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Ron Paul: Defeat Of “USA FREEDOM” Act A Victory For Freedom

“AMERICANS SHOULD NOT ACCEPT ONE MORE EXTENSION OF ‘PATRIOT’ ACT” By RON PAUL  ||  It will not shock readers to hear that quite often legislation on Capitol Hill is not as advertised.  When Congress wants to do something particularly objectionable, they tend give it a fine-sounding name.  The PATRIOT Act…

“AMERICANS SHOULD NOT ACCEPT ONE MORE EXTENSION OF ‘PATRIOT’ ACT”

Ron Paul Iowa PollBy RON PAUL  ||  It will not shock readers to hear that quite often legislation on Capitol Hill is not as advertised.  When Congress wants to do something particularly objectionable, they tend give it a fine-sounding name.  The PATRIOT Act is perhaps the best-known example.  The legislation had been drafted well before 9/11 but was going nowhere.  Then the 9/11 attacks gave it a new lease on life.  Politicians exploited the surge in patriotism following the attack to reintroduce the bill and call it the PATRIOT Act.  To oppose it at that time was, by design, to seem unpatriotic.

At the time, 62 Democrats voted against the Act.  On the Republican side there were only three no votes: former Rep. Bob Ney (R-OH), former Rep. Butch Otter (R-ID), and myself.

The abuses of the Constitution in the PATRIOT Act do not need to be fully recounted here, but Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama both claimed authority based on it to gut the Fourth Amendment.  The PATRIOT Act ushered in the era of warrantless wiretapping, monitoring of our Internet behavior, watering down of probable cause, and much more.  After the revelations by whistleblower Edward Snowden, we know how the NSA viewed constitutional restraints on surveillance of American people during the PATRIOT Act period.

After several re-authorizations of the PATRIOT Act, including some cosmetic reforms, Congress last October unveiled the USA FREEDOM Act.  This was advertised as the first wholesale PATRIOT Act Reform bill.  In fact, the House version was watered down to the point of meaninglessness and the Senate version was not much better.  The final straw was the bill’s extension of key elements of the PATRIOT Act until 2017.

Fortunately, last week the USA FREEDOM Act was blocked from further consideration in the US Senate.  The procedural vote was significant and important, but it caused some confusion as well.  While some well-meaning pro-privacy groups endorsed the FREEDOM Act as a first step to reform, some anti-liberty neoconservatives opposed the legislation because even its anemic reforms were unacceptable.  The truth is, Americans should not accept one more extension of the PATRIOT Act and should not endorse its continued dismemberment of our constitutional liberties.  If that means some Senators vote with anti-liberty colleagues to kill the extension, we should still consider it a victory.

As the PATRIOT Act first faced a sunset in 2005, I had this to say in the debate over whether it should be re-authorized:

“When Congress passed the Patriot Act in the emotional aftermath of the September 11th terrorist attacks, a sunset provision was inserted in the bill that causes certain sections to expire at the end of 2005.  But this begs the question: If these provisions are critical tools in the fight against terrorism, why revoke them after five years?  Conversely, if these provisions violate civil liberties, why is it acceptable to suspend the Constitution for any amount of time?”

Reform is often meant to preserve, not repeal bad legislation.  When the public is strongly opposed to a particular policy you will almost never hear politicians say “let’s repeal the law.”  It is always a pledge to reform the policy or law.  The USA FREEDOM Act was no different.

With the failure of the FREEDOM Act to move ahead in the Senate last week, several of the most egregious sections of the PATRIOT Act are set to sunset next June absent a new authorization.  Congress will no doubt be under great pressure to extend these measures.  We must do our very best to make sure they are unsuccessful!

Ron Paul is a former U.S. Congressman from Texas and the leader of the pro-liberty, pro-free market movement in the United States. His weekly column – reprinted with permission – can be found here.

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28 comments

All of gov't is Minitrue November 24, 2014 at 9:21 am

“WAR IS PEACE,” “FREEDOM IS SLAVERY,” “IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH.”

Just like the “net neutrality bill” is akin to the “Anti-Dog-Eat-Dog Rule”.

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dj November 24, 2014 at 9:32 am

Chuck Hagel just stepped down as Sec of State.Apparently pushed out by Obama.
Hagel was fighting with Susan Rice about defending America and strategy in the middle east.

Of course Obama and Rice have no intention of defending America or the best interests of this country ANYWHERE in this world.

Oh, Ron Paul? A lunatic.

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idcydm November 24, 2014 at 9:41 am

“Sec of State”…

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dj November 24, 2014 at 9:42 am

Thank you, “RINO”.

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dj November 24, 2014 at 9:46 am

“SEC OF DEFENSE”

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grandtangosuglydog November 24, 2014 at 10:17 am

He is such an idiot he rants about things he has no clue what he is ranting (sec of state..lolololol) he just wants to go full partisan hate rambo as it makes him feel like he knows whats going on and can participate in a meaningful conversation with the adults, when really he doesnt know shit from shinola. Boy, get back to the kids table and wait for your turkey.

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grandtangosuglydog November 24, 2014 at 10:18 am

(not you ID..DickJuggler was whom i was referring..)

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grandtangosuglydig November 24, 2014 at 10:24 am

A brilliant analysis of world affairs.

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Smirks November 24, 2014 at 9:34 am

SPOILER ALERT

Congress will continue to make “attempts” at reform up until the deadline starts looming, then someone will submit a bill extending the whole thing, possibly even granting additional powers, and it will “barely” pass. Obama will huff and puff about one of the new powers he is being granted, but will ultimately sign it anyways and “promise” not to use whatever he didn’t like.

Ron Paul and libertarians will pat themselves on the back for not compromising, even if it still results in the worst of Congress stripping even more of our rights away.

Most libertarians will then go to the voting booths in 2016 to help elect more Republicans, which will happily extend these powers and more well into the future.

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CNSYD November 24, 2014 at 10:39 am

“At the time, 62 Democrats voted against the Act. On the Republican side there were only three no votes: former Rep. Bob Ney (R-OH), former Rep. Butch Otter (R-ID), and myself.”

The salient point that wacko Paul misses is that the operative word is “former”. Take a hint.

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Really? November 24, 2014 at 2:25 pm

The hint being Republicans hate freedom?

Or is the hint that Republicans are doing what it takes to fight terrorism and Dems are morons?

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CNSYD November 24, 2014 at 4:31 pm

The hint that Paul and his 2 buds need to take is that they are no longer in the decision making loop, if they ever were.

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Really? November 24, 2014 at 5:57 pm

” if they ever were.”

They haven’t been. That’s what’s weird about your point. I literally know no one that think’s Paul has had any influence on foreign policy as run by the US government.

It’s like you’re stating the obvious, I was looking for some deeper point.

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idcydm November 24, 2014 at 11:05 am

“Edward Snowden” and where is this whistleblower hanging out…haven’t heard from him for awhile.

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James November 24, 2014 at 1:45 pm

In Russia with his comrades.

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Truth is treason November 24, 2014 at 2:22 pm

Most of the public doesn’t care about the illegal stuff he reported, so he’s living where the other people who don’t care won’t prosecute him for telling everyone the truth.

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idcydm November 24, 2014 at 3:59 pm

To tell the truth, he wouldn’t be prosecuted for telling the truth but he would be prosecuted for doing illegal stuff.

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Truth is treason November 24, 2014 at 5:58 pm

“To tell the truth, he wouldn’t be prosecuted for telling the truth”

It’s illegal for him to tell the truth. It’s literally, illegal.

How does it feel to live in a place where the gov’t over us has outlawed the truth?

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idcydm November 24, 2014 at 6:21 pm

He would prosecuted for doing the illegal stuff.

Feels better to live here than any other country I’ve been in.

Truth is treason November 24, 2014 at 10:59 pm

Yes, telling the truth is “illegal stuff”.

Best turd in the pile is still a turd. Not only that, the Swiss & Canadians might disagree.

idcydm November 24, 2014 at 11:25 pm

Because of my career in the military there is much I know that I can not talk about. Although it is the truth it’s illegal stuff if I talk about it.

So you think it’s a turd, your opinion, it sucks for you but it’s your opinion.

Truth is treason November 25, 2014 at 12:50 am

“So you think it’s a turd, your opinion, it sucks for you but not for me.”

If things keep going the way they are, it’s even gonna suck for gov’t workers like you.

idcydm November 25, 2014 at 1:07 am

I’m sure if you have your way it will.

Truth is treason November 25, 2014 at 3:19 pm

“I’m sure if you have your way it will.”

It’s been “your way” for some time now…and things are getting worse….in fact I don’t see it getting better anytime soon.

SolitaryPillar November 25, 2014 at 4:45 pm

The part that sucks is that now the people are the enemy, not Russia or China. It sucks when to be loyal to the United States of America (The Government) is to be disloyal to the people.

People say if you do nothing wrong you will have nothing to worry about. True here as it is in China or Cuba.

Also, isn’t this the same government that was caught spraying biological agents over cities, assisting in the distribution of drugs (go see the movie kill the messenger) and other shocking things? Why are Americans so trusting of government? It seems un-American to be so trusting of government. I guess most of us have become good comrades.

CorruptionInColumbia November 24, 2014 at 12:24 pm

As usual, Ron Paul is spot-on with his observations. Sadly, the point of them goes over the heads of the majority.

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9" November 24, 2014 at 3:27 pm

If he’s a republican and a libertarian,why doesn’t he get, ” ” around whatever he’s supposed to be?

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RogueElephant November 25, 2014 at 6:51 pm

The Patriot act was a good law under an administration that respected the people of our country. I personally opposed it because I knew we wouldn’t always have that kind of administration. I have sadly been proven right.

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