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Senator Rand Paul
Republican of Kentucky

Liberal Action Score: 25/100
Conservative Action Score: 50/100

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Mailing address: SRC-5 Russell Senate Office Building, Washington DC 20510
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KY Office Phone: 270-782-8303

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That's My Congress: independent information on legislators, legislation and congressional campaigns for the 112th Congress

Republican Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky

Sen. Paul's Liberal Action Score: 25
The Liberal Action Score is calculated by compiling a series of measured liberal actions (both roll call voting and bill cosponsorship) in the 112th Congress and comparing Rand Paul's behavior against a liberal standard:
  • Respect for constitutional protections of American civil liberty
  • Transparency and public access in government
  • Equal treatment of people under law
  • The respect and pursuit of empirical knowledge through support for science and education
  • Protection of the Earth's environmental richness
  • Strengthening of economic opportunity for all
  • Pursuit of peaceful solutions and opposition to militarism in policy
A score of 25 means that Senator Paul has participated in 25% of our slate of liberal actions in the 112th Congress.

Liberal Actions Taken by Paul during the 112th Congress of 2011-2012:

H.R. 514

On February 15 2011, H.R. 514 was brought to the floor of the Senate for a vote after short notice, only a few minutes of debate, no committee consideration and no amendments allowed. This bill reauthorized provisions of the Patriot Act, a law that allows agents of the U.S. government to spy on, search and seize the property, papers and communications of individuals without a constitutionally-guaranteed finding of probable cause for that action.

Senator Paul has taken a liberal course of action by voting against this bill.

S. Amdt 1126 to S. 1867

As the year 2011 drew to a close, the United States Senate voted to let the U.S. Government to imprison people forever without charge, be they citizens or noncitizens, be they on U.S. soil or in foreign territory. Be they anybody at all that the government accuses of being a terrorist, they can be tossed into detention, without charges, forever, never having their case brought to trial. This is the definition of ultimate unaccountable power. The Feinstein Amendment, S. Amdt 1126, would have taken this language out of the final bill. But a majority of senators, by voting against the Feinstein Amendement, acted in favor of unaccountable indefinite detention without charge, for anybody, anybody at all.

Senator Paul has taken a liberal course of action by voting for this bill.

H.R. 1540

In mid-December 2011, the United States Senate voted on final passage of H.R. 1540, the final post-conference form of S. 1867. What was the subject of this bill coming up just before Christmas? Letting the U.S. government throw any person at all into detention forever without charge, as long as the government says (without any proof in a court of law) that this person is a terrorist. Indefinite detainees will never be brought to trial, will never face a jury of their peers as the constitution guarantees. A majority of senators voted to pass this bill, placing us all at risk from the exercise of unaccountable, unchecked power.

Senator Paul has taken a liberal course of action by voting against this bill.

H.R. 5949

The 4th Amendment to the United States Constitution declares the freedom of We The People from search and seizure of our papers and communications unless there is a warrant specifying a reason, a time and a place for such search. The FISA Amendments Act violates all of these constitutional guarantees by allowing agents of the United States government to search through and seize anyone's communications without obtaining any warrant describing a time, place or reason for the search. The December 28, 2012 vote by the Senate to reauthorize the FISA Amendments Act for five years without a single reform is a vote against the constitution and the rule of law.

Senator Paul has taken a liberal course of action by voting against this bill.

Unfinished Business:
Liberal Bills Senator Paul has failed to support through cosponsorship:

S. 186

As the text of S. 186 points out, "October 7, 2011, will mark the 10-year anniversary of the start of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan." This war has cost more than a third of a trillion dollars and has spilled the blood of more than a thousand Americans and uncounted civilians of Afghanistan. Ten years into the war, the Taliban is just as strong, Afghanistan is just as fractured, and there is no clear way out. S. 186 declares simply, "It is the policy of the United States to begin the phased redeployment of United States combat forces from Afghanistan not later than July 1, 2011." S. 186 would have the President submit his plan for phased withdrawal from Afghanistan during the same year.

Senator Paul has failed to cosponsor S. 186. After you read the text of S. 186, call Sen Paul's office at 270-782-8303 and ask him to support it by adding his cosponsorship.

S. 598

If passed, the Respect for Marriage Act (S. 598) would repeal DOMA, the Defense of Marriage Act. Enacted in the 1990s, DOMA removed the presumption (based in the "Full Faith and Credit" clause of the Constitution) that same-sex marriages carried out in one state would be recognized in other states or by the federal government. S. 598 would restore cross-state and federal recognition, recognition that different-sex marriages continue to enjoy.

Senator Paul has failed to cosponsor S. 598. After you read the text of S. 598, call Sen Paul's office at 270-782-8303 and ask him to support it by adding his cosponsorship.

S. 811

To a person only following expressions of popular culture, it might seem that the United States has moved beyond discrimination against gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transexuals. But in the workaday world, it's still legal for people to be fired from their jobs for no other reason than than their choice of whom to love. And a dirty not-so-secret secret of labor unions has been their historical practice of excluding gay and lesbian workers from full participation and leadership.

The Employment Non-Discrimination Act (or ENDA) would make workplace discrimination in hiring and promotions illegal, and would also prohibit discriminatory behavior against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender members of American labor unions. If passed, ENDA would bring the law into the 21st Century along with the majority of Americans who have realized what matters at work is what you do, not who you love.

Senator Paul has failed to cosponsor S. 811. After you read the text of S. 811, call Sen Paul's office at 270-782-8303 and ask him to support it by adding his cosponsorship.

S. 821

"No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States. Nor shall any State deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws." These are the American standards of nondiscrimination, chiseled into our legal bedrock in the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution.

S. 821, the Uniting American Families Act, is a bill to bring America into closer compliance with the 14th Amendment by ending government discrimination according to the status of permanent couples. According to law, same-sex couples in permanent relationships cannot marry; only different-sex couples can. The creates two classes of couple in the United States. They are separate. Are they equal? Not currently. Under current immigration law, married immigrant spouses of citizens and permanent residents have a preferred route toward gaining permanent resident status themselves. Unmarried partners of citizens and permanent residents have this avenue closed to them. That is unequal treatment under law for immigrants under American jurisdiction, and it is an unequal abridgment of legal privilege for the citizens whose permanent partners wish to join them.

The Uniting American Families Act would end this status discrimination by amending various the immigration laws that discriminate against same-sex couples when one member of a couple is a citizen or permanent resident and the other is seeking citizenship or residency status.

Senator Paul has failed to cosponsor S. 821. After you read the text of S. 821, call Sen Paul's office at 270-782-8303 and ask him to support it by adding his cosponsorship.

S. 558

The problem with cluster bombs is threefold:

1. When used, they are distributed in large numbers across terrain;
2. They have a high failure rate, leaving many unexploded bombs;
3. They are small and typically shiny, disproportionately attracting the hands of curious children.

Cluster bombs are designed to kill people, not to damage buildings or roads. Like land mines, they continue to kill people long after the battle in which they were used. It is typical for a large number of these smaller bombs to remain undetonated, waiting to explode, after their initial deployment.

The Federation of American Scientists' report on the matter makes clear the danger of cluster munitions: "40 percent of the duds on the ground are hazardous and for each encounter with an unexploded submunition there is a 13 percent probability of detonation. Thus, even though an unexploded submunition is run over, kicked, stepped on, or otherwise disturbed, and did not detonate, it is not safe. Handling the unexploded submunition may eventually result in arming and subsequent detonation." Cluster bombs kill civilians when they are used. Our government knows this, and yet our government continues to manufacture, use and sell cluster bombs to foreign countries. The Cluster Munitions Civilian Protection Act, as proposed in the 112th Congress, forbids the United States government from spending money to use, sell or transfer cluster bombs unless the following requirements are met:
  • The cluster bombs are proven to have a 1 percent or lower rate of malfunction
  • The cluster bombs will not be used against anything but a clearly defined military target, in an area where there are no civilians and in places where civilians do not ordinarily live
  • A plan is submitted, with the costs included, for cleaning up all the undetonated explosives that come from cluster bombs, whether they are used by the US military, or by other countries to whom the United States has supplied the cluster bombs

There is a waiver in the law for the first requirement (for the malfunctioning rate of 1 percent or lower), in cases in which it is "vital" to use cluster bombs in order to protect the security of the United States. However, even in such cases, the President is required to submit a report to Congress which explains how civilians will be protected from the cluster bombs, and revealing the failure rate of the cluster bombs, as well as whether the cluster bombs are equipped with self-destruct functions.

Senator Paul has failed to cosponsor S. 558. After you read the text of S. 558, call Sen Paul's office at 270-782-8303 and ask him to support it by adding his cosponsorship.

S. 1428

In 2010 there were 22,000 mercenaries hired by the USA in Iraq and Afghanistan; in 2011 the number of hired mercenaries climbed to more than 28,000. By March 2011, there were more private military contractors paid by the U.S. in Iraq than there were U.S. soldiers. In remarks at an event introducing the bill, Representative Jan Schakowsky explained why this is a problem:

"Military officers in the field have said contractors operate like cowboys, using unnecessary and excessive force uncharacteristic of enlisted soldiers. In 2007, guards working for a firm then known as Blackwater were accused of killing 17 Iraqis, damaging the U.S. mission in Iraq and hurting our reputation around the world. Later that year, a contractor employed by DynCorp International allegedly shot and killed an unarmed taxi driver."

Military contractors have often acted with disregard for human dignity and when they break the law have frequently used loopholes to escape accountability. The result is inexcusable, violence in the name of the United States with no calls for justice. S. 1428 would finally bring this physical, psychological and political disaster to an end, stopping the use of mercenaries for traditional military security and combat roles.

Senator Paul has failed to cosponsor S. 1428. After you read the text of S. 1428, call Sen Paul's office at 270-782-8303 and ask him to support it by adding his cosponsorship.

S. 219

S. 219, a bill introduced by Senator Jon Tester, would require senators to file campaign finance reports electronically with the Federal Election Commission, not on paper with the Senate. This may not sound like an important distinction, but the practical effect of the current system is to delay the processing of campaign contribution reports -- often until after an election is over -- and to make the discovery of unsavory campaign expenditures by reporters and citizens more difficult. Tester's bill, the continuation of a veteran effort by ex-Senator Russ Feingold in previous sessions of Congress, would increase efficiency within the government, increase transparency of information to reporters, and increase the accountability of Senators to American citizens.

Senator Paul has failed to cosponsor S. 219. After you read the text of S. 219, call Sen Paul's office at 270-782-8303 and ask him to support it by adding his cosponsorship.

Rand Paul's Conservative Action Score: 50
The Conservative Action Score is calculated by compiling a series of observably conservative roll call votes and bill cosponsorships in the 112th Congress and comparing Rand Paul's behavior against that conservative standard:
  • Disregard for constitutional protections of American civil liberty
  • Secrecy and exclusion of citizens from government
  • Support for discriminatory policy
  • The symbolic denigration and practical undermining of science and education in America
  • Active harm to the environment or passive allowance for environmental destruction
  • Pursuit of further advantage for those in America who are already its richest
  • Dismissal of peaceful possibilities and obeiscance to the military-industrial complex
A score of 50 means that Senator Paul has taken 50% of the possible conservative actions identified on the That's My Congress scorecard during the 112th Congress.

S.J. Res 2

The way that U.S. citizenship works is pretty simple when you get down to it: if you are born in this country, you are a citizen. That's the standard set out in the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution. But some members of the U.S. Senate are not happy with the Constitution. They want to change it to deny Americans their citizenship rights.

S.J. Res 2 is a constitutional amendment that, if passed, would deny citizenship to American-born babies if their parents are not themselves citizens. Such a change would move us toward the German model of citizenship, in which families who have lived in Germany for generations were denied citizenship because they lacked the so-called "virtue" of a German bloodline.

Do you think a German Heimatland notion of blood purity in citizenship belongs in our Constitution? Unfortunately, some of our Senators do.

Senator Paul has followed a conservative course by cosponsoring this bill.

S. 91

The Life At Conception Act, introduced as S. 91 in the Senate, would "implement equal protection under the 14th article of amendment to the Constitution for the right to life of each born and preborn human person":
To implement equal protection for the right to life of each born and preborn human person, and pursuant to the duty and authority of the Congress, including Congress' power under article I, section 8, to make necessary and proper laws, and Congress' power under section 5 of the 14th article of amendment to the Constitution of the United States, the Congress hereby declares that the right to life guaranteed by the Constitution is vested in each human being.

For purposes of this Act: (1) HUMAN PERSON; HUMAN BEING- The terms `human person' and `human being' include each and every member of the species homo sapiens at all stages of life, including, but not limited to, the moment of fertilization, cloning, and other moment at which an individual member of the human species comes into being.

If a fertilized egg is really granted equal protection under the law as a human being per the 14th Amendment to the Constitution, a number of outcomes would follow:

  • Abortions of all types, including in cases of rape, incest and threats to the health of the mother, would be outlawed, since under U.S. law there is no legal right to terminate an adult human life except as a punishment for murder, and fertilized eggs would be guaranteed equal protection under law.
  • The Intra-uterine device (IUD), Plan B and the birth control pill would be outlawed. These contraceptives work by, at least in part, preventing the implantation of a fertilized egg in the uterine wall. If S. 91 were passed and fertilized eggs were granted protection under law equal to that of adult human beings, women using these contraceptives would be guilty of felony, involuntary manslaughter at the least.
  • In vitro fertility clinics would be outlawed or forced to radically change their policies so that every created embryo would be implanted into a woman, whether eventually viable or not. The hundreds of thousands of currently frozen embryos would become wards of the state with legal rights equal to yours.
  • The termination of ectopic and molar pregnancies would be outlawed. Even though these pregnancies cannot survive and commonly end in the death of a mother when they run their course, they would be guaranteed protection under law equal to that of any person.
  • The prevention of natural miscarriage (a very common outcome) would be made a public health project on equal footing with efforts to end epidemics, stop strokes or innoculate against childhood diseases.

Senator Paul has followed a conservative course by cosponsoring this bill.

S. 228

For many years now, a bloc of Senators whose campaigns are funded by oil companies has argued, in spite all scientific evidence, that all the thermometers are wrong and that global warming isnít really happening, that itís all a hoax. But now, this same bloc of Senators has thrown its support behind a piece of legislation not only admitting that climate change is real but also finally acknowledging that the government needs to act to deal with the problem of global warming. S. 228 is an explicit admission that global warming is real. Section 3 of the Senate bill, also known as the Defending America's Affordable Energy and Jobs Act, specifically names seven chemicals including carbon dioxide and "any hydrofluorocarbon" as "greenhouse gases" and identifies each as a "substance subject to regulation, action, or consideration due to the contribution of the substance to climate change." S. 228 isnít just an admission that global warming is real. It's an admission that the anthropogenic hypothesis, that global warming is due in large part to human activities, is correct. Why would this group of Senators drenched in oil money sponsor such a bill? Because, after defining these substances as the source of the problem of global warming, S. 228 prohibits the federal government from taking action to clean them up and regulate their emissions. S. 228 stops any government effort to solve the problem. The most one can say about this head-in-the-sand bill is that it's honest.

Senator Paul has followed a conservative course by cosponsoring this bill.

S. 940

Multinational oil and gas corporations are experiencing record profits while the world deals with spill disasters caused by their profitable activities. The supporters of S. 940, the Close Big Oil Tax Loopholes Act, are cognizant that big oil corporations are doing just fine on their own, and in this time of economic challenge for the nation tried to end special subsidies benefitting oil and gas corporations and burdening our federal budget. Under S. 940 these oil corporations would have stopped receiving special gifts and would have simply been expected to pay their fair share, just like the American people do. On May 18 2011, a majority of Senators voted for S. 940, but in a procedural move a minority blocked the bill from proceeding. As a result, American oil companies will continue to rake in huge subsidies while they accumulate gigantic profits.

Sen. Paul has followed a conservative course by voting against this bill.

S. 953

Did American politicians learn their lesson from the Deepwater Horizon disaster, in which a lack of full regulation and inspection led to a heavy economic and environmental toll? Perhaps only selectively so. Senator Mitch McConnell introduced S. 953 in the 112th Congress and brought it up for a vote on May 18 2011. The bill puts a fig leaf on oil rig spills by requiring studies of safety patterns, but in practice it makes it harder to challenge offshore oil drilling in a number of ways. If S. 953 had been passed, the government would have only 30 days to study and consider an application for offshore oil drilling before approving it, and Americans would have only 60 days to prepare and submit a challenge to that application. In any court hearing, it requires that the government's hastily-prepared account of the facts be presumed correct. Current leases for offshore oil drilling would be arbitrarily extended by a year, regardless of their record. In short, the bill rigs the review process for offshore oil drilling heavily in the oil industry's favor. Even if petitioners had won in the stacked review process, the remedies they could have obtained would have been limited. Fortunately for environmental standards, S. 953 was voted down.

Sen. Paul has followed a conservative course by voting for this bill.

S.J. Res. 6

"Net neutrality" is the principle that internet corporations should provide information at the same speed from all sources, no matter whether that source is a small web page like this one expressing individuals' facts and ideas, or a political start-up like Occupy Together that seeks to share information about the #Occupy movement, or a well-funded corporate website from Microsoft or Exxon Mobil. S.J. Res. 6 was a bill in the Senate that would have ended the practice of net neutrality in the United States by overturning FCC Rule 10-201.

FCC Rule 10-201 mandates "Transparency. Fixed and mobile broadband providers must disclose the network management practices, performance characteristics, and terms and conditions of their broadband services." But S.J. Res. 6 "prohibits such rule from having any force or effect."

FCC Rule 10-201 prohibits "Blocking. Fixed broadband providers may not block lawful content, applications, services, or non-harmful devices; mobile broadband providers may not block lawful websites, or block applications that compete with their voice or video telephony services." But S.J. Res. 6 "prohibits such rule from having any force or effect."

FCC Rule 10-201 prohibits "Unreasonable discrimination. Fixed broadband providers may not unreasonably discriminate in transmitting lawful network traffic. Fixed broadband providers may not block lawful content, applications, services, or non-harmful devices." But even the moderate "unreasonable" rule was too much for the supporters of S.J. Res. 6. Their bill "prohibits such rule from having any force or effect."

In a vote on November 10 2011, S.J. Res. 6 was turned back by a Democratic majority.

Sen. Paul has followed a conservative course by voting for this bill.

S. Amdt. 2789 to S. 3457

While the United States pours billions and billions and billions of dollars into the procurement of expensive, unreliable and deadly military machines used to kill people overseas, how will it treat the people it has fed through those machines? This question was answered on Wednesday September 19 2012 when the United States Senate fell two votes short of the necessary 60 votes to create a veterans job corps. The veterans jobs corps would have employed the people coming out of the military and being dumped into an absolutely dismal job market, hiring them for jobs that don't just give them a paycheck but help the country through law enforcement, firefighting, historic preservation, resource management and conservation work.

Large majorities of the Senate vote every year to purchase wildly expensive, deadly and technically unreliable drones, bombers and other military machines, distributing taxpayer funds to multinational military corporations. But 42 Senators blocked a move to develop a few jobs for veterans.

A yes vote on Senate Amendment 2789 was a vote to create a veterans jobs corps. A no vote was a vote to spend money on military machines but to deny jobs for veterans coming home.

Sen. Paul has followed a conservative course by voting against this bill.

S.Amdt. 3376 to H.R. 1

On December 28 2012, just after Christmas, the U.S. Senate voted to reject this amendment to a House appropriations bill. If it had passed, Senate Amendment 3376 would have eliminated the usual Davis-Bacon rule for federally-funded projects.

The Davis-Bacon rule isn't extravagant, only requiring that construction workers on federally-funded projects be paid at least the prevailing wage of the area in compensation for their labor. That prevailing wage standard is low, even below the poverty level in many places. But for 42 members of the U.S. Senate -- all of them Republicans, poverty-level pay for hard work isn't low enough. After an election in which voters turned away from Republican candidates because those candidates were perceived as anti-worker elitists, this vote will not help to dislodge that perception.

Sen. Paul has followed a conservative course by voting for this bill.

Recent legislative news in which Rand Paul plays a part:

Terrorists and Heart Disease: Who in Congress Focuses on the Real Harm?
It's not about harm. It's about hype. According to the Statistical Abstract of the United States, every year heart disease kills two hundred times more Americans than terrorist attacks killed in the peak year of 2001. In other years, heart disease deaths are hundreds of thousands of times more numerous than terrorism deaths. Yet year after year, as this Sunlight Foundation graph of the Congressional Record shows, our members of Congress focus on terrorists in their remarks, neglecting heart disease. In the 112th Congress, the following members of Congress have been most likely to roll out the word "terrorists" in their remarks on the floor: #1: Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-NH #2: Sen. Richard Durbin, D-IL #3: Sen. Rand Paul, R-KY #4: Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-CA #5: Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-TX #6: Sen. Benjamin Cardin, D-MD #7: Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-AL #8: Rep. Lamar Smith, R-TX #9: Sen. Mark Udall, D-CO #10: Rep. Dan Burton, R-IN On the other hand, the following are the ten members of Congress most likely to mention "heart disease" in the Congressional Record of the 112th Congress: #1: Sen. Tom Harkin, D-IA #2: Rep. Laura Richardson,... [more]

Who Crossed the Aisle On The Iraq War Authorization Vote Yesterday?
Yesterday, nine years after the U.S. Senate made the historic blunder of authorizing the invasion of Iraq, there came an opportunity to correct that problem. Yesterday, an amendment to the 2012 Defense authorization bill offered by Republican Senator Rand Paul came up for a vote. Senator Paul's amendment would have ended the authorization to go to war in Iraq. Without such a revocation of war authority, a future President could begin a new war in Iraq without the consent of Congress. congressional authorization 2011The amendment was defeated by a coalition of Republicans and Democrats. Most of the senators who voted to keep the authorization of war alive were Republicans, but 24 Democratic senators joined the majority of Republicans. Daniel Akaka Michael Bennett Richard Blumenthal Thomas Carper Robert Casey Chris Coons Kent Conrad Kay Hagan Daniel Inouye Tim Johnson John Kerry Herb Kohl Mary Landrieu Carl Levin Barbara Mikulski Bill Nelson Mark Pryor Jack... [more]

Attack On American Liberty Remains - US Senate Rejects Udall Amendment
Today, the United States Senate failed to protect American liberty, voting to reject an amendment by Mark Udall to a Defense authorization bill that is almost certain to pass. The Defense authorization legislation grants the U.S. military the power to put American citizens within the borders of the United States into prison without any criminal charge, without any time limit. All that the federal government will need to do to imprison Americans will be to merely accuse them of terrorism, without substantiating those charges with any evidence. mark udall amendmentSupporters of this radical expansion of government power, which violates the right to fair trial guaranteed to us in the Constitution, say that it's necessary to protect Americans from terrorism. Of course, Americans have been protected from terrorism for years without the need of arbitrary imprisonment without criminal charge. Furthermore, antiterrorism experts say that these new government powers could actually cripple government efforts to thwart terrorism. FBI Director Robert Mueller has written an advisory letter that the provisions of the Defense authorization bill "may adversely impact our ability to continue ongoing terrorism investigations before or after arrest, derive intelligence from those investigations, and may raise extraneous issues in any future prosecution". The Udall Amendment would have removed the legislation's unconstitutional power of imprisonment without criminal charge. This afternoon, that amendment failed to pass. It was rejected by a coalition of Republicans and Democrats who have become comfortable with the existence of totalitarian government powers. The vote wasn't even close: 37 for Senator Udall's protection of American freedom, 61 opposed to the Udall amendment, and 2 senators who didn't show up to vote. A roll call of the vote follows: Democrats who voted FOR arbitrary imprisonment of Americans in the USA: Senator Robert Casey, Senator... [more]

Senate Meekly Allows Spying Against Americans To Move Ahead
A posture of opposition to "Big Government" has become the vogue in the United States spending. U.S. Senators commonly use the idea of support for limited government as a justification for withholding from Americans the things that they need: Medical care, economic investment for jobs, education and Social Security. Yet, when it comes to the Patriot Act, all of a sudden, the talk of limited government fades away. Think about what the Patriot Act allows. It permits agents of the federal government to secretly enter into Americans' homes and places of work, to listen in on their private telephone conversations, and to seize personal records about their purchases, their communications, their travel, and many other things. In these days, when many Americans carry around GPS-enabled smart phones with multiple applications, the information that can be seized under the Patriot Act has become enormous. All of these things can be done without reasonable oversight, without the kind of search warrant that is required by the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution. senate allows spying against AmericansWhat's more, the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, a government body that was supposed to have been created to ensure that Patriot Act spying did not violate Americans' constitutional rights, has no members. It does not meet. It has been allowed to become completely non-operational. That means that Americans have nothing to protect them from the surveillance powers of the Patriot Act. That's what big government looks like. The Patriot Act is the most clear violation of the concept of limited government. In fact, the small number of documents about Patriot Act implementation that have been released show tens of thousands of violations of the law's spying powers - and often, those violations have been directed against American citizens. Senate analysis of the Patriot Act's most abusive surveillance powers has shown that the spying is directed against people connected to suspected terrorism only 0.04 percent of the time. Yesterday, members of the United States Senate had the opportunity to stop the abusive Patriot Act spying against Americans. There... [more]

Indefinite Imprisonment Roll Call of Shame: Only Sanders, 6 Democrats and 6 GOP Stand Up
Today, both the Republican and Democratic political parties lost the right to claim that they stand for freedom, justice and the American way. arbitrary imprisonment without criminal chargeIn the U.S. Senate this afternoon, there came to the floor a terrible bill for a final vote. This bill, H.R. 1540, the Defense Authorization Act, contained a provision that would allow the federal government to imprison Americans without criminal charge for as long as it wants - on the mere accusation of association with a terrorist organization. The Fifth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America declares that "No person shall... be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law". That makes H.R. 1540 plainly and profoundly unconstitutional. The issue isn't even one of a right to a fair trial. At issue is whether Americans have a right to a trial at all. H.R. 1540 allows Americans to be punished for alleged crimes without any trial. The legislation completely overturns the presumption of innocence in American law, and creates a system where the presumption of guilt rules instead. There were only 6 Democrats who voted against this insult to democracy. There were only 6 Republicans who had the courage to vote against it. Independent Senator Bernard Sanders was made the 13th senator out of 100 to defend Americans' right to a trial. The second group in the roll call you see below is the long list of U.S. senators who voted in favor of passage of the prolonged imprisonment of American citizens without criminal charge or trial. Every single one of these senators deserves to lose their next election. Nothing in the United States of America, not party loyalty or... [more]

24 Senate Democrats Still Won't Vote Against War In Iraq
When, in 2002, the U.S. Senate voted to approve of the resolution providing authorization for the President of the United States to go to war against Iraq, it was a terrible mistake. There was no threat from Iraq, it turned out. There was no plan for victory, it turned out. The United States of America lost huge amounts of money in Iraq. It lost thousands of Americans there. It lost its international reputation there. Finally, nine years after that resolution was approved by the Senate, the mistake could have been corrected. The American military is finally being withdrawn from Iraq. To seal this withdrawal, Senator Rand Paul offered an amendment to the 2012 Defense authorization bill. The Paul amendment would have revoked the authority to go to war in Iraq. Without such a revocation, the President of the United States could repeat the blunder of George W. Bush, and invade Iraq once again. This mistake could be made not just by Barack Obama, but by any future President. Rand Paul, explaining the need for his resolution, warned his colleagues, "We've been at war for nearly 10 years in Iraq. we're coming home, and we should rejoice at the war's end. But we need to reclaim that authority. If we leave an open-ended authority out there, that says to the President or any President - if not this particular President, it could be any President - if we leave that authority out there, we basically abdicate our duty. We abdicate the role of Congress." The war in Iraq should never have taken place, but yesterday, the Senate could not muster the courage to admit that was the case. The Paul amendment was defeated, by a vote of 30 in favor, 67 against, and 3 refusing to vote. The vote did not take place along party lines. 24 Senate Democrats refused to vote for an end to the power to go to war in Iraq. The names... [more]