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July 29, 2005

Stuck with "P.A.T.R.I.O.T." (sic) Act

Happy Friday, folks:

WASHINGTON, July 29 - The Senate voted unanimously on Friday to make permanent virtually all the main provisions of the law known as the USA Patriot Act, after Republican leaders agreed to include additional civil rights safeguards and to forestall any expansion of the government's counterterrorism powers.

The House passed a bill of its own last week that would also extend the law's surveillance and law enforcement powers, which the Bush administration considers critical to combating terrorism. While the House and Senate bills are not identical, the differences are modest enough that Congressional officials said they were confident that they could work out a compromise. [...] [NYT]


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Why are conservatives so OK with being spied on? I mean, I'm pretty shameless. I freely admit that I've had sex with several women, though I've never been married. Despite knowing that some of my feminist friends disapprove, I admit that I like porn. But there's stuff about my life I'd like to keep private. As far as I can tell, from the sort of stories that come out about them with extreme frequency, conservatives are usually up to at least as much freaky stuff as I am, probably more. And they're apparently a lot less comfortable than me with people finding out. So why are they OK with giving the government more powers to spy on them? Do they really believe that what government agents find out has no risk of being leaked any further?

the bush admin considers the patriot act essential to combating terrorism? a unanimous vote in congress on ANYTHING other than giving themselves a raise or going on vacation and i'd have to say that there are a whole lot more people than just the bush administration who consider the patriot act necesary.

I am higely disappointed in my Senators. Sure John thinks that he can be president and Ted's up for re-election, but come on. WTF?

It's votes like this that underlie my argument that there is hardly any difference between the Democrats and the Republicans.

I am appalled that my fellow wingnuts are so easily willing to sell out the bill of rights. In my book, limited government means, limited government as a philosophy, not, limited government only when the other guys are running it.

And I am shocked that Senate Democrats shamed their party and their country after a fairly courageous stand by their colleagues in the House.

The USA PATRIOT act is the biggest pile of fascist crap to be created since the original Alien and Sedition Acts, and we can only hope that it is either unconstitutional in its entirety or that we elect Democrats and Republicans both with some real principal. Civil liberties and limited government go hand in hand, and with the PATRIOT Act, they both were sold out by their respective political champions.

This is a sad day for the United States.

Just out of curiosity, why is that when Americans start flag waving they are patriots, but everyone else is a nationalist?

And just look at all the new `patriots' W and the gang are minting for their war:

Why? Because 9/11 changed everything. That means the terrorists have won.


Right you are. The terrorists attack us for our freedom. This is Bush's version of unconditional surrender.

The Patriot Act is the most dangerous piece of legislation to come down the pike probably in our life times because it seriously erodes the protections of our liberties in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. It was opposed by both liberal and conservative groups.

The House version was supported by most of the GOP members and 43 Democrats and it is by far the most dangerous because it wasn’t amended and granted the FBI new sweeping powers and removed judicial oversight on search and seizure actions of law enforcement.

The full implication of this isn’t really apparent until you examine the recent reorganization of the FBI by the Bush administration. They created a special counter-terrorism group within the FBI that doesn’t report to the Director of the Bureau, but to Negroponte, the head of Homeland Security who takes his marching orders from the President.

If the House version were to be made law it would have given the President the power to direct investigations and seizure actions by the FBI against any citizen, without having to establish “just cause” for doing so. In essence this would turn this group into a “secret police” for the executive branch, with no check to its powers.

In light of the Wilson/Plame debacle it is apparent that this administration is ruthless in how it deals with its political enemies, even to the point of sacrificing the national interest for their political interest. This plainly is too much power for any political party to have, whether they Republican or Democrats, and is an invitation for the most serious abuse imaginable. The founding fathers did understand that you can’t trust any politician so they established multiple checks and balances through our entire system of government.

The Senate version is different from the House Bill in that it denied the sweeping power expansion that was requested by Senator Pat Roberts (Fascist Bob from Kansas who took the Senate meetings into secret), but the Senate and the House now need to come to agreement between the two bills.

The ACLU posted this on the Senate Bill:

“Under the modified bill, the use of secret orders to search Americans’ personal medical, financial and library records under Section 215 would remain in place, but with a standard requiring some individual suspicion, although a very loose connection to a suspect would allow the government to obtain innocent persons’ records. And, while the bill’s time limits on notification for the use of "sneak and peek" powers under Section 213 (7 days for the initial period, with 90 days for renewal periods) are welcome, a troubling loophole could allow the government to set them aside because the limits can be waived "if the facts of the case justify" a longer period.

The bill contains provisions that reform the National Security Letter authority expanded by Section 505 of the Patriot Act. Under the NSL power, the FBI can issue its own internal search orders - without judicial review - to obtain credit reports, communications service provider records, and so-called "financial records." The bill provides a right to challenge this, but still contains an automatic, permanent secrecy order that will be difficult to challenge. While calling the changes positive first steps, the ACLU said further corrections are needed to satisfy the federal court that struck down a NSL statute because it violates the First and Fourth Amendments.”

But Fascist Bob hasn’t given up as the New York Times article points out:

“Senator Roberts "had a desire to move the bill, no matter how defective he thought it might be," said a senior Republican aide in the Senate who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the negotiations. But Republican officials said that the senator still planned to seek the expanded subpoena power for the F.B.I. through separate legislation, and that he had received assurances in this week's discussions that Republican leaders would back those efforts if and when he decided to revisit the issue. “

So how the House and Senate are to resolve the two bills is the question of the hour. Now is the time that you need to let your representatives know that you value your rights and express your opinion strongly. If we lose the protections of our rights… they won’t come back. This is for keeps.

To contact your Senator:

To contact your Representative:

The PATRIOT Act trashes the Bill of Rights, in particular, the 4th and 5th amendment articles about testifying against oneself and unreasonable search and seizure. It is unreasonable for the government to have the power to search, detain, or harrass you without a warrant.

This abomination should be immediately repealed.

...after their done, the agent leans back and says, "That's a hell of an act ya got there. What do ya call it?"

The encroachment of the 4th amendment is just beyond the beyond.

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