**Update 2- May 26, 2011- Today it was announced that both the house and senate passed the three provision PATRIOT Act extension. All that stands in the way of the zero accountability 4 year extension is Obama's signature. While Obama campaigned vehemently against the PATRIOT Act, he now stands behind it and is likely to sign it in the early morning on May 27, 2011.
The Associated Press credited Rand Paul and his vocal dissent of the extension with prolonging the Act's passage to the deadline (Source).
**Update 1- May 26, 2011- I want to apologize for failing to mention the three provisions set to expire at midnight tonight. These three provisions are among the most flagrant in the misnamed PATRIOT Act.
First, roving wiretaps that allow broad electronic surveillance from the FBI on any phone line or communications device. Second, the ability to access business, medical or virtually all other records of any suspect, regardless of the relationship to terrorism. Because of the clause "regardless of the relationship to terrorism," anyone's records can be accessed for any reason. Three, the “lone wolf” provision to allow surveillance of people with no ties to a terrorist group. This last provision essentially gives laws unrestricted power in terms of surveillance (Source).
This will be a relatively short post. A brief article from reason.com titled "Why There's No Need to Renew the PATRIOT Act" lit the fire that's burning inside me tonight.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is quoted saying,
"We cannot let this Patriot Act expire. I have a personal responsibility to try to get this bill done as soon as possible...The time has come for me to take some action."Another statement from the Hill echos Reid pleading,
"The expiration of the law before the passage of an extension would create an upheaval in the law enforcement community, which relies on its authority to track suspected terrorists."Have you noticed how dramatic politicians are? Whenever the powers that be don't wish to procure an honest debate about something, they hype the consequences of not passing the measure immediately.
We needed TARP or the economy would fail. Raise the debt ceiling now, or the consequences will be catastrophic. Now, the intelligence community will be greatly impeded if we do not immediately pass the PATRIOT Act for the next 4 years.
Remember, ten years ago the PATRIOT Act was a controversial and "temporary" piece of legislation constructed in the wake of 9/11? Its astounding how casually it can be renewed today. Reid is speaking of the PATRIOT Act as though its business as usual, just one more item on the docket.
Its disheartening how in 10 short years the 4th Amendment can be eroded so effortlessly. Its simple, its called the PATRIOT Act, and they say we need it or else...(fill in the blank).
Does anyone else feel a pair of hands sliding the wool down over your eyes? Can I make a suggestion? Don't relinquish one more damn freedom because you've been frightened into it. Fear is a powerful motivator, and our government plays on our fears far too often.