Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Because Purity

The latest in my award-ready series, Rand Paul Running Away From Things.

From The Daily Beast:
Rand Paul Beats Ted Cruz, Saves NSA From ‘Reform’

One wants to fix the spy agency from the inside. The other wanted to block watered-down reforms of the secret state. The winner just might get to be president.

The fight to rein in NSA surveillance stalled in the Senate Tuesday evening—meaning the lasting impact of the months-long reform effort will be less about the agency and more about the presidential aspirations of Sens. Rand Paul and Ted Cruz.

Ironically, it was Paul, the libertarian icon, who helped sink the bill to curb America’s most notorious intelligence agency—all in the name of deep-sixing the surveillance state. And he did it with arguments that many civil libertarians found disingenuous, at best. Meanwhile, Cruz, the senator with the reputation as a political arsonist, was suddenly thrust into the role of the insider, looking to fix the NSA from within the system. It didn’t work.

The NSA reforms, known as the USA Freedom Act, are championed by Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy and Republican Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner. On Tuesday evening, it failed to reach the 60 votes required to advance the bill procedurally.

The bill would have ended the NSA’s bulk collection of metadata, first brought to public knowledge by Edward Snowden; created a special advocate position to argue against the government in the FISA courts; and allowed tech companies to release statistics about government demands for information. Cruz is a co-sponsor of the bill, along with libertarian-minded Sen. Mike Lee.
Even if the law represents naught but a teeny, tiny baby step or two, the news that Brogressive Hero Rand Paul helped kill this particular bill is news which you might reasonably expect to ignite a patented ballistic HaterCon freakout from the Purity Caucus, complete with the wailing and the rending of garments and hordes of The Usual Suspects flinging words like "tyrannical" and "jackbooted" and perhaps even the dreaded "Obot" around like so much Twitter monkey poo.

Clearly you don't know the Purity Caucus...

Dude, governance is sooo 1977.

Because Purity.


Horace Boothroyd III said...

My, shall we say, ire at the hysterical ninnies of the Daily Kos and the firebaggers and the rest of the Greenwald toadies was based from the beginning on their insistence that OH MY GOD THIS IS THE WORST THING THAT EVER HAPPENED was the one and only correct response to Snowden and his treasure trove of confidential documents. Those of us who were so foolish as to say, in public, that this is bad and we need to use this outburst of public interest and support to pass this bushel of reform legislation that we have been diligently crafting for the the past twenty years were denounced as NSA disruptor trolls and cryptofascists and worse.

So I have to agree with Gleenwal that Congress is irrelevant - not because Republicans are duplicitous and evil, which goes without saying, but because the best chance we will see in a generation was murdered in its cradle by a gang of self styled radicals who simply do not believe in the rule of law. No reform could possibly satisfy them, they will burn down the NSA campus and salt the ground or they will have nothing.

So nothing it will be.

Anonymous said...

Stadium Barker: "Programs! Get your programs right here. Can't tell your left wing-nuts from your right wing-nuts without a program!"

Anonymous said...

I'll confess I'm a little disappointed. In spite of my misgivings about Greenwald, I do respect his fearless, single-mindedness when it comes to his primary areas of interest. Here we've gotten a clear look at how much of the US government is not interested in surveillance reform and suddenly Greenwald is incoherent and equivocating. Actually not what I was expecting at all.

--Nonny Mouse

Anonymous said...

This can't be the "real" Horace, because Horace was among the loudest voices in the pro-Snowden/'the NSA owns all your data' crowd.