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RNC Calls For Halt To Unconstitutional Surveillance 523

Posted by timothy
from the pretty-words-all-in-a-row dept.
Bob9113 writes "According to an article on Ars Technica, the Republican National Committee (RNC) has passed a resolution that "encourages Republican lawmakers to immediately take action to halt current unconstitutional surveillance programs and provide a full public accounting of the NSA's data collection programs." The resolution, according to Time, was approved by an overwhelming majority voice vote at the Republican National Committee's Winter Meeting General Session, going on this week in Washington, DC."
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RNC Calls For Halt To Unconstitutional Surveillance

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  • by TheNastyInThePasty (2382648) on Saturday January 25, 2014 @03:20PM (#46067925)

    Hey, when you oppose everything the president does, it's gotta work in our favor sometimes!

    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 25, 2014 @03:29PM (#46067999)

      And of course when a Republican gets back in the White House, they'll be repealing this and get back to passing oppressive laws like nobody's business. It astounds me how people keep voting for Kang or Kodos.

      • by ganjadude (952775) on Saturday January 25, 2014 @03:52PM (#46068167) Homepage
        What a lot of people seem to be missing is that the GOP is in the middle of a transformation. I will not get into whether or not it is good or bad for the country or the party but the establishment republicans, those like romney or mccain are being pushed aside by more libertarian bent candidates. The These new republicans, at least from what I can see, are the ones who are against the NSA and big government, something bush 2 and mccain are for.

        In another 10 years as more of the traditional GOP retires or is voted out, hopefully they get repaced by more libertarian leaning candidates, or even better the libertarian party will become one of the big 2.... (i can dream)
        • by causality (777677) on Saturday January 25, 2014 @04:10PM (#46068293)
          Cue the highly emotional, belligerent, ignorant people who think anarcho-capitalism and libertarianism are exactly the same thing.

          On the other hand, if you have to make shit up in order to find fault with something, anyone with sense will recognize that you're paying a high compliment to it.

          The other problem with libertarian thought is that small-minded people are terrified of that degree of freedom, because it means others might do things they disapprove of, and the small-minded just love using government to tell people how to live.
          • by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Saturday January 25, 2014 @05:02PM (#46068673)

            Cue the highly emotional, belligerent, ignorant people who think anarcho-capitalism and libertarianism are exactly the same thing.

            While that's technically true, one of the problems is that in practice they are conflated by the people who call themselves libertarians. Especially in the tea party movement. For any political group there is an ever present risk that the difference between who they say they are and what they actually do is in contradiction.

            I have absolute and complete faith that there are are lots of true blue Libertarians in the group. The problem is all the others who are either wolves in sheep's clothing or just unprincipled "useful idiots" who simply don't have intellectual rigor to push back on the self-interested and well-monied anarcho-capitalist types who are working hard to co-opt the tea party groups.

            FWIW, I've come to the conclusion that the norquist "starve the beast" approach is a bad idea. It is too simplistic - it is the stick without the carrot. It needs a complementary "good governance" movement too. Else we get things like privatization of government services where any initial cost savings evaporates as the business owners end up with a practical monopoly on state contracts and jack the prices back up in a couple of years.

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by stenvar (2789879)

              While that's technically true, one of the problems is that in practice they are conflated by the people who call themselves libertarians. Especially in the tea party movement

              The Tea Party itself advocates for reducing the national debt, spending, and taxes, nothing more. The fact that that attracts unsavory elements like Christian conservatives doesn't change the goals, nor the fact that even people who hate each other's guts can cooperate politically on a common goal.

              The reason you hate the Tea Party so mu

              • by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Saturday January 25, 2014 @10:27PM (#46070483)

                You think of government as an animal that you can reward and punish and that will learn and improve over time, but that's ridiculously naive.

                That's funny ... I think you are the one being ridiculously naive. You think government is a monolithic entity defined by a single parameter -- incompetence. You make your perception reality by giving up any expectation of competence and leaving it all in the hands of those who wish to use it for the worst purposes. When you abdicate your role in a participatory democracy, of course you are going to get worst possible version of governance.

                • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Sunday January 26, 2014 @08:06AM (#46072123) Homepage Journal

                  When you abdicate your role in a participatory democracy, of course you are going to get worst possible version of governance.

                  Nationalism is feudalism writ large. Libertarians would simply like it writ smaller, because they are sure that they are superior to the rest of us and will wind up lord of their own little fiefdom. A quick back-of-the-envelope calculation suggests that the vast majority of them will wind up serfs, but math isn't their strong suit. Selfishness is.

              • "The reason you hate the Tea Party so much is because both Democratic and Republican politicians have seen a threat their ability to hand out vast sums to their cronies in industry and special interest groups, and so they figured that destroying the reputation of the Tea Party would be the best defense. And they were right."

                The tea party is full of rebadged republicans looking for a new angle to come from - marketing, in other words and any damage to it's reputation has been done by it's own members.

                To say

            • by khallow (566160)

              The problem is all the others who are either wolves in sheep's clothing or just unprincipled "useful idiots" who simply don't have intellectual rigor to push back on the self-interested and well-monied anarcho-capitalist types who are working hard to co-opt the tea party groups.

              I have to say that I find this concern unrealistic. I don't dispute that the Tea Party movement has a bunch of parasites of dubious provenance attached to it, including perhaps some of the fabled well-monied anarcho-capitalist types, but at its core, is a legitimate concern that keeps getting brushed off. There is an increasing disregard for the law and future consequences which can threaten the continued existence of the US.

              FWIW, I've come to the conclusion that the norquist "starve the beast" approach is a bad idea. It is too simplistic - it is the stick without the carrot. It needs a complementary "good governance" movement too.

              "Good governance" sounds nice, but it's not working. The US federal government cont

            • But it's working so well for Russia...
          • by dkleinsc (563838) on Saturday January 25, 2014 @07:40PM (#46069655) Homepage

            because it means others might do things they disapprove of

            Well, yes. I disapprove of people and organizations who murder, rob, rape, beat up, poison, cheat, and steal. Government is a check on all that by having an organized way of penalizing people who do those things. And it turns out that this is generally successful: There are a lot fewer murders, robberies, rapes, beatings, poisonings, and thefts in places where there is effective government than when there isn't (and yes, I'm considering people murdered by the government in unjustified shootings).

            There are 2 points of real disagreement I have with libertarians:
            1. They oppose government efforts to intervene when one person's activities are demonstrably harming somebody else. For example, most libertarians I've encountered believe environmental regulations are unnecessary and intrusive, but countries without environmental regulations have people dying of various water-borne and air-borne poisons every day. Most libertarians I've encountered disapprove of government efforts to ensure that products available in stores are what they say they are, but historically and in modern times private industry has demonstrated that it cannot regulate itself, nor can consumers organize lawsuits well enough to correct the market.

            2. They oppose government doing what government can and has done more efficiently than private industry. That is in large part because their philosophy is predicated on the idea that government is always less efficient than private industry, so when some egghead quotes statistics that say that (for example) government-run health care gives better health care for less money than privately-run health care, the assumption is that the egghead is just making it up.

        • by rogoshen1 (2922505) on Saturday January 25, 2014 @05:11PM (#46068725)
          It would be nice if the GOP returned to something more like Goldwater Republicanism. A couple quotes:

          "Mark my word, if and when these preachers get control of the [Republican] party, and they're sure trying to do so, it's going to be a terrible damn problem. Frankly, these people frighten me. Politics and governing demand compromise. But these Christians believe they are acting in the name of God, so they can't and won't compromise. I know, I've tried to deal with them."

          Those who seek absolute power, even though they seek it to do what they regard as good, are simply demanding the right to enforce their own version of heaven on earth. And let me remind you, they are the very ones who always create the most hellish tyrannies. Absolute power does corrupt, and those who seek it must be suspect and must be opposed. Their mistaken course stems from false notions of equality, ladies and gentlemen. Equality, rightly understood, as our founding fathers understood it, leads to liberty and to the emancipation of creative differences. Wrongly understood, as it has been so tragically in our time, it leads first to conformity and then to despotism.

          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by Cl1mh4224rd (265427)

            Equality, rightly understood, as our founding fathers understood it...

            That's why many of them own slaves...

          • simply demanding the right to enforce their own version of heaven on earth.

            This part is key. The religious right likes talking about Judeo Christian values, but I'm not fooled. Though I'm Jewish and theoretically are included in their "Judeo Christian values" what they really mean is "our flavor of Christianity." Let's say they got their fondest desire and the US became a theocracy where laws were set based on what they claimed the Bible said. Who would "they" be? Southern Baptists? Catholics? Protes

          • by sjames (1099)

            It's a big problem, and affects the Ds as well. Honestly, Eisenhower sounds more like a D that today's Ds do.

        • Unfortunately these "libertarian" leaning Repubs also have a penchant for rallying to the CUT TAXES! flag while doing nothing to cut federal spending to compensate. Why again hasn't the defense budget shrunk closer to pre-war levels after effectively exiting Iraq and ramping down Afghanistan?

        • by dkleinsc (563838) on Saturday January 25, 2014 @07:18PM (#46069513) Homepage

          What a lot of people seem to be missing is that the GOP is in the middle of a transformation. I will not get into whether or not it is good or bad for the country or the party but the establishment republicans, those like romney or mccain are being pushed aside by more libertarian bent candidates.

          Then how come McCain and then Romney were the presidential nominees? How come the rising stars that were supposed to be the next great Republican president were all fairly old school folks? How come the "more libertarian bent" rising star Paul Ryan is advocating what amount to the exact same policies Ronald Reagan and Newt Gingrich were pushing decades ago?

          There are some people in the Republican Party who would really like it to not be the party who's primary demographic is old white people from the southeast. There are some people in the Republican Party who would really like it to not be as corrupt as it is (I'm not suggesting the Democrats are even close to saints in this regard). There are some people in the Republican Party who would like it to no longer be the party of bigotry. But right now, the core of the organization as a whole is a corrupt bunch of old white bigots from the southeast.

          As far as the Republican's connection with libertarianism, they're libertarian whenever they're talking about tax rates, social welfare programs, or guns, but definitely not libertarian when it comes to military spending, personal freedoms, corporate subsidies (and subsidies disguised as tax loopholes), and religion.

        • What a lot of people seem to be missing is that the GOP is in the middle of a transformation.

          ... and everyone's thinking: "And I'll form the Head!"

      • by icebike (68054) on Saturday January 25, 2014 @03:57PM (#46068215)

        And of course when a Republican gets back in the White House, they'll be repealing this and get back to passing oppressive laws like nobody's business. It astounds me how people keep voting for Kang or Kodos.

        By extension, Democrats are only for wholesale violation of constitutional rights as long as it can be used to keep them in office.

        • by thaylin (555395)
          Except that is really both parties. The parties come out against things like this, but they dont ever do anything about it.
          • by causality (777677) on Saturday January 25, 2014 @04:22PM (#46068395)

            Except that is really both parties. The parties come out against things like this, but they dont ever do anything about it.

            Yes, they have an amazing talent for speaking out against something, saying what they know you want to hear, but never actually doing anything about it. This is enabled by the short memory of the public combined with the media's desire to remain cozy with government officials so they can get those exclusive interviews.

            Meanwhile, no matter what is said, whatever the monied interests and the military-industrial-complex want is what will happen anyway.

    • by bmajik (96670)

      Firstly, I really recommend people watch this video series. It's brilliant:

      http://www.thegreatcourses.com... [thegreatcourses.com]

      One of the things discussed here was that Hamilton and Madison, architects of the new national government, were acutely familiar with the history of self-governance experiments elsewhere in Europe, from ancient Greece onward.

      They sought to avoid the inevitable decline of all previous attempts of such societies. Madison, especially, observed that factionalism led to the decline of all such pluralisti

  • Oh, the irony (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 25, 2014 @03:21PM (#46067941)

    From the party that brought us the PATRIOT act.

    • Re:Oh, the irony (Score:5, Informative)

      by ganjadude (952775) on Saturday January 25, 2014 @03:37PM (#46068077) Homepage
      Actually, The vote passed the senate 98-1-1 and only 64 members of the house voted no. The patriot act was bipartisian.
      • by 0123456 (636235)

        Voting against the PATRIOT act would have been unpatriotic!

        • Re:Oh, the irony (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 25, 2014 @04:33PM (#46068481)

          Sort of. The Patriot Act is simply too large to have been drafted in the timeframe allotted, so we can start with the obvious truth that whoever really wrote it had it on the shelf awaiting an opportunity. That is chilling, and under-reported, enough.

          It's also worth noting that the two people in Congress who were capable of stopping it were exactly the ones targeted by the anthrax attacks--attacks which have never been solved. Isn't that convenient? Well, it certainly was if you were the Bush Administration anyway...

          Congress voted overwhelmingly in favor of this unconstitutional law because the far right corporate media drumbeat was going to brand them as unpatriotic or worse if they even wanted to figure out what they were voting on. But hey, it was OK, because they were only going to violate the Constitution for a little while, right? Except that it keeps getting renewed, and renewed, and renewed even though it is very highly obvious that terrorism as an actual threat to the US is completely overblown.

          Time to end this idiotic war on the American people, end the TSA, end the wholesale harassment of absolutely everybody at the borders, and stop spying on everybody's Internet and banking activities.

      • FWIW a good number of the people who voted for the Patriot act were voted out, especially Republicans, who got washed out with Bush. So a lot of Republicans who are opposing it never voted for the Patriot act.

        There was an analysis linked to on DailyKos that showed the congresspeople who favor surveillance tend to be the once who've been there longer; the newer congresspeople tend to oppose it (with many exceptions on both sides).

        In any case, you can never over-estimate the capability of politicians to
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Sorry, but the Patriot Act extension in 2011 was overwhelmingly supported by House Republicans, 196 Republican yeas to 54 Democrat Yeas.

        http://politics.nytimes.com/congress/votes/112/house/1/376

        The extension was not in any way "bi-partisan".

    • Re:Oh, the irony (Score:4, Insightful)

      by causality (777677) on Saturday January 25, 2014 @03:42PM (#46068107)

      From the party that brought us the PATRIOT act.

      You actually think there are two parties? They are two factions of the same party. It's your basic duopoly. If it were a marketplace, the average person would understand why that's bad. This is power, something even worse than money in terms of the damage it can do.

      The best analogy is the way all US wireless phone carriers overcharged for text messaging. None of their prices were related to the actual cost of delivering the service (zero for GSM-based phones). None of them wanted to try undercutting the competition because they all made more money that way. They each recognized it was in their interests not to rock the boat.

      That's what a two-party system is like. That's why the Founders warned against allowing one to develop. At the state level, it's the same two parties who write the election rules and neither has any incentive to make it easy for third parties to get on the ballot. Effectively, the two parties serve the same function as the trade guilds of old: to lock out competition.

      It's to be expected that they take turns being the bad guy. It's called good cop, bad cop, and it's a method of manipulating the voters by playing them in the middle.

    • Oh, the irony: From the party that brought us the PATRIOT act.

      Oh, the data!

      Here's [educate-yourself.org] the roll-call vote for the Patriot act.

      tl;dr: Democrats: 145 yea, 62 Nay (with 4 abstentions).

      I've been thinking of changing my party affiliation recently (and no, not making this up).

      Which party do you recommend? I'd like to see if your party votes in the interests of the republic. Do you know any accomplishments that you think are noteworthy? Excluding health care, since everyone already knows about that.

      Even attempted accomplishments would be a good indicator of intent, even if they c

      • Re:Oh, the data! (Score:4, Insightful)

        by causality (777677) on Saturday January 25, 2014 @03:57PM (#46068203)

        Who can you recommend?

        If you are mature enough to understand that most are not anarcho-capitalists, I'd recommend the Libertarian Party. They're the only ones I know of who are serious about reducing the size and power of government, which is badly needed right now. If that ever happens (ha ha!) I'd be open to other ideas myself.

        I could not in good conscience recommend either major party. I'd personally rather back the underdog that's not going to win, than be Satan's Little Helper, but that's me.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by fustakrakich (1673220)

          Oh please. The government isn't run by the people you elect. It's run by the people who finance their appearance on the TV. And if all you people didn't play along, the velvet glove would come off. Power and privilege is never given up peacefully. The 'underdogs' are allowed to mouth off because nobody's listening.

        • Re:Oh, the data! (Score:5, Insightful)

          by anagama (611277) <obamaisaneocon@nothingchanged.org> on Saturday January 25, 2014 @04:45PM (#46068575) Homepage

          Greens are interesting too ... essentially libertarians with a greater willingness to ensure a social safety net and protect the commons (environment) from being abused by a few who profit at everyone else's expense.

          Honestly though, I'd vote for either. The DNC and GOP are so corrupted by and enslaved to their donors, I'd be happy to see anyone kick their collective elephantine asses.

  • The NSA is also spying on the internet under Section 702 of FISA.
    No one is talking about discontinuing that program or protecting our 4th amendment rights online.

  • Realization Dawns (Score:5, Insightful)

    by IonOtter (629215) on Saturday January 25, 2014 @03:36PM (#46068061) Homepage

    Back in 2002 or so, when people were really starting to rally against the PATRIOT act, the usual faces were all over the media, calling detractors "terrorist sympathizers" and worse. More than a few openly called for such people to be labeled traitors.

    Manifestly, there is no civil-liberties crisis in this country. Consequently, people who claim there is must have a different goal in mind. What else can you say of such people but that they are traitors? (source) [blogspot.com]

    And here's Paul Krugman with regards to Rush Limbaugh back in 2002...

    As far back as 2002, Rush Limbaugh, in words very close to those used by The Wall Street Journal last week, accused Tom Daschle, then the Senate majority leader, of a partisan "attempt to sabotage the war on terrorism." (source.) [nytimes.com]

    I can't remember where it happened, or who exactly said it, but someone confronted Rush Limbaugh about his words and said, "Imagine if Hillary Clinton were to become president, and she has the power that you want to give President Bush."

    Well.

    It would appear that has a very good chance of happening. And what was laughed off back in 2002, is now staining underwear in 2014.

  • by XxtraLarGe (551297) on Saturday January 25, 2014 @03:37PM (#46068071) Journal
    These guys never take into consideration that you should never grant yourself any powers you wouldn't want your enemies to have...
  • by mbone (558574)

    Opposition parties should oppose stupid things (even if they would do the exact same thing if they were in power).

    The problem with the GOP not that they oppose, it's that they seem to have lost the element of selection.

  • no doubt about it. If you voted for obama, and are now in the middle because you pay attention to what's really going on behind big media, you're probably going to be really ready for what the other party has to offer. Especially when you hear on all news sites about how we're turning into a police state silently but surely.
  • by MikeRT (947531) on Saturday January 25, 2014 @03:57PM (#46068205) Homepage

    Pass a resolution calling for the prosecution of all federal agents who engaged in the practice of "parallel constructions" and in particular try the entire clandestine side of the DEA as a criminal conspiracy operating under color of authority for its major role in that.

  • So the RNC is encouraging their members to come out against things which are unconstitutional? Where will they find the courage to make such a principled stand? I haven't heard of such a thing since the "No punching babies" resolution of 1978! I also applaud their timely response to the issue, seeing as how we've only known about it for the better part of a year.
  • Watergate? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by acidradio (659704) on Saturday January 25, 2014 @04:39PM (#46068533)

    Wait a minute. Weren't these the same people who broke into the Democratic Natl. Committee's headquarters seeking to pilfer with documents and information?

  • by gestalt_n_pepper (991155) on Saturday January 25, 2014 @04:50PM (#46068613)

    Yup. Even the most dimwitted Republicans have figured out that America's secret police do not discriminate. They spy on *everybody* who might need to be arrested or blackmailed (i.e. everybody), congress included.

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