Tonight, with little time to spare before the Patriot Act expires at midnight, the Senate will vote on renewal of the controversial legislation.
Sen. Rand Paul, the Libertarian-leaning junior GOP senator from Kentucky, has decided to go to the mat in fighting the National Security Agency (NSA) and the post-9/11 legislation that gave it power to spy on U.S. citizens.
We can only hope his Capitol Hill battle will be as entertaining as America's Liberty PAC envisions in its digital ad.
UPDATE, June 1: Paul was successful in killing the act that reauthorizes NSA spying on U.S. citizens. So the fight moves to Monday, Monday, Monday. The Senate is meeting later today, June 1, to consider amendments to the House bill on the measure. CNN Politics looks at what these legislative maneuvers mean to the bill and to us.
UPDATE, June 2: The Senate passed the USA Freedom Act, the House bill reauthorizing lapsed provisions of the Patriot Act and ending NSA's bulk collection of phone records. The president is expected to sign the bill.
Wrestling with the NSA: The pro-Paul super PAC reportedly paid five figures to run the spot this weekend in advance of the May 31 "Sunday, Sunday, Sunday" showdown.
The professional wrestling-style video features a fire-breathing eagle, an exploding Capitol building and a buff Rand Paul -- OK, I'm pretty sure Paul's head, complete with sunglasses, is Photoshopped on someone else's sculpted body -- as the hero fighting for Americans against those who want to trample our rights.
In what the ad calls the brawl for liberty, hero Paul is battling a formidable panoply of villains.
The video focuses on NSA supporters President Barack "The Email Reader" Obama, aka the head of the Washington spy machine, and his so-called conservative accomplices, Republican Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Ted "The Capitulating Canadian" Cruz, who's pictured in Maple Leaf adorned boxing shorts.
Try to wipe that image from your mind's eye!
A fight to end NSA powers: Paul says on his website that while he believes "we must fight terrorism" and "stand strong against our enemies … we do not need to give up who we are to defeat them. … I am ready and willing to start the debate on how we fight terrorism without giving up our liberty."
That's why today, he vows to "force the expiration of the NSA illegal spy program."
Such extreme action is needed, Paul continues, because "sometimes when the problem is big enough, you just have to start over. The tax code and our regulatory burdens are two good examples."
Yeah, he went there, tying taxes to government spying and general government overreach. And, yes, it's an awkward segue, but as a tax geek, I'll take it.
Paul's tax take: So just where does Paul, candidate for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination stand when it comes to taxes?
He and his presidential and Patriot Act opponent Cruz became the first of the current crop of presidential candidates to sign the Americans for Tax Reform no-new-taxes pledge.
As for specifics on how to reform, or start over, our tax system, Paul is still working out the details. On his website, however, he has denounced "politicians and lobbyists [who] tinker with the tax code so they can pick winners and losers."
He says he will offer us the "largest tax cut in American history" and has vowed to get the "IRS out of your life."
But there still will be taxes. Uncle Sam has to pay for what few programs Rand will support somehow.
He says that can be done via a flat tax under which everyone, regardless of income, is taxed at a single rate. On the campaign trail, Paul has called for that rate to be 17 percent.
He's also mentioned tax-free investment income and the elimination of most tax breaks.
That's not much to go on, but I guess we can't blame Paul for such a nebulous tax plan. He does, after all, have other things on his mind this Sunday, Sunday, Sunday!
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