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Rand Paul Finds Victory and Anger on the Campaign Trail

December 3, 2014 in Economics

By Nat Hentoff

Nat Hentoff

Increasingly, it seems more Americans are becoming less influenced by their political parties when casting their votes, as Republican Rand Paul is finding out.

Writer and “liberal Democrat” H.A. Goodman explains in a recent column for Huffington Post: “I’ve never voted for a Republican in my life, but in 2016, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul will be my choice for president (on) issues that affect the long-term survival of this country” (“I’m a Liberal Democrat. I’m Voting for Rand Paul in 2016. Here Is Why,” Goodman, Huffington Post, Nov. 17).

Among the present dangers he lists is the Barack Obama-led Democratic Party’s “domestic spying (on Americans) that could eventually lead to a police state.”

Constitutionalist Rand Paul is a champion of the Fourth Amendment’s guarantee of our communications being free from government surveillance.

Explains Goodman: “Rand Paul has shown that he bucks both the Republican and Democratic penchant for succumbing to public opinion, an overreaction to the terror threat, and a gross indifference to an egregious assault on our rights as citizens.”

But Paul’s insistence on fundamental constitutional principles led to hostility from certain civil liberties groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union, when he was directly responsible for the recent failure of the Senate to pass the USA Freedom Act.

As Ronald Bailey reports on Reason.com, this bill would have limited “the NSA’s bulk collection of Americans’ phone data under Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act.”

The bill, having never made it to the Senate floor, received 58 votes, two short of those needed for debate.

The bill also would have strengthened the Constitution in other ways, yet one of the votes against it was Paul’s.

How come? The senator emailed various news outlets the next day: “I think NSA reforms are necessary,” but “I stood on principle by opposing a bill that (also) included a provision reauthorizing elements of the PATRIOT Act that violate the Bill of Rights.”

Reason’s Bailey further explains: “Paul specifically objected that the act would extend three provisions of the PATRIOT Act beyond their June 1, 2015, sunset dates to 2017.

“These include bulk collection of records under Section 215 (even without the limitations on the collection of records that the ACLU and other civil liberties organizations wanted), secret ‘lone wolf’ surveillance of non-U.S. persons not affiliated with any terrorist organization, and roving wiretaps that allow one authorization to cover multiple devices — say, an unnamed suspect’s cell phone, computer and tablet.”

That could have …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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