Tuesday, June 18, 2013

I Can't Even Check My E-mail Anymore...

You know what ticks me off?

Having to face the fact that a self-serving, deceptive tool like Mike Rogers represents me in Congress.

I’ve written about Rogers before. (See “Congressman Mike Rogers: Right Wing and Wrong,” and “Hey, Mr. Rogers: Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire!” He’s also mentioned in “Add CISPA to the List of Reasons Why Washington Sucks.”) He’s the rabidly-partisan, solidly-conservative zealot who to my knowledge has never cast a vote with which I agreed. A fellow blogger described him as “one of the most bought-off politicians by Big Business of any congressman in either party. And he serves their interests well – much to the detriment of his central Michigan constituents.”

I’m one of those constituents and I really resent the poor decision-making of my fellow 8th District voters. (This district became more Republican as a result of partisan redistricting in 2011.) These jokers preferred Robotron Romney to the incumbent in last year’s presidential election. They also chose Rogers over Lance Enderle, his Democratic opponent, 58 to 37 percent – in spite of the persuasive and compelling endorsement of Enderle that appeared here at “What’s the Diehl?” four days before the election. (See “Give Lance a Chance,” November 2, 2012.)

I guess Anita and I can take comfort in knowing we were two of 128,657 voters in the 8th District who didn’t make the gargantuan mistake last November of re-electing the guy who votes with the Republican party over 98 percent of the time and is getting richer every year. (According to the Center for Responsive Politics, his net worth in 2010 was estimated between $136,011 and $391,000; the following year it had jumped to between $1,626,020 and $3,565,000. Must be nice.)

I subscribe to Rogers’ e-newsletter – I don’t have enough irritation in my life, I guess – and regularly receive messages from him that are so pro-GOP, anti-Obama and, of course, pro-Rogers that I find myself reaching for the bottle of anti-nausea liquid that I’ve learned to keep near my laptop. His latest transmission includes the following:

As Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, it is my responsibility to ensure strict and thorough Congressional oversight of the important work done by America’s intelligence agencies. As a result, I have been disheartened by recent dangerous national security leaks that have grossly distorted two vital National Security Agency (NSA) programs that have proven very effective in preventing terror attacks in the United States without infringing on Americans’ privacy and civil liberties.

At a time when the Obama Administration’s IRS, Benghazi, and DOJ scandals have understandably damaged Americans’ trust in their government, it is important to understand why these programs are different. Here are the facts. Neither program allows the NSA to read emails or listen to phone calls of American citizens. Both programs are constitutional and do not violate any American’s Fourth Amendment rights. Both are strictly overseen by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC), a federal court created in 1978 to protect the rights of American citizens in the course of foreign intelligence gathering.

I thought our elected officials were supposed to refrain from blatant partisanship in official communications.

Felon/Whistleblower Edward Snowden
The missive goes on to glorify the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Rogers’ former employer, praise the PATRIOT Act and slam Edward Snowden, the 29-year-old dude who recently leaked the news that the National Security Agency spies on Americans and has been hacking into China’s computers since 2009:

It is important to consider the source of the recent press leaks about these two vital intelligence programs. These leaks came from a person not involved in the careful execution of these programs, and with access to only small pieces of a large puzzle. He decided to break the law and the oath he took to the American people by publicly disclosing parts of these classified programs, and then fled to communist China. These are the actions of a felon, not a whistleblower.

I thought our elected officials were supposed to refrain from demonizing Americans in official communications – especially those who haven’t yet been found guilty of any crimes and whose actions are considered heroic by a significant number of constituents.

Anyone who’s praised by none other than Daniel Ellsberg, the King of Whistleblowers who leaked the Pentagon Papers back in 1971, and trashed by Rogers, Weeper of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio) and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Virginia) is welcome at my dinner table anytime.

There was speculation that Rogers, now in his seventh term, might run for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Carl Levin, the Democrat who’s been there for 34 years and who’s calling it quits next year. (See "So Long, Senator Levin," March 9, 2012.) But last week Rogers announced he would not be throwing his hat in the ring – he’s smart enough to know he’s got a good thing going as chair of the powerful U.S. House Intelligence Committee and it would be stupid to trade in his prestige and perks to become Michigan’s junior senator – which surprised no one and means he’ll continue to tick me off and make me nauseous...at least until the Democrats learn how to win and gerrymander like the Grand Old Party.

Edward Snowden photo courtesy ABC News.

Sources: Washington Post, Congressman Mike Rogers, National Journal, NPR, ballotpedia.org, Center for Responsive Politics.

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