Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Where are the Ron Paul Libertarians on FISA?

Yesterday's slight victory for those who would protect our Constitution and right to privacy generated a strange backlash from The Heritage Foundation.

In what may be my most amusing moment in the FISA fight, the Heritage Foundation wet their Depends because Americans stood up in droves to say "enough!" to the lawbreaking disrespect of the Bush Administration and the rubber stamp obeisance of the Republicans in the Senate. And Congress heard their message loud and clear.

Oh, the humanity.

Yes, my friends, the Heritage Foundation finds the idea of everyday Americans standing up for the rule of law and the principles of balance of powers and civil liberties to be "hysterical." If you ask me, it's simply patriotism, pure and simple, but then my mission in life isn't providing cover for Dick Cheney's behind.
If you missed the fun, Greenwald has a recap and interview, and FDL has more on where it goes from there today and tomorrow. For me though, one little question popped out yesterday that I hadn't considered much, but now seems very relevant, especially here in Utah.
For all the talk of "freedom" that the Paul-bots claim to believe in, they sure as heck have been silent on the horrible FISA bill we're fighting to fix in the Senate right now. Same for Ron Paul. Why the silence? And the CATO people and the libertarian publications like Reason, where are they?

Here we are engaged in a huge civil liberties issue, and progressives are being forced to fight this thing alone. It's easy to talk about "liberty". It's much more impressive to actually do something about it.
It's a very timely question I am curious to hear a response to. Where is their boisterous outrage over the largesse of Mitch McConnell and Dick Cheney's immunity for telecoms and "basket warrants"? How many times have I heard my Libertarian friends decry the importance of personal liberty in opposition to the bonds of over-reaching government? Why is this issue not more visible in Utah, with all of the limited government rhetoric spewing forth so often from our representative's mouths? Why are Democrats left to fight this one alone, small government Republicans and Paul-ites?


  1. Point well taken.

    Thanks for the post.

  2. I love this blog. It's heartening to see people standing up for the liberties we've won over the years.

    Funny that the same party that blurts out "freedom" any time their authority is questioned is the same party now whittling away at the same "freedoms" they ostensibly claim to protect.

    A. Caleb Hartley
    Enjoy your FREEDOM to protect the environment!

  3. Statement on HR 6304, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) Amendments

    20 June 2008

    Rep. Ron Paul, M.D.

    Madam Speaker, I regret that due to the unexpected last-minute appearance of this measure on the legislative calendar this week, a prior commitment has prevented me from voting on the FISA amendments. I have strongly opposed every previous FISA overhaul attempt and I certainly would have voted against this one as well.

    The main reason I oppose this latest version is that it still clearly violates the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution by allowing the federal government to engage in the bulk collection of American citizens’ communications without a search warrant. That US citizens can have their private communication intercepted by the government without a search warrant is anti-American, deeply disturbing, and completely unacceptable.

    In addition to gutting the fourth amendment, this measure will deprive Americans who have had their rights violated by telecommunication companies involved in the Administration’s illegal wiretapping program the right to seek redress in the courts for the wrongs committed against them. Worse, this measure provides for retroactive immunity, whereby individuals or organizations that broke the law as it existed are granted immunity for prior illegal actions once the law has been changed. Ex post facto laws have long been considered anathema in free societies under rule of law. Our Founding Fathers recognized this, including in Article I section 9 of the Constitution that “No bill of attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed.” How is this FISA bill not a variation of ex post facto? That alone should give pause to supporters of this measure.

    Mr. Speaker, we should understand that decimating the protections that our Constitution provides us against the government is far more dangerous to the future of this country than whatever external threats may exist. We can protect this country without violating the Constitution and I urge my colleagues to reconsider their support for this measure.

  4. To anonymous above (07/08/2008 2:49 PM).

    Talking is fine, but what about action? Prior commitment, or not, what could be more important than protecting the freedoms of American citizens? Fact of the matter is, Ron Paul chose to sit on the sideline on this one. That's all talk, no action in my book.

  5. "Where are the Ron Paul Libertarians on FISA?"
    Still too stunned to say anything, but we're working on it.

  6. Steven H. Wilson7/10/2008 7:52 PM

    Found this post while surfing for my own Senators' statements on this issue. (Both Democrats -- one for, one against)

    Interesting question -- "Why are Democrats left to fight this one alone?"

    I realize you asked this question some months back, but it's ironic, don't you think? This victory against civil liberty was touted yesterday as a great BI-PARTISAN effort, and evidence of what the TWO PARTIES can accomplish together. Although I appreciated Russ Feingold's comment, I don't believe you can credit the Democrats overall with doing much to protect civil liberties this time. Most of them caved just like the did on the Patriot Act. The Democrats and their admirers have little to be smug about in this instance.