BREAKING: Deal to Save NSA Surveillance Programs Senate Deadline Panic FUBAR

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Key Patriot Act provisions will expire at midnight

In addition to the bulk phone collections provision, the two lesser-known Patriot Act provisions that also lapse at midnight were one, so far unused, to helps track “lone wolf” terrorism suspects unconnected to a foreign power; the second allows the government to eavesdrop on suspects who continually discard their cellphones.

The Senate failed Sunday to strike a deal to extend the NSA’s phone surveillance program before the midnight deadline.

Members of the GOP-controlled chamber returned Sunday to Capitol Hill in a last-ditch effort to extend the National Security Agency’s authority to collect Americans’ phone records in bulk to search for terror connections and to authorize two other programs under the post-9/11 Patriot Act.

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“Heaven forbid we’ve got a problem where we could have prevented a terrorist attack or apprehended someone who is engaged in dangerous activity, but we didn’t do so simply because of inaction in the Senate.”

— President Obama

The Senate attempted to either pass a House bill that would have altered the collections of the so-called phone call metadata or simply extend the program.

The 100-member chamber passed the first of two procedure hurdles, known as cloture, to proceed with the House bill. The vote was 77 to 17.

“The sky is not going to fall.”

— Anthony Romero, American Civil Liberties Union executive director

But no final action was expected before Sunday’s midnight deadline after Kentucky GOP Sen. Rand Paul served notice that he would assert his prerogatives under Senate rules to delay a final vote for several days.

“The people who argue that the world will come to an end and we will be over by jihadists (by not passing the bill) are using fear,” Paul, a 2016 presidential candidate, said on the Senate floor.

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Still, the program is all but certain to be revived in a matter of days, although it also looks certain to be completely overhauled under the House-passed legislation that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell reluctantly blessed in an about-face Sunday evening.

With most senators opposed to extending current law unchanged, even for a short time, McConnell said the House bill was the only option left other than letting the program die off entirely. The Kentucky Republican preferred extending the current law. Read the rest of this entry »


Ann Coulter: Cantor Loses By 11 Million Voters

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In today’s The Daily CallerAnn Coulter writes: Economics professor Dave Brat crushed House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in the Republican primary Tuesday night, in a campaign that was mostly about Cantor’s supporting amnesty for 11 million illegal aliens.

“As I have been warning you, the big, national tea party groups are mostly shysters and con-men raising money for their own self-aggrandizement.”

This marks the first time a U.S. House majority leader has ever lost a primary election.

His crushing defeat reinforces a central point: Whenever the voters know an election is about immigration, they will always vote against more immigration — especially amnesty.

Cantor spent more than $5 million on his campaign. Brat spent less than $150,000. But Brat made the election about Cantor’s support for amnesty, so he won.

As Eric Hoffer said, “Every great cause begins as a movement, becomes a business, and eventually degenerates into a racket.”

The pro-amnesty crowd — i.e., everyone except the American people — promptly lost its collective mind. The amnesty shills went on the attack, insisting that Cantor’s historic defeat had nothing to do amnesty. Brat’s triumph was touted as simply a victory for the “tea party.”

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Of course, these are the same people who also try to persuade us that amnesty isn’t “amnesty,” illegal aliens aren’t “illegal aliens” (they’re “undocumented workers”!), and that there are 30 million jobs Americans won’t do at any price.

In fact, however, the tea party had nothing to do with Brat’s victory. Only the small, local tea party groups stand for anything anymore, but they’re as different from the media-recognized “tea party” as lay Catholics are from the Catholic bishops.

National tea party groups did not contribute dime one to Brat. Read the rest of this entry »


How To Opt Out Of Obamacare

Know your options and become savvy self-pay patients

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 writes:  December has arrived, and the deadline to apply for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act that will be effective January 1 is looming large. Recent press accounts suggest the online exchanges are working somewhat better than before, although there are still problems with the federal site and several of the state sites as well.

At the same time that people are being urged to sign up for health insurance by the Obama administration and its allies, others are urging people to ‘opt out’ of Obamacare, particularly the young who are generally being asked to pay much higher premiums than before. A few of the groups urging people not to sign up for health insurance under Obamacare include Generation Opportunity,FreedomWorks, and the Citizens Council for Health Freedom.

I won’t bother repeating the arguments of either side here, I’ll simply note that it’s likely tens of millions of Americans will chose to ‘opt out’ of Obamacare for a variety of reasons. These reasons include not being able to afford health insurance, not finding value in health insurance, and political or ideological opposition to Obamacare. To cite just one source, the Congressional Budget Office estimates that about 30 million people will remain uninsured under Obamacare.

The one thing that is missing from most of the arguments urging people to opt out of Obamacare is what they should do instead. Since most of these messages are aimed primarily at the young, I thought I’d share a bit of info on three individuals I know who fell into the ‘young invincible’ category at one point:

So, in my view, there’s a right way to opt out of Obamacare and there’s a wrong way to opt out of Obamacare. Read the rest of this entry »


What’s Next For Health Care Policy?

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Ben Domenech writes:  Over the past few days we’ve seen an ever-increasing number of voices on the Left, most of whom laughed at the prospects of Obamacare as a train wreck a few months ago, gradually opening up about their concerns on the future of the law.  They aren’t saying it’s going to fail now, mind you – but they are gaming out a future where things just don’t work out as they had intended, where the combination of implementation failures and unfixable policy come together to make a real mess of things. It raises the possibility of the post-Obamacare era, with policy writers on the left finally recognizing that there will be another round of health care reform in the near future.

What might post-Obamacare health care policy look like?

Read the rest of this entry »


Nearly $2 Billion in Sandy Relief Managed by CGI Federal Inc.–Same Organization Credited with Obamacare’s Doomed Debut

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Note: Many victims still haven’t seen a penny of relief aid

Allison Coyle reports:  CGI Federal Inc., the mastermind behind healthcare.gov, is assisting the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in the distribution of $1.7 billion in relief for Hurricane Sandy.

In a memo obtained by FreedomWorks titled, “Minutes of the 295th meeting of the members of the Housing Trust Fund Corporation held on May 9, 2013, at 8:30 a.m.,” CGI Federal is tasked with implementing the Disaster Housing Assistance Program. Additionally, they are asked to aid in the implementation of the Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery Program, an assistance program that had recently obtained $1.7 billion. Read the rest of this entry »


#StopWatchingUs rally against mass surveillance: Live Updates

Demonstrators wearing cardboard surveillance camera hats carry a sign depicting U.S. President Barack Obama at the "Stop Watching Us: A Rally Against Mass Surveillance" march in Washington, October 26, 2013. (Reuters / Jonathan Ernst)

Demonstrators wearing cardboard surveillance camera hats carry a sign depicting U.S. President Barack Obama at the “Stop Watching Us: A Rally Against Mass Surveillance” march in Washington, October 26, 2013. (Reuters / Jonathan Ernst)

Thousands are marching on the National Mall in Washington, DC to protest covert NSA surveillance operations on the anniversary of the Patriot Act. The organizers are planning to present Congress with a petition which has acquired over 570,000 signatures.

Stop Watching Us is a collective of 100 public advocacy groups, among them the American Civil Liberties Union, Freedom Works, as well as individuals like Chinese artist/activist Ai Weiwei and Glenn Greenwald, the journalist who worked with Edward Snowden to expose many of the NSA’s surveillance procedures. The rally is scheduled to begin at 11:30 am local time on October 26 – the 12th anniversary of the US Patriot Act.

“First, we are asking for a congressional investigation so we can shed light on exactly what the National Security Agency is doing. Secondly, we ask for reform of federal surveillance law, specifically Section 215 of the Patriot Act, Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, and the state secrets privilege,”Rainey Reitman, EFF activism director and lead organizer for Saturday’s rally told tech news outlet CNET on Friday. Read the rest of this entry »


The shutdown fight within the GOP was over tactics and power, not ideology

Budget Battle

The Tea Party’s Wasted Energy

‘We’ve got to get the Rockefeller Republicans out of the party,” a fellow told me in Minnesota recently. Or was it Arizona? Or Wilkes-Barre, Pa.? Actually, I think it was all three. I hear it all the time as I travel around the country speaking to conservative groups.

For those of you who don’t know, the Rockefeller Republicans — named after the former New York governor Nelson Rockefeller — were the liberal, mostly Northeastern wing of the Republican party.

Liberal Republican sounds like a contradiction in terms today, particularly for young people who grew up in the age of strictly ideological parties. But for most of American history, the parties weren’t strongly ideological institutions so much as coalitions of interests. There were very liberal Republicans and very conservative Democrats. Occasionally parties were defined — or indeed created — over single issues (the GOP was created to fight slavery, for instance), but the idea that you can guess someone is a conservative or liberal just by their party ID is a fairly recent development.

Read the rest of this entry »


Power to the People: Tea Party’s grassroots momentum smashes the business lobby’s monopoly on GOP fundraising

K-Street takes a backseat as a new movement disrupts traditional big business fundraising authority. Will corporate interests seeking to influence elections switch brands and align with Democrats?

The election of Tea Party conservatives like Rand Paul indicated the end of K Street's stronghold on the GOP. (AP Photo/Ed Reinke)

The election of Tea Party conservatives like Rand Paul indicated the end of K Street’s stronghold on the GOP. (AP Photo/Ed Reinke)

TIMOTHY P. CARNEY writes: How did the Republican Party become so splintered and so infused with hard-line conservatives?

Don’t blame redistricting. Don’t chalk it up to anti-Obama fervor.

Republicans have become an unruly bunch of scorched-earth conservatives because the Tea Party smashed the business lobby’s monopoly on GOP fundraising.

Here’s a story of where the GOP used to be:

Back in 2006, I asked a couple of conservative Republican congressmen to give blurbs for my book on corporate welfare. “My boss loves the book,” one of their top aides said, “but we’re not going to put his name on it.” Why not, I asked. “Who do you think funds his campaigns?” she whispered. “It’s not the Family Research Council.”

In short, the conservative congressman was happy to fight the good fight, but he wasn’t willing to upset Big Business because that’s where the checks came from — and no checks meant no re-election.

Back then, to raise money, Republicans had to go to K Street.
Call your former chief of staff who was now at a lobbying firm, have him host a fundraiser. Your ex-aide would show up with colleagues carrying $2,500 checks and with corporate clients handing over $5,000 checks from their political action committees.

Although K Street was the road to campaign cash, the party leadership was often the path to K Street. This helps explain the power dynamic in the pre-Tea Party GOP. Read the rest of this entry »


The Movement Strikes Back

Texas CruzRobert Costa writes: As the deadline to fund the federal government nears, Republican leaders are struggling mightily to come up with legislation that can pass the House. Over the weekend, leadership staffers fired off anxious e-mails and uneasy veteran House members exchanged calls. Both camps fear that a shutdown is increasingly likely — and they blame the conservative movement’s cottage industry of pressure groups.

But these organizations, ensconced in Northern Virginia office parks and elsewhere, aren’t worried about the establishment’s ire. In fact, they welcome it. Business has boomed since the push to defund Obamacare caught on. Conservative activists are lighting up social media, donations are pouring in, and e-mail lists are growing. Read the rest of this entry »


Poll: Republicans embracing libertarian priorities

The poll offers validation for this trio of libertarian-leaning Republican senators. | AP Photos  Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2013/09/poll-republicans-libertarian-96576.html#ixzz2ebzKgiOL

The poll offers validation for this trio of libertarian-leaning Republican senators. | AP Photos

A new poll confirms a libertarian renaissance in 2013.

FreedomWorks commissioned a national survey of registered voters last month,shared first with POLITICO, that finds 78 percent of Republicans and GOP-leaning independents self-identify as fiscally conservative and socially moderate. Read the rest of this entry »