Yesterday evening, the U.S. House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly to renew three expiring provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act, after the Senate abandoned the PATRIOT reform effort and approved the extension by a voice vote on Wednesday night.4th Amendment anyone? Democrats, Republicans, McFly, anyone?
Disappointingly, the government's dangerously broad authority to conduct roving wiretaps of unspecified or "John Doe" targets, to secretly wiretap of persons without any connection to terrorists or spies under the so-called "lone wolf" provision, and to secretly access a wide range of private business records without warrants under PATRIOT Section 215 were all renewed without any new checks and balances to prevent abuse. Despite months of vigorous debate, when PATRIOT renewal bills providing for greater oversight and accountability were approved by the Judiciary Committees of both the House and the Senate, Democratic leaders' push for reform fizzled in the face of staunch Republican opposition buoyed by recent hot-button events such as the attempted bombing of an airliner on Christmas Day and the shooting at Fort Hood.
Monday, March 1, 2010
The Silence Is Deafening
While Tea Party members continue to rail against heath care reform often citing Constitutionality concerns (despite strangely remaining silent on Medicare and Medicaid), real threats to the Constitution continue to be ignored by these same
"Constitutional scholars" people. The latest happened just last week when Congress voted to renew 3 expiring provisions of the Patriot Act which among other things, allows "John Doe" wiretaps of individuals with no ties to terrorism and warrantless access to private records.