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The odd pairing of Justin Amash and John Conyers Jr.

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    Representatives Justin Amash (Republican) and John Conyers Jr. (Democrat), both from Michigan, are an odd pairing. But, seemingly a powerful one. Together, they came up with an amendment, The Amash Amendment, to reign in the NSA's surveillance program's power soon after the media storm hit of Edward Snowden and all that he brought to light about the secrecy of metadata collection on every single American. The amendment (or defense appropriations bill rather) would have halted the metadata program currently authorized under Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act, making it only legal to spy on citizens that are under specific federal investigation.

    Well, the amendment failed to pass. But, the margin was surprisingly close, with a defeat of 217-205. Having just 7 people to switch their vote to YEA instead of NAY would have seen this bill pass. This Amash Amendment of bipartisan support and creation, in a time when congress and government seem to be in one of the worst gridlocks of partisan bickering in recent recorded history, managed to almost pass. And, that's not the end of it. This has started a bipartisan movement of a strong handful of lawmakers that are promising to come back in August with laws that WILL RESTRICT the NSA in the same ways that the Amash Amendment would have. And, the feeling on capitol hill, at least from what I have read, is that it seems inevitable to happen.

    What an odd pairing. Who would have thought, a Republican and a Democrat seeing something wrong in the world and deciding to work together to make it better for everyone. Yes, you could argue that Amash is a young Representative with wide eyes and less hate in his heart than most other congressman. And, that Conyers Jr. has been around forever and is on his way out, unafraid of making a stand. Well, go ahead and make that argument. Or, any other. Doesn't really matter. All that matters is that Michigan is making stuff happen, and for once, it doesn't matter what color or letter shows up next to their state Rep's names. I like that.
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    Libertarian Republicans and Liberal Democrats CAN have very similar views on civil liberty issues.
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    Thoughts on Amash and bipartisanship as it relates to the budget impasse.

    Heard Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI) on "The Diane Rehm Show" today. Gave me chills. Amash and a conservative pro-government guest clashed over the secrecy surrounding the Patriot Act legal interpretations. It was a heated exchange. Amash paraphrased: "Secret law? That's OUTRAGEOUS! Congress writes the laws and votes on them. How can they do that if they don't know how the law is being interpreted?" It was the finest hour for a Republican in a long time and a good reminder of the "strange bedfellows" (Charles Dudley Warner) made by issue politics. Wish we could get a Republican to talk sense on the budget. That won't be Amash. But before I get snippy with Republicans, I have to remind myself that no Democrat or Green politician is there yet either, and they're all a bunch of neoliberals. Until both parties understand that the currency is a simple public monopoly and that taxes regulate demand, with the gov't deficit being the accounting reflection of the net-savings of the nongoverment, we are in for some very nasty politics. Point being: doesn't matter what size gov't you believe in, whatever size gov't we decide on, there's a rate of taxation that corresponds to full employment. You either support supplying the nongovernment the dollars to pay the tax bill and residual attempts at net-saving or you are against employment, sales, and output. I am a progressive. I like a lot of government spending for public purpose. I think a lot needs to be done in the public sector. But if Republicans don't want to do that, it's like okay, well let's then let's do the 'limited' government thing. So if they want to cut government spending and get government 'out of the way' then they should be promoting even larger tax cuts and more regulations constraining the gov'ts own 'designated agents' (i.e. FDIC insured and member FED banks). The Boehner rule should be that for every dollar cut from government spending, a larger tax cut is justified and needed for the legislation to pass.