In a victory for Sen. Rand Paul, Congress was unable to renew the Patriot Act, which expired Sunday at midnight. Congress is now trying to pass an alternative measure which will keep some of the anti-terrorism capabilities of the old law without the mass collection of Americans’ phone records and other civil liberty controversies. [Read more…]
Senator and presidential candidate Rand Paul has been staging an old-fashioned filibuster, staging a marathon speech and holding the Senate floor in opposition to the renewal of the Patriot Act, which authorizes certain government surveillance of citizens.
The Senate has pretty much replaced the old “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” actual filibuster with the mere threat of a filibuster, so that bills typically require a 60 vote super-majority that would be enough to shut off debate should a filibuster actually occur. Sen. Paul, though, has too few allies on this subject, so he is going the “Mr. Smith” route. He has only a few allies helping him hold the floor, and there is enough support for the Patriot Act to shut off debate, which will probably happen at 1:00 p.m. today.
So do you “stand with Rand”? [Read more…]
The rest of the story on recent posts. . . .
The computer named Watson ended up wiping the floor with the human used-to-be champions on Jeopardy. The human race is evidently doomed. So if Watson is smarter than people, should we elect him president? What does this mean?
The Patriot Act, which gives the government expanded wiretapping and surveillance powers in fighting terrorism, is being extended, for three to ten months, depending on how the Senate Bill and the House Bill are reconciled. But both houses voted for extension. Earlier, as we discussed, some Tea Party Republicans led by Rand Paul joined with liberal democrats to stop the bill. But that was for a special fast-track approval that required a supermajority vote. The House subsequently passed the bill under the normal majority-vote process.
The Borders bookstore chain has filed for bankruptcy.
Tea party Republicans in the House of Representatives joined with liberal Democrats to vote down the Patriot Act, which gives the government wide powers to investigate potential terrorists, some say at the expense of civil liberties. The Obama administration wanted to extend the bill, which is set to expire, and mainstream Republicans were on board with that.
The surprise defeat of the bill has lots of pundits confused. Aren’t the tea partiers right wing extremists? Aren’t they the type that want to lock up foreigners and clamp down on everyone’s freedom? How could these conservatives vote against this conservative bill?
As I keep trying to explain to my liberal friends, there are many different kinds of conservatives. This vote makes perfect sense and is in exact accord, for better or worse, with the Tea Party ideology, which is most emphatically not liberal, even though on this issue they voted with liberal civil libertarians.
The Tea Party stands for limited government. Therefore, it can be expected to oppose measures such as the Patriot Act that increase government power over its citizens.
The Tea Party has a high view of the Constitution, which it insists on interpreting literally and applying to the letter. That means that Tea Partiers will be zealous defenders of the Bill of Rights. Therefore, they can be expected to oppose the Patriot Act, which arguably violates some of those rights. But by this same thinking, they will also oppose gun control measures, which also go against the Bill of Rights.
See how that works?