Amash Amendment to Defund NSA Phone Program Fails in House

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Rep. Justin Amash’s amendment to defund the NSA’s bulk collection of domestic telephone records failed in the House this afternoon. That’s probably not too surprising given the full court press coming from the president, the leadership of both parties, and the intelligence community. But take a look at the vote count. When was the last time we saw something so genuinely bipartisan? In the end, 94 Republicans and 111 Democrats voted in favor, and the leaders of both parties—John Boehner, Eric Cantor, Nancy Pelosi, and Steny Hoyer—all joined with President Obama to oppose the amendment and keep the NSA program in place. Despite disagreements at the margin, support for the fundamental structure of the modern national security state truly spans both parties.

On a side note, I’m not sure how to interpret the closeness of the vote. It’s possible that House leaders whipped a bare opposition majority in the short time they had and didn’t bother putting any pressure on the remaining Yes votes. If they had, maybe the vote would have been more lopsided. On the other hand, maybe they got all the votes they could and this was genuinely a close run thing. With a little more work, maybe the Yes side could have won.

And on the bright side, I note that our nation’s major newspapers all deigned to report this on their front pages today. That’s something, at least.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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