Home USA Freedom Act: Big Brother with a grin

USA Freedom Act: Big Brother with a grin


congressBy Will Strickland

Sixth District Congressman Bob Goodlatte is mocking us in his latest article, “USA Freedom Act Protects Civil Liberties and National Security.” He has been sequestered in Washington so long that he believes he can blatantly lie to his constituents in the Valley. This brazen disregard for the intellect and the civil liberties of the citizens of Virginia’s Sixth District and the American people is horrifying.

As the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Goodlatte should be the citizen’s advocate for federal adherence to the Constitution, a watchdog for our civil liberties, and a provider of strict oversight on the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security. However, during the Goodlatte’s congressional tenure, our civil liberties and constitutional rights have been obliterated.  The Justice Department has become a lawless enforcement arm for an out-of-control federal government and the protection scheme for a power-hungry executive branch.   The Department of Homeland Security has profited on the horrors of 9/11 to become a runaway bureaucracy.  It has evolved into the $65 billion per year, arms-dealing, citizen-harassing heart of the evolving police state.

The entire Goodlatte article is infuriating, but in respect to time, I wanted to highlight just one “focus group constructed” paragraph of deceit.

Goodlatte wrote, “The USA Freedom Act, which passed overwhelmingly by a vote of 338 to 88, contains the most sweeping set of reforms to government surveillance practices in nearly 40 years.” Sadly this may be true, this may be the codified and permanent destruction of the Fourth Amendment. it may prove to be one of the most “sweeping” advancements for tyranny of the state in 225 years.

Representative Goodlatte continues, “This strong, bipartisan bill ends bulk collection once and for all.” This is a lie. In reality, the bill (H.R. 2048) expressly authorizes, for the first time in our country’s history, the FBI, NSA, Homeland Security and other government agencies to unconstitutionally collect data in bulk on potentially millions of law-abiding Americans. The big government Republicans and Democrats who have facilitated the unconstitutional spying for years are scrambling like cockroaches under a bright new kitchen light. That kitchen light was illuminated last week when the Second Circuit Court declared their activities under section 215 of the Patriot Act unconstitutional.  Wouldn’t it be grand if we had a House Judiciary Committee and committee chairman that would protect the Constitution in a like manner.

Now these same bureaucrats are trying to ram through an unconstitutional bill to restore their unlawful espionage on the American people. Goodlatte is at the core of this deceit as he facilitated the stripping of the Poe/Lofgren amendment from the bill in committee. This amendment would have restored key civil liberties protections, but Goodlatte at the request of his “leadership” killed the amendment.  Once again failing to do his duty, fulfill his responsibility, or protect American’s constitutional rights … but I am sure the “leadership” will continue to take care of him.  The citizens of the Sixth District who have been betrayed should not.

Goodlatte’s stream of falsehoods continue, (the bill) “enhances civil liberties protections, increases transparency for both American businesses and the government, and provides national security officials targeted tools to keep America safe.” The frightening thing is that after 22 years in DC, Goodlatte can tell these whoppers with no apparent reservation.

This is another backroom deal put together by the nasty cabal of big government Republicans and Democrats that haunt the halls of Capitol Hill including Goodlatte, Boehner, Pelosi, Reed, and McConnell. The original bill that was constructed to correct the horrors of the Patriot Act is now being leveraged to codify the destruction of the Fourth Amendment.

Most civil liberties organizations and constitutional advocates do not support the Orwellian named, “USA Freedom Act.”  The USA Freedom Act does little to reform surveillance, and it does so at too great an expense. Our representatives should vote against it, and against any law that reauthorizes Section 215 of the Patriot Act.  This would be the best step toward ending mass surveillance of Americans.

While Goodlatte has chosen to continue his support for the erosion of our civil liberties, I hope you will join me in urging our senators, Tim Kaine and Mark Warner, to reject this wolf in sheep’s clothing.  Rand Paul (R-KY) and Ron Wyden (D-OR) did filibuster this deceitful bill, but will need the citizens to demand our rights if any real reform is to take place. In the coming weeks it is my hope that the Senate will with either appropriately amend or abolish this bill. It is my hope they will begin to pursue a path to once again defend American civil liberties. It is my hope that one day we have a representative in Congress that answers to the people, to principles and not to party “leadership.”



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