217 to 205 . . .

close but no cigar

August 1 Update: In the ongoing debate about your privacy rights, two things are increasingly clear. First, the NSA and the intelligence community more broadly want to vacuum up everything produced by everyone in the digital universe; and why wouldn’t they after all? If you believe as they do that everything is potentially relevant to a terrorist investigation, the need to have access to everything is probably self-evident.

The second thing that is increasingly clear is that the NSA, one way or another, probably does have access to just about everything and that there are no meaningful constraints on its behavior. To be sure, one program may have some weak constraints, at least theoretically. But the problem is there are just so many different programs; if they can’t get access to what they want under one, there is always another program that will provide them with the needed access.

It’s also true that the Obama administration, the NSA, and others have consistently skirted the truth or lied about what they’re doing. Don’t believe me? Take a look at this article by James Bamford, someone noted for his writings about U.S. intelligence agencies. It’s incredibly revealing.

I’ll be away for much of this month, but here are some other articles well worth reading:

On XKeyscore

On Double Secret Surveillance

On Reshaping The Secret Surveillance Court

On How Money Talks

On More Fog from The Spy Agencies

I’m doing what I can to keep you informed, but in the end you have to care about what’s happening to this country if you want to stop the Bush/Obama war on your Constitutional rights. They claim to care about protecting you, but they don’t. They’re part of a Washington elite that thinks it’s above the Constitution and just about everything else.

July 24 Original Post

That’s the margin by which the House of Representatives just defeated an amendment by Representatives Justin Amash (R-Michigan) and John Conyers, Jr. (D-Michigan) that would have limited the collection of your telephone metadata by the National Security Agency (NSA) to specific targets of law-enforcement investigations.

Not surprisingly, President Obama and his cronies in the national security and defense apparatus had been fighting this proposal tooth and nail for the last few days. They had the active support of the House Republican leadership. The Democratic leadership also opposed the amendment.

Ultimately, 94 House Republicans defied their leadership while 134 behaved like the sheep they are; by contrast, 111 Democrats — a majority of the Democratic caucus — defied the President.

However, prominent alleged liberals like Eliot Engel, Joe Kennedy, Sheila Jackson Lee, Nancy Pelosi, Jan Schakowsky, Chris Van Hollen, and Debbie Wasserman Schultz, among others, voted against the amendment, putting support for the Bush/Obama national security spying agenda ahead of the Constitution of the United States.

If these so-called “progressives” had voted the other way, the amendment would have passed..

If you want to see how your Representative voted, you can follow this link or this one.

The closeness of this vote shows there are many members of the House of Representatives deeply concerned about the Bush/Obama spying program who are not afraid of standing up and doing the right thing even if it means having their patriotism called into question. A renewed effort to reign in the program is likely in the House this fall.

In the meantime, the fight now shifts to the Senate, where Intelligence Committee members like Mark Udall (D-Colorado) and Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) will take up the cause.

“National security is of paramount importance, yet the N.S.A.’s dragnet collection of Americans’ phone records violates innocent Americans’ privacy rights and should not continue as its exists today,” Mr. Udall said after the vote. “The U.S. House of Representatives’ bipartisan vote today should be a wake-up call for the White House.”

Don’t count on it, Mark. Obama’s been asleep at the wheel on these issues for a long time now.

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