65 Democrats, members of the House of Representatives, voted last week to give President Trump more power than any president before him.
They voted to expand the government’s surveillance powers, ignoring widespread support for reform from both sides of the aisle.
A total of 256 members of the House of Representatives voted and a roll call posted after the vote shows that breaks down to 191 Republicans and 65 Democrats.
The leaders of the “Resistance” do not oppose Donald Trump. They are Donald Trump dressed in drag.
55 Democrats voted against your constitutional rights and opposed the USA RIGHTS amendment. Had 26 voted the other way, we would have won. Among them is Nancy Pelosi and Adam Schiff. pic.twitter.com/7WHwPFGEIm
— Daniel Schuman (@danielschuman) January 11, 2018
The vote came to a head after years of debate over the US’ surveillance and intelligence-gathering capability, largely brought to light after the Edward Snowden disclosures in 2013.
Leading Congressional Democrats have spent the last year relentlessly accusing Donald Trump of being controlled by or treasonously loyal to a hostile foreign power.
Over the last several months, they have added to those disloyalty charges a new set of alleged crimes: abusing the powers of the executive branch, including the Justice Department and FBI, to vindictively punish political opponents while corruptly protecting the serious crimes of his allies, including his own family members and possibly himself.
The U.S. intelligence community has been aggressively demanding that Congress reauthorize its Orwellian Section 702 surveillance powers, and the president has been echoing those demands. House Democrats could have forced an amendment called the USA RIGHTS Act to abridge this administration’s ability to spy on US citizens, but they did not.
Section 702 allows the NSA to gather intelligence on foreigners overseas by collecting data from chokepoints where fiber optic cables owned by telecom giants enter the US.
But the collection also incidentally sweeps up large amounts of data on countless Americans, who are constitutionally protected from warrantless surveillance. Event though section 702 explicitly prohibits the targeting of Americans, the intelligence community can then search those messages without a warrant.
The vote Thursday marks the first time lawmakers have agreed to pass a bill since those intelligence leaks five years ago. Only one-third of the House voted, unsuccessfully, to reject the bill.
Now I was not a supporter of Donald Trump in the primary. But since taking office, I have been happy and supportive of the majority of what he has done.
Not only has he made great strides to in the right direction, he has been successful where othe Republican Presidents have not been. And as well, he has made some accomlishments in a very timely manner.
But I have to break with him on this one. Benjamin Franklin so famously said: “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” That quote often comes up in the context of new technology and concerns about government surveillance.
Some say that Franklin didn’t imagine a future of cellphones and of all the privacy issues that come with them. But what does that have to do with the price of Garbanzo Beans?
Privacy is privacy.
Every year the number of regulations, dictates, rules, decrees, guidelines, statutes, laws, and bylaws in the United States grows by leaps and bounds. Just look at the growth in the number of final rules contained in the Federal Register:
Now it seems we can’t go a week without hearing a new story about someone being punished, with fines or even jail time, for activities that would be encouraged in a free society.
That is because, as the founding fathers understood as they formed this nation, that government always likes to grow big and control. That is the nature of the beast.
They wrote the Constitution to PURPOSELY limit government, because government cannot always be trusted. We have had plenty of examples in recent years, where government crossed the line, especially with privacy and spying.
Now I am all for the United States doing adequately their job of protecting the American people. But surveilance MUST be stringently controlled.
We went down a rabbit hole after 9/11 and continues to just keep burrowing. It is high time we reversed that.
The government can well do all the spying it needs, within a framework that does not give them carte blanche.
It is ironic, however, that these same Democrats that have been crying and screaming Donald Trump is the worst person on the face of the earth, would give his administration these strong powers.
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