Monday, June 1, 2015

Patriot Act expires: Republicans scrambling for change for the meter.

The oxymoron-like named Patriot Act which was used by the NSA to surreptitiously collect phone records of every American citizen which produced no intelligence  in an NSA version of one person holding the light bulb while ten people turned the chair, expired on Sunday and so far the dire predictions by people who lied on a regular basis to congress and to the American people from the president to the Director of the NSA along with some members of congress,  have gone the way of the Mayan calendar.
Republicans who held up voting on the  Freedom Act passed overwhelmingly by the House which does away with the bulk phone records collection and any search without a warrant or probably cause, are now scrambling for lose change to put in the meter afraid that if they don't get the House bill passed, the party could get towed in the next election.
Rand Paul who shocked Republicans and some Democrats by actually standing up for something he believed in that had no political motive behind it, forced the expiration of the Patriot Act  and section 215  which was exposed by Edward Snowden who correctly believed the activity was illegal and unconstitutional about which a federal judge has already agreed. Which among other accomplishments puts Snowden about ten rungs higher  up on the food chain than CNN legal analyst Jeff Toobin who in a 2013 New Yorker article attacked Snowden and ripped him to pieces  for, among other things, only being 29 and a traitor.
Mitch McConnell, looking around for some spare change in the form of minor amendments to the Freedom Act already passed by the House is hoping to save face if not the constitution,by amending the House version to, in his words, "makes sure the Freedom Act works".  Thanks Mitch.

Unless the amendments really are small change, nickle and dime stuff that does nothing to alter or weaken the content and spirit of the Freedom Act which ended the bulk records collection,  a program which among other things successfully missed the Boston Marathon bombers, that too is liable to be stopped by Rand Paul and other privacy advocates. Which will leave the senate no choice but to pass the House bill as is. How long McConnell and the Republicans will spend patting their pockets looking for change is anyone's guess. For now Rand Paul is sitting in the drivers seat.
If there is any amendment McConnell makes to the House bill it ought to be to give Edward Snowden immunity from prosecution. And maybe a job running the NSA. But its unlikely McConnell,  the Republicans or Obama  has enough change in their pockets to do that.

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