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Senate Proposes Patriot Act Extension 519

Posted by Zonk
from the just-a-little-bit-longer dept.
geekylinuxkid writes "Senate leaders reached a bipartisan agreement Wednesday night to extend expiring and controversial provisions of the Patriot Act for six months. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, a Republican from Tennessee, announced the agreement from the Senate floor, ending an impasse over the measure." From the article: "Last week, the House voted 251-174 to renew the 16 provisions after striking a compromise that altered some of them. The provisions were set to expire at year's end if not renewed. Controversial measures include those allowing the FBI -- with a court order -- to obtain secret warrants for business, library, medical and other records, and to get a wiretap on every phone a suspect uses." More commentary on the BBC. We reported on last week's failure of the original renewal.
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Senate Proposes Patriot Act Extension

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  • OUTGOING (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    HELLO WORLD
    51596 51596
    HELLO WORLD
    92767 92767 35000 35000 60456 60456 36752 36752 17830 17830
    64664 64664 97327 97327 46977 46977 61133 61133 17346 17346
    61009 61009 73048 73048 04488 04488 14216 14216 60017 60017
    14441 14441 56190 56190 63745 63745 23710 23710 72740 72740
    32909 32909 37659 37659 25417 25417 81921 81921 94564 94564
    09618 09618 86777 86777 35751 35751 30903 30903 36870 36870
    04051 04051 45024 45024 46030 46030 52779 52779 98768 98768
    38939 38939 29424 29424 95370 95370 39757 39757 76214 76214
    33500 3
    • by NorthWoodsman (606357) on Thursday December 22, 2005 @03:48PM (#14320850) Homepage
      These are the text from number stations, they broadcast messages to spies using a one-time pad. numbers stations [wikipedia.org] for more info; so really, parent should be modded up
    • A Numbers Station? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Majikk (60247)
      Interesting. This looks very much like a numbers station. Notice how it's structured.

      HELLO WORLD -- Station identification?
      51596 51596 -- One time pad?
      HELLO WORLD -- Station identification?

      And then the message starts.

      5 numbers per group, with each group repeated once, which is very common, as well.

      This has me thinking, really. Spies used to get messages like these from shortwave radio stations because shortwave can't be traced to the recipient and shortwave radios were commonplace. But shortwave radios a
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 22, 2005 @02:51PM (#14320047)
    As has been pointed out before... who needs an extension to the PATRIOT act, when the President can just issue an executive order?
    • Don't bother asking the same question over and over.

      They didn't have a good response for it the first time around.

      /not trolling, just tired of seeing semi-informed talking points being used as legitimate replies.

    • by Council (514577) <`moc.liamg' `ta' `eornumr'> on Thursday December 22, 2005 @03:02PM (#14320208) Homepage
      who needs an extension to the PATRIOT act, when the President can just issue an executive order?

      Moderation: +1 Funny


      What we really need is a mod for "Funny, but it's that sort of awkward laugh, where you're not sure if you should be crying instead."
    • As has been pointed out before... who needs an extension to the PATRIOT act, when the President can just issue an executive order?

      This is the rhetorical question that was posed by judges on the FISA court in recent days. They don't seem to realize the importance of PR.
      If your actions are made legal, there are positive PR consequences to be had!
    • by PaxTech (103481) on Thursday December 22, 2005 @03:46PM (#14320812) Homepage
      No terrorist attacks since 9/11. How can anyone say it doesn't do its job?

      Next step: Instituting a federal Bear Patrol to stop these constant bear attacks [wikipedia.org]. I also hear there's a little girl who has a rock that keeps tigers away, this should also be investigated.

      • by terrymr (316118) <terrymr@nOSpAm.gmail.com> on Thursday December 22, 2005 @04:00PM (#14320994)
        I haven't been attacked by monkeys since i started carrying an umbrella everywhere i go.
      • Homer: Not a bear in sight. The Bear Patrol must be working like a charm.
        Lisa: That's specious reasoning, Dad.
        Homer: Thank you, dear.
        Lisa: By your logic I could claim that this rock keeps tigers away.
        Homer: Oh, how does it work?
        Lisa: It doesn't work.
        Homer: Uh-huh.
        Lisa: It's just a stupid rock.
        Homer: Uh-huh.
        Lisa: But I don't see any tigers around, do you?
        Homer: Lisa, I want to buy your rock.
      • Significant Terrorist Incidents 1961-2003 [state.gov]

        Terrorists seem to be a lot more dangerous than bears.

        • by StikyPad (445176) on Thursday December 22, 2005 @08:53PM (#14323693) Homepage
          6873

          That's the number I get from adding up the number of casualties listed, although I ignored the couple dozen assassinations, because those are, well.. assassinations. Of course, it's not (and doesn't claim to be) an exhaustive list, and some of the numbers are "at least," so we'll generously double it and say ~14,000 people died worldwide as a result of terrorism from 1961-2003.

          That's about 318 per year (at double the available statistics)

          In an average year, in the US alone:

          360 people are struck by lightning, about 90 fatally.
          120 people die in airplane crashes
          776 people die from the accidental discharge of firearms
          3,840 people drown
          12,760 people are poisoned
          15,000 people are murdered
          16,250 people are killed by a fall
          40,000 die in car crashes
          936,923 die from heart disease

          (Sources: http://www.nsc.org/lrs/statinfo/odds.htm [nsc.org], http://www.the-eggman.com/writings/death_stats.htm l [the-eggman.com])

          That's not to say that we should ignore the threat of terrorism. However, the threat should be kept in perspective, and our response should be measured accordingly.
    • The President needs the extension because it is the Patriot Act on which many of his executive orders stand. Specifically, that Act provides mechanisms to bypass the checks and balances upon which our nation is founded. Executive ordered wiretaps without judicial oversight in situations where the executive branch considers it "necessary" would be one of those bypasses since decisions are made and action is taken entirely within one branch of the government.

      Then again, Bush is in the Middle East with our

    • by Alien54 (180860) on Thursday December 22, 2005 @05:38PM (#14322160) Journal
      The House has just passed a ONE month extension [cnn.com], vs the six month extension of the Senate. They now get to argue over a compromise. Although GWB has not been in the mood for compromise [yahoo.com].
  • by teutonic_leech (596265) on Thursday December 22, 2005 @02:53PM (#14320071)
    This is not what I hoped for, but 6 months is probably the best the republicans can get for now. After all, 2006 is election year and everyone is switching into CYA mode. This will only hit the garbage can AFTER we elect a democratically controlled senate/house.
    • by nick_davison (217681) on Thursday December 22, 2005 @03:45PM (#14320799)
      This will only hit the garbage can AFTER we elect a democratically controlled senate/house.

      Unfortunately, you did elect a democratically controlled sentate/house. It's just that a combination of events allowed most of the checks and balances to be overcome.

      Ultimately, the 2000 election aside, a Republican president got elected in to office. In 2004 he got elected back in again. In 2008 he has to leave and either a Republican will be elected in to follow him or a Democrat to replace him. Pretty much democracy in action.

      Congress and the Senate, similarly, were populated by votes. Granted there was some dubious redistricting by a guy who's now under criminal investigation - but those offices were all populated by votes and can have their population changed by votes. Again, pretty much democracy in action.

      None of those offices, despite some glaring similarities, are dictatorships and, certainly, none of them are "for life" (save the Supreme Court but that's long been accepted). Every one of them can be changes [at regular intervals] by the will of the people. Thus, by definition, it is a democracy.

      The problem is, when you allow the will of the people, you have to allow that people are stupid.

      9/11 and the threat of the boogie man have worked as a great tool for scaring people and getting them to vote pro-conservative. It worked for the Nazi party in the 1940s, it worked for the Conservatives in Britain during the Falkands and the first Gulf war, and it's working for the Republicans now.

      As Jimmy Carter pointed out on The Daily Show last night: "There's 9-10% of the population that, regardless of political affiliation, will always vote to support the current commander in chief whenever there's a war on and America's young men and women are fighting." Most of the margins are well within that 9-10% and, so long as there's a war on, it's an instant bonus for the party in power.

      So, sadly, it is, by definition, a democratically elected government. It's just that part of democracy is allowing stupid people to vote, that stupid people can be manipulated, and that smart politicians will, eventually, find a way around almost any checks and balances. But that doesn't stop it being democratically elected.
      • "Congress and the Senate, similarly, were populated by votes. Granted there was some dubious redistricting by a guy who's now under criminal investigation - but those offices were all populated by votes and can have their population changed by votes. Again, pretty much democracy in action."

        Actually MOST congressional districts are so gerrymandered that very few of the seats are actually seriously contested in each election. The districts have been drawn so that the party that did the gerrymandering pretty
  • by digitaldc (879047) * on Thursday December 22, 2005 @02:54PM (#14320086)
    Frist makes me laugh, he says "This is a win for America's safety and security, and I'm pleased the Senate was able to rise above the partisan politics being played by the minority to do the right thing."

    And we know the majority would NEVER play partisan politics to get what they want.
    • by JesseL (107722) on Thursday December 22, 2005 @03:07PM (#14320274) Homepage Journal
      The formation of cult of the majority is one of the most dangerous tools that tyrants have ever devised.
    • by TubeSteak (669689) on Thursday December 22, 2005 @03:07PM (#14320277) Journal
      I'm going to quote an old post [slashdot.org] [slashdot.org] from the "DMCA Abuse Widespread" [slashdot.org] [slashdot.org] article:
      Whenever a controversial law is proposed, and its supporters, when confronted with an egregious abuse it would permit, use a phrase along the lines of 'Perhaps in theory, but the law would never be applied in that way' - they're lying . They intend to use the law that way as early and as often as possible.
      To extend that idea a bit further: If we lose liberties present in The Constitution, The Amendments and The Bill of Rights, have the terrorists won?

      I think that goes directly back to what Benjamin Franklin was saying when he talked about people who give up freedom for security deserve neither.
      • I'm going to quote an old post [slashdot.org] [slashdot.org]

        With an attitude like that you're qualified to moderate slashdot.

      • by Red Flayer (890720) on Thursday December 22, 2005 @03:53PM (#14320899) Journal
        "If we lose liberties present in The Constitution, The Amendments and The Bill of Rights, have the terrorists won?"

        No, but we've lost. The only winners are the symbiotic politician/military-industrial complexes.
      • by wass (72082) on Thursday December 22, 2005 @04:34PM (#14321422)
        If we lose liberties present in The Constitution, The Amendments and The Bill of Rights, have the terrorists won?

        I think Patrick Henry's quote is far more apropos, given Republicans say stripping civil liberties are useless if you're dead from a terror attack. What did Patrick Henry claim? Give me Liberty, or give me death!

        And just remember, this was during a time of far greater uncertainty than today. Colonists weren't scared of a terror boogeyman that could pop up . They were more concerned about how a bunch of back-woods colonists in relatively newly-inhabited (from their view) lands could hold their own against the mighty British empire.

        They had far more courage sticking up for liberties, and against far greater threats, than the Republicans and Bush-defenders of today that whine about how cowardly it is to cut and run in Iraq (while they're safe over here) but then whore out their civil liberties for the illusion of safety from terrorism.

    • Let me translate. The phrase "do the right thing" is conservative talk for bend over and grab your ankles.
      • I think you're confusing "do the right thing" with "go to jail"
        JUDGE
        And now the sentence for these heinous crimes committed against Initech.

        I hereby sentence you, Michael Bolton and Samir Na...Ananajibad...to a term of no less than four years in federal-pound-me-in-the-ass-prison.

        Peter Gibbons, you've lead a trite and meaningless life. And you're a very bad person.
  • So... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Lord_Dweomer (648696) on Thursday December 22, 2005 @02:54PM (#14320093) Homepage
    So is this going to be one of those things that gets renewed temporarily...and then renewed temporarily again and again and again until people give in and just accept it? Cuz it sure seems like it.

    • Re:So... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by garcia (6573) on Thursday December 22, 2005 @03:15PM (#14320372) Homepage
      So is this going to be one of those things that gets renewed temporarily...and then renewed temporarily again and again and again until people give in and just accept it? Cuz it sure seems like it.

      Well, at this point that's better than the alternative... A permanent extension to the already overreaching powers that the Federal Government has. If this extension is going to have to come up and up again, perhaps -- just perhaps someone will have the fucking balls to stand up and tell the New Aged GOP douchebags that eroding the civil liberties of the American people isn't what this country was founded on. While it may not work, we can at least have it in the news and possibly get more and more people pissed off about it.

      When it's already written into law, permanently, it gets ignored and more important news items like the breakup of Jessica and Nick and the possible pregnancies of Angelina and Jennifer get all over airwaves instead.

      But what does that all matter when the President can just got behind the public's back and act like a dictactor and issue whatever atrocities against the American public that he feels like -- just as long as it's "to protect us" from the terrorists. Sounds like something that would have happened in Iraq, doesn't it?
    • Re:So... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Hrodvitnir (101283) on Thursday December 22, 2005 @03:27PM (#14320533)
      Of course. GW did say that these powers should stay in effect "as long as we are in danger." I've got news for you. Terrorism has been around a long time, and it's not going away any time soon. As long as there are terrorists in the world (an ever broadening group, due to the changes in how we define "terrorist"), there will be a reason to keep these laws around.

      The current government has no plan to EVER give up the these powers.
    • Re:So... (Score:3, Funny)

      by Secrity (742221)
      I suspect that as soon as the Democrats take over Congress and the House that it will be allowed to sunset and it won't get renewed again.
  • Yeah!!! (Score:3, Funny)

    by eno2001 (527078) on Thursday December 22, 2005 @02:55PM (#14320106) Homepage Journal
    Put me on the top of the list of supposed "terrists" because I oppose everything the jackbooted thug Republicans stand for. Let's see the idiots open a file on me now if they already haven't! Up the rebels!!!
  • Agh (Score:3, Insightful)

    by RexKwando (935479) on Thursday December 22, 2005 @02:56PM (#14320120)
    This is sad. 1984 anybody.
    • They haven't figured how to spy on us through our TVs.... yet.
      /tinfoil tv cover

      And thank God we don't have mandatory morning calisthenics.
      Half the /. population would leave the country overnight.
    • Sorry for replying twice, but I wonder who's got the /. UID 1984
  • Why would the FBI need a warrant when King George can simply bypass FISA and issue a secret and pointless decree allowing domestic spying without a warrant? Especially when, under FISA, a wiretap or other device can be requested without a pre-existing warrant (as long as a warrant comes within 72 hours)?
    • from what I've read case law supports this. Since it involves foreign powers and influence, the President, any President, can use those powers with no need for a warrant as is within his right as commander and chief.

      How about we strike a deal? The government will prevent people from blowing stuff up, like the Brooklyn Bridge, and they won't use those tapes in court at a trial.

    • Just for the record, Clinton authorized the Attorney General to do the same type of wiretapping (without a warrant) as did Carter. Oh, but they were Democrats.
      • Liar!

        Clinton and Carter created Executive Orders PURSUANT to FISA - which FOBIDS spying on US citizens. The executive orders that Clinton and Carter create were nothing more than a list of delegates (in his cabinet) who can use FISA powers.

        NO WHERE in ANY ONE of those Executive Orders or FISA about search US citizens without warrants (in fact, it is specifically prohibited).

        Why don't you research something on your own instead of repeating what Rush and Fox News says? ...Idiot

      • For the record, the reference to Clinton is a red herring [thinkprogress.org]. Totally different situation (a kind of search that was not covered under the law), totally different response (they went to Congress and asked for an amendment to the law specifically authorizing the new kind of serach). The kinds of searches implemented by Bush & co. were covered under the existing law, and they could have gone to the court within 72 hours of beginning surveillance to ask for authorization, but instead they chose not to. AG G
      • Yes. And I recall being outraged when they did it.

        Just because Clinton and Carter were better Presidents than Bush has any hope of being doesn't mean they were above being criticized when they do something wrong.

        Please don't presume that I am willing to support Democrats in whatever they do just because they are Democrats. Honestly, I'm cynical about all politicians; they're all petty-minded power grabbers, and very few of them actually give a toss about what's best for the country. It's just that I find t
  • by TheUncleD (940548) on Thursday December 22, 2005 @02:56PM (#14320130)
    Last week, the House voted 251-174 to renew the 16 provisions after striking a compromise that altered some of them.

    Fortunately, this doesn't guarantee it will pass. One of the provisions I agree with is the one that eliminates barriers to intelligence agents and prosecutors sharing information. This act has already infringed on many peoples freedom, but has also opened up the government to be more scrutinous in the case of certain suspicious entities. Has it overall had a positive or negative effect? Since we as the general public cannot easily gauge what information they have collected entirely as a result, who can say for sure.

    For those interested in the provisions the House passed, this site explains most of them in plain english LA Times Provisions [latimes.com]

    This site has the latest in how the patriot act [epic.org] currently stands.

  • by cparisi (136611) on Thursday December 22, 2005 @02:59PM (#14320155) Homepage
    must be hiding something...

  • I guess- (Score:5, Funny)

    by IWantMoreSpamPlease (571972) on Thursday December 22, 2005 @02:59PM (#14320159) Homepage Journal
    We just got Fristed?
  • Now is the time! (Score:5, Informative)

    by Stanistani (808333) on Thursday December 22, 2005 @02:59PM (#14320163) Homepage Journal
    US citizens:
    Write, phone, email your Representatives and Senators - and ask them to knock down at least some of the more onerous provisions of the Patriot Act - I'm thinking of provisions like the one allowing secret warrants, for example.

    Many of them will be back in their districts for the holidays. Visit their offices and talk politely with their staff. Inform yourselves of the Act's details, and make to-the-point suggestions.

    Exercise democracy. The Act is vulnerable at this moment.
    • You have been reported to the Dept of Homeland Security for scurrilous and subversive talk about the Patriot Act. Turn yourself in. We know where you live.

      Brought to you by the Government of the United States, keeping it's citizens safe from democracy for over 200 years.

  • by forgoil (104808) on Thursday December 22, 2005 @03:03PM (#14320221) Homepage
    It's better to fight for freedom by _providing_ freedom. The same goes for a whole bunch of other nations as well... *looks at a bunch of European countries wanting to play Stasi as well*

    Put the money on finding terrorists, diplomatic solutions to end hostilities and good old fashion not too bright police officers who screw up in a way we can find out.
    • by Tackhead (54550) on Thursday December 22, 2005 @03:46PM (#14320803)
      > It's better to fight for freedom by _providing_ freedom. The same goes for a whole bunch of other nations as well... *looks at a bunch of European countries wanting to play Stasi as well*

      Hey, if the Iron Curtain was so much fun 1960s, well... the USSA can be fun, too.

      With apologies to the Beatles...

      Oh, flew into Miami Beach econo-class,
      Didn't get to bed last night,
      TSA guy's rubber glove still up my ass,
      Man I had a dreadful flight,
      I'm back in the USSA!
      They're watchin' you every day, hey,
      Back in the USSA!

      Been away so long I hardly knew the place,
      Gee it's good to be back home,
      Leave it till tomorrow to unpack my case,
      Honey disconnect the phone,
      I'm back in the USSA.
      They're watchin' you every day, hey,
      Back in the US,
      More flak in the US,
      No slack in the USSA!

      Well the Midwest girls really knock me out
      They leave Moscow behind
      And DC girls make me sing and shout
      'Cuz Washington is always on my mi-mi-mi-mi-mi-mi-mind!

      Oh, they're sayin' it's for reasons of security,
      Naw, it ain't no politics,
      And now they've redefined the meaning of "be free",
      To shiny boots and big nightsticks!
      We're back in the USSA!
      They're watchin' you every day, hey,
      Back in the USSA!

      Oh let me tell you, honey! (Ooh ooh ooh!)
      Oh, show me around your desert wastelands way down south,
      Hire Chicanos for your farm,
      Let me hear your patriotic acts ring out,
      Shock and awe your comrades warm!
      I'm back in the USSA!
      They're watchin' you every day, hey,
      Back in the USSA!

      Oh let me tell you, honey! (Ooh ooh ooh!)
      Hey, I'm back! (Ooh ooh ooh!)
      I'm back in the USSA. (Ooh ooh ooh!)
      Yes, I'm free! (Ooh ooh ooh!)
      Yeah, back in the USSA.. (Ooh ooh ooh!)

  • by hackshack (218460)
    "Extention?"

    Almost as bad as the guy that posted "czech this out" on the front page.

  • by kerrle (810808) on Thursday December 22, 2005 @03:05PM (#14320253) Journal
    At least we don't have never-expiring extensions that never come up for review.

    The simple fact of the matter is that I just don't trust our current administration with the powers they've been granted - and that's quite a change considering I voted for Bush in 2000. He's done a lot to convince me I didn't pick the best man for the job - you'd almost think he was trying.
    • I voted for Bush in 2000. He's done a lot to convince me I didn't pick the best man for the job - you'd almost think he was trying.
      Nah, he's not trying.
      It comes naturally to him.
  • by frdmfghtr (603968) on Thursday December 22, 2005 @03:07PM (#14320276)
    I haven't read the linked article yet, but I did read a story in the Wisconsin State journal about it...

    Apparently the bill still needs to go to the House, as the House originally voted for it to be renewed in it's original form, not an extension. According to that article, because it's different than what the House voted to pass, it has to go up for another vote.

    It was also pointed out that the House is scheduled to be in recess until January 31, a month after the original provisions will expire and be off the books--and it's hard to extend something that is already expired (although I wouldn't put anything past this administration--I'll be so glad when W is out of office!)

    In my not-so-educated opinion, it would appear that given what little I know, the extension doesn't stand much chance of passing since a recessed House would have to reconvene, debate, and vote on the changes, in less than nine days, during the holiday season.
  • What will be the next step? Start gathering a clone army or start building the Death Star?
  • by heroine (1220) on Thursday December 22, 2005 @03:16PM (#14320392) Homepage
    The most amazing thing about this soap opera is how all that government spying was accepted to be really happening ever since the 50's by every conspiracy theorist or anyone with common sense.

    What did you think those thousands of CIA agents, NSA agents, FBI agents did all day? Eat donuts?

    Now that they actually tried to ratify their activities on paper, every conspiracy theorist now says it never happened before and acts like defeating the patriot act is going to make a difference.

  • by bkirkby (133683) on Thursday December 22, 2005 @03:19PM (#14320424) Homepage
    i'd like to see an example of where the patriot act provisions were used egregiously by the current administration.
  • With the UK & USA seemingly going down the route of 'the more we can track our citizens, the safer they'll be', which 'western' countries have we got left to emigrate to where we can at least trust the government not to be listening to our conversations or tracking our cars - Canada? Sweden?
    • Hell no! I will not leave this country. It is my country. Every time I read a suggestion that "We" find a new place to live, because "Our country is going down the tube, I cringe. I will not run away but will stay the course to restore citizens rights. If "They" don't like it they can leave but "I'm" staying put.
  • Often overlooked (Score:3, Insightful)

    by gcranston (901577) on Thursday December 22, 2005 @03:28PM (#14320553)
    One thing that no one seems to realise - and is very important for Canadians and other countries who do business in the United Sates (so almost everyone) - is that this law also allows US intelligence agencies to spy on our businesses and citizens who have dealings with the US. They have no right to do this. It is an act of espionage and just another example the gross hypocrisy and mass stupidity of an administration claiming to stand for personal freedoms, civil liberties, and human rights.
  • Myth (Score:3, Insightful)

    by the computer guy nex (916959) on Thursday December 22, 2005 @03:40PM (#14320702)
    "These included roving phone taps and secret warrants for documents from businesses and hospitals, and for records of library books taken out by private citizens."

    Delayed notification search warrants are a long-existing, crime-fighting tool upheld by courts nationwide for decades in organized crime, drug cases and child pornography [lifeandliberty.gov]

    DA's have been seizing library records for years, and roving wire taps just make sense. If a terrorist walks into Best Buy and can buy 10 pre-paid phones, we should be able to keep tapping him.
  • Votes database (Score:3, Interesting)

    by holovaty (678950) on Thursday December 22, 2005 @03:55PM (#14320946) Homepage
    The Washington Post recently launched a comprehensive votes database [washingtonpost.com] that lets you browse every vote in the U.S. Congress since 1991 and is updated several times daily.

    Here [washingtonpost.com], for instance, is the House vote mentioned in this Slashdot blurb.

    Disclaimer: I'm the Web developer who worked on this database.
  • Dems Cave in Again (Score:3, Interesting)

    by tom's a-cold (253195) on Thursday December 22, 2005 @04:25PM (#14321305) Homepage
    The renewal was killed originally because the Democrats showed something resembling backbone by threatening a filibuster. Then, what? a couple weeks later, the same bill is being extended, and not a peep from the gutless idiots. So it was all posturing. They want it just as bad as the Republicans do, but they want to be seen to be reluctant.

    The Senate Democrats showed themselves to be toothless watchdogs when they joined the 98-1 vote in favor of the original Patriot Act. It was later disclosed that most Senators joining in the vote didn't even read the legislation. And they slavishly voted in favor of the resolutions leading to the Iraq war with just as little questioning of the administration (with a very small number of honorable exceptions). Later, they trot out lame excuses: that they were deceived, they didn't know what they were voting for, they were just supporting the president in time of need, etc. This is what is wrong with the Democratic Party. They'll whine a litte, try to mitigate some effects, but they're part of the same rotten system, and are part of a herd mentality that afflicts the entire power elite in Washington. If the Republicans adovated the genocide of ten million, the Dems would offer a counter-proposal of five million, and fret about getting a Presidential assurance that only humane killing methods would be used.

    They don't WANT the soap on a rope.

    • From TFA [cnn.com]:

      The Wednesday agreement marks a tidal shift among GOP leaders who have fervently resisted Democratic offers to temporarily extend the act so it could be revisited.

      At least one Democrat applauded the new Republican sentiment.

      In a statement calling the extension a "victory for the American people" because it strikes a balance between security and privacy concerns, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, said Congress now has time to "get the Patriot Act right."

      "I'm glad the president and

  • by DigiShaman (671371) on Thursday December 22, 2005 @05:16PM (#14321924) Homepage
    SENATOR CRAIG: Well, Rush, thank you, and thank you for allowing me on. It is a very important debate, and something that I think has -- certainly by Harry Reid and others -- been dramatically miscast as it relates to the intent of some of us who have constantly worked to assure that the Patriot Act did not tread on the rights, the constitutional rights, of law-abiding American citizens. You know, I've been here a little while, and I remember Janet Reno, and I remember Waco and Ruby Ridge, and I fear the day that we get a president, not this president, who has a very liberal attorney general and sees the opportunity, uh, to leap through the holes that are crafted in the Patriot Act, uh, that could tread on our civil liberties. I say that having once voted for the Patriot Act and -- and will vote for it again, and we're working very hard at this moment. We've been visiting with the White House the last few hours along with Democrats and Republicans to try to resolve this, because there is no question that a majority of the Senate, which includes some Democrats, do not want to see the Patriot Act expire. At the same time, we see this as a once-in-a-two-or-three-year opportunity or four to make sure that it never gets misused. That's permanent law we're talking about, not just something that we keel with on a day-to-day basis.

    RUSH: I understand that. Let me focus on something you said at first here. You said that Senator Reid is mischaracterizing some of the loyal opposition on the Republican side of this, or I guess throughout the whole Senate. One of the things I think that bothers people, and I'm sure you've been getting e-mail and phone calls in your office from people who just know that you voted against it, don't understand it. The reason they're upset is because they see a Democratic Party trying to undermine this president and sabotage the ability to wage war against this enemy, and the people who elected Republicans in this country expect them to go to Washington and understand this war is taking place and not side with them on things that hurt the president. So that's the first thing. People see that. They don't understand it, and it makes them wonder: What's the point of electing Republicans?

    SENATOR CRAIG: Well, you've made a very good point, and I don't deny that. The reality is that we are at war, and we're at war with a very formidable enemy -- and, you know, my votes historically along with a lot of others have demonstrated that. I know --

    RUSH: Well, what are you primarily opposed to in the Patriot Act?

    SENATOR CRAIG: I'm opposed very simply, Rush, for the right of our government secretly to break into a home and to take computer files and other files and never tell the homeowner. I'm talking about a US citizen. Now, I'm willing to blink, and a lot of us are willing to blink, and we said, "Okay, you can go ahead and do that." This is under the FISA law, the federal -- the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. "We'll let you do that without telling the homeowner." That's a major step.

    RUSH: Wait a second --

    SENATOR CRAIG: Now, wait a moment. Within seven days after you've done it, if you find that you found nothing, and it will not damage your investigation, then you need to tell them. And if you do find something, and it will damage your investigation, then you've got to do like you do in civil or criminal law, you've got to go before a judge and say, "We have reason to believe, and here are all the facts," and the judge says, "Go forth. Be silent. Continue to investigate." That is a simple, simple request, and it is clearly a protection of our civil liberties.

    RUSH: Wait a minute. I'm confused. You're coupling the Patriot Act with the FISA controversy?

    SENATOR CRAIG: You bet I am because it's a major provision within the Patriot Act.

    RUSH: Well, but there's been no illegality within the president in regards to any of this. This is pure propaganda, senator.

    SENATOR CRAIG: No, no, no. No, no. We're talking two separate things here. You'r

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