A common refrain from talking heads and pundits is that there is too little bipartisanship in Washington.
However, Senate "debate" over the FISA Amendments Act reauthorization, and its passage by a vote of 73-23, showed that our Honorary Chairman Ron Paul's position is more accurate -- on the issues that truly matter, there is simply far too much bipartisanship in Washington.
The 112th Congress has not been a bright one for our civil liberties. While new champions have emerged like Rand Paul and Mike Lee in the Senate and House freshmen like Justin Amash, in national security state matters, the majority of both parties are in agreement.
First, there was the so-called "Patriot" Act reauthorization. After a drawn out fight over 2011, the statists extended three controversial provisions until 2015.
Then came the FY 2012 NDAA and Section 1021 authorizing indefinite detention of American citizens, effectively turning America into a "battlefield" where anyone captured may be considered an enemy combatant.
Now, with FISA, Obama's administration has pulled off a remarkable feat. Without raising the ire of the media (or for the most part, their attention) he succeeded in extending unamended one of the worst abuses of Bush's administration until 2017.
What used to be the subject of a major breaking news story in the New York Times now finds itself as the subject of stories mainly in RT and Iran's PressTV. Cable TV? All you'll hear on there is about the much over-hyped "fiscal cliff" "negotiations." Don't worry citizen, there's no need to be concerned about the government having the ability to spy on you.
Civil liberties? What civil liberties? Since 9/11 these statists feel it is their job to "keep us safe." They remain unconcerned as they meticulously dismantle the free society our founders created and replace it with an abhorrent surveillance state, capable of more abuses than King George III could have ever dreamed up.
If Al-Qaeda leaders were watching C-SPAN2 the past two days, they probably got a huge ego boost.
To watch as Diane Feinstein had the gall to argue that "four days wasn't enough time" to amend a law that has immense impact on the privacy and civil liberties of all Americans, because there were "dangerous terrorists" out there just waiting to strike. I'll admit, for this writer, the "debate" was, at times, almost too much to stomach.
The Senate rejected three modest amendments from Leahy, Merkley, and Wyden. The last of which would simply have allowed us to know how many Americans are caught up in this surveillance dragnet. In deciding "ignorance is bliss," the Senate voted down Wyden's amendment by a vote of 43-52.
Senator Paul's amendment which C4L was supporting would have in effect repealed the FISA Amendments Act and extended 4th Amendment protections to your email and text message records. Unfortunately, the Senate decided that acknowledging in the 21st Century almost all personal records are held by third parties and therefore would certainly be protected was "too radical." The amendment failed by a vote of 12-79.
America is in need of a Great Awakening, a revival if you will. We need a renewed interest in understanding our God-given natural rights and in demanding that our elected officials respect those rights, or give up their seat to someone who does.
Until then, on the issues that matter, there will always be too much bipartisanship in Washington.
Tags: Campaign for Liberty, Rand Paul, civil liberties, C4L, Patriot Act, Justin Amash, NDAA, FISA, Mike Lee, Leahy, Wyden, Merkley