Congress Folds: Extends Controversial & Likely Abused PATRIOT Act Provisions For 4 More Years

from the lame dept

Well, this was expected, but unfortunate. Despite a few key Senators protesting the extension of the various controversial surveillance rules in the PATRIOT Act (which the government apparently has interpreted ridiculously broadly in secret), the Congressional leadership brokered some deals to get those putting up roadblocks to back down, and then quickly approved extending those provisions for four more years, with no changes, no greater oversight, no guarantee that we'll know how they're used or abused. 23 Senators stood up for the public and voted no. Five did not vote. You can see the full roll call here. A few hours after that, the House (where no one was really debating this) followed suit, by a vote of 250 - 153. You can see the full roll call for the House as well. This whole thing was a travesty from the start. These provisions are questionable, and no serious debate was ever had about them, despite promises from Congress. The fear mongering by those in support of pushing through this extremely long and totally unnecessary extension was misleading in the extreme. But, it worked. We'll extend these provisions, which will undoubtedly be abused and used for purposes that have nothing to do with stopping terrorism.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    TDR, May 26th, 2011 @ 7:06pm

    A crowd - a large crowd, in the hundreds to thousands - needs to be formed around the Capitol building and surround it, picketing it and not letting anyone enter or leave until the provisions are dropped unconditionally and permanently.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 26th, 2011 @ 7:07pm

    Re:

    You'll need millions.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 26th, 2011 @ 7:09pm

    Watch us burn, world

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
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    Gwiz (profile), May 26th, 2011 @ 7:25pm

    The timing of this vote is very convenient.

    Barely more than a day before the country heads into the 3-day Memorial Day weekend.

    Won't be much time on main stream media in between the feel good stories of parades, BBQ's, memorial ceremonies and weather reports.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    icon
    Josef Anvil (profile), May 26th, 2011 @ 8:17pm

    Definition of Terrorism

    The Bush Administration began this and now the Republican Party is full of rampant terrorists. They continue to use fear as their means of passing any legislation thats questionable. The sad part is that the sheeple fully accept this.

    Even more sad is that anyone with a rational thought in Congress is afraid of being voted out of office for being soft on terrorism.

    The sheeple need to wake up and realize that Americans MURDER more Americans than any foreign terrorists. So we should strip the TSA budget and put that money into more police officers in the states. The PATRIOT Act is sooo Un-American that Im surprised the Supreme Court hasn't struck it down. Just because.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    James Carmichael, May 26th, 2011 @ 8:30pm

    Re:

    Some of these rats are smart.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    icon
    Jay (profile), May 26th, 2011 @ 8:34pm

    Re: Definition of Terrorism

    Josef, the Bush admin didn't start all of this. It's been going on for far longer than that.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    Steven, May 26th, 2011 @ 8:36pm

    Politician: I will not tolerate the Patriot Act any longer!
    Police: We have surveillance of your little secret. We own you!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    icon
    Jay (profile), May 26th, 2011 @ 8:37pm

    The problem with the race for Texas next year:

    Ted Cruz - Republican
    Michael L Williams - Republican
    Roger Williams - Republican
    Elizabeth Ames Jones - Republican
    Ron Paul - Republican
    Greg Abbott - Republican
    Jeb Hensarling - Republican
    David Dewhurst - Republican

    John Sharp - Democrat

    Link

    See? There's no good peo---

    Wait, Ron Paul is running for the Senate next year!?

    Okay, I'm voting Republican next year, just for this guy!

    Honestly, looking at all of the other candidates, Paul is the only one (of two) to have a decent record in regards to fighting for the Constitution.

    Ted Cruz worked with Bush as a Policy advisor.
    Michael Williams worked in oil and gas regulation (imagine where his special interests would be)
    Roger Williams was Secretary of State, but that means he's not willing to "rock the boat" so to speak.
    Elizabeth Ames Jones is in the same boat as Michael Williams in regards to special interest.
    Greg Abbot is the only other person with character. He defended a statue of the 10 Commandments and I'd definitely vote for him as a second pick.
    Jeb Henserling is in Congress. He voted for the Patriot Act. Nuff said.

    Sharp was a tax man. Unless he's going for a fair tax, his interests lie in making the IRS even more powerful.

    So I have two people to root for. Ron Paul for President, Abbot for Senate, to change the world. And when Henserling's job is ready to be taken, I'm voting him out as well.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    identicon
    James Carmichael, May 26th, 2011 @ 8:37pm

    The what act?

    Can we at least rename it to something else? Maybe the War on People or the Weimar Act. That's right; Hitler reference.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    identicon
    FITZ, May 26th, 2011 @ 9:09pm

    The Links

    I'm a bit confused. The link to the full role call says "Small Business Additional Temporary Extension Act of 2011" and that doesn't sound like the Patriot Act.

    This one says "PATRIOT Sunsets Extension Act of 2011" --
    http://www.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/roll_call_vote_cfm.cfm?congress=112&se ssion=1&vote=00076

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
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    Unanimous Cow Herd (profile), May 26th, 2011 @ 9:15pm

    So not surprised!

    I write to my elected(well, sortof) representatives Maria Cantwell (D) WA, Patty Murray (D) WA, and Jay Inslee (D) WA every time the PATRIOT Act comes to the floor; and all I get in response is the same form letter saying essentially "Terrorists Bad! Be Afraid! Privacy and Freedom are Small Sacrifices!" All the while, they're passing around The Constitution in the Congressional Water Closets when they run out of TP.P.S. Is it just me, or is that argument getting old?
    "Antagannoyed" Copyright 2011 Unanimous Cow Herd_______________________________________ After all, thirty cows agree!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
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    Jay (profile), May 26th, 2011 @ 9:20pm

    Re: So not surprised!

    In the end, the public can't be controlled.

    Our representatives can. Such is the problem of a representative democracy.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), May 26th, 2011 @ 9:49pm

    Re: The Links

    I'm a bit confused. The link to the full role call says "Small Business Additional Temporary Extension Act of 2011" and that doesn't sound like the Patriot Act.


    Yup. To get around blocks on the Patriot Act Harry Reid attached the entire text of the Patriot Act extension to a "safe" small business act... procedural shenanigans.

    This one says "PATRIOT Sunsets Extension Act of 2011" --
    http://www.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/roll_call_vote_cfm.cfm?congress=112&se ssion=1&vote=00076


    That was an earlier vote for cloture, not today's vote. It was that vote that resulted in the attempt to add amendments that would have held up the bill. Then Reid put it with the small biz bill to get around all that.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
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    Christopher (profile), May 27th, 2011 @ 3:51am

    Re: Re: Definition of Terrorism

    Actually, Jay...... it only got as bad as it is today after the Bush Administration was in office.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
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    Christopher (profile), May 27th, 2011 @ 3:52am

    Re: Re: The Links

    It's time that those procedural tricks were banned, to be blunt. Only thing that relate to the original purpose of a bill (and this would be viewed VERY VERY small) should be allowed to be attached to a bill.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
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    Jeni (profile), May 27th, 2011 @ 4:15am

    Re: Definition of Terrorism

    "The Bush Administration began this and now the Republican Party is full of rampant terrorists."

    NEWSFLASH: The Senate is DemocRAT controlled, not Republican. Harry Reid shoved this through - Harry Reid: DEMOCRAT.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    identicon
    abc gum, May 27th, 2011 @ 4:45am

    Re: Re: Definition of Terrorism

    Heh - their strategy is divide and conquer, is it working?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    identicon
    abc gum, May 27th, 2011 @ 4:48am

    Re: The Links

    The phrase "swept under the rug" comes to mind

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    identicon
    hegemon13, May 27th, 2011 @ 5:56am

    Re: Definition of Terrorism

    Last I checked, Harry Reid wasn't Republican, and he was doing the lion's share of the fear-mongering this week. Oh, yeah, and it was a Republican doing all the work to stand against it. Time to start looking past red and blue to the individuals. Let's start electing people with integrity and respect for liberty and individual rights.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    icon
    Christopher (profile), May 27th, 2011 @ 5:59am

    Re: Re: Definition of Terrorism

    Newsflash: Once you take into account the Blue Dogs (Democrats in name only) the Senate is NOT controlled by true Democrats/liberals.

    Think before you post please.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    icon
    Thomas (profile), May 27th, 2011 @ 6:10am

    Waste of time..

    the government spooks will go ahead and do whatever they want, regardless of whether the Patriot act allows it or not.

    We are far more in danger from our country's own spooks than from terrorists.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), May 27th, 2011 @ 6:39am

    "which will undoubtedly be abused and used for purposes that have nothing to do with stopping terrorism."

    Yea!!! the world government is coming. All rejoice and hail our corporate overlords!!!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
    icon
    Phillip (profile), May 27th, 2011 @ 6:42am

    Re: Re: Definition of Terrorism

    Shoved through my ass. Both my Senators are Republican and both voted for this to be passed. I knew one of them would vote for it, I was just hoping DeMint would have some balls and stand with Rand Paul and others against it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
    icon
    Dark Helmet (profile), May 27th, 2011 @ 7:01am

    My plaintive plea...

    To the Techdirt community and the nation at large:

    Forgive the longwinded plea, but can we please get beyond the republican/democrat thing? In fact, it's probably time we refuse to vote for anyone in either party. This idea that individuals are so predictably one way or another that they can be pigeon-holed into a "party" is absolutely ridiculous anyway. What you end up with is a sort of mob-mentality being pushed from the top down by party chiefs, rather than individuals voting individually.

    It's a far easier thing for a politician to say they voted something because the rest of his party did rather than actually voting on the merits of the legislation. And that's what occurs more often than not, with legislators not bothering to even understand the legislation they're voting on and simply towing the party line.

    And here's the fun part: there is no substantive difference between the parties on a vast majority of the true issues of the day (leaving out the nonsense about abortion, religion, and all the other things we fight about that mean relatively nothing on the nat'l landscape). Being a republican or a democrat these days is much like being a Cubs or a White Sox fan. Yes, we root against each other. Yes, we don't like the other team.

    But they're both playing the exact same game, with only the uniforms and the names on the jerseys being different.

    In a Helmetian society, political parties will be verbotten. They will go the way of the Jedi Council, hunted down and destroyed for the good of the public. Individuals will run for office as they should: as individuals.

    /end rant

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
    icon
    Jeni (profile), May 27th, 2011 @ 7:02am

    Re: Re: Re: Definition of Terrorism

    G.O.P. Captures House, but Not Senate
    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/03/us/politics/03elect.html


    Balance of Power: Democrats Take Control of U.S. Senate
    http://www.pbs.org/newshour/@thecapitol/control/


    In 'Change' Election, U.S. Republicans Take House, Democrats Hold Senate
    http://www.rferl.org/content/US_Republicans_Take_House_Democrats_Hold_Senate/2208978.html


    Chr istopher, Think before you post please...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
    icon
    Jay (profile), May 27th, 2011 @ 7:41am

    Re: My plaintive plea...

    The problem is in how the system is pigeon holed into a two party system.

    Up above I looked at all of the candidates running in my state for just Kay Bailey Hutchinson. The results are far from pretty.

    People have no percentage vote that represents them. Districts are gerrymandered to support aging politicians. Hell, the system has found a number of ways to support Democrats or Republicans over valid third parties! We all know this is not the way to have a democracy, but it's incredibly difficult to get the US democracy up and running while there's 50 states with 50 rules on how to vote Liberal or Conservative (at the expense of every other voter)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
    icon
    Dark Helmet (profile), May 27th, 2011 @ 7:53am

    Re: Re: My plaintive plea...

    Fine, then the only response is to do something stupid, and vote like an asshole. It'll suck for a while when we have nothing but assholes in Congress, but then there'll at least be a change.

    Keep firing, assholes!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 27th, 2011 @ 7:53am

    Re: Re: Re: The Links

    Really? Like the procedural hold Wyden used to try to slow the passage of Protect IP? Didn't Wyden put a hold on the Patriot Act, only to later remove it? I wonder what's up with the champion of the people.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 27th, 2011 @ 7:55am

    didn't Wyden put a hold on the Patriot Act. What happened?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31.  
    icon
    Jay (profile), May 27th, 2011 @ 7:58am

    Re: Re: Re: Definition of Terrorism

    You have to give credit where credit is due.

    Hoover - helped mold the FBI to spy on Americans. Mission accomplished. Link

    Reagan - "We don't negotiate with criminals". Iran contraband, focused on giving the central banking system a lot more power, weakening the power of regular people.

    Nixon - Watergate. Nuf said.

    Clinton - signed the DMCA. May he forever live in infamy.

    Bush Jr. - I don't know where to start with him, but having his father run the country for 4 more years is pretty bad.

    Obama - "Do as I say, not as I do" basically sums up his presidency. I just don't want 4 more years of a man that by and large is a hypocrite.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32.  
    icon
    Dark Helmet (profile), May 27th, 2011 @ 8:10am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Definition of Terrorism

    Vote Helmet

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33.  
    icon
    A Dan (profile), May 27th, 2011 @ 8:23am

    Re: My plaintive plea...

    "Individuals will run for office as they should: as individuals."

    That's the whole reason behind using our system instead of a parliament, isn't it? It's a pity it hasn't gone as intended.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34.  
    icon
    Jon B. (profile), May 27th, 2011 @ 8:44am

    Re: Re: My plaintive plea...

    The most likely solution is to have a third party sort of combine efforts with one of the major parties.

    The "tea party" movement started as a series of rallies, but is evolving into a names political party. If this happens, you could end up with Republicans in office under two different banners.

    Same goes for Libertiarians. If Libertarians can nominate someone who is ALSO running as a Republican or Democrat, you could end up with someone in office under both of those banners as well. With the momentum starts, you could see one of those banners grow larger while the others shrink.

    This is more likely than seeing Tea Party or Libertarian unknown candidates gain any momentum on their own.

    Of course, right now, the intersect of these sets is Ron Paul, and I don't know how I feel about that, but I'd rather have 1/3 of the people in office be Ron Pauls than what we have now.

    Change is possible. I like this method of change a hell of a lot better than the "let Nader keep running for President" method of change.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  35.  
    icon
    Jay (profile), May 27th, 2011 @ 10:22am

    Re: Re: Re: My plaintive plea...

    I think we should find out the best ways to vote in a democracy and start there.

    I've heard some really good ideas, and I even had a few in preventing the wide scale abuses that the current system has.

    First, we do need better ideas from Libertarians and third parties in general. Youtube channel of great ideas

    Second, ideas on how to limit the power of government in Congress. Link

    I know someone had a great idea on run on voting. There needs to be more ways to get the vote out than what the system has been allowing. Think about this, we are *STILL* having problems with Diebold technology since 2000.

    I'm sure that people have better ways to vote, we just need to find them and implement them.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  36.  
    icon
    Jordan (profile), May 27th, 2011 @ 10:29am

    Re: Re: My plaintive plea...

    I think the first step is to make the members of the party pay for the primary election. We'll see how many truly need a party if they have to kick in $50 bucks an election.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  37.  
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    Simba7 (profile), May 27th, 2011 @ 11:07am

    Go Montana!

    Looks like both of our senators said "Nay". I'm glad they hate the Patriot Act just as much as I do.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  38.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 27th, 2011 @ 11:16am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Definition of Terrorism

    I think the point is: there is only one major party anymore, and it no longer represents the common man. It is fully bought and paid for by business and the wealthy.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  39.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 27th, 2011 @ 11:34am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Definition of Terrorism

    how about the fact that both Republican senators from SC voted for this, it wasn't strictly democrats voting for it, nor was it strictly Republicans voting against it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  40.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 27th, 2011 @ 12:45pm

    Like one comedian said, the republicans have been standing around farting, and the democrats have been saying, "Oooh, let me smell that!".

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  41.  
    icon
    Gwiz (profile), May 27th, 2011 @ 2:03pm

    Re: Re: Re: The Links

    It's time that those procedural tricks were banned, to be blunt.

    Line Item Veto powers for the President would help some.

    Not so much in this case though - I think it would be a cold day in hell before the President vetos a item that gives the Executive branch such far reaching powers.(even further reaching than we can even imagine, since the Executive branch can "interpret" laws passed by Congress however they damn well feel like it nowadays).

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  42.  
    icon
    Gwiz (profile), May 27th, 2011 @ 2:19pm

    Re: Re: The Links

    Yup. To get around blocks on the Patriot Act Harry Reid attached the entire text of the Patriot Act extension to a "safe" small business act... procedural shenanigans.

    "I'm just a bill. On Capitol hill....whoa...hey...what the hell is all this extra text that's attached to me?"

    That's not how I remember Schoolhouse Rock from my Saturday mornings.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  43.  
    identicon
    AW, May 27th, 2011 @ 4:34pm

    Re: Re: Definition of Terrorism

    More Dems voted against than Repubs and Repubs pulled the same crap, remember the "Nuclear Option" Partisan politics is what got us in this mess in the first place. Focus on issues not party and we are all better.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  44.  
    icon
    Jay (profile), May 28th, 2011 @ 11:29am

    Re: Re: Re: Definition of Terrorism

    DeMint has a poor track record as a member of the Tea Party.

    He was influential in COICA, and he votes against Net Neutrality.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  45.  
    icon
    Jay (profile), May 28th, 2011 @ 12:36pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Definition of Terrorism

    But that's a vote for the dark side!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  46.  
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    Michael Avery (profile), May 28th, 2011 @ 8:42pm

    Re: Re: Definition of Terrorism

    The official Roll Call, for those who care:
    Yea: 41 Rep, 30 Dem
    Nay: 4 Rep, 18 Dem
    Non: 2 Rep, 3 Dem
    Yea's less (Nay's and Non's): Republicans: 35, Democrats: 7

    Just look at all those rats voting Yea! A Senate held by the Republicans would likely have meant a different "leader" introducing the legislation, sure, but probably also even fewer Democrats voting in the affirmative (that we deserve less rights).

    Look! I can do it, too: REpubLICan.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  47.  
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    BearGriz72 (profile), May 31st, 2011 @ 2:24am

    Re: So not surprised!

    "Washington: Cantwell (D-WA), Nay Murray (D-WA), Nay"

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  48.  
    icon
    BearGriz72 (profile), May 31st, 2011 @ 2:37am

    Oregon (And the NorthWest in general) FTW!

    Oregon: Merkley (D-OR), Nay Wyden (D-OR), Nay
    Washington: Cantwell (D-WA), Nay Murray (D-WA), Nay
    Alaska: Begich (D-AK), Nay Murkowski (R-AK), Nay
    Montana: Baucus (D-MT), Nay Tester (D-MT), Nay
    New Mexico: Bingaman (D-NM), Nay Udall (D-NM), Nay
    Vermont: Leahy (D-VT), Nay Sanders (I-VT), Nay
    New Jersey: Lautenberg (D-NJ), Nay Menendez (D-NJ), Not Voting

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  49.  
    icon
    Jeni (profile), May 31st, 2011 @ 5:54am

    Sigh.

    Looks like people are never going to grow up and out of this "R vs. D" obsession.

    Well, a gal can still dream, right? Or is that "copyright prohibited" now too?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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