Police State Republicans
- Do so-called "Conservative" Republicans even know how to read? Someone please put the 4th Amendment in front of baby Bush and see if he can sound out the words.
(Associated Press) — Republican presidential hopeful Jeb Bush said Tuesday that the government should have broad surveillance powers of Americans and private technology firms should cooperate better with intelligence agencies to help combat "evildoers."
The former Florida governor said Congress should revisit its changes to the Patriot Act, and he dismissed concerns from civil libertarians who say the program violated citizens' constitutionally protected privacy rights.
"There's a place to find common ground between personal civil liberties and NSA doing its job," Bush said. "I think the balance has actually gone the wrong way."
Bush also said the U.S. should send more troops — he didn't say how many — and equipment to eastern European nations in response to Russia's increasingly aggressive posture in the region. He said Russian President Vladimir Putin should know that his "adventurism" comes with "a price to pay."
"Rather than reacting to the bad behavior, I think we need to be more forward-leaning as it relates to what the consequences will be," Bush said.
Pushing a hawkish foreign policy is a staple of Republican presidential politics. The exception is Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, and even the libertarian-leaning senator has refused to take military action off the table as he argues for a reduced American footprint around the world.
Bush doubled-down Tuesday on his assertions that there is "no evidence" the data collection violated civil liberties. "I've found not one" case, he said.
The Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, an independent bipartisan agency, declared NSA's phone records collections program illegal in 2014, and a federal court of appeals reached the same conclusion earlier this year.
A May analysis from the Justice Department found that FBI agents interviewed by the inspector general's office "did not identify any major case developments" that came from using Section 215 that allowed the bulk records collection.
Bush also criticized private technology firms for using encryption to make it harder for their customers to be surveilled. "It makes it harder for the American government to do its job while protecting civil liberties to make sure evildoers aren't in our midst," he said.
Noting that companies like Google are getting pressure from customers, Bush said "market share ... should not be the be-all-end-all," and he called for "a new arrangement with Silicon Valley in this regard."