ABC News is reporting that Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky) is suing the Obama Administration over the NSA’s PRISM program ; However, we must not forget his anti-libertarian viewpoints on key issues in the past.
He said that he’s gotten together with FreedomWorks (a conservative activist group, and probably merely an offshoot of the John Birch Society) to file the suit for themselves and on behalf of “everyone in America that has a phone.” Hey, at least the issue is getting some press, but we must be very careful not to confuse “Rand Paul” with “Ron Paul”.
Fighting the NSA’s a great thing, don’t get me wrong. They even admit in the lawsuit that the PRISM program is not something that the Obama Administration cooked up. Rather, that it was a Bush era policy that’s been in existence since 2006, and so in a roundabout way, it was their party’s fault that this happened in the first place – though it only started to target everyone on the planet recently, with a leader of an opposing party taking most of the blame (Obama).
The Obama administration maintains that the program, begun under President George W. Bush, is legal. Courts have sided with the government.
What ABC News fails to mention, however, is that the people have won a few of the battles regarding the NSA’s spying scandal: A federal judge, Richard Leon, said while ruling that the NSA’s activities are unconstitutional that the whole issue was “almost Orwellian”:
The “almost-Orwellian technology” that allows the government to collect, store and analyze phone metadata is “unlike anything that could have been conceived in 1979” and is “at best, the stuff of science fiction,” Leon wrote.
In 1979, the Supreme Court ruled that Americans have no reasonable expectation of privacy in records of their calls that are held by phone companies, and the court said that a warrant to collect them is not required.
Some states have even started finding legal ways to keep the NSA out of their territories. For instance, in Maryland, lawmakers have put forward a bill – with the help from the Tenth Amendment Center – that deny state services (such as power and water) to the National Security Agency. The water was also (almost) turned off for the NSA in Utah. And just yesterday, a massive protest against the NSA was held by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, with millions around the world participating. So, needless to say, America hates the NSA. And what better way to garner a 2016 vote than to save them from an Orwellian spy grid?
Obama’s even, in some ways, tried to seem conciliatory when it comes to the NSA, calling for “reforms” to “regain public trust”, while the RNC voted last month to “end the surveillance programs” altogether. Let’s face it, though, no amount of soothsaying is going to make the people of America – and the world – be okay with this. And the conservatives backing Rand Paul know that. There’s no way in hell they’d actually let him abolish the NSA or it’s spying programs, but if they could persuade the people to believe that they’ve ended, or that Paul’s efforts reduced the programs to a certain extent, they could continue with their preferred brand of governance, the same brand both Bush administrations operated in.
I know many of us are hoping that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree when it comes to a Rand Paul presidential run, but looking at it honestly, it’s easy to see how Rand is riding the coat tails of both the Ron Paul following (which includes libertarians, homeschoolers, and small business owners) as well as the Neocons (the same people who authored the Patriot Act, ordered the widespread torture of terror suspects in the middle east, and run megacorporations that eat those small businesses for lunch). To see the disparity between Rand Paul and Ron Paul, check this out:
PAUL: Here’s the distinction, Neil. I’ve never argued against any technology being used when you have an imminent threat, an active crime going on. If someone comes out of a liquor store with a weapon and 50 dollars in cash, I don’t care if a drone kills him or a policeman kills him. But it’s different if they want to fly over your hot tub or your yard just because they want to do surveillance on everyone and they want to watch your activities.
So, Rand is okay with using Predator drones to find “criminals” in the U.S., then turns around (when it suits him politically) and engages in a filibuster about using drone strikes in the Middle East? Says torture is never okay, but won’t say whether he believes the notorious “enhanced interrogation techniques” are torture? There has never been a more wishy-washy libertarian in the history of American politics.
Foreign terrorists do not deserve the protections of our Constitution…These thugs should stand before military tribunals and be kept off American soil. I will always fight to keep Kentucky safe and that starts with cracking down on our enemies.
– Rand Paul, after reversing his position favoring the closure of Guantanamo Bay, Cuba
I believe our greatest national security threat is our lack of security at the border. On 9/11, 16 of 19 hijackers were here on ‘legal’ student Visas but were not in school or in the states they were supposed to be in.
– Rand Paul, who obviously thinks that terrorists can get visas without having an inside man at the State Department
“This, we believe, will be a historic lawsuit,” Paul said after filing the complaint in U.S. District Court in the District of Columbia. “We believe that this lawsuit could conceivably represent hundreds of millions of people who have phone lines in this country or cellphones.”
Oh, I get it: This is to seemingly “end” surveillance in this country, not in other countries. So, we’re back to a year and a half ago, when we were assured that the surveillance programs “only targeted foreign communications”. Wow.
“This is a constitutional challenge primarily,” Cuccinelli told The Associated Press. “We’re not debating national security policy.”
Tell that to Germany. Or France. Or any other of the dozens of countries who don’t want to work with us diplomatically, now.
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