A Small Victory

Well, it’s not the complete repeal I’d prefer, but it’s an improvement:

In a significant scaling back of national security policy formed after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the Senate on Tuesday approved legislation curtailing the federal government’s sweeping surveillance of American phone records, and President Obama signed the measure hours later.

The legislation signaled a cultural turning point for the nation, almost 14 years after the Sept. 11 attacks heralded the construction of a powerful national security apparatus. The shift against the security state began with the revelation by Edward J. Snowden, a former National Security Agency contractor, about the bulk collection of phone records. The backlash was aided by the growth of interconnected communication networks run by companies that have felt manhandled by government prying.

The storage of those records now shifts to the phone companies, and the government must petition a special federal court for permission to search them.

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, for the first time, will be required to declassify some of its most significant decisions, and outside voices will be allowed to argue for privacy rights before the court in certain cases.

So a little more transparency, a small speedbump between the government and our meta-data. By itself, it’s a very tiny win against the gigantic surveillance state President Obama controls.

But the bigger win could be the political victory. The pro-police-state forces threw out their usual apocalyptic rhetoric while they tried to force the Senate to reauthorize the Patriot Act without even a debate. And, for the first time, it didn’t work. Rand Paul, many Democrats and enough Republicans weathered the storm and got some small changes. For the first time, someone in Congress had enough of a spine to call bullshit on their bullshit. And that could pay off down the road:

Senator Mike Lee, a Utah Republican, and Senator Leahy made it clear after passage that curtailing the phone sweeps might be only the beginning. The two are collaborating on legislation to undo a provision in the Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986 that allows the government to read the contents of email over six months old. House members and senators from both parties are already eyeing a section of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act that they say has also been abused by the government.

Let’s hope they keep pushing. The surveillance state has legions of supporters. The pushback has begun. It won’t end until we have our basic civil liberties back. And that might take decades.

Comments are closed.

  1. AlexInCT

    In an administration that has not cared to follow the law unless it was convenient to the top men, this is still nothing to smile about. Then again, if Hillary wins we might be pining for the Wild West days of Obama.

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  2. Hal_10000 *

     Then again, if Hillary wins we might be pining for the Wild West days of Obama.

    Misogynist!  Sexist!  How DARE you question the coronation!  I will be reporting you for this thoughtcrime by picking up the phone and telling someone you said it.  NSA will then be on the case.

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  3. AlexInCT


    President BARACK OBAMA was invited to address a major gathering of the American Indian Nation two weeks ago in upstate New York . He spoke for almost an hour about his plans for increasing every Native American’s present standard of living.

    He referred to his time as a U.S. Senator and how he had voted for every Native American issue that came to the floor of the Senate. Although President Obama was vague about the details of his plans, he seemed most enthusiastic and spoke eloquently about his ideas for helping his “red sisters and brothers.”

    At the conclusion of his speech, the Tribes presented Obama with a plaque inscribed with his new Indian name, “Walking Eagle.” The proud President then departed in his motorcade to a fundraiser, waving to the crowds.

    A news reporter later asked the group of chiefs how they came to select the new name they had given to the President. They explained that “Walking Eagle” is the name given to a bird so full of shit it can no longer fly.

    I think they plan to give Hillary the Cankled Otter award….

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  4. FPrefect89

    Hal, this isn’t a small victory.  The small victory happened at 12:01 AM on Monday.  This is a step back.


    I do have to wonder why things that  gut the constitution or take away freedoms are given names like “The Patriot Act”, or the “USA Freedom Act”?

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  5. InsipiD

    And yet Bush’s critics are silent as we’re now far beyond what Bush had.  Look at the TLA aviation companies that have been discovered to be FBI.

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  6. AlexInCT

    That’s because progressives never have a problem with tyrannical behavior by government as long as it is one of their own engaged in it. But if the other side even has a chance to act tyrannical, its a disaster. What has happened under Obama makes the shit of the Boosh years look so tame that it is all but laughable.

    Nixon was kicked out of office for <b>asking</b> the IRS to audit some of the people on his enemies list. The democrats had the IRS willingly and with great gusto target opponents across the board. The left has actively been defending the IRS and stalling all investigations – by claiming this is all fake scandals created for political gain of all reasons – so we can’t discover that the IRS got its marching orders from the WH.

    During the Boosh years they forced Gonzales to resign as AG because they didn’t like white Hispanics being uppity. Holder basically turned the DOJ into the enforcement arm of that criminal syndicate in the WH.

    The EPA has become a fiefdom of illegal activity targeted at destroying our economy. Anyone that hasn’t seen their energy costs skyrocket – even as the industry the left tried to destroy with every avenue available to them broke the ludicrous power that the oil/gas cartel had to rape us for a natural resource that is abundant and still overprices – is lying about it. I now pay 150% more for electricity per month because of their bullshit.

    The most ethical and transparent administration has spent the last 6 ½ years in power hiding the horrible shit they are doing. Not just the escalation of what happened during the Boosh years to new levels that leave no one in doubt they are taking a giant dump on the constitution, but also passing such things as Obamacare and countless other inane and destructive laws we are told we need to pass before we can find out how much of an ass fucking they will give us. Wait until we get the details of the new Obama trade deal and how bad it will impact low wage earners.

    The list goes on and on…

    Let me stress it again: the left loves tyrannical behavior as long as they are convinced it profits/benefits them and only has problems with this stuff when the other side could do it too. The most important point and thing to ponder is that Boosh would never had gotten away with what Obama has been doing, because the DNC controlled media would have stopped making up the exaggerated or outright fabricated stories that they spent his term in office peddling, to bring him down for not letting Gore steal the 2000 election, and actually focused on crucifying him for the appearance of impropriety.

    Scumbags the lot of them.

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