Congress, Once Again, Looks To Extend Patriot Act With Little Or No Debate

from the the-sun-never-sets dept

When the Patriot Act first passed, there were (quite reasonable) concerns from many folks in the civil liberties world, who were worried about aspects of the bill that seemed to go well beyond reason, in a hysterical knee-jerk reaction to the terrorist attacks of 2001. In order to mollify those concerned, Congress put in some "sunset" provisions, which would have certain aspects of the Patriot Act expire at a particular time. Last year, parts of the Patriot Act were set to expire, and many people hoped that it would open up some opportunities to better protect basic civil liberties. However, with it being an election year and no one wanting to look "soft" on terrorism, Congress had little discussion about the matter and simply decided to re-up the entire Patriot Act, saying they'd really (no, really) review the provisions this year. Amusingly, in a typical Congressional obfuscatory move, the extension of the Patriot Act was buried in the "Medicare Physician Payment Reform Act." Yeah.

So here we are in 2011, and where's the debate and the promised effort to sunset the worst aspects of the Patriot Act? After all, in the past year, there's been even more evidence that the feds have massively abused their ability to get information on people without proper oversight. And while it hasn't been reported on at all in the press, Julian Sanchez's eagle eyes spotted the fact that Rep. Mike Rogers has introduced yet another one-year punt extension, which basically just takes the text of last year's extension and moves everything out by one more year. It's looking like this will easily get approved with little debate.

So, it's now appearing that those "sunsets" in the Patriot Act -- which should actually go into effect, given the tremendous evidence of abuse by the feds -- were a mere fiction, that Congress will just paper over each and every year.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 13th, 2011 @ 5:08am

    One and two year "punts" are what passes for political action in Washington at this point, the Republicans have made it very clear that Obama isn't going to get anything done, they are trying to get him out of office in the next cycle (hello President Palin), so there is little agreement on Washington on anything.

    Tax cuts expiring? Punt 2 years. Government spending? Punt 5 days, then punt some more. Patriot Act? Punt another year or two and call it a day.

    Republicans know if they control both houses and / or the whitehouse next time around, the Patriot act will be safe for that term.

    Small minded politics from the people who brought you the chemical weapons version of "Where's Waldo?" in Iraq. (Answer: There is no Waldo).

     

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    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Jan 13th, 2011 @ 8:58am

      Re:

      Ummm, you know Obama could simply veto the bill right? Except he doesn't want to. Despite all his promises of transparency, he's been even worse at wire tapping than Bush was, according to prosecutors. We have not had two ruling parties, we've had one. Under the rule of Georack H.W. Obushma.

       

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      •  
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Jan 13th, 2011 @ 11:13am

        Re: Re:

        No, I think you are wrong on this one. He could veto it if he liked, but there is little upside to doing it. Politically, it would make the Republican't upset. It would likely deadlock / gridlock the house and senate some more as they debate it endlessly and use various procedures to keep everything else from being passed until it is addressed, and so on.

        Just as importantly, it's a loser with the electorate as well. While many here squeal about their rights, many people prefer the idea that the government is taking at least some form of action to get to terrorists. I am not debate if it is effecient, only the view that many people have.

        You can just imagine the Republican't election commercials for 2012: "Obama, so friendly to terrorists, that he veto'ed the successful Patriot act, setting back law enforcement efforts years. Barack Hussein Obama, he's not on your side".

        It's a punt. After he gets re-elected and no longer has to face the electorate again (term limits) he will then take tougher stands on this stuff. Until then, it isn't politically very good for him.

         

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        •  
          identicon
          DS, Jan 13th, 2011 @ 1:00pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Way to justify the Democants recanting their positions.

           

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          •  
            identicon
            Anonymous Coward, Jan 13th, 2011 @ 2:50pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            The american people selected the Republican'ts as the majority in the house. It's up to them.

             

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            •  
              identicon
              DS, Jan 13th, 2011 @ 3:31pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              And Obama can over-ride it and send it back for a second vote. Your constantly dodging point was what?

              Oh yes, that all democrats are great, and the republiCAN'Ts want to ruin america.

              Wake up, realize that both parties suck, and life will start making sense again.

               

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        •  
          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, Jan 14th, 2011 @ 3:25pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          So then why didn't he veto it when the dems had control?

          Like I said before, he's abused the power more than Bush did. Why on earth would I believe he in any way opposes the thing.

           

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 13th, 2011 @ 5:09am

    "Temporary" acts

    The original enactment of the 1662 Licensing Act (14 Car.II. c.33) was limited to two years.

    Provided That this Act shall continue and be in force for two yeares to commence from the Tenth of June One thousand six hundred sixty and two and no longer.

    The act was successively renewed until 1679. After a lapse, it was renewed again in 1685 for a further seven years. Then, later, it was continued to the end of parliament.

    In 1695, it finally expired without renewal.

    This example is not a solitary one.

     

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    •  
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      Anonymous Coward, Jan 13th, 2011 @ 6:30am

      Re: "Temporary" acts

      I wish more people were familiar with the English Civil War and its aftermath events (of which this is one). Our founding fathers were acutely aware of the abuses of rights which occurred during that era. This history is the foundation upon which the American Revolution was built.

       

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        :Lobo Santo (profile), Jan 13th, 2011 @ 6:39am

        Re: Re: "Temporary" acts

        Give it some time, I'm certain the "leaders" of the USA will once again become acutely aware of how people react when abuses of rights go too far.

         

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        PB, Jan 14th, 2011 @ 2:41pm

        Re: Re: "Temporary" acts

        Quote: I wish more people were familiar with the English Civil War and its aftermath events (of which this is one). Our founding fathers were acutely aware of the abuses of rights which occurred during that era. This history is the foundation upon which the American Revolution was built."


        Yeah, and the powers that be at this time are going to do their damndest to make sure we can never have another revolution. No guns, no rights, no talking... just shut up and give us your money and be a good little sheep.

         

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 13th, 2011 @ 5:15am

    Once you give the government more power, they never give it up.

     

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    •  
      identicon
      Never is a very long time!, Jan 13th, 2011 @ 8:17am

      Re:

      Governments NEVER WILLINGLY give up power, BUT tyrannical governments don't last that long either!

       

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    icon
    bosconet (profile), Jan 13th, 2011 @ 5:30am

    Constitutional Authority?

    I wonder if they Republicans in the House will cite the Constitutional authority for all the Patriot Act provisions as promised in their pre-election Pledge to America?

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 13th, 2011 @ 6:02am

    CHANGE.... oh wait!

     

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  •  
    identicon
    NullOp, Jan 13th, 2011 @ 6:06am

    Confusion

    Obviously this article is confused. You're confusing protecting the public with getting re-elected. And everyone knows getting re-elected is THE most important thing!

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 13th, 2011 @ 6:08am

    Usually, dishonest moves like this are at the behest of some megacorporation. Perhaps the phone records and whatnot obtained from Patriot Act abuse are being sold to interested businesses?

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 13th, 2011 @ 6:10am

    not surprised, politians lie, it is in their nature, lets see if Illinois lowers the tax they are saying now they will after raising the tax by 40%.

    Mark my words: The tax will NEVER go down and politians are nothing more than a bunch of liers.

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 13th, 2011 @ 6:11am

    The best money can buy.

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 13th, 2011 @ 6:35am

    I live in Mike Rogers's district.

    The biggest employer around here is the Anniston Army Depot and various defense contractors. We also have a lot of DHS training on local bases, of which there are several.

    Mike Rogers is trading our personal liberties for pork.

    Anyone in this district should find someone else to support.

     

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    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Jan 13th, 2011 @ 6:42am

      Re:

      Have you tried popping the cap in his ass, as the kids say? I'm not condoning or suggesting that you do, I'm just curious as to whether you've thought about it. With the right placement of the cap in his ass he would not be eligible for reelection.

       

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      •  
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Jan 13th, 2011 @ 7:19am

        Re: Re:

        Have you tried popping the cap in his ass, as the kids say?

        The people who showed up for Mr Obama's campaign rally in Arizona last night were not overcome with grief. They were not in shock and mourning over the shooting of a representative, and the death of a judge. Instead they were whooping it up, yelling, “Hooray for our side.” Clapping and cheering.

        Whether you approve or disapprove of arguing politics with guns, the mood of last night's fourteen thousand in Arizona —shown on the TV nationwide— was not somber, and reflective.

         

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      •  
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        vivaelamor (profile), Jan 15th, 2011 @ 12:10pm

        Re: Re:

        If you're going to joke about that sort of thing then at least try harder with the funny.

         

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    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Jan 13th, 2011 @ 6:45am

      Re:

      I think what will happen is that people will value jobs more than liberty (Hello fascist corporatism). They will vote for their ever shrinking wallet thinking that corporations should not be held accountable for poor wages or job prospects, yet the government should secure them their livelihoods and reduce taxes on those who willingly pay less.

       

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      •  
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        The Mighty Buzzard (profile), Jan 13th, 2011 @ 10:10am

        Re: Re:

        I really love socialist corporation haters who bitch about the wages/job prospects/etc... from corporations and think the government should Do Something about it. Oh wait, no that was bacon that I love. Those fools make me want to lobby for 183rd trimester abortions.

        And seriously, if you think corporations are the way to go for employment, you're the cause of the problem you're bitching about. Work for one of the small businesses that employ half of the nation. Start your own business.

        Do not, however, whine because you get paid minimum wage for a job that I could train a retarded monkey or even a teenager to do in an evening. If you're not smart enough to gain the skills or education for a better job, the only value you have to society is as an example to others of what happens when you're abysmally stupid.

        I think I'll stop this rant now before I say what I really think of tools like you.

         

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        •  
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          nasch (profile), Jan 13th, 2011 @ 4:41pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          And seriously, if you think corporations are the way to go for employment, you're the cause of the problem you're bitching about. Work for one of the small businesses that employ half of the nation.

          Just a minor point, "corporation" and "small business" are not mutually exclusive. I have worked for two corporations with about 7 employees each.

           

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        •  
          icon
          vivaelamor (profile), Jan 15th, 2011 @ 12:24pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          "Do not, however, whine because you get paid minimum wage for a job that I could train a retarded monkey or even a teenager to do in an evening."

          I hope you realise that you don't have to be highly skilled to work hard. I guess the distinction doesn't matter to someone who apparently has the knowledge to train monkeys to do their bidding.

           

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  •  
    identicon
    jenningsthecat, Jan 13th, 2011 @ 6:47am

    Constitution? What Constitution?

    If the U.S. Constitution was the American Flag, it would be tattered, muddy, burned, hanging upside down, and flying at half mast in mourning over its own demise. Too bad, really - there was much to love in that wonderful document before greedy, gutless politicians started finding ways to pervert it, ignore it, and shame it in the eyes of the whole world.

     

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      identicon
      Stuart, Jan 13th, 2011 @ 7:46am

      Re: Constitution? What Constitution?

      It is not the politicians. It was the greedy, gutless voters who did this. It is the lazy, stupid, only think for the moment VOTERS that need to fix this.

       

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        Rekrul, Jan 13th, 2011 @ 8:29am

        Re: Re: Constitution? What Constitution?

        It is not the politicians. It was the greedy, gutless voters who did this. It is the lazy, stupid, only think for the moment VOTERS that need to fix this.

        How? If a politician isn't corrupt to begin with, they are by the time they get into office.

         

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      identicon
      Sadly True, Jan 13th, 2011 @ 4:45pm

      Re: Constitution? What Constitution?

      Agreed. Patriot Act more appropriately s/b called Act of Treason.

       

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    identicon
    MAC, Jan 13th, 2011 @ 6:57am

    Patriot Act...

    "The country is threatened from within and without.
    Anarchist are rioting in the streets.
    Terrorism pervades our society!

    WE NEED LAW AND ORDER!"

    Adolf Hitler - 1933

     

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    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Jan 13th, 2011 @ 9:23am

      Re: Patriot Act...

      o.O; omygod, this is serious! No sarcmark, this is serious!

       

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      ltlw0lf (profile), Jan 13th, 2011 @ 11:21am

      Re: Patriot Act...

      Adolf Hitler - 1933

      Damn, Godwin'd and yet a perfectly legitimate argument.

      Sadly, another case of those who don't understand history are doomed to repeat. Of course politicians don't have to understand history...they make it.

       

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      monkyyy, Jan 13th, 2011 @ 6:46pm

      Re: Patriot Act...

      excellent quote

      i can see a tshirt now, with flags waving and a fox news logo on the back, a donkey and an elefent hugging

      "that was said in 1933 by.....*back of shirt* adolf hitler"

       

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    identicon
    Danny, Jan 13th, 2011 @ 7:03am

    And to make it all worse....

    Next year is a big election year (Preseidential Battle Royale). What are the odds that someone will stop and actually look at it then?

     

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    Daemon_ZOGG (profile), Jan 13th, 2011 @ 11:30am

    "...Looks To Extend Patriot Act With Little Or No Debate"

    It's a Republican congress. Of course, they're going to keep the patriot act (with a few extra poison-pills tucked smartly between the pages). What the hell, right? Democrats and Republicans rarely read any of the bills and acts introduced anyway. Especially the ones up for renewal. I would say: "Well, there goes are freedom and civil liberties again".. but we lost most of those during the Bush administration. }8P ....Long Live Wikileaks. ;)

     

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    identicon
    Freedom, Jan 13th, 2011 @ 11:33am

    Different Party, Same Story...

    You can't blame this just on the right OR the left. The right pushed this bill through when it might have had some merit, the left continued it despite having full control of both houses and the presidential office. Both were wrong in my opinion and willing to trade freedoms for safety (or more rightly, control) - never a good bargain in my world.

    It seems the reason is simple as to why this will continued to be renewed. If you vote against it and there is another attack you will be directly blamed for it. It is blatant CYA. Most politicians don't stand on principle and definitely aren't going to put their necks on the line for principles.

    The Patriot Act will only go away when the government does something so bad that it will then get politicians that stand up for "rights of the people" and USE the event as a method of them gaining further political power.

    Sadly, until there tide shifts and there is some benefit for not renewing it, they'll continue to take the safe/CYA route.

    Freedom

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 13th, 2011 @ 8:53pm

    I see the government still can't catch a real terrorist. It's pathetic really. We spend billions of dollars on security and Jared Loughner shoots 13 people before being suppressed by two civilians.

    Keep trying, maybe one day you'll catch a real criminal. In the mean time keep pretending to look useful by continuing to catch people who go over the ridiculously low speed limit and by going after people who break ridiculous laws that shouldn't exist (ie: IP laws). Such petty "police work" is much easier and safer I suppose, it takes courage and effort to go after and stop real criminals.

     

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    David, Feb 5th, 2011 @ 3:01pm

    patriot act

    Throughout history mankind has been ruled over by juveniles. Todays ruling class is the poster child for leaders that do not possess the maturity to make decisions that will benefit the majority. They cannot even comply with a dictate from the majority on hoards of issues. Most of the elected people that serve in various official capacities are not capable of making mature adult decisions, in my opinion, or they would. The simple solution would be to vote out the "children" and elect adults but it just so happens that our system for doing that has been hijacked by those that we seek to replace. This in and of itself presents a huge problem to the average adult voter in that the only way to seemingly correct the problem is by taking on the mindset of an insanely dysfunctional juvenile so that a solution may be spawned. Clearly,our best and brightest do not govern us.

     

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