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Old 07-25-2013, 12:50 AM  
Direckshun Direckshun is offline
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This is why we can't have nice things, like privacy.

The NSA amendment, which would restrict the activities of the NSA by demanding accountability not from a court that is completely staffed by one person with no oversight, but instead by Congress, has failed in the House, falling short of passing by 12 votes.

If there is anything Democrats and Republicans agree on, it's that the government should be able to know more and more about you, and you should be able to know less and less about it.

To be fair, a good number of Democrats and libertarian Republicans supported this measure, which was largely rejected by the Tea Party/GOP majority. The measure was supported by, of all people, the President himself and the actual NSA itself.

http://www.slate.com/blogs/weigel/20..._12_votes.html

Amendment to Restrict the NSA's Snooping Power Fails in the House by 12 Votes
By David Weigel
Posted Wednesday, July 24, 2013, at 7:12 PM

Earlier this week, it became clear that a libertarian/liberal-backed amendment to restrict the National Security Agency might actually pass. Michigan Reps. Justin Amash and John Conyers (a Republican and a Democrat) wrote the amendment, intending to add it to the Defense Appropriations Bill and restrict the NSA from collecting metadata on Americans not under suspicion of terrorist activities.

Polls showed the idea -- depending on how you describe it -- playing incredibly well. Members of Congress read polls. With that in mind, and with other anti-NSA amendments in the offing, the agency actually met with select members of Congress to lobby them. Last night, the White House released a statement to "urge the House to reject the Amash Amendment, and instead move forward with an approach that appropriately takes into account the need for a reasoned review of what tools can best secure the nation."

The amendment finally came up for debate early this evening. "They'll tell you there's no expectation of privacy in documents that are stored with a third party," said Amash, attempting to pre-empt his critics. "Tell that to the American people!"

For seven minutes, he paraded out a series of Republican and Democratic allies beseeching the Congress to geld the NSA. "We should be doing the balancing," said South Carolina Rep. Mick Mulvaney. "We were elected to do that. We should pass this amendment so we do the balancing, not people we don't know who we did not elect." Texas Rep. Ted Poe appealed to a revolutionary spirit: "No judge would every sign a general warrant, like the British did, allowing each home on the block to be searched."

All helpful stuff, but not as helpful as the endorsement of Wisconsin Rep. James Sensenbrenner. As chairman of the Judiciary Committee after 9/11, he helped pass then defend the PATRIOT Act. "This amendment does not stop the collection of data under Section 215," he said, "people suspected of involvement in a terrorist plot."

The opposition blew past all that. The current House Intelligence Chairman, Rep. Mike Rogers, accused the Amash-ites of ignorance. Had they been in the room, learning how the program worked? "So 14 different judges are wrong, and 800 cases are wrong?" Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann spent two and a half minutes attacking the amendment, insisting that "a false narrative has emerged that the federal government is taking in the content of the American people's emails."

"It's not true," said Bachmann, a fan of definitive statements. "It's not happening."

The anti-amendment side gave its closing remark time to Arkansas Rep. Tom Cotton, a freshman and Iraq War veteran who's being urged to run for U.S. Senate. Once again, more in sorrow than in anger, he wondered why the Amash side was so naive. "This program has stopped dozens of terrorist attacks," said Cotton. "That means it's saved thousands of American lives." Metadata was merely "an excel spreadsheet with five columns" -- brave soldiers collect this sort of data on thumb drives, on the battlefield.

"To find a needle in a haystack, you need a haystack," said Cotton -- paraphrasing Obama administration deputy attorney general James Cole. "This takes a leaf blower and blows away the entire haystack."

Most Republicans applauded Cotton when he finished -- then on to the vote. It was set up in a manner that would give them some cover back home. Kansas Rep. Mike Pompeo had offered a rival anti-NSA-looking amendment, which received little attention because it largely just reiterated current law. The House voted on that amendment first, passing it by a landslide.

Then came Amash's language. In just three minutes, it went straight down -- 217 members voted against it, and 205 voted for it. Most Republicans who voted went against Amash, 134-94. Most Democrats went with Amash, and Conyers, on a 111-83 vote. Had seven members of any party switched their votes, the amendment would have been adopted. But the Speaker of the House wanted this sucker to go down. He voted against it, something he doesn't have to do unless a bill's in trouble, and as the vote came in he could be heard saying "I like all those 'no' votes!"
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Old 07-28-2013, 10:26 AM   #46
patteeu patteeu is offline
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Originally Posted by Direckshun View Post
If you want to start a thread on progressive taxation, you've got my word that I'll participate in it.

This legislation to restrict domestic surveillance is further evidence that the government demands more and more transparency from its citizens, but less and less transparency to its citizens.
This thread will do. Which do you think is a greater intrusion on our privacy?

A. The government storing anonymous information about which phone numbers call which phone numbers with the requirement of a court-issued warrant to uncover the identities of the people to whom those numbers belong.

B. The government collecting a comprehensive accounting of your financial information paired with your identity, no warrants required.
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Old 07-28-2013, 11:29 AM   #47
Chocolate Hog Chocolate Hog is offline
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Originally Posted by patteeu View Post
Bush didn't (try to get your facts straight) and Cotton wouldn't.
Bush didn't spend more than all the presidents before him? That's a lie.
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Old 07-28-2013, 11:30 AM   #48
Chocolate Hog Chocolate Hog is offline
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Originally Posted by BigRedChief View Post
Just because Bilay and BEP say Obama is a neocon doesnt make it true. You don't believe that. You sidestepped the question.

Do you think anyone who believes as Cotton does can win a national election? And if so, so they pull it off in the electrol college.
Yeah its easier to write people off than actually debate them. Billay and BEP weren't the only ones who said it. Chris Christie said the same damn thing this week.
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Old 07-28-2013, 12:29 PM   #49
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Originally Posted by Bo's Pelini View Post
Bush didn't spend more than all the presidents before him? That's a lie.
It's poor form to change your argument like that, billay. Bush didn't "bankrupt the nation at a faster [pace] than Obama".
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Old 07-28-2013, 12:33 PM   #50
patteeu patteeu is offline
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Originally Posted by patteeu View Post
This thread will do. Which do you think is a greater intrusion on our privacy?

A. The government storing anonymous information about which phone numbers call which phone numbers with the requirement of a court-issued warrant to uncover the identities of the people to whom those numbers belong.

B. The government collecting a comprehensive accounting of your financial information paired with your identity, no warrants required.
If the government enacted a tax on phone calls and required you to self-report the phone numbers you called, when you made the call, and how long the call lasted in order to assess some kind of redistributive tax, Direckshun and most of the lefties complaining about the NSA wouldn't mind it at all. At least the conservatives opposed to the NSA would maintain some consistency in that event.
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