Tags: Rand Paul

Congress is Attempting to Reauthorize Key Patriot Act Provisions by Sneaking it Into “USA Freedom Act”

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Yet with Section 215’s lifespan now stretching to a matter of weeks, supporters of broad surveillance powers have yet to put forth a bill for their preservation – evidence, opponents believe, that the votes for reauthorization do not exist, particularly not in the House of Representatives. 

More likely, according to a multiple Hill sources, is a different option under consideration: making the major NSA reform bill of the last Congress the point of departure for reauthorizing 215 in the current one. 

The bill would not abridge NSA collection of Americans’ international communications, nor prevent the NSA or the FBI from warrantlessly searching through its troves of them for Americans’ identifying information. Nor would it restrict a constellation of surveillance efforts authorized by a Reagan-era executive order. Even a recently disclosed bulk domestic phone records collection dragnet by the Drug Enforcement Agency would be untouched.

“We should be demanding more reforms than the intelligence agencies are gladly willing to offer us,” said David Segal of the activist group Demand Progress.

– From the Guardian article: NSA and FBI Fight to Retain Spy Powers as Surveillance Law Nears Expiration

June 1, 2015 is a very important day for American civil liberties and the Constitution. On that day, Section 215 of the Patriot Act, one of the most egregious pieces of legislation passed in U.S. history, will expire automatically without reauthorization from Congress. Naturally, this is causing a panic attack within the heart of the NSA, FBI and all the authoritarian lackey legislators in Washington D.C. With the chances of a clean reauthorization next to none, these crafty “representatives” and their puppeteers need to figure out a way to sneak it into another piece of legislation. What better way to do this than making it a part of something that ostensibly appears to be reining in surveillance powers. Enter the USA Freedom Act.

The USA Freedom Act is nothing new. A version of it passed the House last spring, before dying in the Senate. Rand Paul surprised many people by saying he would not support it because it didn’t go far enough. Additionally, one of its key cosponsors ultimately failed to support his own bill. I covered this in the post, Congress Guts Anti-NSA Spying Bill Beyond Recognition; Original Cosponsor Justin Amash Votes No. Here’s an excerpt:

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An Oligarch Dilemma – Recent Poll Shows 42% of Republican Primary Voters Couldn’t Support Jeb Bush

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It’s pretty obvious at this point. If the Republicans want to intentionally lose another election, the best candidate the party could possibly nominate would be Jeb Bush. Indeed, this seems to be the reason he is being pushed so hard by the puppets running the GOP. A candidate so bad only an oligarch could love him.

In case you need further evidence, check out the results from a recent Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll:

Some 42% of Republican primary voters say they couldn’t see themselves supporting Mr. Bush for the GOP presidential nomination, compared with 49% who said they could, the latest Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll finds.

The results underscore an early theme of the Republican nominating contest: Mr. Bush might be the favorite of many top donors and operatives, but he faces hurdles in appealing to the party’s voters, giving him little room to maneuver in what promises to be a crowded field.

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A Father’s Personal Struggle with the Vaccine Debate

Screen Shot 2015-02-11 at 2.35.02 PMAcross these United States, a fierce vaccination debate has started to flare up, and straw-man arguments are being paraded around as the truth. Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey said he’s for a balanced approach, in which parents have some measure of choice. Unfortunately, that’s not how things are actually done in New Jersey.

The reality is that New Jersey parents have no real choice. You have to get your child vaccinated unless you can provide a certified letter from your doctor saying that a vaccine will make the child sick, or if you can prove that it is against your religion.

Governor Christie’s comment about a “measure of choice” reveals the self-importance these politicians give to themselves. Parents living in the Christie regime don’t get full choice, but he is willing to grant them some measure of choice. Perhaps the citizenry’s ability to voice its perspective would suffice for the Governor, as long as they understand that he and his bureaucrat comrades have the final say.

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The American Public: A Tough Soldier or a Chicken Hawk Cowering in a Cubicle? Some Thoughts on ISIS Intervention

Screen Shot 2014-09-10 at 11.49.21 AMYou gotta love the American public sometimes. For a mass of people so easily terrified by guys in caves funded and armed by our intelligence services and “allies” in the Persian Gulf, the same public talks with such armchair bravado when it comes to launching bombs from drones and sending other people’s children to die.

Makes you wonder though, which one is it? Is the American public actually the tough guy soldier it pretends to be when cheering overseas military interventions, or is it really a scared, propagandized, coward hiding in one of our nation’s endless cubicle rows? Unfortunately, based on recent opinion polls demonstrating approval for military action against ISIS, it appears to be the latter. The former is merely a front put on by that terrified, economically insecure, silently suffering automaton. I really wish this weren’t the case.

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Chris Christie is Backed by War Criminal Henry Kissinger for 2016 Presidential Run

In the seemingness endless sham that is the false choice between a crony, Wall Street owned Democrat and a crony, Wall Street owned Republican, political analysts are already desperately scrambling to guess who the GOP will run against establishment hack Hilary Clinton in 2016 (who was recently paid $400k by Goldman Sachs for two speeches).

In my opinion, it will be between the libertarian-leaning Rand Paul and the obese, neocon Chris Christie. Christie is already quite aware of this, and since he doesn’t really stand for anything, he recently decided to take a stand against something. That something is libertarianism, which he slammed in an irrational rant this summer in Aspen.

In case you had any doubt who the war mongering, establishment Republicans will stand with in 2016, you needn’t doubt any longer. PolicyMic just published an interesting article demonstrating that war criminal Henry Kissinger is solidly behind Chris Christie.

We learn that:

Christie has made no secret of his dislike of “this strain of libertarianism” in the GOP that, in his view, ignores the lessons that New Yorkers and New Jerseyans learned after 9/11. In fact, Kissinger himself encouraged Christie to run in 2012 and according to Dave Weigel of Slate, brushed away the governor’s thin foreign policy resume by saying, “We can work with you on that. Foreign policy is instinct, it’s character, that’s what foreign policy is.” (Say all this in a Kissinger accent and it either starts to sound super badass or super creepy, depending on your views.) Kissinger himself has gone on record saying he thinks Christie would be an ideal national candidate for the GOP.

Just makes you wonder why folks like Kissinger never go away and seem to live to 120, while folks like Gandhi, Martin Luther King and John Lennon are always assassinated?

Full article here.

In Liberty,
Mike

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What the Ted Cruz Filibuster Really Means – It’s the End of the GOP as We Know It

There is a tide in the affairs of men, which taken at the flood, leads on to fortune.  Omitted, all the voyage of their life is bound in shallows and in miseries.  On such a full sea are we now afloat.  And we must take the current when it serves, or lose our ventures.

– Brutus in William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar

A misguided, decrepit, corrupt, warmongering, and surveillance-happy Republican Party was already stumbling around the room; hammered drunk on its decades old power trip, led by mindless cronies with zero direction when Ted Cruz came by and gave it a charitable push to the ground. It fell swiftly with a pathetic thud. The establishment Republican Party died this week. Good riddance. 

Personally, I haven’t put in enough time to look into Ted Cruz to say how I feel about him, but I can certainly support his efforts to destroy the current GOP leadership. More importantly, I can see when political winds are a changin’ and they are blowing with a typhoon’s tempo in 2013.

It all really started in back in March, when freshman Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky started the recent GOP filibuster trend by standing up against Barack Obama’s (and indeed bipartisan Congress’) drone policy. I spent a lot more time writing and commenting about the Rand Paul filibuster as opposed to Ted Cruz’ because it is far more significant for a Republican to stand against aggressive, unconstitutional military action than for a Republican to stand against ObamaCare. The latter they are expected to do, the former not so much. At the time, I wrote a post that got a huge amount of traction titled: #StandwithRand: The Filibuster that United Libertarian and Progressive Activists. Back then I wrote:

What Rand Paul did yesterday was finally bring the public debate to where it needs to be.  In doing so, he united activists that are quite opposed on many issues (less than they think, but that’s for another day).  This is extremely significant and we need this momentum to continue.  Those of us that care about the core principles that made this country great need to stick together, find common ground and not allow the establishment to control the debate any longer.

It’s quite fitting that as Rand Paul stood for 13 hours in an impassioned attempt to call attention to the systematic dismantling of The Bill of Rights occurring in America, President Obama was having dinner with many establishment Republicans.  These included the two Senators that have done more to destroy the GOP than any one else; John McCain and Lindsey Graham.  Two guys who would drone their own grandmothers if it made them feel tough for a minute.

Fortunately, the momentum of libertarian and progressive activists to defend the Bill of Rights has continued, largely thanks to the revelations of Edward Snowden, as decent folks from both sides of the aisle have stood up to protect the 4th Amendment. ObamaCare is not one of those issues, nor should we expect it to be. While I think many Democrats understand the bill was basically written by insurance companies and is another crony capitalist handout, many in the party feel they need to support their puppet President Obama on something and they’ve decided ObamaCare is it. Everyone gets that. What is really significant about Ted Cruz’ filibuster is that it has finally exposed the Republican establishment for what it is. A rotting carcass of nothingness. No matter what happens with the cloture vote later today, it doesn’t really matter. It’s already over. The knives are in. The GOP leadership is dead.

The best article I have read on the subject of what the Cruz filibuster really means was written by Michael Walsh in the National Review. He wrote:

In the aftermath of Senator Ted Cruz’s epic performance on the Senate floor, a few observations:

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Chris Christie Calls Libertarianism a “Dangerous Thought”

As anyone paying attention has noticed in the past couple of years, Chris Christie simply represents more of the same within the political establishment ruining America, albeit within a more generous physical frame. If we were unfortunate enough to elect him President he would behave exactly like Barack Obama and George W. Bush before him. This isn’t just conjecture, he straight up says it.

What is so interesting and offensive about his comments about libertarians, is not just the base manner in which he demonizes them for engaging in “intellectual debates,” but he is  clearly positioning himself against his primary Republican competitor in 2016, Rand Paul.

I don’t want to make this a Chris Christie versus Rand Paul article, since I’m still concerned Rand is more of a politician than a statesman compared to his dad, but lines are clearly being drawn within the GOP as well as within the Democratic party. So here are some of the more inane comments by Christie. From Politico:

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is ripping libertarians — including Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) — for challenging government surveillance programs and failing to understand the dangers of terrorism.

“This strain of libertarianism that’s going through both parties right now and making big headlines I think is a very dangerous thought,” the New Jersey GOP governor said on Thursday at a Republican governors forum in Aspen, Colo. “You can name any number of people and (Paul is) one of them.”

I think it should always be a rule of thumb to never trust a politician who thinks “thoughts” are dangerous. Furthermore, he seems concerned that this strain of libertarianism is “going through both parties.” Here’s an idea Christie. Why don’t you actually try to examine why these “dangerous thoughts” are spreading like wildfire throughout the country. Maybe you should get your head out of the sand for a minute and recognize that people are getting fed up with the surveillance state.

Christie furthers demonstrates his disdain for intellectualism in the following quote, and then becomes even more demagogic by invoking the family members that lost loved ones on 9/11.

“These esoteric, intellectual debates — I want them to come to New Jersey and sit across from the widows and the orphans and have that conversation. And they won’t, because that’s a much tougher conversation to have,” Christie said.

“Esoteric, intellectual debates,” I mean who do these serfs think they are? Don’t they know they are supposed to buy iPads, drink cherry coke, watch television and shut up?

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The 1984 Playbook Has Arrived: U.S. Air Force Deletes Drone Strike Data

If you recall, Winston Smith’s job in George Orwell’s classic novel 1984 was to go into historical records and literally change history.  He would alter photographs and text in the archives so that history would always portray “The Party” in a positive light and as omniscient.  Well folks, this behavior has arrived in America and we better nip it in the bud fast before one of these drones is flying right over our heads.  From the Air Force Times:

As scrutiny and debate over the use of remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) by the American military increased last month, the Air Force reversed a policy of sharing the number of airstrikes launched from RPAs in Afghanistan and quietly scrubbed those statistics from previous releases kept on their website.

Last October, Air Force Central Command started tallying weapons releases from RPAs, broken down into monthly updates. At the time, AFCENT spokeswoman Capt. Kim Bender said the numbers would be put out every month as part of a service effort to “provide more detailed information on RPA ops in Afghanistan.”

The Air Force maintained that policy for the statistics reports for November, December and January. But the February numbers, released March 7, contained empty space where the box of RPA statistics had previously been.

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#StandwithRand: The Filibuster that United Libertarian and Progressive Activists

“I rise today to begin to filibuster John Brennan’s nomination for the CIA I will speak until I can no longer speak. I will speak as long as it takes, until the alarm is sounded from coast to coast that our Constitution is important, that your rights to trial by jury are precious, that no American should be killed by a drone on American soil without first being charged with a crime, without first being found to be guilty by a court. That Americans could be killed in a cafe in San Francisco or in a restaurant in Houston or at their home in Bowling Green, Kentucky, is an abomination.” 

– Senator Rand Paul during his 13-hour talking filibuster yesterday

One of the biggest disappointments for me during 2012 was Ron Paul’s failure to run as a third party candidate for President.  Last January, I wrote a very popular post titled Why I Support Ron Paul in which I predicted that the Republican establishment would sabotage his attempted run and that he needed to break ranks and run on his own.  The reason I was so adamant on this point was not because I thought he would necessarily win (although I think he would’ve done much better than most people think), but because his being up there next to Romney and Obama would have exposed both political parties for the frauds that they are.  It would have exposed the fact that on the most important issues like the Federal Reserve, TBTF Wall Street criminal banks, aggressive and short-sighted foreign policy and civil liberties they are completely on the same page.  It would have brought certain issues to the fore that the establishment parties don’t want debated in public.  They’d much rather divide and conquer the nebbish with issues like abortion, gay marriage and gun rights.  Issues that while very important to many, are easily used to split people along geographic and cultural lines and do not represent existential issues core to the survival of the spirit of the nation itself. To paraphrase, I agree with the statement “to know who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize.”  Ron Paul would have criticized those people and institutions in a very public forum in a third party run and elevated the debate for all of us.  It didn’t happen and the public debate went back into the gutter.

Then Rand Paul stood up and talked for 13 hours.

Personally, I would have preferred the issue that united libertarian and progressive activists to have been the Federal Reserve, since it is the core cancer of this country and indeed the world. Without Federal Reserve funding, none of the awful things our government and multi-national corporations do at home and abroad would be possible, but you don’t always get what you want.  If civil liberties is the issue that does it, so be it.

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Eric Holder Responds: Claims Military Can Assassinate U.S. Citizens on U.S. Soil

Last week, I highlighted the fact that Kentucky Senator Rand Paul had still not received an answer to his question of whether the U.S. government believes it has the authority to assassinate a U.S. citizen on U.S. soil.  Well we finally have an answer from Attorney General Eric Holder and it’s not good.  In a press release from Senator Paul we discover that:

Attorney General Holder stated in a letter to Sen. Paul dated March 4, 2013: “It is possible, I suppose, to imagine an extraordinary circumstance in which it would be necessary and appropriate under the Constitution and applicable laws of the United States for the President to authorize the military to use lethal force within the territory of the United States.”

There you have it folks.  Any questions?

Full press release here.

In Liberty,
Mike

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