all their customers? Crooks like Sean Duffy and Patrick Murphy are still rooting around for bribes from Wall Street but 2 congressmen who take this kind of thing seriously, progressive Democrat Ted Lieu (Los Angeles) and conservative Republican Justin Amash (Grand Rapids) decided to do something about it, something that didn't go through establishment hacks Nancy Pelosi and Paul Ryan, avatars of the status quo.
The two of them are heading up an ad hoc coalition of 46 congressmembers from both sides of the aisle who sent a letter to the administration asking for a briefing about the Yahoo domestic spying. Many serious members– so not the grubby slimy little creeps like Patrick Murphy and Sean Duffy– signed on, Republicans like Thomas Massie (KY), Raul Labrador (ID), Walter Jones (NC), Tim Huelskamp (KS) and Jason Chaffetz and Democrats like Barbara Lee (CA), Jim McGovern (MA), Jerry Nadler (NY), Raul Grijalva (AZ), Mike Honda (CA) and Donna Edwards (MD). “As legislaslators,” they wrote, “it is our responsibility to have accurate information about the intelligence activities conducted by the federal government. Accordingly, we request information and a briefing as soon as possible for all members of Congress to resolve the issues raised by these reports.”
LibertarianRepublic.com explained that Lieu and Amash have been heavily opposed to the use of mass surveillance. Amash led a bipartisan coalition to bring down the NSA’s mass surveillance programs back in 2013, only to be defeated at the last moment. Lieu was one of the first critics of the FBI’s attempt to force Apple to break into the iPhone of the San Bernardino terrorist. Both Lieu and Amash have teamed up on other issues in the past as well. The two were a part of a bipartisan coalition that penned a letter asking for President Obama to delay arms sales to Saudi Arabia due to their campaign in Yemen.”
This morning we spoke with Congressman Lieu and he was characteristically straightforward and write to the point:
It is unacceptable that the people's representatives, empowered with the highest levels of security clearance, are left in the dark by our intelligence agencies. Conflicting news reports suggest that the NSA's directive to Yahoo could either be an unprecedented abuse of surveillance powers or a routine warrant with unsettling actions taken by Yahoo. Either way, Congress should not be learning about this through public sources, nor should we be forced to write a letter to be fully briefed by our own government on what took place. The NSA repeatedly acted with disregard to our Fourth Amendment rights with regard to the bulk collection program and is now facing increasing backlash by Congress and the American people. It is incumbent on the intelligence community to demonstrate to Congress that it acted in accordance with the law. The Yahoo scandal also shows, once again, that the FISA courts are incapable of effective oversight and serve as mere rubber-stamps for our intelligence agencies. It is time to overhaul the entire FISA court system.
That's what we call good bipartisan. It's important to elect more skilled legislators like Ted Lieu who know how to work across the aisle for the good of the country and who are not smarmy political hacks like Patrick Murphy and Sean Duffy. (By the way, Blue America helped elect Ted Lieu to Congress in 2014 and Justin Amash in the only Republican we ever recommended voting for over a Democrat.) Among the best candidates this cycle with experience doing just that are Pramila Jayapal (WA), Ruben Kihuen (NV), Zephyr Teachout (NY), Nanette Barragán (CA), Paul Clements (MI), DuWayne Gregory (NY), Bao Nguyen (CA), Jamie Raskin (MD), Doug Applegate (CA) and, of course, Carol Shea-Porter(NH). You can find all of them by tapping the thermometer below.
“When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross.” — Sinclair Lewis