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Saturday, January 19, 2019

You know that since Republicans became the majority in the House of Representatives, they have voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act 37 times. They’ve voted on the PATRIOT Act just once — to extend it, in 2011.

A new Pew Poll shows that there is plenty of hypocrisy when it comes to surveillance by the National Security Agency on both sides of the aisle.

In the wake of revelations that the Bush administration was using warrantless wiretaps to monitor phone calls and Internet activity of American citizens when communicating outside of the U.S., 75 percent of Democrats opposed that activity. In 2013, with Barack Obama in the White House and NSA surveillance sanctified in law and supervised by courts set up by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, 64 percent of Democrats approve of it.

Republicans have reversed course too, with Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly — a supporter of Bush NSA activity — now calling for the program to be dismantled.

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But the Tea Party — with its supposed focus on “Constitutional” values — rarely took on its own party for first passing and then extending the PATRIOT Act. Instead, it attacked Obamacare ceaselessly — even though the Founders had approved their own health care mandate — and recently rose up to defend the Second Amendment with great sound and fury.

Tea Partier Rand Paul (R-KY) has seized this moment to say he will sue the government to stop NSA surveillance. In 2011, he delayed extending the PATRIOT Act. But where were the rallies to support him? And since then, how many times have House Republicans revisited the issue?

The truth is, these issues, while dear to Paul and others on the libertarian right, never synced with the blatantly partisan agenda of the mainstream Tea Party movement.

Disclosures about the NSA’s surveillance program cannot be unheard and they demand revisiting the PATRIOT Act, as Senator Mark Udall (D-CO) has suggested.

Americans need to decide complex issues that have previously been decided for them: Is metadata private? Are we okay with the presumption that our communications abroad will be monitored? Is the American public fine with the fact that the NSA can be used to spy on citizens of other countries at our and their government’s will?

There’s a perpetual arms race by both national parties to seem tougher than each other on defense that will try to squelch any debate about the actual issues at the heart of these revelations. Libertarians on the right, willing to put essential liberty into a debate about temporary security, have a unique chance to force their party into such a debate — if they want to.

Until then, we’re still waiting for one Tea Party rally against the PATRIOT Act.

Photo: Dwight Burdette via

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14 responses to “Where Was The Tea Party On The PATRIOT Act?”

  1. idamag says:

    Of course, hypocrisy at its fullest. One thing that doesn’t seem to bother people is that Homeland Security has one in four people are private contract workers. This new privatize everything and eventually destroy it is going full force.

  2. holyreality says:

    Lame defense of President Obama is his data collection was at least run around the FISA bases when W’s boys ignored them entirely.
    Otherwise meet the new boss, same as the old boss………….

  3. Dominick Vila says:

    The hypocrisy of those who demanded and supported greater national security, including the establishment of the Homeland Security department and the institution of the Patriots Act is beyond perplexing. The reason they are criticizing President Obama because the NSA has been monitoring telephone calls is not because they disagree with the need to do so, but because they would blame Barack Obama for malfunctioning toilets if that was the only way to demonize the man they love to hate.

    Domestic intelligence gathering has been going on since, at least, the J. Edgar Hoover days, and it has continues at various degrees of intensity ever since. 9/11 removed some of the last vestiges of opposition to intelligence gathering at home, when the need for increased vigilance became evident to every person capable of thinking logically.
    The NSA is not interested in a conversation between my wife and my daughter about where chicken is on sale, they are focusing on people they suspect may be potential terrorists, and to monitor their activities they have no choice but to monitor who they call and who they receive calls from. Until selective monitoring capabilities are available, they have no choice but to monitor all calls. There is no evidence, however, suggesting they listen to the conversations. Personally, I could care less if they monitor who I call and who I receive calls from. Come to think of it, I wish they would stop the tele-marketers that keep calling me.

    • jmprint says:

      My opinion also, if you have nothing to hide, why would it bother you. And I don’t understand why people feel it’s such a surprise. Since I was young, long time ago, I’ve been hearing…Someone’s always listening to your conversation be it the government or interceptors. Big deal, that’s why we have laws in place.

      • I don’t think that you want ot hang your hat on the “if you have nothing to hide…” peg too long because a lot of that equation has to do with who is doing the looking. Right to privacy is right to privacy. Just like freedom of speech. You either support it or you don’t. You have to take the good with what you perceive to be the bad.

        • jmprint says:

          Technology just doesn’t warrant that statement anymore. Everyday I receive a bogus emails from someone that has extracted email address from my address book on my computer. I had a customer that passed away last year send me an email the other day…strange so much for privacy, it’s my computer not anyone elses.

  4. Rick2101 says:

    Hypocrisy, yes. The “shift” only happens when the guy in
    charge isn’t the guy you want. Republicans wanted surveillance when Bush was President,
    Democrats didn’t, and now that Obama is President the Democrats want it and
    Republicans don’t. It is like the old
    saying about dictators in other countries; America hates a dictator, unless
    they are our dictator.

  5. Allan Richardson says:

    I believe that Obama wanted to reverse the Bush policies, until he saw that the public (except for extreme libertarians and extreme lefties) would find it harder to forgive him for ANY terrorist attack that he could not stop without using the “dirty” tools (especially with Republicans opposed to ANYTHING he does having the biggest microphones) than for using them. If his legacy is that he demonstrated the unconstitutionality of the tools Congress gave him (via Bush), and got the PEOPLE to realize that, and eventually got Congress to repeal the Patriot Act, that and health care reform would be enough.

    Republicans will find something to criticize no matter what he does. If he hadn’t kept on using the surveillance tools and the “War on Terror” infrastructure, they would have called for his impeachment after the first bombing attack (and unfortunately, many Democrats and independents among the voters would have agreed). Since he did, and someone outed the practices (which, strangely, nobody did under Bush), they are criticizing him for THAT, even though his record in the WOT has been better than Bush.

  6. ObozoMustGo says:

    Uhhhhhhh… hello! McFly… knock knock knock……. is there anyone in there? FYI… The Tea Party as an organized movement did not even exist when the Patriot Act was conceived, passed, and implimented. The Tea Party was only formed in the ’09 – ’10 timeframe, largely in response to Obozocare and the shoving of that disaster of a bill down America’s throat against the will of the vast majority of Americans. This is true especially considering the fact that most people who identify with the goals of the Tea Party were nevere politically active in their lives until Obozocare came along and inspired the interest and movement. Therefore, there was no Tea Party that existed to protest the Patriot Act in the first place. Only a useful idiot would forget that basic fact.
    Further, since it is brought up in this article, the fact is that the Tea Party was abuzz during the time that the Patriot Act and then the NDAA were being reauthorized by Obozo. Millions of calls were logged into Congress expressing concern over the provisions that allowed Obozo, or any other despot like him, to arrest and indefinitely detain any American on American soil that they consider a threat, and to do so without warrant, without rights, without legal defense, and without notification to anyone else. So while the issue was not singularly one that would inspire a million people to march on DC (whic the media would ignore anyway), it is part of the overall bigger picture that is emerging with the propensity of Obozo’s government to overreach it’s bounds in their assault on the privacy and liberty of Americans. Especially conservative ones. And it is that bigger picture that is starting to emerge that ALL Americans, right and left, should be very concerned about. And since the political winds will shift as they always do, and as the surveys above disclose partisan opinion, the next ox to be gored will be yours! None of us should accept that.

    Have a nice day!

    “The problem of the distribution of the power of a society, so as to be most favorable to liberty, cannot be solved so long as too much power is given to a single man.” – Charles de Montesquieu, “Spirit of Laws”, Book XI

    • metrognome3830 says:

      Gee, OMG, you know how I hate to contradict you, but the real fact is there is no one single group called the Tea Party. There is a group of loosely affiliated organizations, all with their own agendas that are referred to by others and themselves as The Tea Party. The first actual protests by the present day conglomerate that calls themselves the Tea Party was ca. 2009, but that was not the founding of The Tea Party movement. The fact is no one really knows when the movement first began. Some put it as far back as 1971. Some, like yourself prefer to place it ca. 2008-2009 and credit the likes of Rand Paul, Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachmann as some of the founders. Others link it to the Koch Brothers and their henchman Dick Armey and his Freedom Works organization. The fact is, The Patriot Act did not originate with Obama. Unfortunately, he has seen fit to extend it and expand it. And liberals and conservatives alike are still supporting it in pretty significant numbers which I attribute to hysteria due to the news media and the government hyping the terrible dangers awaiting us if we don’t go along with the whole thing. I, for one, and I’m sure you as well, would rather take my chances with terrorists rather than have the NSA listening in on my phone calls and reading my e-mails. But, the fact is, a lot of people are so scared that they are willing to give up that much freedom for supposed protection. As for me, I am considering starting a business building bomb shelters like we had in the 50s. It’s starting to look like a good business investment.
      Have a good night, OMG! Wanna buy a bomb shelter? 🙂

      • ObozoMustGo says:

        While you are correct that there really is no centralized or organized Tea Party, my references are to the outward formation of the multitudes of grass roots local groups who’s freedom agenda were similar enough that they took on the namesake as a means for having an identity. Did they exist prior to 09-10? I have no idea, but I’m pretty sure I would have known about it if it were. I never heard of it before that. The very first Tea Party event I was aware of in my area was a tax day protest on 4/15/10 on the main street of my local town. Regardless, it’s a moot point anyway. What is not moot is the fact that the article above conveniently ignores the reality of the timing of the establishment of the Tea Party movement (NOT organized Party) and the creation of the Patriot Act. In other words, The Memo is once again selling propaganda as if it’s news. SHOCKER!!! I know.

        I’m with you on the matter of taking my chances on terrorists before having my government have the power to spy on ALL Americans’ communications.

        Have a nice day, Metro!

        “Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.” – Ben Franklin

        • metrognome3830 says:

          We’re not really any big disagreement on this. I think the point or the article, although poorly made, was that some congressmen who are “outraged” now about the NSA, were not terribly “outraged” when the Patriot Act was first enacted. No, the Tea Party was not in any way an organized group at the time. In fact, I’m not sure it is an organized group now. I believe the attitude toward the NSA’s actions now, pro and con cuts across party lines, however. I see Democrats and Republicans both supporting the surveillance and Democrats and Republicans against it. Personally, I’m agin it.
          Have a nice day, OMG!

    • WhutHeSaid says:

      Out telling whoppers in public again? Tsk, tsk!

      I noticed how carefully you worded your absurd claim, so let me help you correct it: The Tea Party formed in response to Obama — NOT Obamacare. It’s OK — you are allowed to say it — it was a knee-jerk reaction to America electing a black President.

      When are you Tea-Nut-Bigots going to grow a pair and just say what your objections are without lying? Every day you must invent fanciful explanations and excuses for what you REALLY want to say but are too cowardly. And all the while Obama is stubbornly remaining black, why, he’s not getting even a little bit whiter! How that must frustrate you!

      Grow some balls for God’s sake, and admit what you really are. You can be awarded points out here for telling the truth once in awhile — especially since we all know how out-of-practice you Tea Baggers are.

      • ObozoMustGo says:

        What’s up, whut, you racist pig?

        Have a nice day!

        “I am afraid that there is a certain class of race-problem solvers who don’t want the patient to get well, because as long as the disease holds out they have not only an easy means of making a living, but also an easy medium through which to make themselves prominent before the public.” – Booker T. Washington

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