Wednesday, February 9, 2011

U.S. "House rejects measure that would extend key Patriot Act provisions through December" (for now...)

"A measure to extend key provisions of the Patriot Act counterterrorism surveillance law through December failed the House Tuesday night, with more than two-dozen Republicans bucking their party to oppose the measure."

"The measure would have extended three key provisions of the Patriot Act that are set to expire on Monday, Feb. 28, unless Congress moves to reauthorize them. One of the provisions authorizes the FBI to continue using roving wiretaps on surveillance targets; the second allows the government to access "any tangible items," such as library records, in the course of surveillance; and the third is a "lone wolf" provision of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorist Prevention Act that allows for the surveillance of targets who are not connected to an identified terrorist group"

"The House measure, which was sponsored by Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) and required a two-thirds majority for passage, failed on a 277-to-148 vote. Twenty-six Republicans voted with 122 Democrats to oppose the measure, while 67 Democrats voted with 210 Republicans to back it. Ten members did not vote."

and yay Democratic Rep. Dennis Kucinich!

""The 112th Congress began with a historic reading of the U.S. Constitution," Kucinich said. "Will anyone subscribe to the First and Fourth Amendments tomorrow when the PATRIOT Act is up for a vote? I am hopeful that members of the Tea Party who came to Congress to defend the Constitution will join me in challenging the reauthorization.""

Washington Post - House rejects measure that would extend key Patriot Act provisions through December

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"Only 26 Republicans voted against the bill, and there are 52 members of the Republican Tea Party Caucus, whose chairperson, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn) voted for reauthorization along with most of the rest of her caucus. As Slate's Dave Weigel points out, only eight of the 26 were Republican freshmen elected last November. One hundred and twenty-two Democrats voted against reauthorization, I suspect most of them just because they could.

So how did the bill fail? Basically Republicans were trying to pass the bill under "suspension of the rules," which is considered the process for passing "noncontroversial" legislation. You need a two thirds majority of those present to pass bills that way. For one brief night, Republicans in the House learned what it was like to be a Democrat in the Senate.

Sadly, the revolt probably won't last, as there are more than the 218 votes needed to pass reauthorization under normal procedures. What's uncertain is whether the reauthorization will contain mild oversight provisions, and when the provisions will actually sunset."

Washington Poat - Newsflash: Tea Party didn't kill Patriot Act

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"Neither party could muster the votes needed to pass an extension of the Patriot Act, the country’s counterterrorism law. In a 277-148 vote, the House of Representatives fell a few votes short of the two-thirds majority necessary to extend several key provisions of the law.

The provisions of the act, which has been something of a legislative hot potato since it was first passed in the wake of Sept. 11, deal with roving wiretaps, granting authorities wider access to records and property during terrorism investigations, and so-called “lone wolf” provision, which approvesurveillance of suspected terrorists not linked to a specific terrorist organization.

Republican leaders said they plan to hold another vote on the measure before the end of the month."

ABC News - The Note: Patriot Games: Congressional Leaders Blindsided By Failed Vote

My personal objections to the so-called "Patriot Act" is that it allows government agents to do almost anything they want without oversight.

For example, the U.S. authorities have been given power under the act to subpoena business records that are "relevant" to a terrorism investigation, without seeking a court warrant. I would far rather have to have them persuade a judge than to just act on their own.

No oversight, no reports, no transparency, no accountability.

Remember what happened to Stacy Bonds in that Ottawa jail cell when she theoretically had rights? When the officers knew there were cameras?

How about those school officials remotely activating webcams on kids computers while they were at home?

Or the "...nationwide database of so-called “suspicious activity reports” that describe possible evidence of terrorist attack planning. Reports will be submitted not just by state and local police and agencies within the Department of Homeland Security, but also private corporations that control economic and infrastructure assets considered high-profile targets for terrorists."

Remember Sean Bruyea? "Sean Bruyea told CTV’s Question Period that two months after he first testified against a controversial change to veterans’ disability payments, Veterans Affairs Canada attempted to discredit him by hospitalizing him and making his advocacy a psychological issue."

And in Bruyea's case that was bureacrats trying to have him bundled off to a metal hospital - think about what national security types do - the about "extraordinary rendition" - that's what they call kidnapping someone...

We all know what humans are capable of when acting without restraints.

1 comment:

  1. I agree, and have been calling Bachmann and my Congressman to change their vote to a no explaining why it is unconstitutional, and reminding them the Tea Party has asked for a return to the Constitution. We can clean house again if need be.

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