The Rand Paul Filibuster Starter Pack Is A Hilarious Way For The Anti-Establishment Candidate To Stick It To The Man
Sen. Rand Paul, a Republican from Kentucky, successfully spoke for 11 hours during a Senate hearing in May in a filibuster-like speech protesting the bulk collection and surveillance of Americans' phone records by the National Security Agency. The filibuster helped delay a vote that would've renewed three parts of the Patriot Act, including the bulk collection of phone records. Now, Paul's sticking it to the NSA with some new campaign merchandise. If you want to actively protest Big Brother and NSA data collection, then you need Rand Paul's Filibuster Starter Pack, available on his website and recently marked down from $30 to $25. But really, can you put a price on sticking it to the man?
The starter pack includes a red T-shirt that says "The NSA knows I bought this Rand Paul t-shirt," a matching bumper sticker with a similar slogan, and a "spy blocker." (I'm not making this up, I swear.) The spy blocker is a small, plastic device that you can slide over your laptop's camera to prevent a snooping computer-hacker genius from watching you! *Cue dramatic music*
Some GOP senators who believe the NSA should have wide, robust powers are not happy that Paul caused part of the Patriot Act to expire. Some are even saying that he used the speech as a political move to further his presidential campaign at the expense of national security. Sen. John McCain, a Republican from Arizona, told Business Insider that Paul has his priorities mixed up:
I know what this is about — I think it's very clear – this is, to some degree, a fundraising exercise. He obviously has a higher priority for his fundraising and political ambitions than for the security of the nation.
Well, he did mark down the starter pack by a whopping $5, so maybe McCain's being a little harsh about the "fundraising endeavor."
Despite the criticism from a number of Republicans, Paul, who has staunch libertarian tendencies, wasn't apologetic during or after his speech. When he started the speech on the Senate floor, he said he would not let "fear and complacency allow power to accumulate and liberty and privacy to suffer," according to NPR. He released a statement on Sunday following critiques of the move, saying:
Tonight we stopped the illegal NSA Bulk data collection. This is a victory no matter how you look at it. While some will use fear and intimidation tactics, I believe there is nothing that prevents our intelligence community from continuing to safely guard our nation, while also respecting our Constitution.
Fundraising technique or not, at least we have that nifty spy blocker to put on our laptops now! If you've seen enough Criminal Minds, then you know that thing wouldn't only be useful for stopping government spies.