• Sprott Money
    05/06/2016 - 06:03
    The US, in its own decline, is showing this same self-destructive tendency. The worse things get, the greater the inclination of the citizenry to say, “Carry on, everything’s fine.”

Congress Passes Gutted Beyond Recognition Anti-NSA Bill; Original Co-Sponsor Votes "No"

Tyler Durden's picture




 

Submitted by Mike Krieger of Liberty Blitzkrieg blog,

It’s shameful that the president of the United States, the chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, and the leaders of the country’s surveillance agencies refuse to accept consensus reforms that will keep our country safe while upholding the Constitution. And it mocks our system of government that they worked to gut key provisions of the Freedom Act behind closed doors.

 

- Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan, original cosponsor of the USA Freedom Act

In what will come as no surprise to any of you, there are very few members of Congress I have even the slightest degree of respect for. However, Justin Amash is one of them.

Rep. Amash is 34 years old and was first elected to Congress in 2010. He has been on my radar screen for several years now as one of the few elected representatives who act more like statesmen than politicians. He has been on the right side of many civil liberties related issues, including his opposition to the NDAA’s provision that allows for the indefinite detention of American citizens without a trial. More recently, last summer he authored an anti-NSA amendment known as the “Amash Amendment,” which was defeated by establishment authoritarians in both political parties. I covered that story in my post: NSA Holds “Top Secret” Meeting to Stop Powerful Anti-Spying Amendment.

Being the fighter that he is, Amash regrouped and came back with an anti-NSA spying bill with some teeth to it: The USA Freedom Act. This bill concerned the establishment to such a degree that Senator Feinstein launched her own competing bill, which believe it or not, intended to codify the NSA’s unconstitutional practices into law.

In the end, what the status quo did was water down the once robust USA Freedom Act into oblivion. Don’t take my word for it, Justin Amash wrote the following on his Facebook page:

Today, I will vote no on ?#‎HR3361?, the ?#‎USAFREEDOMAct?.

 

I am an original cosponsor of the Freedom Act, and I was involved in its drafting. At its best, the Freedom Act would have reined in the government’s unconstitutional domestic spying programs, ended the indiscriminate collection of Americans’ private records, and made the secret FISA court function more like a real court—with real arguments and real adversaries.

 

I was and am proud of the work our group, led by Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, did to promote this legislation, as originally drafted.

 

However, the revised bill that makes its way to the House floor this morning doesn’t look much like the Freedom Act.

 

This morning’s bill maintains and codifies a large-scale, unconstitutional domestic spying program. It claims to end “bulk collection” of Americans’ data only in a very technical sense: The bill prohibits the government from, for example, ordering a telephone company to turn over all its call records every day.

 

But the bill was so weakened in behind-the-scenes negotiations over the last week that the government still can order—without probable cause—a telephone company to turn over all call records for “area code 616″ or for “phone calls made east of the Mississippi.” The bill green-lights the government’s massive data collection activities that sweep up Americans’ records in violation of the Fourth Amendment.

 

The bill does include a few modest improvements to current law. The secret FISA court that approves government surveillance must publish its most significant opinions so that Americans can have some idea of what surveillance the government is doing. The bill authorizes (but does not require) the FISA court to appoint lawyers to argue for Americans’ privacy rights, whereas the court now only hears from one side before ruling.

 

But while the original version of the Freedom Act allowed Sec. 215 of the Patriot Act to expire in June 2015, this morning’s bill extends the life of that controversial section for more than two years, through 2017.

 

I thank Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte for pursuing surveillance reform. I respect Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner and Rep. John Conyers for their work on this issue.

 

It’s shameful that the president of the United States, the chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, and the leaders of the country’s surveillance agencies refuse to accept consensus reforms that will keep our country safe while upholding the Constitution. And it mocks our system of government that they worked to gut key provisions of the Freedom Act behind closed doors.

 

The American people demand that the Constitution be respected, that our rights and liberties be secured, and that the government stay out of our private lives. Fortunately, there is a growing group of representatives on both sides of the aisle who get it. In the 10 months since I proposed the Amash Amendment to end mass surveillance, we’ve made big gains.

We will succeed.

So it is this watered down, toothless bill that passed this morning. Just in case you still had any doubt what the cretins in Congress are all about. As Mark Twain famously stated:

“There is no distinctly American criminal class - except Congress.”

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Thu, 05/22/2014 - 13:16 | 4785323 IridiumRebel
IridiumRebel's picture

They won't be happy until we all have RFID chips in us.

Thu, 05/22/2014 - 13:19 | 4785339 madcows
madcows's picture

No, they certainly don't want to lose their slaves, do they?

Thu, 05/22/2014 - 13:25 | 4785362 synergize
synergize's picture

At least I know i'm voting for Amash next election

Thu, 05/22/2014 - 13:30 | 4785378 gh0atrider
gh0atrider's picture

....because everyone really believes NSA/CIA/TSA/FBI, etc really care and follow what congress passes or says.

Thu, 05/22/2014 - 13:35 | 4785397 flacon
flacon's picture

Freedom act?! Really? They have to pass an act with the title "Freedom"?! Come on now - this is so easy to see through. 

Thu, 05/22/2014 - 13:40 | 4785417 Looney
Looney's picture

...As Mark Twain famously stated

This Twain dude must be infestigated [sic]. He must be a terrisst and raciss ;-)

Looney

Thu, 05/22/2014 - 14:12 | 4785533 whstlblwr
whstlblwr's picture

Of course. "They hate us for our freedom"

Thu, 05/22/2014 - 15:02 | 4785785 edotabin
edotabin's picture

So they pass the "Free from Freedom" act.

Thu, 05/22/2014 - 14:13 | 4785536 NoDebt
NoDebt's picture

We've crossed the Rubicon.  I don't see many lining up to make the return trip.

Look on the bright side, though.  Progressives/liberals/statists are some of the stupidest motherfuckers I've ever had the sad misfortune to cross paths with (at least at lower levels).  All you have to do is spout a lot of phrases like "if we could just save one life" or "it's for the children" or "how can the greatest nation on earth allow xxxxx to continue" and you are IN.  The best part is when they start talking about how to fix it, you can rest assured the solution is always the same- get the government to FORCE people to do it.  You could set your watch by their opinions and ideas.

Am I saying you can LIE to them?  Absolutely!  They're the easiest people to trick I've ever met.  They're like CHILDREN.  You can tap dance around them all day long and they think you're on their side, even when you're mocking them.

 

Thu, 05/22/2014 - 14:45 | 4785689 James_Cole
James_Cole's picture

 Progressives/liberals/statists are some of the stupidest motherfuckers I've ever had the sad misfortune to cross paths with (at least at lower levels).  All you have to do is spout a lot of phrases like "if we could just save one life" or "it's for the children" or "how can the greatest nation on earth allow xxxxx to continue" and you are IN.

The 51 Republicans and 70 Democrats voted against the bill...

Thu, 05/22/2014 - 15:03 | 4785787 IndyPat
IndyPat's picture

So this means they have more dirt on the elephant team...for now. If team elephant "wins" next time, surely there'll be hell to pay.

It's like I've always said, whoever has their dirty dick pickers on the finished version of the blackmail machine stays in power for keeps.

Fuck all these guys.

Thu, 05/22/2014 - 14:54 | 4785736 Confused
Confused's picture

No offense, but I'm failing to see the connection here. 

Thu, 05/22/2014 - 15:09 | 4785832 Anusocracy
Anusocracy's picture

I hope you used the word 'statist' to include the conservatives.

Michigan has a republican governor, house, and senate, and they are pushing through a higher minimum wage and higher gas and sales taxes for road repair.

Who needs liberals anymore?

Thu, 05/22/2014 - 15:48 | 4786057 IndyPat
IndyPat's picture

Fucking awful if that's true.

In any case, my political party has no name.

Until we die, of course. Then we have a name.

Fri, 05/23/2014 - 00:38 | 4787489 One of We
One of We's picture

You insult my children....

Thu, 05/22/2014 - 13:32 | 4785383 pods
pods's picture

Hmmm, seems that the government will keep fucking you even when they are try to put in rules against fucking you?

Sounds like the land of the free and will of the people to me.  

How's that voting thing working out for y'all?

pods

 

Thu, 05/22/2014 - 14:05 | 4785509 madcows
madcows's picture

it's a frigging show so they can pretend to their voters that they protected them from the evil government.  It's all a bunch of crap and the mindless voters show up every election to put them back in.  Just look at how well the current repugnicans did in their primaries.  that'll tell you everything.

Thu, 05/22/2014 - 13:37 | 4785404 813kml
813kml's picture

I'm just going to join the Amish, their NSA isn't very sophisticated.

Thu, 05/22/2014 - 13:41 | 4785419 IridiumRebel
IridiumRebel's picture

Long monacles...

Thu, 05/22/2014 - 14:22 | 4785581 Greenskeeper_Carl
Greenskeeper_Carl's picture

He is like rand Paul to me. I really, REALLY want to believe in them, I just can't quite do it. Every time they do something I really like, they do something else to pander to the neocon/ traditional republicans. Amash did vote for Paul Ryan's joke of a budget that did nothing to really address our debt and tax issues. He hasn't made a believer out of me yet.

Thu, 05/22/2014 - 16:00 | 4786109 viahj
viahj's picture

sorry, but this is the best that this "system" will produce for the American people.  not much at all, except tyranny.   

Thu, 05/22/2014 - 15:04 | 4785798 Blano
Blano's picture

You better, because IIRC he's one that the RINO establishment (especially & including the Grand Rapids crowd) has targeted for defeat.

Thu, 05/22/2014 - 15:47 | 4786049 percolator
percolator's picture

Yeah, I'd imagine the Amway crooks can't be to happy with Mr. Amash as they prefer Fascists and usually they get what they want.

Thu, 05/22/2014 - 13:29 | 4785368 Real Estate Geek
Real Estate Geek's picture

The USA Freedom Act.  What a bunch of shit.

I see that Sensenbrenner has his hands all over this too.  IIRC, he's the scumbag who drafted the so-called "Patriot Act."  Thanks a bunch for re-electing him five or six times since then, you dumb fucking cheeseheads. 

Thu, 05/22/2014 - 13:32 | 4785384 BeerMe
BeerMe's picture

Exactly.  It is unnecessary if we had courts that actually upheld the constitution.

Thu, 05/22/2014 - 14:10 | 4785527 Tinky
Tinky's picture

As the excellent Marcy Wheeler calls it: The Freedumber Act

Her blog is the very best for real insights into this, and other NSA outrages:

http://www.emptywheel.net/

 

 

Thu, 05/22/2014 - 13:19 | 4785343 Joebloinvestor
Joebloinvestor's picture

I suggest you watch: " The President's Analyst".

Hillarious and scary.

Thu, 05/22/2014 - 13:20 | 4785344 Kirk2NCC1701
Kirk2NCC1701's picture

And YOU become the walking, talking crypto-currency, backed by the SDR, and enforced by the LEAs and IRS.

Thu, 05/22/2014 - 13:21 | 4785350 IridiumRebel
IridiumRebel's picture

Absolutely. Welcome to the herd.... Or be culled.

Thu, 05/22/2014 - 13:26 | 4785365 Kirk2NCC1701
Kirk2NCC1701's picture

Aye... To be or not to be.  That is the question.

Whether 'tis nobler to have "intel inside", or to suffer the slings and arrow of outrageous (mis)fortune...

Thu, 05/22/2014 - 13:37 | 4785408 messymerry
messymerry's picture

I've long said:  "Facebook is like a feedlot.  Two things happen at a feedlot:  The sick get weeded out and the rest get fattened up."  Looks like just exactly that is happening...   ;-D

Thu, 05/22/2014 - 13:35 | 4785396 messymerry
messymerry's picture

I hear the buttocks are the location of choice.  ;-D

Thu, 05/22/2014 - 13:46 | 4785439 IridiumRebel
IridiumRebel's picture

Then the doctor won't mind when I projectile shit in his face.....oh wait, I will never be implanted. 

Thu, 05/22/2014 - 13:50 | 4785457 williambanzai7
williambanzai7's picture

Thu, 05/22/2014 - 14:37 | 4785640 Perfecthedge
Perfecthedge's picture

I applaud this image.  How true.  Sad and true.  Now, we have it in our hands to not let history repeat itself.  What would YOU have done back then in Nazi Germany 1933...?

Thu, 05/22/2014 - 15:12 | 4785835 IndyPat
IndyPat's picture

Non enim est aliquid

Edit: suggesting that we change Latin motto "many from one" to "something for nothing"...
Not entirely sure of my translation. Maybe the Roman solider can correct me like in Life of Brian.....

Thu, 05/22/2014 - 16:05 | 4786134 taoJones
taoJones's picture

In what will come as no surprise to any of you, there are very few members of Congress I have even the slightest degree of respect for. However, Justin Amash is one of them.

I think the author meant to say "However, Justin Amash is NOT one of them"

 

 

 

Fri, 05/23/2014 - 08:15 | 4787955 omniversling
Thu, 05/22/2014 - 13:18 | 4785327 RaceToTheBottom
RaceToTheBottom's picture

I really hate that FaceBook has become a method of communication like press releases.

 

It is somewhat ironic that one who is fighting the information freedom war uses one of the enemy as part of his fight...

Thu, 05/22/2014 - 13:21 | 4785348 Ignatius
Ignatius's picture

See 'Corporate History in the USA' for full explanation.

Thu, 05/22/2014 - 14:05 | 4785507 Dadburnitpa
Dadburnitpa's picture

What's facebook?

Thu, 05/22/2014 - 14:14 | 4785547 hot sauce technician
hot sauce technician's picture

I know. How can you expect to be taken seriously as a freedom advocate and partiipate in the Matrix's favorite circus?

And it's not like there aren't superior decentralized, open source alternatives that allow you complete freedom and privacy. But then again, the bankster behemoth has monopolized the PC market by forcing you to purchase Microsoft NSA Windows when you buy a machine. Notice, when you buy a machine, that you get charged an extra +$100 for Windows. I once asked a PC salesman if I can forego the pleasure of having windoze on my machine and buy it sans operating system, and he of course said no and really couldn't muster a coherent explanation as to why. I realized it's a futile battle. The manufacturers (dell, hp, acer etc.) are paid a nice royalty for each machine sold by M$oftNSA so of course they preinstall windoze on their machines. Users are coerced to use M$oftNSA's products and as they are mostly simpleminded folks when it comes to tech, they submit.

Try talking to people about using GNU/Linux. They look at you like you're some kind of being from Alpha Centauri. Even after you show them the beauty, ease of use, privacy, security etc. of GNU/Linux software they say "ahh, I'm used to windoze, leave me alone." or, even worse, "what do I care about <security/privacy/versaitility>?". People are idiots. These are the same poeple who also believe that fiat has intrinsic value.

Thu, 05/22/2014 - 22:34 | 4787265 StychoKiller
Thu, 05/22/2014 - 13:20 | 4785332 outamyeffinway
outamyeffinway's picture

But Brother Rat I said, "what about the weak the helpless and the small....."

 

He just sneered and said, "Fuck 'em all. Fuck 'em all."

Thu, 05/22/2014 - 13:19 | 4785333 Kreditanstalt
Kreditanstalt's picture

"Our country" would be safer if ALL spying were completely outlawed, prosecuted and ended.

But Our Dear Leaders would never understand that...

Thu, 05/22/2014 - 13:35 | 4785398 pods
pods's picture

"Our country" is safer when the government shuts down. (Our country can apply to pretty much the entire world.)

pods

 

Thu, 05/22/2014 - 13:18 | 4785334 y3maxx
y3maxx's picture

Manifest Destiny...How long will Canada last until the USSA gobbles up its neighbour to its North?

Thu, 05/22/2014 - 13:20 | 4785345 Kreditanstalt
Kreditanstalt's picture

What's the difference?   We all enjoy the same managerial-authoritarian government.

Thu, 05/22/2014 - 15:20 | 4785898 IndyPat
IndyPat's picture

Right.

As soon as they untie themselves from Her Majesties' apron strings?

God save her, and all...

Thu, 05/22/2014 - 16:04 | 4786128 mvsjcl
mvsjcl's picture

Hmmm. That's not what was meant. Instead, look at the monetary system. Ignore the faces on the bills. How do those "notes" come about? That will give you your clue.

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