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Congress to Make PATRIOT Act Permanent 1601

955301 writes "As if it was unexpected, the New York Times (free reg...) has an article on attempts by our Congressional Republicans to eliminate the expiration of the Patriot Act. Everyone may thank Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah for getting this 9/11 snowball rolling, and the general population for our current leadership." There's another story in the SF Chronicle.
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Congress to Make PATRIOT Act Permanent

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  • My God. (Score:4, Funny)

    by B3ryllium ( 571199 ) on Wednesday April 09, 2003 @03:32PM (#5694911) Homepage
    I've said it before and I'll say it again: I'm glad I'm Canadian.
    • Re:My God. (Score:4, Funny)

      by Randy Rathbun ( 18851 ) <> on Wednesday April 09, 2003 @03:33PM (#5694930) Homepage
      You guys got any more room?
      • In all seriousness (Score:3, Interesting)

        by phorm ( 591458 )
        This could do a lot for immigration to Canada. If people start feeling threatened by the US government, they'll may just want to move. Now... with some Americans bitching about our lax border/immigration security, how many will be glad when we allow them to cross the border?

        And yeah, we're already innundated by American culture, so they'll probably feel quite at home.

        Reminds me of a bumper sticker I once saw which is aptly starting the describe many in the US:
        "I love my country, it's the government I'm
    • Re:My God. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by lavalyn ( 649886 ) on Wednesday April 09, 2003 @03:39PM (#5695033) Homepage Journal
      So am I - except for the Bill C36 - aka Patriot Act North.
    • Re:My God. (Score:3, Interesting)

      The parent thread was modded as flamebait. I'd like to know why. It's an opinion that should be respected. He's not swearing or using innuendo.

      Why am I saying this? Well.. weeks ago I was also called an idiot for saying that I believed the PA would go permanent. Now we have a story telling us that it's in the works. I've copied the article link and sent it over to my 'buddy' who called me a fool. Wonder who the bigger fool is. One who keeps an eye on the Government (and argues against their use of
      • Re:My God. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Catbeller ( 118204 ) on Wednesday April 09, 2003 @05:22PM (#5696426) Homepage
        Liberty and Freedom was NOT founded on spying but by the barrel of a gun. It wasn't the lawyer or the libertarian who provided Freedom folks. It was our soldiers who bleed and died. I for one will argue that the PA flies in the face of everything that it means to be an American.

        I'm with you on the conclusion, but respectfully must argue about the idea that soldiers and guns gave us freedom.

        Long-haired intellectuals with spongy muscles created the document that enumerated our freedoms. Hippy peacenik idealists. Romantics.

        Soldiers, for all their bravery and patriotism, are walking guns that do what they are told. They rarely fight for civil rights -- it's not their job, and frankly they are members of an organization that does not prize dissent at any level. And it shows in their politics.

        Without the hated intellectual liberals creating the basis for our freedoms, and fighting for them every day in the courts, the soldiers would only exist to make us do what we are told. Patriotism doesn't make you free. Saddam's soldiers are patriots -- but they never were free.

        Guns don't make you free either. 70% of the Iraqi population owns a firearm. Didn't help them much.

        It takes brains -- courage -- to fight conformity, which is the real enemy of freedom.

        Soldiers will shoot whomever they are conditioned to shoot. It takes "libertarians" (when did that become an epithet?) to create a government that cannot use the guns of the soldiers to create domestic political power.

        'Sides, if guns and troops were the answer, then we could get rid of the Constitution and have the Defense Department and the President rule over us.

        Oh -- wait. Oops.
        • Re:My God. (Score:5, Insightful)

          by jlowery ( 47102 ) on Wednesday April 09, 2003 @07:01PM (#5697175)
          George Washington was more instrumental in the founding of the US than he's often been credited for.

          Most generals have given into the temptation of being dictator-for-life; he didn't. He knew what he was fighting for.
        • Re:My God. (Score:5, Funny)

          by YetAnotherName ( 168064 ) on Wednesday April 09, 2003 @10:44PM (#5698519) Homepage
          70% of the Iraqi population owns a firearm.

          And 65% of all statistics are made up on the spot.
        • by El Camino SS ( 264212 ) on Wednesday April 09, 2003 @11:13PM (#5698653)

          Soldiers, for all their bravery and patriotism, are walking guns that do what they are told. They rarely fight for civil rights -- it's not their job, and frankly they are members of an organization that does not prize dissent at any level. And it shows in their politics.

          I am a newsman in Nashville, Tn. I have been reporting at Ft. Campbell (home of the 5th SOG, 101st Airborne and the Rakkasans) more times than I can remember. To respond for them I say this:

          I was at a free concert event one day where a lot of really good bands were about to play... suddenly three unit leaders walked on stage and started reading the original articles of the Constitution of the United States and the Bill of Rights. It took forever. The bands waited. They read the classics. States rights, etc. Swear to God they were bookin' through it but it took a while.

          Then all of the soldiers stood up and saluted, and swore to uphold the Constitution of the United States. Just like they do when they are sworn in as US servicemen. This was before a concert.

          Kinda shoots holes in your theory that they are all idiots that don't care about the US Constitution and how important it is. And that they don't stand for it.

          You do realize, of course, that they swear allegiance to the ideals of the US before they swear allegiance to the government, don't you?

          • by dvdeug ( 5033 ) <dvdeug@e m a i> on Thursday April 10, 2003 @12:30AM (#5698962)
            Kinda shoots holes in your theory that they are all idiots that don't care about the US Constitution and how important it is. And that they don't stand for it.

            And then we look at the My Lai massacare, and the fact that George Washington was offered the presidency. No one's saying that soliders are idiots. But "all the soliders stood up and saluted"; how many considered that they were saluting the fact that Congress didn't have the right to stop the slave trade during the first years of our country? That the people could not be trusted to elect their senators? The fact that a slave is only 3/5 a person? The soliders stood up and saluted patriotism, not any thoughtful concept of what they had just been read. There were no dissenters, nessecary for a healthy democracy; no one refused to stand for a document that endorsed slavery, that permitted the white man west of the Applalations to take someone else's land.

            You do realize, of course, that they swear allegiance to the ideals of the US before they swear allegiance to the government, don't you?

            This is after they go through a several month indoctrination, chanting kill-kill-kill and get punished for hesitating to carry out any order given to them. A fifteen-second pledge versus months of indoctrination.
  • I am confident (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Apreche ( 239272 ) on Wednesday April 09, 2003 @03:33PM (#5694918) Homepage Journal
    that one day, when the patriot act is finally challenged in the supreme court it will be destroyed.
    • Re:I am confident (Score:3, Insightful)

      by sulli ( 195030 )
      The PATRIOT Act, or the Supreme Court?
    • Re:I am confident (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Catbeller ( 118204 )
      Sadly, from the comportment of the Scalia Five in the last elecion, and Scalia's recent comments that we have "too many" rights as it is, I doubt much that Scalia/Thomas and whomever Bush rams through wil overturn the current or the future PATRIOT acts.
    • Re:I am confident (Score:4, Insightful)

      by annewinston ( 632489 ) on Wednesday April 09, 2003 @04:11PM (#5695475)
      I might point out the the current administration is also appointing judges to the federal, and soon supreme courts. Unless people write their senators and complain the US courts will be filled with Bush-ites and legal challenges to the Patriot Act will be rejected. It's important not only to vote, but to persistantly inform those in power of your objections to all the new threats to our civil liberties.
    • Re:I am confident (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Rev Snow ( 21340 )
      Don't be too sure. The Supremes just upheld a law that makes burning a cross at a gathering a crime. Not on someone else's lawn, mind you, but your own cross on your own property among your own people. That gets you three months in jail.

      A burning cross is ``an instrument of terror,'' they say, so First Amendment protection is not available.

      If the First Amendment does not protect ``terrorists,'' how will it be able to overturn the PATRIOT act?

    • Re:I am confident (Score:5, Insightful)

      by GlassHeart ( 579618 ) on Wednesday April 09, 2003 @04:14PM (#5695510) Journal
      when the patriot act is finally challenged in the supreme court it will be destroyed.

      Looks like the Supreme Court is becoming the first resort of the opponents of a law, be it the DMCA or the PATRIOT act. This is wrong.

      The way things are supposed to work is to voice and consider these concerns before it is signed into law. Before it affects the life, liberty, and happiness of actual people. This is done by constituents voicing their concerns, and representatives acting on behalf of those concerns. The Supreme Court is not supposed to be in the business of correcting legislative stupidities (and in fact refrained from doing so in the Eldred case). The proper role of the Supreme Court is to clarify a law where lower courts have each reasonably come to different interpretations. They are, if you will, legal scholars with a final say.

      You've basically replaced the rightful and designed role of hundreds of elected representatives with the peripheral role of a dozen justices appointed by Presidents. While I understand your frustration and lack of faith in your representatives, the risks here should be obvious.

      • Re:I am confident (Score:5, Insightful)

        by arkanes ( 521690 ) <> on Wednesday April 09, 2003 @04:28PM (#5695701) Homepage
        If our "representatives" would do thier goddamn jobs and live up to thier oath of office and stop passing obviously untenable legislation as a way of making political hay, then maybe we wouldn't need to go to the courts so often. This happens even more at the state level than the federal. Anyone who voted in favor of a bill that's declared unconstitutional should be removed from office because they've violated the oath of office. It's ridiculous.
        • Re:I am confident (Score:5, Insightful)

          by GlassHeart ( 579618 ) on Wednesday April 09, 2003 @04:54PM (#5696085) Journal
          If our "representatives" would do thier goddamn jobs and live up to thier oath of office and stop passing obviously untenable legislation as a way of making political hay, then maybe we wouldn't need to go to the courts so often.

          I agree. I'm just saying that voting them away is the designed solution to the problem. Relying on a side effect of an undesigned solution such as the Supreme Court means that things like the Eldred case get punted back to the Legislature.

          Anyone who voted in favor of a bill that's declared unconstitutional should be removed from office because they've violated the oath of office.

          Well, some laws live right on the border, so this is not a good solution, either. You need to consider that things like Affirmative Action, for example, may have been passed with the best intentions even though they are arguably unconstitutional.

          Point is, people who look to the Supreme Court to correct bad laws are looking for short term solutions. This is bad because by the time a law does get struck down, it's already affected many people. Worse, many bad laws won't get struck down. What you really need to do is to either fix your representation system, or fix your citizenry so that they are less apathetic or ignorant.

          The political system, like any system, needs maintenance. Your post hints at setting up an ideal automatic system (remove legislators who propose unconstitutional laws), and can only work as well as our foresight allows - which is to say, never as well as we'd like. Vigilance really is the price here.

      • Re:I am confident (Score:4, Insightful)

        by fishbowl ( 7759 ) on Wednesday April 09, 2003 @04:48PM (#5695992)
        Yes, the way it's supposed to work is the constituents are actively involved in the process of government. This is supposed to extend FAR beyond voting. We can't even be bothered to do the FIRST thing: the apathy vote carries every election from the smallest municipal bond to the federal lawmakers to the president. Why should we expect the people to actually participate (develop true relationships with politicians and/or parties... starting from when they are local politicians, and continuing these relationships into the national arena.).

        Wait! A bunch of people ARE doing that... and guess what? They are creating a government that is an expression of their will!

        If you have not been a part of that process, it is your fault. If you don't vote, your vote is for "whoever wins" which is distinct from a vote for "nobody". If you don't participate in a party organization, the party assumes the candidates they select are just hunky dory with you, and that you support whatever policies and platforms they decide to run with.

        Too many people seem to have this idea that the political process begins and ends with a presidential ballot whenever the race comes around, and they don't even bother with it. The idea that the government is the net result of MANY, MANY smaller elections that they also did not participate in, is lost on them.

        So, when the government that they didn't participate in goes in a direction they disagree with, the only thing they can think to do is protest. The understanding that the current government is the result of decades of work by people who have actively pursued it is lost in the noise of the notion that the entire US government is the result of a single botched presidential election. So people delude themselves with the fallacious notion that removing the president will fix everything. They choose not to recognize just how limited the president's powers actually are -- because then they would be forced to acknolwedge just how many OTHER people are in government that disagree with their views.

        And then they don't show up for their mayor, state legislature, or bond elections... And they wonder why the government doesn't express the will of the people..

        I say "it DOES."

  • Not A Joke (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Ken@WearableTech ( 107340 ) <> on Wednesday April 09, 2003 @03:35PM (#5694945) Homepage Journal
    This is not a joke, just a question. What is wrong with the patriot act. Not crazy leftwing ideas but real examples of how this is so bad that any reward in stopping criminal acts is NOT worth the costs.
    I have no opinion on it yet but look forward to reading yours.
    • Not a joke either (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Those who would give up essential liberty, to purchase
      a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.

      Benjamin Franklin
      • The parent asks for a specific example, and you respond with a quote. The question remains, what liberties are you referring to? Or can you name none?
        • by Glock27 ( 446276 ) on Wednesday April 09, 2003 @04:44PM (#5695941)
          The parent asks for a specific example, and you respond with a quote.

          In the kingdom of the blind, the one-eyed man is king. ;-)

          The question remains, what liberties are you referring to?

          Amendment 1: Free speech.

          Amendment 4: Privacy

          Ever hear of the Total Information Awareness program, for instance?

          Or can you name none?

          The main problem with it is that it continues (not starts) down the slippery slope of eliminating important Constitutional freedoms.

          How will you feel when the government installs a video camera at the bottom of your driveway...just to make sure you're not involved with any terrorist activities? Or when GPS-enabled cell phones become mandatory so your location can be tracked at all times if the phone is used? Or when you must submit a DNA sample to the government so your identity can be verified at any later date? Or the government begins tracking all your purchases and finances to ensure you're not involved with terrorism? Or when the government monitors all domestic phone conversations and email for suspicious phrases? You don't have anything to hide do you?

          America was NOT founded with that type of lifestyle in mind...quite the opposite! We'd better nip this kind of thing in the bud if we don't want lose our basic freedoms. Especially when losing those freedoms most likely will do little, if anything, to effectively deal with terrorism.

          For my money, one of the most effective ways to deal with terrorism would be to get the highest possible percentage of the population to carry concealed weapons...but perhaps that's just me. ;-)

          I'll finish off with two more quotes:

          "The price of liberty is eternal vigilance."
          --Thomas Jefferson

          "Give Me Liberty Or Give Me Death"
          --Patrick Henry

    • Re:Not A Joke (Score:5, Informative)

      by bricriu ( 184334 ) on Wednesday April 09, 2003 @03:39PM (#5695030) Homepage
      You can be detained, without being charged, indefinitely, having been investigated under a sealed warrant, an unsigned warrant, or no warrant at all, and then be denied access to a lawyer.

      And that is un-American. Period.
    • Re:Not A Joke (Score:5, Informative)

      by wherley ( 42799 ) on Wednesday April 09, 2003 @03:42PM (#5695062)
      see the Electronic Frontier Foundations' Analysis of the USA PATRIOT Act here []. After reading, feel free to contribute to the EFF here [].
    • Re:Not A Joke (Score:5, Informative)

      by rleibman ( 622895 ) on Wednesday April 09, 2003 @03:45PM (#5695094) Homepage
      Take a look at some of the analysis from the Cato institute: llcato&pw=100%25&rf=0&qt=patriot+act&x=0&y =0 []
    • Re:Not A Joke (Score:5, Insightful)

      by lavalyn ( 649886 ) on Wednesday April 09, 2003 @03:47PM (#5695126) Homepage Journal
      One thing about "rights" is that for normal people to get them usually involves war, death, revolution, and lots of beheadings.

      Rights like the access to a fair trial in a reasonable amount of time. To be represented in court with a competent lawyer in the field. To be proven of guilt by a jury of peers.

      Rights like anonymous freedom of speech. Anonymous freedom of association. And anonymous dissemination and learning of information.

      What rights we lose now we will eventually regain in the mass deaths of some group. But that's just a "terrorist" act in and of itself.
    • Re:Not A Joke (Score:5, Informative)

      by jasonditz ( 597385 ) on Wednesday April 09, 2003 @03:52PM (#5695191) Homepage
      A fair question, so here it goes.

      1. Redefines terrorism too broadly: the new definition includes previously protected free speech. If any person feels threatened (rightfully or not) by a lawful protest, then under the patroit act that protest is considered a terrorist act.

      2. New surveillance powers circumvent judicial review: Previously federal agencies had to get permission from the courts for wiretapping and other forms of covert surveillance. Under the Patriot Act the agency can arbitrarily label someone a 'suspected terrorist' and conduct surveillance without the court's permission. Moreover, that label doesn't have to be approved by any external agency... and the person gets no chance to defend himself.

      3. Abbrogates right to a speedy trial. Previously Constitutional protections guarenteed that a person could be held for only a very limited time without a trial... and they must be charged with a crime. Again, its a question of judicial oversight. Under the Patriot Act the executive branch can, at their own discretion, detain a person for an indefinate period of time. The only legal requirement is that the President considers them a national security risk, but again, he can keep detainees a secret, and there is no judicial review of the process. In fact, he doesn't even have to accuse them of any crimes or place them legally under arrest, just "disappear" them.

      Whether or not it successfully stops criminal acts, something which we can debate more or less ad infinitum since the government no longer has to report its actions publically, the primary effect of the Patriot Act is the greatly increase the powers of the Executive branch, and effectively neuter the Judicial branch.

      Its been publically admitted by many of the acts proponents that it drastically reduces the Judicial branches powers, greatly restricts personal freedoms, and grants the executive branch almost police state powers, but that was always prefaced with the promise that it was a temporary measure for a particularly volatile period. Now, the 'temporary' measure appears to be a permanent fixture, which is probably only fair since the "war on terrorism" itself will likely last longer than any of us will live.
      • A serious question (Score:4, Insightful)

        by njdj ( 458173 ) on Wednesday April 09, 2003 @05:01PM (#5696160)
        [The Patriot Act] grants the executive branch almost police state powers,

        How do you justify the word "almost" in that sentence? In the USA today, the government can make people simply disappear. The USA already imprisons a larger fraction of its population than any other developed country, and the Patriot Act has barely started to have an effect. What more do you want before you are willing to describe the USA as a police state?
    • Re:Not A Joke (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Ivan Raikov ( 521143 ) on Wednesday April 09, 2003 @04:29PM (#5695711) Homepage
      This is not a joke, just a question. What is wrong with the patriot act. Not crazy leftwing ideas but real examples of how this is so bad that any reward in stopping criminal acts is NOT worth the costs.

      I assume by the "crazy leftwing ideas" that you're either a troll or a Repugnican, but here we go anyways:

      Historical precedent. The American Heritage Dictionary defines fascism as "a system of government that exercises a dictatorship of the extreme right, typically through the merging of state and business leadership, together with belligerent nationalism." Just on its surface, the Bush regime is following the above definition. Witness the parade of corporate CEOs that now populates the president's cabinet and key advisory bodies. Observe how the Bushistas attack the patriotism of anyone who challenges their politics.

      Similarly to Hitler's "emergency powers" after the burning of the Reichstag, the Bush administration is attempting to re-write or re-interpret laws that have afforded American citizens and legal residents civil rights protection for two centuries, while moving to stack the courts with judges that will uphold the new anti-terrorist (read: anti-citizen) laws. An important characteristic of totalitarian regimes is their working to make the legal system a tool of state power.

      Another one of the hallmarks of totalitarianism is the need to have permanent enemies and scapegoats to blame for national misfortunes. In Soviet Russia, we saw an endless parade of fascists, Socialists, Trotskyites, and "reactionaries" used as justification for massive military expenditures, arrests, executions, and "re-education" camps. Francisco Franco branded as "Communist" any group that fought his hard-right suppression of Spanish democracy. The Nazis raised scapegoating to the ultimate horror in their mass extermination facilities for Jews, gypsies, and anyone else blamed for debasing the German kultur.

      At present Saddam Hussein is the Enemy, although Iraqis have done nothing since the 1991 Gulf War to provoke the U.S. When Saddam is no longer credible as the enemy, another will take his place, as he took the place of Osama Bin Laden. The Nazis were pioneers in using a linkage of popular broadcasting and print media to spread their twisted propaganda. We still acknowledge Josef Goebbels for his observation that a lie repeated often enough becomes the truth. And so it is today, with Fox news, the Washington Times, The Standard, and other right-wing media outlets spewing false stories and twisted statistics so that "average" tax cut amounts apply to everyone.

      Then there is the well-known fascist preoccupation with the use of military force. The Nazi leaders could hardly wait to blood their storm troops in a real war. Hitler was "relieved" that the Poles decided to fight him instead of capitulating to German demands. Mussolini sent his forces gleefully to war against Ethiopia for no better reason than wanting to beat up a sixth-rate military power. The obvious allusions to the behavior of our current regime in Washington would be funny if the expected outcome of their policy was not so tragic.

      A final, somewhat depressing observation about fascism: to fascist leaders, the masses of people they lead are disposable assets. That offers a possible explanation why the Bush administration does not show much concern for the jobless or those whose retirements are threatened by collapsed 401Ks. It also explains Donald Rumsfeld's blithely calling Vietnam veterans "what was left" after the best and brightest found a way to dodge military service.

      Citizens of the United States must oppose against American fascism on the airwaves, in the print media, on the campuses, in the legislatures, the courts, the Congress, and on the streets. There is no place ro run, I'm afraid.
  • by Polyphemis ( 450226 ) on Wednesday April 09, 2003 @03:35PM (#5694954)
    Working link to article, no reg required []

    Republicans Want Terror Law Made Permanent


    ASHINGTON, April 8 -- Working with the Bush administration, Congressional Republicans are maneuvering to make permanent the sweeping antiterrorism powers granted to federal law enforcement agents after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, officials said today.

    The move is likely to touch off strong objections from many Democrats and even some Republicans in Congress who believe that the Patriot Act, as the legislation that grew out of the attacks is known, has already given the government too much power to spy on Americans.

    The landmark legislation expanded the government's power to use eavesdropping, surveillance, access to financial and computer records and other tools to track terrorist suspects.

    When it passed in October 2001, moderates and civil libertarians in Congress agreed to support it only by making many critical provisions temporary. Those provisions will expire, or "sunset," at the end of 2005 unless Congress re-authorizes them.

    But Republicans in the Senate in recent days have discussed a proposal, written by Senator Orrin G. Hatch, Republican of Utah, that would repeal the sunset provisions and make the law's new powers permanent, officials said. Republicans may seek to move on the proposal this week by trying to attaching it to another antiterrorism bill that would make it easier for the government to use secret surveillance warrants against "lone wolf" terrorism suspects.

    Many Democrats have grown increasingly frustrated by what they see as a lack of information from the Justice Department on how its agents are using their newfound powers, and they say they need more time to determine whether agents are abusing those powers.

    The Senate Democratic leader, Tom Daschle of South Dakota, said today that without extensive review, he "would be very strongly opposed to any repeal" of the 2005 time limit. He predicted that Republicans lacked the votes to repeal the limits.
    Indeed, Congressional officials and political observers said the debate might force lawmakers to take stock of how far they were willing to sacrifice civil liberties in the name of fighting terrorism.

    Beryl Howell, a former Democratic aide in the Senate who worked extensively on the 2001 legislation, said that by forcing the issue, Mr. Hatch "is throwing down the gauntlet to people who think the U.S.A. Patriot Act went too far and who want to cut back its powers."

    Justice Department officials in interviews today credited the Patriot Act with allowing the F.B.I. to move with greater speed and flexibility to disrupt terrorist operations before they occur, and they say they wanted to see the 2005 time limit on the legislation lifted.

    "The Patriot Act has been an extremely useful tool, a demonstrated success, and we don't want that to expire on us," a senior department official said on condition of anonymity.

    Another senior official who also demanded anonymity said the department had held discussions with Congressional Republicans about how that might best be accomplished. "Our involvement has really been just keeping an open ear to the issue as it's proceeding, not to really guide the debate," the official said.

    With the act's provisions not set to expire for more than two and a half years, officials expected that the debate over its future would be many months away. But political jockeying over separate bipartisan legislation sponsored by Senators Jon Kyl, Republican of Arizona, and Charles E. Schumer, Democrat of New York, appears to have given Senator Hatch the chance to move on the issue much earlier than expected.

    The Kyl-Schumer measure would eliminate the need for federal agents seeking secret surveillance warrants to show that a suspect is affiliated with a foreign power or agent, like a terrorist group.
    Advocates say the measure
  • by SubtleNuance ( 184325 ) on Wednesday April 09, 2003 @03:36PM (#5694971) Journal
    It is quite obvious that ANYONE against this legislation is an Un-American Terrorist... YOU THERE! Where were you during this morning's Department of Homeland Security Briefing? LET ME SEE YOUR PAPERS!

    Please, PLEASE listen to my .sig:
  • by Ribo99 ( 71160 ) on Wednesday April 09, 2003 @03:37PM (#5694978) Homepage Journal
    That chilling effect you feel is not your lack of trousers...

  • by Kefaa ( 76147 ) on Wednesday April 09, 2003 @03:39PM (#5695016)
    His support for this is neither a surprise or unexpected. Look for him to sponsor if not introduce Partiot II in the next year.

    He has been named several times as a possible replacement for any of the retiring Justices. He now has to prove himself conservative enough to ensure his legacy and a possible shot at the Chief Justice's seat.
  • Best Quote (Score:5, Insightful)

    by talleyrand ( 318969 ) on Wednesday April 09, 2003 @03:39PM (#5695020) Homepage
    "The Patriot Act has been an extremely useful tool, a demonstrated success, and we don't want that to expire on us," a senior department official said on condition of anonymity.

    Riiight. So you will only speak on the condition of anonymity but all ordinary citizens are expected to forfeit that right? I'm sure the irony of that situation will go unchecked.

    • I question his basic and unquestioned (by the media et al) assumption that to have a sunset provision equals the law not being renewed. If the Act has been a "demonstrated success" then they should have no problem getting those portions of the law renewed. Doesn't he have annual reviews? Those don't automatically mean he is fired, no? Don't we review the performance of our Congresspeople every 2 or 6 years? This latter review certainly doesn't mean that the reviewee is gone.

      They act as if sunset provisio

  • by bfields ( 66644 ) on Wednesday April 09, 2003 @03:40PM (#5695038) Homepage

    ...join in the ACLU [].

    --Bruce F.

  • by tomzyk ( 158497 ) on Wednesday April 09, 2003 @03:40PM (#5695048) Journal
    NOW is a good time to start writing to your state representatives. I'm serious. I've heard plenty of complaining about the Patriot Act (myself included) but I wonder how many people actually DO anything about it. (other than rant on message boards)

    If you have problems with it, you have to let your representative know how you feel. They can't read your minds. And I doubt many of them read Slashdot.
  • by rzbx ( 236929 ) <slashdot @ r z> on Wednesday April 09, 2003 @03:43PM (#5695065) Homepage
    Anyone remember the last Star Wars movie? The part where the Chancelor (I think) was given supreme power to build a clone army and he said afterwards he would step down. Isn't it sad when power is meant to be instituted upon an individual or group for a limited time, but when that individual or group gains that power they suddenly realize "hey I like this, I wanna keep it." The power of corruption with those in power is amazingly strong. Even worse fact is that those in power don't really think that what they are doing is wrong. We can't allow them to just extend an Act because they feel it is right. The people I'm sure don't feel like it is right.
  • survey says... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by corvi42 ( 235814 ) on Wednesday April 09, 2003 @03:44PM (#5695087) Homepage Journal
    and the general population for our current leadership.

    But didn't the general population vote for Gore?

  • by matthewn ( 91381 ) on Wednesday April 09, 2003 @03:47PM (#5695129)
    Everyone may thank ... the general population for our current leadership.

    Um, no. Everyone may thank five citizens [] and an obsolete and outmoded Consitutional body [] for the current leadership. See what you get when you let democracy break down, people?

    • by Guppy06 ( 410832 ) on Wednesday April 09, 2003 @04:30PM (#5695725)
      What did the Supreme Court have to do with the 2002 election?

      All of you had the chance to vote out any and every House member that supported the USA PATRIOT Act. Many of you also had the ability to get rid of any Senator. And yet you don't want any of the blame, you want to blame the Supreme Court that "appointed" President Bush, the very same president that has yet to veto anything Congress gave him since his term began. If you quit bitching about the 2000 election for five minutes and realized that this White House has literally allowed Congress to do whatever it damned well pleased, you might have seen this law coming to begin with.

      I also find it amusing that you blame the Electoral College, when the people, allowed to vote without thinking thanks to the Seventeenth Amendment, were the ones that overwhelimingly supported the incumbents that composed and passed the USA PATRIOT Act to begin with. Hey, it's not like over 90% of the folks you got to elect directly supported the bill or anything...

      No, what we have here is not a "break down" of democracy. The USA PATRIOT Act happened because of democracy! Both chambers of Congress are full of people who got their position not because of merit, but because they looked good on TV and had catchy campaign slogans. Why should they avoid knee-jerk reactions when they're there because of knee-jerk reactions? For the USA PATRIOT Act, you can thank both yourselves and your 1913 compatriots that gave you the ability to shoot yourselves in the foot like this to begin with [].

      Did you even vote last year?

  • i know how we look (Score:5, Interesting)

    by RyLaN ( 608672 ) <satH4n@gmai[ ]om ['l.c' in gap]> on Wednesday April 09, 2003 @03:51PM (#5695171) Homepage
    recently i got the chance to visit japan for two months. while i was there (august 30th - november 4th) i got a different look at the US. i heard the hubbub around the snipers from a completely different angle, and watched as the patriot act was passed.
    when i entered japan, the things important enough to be mentioned in english were: no firearms, drugs, intoxicants or pornographic articles. going back into america i had to take my compass out of my math bookbag, empty my tolietries kit and get rid of my scissors. it's completely ridiculous to do things like this to 13-14 year olds that only want to get back home. i decided then and there that something wasn't right. when i got home and raised the alarm, people accepted it mutely, almost like sheep. no one seemed to care that they could be taken away without any trial if the government wanted to, or that their isp could be forced to reveal weblogs or ip traffic from their account.
    i figure, since im already going to school where there are mostly 13 year old sheep, new zealand won't be much of a change..
  • by lavalyn ( 649886 ) on Wednesday April 09, 2003 @03:51PM (#5695176) Homepage Journal
    and do the following:

    s/USSR/Al Qaeda;

    and you will see what the United States is about to become again.
  • The Patriot Act is unconstitutional. Period!

    Seriously, it was another "Act" that was passed by King George all those years ago that severely limited our freedoms that caused a revolution in this country ... and things like this will only lead to the same end ...

    As soon as this terrorist thing cools off a bit, this "Act" will be revisitied and decalred unconstitutional.

    Any "law" that gives the government the right to spy on people will not last ... and if laws like this are not repealed, then other laws with similar or worse implications will slowly be approved. The people simply won't tollorate it!

    I understand the need for security, but this has gone too far! What is next ... Patriot Act III: The gov't has the right to put cameras on every street corner, business, and suspected terrorist's home???

    Now I know this is a bit off topic, but this "Patriot Act" series has to come to a screeching halt! PA II, not yet passed, allows the US government the right to add 5 years onto a jail sentence just for using encryption when commiting a "crime" .... so if you don't report your USE tax (state taxes for purchasing items on the internet w/o paying taxes at the time of purchase), then you're going to jail for atleast 5 years since the purchase was made encrypted and, if you fils your taxes online, that was encrypted as well! Also (I don't want to protect hax0rs, but ...) if you break into a server using SSH, there is 5 years as well!!

    These "patriot" acts are just another example of big business paying off politicians to get rediculous laws into place that will protect their interests (even though it may LOOK like they are protecting the people).

    ... yet another reason the US "system" is in need of serious reform ... to prevent businesses from "funding" politicians to get these kind of crazy laws passed!

    To the US gov't: Stop wasting time on this kind of stuff and go find bin Laden!

  • by geekotourist ( 80163 ) on Wednesday April 09, 2003 @03:53PM (#5695209) Journal
    Discussing this recently the analogy I came up with was: during wartimes or other extraodinary circumstances we've sometimes raised taxes to pay for it. These taxes can be necessary, but because they are taxes we want accountability, time limits, and proof that the tax monies are going where we were told they'd go. And as with all taxes we want cost benefit analyses to prove we're getting the biggest bang for the buck.

    The Patriot Act is a tax on civil liberties. Perhaps it is necessary. But we must demand at least as much proof of its necessity and review of its impact as we would a new tax. To require cost benefit analyses is *not* saying that it should be abolished, unless it cannot withstand scrutiny. And if it can't, why have it? If you're going take civil liberties out of my constitutional wallet, you better be ready to tell me where you're spending them and how well you're doing.

    For these reviews or cost benefit analyses, a minimum step would be to require them to meet the requirements from this well-written report []:

    "...I have suggested that any [proposed new law] must meet a four-part test:

    • It must be demonstrably necessary in order to meet some specific need.
    • It must be demonstrably likely to be effective in achieving its intended purpose. In other words, it must be likely to actually make us significantly safer, not just make us feel safer.
    • The intrusion on privacy must be proportional to the security benefit to be derived.
    • And it must be demonstrable that no other, less privacy-intrusive, measure would suffice to achieve the same purpose..."
  • by Wyatt Earp ( 1029 ) on Wednesday April 09, 2003 @03:57PM (#5695261)
    "Congress to Make PATRIOT Act Permanent"

    Well that's not at all accurate.

    It's not been voted on. Hell all the articles about this story state clearly "the move is likely to touch off strong objections from many Democrats and even some Republicans in Congress." Or that "Congressional Republicans, working with the Bush administration, are maneuvering to make permanent."

    Where are we at in this process? Is the President signing it? Hell no it's being discussed. Discussed, not being voted on as we speak, discussed.

    The best part is down at the bottom of the SF Gate piece.

    "But political jockeying over separate, bipartisan legislation sponsored by Sens. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., and Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., appears to have given Hatch the chance to move on the issue much earlier than expected. The Kyl-Schumer measure would eliminate the need for federal agents seeking secret surveillance warrants to show that a suspect is affiliated with a foreign power or agent, such as a terrorist group."

  • by lysium ( 644252 ) on Wednesday April 09, 2003 @04:01PM (#5695325)
    Did anyone see the context in which the Patriot extension was raised?

    Another secret warrant law, this one to help speed the capture of "lone wolves," that is, terrorists who work without affiliation to a terrorist group. See the problem here? This is all about targeting individuals and making it even more secretive than it already is.

    The decent into madness continues, unabated.


  • by Lester67 ( 218549 ) < minus city> on Wednesday April 09, 2003 @04:02PM (#5695340)
    that Gore wouldn't have done the same thing, had he won.
  • by Faramir ( 61801 ) on Wednesday April 09, 2003 @04:07PM (#5695404) Homepage Journal

    For those who don't have time/inclination to read the article: Congress is not making the PATRIOT act permanent. The article says that Orrin Hatch is attempting to make the act permanent. Many Congressmen agree; many disagree. Let your representatives know what you think. But know that this is not in the works already. This article's title is horribly misleading.

  • Fight Back! (Score:5, Informative)

    by radicalsubversiv ( 558571 ) <michael&sherrards,org> on Wednesday April 09, 2003 @04:13PM (#5695503) Homepage Journal
    This legislation can be stopped. It only takes 40 Senators to filibuster a bill, and if the Democrats are willing to show some guts, there might be enough pro-civil liberties Republicans to shoot it down there, too.

    Immediately go the ACLU's action page [] where you can send a free fax to your representatives. It'll take you all of 15 seconds.

    Next, call both of your Senators and your representative. Politely but firmly demand that they vote against this. Make clear that how your senator votes on civil liberties issues is very important to you.

    If you haven't already done so, Register to Vote [] (PDF document).

    Write a letter to the editor of your local paper. Doesn't have to be a great work of prose, just give an example or two of how the PATRIOT Act threatens the constitution. Give the Ben Franklin quote. Letters to the Editor is one of the most read sections of the newspaper, and politicos read it closely.

    Tell your friends. Sure, some people get irritated when politics gets brought up, but that's a small price to pay for the future of American democracy.

    Lastly, act on your belief when election time comes around. Donate, volunteer, and vote for candidates who are on record supporting constitutional liberties.
  • by SourceHammer ( 638338 ) on Wednesday April 09, 2003 @04:57PM (#5696124) Homepage

    Is it just me, or is it hard to find an actual copy of the act?

    Patriot Act (text) []
  • by extrarice ( 212683 ) on Wednesday April 09, 2003 @06:01PM (#5696786) Homepage Journal
    I just went to the House of Representatives [] website to find the mailing address(es) of my rep. According to the page I found [] (last modified March 3rd, 2003), quote:

    Because of the discovery of biological contaminants at the Capitol complex in early October, normal mail deliveries to offices in the House of Representatives were suspended. Months later, new screening policies have been implemented. Still, normal mail service has not yet fully resumed.
    Despite this inconvenience, please be assured I greatly value your comments and feedback.
    If you have an urgent matter, please consider contacting any of my three offices by telephone.

    How are we supposed to effectively communicate with our reps? E-mails can be easily ignored, or not even checked. Phone calls do not produce a permanent record. Faxes also can be ignored (if a fax line is listed). How can we contact these people and be sure that our concerns are read and recorded?

    [activate paranoia]
    Could it be that the govt. *started* the anthrax scare to shut down mail delivery? Maybe they didn't want to hear the public's concerns to the new laws they are working on. If they don't notify the people that the mail delivery is shut down, how are we to know that they're not listening?
    [deactivate paranoia]
  • by be-fan ( 61476 ) on Thursday April 10, 2003 @03:42AM (#5699624)
    My brother, 13, recently went to a mock UN conference for middle school students. The question under debate was biased reporting in the media about Islam. The suggested resolution that a committe of several dozen of these young teens came to was that some limited censorship of the media by the UN would be an acceptable price to pay to get rid of bias in the media. These were all intelligent kids, who know far more about the political world (they still remember their American history classes and like learning about international subjects) than most adults. They're all well-meaning, idealistic young people. Yet, the still made a very stupid resolution. My point is that it does not take dumb people with evil intentions to make bad laws. Rather, it takes exeptional people with the noblest of intentions to make good ones. Something important like the Patriot act should not be written under duress. Decisions about how long it should last should not be made in the middle of a patriotic frenzy during a war. The rather low-caliber individuals already in Congress are barely qualified as it is to write something this important. Having them do it, under these conditions is a sure recepie for disaster. If we need any law right now, we need one that prevents the government from making permanent legislation during times of war.

    In summary: the Constitution is hard to amend because the founding fathers realized that few of their sucessors would be up to the task of changing such an important document. Only those that can convience not only a majority that voted for them, but most of those that didn't as well, should be able to make such a change. Only those people are qualified enough to do so.

User hostile.