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U.S. House Votes to Extend Patriot Act 1137

Rick Zeman writes "In the wake of today's 4 dud bombings in London, the U.S. House has voted to extend the Patriot Act by a vote of 257-171. This includes 10-year extensions to the two other provisions set to expire on December 31, one allowing roving wiretaps, and another allowing searches of library and medical records."
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U.S. House Votes to Extend Patriot Act

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 21, 2005 @11:10PM (#13131732)
    to welcome our new American Overlords
    • by eclectic4 ( 665330 ) on Friday July 22, 2005 @11:02AM (#13135344)
      The real fear (which is counter to freedom, I might add), is wondering when the definition of what you are "doing wrong" shifts. With all of these provisions now in place, how easy would it be to deem healthy dissent as a a terrorist activity? Proof of this has already been seen. When will attacks on policy become an attack against America, and our "national interests", whatever they may be?

      Freedom is largely a state of mind. While it can be a dangerous one in much of the world, I don't like seeing our country moving in that direction. I would rather live free under threat than safe under fear of oppression. Besides, if the terrorists hate freedom, then why haven't the Netherlands, New Zealand, Switzerland, etc..., countries that are arguably more free than the U.S., not been turned into parking lots by droves of suicide bombers? No, it's our policy and actions, and I don't want to be deemed unpatriotic at best, and a terrorist under prosecution at worst for "attacking" those policies, just as it's supposed to happen in a true, working democracy.

      That is my fear, the Patriot Act doesn't help, and it doesn't "feel" free, that's for sure.
  • by 00Monkey ( 264977 ) on Thursday July 21, 2005 @11:11PM (#13131739) Homepage
    Gotta love the excuses that cost us our freedoms...
    • by tehlinux ( 896034 ) on Thursday July 21, 2005 @11:48PM (#13132022)
      Those damn terrorists will stop at nothing to rob us of our freedoms. The terrorists came up with the patriot act, right?
  • by Alien Being ( 18488 ) on Thursday July 21, 2005 @11:12PM (#13131749)
    The Dem's sound bite on this is that they support the extension, but they have some "concerns" about civil liberties. Gee, thanks a shitload for giving us absolutely nowhere to turn to for sanity in this country. I apologize to the few honest politicians left out there for saying that the entire system is fucked.

    They're also trying to make hay by criticizing the war in Iraq. But where the fuck were they before we, for the first time in history, started a war where none already existed?

    Fuck you, Bill Clinton, for demeaning the office of President in such a way that infinitely corrupt GW could trick a bunch of right wing zealots to vote for him despite the pain he has caused.
  • by DoctorPhish ( 626559 ) on Thursday July 21, 2005 @11:13PM (#13131752) Homepage
  • Scoreboard (Score:5, Insightful)

    by NilObject ( 522433 ) on Thursday July 21, 2005 @11:13PM (#13131756)
    "The terrorists will never succeed in taking away our freedoms and civil liberties!"

    Well, technically, they're using our own politicians to accomplish that, if that is indeed their goal. Now that is a feat: getting your enemy to obtain your goal for you.
    • Re:Scoreboard (Score:5, Insightful)

      by EnronHaliburton2004 ( 815366 ) * on Thursday July 21, 2005 @11:27PM (#13131870) Homepage Journal
      Now that is a feat: getting your enemy to obtain your goal for you.

      By politics or terror, bombs or rules, the goals of many politicians and religious terrorists are one in the same: It's about control-- imposing their will onto yours.
  • Not yet extended (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Blutarsky ( 580739 ) on Thursday July 21, 2005 @11:13PM (#13131759)
    Yes, the house voted to extend it, but it still has to make it through the senate, which will be an interesting process.
    I'm just interested in seeing how quickly the conspiracy theorist start spewing stories about how the U.S. was involved in this because only the detonators went off.
  • by Approaching.sanity ( 889047 ) on Thursday July 21, 2005 @11:14PM (#13131761) Homepage
    To cheers and thunderous applause.
  • ZOMG! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Sr. Pato ( 900333 ) on Thursday July 21, 2005 @11:15PM (#13131773) Homepage
    Hm, maybe I should brush up on my national anthems.

    Oh, Canada,
    Our home and native land,...
  • Hmmm. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Rew190 ( 138940 ) on Thursday July 21, 2005 @11:16PM (#13131781)
    "The people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country." -Adolph Hitler

    "Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety. " -Benjamin Franklin
    • Re:Hmmm. (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 21, 2005 @11:24PM (#13131850)
      I think you are looking for this quote...

      "Of course the people don't want war. But after all, it's the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it's always a simple matter to drag the people along whether it's a democracy, a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism, and exposing the country to greater danger." -- Herman Goering at the Nuremberg trials
    • Re:Hmmm. (Score:5, Informative)

      by uncoveror ( 570620 ) on Thursday July 21, 2005 @11:29PM (#13131886) Homepage
      Hitler did not say that, one of his right hand men, Hermann Goering said it at Nuremberg. That is a good quote if you use it correctly. Read more here. []
    • Re:Hmmm. (Score:5, Informative)

      by cdills ( 879529 ) on Thursday July 21, 2005 @11:51PM (#13132041)

      In Howard Zinn's book "Declarations of Independence," he cites a speech by a student at the Harvard Law School in the early 1960's given to a large group of parents and alumni. The student was speaking about current events, and said,

      "The streets of our country are in turmoil. The universities are filled with students rebelling and rioting. Communists are seeking to destroy our country. Russia is threatening us with her might. And the republic is in danger. Yes! Danger from within and without. We need law and order! Without law and order our nation cannot survive."

      The crowd applauded the words of the young speaker, and when the crowd hushed, he continued.

      "These words were spoken in 1932 by Adolf Hitler."

      • Re:Hmmm. (Score:4, Insightful)

        by tootlemonde ( 579170 ) on Friday July 22, 2005 @06:37AM (#13133590)

        Hitler never said it [].

        But so what if had? Hitler was a demogogue who might say anything if it would gain him power. To that end, he might just as easily have said something true as something false.

        For instance, he's quoted here [] as saying "There could be no issue between the Church and the State. The Church, as such, has nothing to do with political affairs. On the other hand, the State has nothing to do with the faith or inner organization of the Church."

        No doubt Hitler had some ulterior motive for advocating separation of Church and State but simple quoting Hitler would not in any way undermine the concept.

        Similarly, America's law makers may have their flaws but they are by no stretch of the imagination like the Nazis or secretly harbour the objectives of the Nazis.

  • by nmoog ( 701216 ) on Thursday July 21, 2005 @11:17PM (#13131794) Homepage Journal
    Dang, they've taken out the libraries... If only there was some other place I could find subversive information...
  • by digitalgimpus ( 468277 ) on Thursday July 21, 2005 @11:19PM (#13131805) Homepage
    Why not?

    If there is a terrorist bombing, we get money back (taxes).

    Hold lawmakers accountable, so they create laws specifically for the purpose of prevention, not so they can brag about baseless legislation.

    Americans know to look for a guarantee or a warranty on things... why do we hold manufacturers to these standards, but not self absorbed politicians.

    I say we need a money back guarantee. If this fails in the next 10 years, we get refunded tax money.

    If Apple can get attacked legally for iPod batteries that eventually don't hold their charge (because that's so serious), why not hold politicians in that type of arrangement?

    Are iPod batteries more valued than safety?

    /hates politics and stupid people with no priorities or ability to think for themselves.
  • Check Who Voted What (Score:5, Informative)

    by aarku ( 151823 ) on Thursday July 21, 2005 @11:19PM (#13131807) Journal
    Check this webpage [] for the record of who voted what, whenever they get around to putting it online. That's what I was linked to by my local representative's site.
  • by NZheretic ( 23872 ) on Thursday July 21, 2005 @11:19PM (#13131809) Homepage Journal
    If you have not seen Adam Curtis' documentary "The Power of Nightmares" then
    Download the three episodes from the Internet [] and SEE THEM.

    Even if you do not agree with his conclusion, the historical background will give you a far clearer picture of the reality of the situation.

    • by chrispl ( 189217 ) on Thursday July 21, 2005 @11:38PM (#13131949) Homepage
      I could not agree more. This is one documentary that everyone should see.

      It's a pretty comprehensive look at the history and motivations BEHIND the threats we are facing, from both the terrorists and the American government. Yes, at times it's not even trying to be objective, but still a lot of the events and facts that are presented are historical record and are considered far too little today.

      If only this was shown in American prime-time, people may start thinking more critically about the moves we are taking now...

      I still shiver now when I hear the song "Baby it's cold outside".
      • by Coryoth ( 254751 ) on Friday July 22, 2005 @12:58AM (#13132492) Homepage Journal
        If only this was shown in American prime-time, people may start thinking more critically about the moves we are taking now...

        It's quite depressing really. That documentary was shown in the UK almost a year ago. It has made the rounds in prime time slots all over the world - it was showing here in Canada several months ago. And for all that, the one country where it probably most needs to be seen is where it isn't getting any significant play.

        If you can't download whole documentaries, you can start this article on Al Qaeda [] by Jason Burke who featured in the documentary. It will give you an idea of at least some of the background and misperceptions of the "global terror network", or lack thereof, that we are facing.

    • by Feztaa ( 633745 ) on Friday July 22, 2005 @04:15AM (#13133190) Homepage
      The Power of Nightmares [].

      You didn't hear this from me.
  • by Captain Pringle ( 893220 ) on Thursday July 21, 2005 @11:20PM (#13131813)
    "the US House has voted to extend the Patriot Act"

    If I'm reading the article right, I'd say "extend" isn't quite strong enough of a word:

    From the article: "The bulk of the back-and-forth centered on language making permanent 14 of 16 provisions that had four-year sunset provisions under the original law..."

    I have to strongly agree with the critics mentioned in the article, who "said the sunsets were wisely inserted amid the inflamed passions following the September 11 attacks, and should be retained to assess the long-term impact of the law."

    Guess the House didn't think so.
    • I think this demonstrates just how ineffective and pointless these laws are. If the laws survived on their own, they would easily be renewed every time the sunset provision expired. The mere fact they chose to "extend" (make semi-permanent) these laws just says they have no merit.
  • Calm down people... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Paladin144 ( 676391 ) on Thursday July 21, 2005 @11:21PM (#13131828) Homepage
    It has not yet cleared the Senate, and when it does, the bills will need to be reconciled:

    A competing bill also has been approved by the Senate Intelligence Committee, which would give the FBI expanded powers to subpoena records without the approval of a judge or grand jury. That ensured further Senate talks on the terrorism-fighting measure. The House legislation will also have to be reconciled with whatever emerges from the Senate.

    So, let's use this time effectively. Get the word out, and contact your senator. The PATRIOT Act will probably pass, but we can at least try to get ammendments to it that will protect civil liberties while still allowing different law enforcement agencies to work with each other. While I would prefer not to have the PATRIOT act pass, we'd be better off with a bill that protects privacy and prevents racial profiling.

    Personally, I think we should allow it to expire and start over. Many bits are useful, but let's have more emphasis on protecting American rights/liberties. And come on - who named this thing? What an awful, divisive name; it implies that anyone who opposes it is unpatriotic, which is complete horseshit. Name the act for what it does, not for cheap political points.

    • by NitsujTPU ( 19263 ) on Friday July 22, 2005 @12:04AM (#13132140)
      Bills like this should not even be discussed in our country. There is no reason to calm down.

      It is offensive that laws like the PATRIOT act are even discussed in this country, let alone passed the first time.

      People act as if having any of these provisions striken is a victory. The fact that secret trials, the seizure of library and medical records, and roving wiretaps are even discussed in this country should offend you.
  • Terrorism... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by JustNiz ( 692889 ) on Thursday July 21, 2005 @11:29PM (#13131887)
    Before he was elected, Bush was actually quoted as saying that he believed the American people had too much freedom.

    Terrorism is just being used as an excuse for Bush to remove everyones rights.

  • by Weaselmancer ( 533834 ) on Thursday July 21, 2005 @11:34PM (#13131917)

    Why extend them?

    Or to ask it in a more direct manner, exactly what terrorist activities have these bills stopped since they were enacted? Any?

    What's the benefit? How has the Patriot act helped us so far?

    Has it done any good at all yet - or is it just rights erosion for the expediency of law enforcement?

  • by Doc Ruby ( 173196 ) on Thursday July 21, 2005 @11:35PM (#13131926) Homepage Journal
    During the committee negotiations in the House of Representatives, one Democrat attempted to append an amendment to this Police Act that explicitly stated that the Act did not in any way suspend Habeas Corpus []. That foundation of American justice was claimed by opponents to be threatened by the Act, which threat was denied by its supporters. So why did Republicans vote down that simple amendment? It surely would have saved a lot of time and money in any case where a judge had to decide whether, in fact, the Act did violate the Habeas Corpus principle. What does this Act therefore really mean, once the dross of rhetoric that ushers it through the process is lost in the sands of history?
  • by ZorbaTHut ( 126196 ) on Thursday July 21, 2005 @11:38PM (#13131953) Homepage
    fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck

    (For some strange reason the Slashdot filter doesn't like this post. I can't imagine why.)
  • by Pete LaGrange ( 696064 ) on Thursday July 21, 2005 @11:46PM (#13132012)

    if it were only going to be used against people
    who were trying to try to blow things up.

    The problem is it's going to end up being used
    against grandmothers with glaucoma and kids
    with a few dime bags.

    It's like the RICO act, meant to be used against
    racketeers but just try to get your car back if
    you drive down the wrong street at the wrong time.

    The war on drugs has turned our government into
    paternalistic assholes and changed cops from
    helpful servants into self-righteous bastards
    who see a criminal in every face.

    We set ourselves up for this.

    Where better for a guilty, nervous would-be bomber
    to hide that among a population filled with guilty,
    nervous drug users?

    Wake up.

    Tell your congressmen to repeal drug laws because they
    only fuel organized crime, camouflage the real danger
    among us and make those who would do us harm safer
    by diverting funds and manpower from hunting bombers
    down like animals to locking up teenage girls because
    they were caught with a joint.
  • And so... (Score:3, Funny)

    by Snaller ( 147050 ) on Thursday July 21, 2005 @11:53PM (#13132060) Journal
    ... its one step closer to Titors predictions...
  • by brakken ( 607726 ) <phantomx@buckeye ... m ['pre' in gap]> on Thursday July 21, 2005 @11:55PM (#13132073) Homepage
    When the first Patriot Act passed I knew the government was lying when they said they would not extend it past it's deadline. I understand during a time of war it has been necessary in the past to put a lockdown on certain freedoms, but aren't we not at war anymore? I've watched our freedoms being raped from us every single day for the extent of my life any the only reason behind it is so that the government makes some cash. Luckily we're still able to talk about the way we see things on sites like this, but I wonder how long that will last?
  • And this is why... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by The Master Control P ( 655590 ) <ejkeever@neDEBIA ... com minus distro> on Thursday July 21, 2005 @11:56PM (#13132076)
    I have a mousepad with "smash head here" written on it. But, seriously...

    One of Osama's stated goals is to destroy, through holy war, America (the Great Satan). One of the things that made us great was our Constitution, that great document which protects our freedoms. Yet here goes the House of Representatives, doing exactly what bin Laden wants: Taking away our freedom. In fact, doing the one thing that Osama can never do. The only question I really want answered is, "House of Representatives: Who the heck are you representing?" Because I don't believe that the majority of America, let alone 60% of us, want the government to be able to get search warrants without a judge's consent. To force us to keep quiet about a search. To invade the privacy of our medical and library records.

    And I don't want to hear any BS about 'it will only be used on/against terrorists.' This government, like any other, has abused/abuses almost every power it was ever given. And you think they'll pass up something as juicy, and so easy, and so incredibly tempting to abuse as this? Look at RICO. It was passed so the cops could bust meetings of mobsters. Now it's routinely used against groups of garden-variety criminals.

    "For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." -- H L Mencken. Terrorism is a complex problem. We have to pull off a considerable juggling act: We have to try and defend ourselves against terrorists. We also have to make sure that we have a nation that is free and worth defending when we're done. We have to find and assauge the root cause of the hatred, because as Vietnam and now Iraq have demonstrated, superior technology can't defeat a foe with the power of conviction in his beliefs. And we have to reign in our collective ego, and not be too proud to admit that Iraq is a lost cause and that we should leave. And so far, our government is only keeping one ball in the air. The "Patriot" act is an answer that is clear, simple, and dead wrong.

    "If tyranny and oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy." -- James Madison
    "History teaches us that men and nations behave wisely once they have exhausted all other alternatives." -- Abba Eban.

    "Most Democrats echoed that support but said they were concerned the law could allow citizens' civil liberties to be infringed." translate(BS, ENGLISH) == "The 43 Democrats who voted in favor secretly oppose it but have no spine or willpower to say so."

    "While the Patriot Act and other anti-terrorism initiatives have helped avert additional attacks on our soil, the threat has not receded," said Rep. James Sensenbrenner, R-Wisconsin, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee. Of course not, dumbass. The threat will not recede until we (the Infidels) remove our troops from the Holy Land (Saudi Arabia) because that's exactly what Osama expicitly stated! But America won't do that and we all know why.

    "The House debate included frequent references to the attacks earlier in the day, two weeks after larger London blasts that killed 56, including four suicide bombers." Hmmm... could it be that THIS is what the London blasts were about?

    Ugh... I am disgusted with this government beyond words.
  • If you don't like it (Score:3, Informative)

    by djdanlib ( 732853 ) on Thursday July 21, 2005 @11:59PM (#13132096) Homepage
    If you don't like it, here's an idea that isn't "STFU" or "move".

    Write to your congressman or senators, who were elected to represent you and can only represent you if they hear from you, and politely tell them that you disagree with this. Ask them to consider changing their minds.

    A letter can make a difference.
  • by Y-Crate ( 540566 ) on Friday July 22, 2005 @12:48AM (#13132422)
    When the PATRIOT Act was first proposed a lot of people - myself included - saw it for what it was after momentarily putting aside the shock and unreal horror of 9/11.

    Thus, the following exchange occurred many times with many different people.

    Me: "So you're saying that you think this whole thing might be a bad idea in the long run?"

    Them: "Yeah, but don't worry, everything sunsets in five years. The bill will expire and by that point the threat will have diminished to the point where it won't be needed any longer. Chill man. Stop being a Chicken Little about things."

    Me: "Don't you realize that once the government gets more power that they are very unlikely to ever give it up again? Do you understand how many times this sort of thing has happened, where temporary measures such as taxes to fund wars, emergency powers and the like end up going on forever?

    Them: "You have to wake up to this post -9/11 world we live in now. Things are different, we have to win this war on terrorism!"

    Me: "How do you win a war against a tactic? Terrorism is here to stay, and if you let this bill come into law then it will be here to stay. There is zero doubt that reason will be found to keep it and use it as justification for further restrictive bills. Once the ball is rolling on this, it will be more or less impossible to stop."

    Them: "Not more of that liberal alarmist BS..."

    I had that conversation about 50,000 times, I'm sure many of you did as well. The cliche of a "slippery slope" is a cliche because it so often proves to be true. The PATRIOT Act was never going to expire and never will. Terrorism is too nebulous of a threat to ever go away. It can be brought out indefinitely to justify the permanence of such legislation, regardless of wether it is a truly valuable tool and one that respects the rights of all those who fall under its jurisdiction.

    The rumblings of what comes after the PATRIOT Act have been a troubling sight on the horizon for the past few years now. Drafts have been circulated on Capitol Hill. They contain such provisions as being stripped of your natural-born citizenship by executive order upon being deemed an "enemy combatant" and various other items that you can read up on at non-tinfoil sites out there.

    I'm not gloating that I was proved right. I'm depressed. I wanted little more than to see 2005 close with the likes of the PATRIOT Act in the rearview. To wake up from the nightmare that we've all descended into. The nightmare that is the kind of world we saw dawn on a September morning almost 4 years ago. Sheer unimaginable brutality delivered by surprise along the sense that worse was yet to come at some point, while we were forced to watch those we had entrusted with our safety play politics with it and make the power grabs that we have always dismissed as fantasies of lunatics on the fringes of society.

    The actions of Al-Queda and governments around the world in response, were both examples of dramatic and unexpected reactions to external influences. Hoping that they were an aberration proved to be futile. They are now the new norm.

    I think at this time the only thing that I can really say is that when the government pushes more legislation and word starts getting around about a new bill coming through the pipe, do not dismiss it with the usual "It will never get out of committee" or the equally as overused "It will never pass."

    If by now, you haven't learned to grasp that you need to expect the unexpected, then the next 5 years look like they will be quite a ride for you.
  • Reichstag Fire: (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Amiasian ( 157604 ) on Friday July 22, 2005 @02:39AM (#13132914)
    Adolf Hitler and Hermann Göring arrived soon after, and when they were shown Van der Lubbe, a known Communist agitator, Göring immediately declared the fire was set by the Communists and had the party leaders arrested. Hitler took advantage of the situation to declare a state of emergency and encouraged aging president Paul von Hindenburg to sign the Reichstag Fire Decree, abolishing most of the human rights provisions of the 1919 Weimar Republic constitution.

    I think this strangely appropriate. Ideologies, not countries, always seems to be the common threat under which liberties are stolen by states.
    • Re:Reichstag Fire: (Score:5, Informative)

      by egrinake ( 308662 ) <<on.teopedoc> <ta> <gkire>> on Friday July 22, 2005 @06:08AM (#13133526)

      The Reichstag fire is widely believed to have been started by the Nazis themselves, as a pretext for declaring a state of emergency, reducing civil rights and starting an anti-communist campaign. From Wikipedia []:

      At Nuremberg, General Franz Halder claimed Göring had confessed to setting the fire: "At a luncheon on the birthday of Hitler in 1942, the conversation turned to the topic of the Reichstag building [fire] and its artistic value. I heard with my own ears when Göring interrupted the conversation and shouted: 'The only one who really knows about the Reichstag is I, because I set it on fire!' With that he slapped his thigh with the flat of his hand."

      Some people believe (rightly or wrongly) that the US government were somehow involved [] in the 9/11 attacks - either by direct action or by lack of action - precisely to have a pretext for 1) reduction of civil rights, and 2) launching a large-scale military campaign in the middle east. I'm not saying this is correct, but it sounds a bit less far-fetched when knowing that stuff like this has happened [] several [] times [] before [].

"If you lived today as if it were your last, you'd buy up a box of rockets and fire them all off, wouldn't you?" -- Garrison Keillor