Breaking: The Senate Just Approved The Controversial New Measure Obama Wanted

The U.S. Senate voted today to pass the USA Freedom Act, which passed the House a few weeks ago. The vote was 67 to 32. The bill will now go to President Barack Obama, who tweeted earlier today that he will sign the legislation as soon as it reaches his desk.

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The act renews key provisions of the Patriot Act, which lapsed over the weekend.

Sen. Mitch McConnell, one of the ‘no’ votes, had hoped to amend the USA Freedom Act to eliminate some of the reforms it contains that were designed to provide greater control over government surveillance programs; however, the Senate rejected all amendments and passed the House version.

Of the 32 votes against passage of the bill, 30 were Republicans. (See the roll call vote here.)

One of the major reforms in the USA Freedom Act concerns the bulk collection of metadata (i.e. Americans’ phone records).

As reported by Fox News, the act, when it becomes law, will:

-Resume the National Security Administration’s (NSA) data collection program, but only for a transition period of six months. After that, the legislation would no longer allow the NSA to sweep up Americans’ records in bulk. Instead, it would leave the records with phone companies and give the government the ability to seek access with a warrant.

-Continue other post-9/11 surveillance provisions that also lapsed Sunday night. These include the FBI’s authority to gather business records in terrorism and espionage investigations and to more easily eavesdrop on suspects who are discarding cellphones to avoid surveillance.

-Create a panel to provide the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court with guidance on privacy and civil liberties matters.

-Increase transparency for the surveillance court’s decisions.

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., filibustered the renewal of the Patriot Act over the weekend, arguing that certain provisions violated Americans’ Fourth Amendment protection from unlawful searches and seizures. The senator voted against the USA Freedom Act on Tuesday, arguing the bill does not go far enough to protect Americans’ privacy.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

Obama’s NSA Snoops Have Just Been Dealt A HUGE Setback That Could Shake Up The 2016 Race

Republican senator and presidential hopeful Rand Paul has done what he promised to do — lead the charge in the upper chamber to block, at least temporarily, the ability of the National Security Agency (NSA) to collect in bulk the phone records of millions of Americans. It was a bold and defiant move that some believe could cost Paul the GOP nomination for president in 2016.

The authorization under the Patriot Act for the NSA to gather phone metadata without citing a specific reason expired after midnight Sunday. However, as Fox News reports, the NSA snooping program hasn’t been killed, rather it’s just taken a body blow that halted it for a period of time. “…that program, as well as several other post-9/11 counterterrorism measures, were likely to be revived in some form in the coming days after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. reluctantly embraced a House-passed bill that would extend the anti-terror provisions, while also remaking the bulk collection program.”

A highly upset McConnell let his follow senator from Kentucky, Rand Paul, know in no uncertain terms how unhappy he was with Paul’s forcing the consideration of an alternative bill known as the USA Freedom Act that was drawn up in the House.

“We shouldn’t be disarming unilaterally as our enemies grow more sophisticated and aggressive, and we certainly should not be doing so based on a campaign of demagoguery and disinformation launched in the wake of the unlawful actions of Edward Snowden,” McConnell said, referring to the former NSA contractor who revealed the agency’s bulk data collection program in June 2013.

As for Sen. Paul, he took for the floor of the chamber with a rather surprising take on the feelings of McConnell and other lawmakers who opposed his move to derail the NSA surveillance program. You can see what Rand Paul said were his opponents “secret” feelings by clicking on the video above.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

Republican Senator Just Got Called Out Big Time For Doing This To Make Himself Look Better

The American Conservative Union wasted little time exposing Arizona Sen. John McCain’s misleading use of its rating system. The organization, which also hosts CPAC each year, grades legislators each year based on their allegiance to conservative values.

McCain, gearing up for his sixth Senate bid, was apparently anxious to publicize his conservative bona fides as fellow Republicans continue to perform well in hypothetical matchups against him. The 2008 GOP presidential nominee shared the following Twitter post this week:

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The ACU, however, pointed out that releasing his 2014 rating out of context is deceptive.

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As Breitbart reported, McCain’s annual ratings have varied widely, with his highest grade corresponding with a year during which he faced a tough primary opponent. The ACU cited his recent low rating of 52; however, he received scores nearly as dismal in 2008 and 2006.

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McCain received a perfect score – 100 percent – from the ACU in 2010, the year he squared off against J.D. Hayworth for his party’s nomination ahead of his last re-election campaign. Since then, his relationship with Arizona Republicans has faltered. In fact, he was censured by his own party for failing to represent conservative ideals during the same year he received his recently-touted 91 percent ACU rating.

With a number of potential candidates hinting that they might challenge McCain in the upcoming primary, time will tell if he shifts noticeably to the right in an effort to gain conservative support. In any case, it is clear from social media reaction that there are plenty of Americans who simply do not trust him.

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Do you support John McCain? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

Trouble For Obama: Dozens Of Congressional Dems Turning Against His Big Power Grab

Democrats in the House and Senate are aligning with Republicans in an attempt to build a legislative dam against sweeping new water rules being imposed by Obama’s EPA — rules that critics claim could sink business and destroy private property rights. As The Hill reports, “Dozens of congressional Democrats are joining Republicans to back legislation blocking the Obama administration’s new rule to redefine its jurisdiction over the nation’s waterways.”

On Wednesday, Western Journalism told you about the controversial new Environmental Protection Agency mandate that some consider more of a power grab than an effort to keep America’s waterways clean and healthy. Technically, the new rule is couched as an extension of the Clean Water Act of 1972, thus allowing EPA regulators and bureaucrats to significantly broaden their reach and authority without working through Congress.

This move comes after two separate Supreme Court rulings prohibiting the EPA and the Corps of Engineers’ previous attempts to expand on the Clean Water Act — a move that, if fully implemented, Heritage Foundation Agricultural Policy Research Fellow Daren Bakst argues would be “devastating to property rights.”

Despite congressional attempts to push back against the EPA-led action, the regulation was made final on Wednesday. The article in The Hill notes that the stated purpose of the rule is to “clarify that small streams, wetlands, headwaters and tributaries are covered by the Clean Water Act and the rules that go along with it.”

But Capitol Hill opponents of the EPA’s aggressive action are not giving up the fight. “Three moderate Democrats in the Senate and 24 in the House have joined the GOP in opposition, but leave them far from the two-thirds majorities they would need for a veto-proof vote to overturn the rule.”

It comes as no surprise that a spokesman for the Obama administration has attacked Republicans opponents of the rule; but in his slam against adversaries to the EPA action, the Obama mouthpiece also took a brutal swing at Democrats fighting the measure.

The Hill coverage of the controversy includes this incendiary bit of administration rhetoric: “’The only people with reason to oppose the rule are polluters who want to threaten our clean water,’ said Brian Deese, Obama’s top environmental adviser.”

One of the Senate Democrats — threatening “polluters” — fighting to undo the EPA waterways rule through legislative action is West Virginia’s Joe Manchin, a frequent critic of Obama’s environmental initiatives.

…Manchin accused the EPA of “once again dangerously overreaching its boundaries by expanding the definition of water sources it can regulate.”

He said the rule “will certainly have a significant impact on West Virginia’s economy, hindering businesses, manufacturing and energy production.”

Among the most vocal critics of the rule are farmers and ranchers who claim the EPA action would mandate a costly permitting process for, and ultimately federal control over, everyday agricultural tasks like digging ditches and spraying fertilizer.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

Website Exposes This Gigantic List Of Clinton Scandals

Almost as soon as she gained national prominence as America’s first lady, Hillary Clinton has been embroiled in scandal after scandal. Admittedly, some were caused – or at least initiated – by her husband; however, as she has continued to make a name for herself as a political heavyweight, controversy continues to hang over her head.

Pundits on both sides of the aisle continue to opine regarding the repercussions of recent scandals – most notably, her use of a private email server while secretary of state and suspicious donations made to her family’s non-profit foundation. One conservative news site, however, is shining a light on some of the White House hopeful’s previous ignominies.

WND recently published a list of “Hillary’s 22 biggest scandals ever,” a list that included more prominent and timely issues as well as incidents that occurred more than two decades ago. The list, as ordered in the WND article, includes the following controversies:

  1. Clintons turn IRS into ‘gestapo’

During Bill Clinton’s second term, reports surfaced that prominent conservative groups had been subjected to audits while there was no indication that any corresponding organizations on the political left had been targeted by the IRS.

  1. Covering Bill’s dirty deeds

Amid allegations of sexual assault against Bill Clinton that cast a negative light on the political power couple, Hillary reportedly aided her husband not only by publicly defending him, but by using shady – and potentially criminal – tactics in an effort to delegitimize his accusers.

  1. Looting the White House

After Clinton’s second term came to a close, the couple reportedly attempted to take roughly $190,000 worth of furniture and other items from the White House – on top of causing about $14,000 in vandalism damage to the presidential mansion.

  1. Filegate: FBI files on GOP enemies

The Clintons reportedly gained confidential tax records on many of their political rivals, a scheme in which Judicial Watch claimed Hillary played a central role.

  1. Hillary’s ‘Muslim Brotherhood princess’
Image Credit: Twitter/@MediaJuggernaut

Image Credit: Twitter/@MediaJuggernaut

Huma Abedin, a confidant who served as Hillary Clinton’s deputy chief of staff, was linked to the Muslim Brotherhood – specifically through the al-Qaeda connections of both her mother and father.

  1. Vince Foster’s 1993 death

Family friend and White House counsel Vince Foster was himself embroiled in at least a few of the Clintons’ early scandals until his suspicious death. Initially ruled a suicide, the circumstances of Foster’s death have led to significant speculation in the decades since.

  1. Emailgate: ‘She should go to prison for this’

One of the more recent scandals involves Hillary Clinton’s admitted use of a personal email server to share official correspondences during her stint as secretary of state.

  1. Chinagate: Sale of high-tech secrets

Judicial Watch initially released a report suggesting Chinese corporations supported Bill Clinton’s 1996 reelection effort in exchange for technology secrets.

  1. Travelgate: Always room for friends

During the Clinton administration, the Clintons reportedly laid off the White House travel office staff so that they could fill the department with family members and friends.

  1. Whitewater: Jail for friends, but not Clintons

One of the most identifiable Clinton scandals involved an investigation into a real estate deal that later encompassed accusations of improper campaign donations and the couple’s potential involvement in Foster’s death.

  1. ‘Landing under sniper fire’ in Bosnia
Image Credit: Twitter/@mrgeology

Image Credit: Twitter/@mrgeology

Hillary Clinton has faced criticism for her since-debunked 2008 claim that, more than a decade earlier, she was touring war-torn Bosnia in a helicopter as it sustained sniper fire. While she described a very dramatic landing, news footage of the event showed no such threat existed.

Image Credit: Twitter/@mrgeology

Image Credit: Twitter/@mrgeology

  1. Hillary’s ‘missing’ law firm billing records

More than 100 pages of pertinent information went missing ahead of a 1994 federal investigation into Hillary Clinton’s involvement in the Watergate scandal. When the documents did surface two years later, it was revealed that she was in contact with many of the scandal’s central figures.

  1. Pardongate: Hillary Senate contributions

The wife of one convicted tax cheat pardoned by Bill Clinton at the end of his second term responded by becoming a major contributor to Hillary’s 2000 campaign to become a New York senator.

  1. Hillary’s cash cows and 9,987 percent profit

A series of investments in cattle futures was seriously profitable for a young Hillary Clinton. Between 1978 and 1979, a $1,000 investment turned into a nearly $100,000 profit, a success subsequently linked to a Clinton supporter who also happened to be a high-level player at Tyson Foods.

  1. Clinton body count: ‘You find dead people’

Foster was not the only suspicious death linked to the Clintons. In addition to those who met an untimely end after crossing the powerful couple, many others on their wrong side also ended up behind bars.

  1. Hillary’s radical pal, Saul Alinsky

Reports indicate community organizer and author of Rules for Radicals, Saul Alinsky, was a major influence on a young Hillary Clinton. She was involved in Alinsky’s group, Industrial Areas Foundation, for decades after the radical activist’s death.

  1. Hillary laughs about defending child rapist

Audio unveiled decades after it was recorded revealed Hillary Clinton celebrating the fact that an accused child rapist she represented was set free in 1975 – despite the fact that she insinuated that she believed him to be guilty of the crime.

  1. Hillary ca$hes in: Iranian fundraising

The Clinton Foundation reportedly received numerous financial contributions from a group accused of serving as an agent of the Iranian government.

  1. Clinton Foundation: Scandals keep coming

The Clintons’ nonprofit organization has faced controversy far beyond the Iranian connection, including accusations of tax fraud and a secretive deal believed to have facilitated the release of nuclear material to Russia.

  1. Benghazi: 4 American lives lost

A scandal that continues to incite passions involves then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, lambasted for her perceived inaction before, during, and after a 2012 attack that killed four Americans in Libya.

  1. Peter Franklin Paul: Another Hillary friend goes to prison

Paul was an entertainment executive and major financial supporter of Hillary Clinton’s 2000 Senate bid. He has since become an outspoken critic after accepting a plea deal and serving three years in prison for what he contended was retaliation for calling attention to fraud within Clinton’s fundraising methods.

  1. Watergate: Fired for being a ‘liar’

As a House Judiciary Committee staffer in 1974, Hillary Clinton helped investigate the Watergate scandal that led to Richard Nixon’s resignation. She was soon fired by a supervisor who described her as an “unethical, dishonest lawyer.”

Does Hillary have too much baggage to win in 2016? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth