Thursday, July 21, 2005

Here Comes More Permanent Power for the Government

I don't know if you've been keeping up on this one, as there's a lot of crap out there right now (Rove, Roberts, etc.). I kind of wonder if some of it isn't a smokescreen for shit like this. What I'm talking about is the House of Representatives getting themselves ready to reauthorize the Patriot Act, for good this time. For you idiots out there who said "hey, it ends in 2005, they'll give it up by then, surely!" I'd like to say two words:

Fuck. You.

Okay, fuck you ignorant, self-deluding shit. Tee-hee, tee-ho! Here's the goddamned article, which I saw thanks to Mandals on the Something Awful Forums (his comment is extant in this article, because, well, lol).

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The House of Representatives, ignoring protests from civil liberties groups and some conservatives, moved on Thursday to renew the USA Patriot Act giving the government unprecedented powers to investigate suspected terrorists.

Sixteen provisions of the 2001 law, hastily enacted in response to the Sept. 11 attacks on New York and Washington, are due to expire at the end of this year unless renewed by Congress. President Bush has repeatedly called on lawmakers to make the entire law permanent.

The House was poised to reauthorize the act with some minor changes designed to increase judicial and political oversight of some of its most controversial provisions. Republicans said the latest explosions in London showed how urgent and important it was to renew the law.

The act allowed expanded surveillance of terror suspects and gave the government the ability to go to a secret court to seize the personal records of suspects from bookstores, libraries, businesses, hospitals and other organizations -- the so-called "library clause."

House Republicans agreed last week that this clause and another allowing so-called roving wiretaps, which permits the government to eavesdrop on suspects as they switch from phone to phone, would be renewed for only 10 years instead of being made permanent.

The Senate judiciary committee was working on its own version of the act on Thursday, which included only four-year renewals of these two clauses.

"Since its enactment, there have been zero, and I repeat zero verified instances of civil liberty abuses," said Georgia Republican Phil Gingrey, opening debate in the House. (Bolded for lol).

But New York Democrat Louise Slaughter said many provisions of the act had resulted in many abuses, although she gave no examples. She and other Democrats complained that the Republican leadership refused to allow debate on several of their key amendments and seemed determined to ram the law through on a party-line vote.

"This is an abuse of power by the Republican majority which has deliberately and purposely chosen to stifle a full debate," said Maryland Democrat Steny Hoyer.

A coalition of liberal and conservative civil liberties groups, formed to oppose reauthorization of the law in its current form, this week called on lawmakers not to rush to reauthorize the bill without further debate.

"Certain sections of the law extend far beyond the mission of protecting Americans from terrorism and violate ordinary citizens' constitutional rights, especially the right to privacy," said former Republican Rep. Bob Barr.

Leading opposition from the left, the American Civil Liberties Union said the bill gave the FBI extraordinary power to obtain personal records, search individuals' homes or offices without their knowledge and to use a secret court to obtain personal date on ordinary Americans.

Posted by crimnos @ 7:47 PM