Sunday, November 11, 2007

Schumer's Constituents Speak out!

And boy are they pissed.
We still want to know: Who called the cops on them?

NY NetRooters Joanne Lukacher and Sari wrote the following summary of the day's events:

As soon as word came out on Friday afternoon, that Senators Schumer and Feinstein had decided to vote in favor of Michael Mukasey's confirmation, our NY Net Roots group started the barrage of emails to one another that seemed to cause actual wisps of smoke to waft out of our computers. Mukasey's testimony about waterboarding and his "tortured" theory about the scope of presidential privilege was, to say the least, disheartening and alarming. We worked through the weekend on a strategy to try and persuade Senator Schumer to change his mind when he voted on Tuesday. Monday was the one day we could try and reach him when he'd be in NYC before heading back to DC to vote on the nomination.

The efforts of the New York group were augmented by the talents of Selise from Massachusetts who assisted Jill Howell in downloading Mukasey's testimony to the Judiciary committee for a video focusing on the nominee’s statements regarding torture and executive privilege. From Jill’s video compilation it became obvious that Mukasey would become a vehicle for providing retroactive immunity for the crimes of the Bush administration. In an effort to follow protocol as much as possible while insisting on a timely meeting prior to the scheduled Tuesday vote, Joanne worked on a cover letter to fax to Schumer's office requesting a meeting and a list of questions to which we wanted a response. The questions addressed the specific specious assertions in Schumers statement announcing his vote, demanding answers as to how Mukasey, who had publicly succumbed to the Bush administration’s tortured theories of executive immunity, had demonstrated, in Schumer’s own words, “strength, independence and integrity.” With the assistance of Siun, Lee who would be unable to attend the Monday meeting worked late into the night on Sunday to compose and fax a press release to AP datebook and first thing Monday morning while some of our group were driving and training to New York City, Julie made a call to the Senator’s Manhattan office to try confirm a meeting with his staff for later that day.

When we arrived at Senator Schumer's office there was a very respectable showing with several groups already gathered outside the building for a scheduled vigil. There were some great signs too - medieval drawings of waterboarding and others shredding the Constitution. Although Julie, who was remembered by the Senatorial staff for her exploits with the video camera on our last visit in May 2006, was initially encouraged that we would get a meeting, ultimately we were turned down, the message conveyed to us by the guard on the reception desk. It seemed that the office was taken aback by the turnout of protestors and were in no mood to try and justify Schumer's vote. The phones were ringing off the hook, besieged by outraged constituents and they were probably quite concerned about any press the scene in front of the building might get.

While, not surprisingly, the event was not covered by the local or national press, we came prepared to be our own media.

Julie interviewed and videotaped the people in front of Schumer's building. The range of folks was great - we had orange jump-suits, black hooded protestors and other folks, young and old, some of whom had travelled long distances to be there. Everybody interviewed in the video is articulate and compelling and pretty fed-up with the "opposition" party which seems to enable Bush and the Republicans at every opportunity.

Enjoy the video - these folks speak for all of us.

Thank you to FDL for posting the video.
And included a link to the video in their newsletter article, Harry Reid Confirms Mukasey in "Midnight Massacre".

At midnight on Wednesday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid betrayed the Constitution and the American people by holding a quick vote to confirm Michael Mukasey despite his refusal to admit waterboarding is torture. And thanks to excellent reporting by Greg Sargent of Talking Points Memo, we now know why.

The vote was 53-40, with six Democrats joining every single Republican - Evan Bayh, Tom Carper, Dianne Feinstein, Mary Landrieu, Ben Nelson, and Chuck Schumer. (Schumer ignored urgent calls and emails from thousands of his constituents, and his staff refused to meet with activists outside his office.) The four Senate Democrats running for President, who were all opposed, were out campaigning - but Reid refused to delay the vote to give them time to return. If he had, there could have been 44 votes for a filibuster to block Mukasey's confirmation.

Reid rushed the vote because he cut a deal with Republicans to avoid delays on the $459 Defense Appropriations bill (not including Iraq funds), so Bush couldn't attack Democrats during the upcoming battle over Iraq funds. In effect, Reid sold the Constitution to the neocons for a talking point.

There is only one way to send a message of outrage that Schumer and Reid will hear, and that is by refusing to contribute to the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee (DSCC), which Reid controls and Schumer chairs.

Join the Democratic Donor Strike Against DSCC and DCCC

Please join the NY NetRoots google group here:
Or you can email a request to join here: stateproject-newyork at

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