Rand Paul

Rand Paul, Ron Wyden, and the End of the 9/11 Terror Fog

Is the expiration of Patriot Act provisions"just politics and posturing"? No, it's a sign the country is moving in the right direction.

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So provisions in The Patriot Act have expired, including some (such as section 215) that won't be renewed when Congress gets around to passing the reform legislation known as The USA Freedom Act.

This is good news, even if many of the Patriot Act's controversial elements will become authorized under the replacement bill. As Bloomberg View's Eli Lake writes, "The Patriot Act's "lone wolf" and roving wiretap powers will be restored in the USA Freedom Act." In fact, Lake writes off both hysteria and celebration over the Patriot Act's lapsing as "all just politics and posturing." Forget the warnings from the Obama administration and CIA head John Brennan about how letting bulk collection under 215 lapse for even a minute allows terrorists to work "the seams" of security. Lake notes that there all sorts of workarounds that the government is surely using in the interim period. He concludes:

It's clear the proponents of government surveillance are exaggerating [the threat posed by the expiration of certain Patriot Act provisions]. But their opponents are grandstanding as well. Senator Rand Paul, the libertarian Republican running for president, has portrayed himself as a wrestler about to take on Obama and the security state. But even Paul acknowledges that the authorities he allowed to expire will be reauthorized soon enough in the USA Freedom Act. What's more, while Paul has framed his fight as one with Obama, it was Obama that empaneled a Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board that concluded the bulk collection of metadata was unnecessary to stop terrorists….

Bottom line for terrorists: You're still being watched. 

And of course, if terrorists are being watched, so are the rest of us.

Read Lake's cold-water take on the matter here.

Lake's report reminds me of a post last week by security expert Bruce Schneier on "Why the Current Section 215 Reform Debate Doesn't Matter Much." Focusing on a redacted version of a Department of Justice audit of FBI uses of Section 215 orders, Schneier notes (as Lake does) that terrorists have moved on from cell phones in many ways and there's every reason to believe that the feds have followed them into all sorts of other communication methods in the wake of the Snowden revelations. The real question, then, is less the devil we know (bulk collection of phone metadata) and all the other sources that are being combed through, especially via bulk collection. Bulk collection, after all, proceeding from the equivalent of general warrants that scoop up huge amounts of data of individuals who are not suspected of anything, is the issue. Even critics of 215 searches such as Rand Paul have no problem with targeted searches that are vetted through the appropriate legal channels.

Details about legal justifications are all in the report (see here for an important point about minimization), but detailed data on exactly what the FBI is collecting—whether targeted or bulk—is left out. We read that the FBI demanded "customer information" (p. 36), "medical and educational records" (p. 39) "account information and electronic communications transactional records" (p. 41), "information regarding other cyber activity" (p. 42). Some of this was undoubtedly targeted against individuals; some of it was undoubtedly bulk….

What's in there? As [the ACLU's Chris] Soghoian says, certainly other communications systems like prepaid calling cards, Skype, text messaging systems, and e-mails. Search history and browser logs? Financial transactions? The "medical and educational records" mentioned above? Probably all of them—and the data is in the report, redacated (p. 29)—but there's nothing public.

The problem is that those are the pages Congress should be debating, and not the telephony metadata program exposed by Snowden.

Read that here.

So why do I think the expiration of certain Patriot Act provisions is good news, even if it doesn't really hem in various practices that are either more invasive or routed through other portions of the law?

Simply this: The opposition to a clean reauthorization of The Patriot Act—pushed by both Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and President Obama, who had campaigned as a critic of the law—is a clear sign that we are coming out of the 9/11-induced fog that allowed for way too much trust being placed in the hands of the government. We've seen officials in both the Bush and Obama administrations lie to the public about what was going on and we've seen the FBI itself admit that Section 215 has proven incredibly useless in fighting terrorism. The Patriot Act—unread when passed and unclear in its implications—never should have been passed in the first place, any more than the Department of Homeland Security should have been created (exactly how adding new layers of bureaucracy on top of existing ones would improve functioning has never been clear). A government report earlier this year concluded that 

"Based upon the available evidence, DHS is not successfully executing any of its five main missions. Many of DHS's programs, in fact, are ineffective and should be reconsidered."

One key finding states Department of Homeland Security "spent $50 billion over the past eleven years on counterterrorism programs, including homeland security grants and other anti-terror initiatives, but the department cannot demonstrate if the nation is more secure as a result."

As Ohio State's John Mueller has written, laws and practices put into place during national-security emergencies tend to last for decades, even when the threat has receded or been unmasked as mostly illusorty in the first place. In 1972, Mueller and co-author Mark G. Stewart note, "the FBI opened 65,000 new files as part of its costly quest to ferret out Communists in the United States. The pursuit died out only when international Communism collapsed at the end of the Cold War."

In this sense, then, the debate over The Patriot Act, including the reformist USA Freedom Act, shows that the country, including politicians in both major parties, are moving into a new and hopefully more reality-based discussion of countering terrorist threats to America. It may be taking too long for many of us, but compared to other past examples, we're practically moving at warp speed.

NEXT: Matt Welch on Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Martin O'Malley

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  1. The NSA will continue to spy on us regardless of section 215 or the Freedom Act because nobody has the will or the means to stop them.

  2. Just what the GOP needs. Are they worried they might still have a better brand than comcast and time-warner? They shouldn’t.

    http://hotair.com/archives/201…..cape-many/

    1. I think the goal is Delusion of the Rand

  3. “Based upon the available evidence, DHS is not successfully executing any of its five main missions. Many of DHS’s programs, in fact, are ineffective and should be reconsidered.”

    This should surprise no one. Another bloated bureaucracy that needs to be scraped along with demon child the TSA.

    1. Meh, you need many more detractors. She is still the worst by our polls.

    2. Just when I was beginning to think that Senator McCain might not be wrong ALL of the time….

    3. John McCain’s time has passed, Arizona. Retire him.

      1. I say give him back to Vietnam

        1. Why do you hate the Vietnamese?

          1. I hate them for their tasty pho. It makes me all bloated.

        2. McCain is a bit crazy, not somebody I agree with but he was severely tortured by the VC for quite a while.

          So, I’d say that comment was outta line.

    4. Rand is such a follower.

      1. You only wish Grandpa McCain would call you the worst on the Senate floor.

        1. I dare to dream!

    5. McCain is worse than Hitler. We dodged a bullet getting Obama in 08.

      1. Normally I would disagree, if it was anybody else that had run against him. But Rand is proving to show just how fucking insane and bloodthirsty some of his fellow Republicans are.

        1. True that.
          Lindsey Graham will now send a drone for you.

      2. No we didn’t. Obama has done most or all of the awful things McCain would have done and implemented Obamacare amongst other horrors.

        1. Much as I loathe Obama, we’re not at war with Russia yet. If McCain were in there, we’d have troops in the Ukraine trying to foment WW3.

          1. With a GOPer in the WH, the ‘anti-war’ Democrats would be…activated and block a lot of that stupid.

        2. You got a mouse in your pocket?

          1. No I don’t. “We” includes all the Canadians who rely or will rely on America for decent healthcare.

            1. Stay on your side of the fence, whiteback!

      3. I’ve thought that myself a couple of times. It makes one shudder to think how much power we give the Prom King. At this point in my life and experience with American politics, and I’m not that old, I honestly don’t believe that a person can rationally walk through the idea from beginning to end and conclude that government is a good idea without engaging in a fair bit of self-deception.

        1. It’s been said here before; “All governments are evil. Ours is no different.”

  4. the Department of Homeland Security

    AKA the Ministry of Love.

  5. “But even Paul acknowledges that the authorities he allowed to expire will be reauthorized soon enough in the USA Freedom Act.”

    *Even* Paul? I though he was vocally *opposing* the USA Freedom Act.

    It’s like saying, “even Rand Paul acknowledges that the federal sentencing system has defects.”

    1. The Freedom Act passed cloture 77-17. It just means Paul isn’t immune to reality.

  6. “It’s not like the NSA is spying on ME. Sure, I can get you an eight-ball.”

    1. This reminds me of the scene in “half baked” when they try to get a drug deal on tape and Samson keeps using slang.
      “Abracadabra!”

  7. Rand should propose an amendment that opens the NSA databases to the public. If the information being kept isn’t anything to be worried about then we all should have access to it.

    1. Then we could *all* — dare I say it? — connect the dots!

      BWAHAHAHAHAAA!!

    2. Once again, we see why Libertarians are not taken seriously. Those who think seriously about national security have long known that Ron Paul is no more competent in the area than Barack Obama.

      The Act is limited in its scope. The acquisition of metadata has been legal since the invention of the post office, passing many court tests. Putting that data in the hands of the NSA, as opposed to FBI or DEA or (shudder) IRS provides much better protections for the populace. NSA is an outward looking, military organization. Its interest is in foreign related terrorism, and the way it uses the metadata reflects that. The primary defect in the Patriot Act is not the collection of metadata, but it’s (limited) availability to DEA. Remove that access and it becomes purely national defense.

      The act, badly named, has been attacked with propaganda. While Bush was president, the left (which means by inclusion the main stream media) was all for trashing it, because they wanted to crush Bush. With Obama as president, the left of course mostly shut up since their complaints were partisan. Republicans, the more honorable party, are willing to let Obama have this capability – which tells you how important the program really is.

      Libertarians have a valuable function: to constantly remind the rest of us that any government power is dangerous. They fall down, however, because their reflexive attitudes leave no room for reasonable compromise, and the metadata program is, in fact a compromise.

  8. “Your Honor, we need a warrant.”
    “This, ah… Doe… guy. He’s one of the bad ones, is that what you’re saying?”
    Yes, sir. This character, this John Doe, he’s up to no good, and we have to stop him.”
    “Very well, then. I am approving this warrant. Good work, gentlemen.”

  9. What’s more, while Paul has framed his fight as one with Obama, it was Obama that empaneled a Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board that concluded the bulk collection of metadata was unnecessary to stop terrorists….

    Obama is racking up quite the list of accomplishments. First he freed the gays, now he restores the Constitution.

    1. This would be that oversight board Obama cobbled together in response to Snowden telling the world Obama was doing all this bad stuff, right?

      You know what they say about ethics: it’s how you act when people AREN’T looking over your shoulder.

      1. Yes, this is the same board whose report was then promptly ignored by President Obama.

    2. It only counts if Obama actually stops the bulk collection of metadata.

    3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Privacy_and_Civil_Liberties_Oversight_Board

      The Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB) is an independent agency within the executive branch of the United States government, established by Congress in 2004

      By “empaneled”, are they referring to the president’s routine task of appointing personnel to this board?

    4. So he was only joking when he said he’d sign the USA Freedom Act?

    1. My religion requires me to expose my genitals so God can see that they’re doing nothing immoral. Employ me.

    2. I agree with the Court that there are two?and only
      two?causes of action under Title VII of the Civil Rights
      Act of 1964 as understood by our precedents: a disparatetreatment
      (or intentional-discrimination) claim and a
      disparate-impact claim. Ante, at 3. Our agreement ends
      there. Unlike the majority, I adhere to what I had
      thought before today was an undisputed proposition: Mere
      application of a neutral policy cannot constitute “intentional
      discrimination.”

      Thomas nails it.

    3. “She was denied a sales job in 2008 at an Abercrombie Kids store in Tulsa when she was 17.”

      “Often, the act of a woman wearing a head scarf is what triggers the discrimination, according to the brief.”

      Maybe because it’s not conducive to particular sales jobs. Or do I have a right to be employed in jobs that I’m ill-suited for?

      1. Look. She is a prospective worker. In a socially just world, the workers would own the store. QED, she and other workers should set the dress codes while the employer provides a just wage.

    4. What a crock of shit. My pasty white ass should apply for a job at one of the many lady Muslim clothing stores in my neighborhood and see how far I get with that.

      1. make sure you wear your cross ;).

        1. Or I could just tell them I’m an atheist.

  10. Many of DHS’s programs, in fact, are ineffective and should be reconsidered.

    Bush didn’t add enough layers.

  11. From what I read, the Freedom Act as written still allows for mass collection, though procedurally different from the Patriot Act and not directly by the government. So the recent appeals court’s ruling is nothing but a nice read.

    It also has an equally annoying Orwellian name. Why is this any kind of victory? Congress still doesn’t give two shits about our rights.

  12. I dislike how Paul framed this as a partisan issue. This is a constitutional and separation of powers issue, one that has been brewing for decades, far before the passage of the Patriot Act. He missed an opportunity to frame this as a grand debate, instead going for cheap shots at the current inhabitant of the Oval Office.

    1. He’s framing it as a partisan issue to expose the Republicans who will gladly kiss Democrat ass.

      Grand debate cannot happen until the GOP frauds are exposed.

      1. And framing it as a partisan issue makes the Democrats either turn on Obama or admit they never really gave a shit about civil liberties in the first place.

        1. In fairness, the Republicans’ shoot their mouths off about ‘freedom’ way more than Democrats, in general. Paul’s exposing them, too, as hypocrites.

          1. Sure he is. And that makes them look like toadies to Obama and the Democrats.

      2. It just seems odd with many of Paul’s supporters in the Senate being Democrats. It should be a nonpartisan issue.

    2. It is a partisan issue. There are two schools of thought in American politics: Rand Paul and everyone else in Washington.

      1. I’ve read some statements by Democrats in favor of it calling it nonpartisan, probably to avoid appearing like they’re dissenting

  13. “Never forget I’m here under the seats, watching you, always. I’ll be back, Mr. Big Shot Letterman, to make your life a living hell.”

  14. IT’s right there in the Koran:

    Friday: Prayers
    Monday: Email
    Tuesday: skype
    Wednesday: text messages
    Thursday: cell phone burners

    No way the NSA puts 5 different sets of data together to come up with anything.

    Of course, the goal is to get paid, not to solve anything. Solving means the job is done and the money stops coming in. All the PATRIOT Act ever did was create money-making opportunities – this is Congress’ core competency. An expiring PATRIOT Act allow Congressscum grandstanding opportunities and the chance to come up with new ways to steal the nation’s wealth. I give Rand credit for being a thorn in their side. but the truth is that 99% of Congress is corrupt because 80% of the citizenry are corrupt.

  15. Another blow against free association and the right to set standards of dress and appearance for your employees.

    Private ownership is undemocratic. These decisions cannot be entrusted to self-interested individuals; they must be turned over to the Collective.

  16. It is all great until we get hit with another big terrorist attack, and we will at some point. Understand that the amending of the Patriot act will have nothing to do with the attack and in no way will have prevented the government from stopping it. That will not however be how the powers that be and their toadies in the media portray it. The spin will be that the Patriot Act and NSA spying was keeping America safe until the evil, nihilist civil libertarians came along and hobbled our noble government servants’ ability to keep us safe. And the result will be something much worse than even what we have now. Yeah, call me cynical.

    And less not forget the irony of pretty much the entire Democratic Party going to the mattresses to save the Patriot Act. You know, that act they spent the Bush years claiming was an evil Republican plot to make Bush dictator.

    1. And less not forget the irony of pretty much the entire Democratic Party going to the mattresses to save the Patriot Act. You know, that act they spent the Bush years claiming was an evil Republican plot to make Bush dictator.

      Well, yeah. Principals, not principles.

    2. We could deal with the terrorist threat without giving up one ounce of our liberties. The whole business was a power grab that followed a very similar attempt by the Clinton administration (for some, not all, of what was in USA Patriot).

      1. Attacks are hard to stop. They really don’t know what to do. The mass data collection is as much as anything an exercise in ass covering. They know it doesn’t work but they also want to be seen as doing something so they can avoid getting blamed for another 911. And collecting data is easy and really the only idea they have.

        1. It also satisfies the pipe dream of every socialist bureaucratic apparatchik everywhere, namely that with enough data, they can solve the problems associated with human behavior. It has never worked and it never will, but they persist in their Asimovian social-engineering beliefs.

        2. We’re a free and open society. . .more or less. Of course we’re vulnerable to psychos doing psychotic things. It’s easy to get into the country, and it’s easy to buy stuff to do bad things with.

          Honestly, it would seem that the best defense is deterrence. While the cost was outrageous for us and solved nothing long term, the destruction of the Iraqi and Afghan leadership in very short order got some attention. It was fear of that sort of response that kept them from attempting much on the domestic front in the first place.

          Of course, that sort of deterrence would work better if we weren’t half-assed intervening over there all of the time.

          1. Perfect security = slave state

            1. And, of course, the state becomes well before that a greater danger than any likely external threat.

          2. A society as oppressive as Russia or China cannot stop determined terrorists. If someone wants to blow something up and doesn’t care if they die or are caught doing so, you can’t really stop them unless you get really lucky. No amount of surveillance will make you safe from such a threat.

            1. People get caught by opening their mouths. If they know enough not to tell anyone, then they will not be stopped. Period.

              Same thing when it comes to most crimes that have actual victims. Cops don’t do shit to investigate crimes with victims. More often than not people are caught because they brag to, or in the presence of, someone who then goes to the cops. Keep your mouth shut and you can get away with murder. Literally. Not that I know from person experience, just sayin…

              1. In theory, I heard about a guy who may or may not of killed someone in self defense and didn’t go to the cops. He or she might have avoided a lot of legal hassles and expense by going that route. Hypothetically.

                1. In theory, I heard about a guy who may or may not of killed someone in self defense and didn’t go to the cops. He or she might have avoided a lot of legal hassles and expense by going that route. Hypothetically.

                  About the only time I would definitely call the cops is if I had a dead body and a damn good explanation. Because the consequences of not making that call can be pretty harsh.

                  1. I would too. But I can’t say I’d blame someone for not doing it.

            2. ^This. If China can’t stop terrorist attacks, no amount of oppression or heavy-handed government surveillance can. Terrorism was and always has been a function of policy, not lack of security.

          3. Ending state sponsors of anti-American terror would go a long way to getting some security from terrorist attacks. Invading Afghanistan was absolutely the right thing to do, the nation building was and is a disaster. At least the drone bombings are keeping AQ unbalanced.

          4. Honestly, it would seem that the best defense is deterrence. While the cost was outrageous for us and solved nothing long term, the destruction of the Iraqi and Afghan leadership in very short order got some attention.

            Terrorism’s only weapon is fear. Face it, knocking down a couple of buildings every 20 years or so is not going to allow them to move into 1600 Pennsylvania Ave as the new proprietors. They rely on us shitting our pants and doing it to ourselves. (Can you imagine telling someone in 2000 that in 2010 they will be legally groped befor getting on a plane?)

            The only way to defeat terrorism is to not be afraid. Accept the ABSOLUTE fact that it is going to happen. When it does, don’t change a thing. Go on with your life as if it didn’t happen and demand the government treat the event like any other criminal activity….identify, capture, try, convict those responsible. If that’s not possible, try them in absentia and put a price on their heads and kill them (and them only) at the first opportunity. Justice.

            No fear = no terrorism

            1. Instead of this here ‘will to power’ bullshit I will take the effective parts of the strategies Israel and Sri Lanka used to defeat terrorism. No terrorists = no terrorism

              1. Yeah…no terrorism in Israel. AND they are a police state.

                More immorality from “The Pants Wetter of the North”.

                You’re THE problem.

                1. Yeah…no terrorism in Israel.

                  They have radically less than at the outbreak of the Intifada. That is because of their practice of killing bad guys, not from being a police state. Oh if only you had gone there and told everyone to just ‘stop being afraid’.

                  You’re THE problem.

                  I’m not the retard you believes in ‘blowback’.

              2. The LTTE weren’t/aren’t saints, but the Sri Lankan government conducted a systematic genocide of the Tamils to rival anything in Bosnia or Rwanda. And it was the culmination of a decades-old civil war.

                Israel has yet to “defeat terrorism”, and so far “victory” has looked like walling off troublesome parts of the country and living in what amounts to a constant state of war.

                Neither of these are particularly good examples for your point.

                1. the Sri Lankan government conducted a systematic genocide of the Tamils to rival anything in Bosnia or Rwanda.

                  1) Citation needed. 2) That’s not why terrorism is defeated. They ended the LTTE.

                  so far “victory” has looked like walling off troublesome parts of the country and living in what amounts to a constant state of war.

                  This is still radically better than about 10 years ago. But you have a point: Israel needs to stop tolerating the existence of Hamas.

          5. “Of course, that sort of deterrence would work better if we weren’t half-assed intervening over there all of the time.”

            This. It wouldn’t stop ALL terrorism forever, but the biggest thing we can do to cut down the risk of a terrorist attack is to stop fucking around in conflicts that have nothing to do with us.

        3. And collecting data is easy and really the only idea they have can tell us about.

          FTFY

          1. No. It is the only idea they have. They are not that bright.

            1. Yeah, call me cynical.

    3. John! You’re back!

      1. Hi. Took a long road trip. And also had to actually do some work for a living. One lesson I learned is if you don’t have Waze, get it. It is the greatest tool for freedom invented in a very long time. As long as there are other users in front of you, you know where the cops are. My God is driving great when you don’t have to worry about cops.

        1. Right on, glad you enjoyed yourself!

        2. Unless they’re using choppers. I got busted because Waze told me where the police cars were, not the helicopters.

          1. You were supposed to pick up the anti-air missiles from the resupply truck, dummy.

        3. So then how many years will Waze’s inventor spend in prison?

          1. Google bought them, so I expect all the users are now covered under the 3rd party access rule.

          2. Here is the other thing about waze, it is a great invention for officer safety. One of the real dangers police officers and especially highway patrolman face is getting run over by oncoming traffic during a traffic stop. Cops are killed every year in this country because people are tired or drunk or not paying attention and hit them on the side of the road. Waze, by telling you where the cops are, gets people to wake up and pay attention. If I were an HP, I would want everyone to have a waze. And the government pukes claiming Waze is bad for officer safety are just showing themselves to be assholes who view cops as nothing but revenue producers.

            1. I’ve read that there were cops who went on strike in the 30s or whenever it was that they started being made to write traffic tickets, because their job wasn’t to collect taxes. The parallel universe where they won that argument must be a nice place.

              1. The other thing about that is I am the kind of waze user that the nannies and car phobes like Ron Bailey fear. I routinely went over a 100 mph where I could. Yet, I never found another waze user who drove anything like that. I always passed them. They were always driving with the traffic at a moderate speed. They were apparently using Waze to avoid traffic and getting a ticket for being unwary around a cop. Thanks to waze, law abiding people are avoiding being screwed with and fined by the government. Oh noes!!!

                1. I use Waze to go 80-85 on my commute (when I can, which is only in spurts).

                  But it’s not nearly infallible. I was driving down through notorious speed trap Boston Heights at the tail end of the core of rush hour and I was the one who had to report the cop hiding in the weeds near an off-ramp. I was lucky I was only going 75 or so (which usually gets you nailed hard in B.H.) and was surrounded by other vehicles so it was likely harder to accurately get my speed. Also, braking helps.

        4. ^^^^ THIS!!!!!!!

          Waze is incredible at finding the fastest route to get from point A to point B. Did a bang up job routing me around the flooding west of Boston yesterday.

          1. It has some issues (most of which are pretty tough to solve) with express vs. local roadbeds if they’re close enough together. If you get on the wrong one, it won’t usually detect that, and it could really ruin your commute if bad stuff is happening in one vs. the other.

            It also doesn’t handle routing you around chokepoints where there is a very easy workaround that so happens to be labeled as Exit Only, but really is only a short 200 feet to get right back on. That still requires local knowledge and nothing I do can make it remember that route.

            1. Flag it as a map error. Someone will take a look at it.

              1. Which one?

                The second one isn’t really a map error. It’s a lack of imagination. The exit really IS “Exit Only” because the re-entry is multiplexed I-271S & I-480E, where the exit is just from I-271S.

                I don’t know that flagging it will fix it. I’ve just adapted. I get a good sense of when it’s useful (nearly all the time). Otherwise, it does a usually great job of getting me around the I-271/I-480W/US-422 clusterfuck on surface streets to rejoin I-271. Sometimes it DOESN’T route me around there when it’s obvious it should (it’s been doing this recently with the increased summer rush hour mess), but most of the time I adapt on the fly.

                Its real use was in introducing me to easy ways to get around the various chokepoints going south on Cleveland’s east side suburbs, which I never knew about previously (nor did I have to). Now that I know, I can adapt more freely.

        5. Welcome back, where did you go, out of curiosity?

          1. All over. New Orleans, Texas, Kansas, Missouri, Louisville and back.

            1. Sounds nice if you were able to avoid the storms. I’ve been loving the spring weather this year in eastern Kansas. Yesterday it was partly sunny and I don’t think it got hotter than mid-60s

              1. Yeah, those late spring and early fall days in e. Kansas were things of almost transcendental beauty.

  17. Nick, ORANGE TERROR ALERT CODE!

    RED CODE!

    Don’t you realize how politically useful a certain president-who-can’t-be-named discovered FEAR CODES were?

    1. Palin’s Buttplug|6.1.15 @ 11:12AM|#
      “BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOSH!”
      Fuck off.

      1. I didn’t use his name, you GOP Rent-Boy!

        1. Palin’s Buttplug|6.1.15 @ 11:20AM|#
          “I didn’t use his name, you GOP Rent-Boy”
          You think slimy shit like that saves your rep?
          Fuck off, dem ass-licker

    2. Nick, ORANGE TERROR ALERT CODE!

      John Boehner?

    3. Are we seriously back to “BOOOOOOSSSHH!!!!!” ? Seriously? It’s been like seven years with your boy in office. C’mon.

    4. Fuck off Tulpa

  18. I read the article; WIH is Ron Wyden in the headline?

    1. Because, it would kill some of the Reason staffers to ever admit that a Republican was better for libertarianism than a Democrat. Ever.

      Just last night. While a Republican was taking down mass surveillance under the Patriot Act, Reason ran an article telling us about how awful Republicans were about protecting civil liberties.

  19. No, Nick, it’s a sign Rand Paul is moving on the right direction. The rest of the country is still swirling around the bowl.

    1. I am hopeful about the country when I read comments on Yahoo that are in support of Paul and what he’s trying to do.

    2. Large parts of the country support Rand, so it’s not circling the bowl as much.

      1. Don’t worry, they’ll flush a second time just to make sure.

      2. Really? Which parts are those and how do you know that? Is the support from likely Republican primary voters?

  20. That Rand Paul did anything at all in trying to protect our Constitutional rights shows why he’s head and shoulders above everyone else running. The rest of the Republicans have all been exposed as derp-mongerd. Most of them won’t even say anything in defense of the Fourth Amendment, much less do anything about it.

    Meanwhile, Obama, Hillary, and all their minions have been exposed as the enemies of our Constitutional rights. It would have been better if they had done nothing, but instead, they sided with the NSA and against Americans–every day for seven years. Rand Paul is a much bigger threat to Hillary in the general election.

    Except for Rand Paul, the Republican field is probably more like Obama on violating our Fourth Amendment rights than Hillary Clinton is. What a bunch of shitheads!

    1. I met a few liberal friends over the last few weeks. I told each one of them that if the election comes down to Paul versus Hillary and you vote for Hillary, you need to admit to yourself and the world you really don’t care about civil liberties. None of them had an answer to that. They all knew it was true.

      1. Or about lies, corruption, incompetence. . .really, why would anyone vote for her again?

        1. Because they don’t want another Bush.

          P.S. “Again?” It was only New Yorkers that voted for her the first time.

          1. I mean why again, not vote for her again.

            1. Yeah, it’s about Bush.

              I don’t care what the polls say right now about Bush vs. Clinton, your average swing voter is going to ask themselves if they’d rather have the ’90s and Clinton again or the War on Terror and the Bushes all over again.

              And even to the youngins, the 90s look like Seinfeld reruns.

              They’ll vote for Clinton over Bush. That’s why the swing voters will break for Clinton.

              Because the Republicans put up another Bush.

              1. Bush has about as much chance at the nomination as I do.

                1. You have to predict the dumbest thing Repubs COULD do, to know what they WILL do.
                  Bush 2016. And put a Mexican (any Mexican) on that ticket!

        2. It’s her turn to be the lying, corrupt, incompetent president?

  21. Cover your nuts!

    Does this photo prove cops removed earphones from man they shot dead and then claimed he must have heard their warnings?

    Jermaine McBean, a 33-year-old Florida IT specialist with no criminal record, was shot dead while carrying an unloaded air rifle into his apartment in 2013
    Deputy Peter Peraza, the officer whose bullets killed him, claimed he saw no ear buds, which were found stuffed in his pocket
    The woman who took the photo–a nurse who was told by police not to help dying McBean–says she also pointed out the white earbuds to the officers

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/new…..nings.html

    ‘I was highly upset,’ McBean’s mother, Jennifer Young, said. ‘They lied to me. What else have they lied about?’

    They’re cops. They lie about everything. I wouldn’t trust a cop to tell me the time of day.

    1. Ow! Stop it!

    2. a nurse who was told by police not to help dying McBean

      That’s messed up.

      1. They fucked up, they knew it, and they wanted the eyewitness to die in order to protect their fat asses.

      2. Standard procedure is to refuse to allow anyone to give medical treatment, then to put in the report that the heroic officer immediately gave medical treatment. And nothing else happens.

  22. the data is in the report, redacated[sic]

    It’s great stuff.

    NSD submitted about [redacted] telephone identifiers to the FISA Court

    Emphasis added. So the OIG itself doesn’t know what’s going on, or what?

  23. WIH is Ron Wyden in the headline?

    Liberaltarian fusionist moment.

    1. Got it. Why didn’t I think of that?

    2. FWIW: Wyden’s discussed in the first link in Nick’s article.

  24. a nurse who was told by police not to help dying McBean

    Just another collaborator in the War on Copz!

  25. The current meme seems to be HOW DARE RAND PAUL WORK IN THE SENATE WHILE HE’S RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT. It’s amazing. Is this really the best these morons can come up with?

    1. I think by the time the next presidential election rolls around, they’ll stop using words at all but will move instead to grunts that almost sound like speech.

      1. GUHHHHHHSHNL UGGGGGGGRTY

        1. Waaaaaannnnnnpuhrcanttttt.

    2. Is this really the best these morons can come up with?

      The playbook only has so many pages.

    3. Hey, look on the bright side. Maybe *everyone* running will have to drop its day job.

    4. He should just vote “Present”?

    5. He should be more like Obama and read about what’s going on in the paper the next morning

  26. This is bold. This is so completely against the entrenched political dogma that it just might work.

    By and large, people hate Congress. They have approval ratings below that of Stalin, but they all keep doing the same things for fear of being punished politically for breaking that mold and not adhering to the approved formula.

    RP has the potential to be THAT guy. A guy who changes hearts and minds. The guy who CAN operate outside the corrupt system… We’ll see. I dare to hope.

    Regardless of his success, his campaign will win more libertarian followers and will be a net plus for liberty.

    1. Really, all that he needs to do–all we need to do–is to build upon a distrust of government that most people still have, even now. I bet most Democrats, state-lovers that they’ve become, still bitch about government stuff. Even if it’s only about how screwed up getting your welfare “benefits” is.

      We don’t need everyone to be a libertarian. We just need them to realize that the government is totally fucked up and way too big.

      1. Prohibition is what Democrats scream about.

  27. “Is the expiration of Patriot Act provisions”just politics and posturing”? No, it’s a sign the country is moving in the right direction.”

    This reminds me of when John Murtha put forward a resolution for pulling out of Iraq in 2005.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Murtha #2005_Resolution_on_removing_ American_forces_from_Iraq

    After what Murtha did, whether we should pull out of Iraq was no longer seen as a question that only a bomb throwing, flag burning anarchist would ask. It became okay to talk about such things in polite company.

    It’s probably okay to defend the Fourth Amendment against fears of terrorism around the Thanksgiving table now–even if the whole family is all Republican. Yeah, that’s what progress looks like…when Republicans no longer feel it’s necessary to support what Barack Obama is doing/has done–just because he’s doing the same thing Bush did.

    1. But will it stick, or will it just reverse itself once the GOP regains the presidency (other than Rand)?

      1. If it’s not Rand, I don’t think the GOP has a prayer of regaining the presidency. Out of that entire group of candidates, I will not vote for anyone except Rand. And, I mean, it’s not even close on any of them.

      2. If there’s another huge terrorist attack that obviously could have been prevented by the NSA monitoring all of our communications, then we’ll have the discussion again. …just like we have the Second Amendment discussion every time there’s another school shooting.

        It’s different the first time, though. It wasn’t okay to be in favor of the Fourth Amendment at the expense of fear-mongering about terrorism before. Having some success in Congress means you can come out of the closet with your support of the Fourth Amendment now–and not be laughed out of the room.

        There will still be people on the other side of the issue–saying safety is more important than freedom–just like with the Second Amendment. But you’re no longer thought of as being a traitor or an obnoxious idiot by polite society for being in favor of the Fourth Amendment over the NSA.

        And it’s been that way for the last 14 years–right up until now. Even on the civil rights left, they were saying that we have to reinterpret the Fourth Amendment for new technologies and our modern understanding of privacy, blah, blah, blah.

        Someday it’ll be okay not to be scared of terrorists anymore. The cowards have had their way for 14 years, but the worm is finally turning. That we should sell our rights short in the name of security maybe isn’t the only acceptable/default view in polite society anymore. And that’s a big change.

    2. The lowest point of my life was when I heard John Murtha speak in person. It was degrading.

      1. He was in Congress for 35 years.

        He did one smart thing.

        There was a retarded girl in my junior high with a better record than that.

        But he did do one smart thing.

      2. I saw Ralph Nader speak at my mom’s law school graduation back in the 90s. All I remember is that he was screaming about Jurassic Park films, decrying them as “nonstop violence”.

  28. HAVE NO FEAR, LINDSEY IS HERE

    Graham is in!

    *rolls eyes*

    1. Don’t encourage SF to write more Christie/Graham fuckfiction. Do. Not.

      1. I eagerly await his GOP Orgy Chronicles – Primaries Edition

        1. I used to love peach pie…

    2. Anyone watch Gutfield’s show last night? it was pretty lame, but there was a running joke going about the number of Republican candidates…every time they came back from a commercial break he’d throw a new number out, eventually up to a hundred or so. Some were: The Predator, a swarm of bees, an alcapa and so on.

  29. Rand Paul has accomplished more good in 4 years than Obama or Rand’s dad did in decades.

  30. Is this really the best these morons can come up with?

    It works, apparently.

    How many of the people outraged by the audacity of Senator Paul neglecting the somber duties of his day job in the Senate to run for President gave a fig about Senator “Present” flitting hither and yon in pursuit of the Orb and Sceptre?

  31. We don’t need everyone to be a libertarian. We just need them to realize that the government is totally fucked up and way too big.

    If the federales don’t tell us how much water our toilets and shower heads should use, who will?

    1. That’s a good point. We should all vote for The Free Market for president.

  32. Rand would be a great choice, but I have a terrible feeling the Muddle East is going to rain poop all over the world soon…and that will put enough fear into anyone that thinks we should let them kill each other off to vote a hawk in.

  33. Once again, we see why Libertarians are not taken seriously. Those who think seriously about national security have long known that Ron Paul is no more competent in the area than Barack Obama.

    The Act is limited in its scope. The acquisition of metadata has been legal since the invention of the post office, passing many court tests. Putting that data in the hands of the NSA, as opposed to FBI or DEA or (shudder) IRS provides much better protections for the populace. NSA is an outward looking, military organization. Its interest is in foreign related terrorism, and the way it uses the metadata reflects that. The primary defect in the Patriot Act is not the collection of metadata, but it’s (limited) availability to DEA. Remove that access and it becomes purely national defense.

    The act, badly named, has been attacked with propaganda. While Bush was president, the left (which means by inclusion the main stream media) was all for trashing it, because they wanted to crush Bush. With Obama as president, the left of course mostly shut up since their complaints were partisan. Republicans, the more honorable party, are willing to let Obama have this capability – which tells you how important the program really is.

    Libertarians have a valuable function: to constantly remind the rest of us that any government power is dangerous. They fall down, however, because their reflexive attitudes leave no room for reasonable compromise, and the metadata program is, in fact a compromise.

  34. Only one U.S. Senator voted against the original USA PATRIOT Act. It was Russ Feingold, now running for Senator again in WI.

  35. Governments spy. If they want to (or have to) keep that spying secret they resort to parallel construction. It slows them down. Which means only the very best cases will be made. Good.

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