I have quite a few friends who remain deluded about the political process in this country. They still believe that the right man in the right office can reverse the course of the United Police States of America. With Ron Paul retired the hopes and dreams of these poor fools lies with Rand Paul.
The federal government is going through its yearly ritual of renewing its surveillance powers. As with previous years, this year’s ritual involves the members of the House and Senate pretending to debate whether or not they’re going to renew their own powers. Those who still believe in the political process also believe that these debates are genuine. Since they believe the debates are genuine they also believe that somebody like Rand Paul can prevent the passage of a bill by filibustering it. Several of my friends told me that Rand Paul would stop the renewal of the FISA Amendments Reauthorization Act of 2017. I told them that Rand Paul wasn’t going to stop shit, which proved to be correct.
I also pointed out the historical precedent, which is when Rand Paul attempts to filibuster a bill the bill ends up passing. Now there’s another data point to add to that precedent:
The Senate has voted to reauthorize a controversial legal authority that enables vast government surveillance programs, including spying operations used by the NSA.
The bill was passed 65 to 34, and now moves to President Trump’s desk. He is expected to sign it into law. Earlier this week, a group of senators threatened to filibuster the bill, but lawmakers cleared a 60-vote hurdle earlier this week that allowed them to block the attempt.
The bill allows for continued spying operations under Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. Critics charge that the bill, which renews 702 and powers National Security Agency spying, is nominally for foreign targets, but allows the government to sweep up American communications with few safeguards.
Although this post probably comes off as a criticism of Rand Paul, it’s really a criticism of those who continue to believe in the political system.
The political system of the United States, like the political system of every nation, is designed to concentrate power in the hands of the ruling class. The Founding Fathers, like the founders of almost every nation, claimed otherwise and many people foolishly believed and continue to believe them. But the results speak for themselves. George Washington himself lead a military force to deal with rebellious whiskey distillers during his stint in office and the federal government has only continued to expand its power since. At no point in the United States’ history has the federal government’s power receded in any meaningful way.
After more than two centuries you would think that people would catch on. But they haven’t nor are they likely to do so.