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You must have missed this, so I will post it again. It is from Cleland's own book, about his Silver Star:


"There were no heroics on which to base the Soldiers Medal,...and it had been my men who took care of the wounded during the rocket attack, not me. Some compassionate military men had obviously recommended me for the Silver Star, but I didnt deserve it."


As for the ad, and his lost campaign, Rich Lowery called it pretty accuratly:

"Cleland's undoing was that he couldn't negotiate the dilemma facing many Southern Democrats how to vote liberal in Washington while appearing conservative at home. The Democrat was on record supporting countless tax increases, and voted with his party's leadership against protecting the Boy Scouts from a campaign to keep them out of public schools and against banning partial-birth abortion. In many of these votes, he parted ways with his more conservative and popular colleague Miller, thus creating a major political vulnerability. He lost fair and square."

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While you and I may have nothing to hide, that does not give the government the right to spy on us without our knowledge. The constitution says so. Part of the problem with the Patriot Act is that it is hard to know abuse is taking place because of the secret nature of the work. They could have a file three inches thick on you that they have accumulated. Just because you are not aware of it doesn't make it right. If I break into your garage every night and take your car for a joy ride, is no harm done as long as you are not aware of it? The problem is, we don't know who the government is spying on and how they use that information. They need probable cause and the way this administration is doing things, they don't care whether they have it or not. Obviously you are comfortable with that, but many of us are not willing to erode those liberties. As I said earlier, inches turn into miles.


Amendment IV


The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.




Lawmakers Worry About Patriot Act 'Abuse'


Sunday, November 06, 2005


WASHINGTON Lawmakers expressed concern Sunday that the FBI was aggressively pushing the powers of the anti-terrorist USA Patriot Act (search) to access private phone and financial records of ordinary people.


"We should be looking at that very closely," said Sen. Joseph Biden, D-Del., who is a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. "It appears to me that this is, if not abused, being close to abused."


Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, agreed, saying the government's expanded power highlights the risks of balancing national security against individual rights.


"It does point up how dangerous this can be," said Hagel, who appeared with Biden on ABC's "This Week."


Under the Patriot Act, the FBI issues more than 30,000 national security letters allowing the investigations each year, a hundred-fold increase over historic norms, The Washington Post reported Sunday, quoting unnamed government sources.


The security letters, which were first used in the 1970s, allow access to people's phone and e-mail records, as well as financial data and the Internet sites they surf. The 2001 Patriot Act removed the requirement that the records sought be those of someone under suspicion.


As a result, FBI agents can review the digital records of a citizen as long as the bureau can certify that the person's records are "relevant" to a terrorist investigation.


Calling the recent growth in the number of letters a "stunner," Biden said, "Thirty thousand seems like an awful, awful stretch to me."


Justice Department spokesman Brian Roehrkasse said Sunday that he could not immediately confirm or dispute the 30,000 figure, but he said the power to use the security letters was justified.


"The Department of Justice inspector general in August 2005 found no civil rights violations with respect to the Patriot Act," he said.


Issued by the FBI (search) without review by a judge, the letters are used to obtain electronic records from "electronic communications service providers." Such providers include Internet service companies but also universities, public interest organizations and almost all libraries, because most provide access to the Internet.


Last September in an ACLU lawsuit, a federal judge in New York struck down this provision as unconstitutional on grounds that it restrains free speech and bars or deters judicial challenges to government searches.


That ruling has been suspended pending an appeal to the New York-based 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. In a hearing last week the court suggested it might require the government to permit libraries, major corporations and other groups to challenge FBI demands for records.


The Patriot Act provision involving national security letters was enacted permanently in 2001, so it was not part of Congress' debate last summer over extending some Patriot Act provisions.


As the Dec. 31 deadline has approached for Congress to renew provisions of the act, the House and Senate have voted to make noncompliance with a national security letter a criminal offense.


Sens. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., and Tom Coburn, R-Okla., both members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said the expanded use of security letters was a "clear concern" and that information gathered on citizens should be destroyed if it does not lead to a criminal charge.


Coburn said on NBC's "Meet the Press" that he "certainly will" take steps to ensure that the documents are destroyed immediately.



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My post was cut and pasted from sourcewatch, an independant media watchdog group. There are articles there on both Democratic and Republican campaigns. I have no doubt if I searched the site I could find a Democratic campaign of equal repulsiveness. That does not excuse the role of the Republicans in this campaign.


I do not dispute Mr. Cleland lost fair and square. My issue is the manner in which the Republican Party chose to campaign against him.


If local constituents had such different views than Mr. Clelands, why couldn't the Republican Party run informational adds highlighting those differences instead of an add that compared a wounded war veteran who volunteered for combat to Saddam Hussein. That's not how I would show respect to the veterans of this country from either party. It's one thing to disagree with a man's politics and choose not to vote for him. It's quite another to run an ad such as the one described in the article.


I am not arguing Mr. Cleland's politics. I pointing out how the Republicans chose to campaign against a man who "volunteered for one last mission" and was severly wounded in defense of his country.









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