Patriot Act

"Only the Republicans Can Clean Up the Surveillance Mess They Made"—And They Are!

The intra-party fight over Patriot Act & USA Freedom Act is a sign we're finally moving past 9/11 politics.

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The USA Freedom Act, which passed the House and has stalled temporarily in the Senate due to Sen. Rand Paul's pushback, is at least a slight improvement over The Patriot Act even if it's not as good as just letting the Patriot Act expire.

More important, however, is what the intra-party fight among the new breed of Republicans—Tea Party faves Justin Amash, Thomas Massie, Paul, and Sens. Ted Cruz and Mike Lee are on different sides of the USA Freedom Act—symbolizes.

As I argue in my latest Daily Beast column, such arguments are redolent of Nixon going to China and the Democratic Party leading the final push to end segregation in the 1960s. While it passed with overwhelming bipartisan support, The Patriot Act and unequivocal support for the surveillance state it helped to create is rightly recognized as a Republican law and mind-set. So…

…it falls to Republicans to clean up the mess they did so much to create. To their credit, they are doing exactly that, even as they fight among themselves over the details. On the one hand, you've got wracked-with-guilt characters such as James Sensenbrenner, the Wisconsin representative who introduced the Patriot Act in 2001 and who's been denouncing the way the government has implemented the legislation. In 2013, only after Edward Snowden's revelations and a long history of protecting the Patriot Act from any sort of congressional criticism, Sensenbrenner finally flipped and wrote Attorney General Eric Holder that the National Security Agency's request for Verizon records was "not consistent with the requirements of the Patriot Act"….

Mass opposition to a clean reauthorization of the Patriot Act 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 watched 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 proved incredibly useless in fighting terrorism and that the "lone wolf" provision has never been used.

The Patriot Act should never have passed in the first place, so it's good to see the Republicans openly discussing how to whittle it down to something that might fit within defensible practice. 

Read the whole thing.

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  1. Put Snowden on the $20 bill.

    1. He may have to transition to Edwina first.

  2. just because

    http://www.slate.com/articles/…..force.html

  3. “While it passed with overwhelming bipartisan support, The Patriot Act and unequivocal support for the surveillance state it helped to create is rightly recognized as a Republican law and mind-set.”

    Wait – what? Could you explain how this admittedly bipartisan bill (with elements of Clinton proposals from the prior administration IIRC) a “Republican law”?

    1. Yes, Nick is absolutely wrong on this one. I was indirectly involved in all of the Clinton administration pressures to enact a great number of what later got enacted in the Patriot Act. Obviously, that was well before 9/11, and a good chunk of the opposition came from, you guessed it, Republicans. Not that I view the law as “Democrat,” either, as both parties enthusiastically passed it and kept it going. Do note, please, that the Democrats renewed the renewable provisions when they were in power.

      The Democrats have tried to out law-and-order the Republicans for so long that this kind of talk befuddles me.

      1. “The Patriot Act and unequivocal support for the surveillance state it helped to create is rightly recognized as a Republican law and mind-set.”

        When we’re talking about a Republican mind-set, we’re also talking about its support in the general public–not just among politicians.

        No doubt, the Democrat leadership rubber stamped everything Bush put in front of them, but if we’re talking about support within the general population for surveillance, we’re mostly talking about people who think being scared of Muslims should be one of our top policy priorities.

        Again, no doubt, Obama has been just as bad or worse than Bush on this, but for a lot of the voters on the left who support Obama on the NSA, etc. it’s about supporting Obama rather than the NSA. From the right, there are plenty of voters out there whose criticism of Obama is that he isn’t going far enough in the War on Islam.

        1. The reason people on left hate Snowden so much is because he made Obama look bad, and that’s the unpardonable sin.

          Right?

          1. Are you suggesting they’d be hailing him as a hero had he done the exact same thing while a Republican was president? Yeah. You’re probably right. Principals, not principles.

          2. Citation? The only polling I can find shows that Snowden’s popularity corresponds to age, with “Millennials” being most favorable, and his popularity dropping with older people.

            1. I’m giving them the benefit of the doubt, Tony.

              Is it your assertion that the reason they hate Snowden so much is because they’re principled in their hatred of the Constitution and the Fourth Amendment?

              Do you imagine that the general population left is full of fear of Muslims, and their hatred of Snowden and enthusiasm for violating our civil rights has something to do with that?

              If so, do you have a citation for any of that?

              Otherwise, I still say the left’s hatred of Snowden is about him having made Obama look bad.

        2. Why the Democrats in power behave the way they do is irrelevant. Security state, WoD, WoT–none of those things is “Republican.” They’re “American Government.”

          I think allowing ourselves to put on the Manichean glasses of partisan duopoly is foolishness of the highest order. Reality is a hell of a lot more complex than Democrats vs. Republicans.

          1. Do you think they’re even particularly American?

            1. Not by my standards, no, but technically, yes.

          2. The world was a better place when the Democrats and Republicans tried to differentiate themselves from each other. The unity since 9/11 has been just awful, and it isn’t only about selling our constitutional rights down the shitter in the name of security either.

            You’d think George W. Bush was Obama’s hero the way the left uses Bush to justify the awful shit that Obama does. Somehow, when Obama uses our future paychecks to bail out Wall Street investors, that’s perfectly justified (according to the general population left) because Bush did the same thing, too.

            Because the Democrats rubber stamped and emulated everything the Bush Administration did, the Democrats and Republicans have looked the same on our civil rights for the past 14 years. If the Republicans start to differentiate themselves on that issue in the future because Rand Paul wins this argument, that will be a good thing.

            If Hillary defends the security state and the Republican party become the party of “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself”, then that will be a good thing. I’m not looking through Manichean glasses–I want there to be a substantial difference between the parties on this and a lot of other issues.

            1. It goes back farther than that, too. The Clinton administration was terrible on civil liberties. Proto-Patriot Act, CDA, heightened WoD, Clipper Chip, etc., etc., etc. Not suggesting that statist Republicans don’t suck on these things, but the differences are, at best, rhetorical.

          3. Reality is a hell

            That’s my reaction to the press coming off this mess. It is disheartening how many people believe the Lindsey Grahams of the world.

    2. Could you explain how this admittedly bipartisan bill (with elements of Clinton proposals from the prior administration IIRC) a “Republican law”?

      What, do you want Nick to get kicked out of the He-Prog Republican Haters Club?

  4. I think many people recognized the Patriot Keep America Safe From Everything, Forever, At Any Cost Act for what it was: a bipartisan compilation of USAGs’ authoritarian wish lists dating back to the Wilson Administration.

    1. Yep. That’s 100% of the story. It was a power grab–never let a crisis go to waste, right?

  5. Mass opposition to a clean reauthorization of the Patriot Act 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.

    Seriously? MASS opposition?
    Meanwhile, Pataki goes on Morning Joke and lies his ass off about what’s happening, as Joke One and Joke Two smile and nod.

  6. Remember how our comments here are terrible?

    patient_soul 1 hour ago
    Republicans “cleaning up” anything is preposterous. They couldn’t even clean up the mess they made that resulted in the Great Recession.

    FlagShare

    periscope 4 hours ago
    The only thing the Republican Party can “fix” is what they usually fix.

    And that’s fixing things so that the rich get richer, and fvck everyone else.

    That’s all they do, and it’s all they will ever do, until or unless the American electorate wakes up and votes their asses out of power.

    FlagShare

    Walrus- 4 hours ago
    Nick, what kind of illegal crap are you in to that makes you so scared of being singled out by the government out of 330 million people?

    FlagShare

  7. From the next article:

    eyeroller 20 minutes ago
    The very fact that libertarians vote Republican says that they refuse to accept we Democrats pay are taxes and have a right to have a say in how they are spent. That’s why makes them Republicans they don’t care about are rights that and soulless greed if they were really socially liberal they actually accept that we democrats have a right to basic human dignity and they don’t. To me Rand Paul is just another stupid redneck who thinks polluting and torture are freedoms and create jobs.

    I also think he hate public education and anything else we Democrats value.. I work 2 jobs and I will never vote Republican and I view Republicans as fiscal secessionists. Fiscal conservatives actually make me angry because they support a policy that has already bankrupted 10 states and they consider you a worthless if you don’t. There basically retards. Independents are not much better they demand Democrats work with people who hate us and refuse to even accept we pay are taxes .I actually despise fiscal secessionists and every Democrat should because fiscal secessionists are the enemy of mathematically efficient governance they also go by the name supplysider . Scott walker Sam Brownback Bobby Jindal all of there states are in the toilet .Texas has someone so crazy he thinks us military is invading Texas ..

    1. Bush is one of the most famous fiscal secessionists he refuse to raise taxes to pay for the wars than the gop lied us into. I actually think they created the tea party a group of stupid southern anarchists to distract the nation and blame what Bush did on Obama and independent voters want democrats to work with people who will blame them for what Bush did and here’s the kicker than lectures people on personal responsibility plus the Gop is gerrymandering and passing laws to restricting the rights of Democrat voters . .

      Even on the normal human daily beast you have people dumb enough to buy the crap they here on fox some one actually push like on some one who tried to justify all rolling back environmental protections. So even if I agreed with rand pal on anything Id still never vote for him or anyone on the right .Rand Paul talking about freedom is as meaningless and as the entire gop talking about it they have 0 legs to stand .

      Jon Stewart of the daily show said it best what republicans speak of freedom they are speaking of freedom from people who is agree with them.

      Republicans want a dictatorship and Rand is one of them so when Rand Paul talks of freedom to me its means nothing.

      I’m not writing

      1. “Fiscal secessionist”? I don’t think I’ve heard that one before.

      2. So many spelling and grammar errors, logical inconsistencies and rambling, incoherent horseshit, and he calls “fiscal secessionists” (whatever that is) retarded? This guy needs to STFU and just eat his fucking cake already.

        1. I’m absolutely sure s/he is a voter.

        2. Speech-to-text, maybe.

      3. There basically retards.

        Ow, my brain! I suddenly feel dizzy and like I need a nap.

      4. For some reason, I don’t feel so hopeless, having read that.

    2. The very fact that libertarians vote Republican says that they refuse to accept we Democrats pay are taxes and have a right to have a say in how they are spent. That’s why makes them Republicans they don’t care about are rights that and soulless greed if they were really socially liberal they actually accept that we democrats have a right to basic human dignity and they don’t. To me Rand Paul is just another stupid redneck who thinks polluting and torture are freedoms and create jobs.

      What the fuck is all this? If this is not a joke, then kill me now.

      1. I don’t know, but it’s “our.”

        I’m curious, as a percentage, how many Democrats are net payers on income taxes?

        1. Of course, you’ll never find such a study.

          1. I can’t even get a reliable answer about how many people are committing disability fraud with the eager assistance of the federal government.

            1. Everyone who works pays FICA, therefore everyone pays “taxes”. Never try explaining what income tax (federal/state) actually is to a committed working class Democrat. Even after they get their annual tax return, they still don’t get it.

              I wish a could find the source, but I read a statistic some time back illustrating that the mean “tax payer” will extract significantly more out of the federal government by they time they die (mostly via SS and Medicare) than they ever paid in actual taxes.

              I read a statistic today that 50m Americans receive some type of transfer payment from the Feds – not including state transfers. These fuckers never understand, as Lady Thatcher so simply stated, ‘eventually you run out of others people’s money’.

              1. Yes, of course there are taxes we all pay. That’s why I was emphasizing the tax labeled as the “income tax.”

      2. *slips knife into MJ’s foramen magnum*
        Ssh. Ssh. Sleep my prince. Sleep eternal.

    3. The engine calling the retarder retarded, meanwhile they both operate at the same speed.

  8. Now that I really look at that picture, I think it’s more ‘The Wild Bunch’ than ‘Reservoir Dogs’.

    1. I was thinking Seven Samuari. Kurosawa’s version, not Magnificent Seven. Except 3 instead of 7.

  9. The only thing the Republican Party can “fix” is what they usually fix.


    And that’s fixing things so that the rich get richer, and fvck everyone else.


    That’s all they do, and it’s all they will ever do, until or unless the American electorate wakes up and votes their asses out of power.

    When, oh when, will the people of California wake up and vote those damned Republikkkinz out of office?

    1. Sad thing is you could post that as a reply to that tardo and he wouldn’t get it. He’did probably come back and agree.

      “Yeah man, those damned Rethuglikkkanz are ruining the state! And those damn Libertarians refuse to fix the potholes!”

  10. The enlightened liberals don’t have to sacrifice everything they own to start programs and “do something”. Nor do they have to physically rob anyone. The same can be said about all statists, one group come out and says they want to redistribute other people’s stuff, while the other hides behind the guise of freedom and liberty while violating it with things like the patriot act, and so on.

  11. Republicans want a dictatorship and Rand is one of them so when Rand Paul talks of freedom to me its means nothing.

    But don’t you dare call the Ascended One a socialist!

  12. I know right, because everything he does is proooogresssssive, not socialist.

    Hell, Mitt Romney was a socialist mixed with a corporatist…….what’s that make Obama?

    1. Obama is an Obamamunist. It’s really all about him, his ego, and how history will view him.

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