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  (Source: NJ Today)
A razor thin majority said the government should continue to carefully monitor 99 percent of Americans

Just over half of the U.S. House of Representatives approve of the federal government spending billions to police not only terrorists and criminals, but also snoop on the lives of the 98+ percent of Americans.  The razor thin majority argues that to be free of terror, Americans must be willing to give up their freedoms and rights -- including the right to privacy.

I. Libertarian Effort to Restore Privacy is Shot Down in Congress

A proposed amendment to the U.S. Defense Appropriations Bill (H.R. 2397), an annual measure to fund the defense and intelligence agencies, would have "turned off Big Brother" by scaling back spying by the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA), who tracks the movements of smartphone-using Americans on a daily basis.

Backed by an unlikely alliance of civil libertarians from both sides of the aisle, such as Rep. Ron Paul (R-Tex.), both sides came together to try to pass the amendment.  The amendment (H.Amend 100, H.R. 2397) was authored by Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) and Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.).

In the end it came up just 12 votes short of passing, with 422 votes cast.

Defense Appropriations vote
The amendment came up just 12 votes short of passing. [Image Source: NYT]

II. Republicans to Obama : We Have Your Back

Rep. Michelle Bachmann (R.-Minn.) was among the critics of the amendment.  In total, Republicans voted 94 yay and 134 nay on the bill, while Democrats had 111 yays and 83 nays.

The lack of Republican support for the amendment and the strong Democratic support was equally surprising, given that the decision to expand the Bush administration's programs of the domestic surveillance has been a key internal objective of President Barack Hussein Obama (D) and democrats in the Senate.  

NSA Unchained
[Image Source: ACLU]

In short, Republicans in the House appear to be mostly in support of President Obama and Senate Democrats on the issue, and in opposition of their libertarian colleagues.  Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio) was a powerful proponent of federal spying spending within his party's ranks.  He characterizes people who oppose the spying, such as NSA leaker Edward Snowden as "traitors".

Obama spying
Republicans in the House have largely supported Obama's spying efforts. [Image Source: AP]

Meanwhile, Democrats in the House are boldly defying their party colleagues both in the Democratic Senate majority and in the White House (a handful of civil libertarian Democrats in the Senate, such as Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Mark Udall (D-Colo.) do oppose ubiquitous spending on spying on Americans).

House Republicans have also been crucial supporters of the President's program of warrantless killings of Americans who in deems "terrorists".  They have fought efforts to ban the ubiquitous use of armed drones on U.S. soil, arguing that the drones might one day be necessary to starting hunting down and killing off terrorists on U.S. soil.

Rep. Peter King (R- N.Y.) comments:

I’m not concerned [with the casualty rate]. My belief is that when you are in a war — and we are in a war — the idea is to kill as many of the enemy as you can [even if the enemy is your own people].
...
There’s evil people in the world. Drones aren’t evil, people are evil. We are a force of good and we are using those drones to carry out the policy of righteousness and goodness.

The New York Republican recently called for efforts to stomp out freedom of the press, urging federal prosecutors to charge journalists who leaked details of and criticized the NSA spying program with Espionage charges.  Despite the fact that the drone strikes killed few members of al-Qaeda's leadership, he says that it's worth preserving the option to kill Americans without having to worry about due process.

Predator missile
Republicans have fought to preserve the Obama administration's privilege to kill Americans it deems "terrorist" with warrantless drone missile strikes. [Image Source: Drone Wars UK]

Rep. King and Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Tex.) were among the key Republicans in shooting down an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 4310) by Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) which would have forced U.S. drone operators to know the identity of a target before killing someone.

III. President Chastises House Democrats for Trying to Limit His Spying on Americans

President Obama's press secretary, Jay Carney, praised House Republicans' decision to support the ongoing spying on Americans.  In a previous statement Mr. Carney (on the President's behalf) had warned:

We oppose the current effort in the House to hastily dismantle one of our Intelligence Community’s counterterrorism tools.  This blunt approach is not the product of an informed, open, or deliberative process.  We urge the House to reject the Amash Amendment, and instead move forward with an approach that appropriately takes into account the need for a reasoned review of what tools can best secure the nation.

President Obama
President Obama has had no tolerance for his party colleagues' efforts to stop him from spying. [Image Source: AP]
 
A separate Amendment -- Rep. Mike Pompeo's (R-Kans.) amendment #99 -- did pass.  It states:

None of funds made available by this Act may be used by the National Security Agency to—(1) conduct an acquisition pursuant to section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 for the purpose of targeting a United States person; or (2) acquire, monitor, or store the contents (as such term is defined in section 2510 of title 18, United States Code) of any electronic communication of a United States person from a provider of electronic communication services to the public pursuant to section 501 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978.

However, many have pointed out that the bill in question already forbids content (e.g. voice conversation) collection on non-suspects.  Hence, the amendment is essentially a false flag that does nothing.  It does not limit the collection (and spending on collection) of metadata, including location tracking records, as Rep. Amash's amendment would have.

Rep. Amash (R) vowed not to let the defeat stop his efforts to restore law abiding Americans' right to privacy.  He and Rep. Conyers have introduced a new bill called the LIBERT-E Act (H.R. 2399), which would offer similar scalebacks to his H.R. 2397 amendment.  That Bill is currently in the committee stage.

Justin Amash
House Republican Justin Amash isn't afraid to defy his colleagues and yet again try to fight for American's right to privacy. [Image Source: Getty Images]

Ultimately, the House Republicans and President Obama's unity on the importance of erasing the rights to privacy is a sign that the terrorists have achieved their goal of impacting the lives of Americans, forcing them to lose privacy they once had and to pay for it to boot.

Sources: NYT: H.R. 2397 Amendment 101 Vote, Rep. John Amash (R), White House



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RE: A taste of your own medicine!
By InsGadget on 7/26/2013 1:46:42 AM , Rating: 1
.... you do realize you sound fucking crazy right?


RE: A taste of your own medicine!
By IranTech on 7/26/13, Rating: 0
By seamonkey79 on 7/26/2013 7:25:19 AM , Rating: 2
You realize we didn't all support that any more then than we do this now?


RE: A taste of your own medicine!
By ClownPuncher on 7/26/2013 11:27:23 AM , Rating: 2
If you're from Iran, you have almost the exact same problems in your government. If your point is that we are just as crappy as you are, most of us already knew that.


RE: A taste of your own medicine!
By IranTech on 7/26/2013 12:36:44 PM , Rating: 2
Yes I am from Iran. Believe me, we are not having exactly the same problem. Our problem is that a lunatic country, 20,000 miles away, has stated its intent to change the political system (it calls our government, "regime"), to break up our country, keeps threatening us with war, kills our scientists and citizens every time it likes and has lined up an arsenal greater than our own a hundred Kilometers from our borders. Not exactly the same problem. Our country does not consider us its enemy. How about yours? In a sense, we are having the same problem. It is that same lunatic country. Or let's say the net state of that lunatic country. It is always, war. I remember it so well. The demonstrations, the opposition to war. Yet, when it comes to that lunatic country, it is always the war that wins. That lunatic has long lost the ability to win any war. It mistakes destruction, mass murder and eternal conflict for victory. Which makes it a very dangerous lunatic. A lunatic that there is no hope for. A lunatic that must be put to sleep. So, we are having the same problem, and we don't. Experience shows that that lunatic in its entire history, without any deviations, has always been like this. No, our problems are definitely not the same.


RE: A taste of your own medicine!
By Florinator on 7/26/2013 1:00:49 PM , Rating: 2
Oh, wow, what exactly are you smoking?


RE: A taste of your own medicine!
By IranTech on 7/26/2013 1:34:41 PM , Rating: 2
What a creative rebuke. It leaves me speechless.


RE: A taste of your own medicine!
By ClownPuncher on 7/26/2013 2:35:51 PM , Rating: 2
No, Iran is not the enemy of the US. Nor should it be. I do like your propaganda with a sprinkle of facts, though. But, I'm not a big fan of how we handle the Bahrain issue.


RE: A taste of your own medicine!
By IranTech on 7/26/2013 2:57:30 PM , Rating: 2
... but America is an enemy of Iran. Propaganda sprinkled with facts? Oh, you don't get swayed easily. I see. You need an encyclopedia. I concur. American crimes needs an encyclopedia. "The Encyclopedia of American Crimes". Sounds great. How many volume would that take? Do you think it can fit on an iPhone? President iPhone, that is.


RE: A taste of your own medicine!
By ClownPuncher on 7/26/2013 3:11:40 PM , Rating: 2
And many of your Sunni neighbors have done equally as terrible things to your people, if not worse. Nobody is saying that everything the USA does is good, or that we agree with it... in fact, most of us think we shouldn't be causing trouble abroad. But, you're going to have to give up on this hatred passed down from generation to generation if you wants things to be civil. I think Iran would be a good ally to have.


RE: A taste of your own medicine!
By IranTech on 7/26/2013 5:57:12 PM , Rating: 2
See, you are already threatening with war. That is all you can do. Zombicans on the march. Already. So, you want us to love you after all this? Forgive and forget you say. So that you can do it to us again? How civil. How genius. Zombie genius. Granted, nobody could live with that much guilt on his conscience, if he has any. And you seem to have some. Never mind that you still consider amnesia your best friend. We will never forget. Count on that. And we will never be your partner in crime, what you call an ally. Your ally is the king of Saudi Arabia and those little medieval Sheikhs, and the Al-Qaeda in Syria and everywhere, and that little thingy that cannot be named in polite society, and colonialist has beens as in UK and France, and Marshal Islands and Paualuauauwauaoo. Your ally!? What a grizzly idea.


RE: A taste of your own medicine!
By ClownPuncher on 7/26/2013 6:10:07 PM , Rating: 2
Use Google translate. I didn't threaten war, or even mention it. I think you just thrive on conflict. You're more "American" than I am. Such irony. It is a little cool that you guys are into zombie films like we are, though.

;)

Speaking of which, would you clean up places like Saudia Arabia? I find their culture distasteful.


RE: A taste of your own medicine!
By IranTech on 7/27/2013 4:30:09 PM , Rating: 1
I do share the sentiment about Saudi Arabia. But that is something that the people of Saudi Arabia have to take care of. The easiest way to get it done though, is for America to get out of the Persian Gulf and Middle East, which again goes against the very fiber of America, which is imperialism, not to mention that little thingy cuntry that cannot be named in polite society that controls American politics and will not allow it to do so under any circumstances. So, I suppose you have to carry the burden of such best friends for a while. Unless you choose to get rid of that little thingy which would be a great favor to humanity in general. And you do not need to to travel 20,000 miles. They are right next to you, actually above you, in America.


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