U.S. Senate blocks measures to extend so-called Patriot Act; NSA’s bulk collection of phone records in jeopardy

“The Senate on Saturday rejected legislation that would curb the federal government’s bulk collection of phone records,” Jennifer Steinhauer reports for The New York Times. “With the death of that measure — passed overwhelmingly in the House earlier this month — senators then scrambled to hastily pass a short-term measure to keep the program from going dark when it expires June 1 but failed. The disarray in Congress appeared to significantly increase the chances that the government will lose systematic access to newly created calling records by Americans, at least temporarily, after June 1.”

Steinhauer reports, “‘This is a high-threat period,’ said Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, who was stymied in his efforts to extend the program even for a few days by the junior senator for his home state, Rand Paul.”

MacDailyNews Take: Who’s really the highest threat to the rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution for which so many have fought and died?

“The Senate will reconvene on May 31 to try again. But any extension is far from certain to get approval from the House, which is in recess until June 1, with at least one member threatening to block it,” Steinhauer reports. “‘Any extension is going to be problematic in the House,’ said Representative Adam B. Schiff of California, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee. Mr. Schiff noted that many of the votes against the measure in the House were by members who didn’t think it went far enough. The matter is likely to come up after the one-week recess.”

“‘This is a debate about whether or not a warrant with a single name of a single company can be used to collect all the records,’ Mr. Paul said. ‘All of the phone records of all of the people in our country with a single warrant. Our forefathers would be aghast,'” Steinhauer reports. “Mr. Paul has made clear that he wants the House bill, known as the USA Freedom Act, brought to the floor with an open amendment process so he can have the chance to toughen it. However, while the House bill has a strong chance of passing the Senate should Mr. McConnell stop pressuring Republicans to reject it, it is likely to fail with stronger language sought by Mr. Paul and others. Congress has a long way to go toward a compromise… Even if both chambers do agree to an extension of the statute, the program might still lapse.”

MacDailyNews Take: This unconstitutional abomination was passed in a time of fear. Grow a pair, Mitch, and let it die.

“Still, while a short-term lapse in the bulk phone records collection could have large political repercussions, it might have only a limited operational impact on counterterrorism investigations,” Steinhauer reports. “Throughout the lifetime of the once-secret program, which began in October 2001, it has never been the difference maker in thwarting any terrorist attack, according to testimony and government reports.”

Steinhauer reports, “‘The Senate is in gridlock, but the tides are shifting,’ said Michael W. Macleod-Ball, acting director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Washington legislative office. ‘For the first time, a majority of senators took a stand against simply rubber-stamping provisions of the Patriot Act that have been used to spy on Americans. It’s disappointing that the Senate couldn’t coalesce around far-reaching reform, but in its absence the Senate should simply let the expiring provisions sunset.'”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Adhere to the U.S. Constitution.

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.United States Constitution, Amendment IV

Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. – Benjamin Franklin, Historical Review of Pennsylvania, 1759

Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free. – Ronald Reagan, March 30, 1961

Is life so dear or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty, or give me death! – Patrick Henry, March 23, 1775

Visit the Apple-backed reformgovernmentsurveillance.com today.

Related articles:
Rand Paul commandeers U.S. Senate to protest so-called Patriot Act, government intrusion on Americans’ privacy – May 20, 2015
Apple, others urge Obama to reject any proposal for smartphone backdoors – May 19, 2015
U.S. appeals court rules NSA bulk collection of phone data illegal – May 7, 2015
In open letter to Obama, Apple, Google, others urge Patriot Act not be renewed – March 26, 2015
Apple, Google, others call for government surveillance reform – December 9, 2013

Apple’s iOS encryption has ‘petrified’ the U.S. administration, governments around the world – March 19, 2015
Obama criticizes China’s demands for U.S. tech firms to hand over encryption keys, install backdoors – March 3, 2015
Apple CEO Tim Cook advocates privacy, says terrorists should be ‘eliminated’ – February 27, 2015
Apple’s Tim Cook warns of ‘dire consequences’ of sacrificing privacy for security – February 13, 2015
DOJ warns Apple: iPhone encryption will lead to a child dying – November 19, 2014
Apple CEO Tim Cook ups privacy to new level, takes direct swipe at Google – September 18, 2014
A message from Tim Cook about Apple’s commitment to your privacy – September 18, 2014
Apple will no longer unlock most iPhones, iPads for police, even with search warrants – September 18, 2014


    1. Ummm…..no.

      I’d prefer someone a bit more towards the middle of the aisle, thanks.

      Paul is certainly a better choice than some (like the imbecile Ted “Dr Seuss” Cruz), but I still don’t want him as president.

  1. ““Throughout the lifetime of the once-secret program, which began in October 2001, it has never been the difference maker in thwarting any terrorist attack, according to testimony and government reports.”

    ’nuff said.

  2. Dialog that indicates threat, is like water, in a flowing river. If you attempt to capture it in one bucket, it will flow elsewhere. So inherently, watching phone records, will have no results.

    Our best efforts are spies imbedded in threataning organizations. Our best results are in cooperation with countries with aligned goals.
    Our best results are in showing respect instead of contempt for sovereign nations.
    There will be disagreements.
    There will be tyrants.
    However it seems our current activities foster or contribute to disagreements and tyrants.

    We are not the British Empire of the 1800’s. We are, or should be an example for a free world that seeks to protect the innocent.

    1. “…Dialog that indicates threat, is like water, in a flowing river. If you attempt to capture it in one bucket, it will flow elsewhere. So inherently, watching phone records, will have no results….”

      Sort of like the Observer Effect in physics. I.e. that which is being observed is changed by the fact that it is being observed.

      Not to be confused with Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle.

    2. The US as the world police? I disagree. Unless something will affect us personally, it’s none of our business. For example, the Korean and Vietnam wars. We could have avoided those two wars. War is an expensive hobby, and the US simply can’t afford it when it has $18 trillion. The US is basically functioning on debt. This is no time for a new war. The US should withdraw its troops from the middle east and be done with it. Focus on the economy.

      1. I am not disagreeing with you. The Korean War was a McCarthy Era anti Communist agenda item. It was a different time. What I am saying, is that we work through cooperation, not as world police, but as an example of how a free and open society should exist. Butttttttttt, as Apple has shown us, a Free and Open society may not be all that good. So on this forum, we have a little problem. Libertarianism mixed with Apple admiration. If you ran the country like Apple, there would be lots of secrets, high quality of live, expenses to go along with that, but you can speak freely, expect freedom from fossil fuels, everyone pitches in, you can be a citizen, but have to have your sh-t together.

  3. Keep the public under educated, fat, sedated & in a constant state of fear and you can remove all human rights, civil liberties & constitutional rights in America to thusly gain complete control via our unelected oligarchy.

  4. The greatest threat to the Constitutional rights of the American people is the American government, but anyone who thinks that simply changing the cast of characters will reduce the threat is hopelessly delusional.

    1. Respectfully, I beg to differ here. Anyone who thinks that electing more legislators like Rand Paul and fewer like Mitch McConnell and John McCain won’t reduce the threat to freedom is hopelessly delusional.

      A common refrain is: “They’re all alike.”

      No, they’re not.

      Vote for smaller government. Vote for smart people. Vote for freedom, not unending, bankrupting handouts. Vote for smart programs that help people get OFF of welfare, not that perpetuate it.

      1. That is why Rand Paul walked away from advocating common sense cuts on defense spending in order to join the Clown Car Circus running for the GOP Nomination.
        All the Republicans are trying to out crazy each other, advocating taking food out of the mouths of babies and the disabled in order to cut the Koch Brothers taxes even more.

        As to the point at hand- opposing the evil and illegal misnamed Patriot Act- has long been a marque of the Progressive Wing of the Democratic Party and later joined by some conservatives in the Republican Party. It was Republicans and Conservative Democrats that approved this evil bill and Aldo gave Dubya his blank check for his war of choice in Iraq.

        1. I would vote this post 10 stars if it were an option.

          Especially the part about “all the Republicans are trying to out-crazy each other.”

          The madness of the Republican party’s “race to the extreme right” has to stop!! I’m an independent, and I long for sane choices among the Republican candidates again.

          I seriously considered voting for John McCain, and then for Mitt Romney. Both lost my vote because of their poor (and mor extreme) choices in running mates. Palin is an extremist MORON, and Ryan was too extreme and *ENTIRELY* too religious for my comfort level.

            1. If you watch Fox News, I probably do sound like a liberal….and that’s exactly my point, BTW.

              I’m absolutely NOT a liberal, but the Republican Party has been running its “race to the extreme right” for so long that almost EVERYTHING looks liberal when your perspective is one fed to you by Fox News and the like.

              I read an analysis a while back that concluded that Ronald Reagan (the conservative’s hero) wouldn’t qualify as a conservative by today’s whack job standards.

              I find myself agreeing pretty close to half of the time with Dems and half of the time with Reps….and doesn’t that make sense??

              Why is it that people who support right to bear arms are almost always also against abortion? Those two have NOTHING to do with each other, yet most Republicans will staunchly support both. Why??

              It’s because that’s the “party platform” which has been fed to them for years by their perspective-reinforcing media of choice (in the Reps case, Fox).

              The same stupidity exists on the Democrat side, too. What does abortion rights have to do with social programs?? Again, nothing, but that’s what MSNBC and the “party platform” tell them to support.

              It’s idiocy….people blindly follow a label…”liberal”…”conservative”….and blindly disparage those who have a different label than themselves.

      2. Vote for programs that get people (“corporations are people, my friend”, Mitt said) of CORPORATE welfare wold be a step to solving the much larger, expense issue, the real handouts

        It’s time to start melting down our ridiculous Global Military Empire

        “Small govt – you mean less regulation, let-the-oligarchs-run-wild, avoid taxes, and therefore perpetrate the continuing trickle-down polices of the right wing and 1%

  5. I just came back from a visit to DC with friends. It’s been a couple of decades since I’ve taken a tour of the capitol. On this trip I was able to speak my congressman, a state senator, and met their staff.

    I have to agree, they are NOT all alike. I met people who agreed with me and people who didn’t. Regardless of their party, they are passionate, caring, intelligent, and for the most part… patriots. It’s just a few at the very top who represent my state here on the left coast that give me concern. I came home from this trip convinced of these things… we need to vote for smaller government… we need to vote smarter… And we need to begin voting for character over party.

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