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.

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Comments on “Congress Folds: Extends Controversial & Likely Abused PATRIOT Act Provisions For 4 More Years”

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Josef Anvil (profile) says:

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.

Jay (profile) says:

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.

Jeni (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Definition of Terrorism

G.O.P. Captures House, but Not Senate

Balance of Power: Democrats Take Control of U.S. Senate

In ‘Change’ Election, U.S. Republicans Take House, Democrats Hold Senate

Christopher, Think before you post please…

Michael Avery (profile) says:

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.

hegemon13 says:

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.

Jay (profile) says:

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


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.

FITZ (user link) says:

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” —

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

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” — 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.

Gwiz (profile) says:

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).

Gwiz (profile) says:

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.

Unanimous Cow Herd (profile) says:

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!

Dark Helmet (profile) says:

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

Jay (profile) says:

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)

Jon B. (profile) says:

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.

Jay (profile) says:

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.

BearGriz72 (profile) says:

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

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