Saturday, December 17, 2005

Senate Rejects Patriot Act Extension!!

Victory!!! In a defeat that had to hurt Bush, Senate Democrats blocked passage of a new Patriot Act that threatened the constitutional liberties of innocent Americans.
The USA Patriot Act was due to expire at the end of this year, and was up for renewal. Nearly all Senate Democrats backed a filibuster, as well as a handful of Republicans. The Senate then voted 52-47 to advance a House-passed bill to a final vote, 8 short of the 60 needed to overcome the filibuster.
Sen. Russell Feingold said, " We can come together to give the goverment the tools it needs to fight terrorism and protect the rights and freedoms of innocent citizens." He argued that provisions permitting goverment access to confidential personal data lacked safeguards to protect the innocent.
The problem with the Patriot Act extension was that it gave powers to law enforcement agencies to gain access to a shitload of personal data, including library & medical records, in secret, as part of investigations into "terrorist" activity.
The bill also included a 4 year extension of the goverment's ability to conduct roving wiretaps, which may involve multiple phones- & continued the authority to wiretap "lone wolf" terrorists who may operate on their own, without control from a foreign agent.
Another provision, applied to all criminal cases, gives the goverment a whole 30 days to provide notice that it has served a search warrant.
During the debate, several Democrats pointed out the report that Bush had secretly authorized the National Security Agency to eavesdrop on people inside the U.S. without first securing permission from the courts.
No Republican defended the reported practice, & the bills main Republican supporter even said, " There is no doubt that this is inappropriate", said Arlen Specter.
This was a huge victory to all Americans! The Bush administration & the Patriot Act severely threatens our civil liberties & privacy rights. My favorite thing said about this came form Sen. Edward Kennedy, " They are saying,'Trust us, we are following the law'. Give me a break. Across the country and across the political spectrum, no one is buying it anymore. There is no accountability. There is no oversight...This is Big Brother run amok."
--Amen to that Senator Kennedy!