The U.S. Senate Betrays Us

  This afternoon, Thursday, September 20, the United
  States took yet another serious step in the direction
  of a closed society.  By an overwhelming margin of
  72 to 25, the Senate voted to adopt an amendment sponsored by Republican Senator John Cornyn of Texas "To express the sense of the Senate that General David II. Petraeus, Commanding General, Multi-National Force-Iraq, deserves the full support of the Senate and strongly condemn personal attacks on the honor and integrity of General Petraeus and all members of the United States Armed Forces" — more appropriately known as the Let’s strongly condemn the MoveOn.org group for its September 10 statement in the New York Times, and let’s make damn sure that this kind of un-American funny business never happens again.  (See
"General Petraeus or General Betray Us?")   

Of the 25 "Nay" votes, 24 were by Democrats — Vermont’s Bernie Sanders making 25. 

But this means that no fewer than 23 other Democrats voted in favor of condemning the MoveOn group (i.e., still counting Joe Lieberman among the Democrats, although the Senate regards him as an "Independent Democrat").

Needless to say, every last one of the 49 members of the Grand Old Totalitarian Party voted en bloc in favor of the amendment.

And then there were the three Democratic Senators who took a dive and didn’t vote: Joe Biden, Maria Cantwell, and Barack Obama. – Unless genuinely indisposed, they — Obama in particular — have some explaining to do.

Such a despicable abuse of power: That the Senate would vote to condemn an act of political speech by U.S. citizens on the grounds that, given the prevailing climate of opinion, and the long-slide towards Kim Il-Sung – class statism, its content was deemed insufficiently Red, White, and Blue at a critical juncture when our fine boys and girls in uniform are busy exterminating foreign vermin, and deserve nothing less than 100 percent of our support.

As far as I’m concerned, any Senator who voted in favor of John Cornyn’s twisted little amendment is unfit for public office in any society where I’d want to live.

The very moment that the Senate acts to stifle the political speech of U.S. citizens, it betrays the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, and deserves to be dissolved.

On the Cornyn Amendment ( No. 2934 ), U.S. Senate, September 20, 2007, 12:36 PM 
"Democrats Lose Another Iraq Vote," CBS/AP, September 20, 2007
"Democrats, unable to stop troop increase," David Espo, Associated press, September 21, 2007
"Sen. Obama takes a walk," Lynn Sweet, Chicago Sun-Times, September 21, 2007
"Doubts aside, no move to cut U.S. troop levels," Gail Russell Chaddock, Christian Science Monitor, September 21, 2007
"Senate squares off with MoveOn," Maura Reynolds, Los Angeles Times, September 21, 2007
"Democrats fail to gain much ground on Iraq," Noam N. Levey, Los Angeles Times, September 21, 2007
"CAUSE CELEBRE; MoveOn ad shakes some up," Tina Daunt, Los Angeles Times, September 21, 2007
"Bush Denounces Ad Mocking General Petraeus," Russell Berman, New York Sun, September 21, 2007
" … And ‘a Sorry Deal’," Editorial, New York Sun, September 21, 2007
"Senate Approves Resolution Denouncing MoveOn.org Ad," David M. Herszenhorn, New York Times, September 21, 2007
"Partisan Lines Solidify as Republicans Thwart Democrats Again on an Iraq Vote,"  David M. Herszenhorn, New York Times, September 21, 2007
"MoveOn Unmoved By Furor Over Ad Targeting Petraeus," Perry Bacon Jr., Washington Post, September 21, 2007
"Democrats to Keep Up Drive for Bipartisan Action on Iraq War," Shailagh Murray and Jonathan Weisman, Washington Post, September 21, 2007

For your archives: A breakdown of the U.S. Senate’s September 20 vote:

—- 72 Yeas —- 

Alexander (R-TN)
Allard (R-CO)
Barrasso (R-WY)
Baucus (D-MT)
Bayh (D-IN)
Bennett (R-UT)
Bond (R-MO)
Brownback (R-KS)
Bunning (R-KY)
Burr (R-NC)
Cardin (D-MD)
Carper (D-DE)
Casey (D-PA)
Chambliss (R-GA)
Coburn (R-OK)
Cochran (R-MS)
Coleman (R-MN)
Collins (R-ME)
Conrad (D-ND)
Corker (R-TN)
Cornyn (R-TX)
Craig (R-ID)
Crapo (R-ID)
DeMint (R-SC)
Dole (R-NC)
Domenici (R-NM)
Dorgan (D-ND)
Ensign (R-NV)
Enzi (R-WY)
Feinstein (D-CA)
Graham (R-SC)
Grassley (R-IA)
Gregg (R-NH)
Hagel (R-NE)
Hatch (R-UT)
Hutchison (R-TX)
Inhofe (R-OK)
Isakson (R-GA)
Johnson (D-SD)
Klobuchar (D-MN)
Kohl (D-WI)
Kyl (R-AZ)
Landrieu (D-LA)
Leahy (D-VT)
Lieberman (ID-CT)
Lincoln (D-AR)
Lott (R-MS)
Lugar (R-IN)
Martinez (R-FL)
McCain (R-AZ)
McCaskill (D-MO)
McConnell (R-KY)
Mikulski (D-MD)
Murkowski (R-AK)
Nelson (D-FL)
Nelson (D-NE)
Pryor (D-AR)
Roberts (R-KS)
Salazar (D-CO)
Sessions (R-AL)
Shelby (R-AL)
Smith (R-OR)
Snowe (R-ME)
Specter (R-PA)
Stevens (R-AK)
Sununu (R-NH)
Tester (D-MT)
Thune (R-SD)
Vitter (R-LA)
Voinovich (R-OH)
Warner (R-VA)
Webb (D-VA)  

—- 25 Nays —- 

Akaka (D-HI)
Bingaman (D-NM)
Boxer (D-CA)
Brown (D-OH)
Byrd (D-WV)
Clinton (D-NY)
Dodd (D-CT)
Durbin (D-IL)
Feingold (D-WI) 
Harkin (D-IA)
Inouye (D-HI)
Kennedy (D-MA)
Kerry (D-MA)
Lautenberg (D-NJ)
Levin (D-MI)
Menendez (D-NJ)
Murray (D-WA)
Reed (D-RI)
Reid (D-NV)
Rockefeller (D-WV)
Sanders (I-VT)
Schumer (D-NY)
Stabenow (D-MI)
Whitehouse (D-RI)
Wyden (D-OR)

 —- 3 Not Voting —- 

Biden (D-DE)
Cantwell (D-WA)
Obama (D-IL)


Update (September 24): The outrages compound.

First, in Sunday’s New York Times, the official ombudsman Clark Hoyt gave voice to those who turned against the newspaper’s decision to publish the original MoveOn.org statement at a steep discount ($64,575 instead of the $142,083 the space called for):

"Betraying Its Own Best Interests," Clark Hoyt, New York Times, September 23, 2007

Then this morning’s (September 24) New York Times ran a full-page statement sponsored by the (get this) Freedoms Watch organization, which is a brand new 501(c)4 founded just over one month ago.  (501(c)4 – type organizations are categorized as such under the tax code of the U.S. Internal Revenue Service on the grounds that their objectives are "social welfare" – related, i.e., their "focus…must be to benefit the community or society as a whole," etc.)  (See Comparison of 501(c)(3) and 501(c)(4), (6) and (7) Status, as posted to the http://members.aol.com website.)

Freedoms Watch’s statement in Monday’s New York Times reads (I believe this is 100 percent of it — my line breaks might not replicate the original’s):

Ahmadinejad Is A Terrorist
Columbia University is wrong to give him a platform.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad threatens our nation and the freedoms we value. He has supported attacks on our soldiers and our allies.
He should be treated as the terrorist that he is.
Yet, while Columbia gives a terrorist like Ahmadinejad a platform to speak, they refuse to allow the ROTC on campus.
What has happened to this prestigious university?
People who support killing Americans are welcome. But the military that defends them is not.
Columbia should be ashamed of its actions.
Freedom’s Watch knows that America and the forces of freedom are right. We know the threat of terrorism is real. And we know Democracy must prevail.
The terrorists and their appeasers are wrong.

"And God willing, with the force of God behind it, we shall soon experience a world without the United States and Zionism."
– Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (CNN, 10/27/05)

Support Freedom’s Watch.
Stand up for freedom and those who defend it.
Surrender is not an option.

Victory is America’s only choice.

Visit http://www.freedomswatch.org
or call 877-222-8001

Paid for by Freedom’s Watch.

“The mission of Freedom’s Watch is to ensure a strong national defense and a powerful effort to confront and defeat global terror, especially in Iraq….Those who want to quit while victory is possible have dominated the public debate about terror and Iraq since the 2004 election. Freedom’s Watch is going to change that.” (See its August 22, 2007 Press Release.)

Each of us ought to write the New York Times and the Washington Post (etc.) and ask them a simple question: Are Freedoms Watch’s assertions about the President of Iran and the government of Iran overall and Columbia University (etc., etc.) accurate? 


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