State Representative Travis Allen has proposed a new assembly bill (AJR 26) which calls on “the President and Congress of the United States to make the protection of civil liberties and national security equal priorities, and to immediately discontinue any practices that are contrary to the 4th Amendment of the United States Constitution.”
Now Rep. Allen hasn’t been in elective office very long but he seems to have a short memory for a Republican.
The practices Allen is criticizing is the NSA surveillance program — something that started shortly after the Patriot Act was passed by a Republican Congress, signed into law by President George W. Bush and was continued by the Obama Administration. For those who forgot, conservative media types like Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity routinely attacked Democrats who opposed these programs from the start with being weak on terror while they in fact praised the NSA data mining program and surveillance programs. So if Allen is against this program now, he must think it was a mistake to begin with, right?
We posed eight questions to the Assemblyman; he gave us a blanket statement while answering none of the questions, but he said this:
“The protection of our constitution is not a partisan issue. This program was started under the Bush Administration and continued by the Obama Administration. Republicans, Democrats, Independents, the ACLU, and many other groups have all expressed concerns with this infringement of our 4th Amendment rights. We need to all stand together to protect our freedoms and our right to privacy. It is what unites us as Americans.”
First of all, Allen’s bill has nothing to do with the business of the state of California; we have elected Congressional and Senate reps to address issues of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Allen must not have the phone number to Congressman Dana Rohrabacher’s office? After all, it’s Congressman Rohrabacher claimed President Obama was gutting the military when every budget under Obama has increased, because Dana wants the president to look weak on defense and weak on terror.
Allen refused to answer questions about President Bush’s 2007 law that actually made it easier for the NSA to spy on Americans. He offered no opinion on the ability of big businesses (Google, Facebook, Yahoo etc.) to collect data from Americans which he must be just fine with.
And Allen — who said in his press release on that bill that “Government should be transparent, strive for the highest level of integrity, and be held accountable to the public,” refused to offer an opinion on Congressman Darryl Issa who released select excerpts of testimony in the IRS scandal hearings, expressing outrage about the program and then admonishing a Democratic Congressman for releasing the entire transcript which demonstrated transparency and accountability while exposing Issa as a liar.
AJR 26 is a self-serving Bill introduced by the Assembly by Allen to trump up his “pro-freedom” positions while declining to point out the hypocrisy of his own party’s actions. Allen stated Americans were unaware of this program until now which just tells us he never paid close attention to this issue before.
Allen’s bill is a waste of the state assembly’s time. It demonstrates that he has no pull with federal elected officials from Orange County or California. The bill is a dog and pony show wrapped in the flag that Allen uses as a drape for photos. We’ll give the assemblyman props for transparency — his bill is razor thin on meaningful content and meaningful criticism of his party’s role in making the program a reality in the first place.
For what it’s worth, our personal data is collected daily from huge firms like Google, Yahoo, Facebook, Microsoft, Apple, Verizon, AT&T and many others. You gave them permission to. While there are a considerable amount of rules set in the Patriot Act I detest, the only party that can call on changes to this law is the GOP. Should President Obama or the Democrats gut portions of the Patriot Act and we’re hit with a terrorist attack again, Republicans will surely point the finger and call us weak on defense and weak on terror. One interesting detail of this “scandal” is that Obama himself was a target of wiretapping by the NSA when he was a US Senate candidate in 2004.
I don’t care if the NSA reads my SPAM folder, sees my Facebook page or listens in on boring phone calls. Have at it.