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House Fails To Extend Patriot Act Spy Powers 284

Posted by Roblimo
from the patriotism-versus-freedom-chapter-85,672 dept.
schwit1 writes "The House failed to extend three key expiring provisions of the Patriot Act on Tuesday, elements granting the government broad and nearly unchecked surveillance power on its own public. The failure of the bill, sponsored by Rep. James F. Sensenbrenner Jr. (R-Wis), for the time being is likely to give airtime to competing measures in the Senate that would place limited checks on the act's broad surveillance powers. The White House, meanwhile, said it wanted the expiring measures extended through 2013."
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House Fails To Extend Patriot Act Spy Powers

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  • Hmm. (Score:2, Funny)

    by arun84h (1454607)

    I, for one, welco...oh wait.

  • Good. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by headkase (533448) on Tuesday February 08, 2011 @10:53PM (#35146764)
    If the Stanford Prison Experiment [prisonexp.org] has taught one and only one thing is that given power without oversight always leads to abuse and corruption.
    • Re:Good. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by dougmc (70836) <dougmc+slashdot@frenzied.us> on Tuesday February 08, 2011 @11:04PM (#35146870) Homepage

      If the Stanford Prison Experiment [prisonexp.org] has taught one and only one thing is that given power without oversight always leads to abuse and corruption.

      No, it didn't teach that. It taught that it might -- it's just one instance.

      HISTORY, on the other hand, has taught us that power without oversight usually leads to abuse and corruption. (And even then it's not always.)

      • Re:Good. (Score:5, Funny)

        by fishexe (168879) on Wednesday February 09, 2011 @12:55AM (#35147470) Homepage

        If the Stanford Prison Experiment [prisonexp.org] has taught one and only one thing is that given power without oversight always leads to abuse and corruption.

        No, it didn't teach that. It taught that it might -- it's just one instance.

        What are you saying, that a sample size of one isn't enough to go on when drawing universal generalizations? Preposterous!

    • If the Stanford Prison Experiment has taught one and only one thing is that given power without oversight always leads to abuse and corruption.

      You make it sound like that experiment revealed some great truth that wasn't already known, but anyone who spent any time studying history in the last couple thousand years was already fully aware of that particular insight...

    • Re:Good. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Anachragnome (1008495) on Tuesday February 08, 2011 @11:09PM (#35146900)

      "If the Stanford Prison Experiment [prisonexp.org] has taught one and only one thing is that given power without oversight always leads to abuse and corruption."

      Guess who went to Stanford?

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jim_Sensenbrenner [wikipedia.org]

      Not to say that everyone that goes to Stanford is corrupt. I don't believe that for a moment. But, what I do believe is that this man has single-handedly done more damage to the liberty of US citizens then any other person. Don't take my word for it though, read up on the guy and come to your own conclusions.

      • by Sockatume (732728)

        I think you are drawing the wrong conclusion from the study. They did not intend to show that Stanford graduates are sociopaths. That is an interesting alternative interpretation however and one that merits future study. Given the number of repeat Stanford-esque experiments at other institutions, it should be easy to perform a meta-analysis and find out which university is attracting/creating future supervillains most efficiently.

    • my employer is mean to me when I post derogatory things about him on Facebook. Then I want my Big Government Mommy to come in and save me!

      Small government for me, big government for you!
  • by rodgster (671476) <<moc.oohay> <ta> <retsgdor>> on Tuesday February 08, 2011 @10:59PM (#35146830) Journal

    I was going to send a comment to my congressman demanding that he vote against this unconstitutional atrocity. Thankfully this didn't pass and hopefully has finally begun to sunset. I can only hope we can someday resurrect the Constitution.

  • by intellitech (1912116) * on Tuesday February 08, 2011 @11:02PM (#35146852)

    I see it as the House succeeding..

    • by drb226 (1938360)

      The house failed to fail (?)

      But the voting was almost entirely on party lines, which I consider another fail for our society. Dichotomization (yes I made that word up) like this can't be good...

      • But the voting was almost entirely on party lines,

        Not really, depending on your threshold for that. The numbers (stolen from a comment above):

        GOP: 210/26 (y/n) -> 89%
        DEM: 67/122 (y-n) -> 32%

        ... so 11% of GOPs and 32% of Dems didn't vote "entirely on party lines". Compared to the Westminster system, for instance, where voting along party lines is the customary thing to do and "crossing the floor" is liable to get you kicked out of your party, this is a huge degree of freedom.

  • Bold prediction: (Score:5, Interesting)

    by straponego (521991) on Tuesday February 08, 2011 @11:03PM (#35146864)
    The bill will be reintroduced and will pass easily, probably with an end to sunset provisions. It's amazing how many erstwhile defenders of the Constitution, like Patrick Leahy, have become rubber stamps-- fig leaves, at best-- for the surveillance state ever since the Patriot Act made wiretapping of important people ubiquitous. Well, it wasn't just since the Patriot Act. It was right around the time US Government anthrax went out to the most liberal members of Congress and Paul Wellstone's plane crashed. Good times.
    • ...ever since the Patriot Act made wiretapping of un important people ubiquitous.

      There. Fixed that for you.
      • by afidel (530433)
        Yeah really. There's a reason Hoover considered president's just passerby's in his kingdom.
  • by AdmiralXyz (1378985) on Tuesday February 08, 2011 @11:12PM (#35146928)
    Hate to put a damper on things, but the only reason this failed was that the Republicans assumed that passage was a fait accompli, so they pushed it in under an expediting procedure that requires a two-thirds vote, and the bill only failed that by 7 votes. All they have to do is reintroduce it under the usual majority vote rule and it will be a done deal.

    Though I will admit, for the first time since I became aware of their existence I feel something other than blinding hatred for the Tea Party, who are basically responsible for the Republicans not having enough votes. Looks like some of them really do care about civil liberties, and for that at least they should be congratulated.
    • by yuhong (1378501) <yuhongbao_386@NOSpaM.hotmail.com> on Tuesday February 08, 2011 @11:16PM (#35146948) Homepage

      At least this time it will be debated and amendments will be considered.

    • by Manfre (631065)

      The only chance of stopping it will be if they can manage to get enough amendments on it that stops republicans from voting for it.

      • by sjames (1099)

        Attach stimulus funds paid to the bottom 50% as a rider. They'd rather pull their own entrails out through their asses than vote for that!

      • by fishexe (168879)

        The only chance of stopping it will be if they can manage to get enough amendments on it that stops republicans from voting for it.

        Just add an amendment that says every time the government uses a roving wiretap, they have to provide a free abortion to an inner-city teenager. That ought to do the trick.

    • by ShakaUVM (157947)

      Though I will admit, for the first time since I became aware of their existence I feel something other than blinding hatred for the Tea Party, who are basically responsible for the Republicans not having enough votes. Looks like some of them really do care about civil liberties, and for that at least they should be congratulated.

      They're the Libertarian wing of the Republican party... kinda. Except with more God and less drugs.

      Obama, naturally, is for the intrusive spying powers that he claimed he was agains

    • by kisak (524062)

      Actually, you are giving the so-called Tea Party too much credit.

      If you look at the voting numbers: Washington Post summary [washingtonpost.com], you will notice that the republican leaders were 7 votes short. Of the republicans voting against, there were 12 republicans endorsed by the tea baggers. So in this respect you are correct. But if you look at the whole Tea Party fraction of the republican, i.e. all republican house represenativies endorsed by the tea drinkers, only 11% voted against. That is exactly the percentage o

      • With 9 people not voting, the measure needed 284 of 425 votes to pass. If every single republican, Tea Party included, voted for the bill, it still needed 48 Democrats to vote for it to pass. They got 67.

        You can complain all you want about Republicans voting like Republicans. I want to know about these supposed guardians of civil liberties on the left that voted for more Patriot Act.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 08, 2011 @11:21PM (#35146968)

    Massive debt, an economy on the brink of collapse and all the House Republicans are interested in is repealing health care for the people that couldn't get it, tax breaks for the rich and extending domestic spying/the Patriot Act. How about trying to fix something that's actually broken? When I saw the Republican proposed budget cuts they were all things like education, EPA, NASA and the FBI of all things. Not a single cut was actual fat and none of it affected the rich or corporate America. Remember where their priorities lie next time around.

  • by nickovs (115935) on Tuesday February 08, 2011 @11:48PM (#35147124)

    Normally I try to only post astute, informative and insightful (and karma-whoring comments), but in this case all I have to say is:
    "Woo-whoo! Excellent!".

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 08, 2011 @11:52PM (#35147156)

    For those who thought Obama was going to change the status quo, you should read the provisions the White House wants to keep:

    The three expiring Patriot Act provisions are:

    â The âoeroving wiretapâ provision allows the FBI to obtain wiretaps from a secret intelligence court, known as the FISA court, without identifying what method of communication is to be tapped.

    â The âoelone wolfâ measure allows FISA court warrants for the electronic monitoring of a person for whatever reason â" even without showing that the suspect is an agent of a foreign power or a terrorist. The government has said it has never invoked that provision, but the Obama administration said it wanted to retain the authority to do so.

    â The âoebusiness recordsâ provision allows FISA court warrants for any type of record, from banking to library to medical, without the government having to declare that the information sought is connected to a terrorism or espionage investigation.

    In the best traditions of bipartisanship, both parties want to take away your civil liberties and sell out the middle class to big business. The only difference between the two is which big business group they are puppets for.

    And this is coming from a Constituional law professor, by the way. A guy who taught at one of the top Universities in the country - the University of Chicago - and was educated at the top law school in the country. If this is what he thinks the Constitution stands for, we're fucked.

    Obama is as much of a disgrace to this country as Bush ever was.

    Don't tell me it's just politics. Where would be if everyone - Lincoln, Jefferson, etc. - acted as if it were just politics? Sometimes you got to take a stand. But alas, the sad truth is that Mr. Obama simply does not have the balls.

    I will now go back to listening to the Who.

    Posting anonymously because that's just what this country has come to.

    • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

      by ToasterMonkey (467067)

      à The Ãoeroving wiretapà provision allows the FBI to obtain wiretaps from a secret intelligence court, known as the FISA court, without identifying what method of communication is to be tapped.

      à The Ãoelone wolfà measure allows FISA court warrants for the electronic monitoring of a person for whatever reason Ã" even without showing that the suspect is an agent of a foreign power or a terrorist. The government has said it has never invoked that provision, but the Obama administration said it wanted to retain the authority to do so.

      à The Ãoebusiness recordsà provision allows FISA court warrants for any type of record, from banking to library to medical, without the government having to declare that the information sought is connected to a terrorism or espionage investigation.

      In the best traditions of bipartisanship, both parties want to take away your civil liberties and sell out the middle class to big business. The only difference between the two is which big business group they are puppets for.

      And this is coming from a Constituional law professor, by the way. A guy who taught at one of the top Universities in the country - the University of Chicago - and was educated at the top law school in the country. If this is what he thinks the Constitution stands for, we're fucked.

      Your argument appeals to the public more when you leave it at "Patriot Act is Evil" and not giving too many facts that when read aloud don't actually sound all that terrible.

      Which part of the Constitution of the United States do you think these are stepping on? Enough of this revisionist BULLSHIT please. Can we debate privacy as fundamental human right or whatever without dragging the God damned Constitution or any other "sacred" text into this? This is the same Holy Constitution that started out only le

      • by jittles (1613415)

        This is the same Holy Constitution that started out only letting wealthy white men vote after all. The reason civil rights get violated and privacy has "issues" is because the book is still being written on this one.

        To be fair to the founding fathers, I think the idealists among them knew that the constitution would not have passed in 1788 had it provided the right to vote to non-whites, and even non-land holders. I believe the idealists were hoping that at some point the majority of the people would Do The Right Thing and expand those rights when the political climate was most appropriate for them. You have to remember that it was a huge step for them to break away from a monarchy in the first place. Some things ar

    • by NetNed (955141)
      It is because it is all about one thing. MONEY.

      HLS has no oversight in it's spending and taking away some of it's powers is seen as a attack on the unchecked funding it receives.

      Frontline had a interesting story titled Are We Safer? [pbs.org] where it seems pretty clear the things in the Patriot Act do not make us safer and that HLS is just as dysfunctional as what we had before 9/11.
    • by freakinangry (991056) on Wednesday February 09, 2011 @02:41AM (#35147906)
      The public, us, is fed so much disinformation that most of us don't know which way is up anymore. In the meantime, concentrated interests are pushing through the same agenda no matter whether the administration is Republican or Democrat... and what was once a middle class is slowly being pushed into extinction via economic pressures perpetrated by banksters and absent fed regulatory agencies, the highest incarceration levels among free and industrialized countries, a constant slashing of education, and to keep us frog from jumping out of the boiling pot... endless entertainment online or through the media (news and other junk). But no worries folks, as Egypt demonstrates, people can go hungry for only so long before they start to fight back, so there is hope on the horizon ;-)
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      In the best traditions of bipartisanship, both parties want to take away your civil liberties and sell out the middle class to big business. The only difference between the two is which big business group they are puppets for.

      Yes, obviously the two parties are basically the same. That's why House Democrats, as a bloc, voted AGAINST renewing the act 122-67, while House Republicans, as a bloc, voted FOR renewing it 277-26.

    • by mr100percent (57156) on Wednesday February 09, 2011 @06:58AM (#35148878) Homepage Journal

      Obama is as much of a disgrace to this country as Bush ever was.

      I agree with you up until that point. While Obama has been a letdown on lots of issues, he hasn't really been like Bush. Obama is winding down the Iraq war, trying to build bridges with the Cairo speech, and making the White House a bit more transparent. As Bill Maher said to those who said to boycott Democrats for not doing enough, "When it comes to voting, when we only have two choices, You gotta grow up and realize there’s a big difference between a disappointing friend and a deadly enemy."

      • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Wednesday February 09, 2011 @07:45AM (#35149102) Homepage Journal

        As long as you believe there's only two choices, you're part of the problem.

        • YOU get a clue - there are only 2 choices. there won't be a third unless we revolt and take to the streets. you see that happening in the US? I don't and those who seek and maintain power know it won't happen, either.

          the ping pong bounce between 'us#1' and 'us#2' is the grand distraction. folks, it does not matter! the system itself is broken, the fact that we call group-A 'r' and group-B 'd' is not the problem and their temporary beliefs (see how both have shifted over history) are a distraction.

          sorr

        • Personally I favor Instant Runoff Voting, but every time it gets brought up people get into a long debate over it versus Condorcet voting and all its alternatives.

          I think the debate is actually hurting the movement because IRV and Condorcet supporters squabble and split the movement. Neither IRV nor Condorcet supporters can get much traction in America with such division; it's almost ironic. Both groups need to get behind one and lobby for it to replace the current "First past the post" system.

    • by kisak (524062)
      65% of the democrats voted against extending these three provisions, only 11% of the republicans. People who claim that democrats and republicans are equal on this or on many other policy issues are taking BS. Also, you might disagree with Obama on this, but Obama is very different than Bush thank God. On this particular topic, Bush was the one who first did these wiretaps illegally and then got congress to make it the law of the land. Obama has (wrongly many would say) decided to not change the law (i.e. l
    • by gidds (56397)

      * The 'lone wolf' measure allows FISA court warrants for the electronic monitoring of a person for whatever reason -- even without showing that the suspect is an agent of a foreign power or a terrorist. The government has said it has never invoked that provision, but the Obama administration said it wanted to retain the authority to do so.

      The government has said it has never invoked that provision -- but how would we know?!

      (And if you always believe your government, then I have some nice Iraqi WMDs to sell

  • Sad Fact (Score:3, Insightful)

    by binaryseraph (955557) on Wednesday February 09, 2011 @12:21AM (#35147298)
    It is a win, at least on paper. But the fact is that it doesn't stop the spying from happening anyway. As we have been finding out over the last few years about a very common missuse of power by our (US) gov't. That is prohibited by law, even the Patriot Act. It's hard for the police to police the police when they don't even know the police are policing.
  • Even a broken clock is right twice a day.

    Unless it's digital. Or something.

  • It might have been deliberate, but NPR segued straight from talking about the (sadly almost certainly temporary) failure to renew the Patriot Act provisions... to discussing protests in Egypt over the decades-old 'emergency provisions' that gave 'sweeping powers to the security services'.

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