The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

Congressional Surveillance Reform

I don’t have a great deal to say about the actual content of the reforms, except: “Too little, and I wonder if they’ll even obey it, but better than nothing.”

What is of more interest to me is that Democrats let Rand Paul steal the issue from them. Sure, the bill passed with mostly Democratic votes in the Senate, but Paul made it his issue, taking it away from people like Leahy.

Lots of left-wingers hate libertarians (I’m not a fan; their theory of government is childish and harmful if followed, in my opinion), but the two Pauls have led on this particular type of civil liberty issue in a way most Democrats haven’t. (And the Democrat I respect most on the issue, Russ Feingold, the only Senator to vote against the Patriot Act, is no longer in Congress.)

I wouldn’t vote for Rand Paul under most circumstances I can think of, but Feingold is standing for election again and deserves your support.

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  1. Paul made it his issue, taking it away from people like Leahy

    This is an argument about media framing: the media is tilted in favor of Republicans; Rand is a known quantity in political coverage, and he is a leading Republican candidate for president.

    That he would “make it his issue” was overdetermined.

    the two Pauls have led on this particular type of civil liberty issue in a way most Democrats haven’t

    Again, this is mostly a media framing argument. The actual functioning of the deep state hasn’t been shaped for the better from the Pauls antics as much as from Leahy, Wyden etc. They’re still disappointing, but have done more than R ‘n R.

    The post’s argument, when slightly expanded to take the above into consideration: “The leading libertarians in Congress get favorable media coverage for wishy-washy legislative action even as Democrats do much more substantive work on the civil liberties issues they’re popular for”.

    It’s legitimate to point that out, but a strange reason to praise the Pauls.

    It’s like praising Lindsay Graham for his immigration policy work.

    Feingold is standing for election again and deserves your support


  2. perhaps landing is butt on the chair has something to do with it.

  3. John B.

    “…and he (RP) is a leading Republican candidate for president. ” I beg to differ. And anyway, that’s not saying much

  4. Peter

    I mostly agree with your points Ian but cringed when you mentioned Feingold, do we really need more Israeli citizens in our government? We already have an Israeli citizen running for president and if he is elected it may become a perquisite for higher office. This is more likely to happen than any of his pie in the sky ‘progressive’ nostrums, that the Liberal rubes are swallowing whole without any real analysis.

  5. Mallam

    Lol, Peter…interesting framing there. You know, it’s much more true the other way around. For example, Bibi is from Philadelphia.

    So basically, anyone who is Jewish who has been to Israel, even if they’re going there to protest the Occupation, is, in your mind, unfit to run for national office. See, I am anti-zionist, but what you’re subscribed to is nothing but anti-semitic bullshit.

  6. Peter

    Nice try at deflection, M but my question was about people who have dual citizenship and possibly divided allegiances not some imaginary visitor to Israel. There are many Jews who despise Zionism and many non-Jews who support this disorder.

    I’m glad that you oppose Zionism and I would hope you also oppose projecting false narratives about my or anyone else’s concerns about the problem of dual state citizenship and positions of authority in the US.

  7. John B.:

    Completely agree.

    The media presents it otherwise, though.

    That’s my point.

  8. Tom W Harris

    “Too little, and I wonder if they’ll even obey it, but better than nothing.”

    You can stop wondering. They won’t obey it. CommonDreams has the sad story: Defying Courts and Critics, Obama Moves to Resurrect NSA’s Phone Dragnet

  9. someofparts

    A friend of mine who works very hard on these issues locally has always been baffled by the lack of interest our native progressives have in these matters. She generally finds herself working with libertarians to organize resistance to these trends, odd as that is for someone of her political persuasion.

  10. malcontent

    The mass surveillance mentality has always been vulnerable to theft of information and today we get some good news on that front.

    Security clearance operations have had their personnel files stolen. The current crop of security elites just got hazed.

    Let’s see how this develops and perhaps we can cheer the newfound understanding of our political and media classes on the dangers of holding all that data ad infinitum.

  11. Lisa FOS

    malcontent: Dead right I made that same point over at the Fabius Maximus site a couple of years ago.

    The whole NSA (etc) ‘dragnet’ for data and subverting and watering down of protections wS the single biggest security threat to the US (and other places linked into the whole system).

    The reason is simple, when 750,000 to 1 million have access to this data some will sell out or become subverted by other nations, corporations, organised crime, even politicans and all the rest.

    I put forward the point that why should (say) China bother putting in bugging (etc), when all it takes is buying off/blackmaining/etc someone who has access to it all. Plus the watering down/subverting/etc of data protections means that hostile third parties have a much easier time of it. Heck just hunt for the NSA ‘backdoor’ that has been put in and use it.

    And that is what is happening now. We are JUST hearing about the tip of the iceberg so far, I expect the whole thing has been fully cracked wide open by many players already and much of the US Govt ‘secrets’ are already known.

    That wasn’t that hard to work out it was a logical and rather obvious outcome. ‘Collect it all’ has become ‘give it all to our enemies’…….

  12. Lisa FOS

    On another topic, Ukraine, this is a comment by the Saker that I pretty much agree with.

    “…according to many reports the Ukrainians are now extremely frightened of the Novorussians: twice already, their counter-attacks were stopped (Minsk 1 and Minsk 2) at the last moment, but nobody believes that a Minsk 3 will happen. In other words, if the Ukronazis attack they will be taking a huge risk. ”

    “Officially, the Russians are sticking to their original stance. However, I am also sensing a change in tone. There are now public discussion about the need to gather the Federation Council to re-authorize Putin to take military action in the Ukraine if needed. The consensus seems to be that since the Ukronazis did sign M2A they now have to abide by it and that no “M3A” or any other negotiations will take place. Some very senior politicians have indicated that if the Ukronazis attack again “all bets are off” or, to use the favorite US expression “all options are on the table”.”

    That’s my take on it. That if Kiev attacks again, Russia will let the Novorussians ‘off the leash’ and let them really hammer (maybe fatally and finally) the Kiev forces and grab a lot of territory, which will increase their viability.

    Russia has bought enough time to put together all its diplomatic, economic and military assets in place to weather any US/etc counter actions. Which has mostly been my view: that Putin’s strategy has been to buy time to get everything ready for the final and inevitable showdown, while still hoping for a German/EU breakthrough.

    It is now clear that German/EU breakthrough has not happened and will not happen, if anything Merkal is more anti Russan now than she was earlier*. The German/French initiative for Minsk 2 now just appears as a desperate attempt by them (under US orders?) to save the Kiev military forces from an even greater crushing defeat, that Putin allowed to happen to give him that precious time he needed.

    * This is consistent with Todd’s argument that the Germany elites plan for the inevitable post US time is its continuing economic (and maybe later political) domination of Eastern Europe (and hence a rejection of joining the whole Eurasion integration project), which means it has to keep Russia out of there and hence there is not going to be any rapprochement between them.

  13. Lisa

    And on yet another topic Israel (major member of the Coalition of the Totally Insane) is putting together to its plans (yet again) to achieve Gurion’s plan to grab the Litani River.

    “Simultaneously, the Israeli army, according to Congressional staffers on the House Foreign Affairs committee, has forwarded to key allies detailed plans to evacuate more than a million civilians in southern Lebanon before obliterating Hezbollah and everything south of the Litani River—for starters. They carefully locate Mediterranean ports near Tyre and Saida where US Naval ships can rescue endangered Americans, hopefully doing a better job than the US Embassy did back in July-August of 2006. A senior military official confirmed these plans on 6/3/2015.”

    “An Israeli military intelligence source told the Jerusalem Post on 6/3/2015 that during the coming war, Hezbollah rocket and missile fire will be met with civilian evacuations, massive Israeli aerial strikes, and then by a ground offensive. “If we have no choice, we have to evacuate 1 million, 1.5 million residents in Lebanon, and act,” the source said. “Failure to evacuate the civilian population would result in many thousands of non-combatant deaths, according to Israeli army assessments”.

    Have they the guts (or stupidity) to try it again? Maybe, starting to look like it. At least they are, finally, being honest about their ethnic cleasing desires. Wonder if they will use WMDs? Killing the best part of a million people without them (and this is what it will mean) is not that easy. Israel doesn’t have the bombs to do it or the guts to take the casualtes of troops required.

    Plus it will kill the Israeli economy, basically turn it into another Ukraine.

    Meanwhile Iran seems to be waking up to the fact that the whole ‘nuclear negotiations’ are just an attempt to neutralise them over Syria. 17,000 Iranian troops are going there now.

    The battle lines are drawing up. Ukraine, South China Sea and Syria/Lebanon. WW3 anyone?

  14. There’s always been surveillance performed by all governments dating back decades if not, maybe, more than a century.

    Phone-tapping has always been a “norm”, even back in the 1950s/60s …long before this red-herring known as the “Patriot Act”.

    And this charade of “repealing” that act doesn’t mean a thing, even if the act IS actually repealed, as most actual surveillance is done covertly anyway. And has always been done as such, LONG before that “9-11” occurrence.

    I’m not taken in by any of these red-herrings being thrown out by the governments and media outlets.

  15. Monster from the Id

    @Someofparts: I expect your fauxgressive friends would be far more outraged if the spying on us was being done in a Reptilian administration, rather than a Dinocratic administration. Also, many fauxgressives are pants-soilingly terrified to criticize Obummer for any reason, lest they have the scarlet “R” forcibly sewn onto their garments.

    The Malefactors of Great Wealth showed cleverness in anointing a kinda-sorta-maybe nominally-black man as their Chief Overseer this time, instead of the usual ofay honky mofo grafted devil.

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