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Patriot Act Spy Powers To Expire As Rand Paul Blocks USA Freedom Act Vote 500

Saturday, we mentioned that three major spying powers that the U.S. government has exercised under the Patriot Act might be nixed, as the sections of the Act granting authority to use them expires. The Daily Dot reports that Senator (and presidential contender) Rand Paul today used Senate rules to block a bill which would have extended those powers, which means that as of midnight Sunday on the U.S. east coast, sections 206, 207 and 215 of the Patriot Act will have expired. Says the Daily Dot's article, linked by reader blottsie: The reform bill, which the House passed before leaving town for a week-long recess, would end the government's bulk collection of Americans' phone records under the Patriot Act's controversial Section 215 but leaves the other two provisions intact. ... Sunday's procedural meltdown was the second narrow defeat for the USA Freedom Act. In a late-night session on Friday, May 22, the bill fell three votes short of an initial procedural step after [Senate Majority Leader] McConnell lobbied hard against it. The Senate's failure to meet its deadline was a blow to President Obama, who on Friday had warned lawmakers that the country would be vulnerable if the USA Freedom Act did not pass.
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Patriot Act Spy Powers To Expire As Rand Paul Blocks USA Freedom Act Vote

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  • by TheRealHocusLocus ( 2319802 ) on Sunday May 31, 2015 @08:33PM (#49811603)

    I am so jittery... as the clock strikes Midnight I will no longer bask in the protective glow of Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act. I cannot fall asleep without the reassuring sound of telephone records being gathered [youtube.com]. Surely something awful will happen tonight or tomorrow. Maybe I will try to organize the neighborhood for a continuous vigil until the Act is restored. But first, I'll just turn on the radio and catch some news... [youtube.com]

    • Don't be scared my little Yankee "barbarian" friend, let a Greek hug you... everything will be o.k.! BUT: remember that EVIL BARBARIANS (not like those who voted for the Patriot Act) exist... please DON'T FORGET [youtube.com]!
      • by Taco Cowboy ( 5327 ) on Sunday May 31, 2015 @09:38PM (#49811939) Journal

        I have been an American citizen for over 30 years ever since I took my oath back in the 1980's

        This is the day I can say that I feel proud as an American for at the very least the politicians in Washington D.C., for once, are doing something that the PEOPLE want them to do --- to kill that goddamn draconian bill that allows the government of the United States of America to act much like a totalitarian regime

        I think I am not the only one in America who will keep note of who is voting to keep American under the dictatorship of Obama - and we will make sure that all the supporters of dictator Obama will get booted from the Capitol Hill

        • by fortfive ( 1582005 ) on Sunday May 31, 2015 @09:58PM (#49812019)

          . . . under the dictatorship of Obama - and we will make sure that all the supporters of dictator Obama will get booted from the Capitol Hill

          Wait, is this sarcasm? You're gunning for the funny mod, right?

          Because, A., the PATRIOT Act (writing the word "patriot" in reference to these orwellian measures makes my stomach turn, but that's not what I'm talking about here) was promulgated by Cheney Rumsfeld Bush and Co., and passed under their stern, wagging fingers, and, B., Obama operates from the White House, whereas it is the Congress whose building is Capitol Hill.

          I'm confused because Paragraph 2 is an accurate representation of the current state of affairs. I mean, Obama is a far sight short of his promises, much like most Democrats these days, and totally wrong on this issue, but he is way less of a totalitarian/authoritarian than CRB executive was. And, at least one or two of his policies are meant for the benefit of the Plebs.

          • by Taco Cowboy ( 5327 ) on Sunday May 31, 2015 @10:09PM (#49812063) Journal

            ... was promulgated by Cheney Rumsfeld Bush and Co ...

            Please spare me the history lesson, dude

            I do need to ask you a question, tho ...
             
            Who is the one coming out asking the Congress to extend the Patriot Act?

            Was it Cheney Rumsfeld Bush and Co., or was it Obama?

            • by DarkTempes ( 822722 ) on Sunday May 31, 2015 @10:28PM (#49812129)

              Actually, it's Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner Jr. (R, WI-5), the same guy who sponsored the Patriot Act.

              I'm not a fan of political parties as a concept but just saying...

              • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 31, 2015 @10:36PM (#49812171)

                Joe Biden was the original author:

                http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2011/12/joe-biden-drafted-the-core-of-the-patriot-act-in-1995-before-the-oklahoma-city-bombing.html

            • by anagama ( 611277 ) <obamaisaneocon@nothingchanged.org> on Sunday May 31, 2015 @10:35PM (#49812167) Homepage

              Exactly. The mantra of Blame Bush is so old and tired. Yeah, I blame Bush for what he did, and I blame Obama for making the crap Bush did the new normal, which is actually worse. GWB was seen as on the radical side of exercising presidential powers -- Obama's making that the new baseline makes reform much less likely and so Obama's presidency is ultimately even a worse disservice than GWB's was. Unless of course you want to live in a US where most all power, eventually all, lies in the Executive branch.

              • by HairyNevus ( 992803 ) <hairynevus@@@gmail...com> on Sunday May 31, 2015 @11:02PM (#49812275)

                I really can't wait until we get a new president. Then it will everyone bitching about the next one will get told to blame Obama, and then people will counter that blaming Obama is old and tired but the new president is somehow worse for not being radically different.

                You know what I really honestly and non-sarcastically can't wait for? The day when you idiots stop voting these people into power. As long as the race for presidency--as long as most every political race at every level in this country-- is between a Democrat or a Republican, that will never happen [youtu.be].

                • by waspleg ( 316038 ) on Monday June 01, 2015 @05:22AM (#49813303) Journal

                  are carefully selected by corporate money/the rich who own them then there is no real change since it's the same hand up the ass of both party puppets.

                • by tomkost ( 944194 )
                  posting again non-AC... Agree with all you said, except one part. The vast majority of my fellow Americans don't even realize there are other options beyond R and D. That's because the media is complicit in excluding 3rd parties and preserving the duopoly. Since Citizens United, it's only gotten worse. So the Supreme Court is also to blame. None of the three branches of government support the people any longer.
            • by Jeremi ( 14640 ) on Sunday May 31, 2015 @10:47PM (#49812211) Homepage

              ... under the dictatorship of Obama ...

              Who is the one coming out asking the Congress to extend the Patriot Act?

              Was it Cheney Rumsfeld Bush and Co., or was it Obama?

              What kind of a dictator "asks" Congress for anything? A proper dictator would, you know, dictate his commands, and any Congressman who refused to rubber-stamp them would be fired, or shot (or both).

              • by Mitreya ( 579078 ) <mitreya.gmail@com> on Sunday May 31, 2015 @11:32PM (#49812403)

                What kind of a dictator "asks" Congress for anything? A proper dictator would, you know, dictate his commands

                A clever dictator asks Congress for things he does not want, so that he can deflect the blame to Congress when they fail to pass it. You don't see presidents asking for permission about, say, drone bombings in various countries.

                • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                  by cavreader ( 1903280 )

                  The President is the Commander and Chief of the US armed services. Under the War Powers Act he can declare war without getting Congressional approval. The President has 90 days after the start of the war to convince Congress to support his decision. If they do not agree they have the power to stop providing the money needed to prosecute the war. The drone strikes are carried out with the permission from the countries where the attacks take place. Yemen, Pakistan, Iraq, and Afghani governments have given the

                • A clever dictator asks Congress for things he does not want, so that he can deflect the blame to Congress when they fail to pass it

                  If he didn't want it, why did he renew it last time? He's got a veto for that sort of thing.

                  Note, by the by, that both this time and last time, the Dems in the Senate were pretty solidly in favor of renewal

            • by linearZ ( 710002 ) on Monday June 01, 2015 @12:59AM (#49812629)

              ... was promulgated by Cheney Rumsfeld Bush and Co ...

              Who is the one coming out asking the Congress to extend the Patriot Act?

              Was it Cheney Rumsfeld Bush and Co., or was it Obama?

              This argument is exactly the argument they want. because this argument leads nowhere.

              The patriot act was promulgated by Cheney Rumsfeld Bush and Co. under a republican controlled congress. And it was backed by Obama under a democratically controlled congress, and - if not for the exception of one guy with a backbone - almost got pushed through a Republican controlled congress by a Democrat president again. So you are both right. What are your points?

              The one thing that you two probably agree with, the one thing that polls have shown like 80% if Americans agreeing with, is that the Patriot Act is nonsense and needs to be repealed. Yet, over 99% of the elected representatives seems to want the Patriot Act passed.

              Meanwhile, armchair yahoos such as yourselves are busy arguing about which politician is to blame? Balderdash! How about blaming all elected officials, except for maybe Rand Paul and Bernie Sanders? If you can only think of this through the lens of political parties, how about going with the vertebrate and invertebrate parties? I know, without their own news channels, it is hard to imagine....

              • The one thing that you two probably agree with, the one thing that polls have shown like 80% if Americans agreeing with, is that the Patriot Act is nonsense and needs to be repealed. Yet, over 99% of the elected representatives seems to want the Patriot Act passed.

                What do you imagine this is all about, then? Why do you think there's such a discrepancy?

                My running theory is that it has nothing to do with political parties or oppression. The elected officials support the PATRIOT Act because they're cowards. They believe that the American people are stupid and fickle, and that even if 100% strongly support repealing the PATRIOT Act, those same people will still blame their elected politicians for "not doing enough" when the next terrorist attack comes.

                And they're right to believe it. There will be another successful terrorist attack. There will. Someday, under some circumstances; it's only a matter of time. And when it happens, no matter what the circumstances are, the general populace will panic, and they'll do all kinds of stupid things. And the funny thing is, you might not realize this unless you really pay attention, but the general populace has no memory. It doesn't matter how much they disapprove of the PATRIOT Act now. As soon as there's a successful terrorist attack and they're scared and confused, they'll be absolutely irate that we aren't spying on more people more often. They won't have any idea why the NSA stopped monitoring all of our phone calls, but they'll be angry at anyone involved in putting an end to it.

                I mean, if you talk to people now, nobody was ever in favor of invading Iraq. Go ahead and ask people, and they'll get upset and say they don't know why we went in, but it was a big mistake, and they always knew it was a mistake. Or they'll say they were tricked. But back when it happened, it was popular enough that representatives were afraid to oppose it. At least some of those people are mis-remembering. Same thing with all of the deregulation going on during the Clinton era, which everyone seems to have conveniently forgotten happened during Clinton's presidency. Everyone remembers that they economy grew under Clinton, but everyone forgets all the deregulation and Walmartization going on at the time.

                People have no memory and no principles, so they're just running off of whatever they're feeling at the time. Our elected officials tend to base their policies on irrational fear and bigotry because those are the most consistent and trustworthy feelings.

        • by fustakrakich ( 1673220 ) on Sunday May 31, 2015 @10:16PM (#49812087) Journal

          :-) Which PEOPLE [washingtonpost.com] are you talking about?

          "If you're not doing anything wrong, what are you worried about?" said Tom Charlton, 64, a retired sales training manager for a tire company, who was first in line at a book-signing with Paul in Davenport. "If this can stop one attack, it's worth infringing on legal citizens' rights."...

          "I don't want the mall to get bombed because they didn't get the information they needed," said [Vivian] Martin...

          Sally Cram, 62, said after leaving a town hall meeting with Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) that she supports the NSA program because "I'm a person who believes our government tells us the truth."...

          These are the American citizens who keep this stuff alive, because they believe... It doesn't matter if Rand Paul is occasionally right. Being "right" has very little to do with anything.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward

          I have been an American citizen for over 30 years ever since I took my oath back in the 1980's

          This is the day I can say that I feel proud as an American for at the very least the politicians in Washington D.C., for once, are doing something that the PEOPLE want them to do --- to kill that goddamn draconian bill that allows the government of the United States of America to act much like a totalitarian regime

          I think I am not the only one in America who will keep note of who is voting to keep American under the dictatorship of Obama - and we will make sure that all the supporters of dictator Obama will get booted from the Capitol Hill

          Blame Obama? Thats the punchline to this joke of yours? It isn't funny, because it is predictable and wrong , and at this point.. pointless.

          I am proud to be an American, but for real reasons, not because of the thinly veiled and predictable power grabbing and posturing going on in the Senate leading up to the 2016 election cycle. Let's break down your delusions here one by one so we can tease apart the cluster-fsck of convoluted pseudo-logic that comprises your post:

          I have been an American citizen for over 30 years ever since I took my oath back in the 1980's

          I take from this you mean to imply that

    • Run these concurrently in separate tabs. You might also enjoy this 1971 re-creation [youtube.com]. Also the chicken heart [youtube.com] that terrified Bill Cosby as a young child [youtube.com]. Even Mr. Roger's Neighborhood [youtube.com] combines well with dark ambient industrial.

    • by rtb61 ( 674572 ) on Sunday May 31, 2015 @09:52PM (#49812003) Homepage

      Considering the anthrax attack that was used to promote the Patriot Act in the first place, you have very good reason to be afraid. People who want the power provided by those corrupt laws will be more than willing to do quite extreme things to get that power back.

    • You are right to be concerned. Only Saturday, a young female student on a United flight tried to lay her hands on a can of cola. The flight attendant had been alerted to the danger (no doubt as a result of the Patriot Act provisions) and prevented the woman arming herself, storming the cockpit and flying the plane into the rebuilt World Trade Center. Who will monitor the intentions of these desperate terrorists if the Patriot Act provisions lapse?

      Seriously, the administration would prefer the provisions are

  • by Noah Haders ( 3621429 ) on Sunday May 31, 2015 @08:34PM (#49811617)

    he's got my vote.

    • by amiga3D ( 567632 )

      Mine too. He ain't perfect but he's the best bet in town.

    • by blue trane ( 110704 ) on Sunday May 31, 2015 @08:54PM (#49811729) Homepage Journal

      We need Sanders to use the same tactics to block any Republican cuts to Social Security.

    • by cdrudge ( 68377 )

      So you're deciding your vote on a single issue that will halt surveillance for all of a day and a half?

  • Just a couple weeks ago, a US Court of Appeals ruled that the NSA was violating the law. It doesn't matter what's legal and what's not, they'll just do it. c.f. "above the law".
  • by Okian Warrior ( 537106 ) on Sunday May 31, 2015 @08:41PM (#49811661) Homepage Journal

    The Huffington Post was live updating [theguardian.com] the proceedings, and said this:

    USA Freedom Act advances 77-17

    In a stunning reversal from last week’s drama, the USA Freedom Act was passed by a vote of 77-17. The bill, which passed the House overwhelmingly several weeks ago will now move forward and is likely to receive a final vote on Tuesday.

    The bill fell three votes short of the needed supermajority to advance last week but with the clock ticking on controversial provisions of the Patriot Act, supporters of NSA surveillance thought that the proposed reforms were better than letting the program expire entirely.

    Rand Paul stated that the Freedom Act will likely get passed on Tuesday.

    Wait... did we win or not? Isn't this just a 2-day repreive?

    • by Moof123 ( 1292134 ) on Sunday May 31, 2015 @08:59PM (#49811757)

      At least it becomes a new bill rather than a reauthorization. The stink that sticks to the yes voters is far worse for passing a new bill rather than just reauthorizing someones elses dirty work.

      • by NoKaOi ( 1415755 )

        At least it becomes a new bill rather than a reauthorization. The stink that sticks to the yes voters is far worse for passing a new bill rather than just reauthorizing someones elses dirty work.

        Like how the stink stuck with those who voted for the original PATRIOT act? Oh wait, no it didn't.

    • if he stops them from renewing it they have to make a new bill and pass it not as easy and being it failed to be renewe they will be pressured to remove the things blocking it from being renewed,
    • The Huffington Post was live updating [theguardian.com] the proceedings, and said this:

      USA Freedom Act advances 77-17

      In a stunning reversal from last week’s drama, the USA Freedom Act was passed by a vote of 77-17. The bill, which passed the House overwhelmingly several weeks ago will now move forward and is likely to receive a final vote on Tuesday.

      The bill fell three votes short of the needed supermajority to advance last week but with the clock ticking on controversial provisions of the Patriot Act, supporters of NSA surveillance thought that the proposed reforms were better than letting the program expire entirely.

      Rand Paul stated that the Freedom Act will likely get passed on Tuesday.

      Wait... did we win or not? Isn't this just a 2-day repreive?

      Please note this [1] is one of the bills being proposed (by the sitting Senate Intelligence Chair, no less):

      The bill Senate Intelligence Chair Richard Burr released last Friday is bad enough for the way it expanded the existing illegal dragnet. I argued here Burr’s bill would give the Intelligence Community everything they lost in 2009 and 2011. [...]

      So think about it - is this just a 2 day reprieve or 2 days so they can rollback more restrictions and make things worse than they are now?

      [1] https://www.emptywheel.net/201... [emptywheel.net]

  • If it dies, it's because they already have something to replace it. We will be informed on a 'need to know' basis. They will decide when we 'need to know'.

  • In order to keep America safe, does anyone know where I can send my emails and phone records to until this whole misunderstanding is resolved? I'd hate for a terrorist to get me because my information was private.

    • by 93 Escort Wagon ( 326346 ) on Sunday May 31, 2015 @09:17PM (#49811839)

      In order to keep America safe, does anyone know where I can send my emails and phone records to until this whole misunderstanding is resolved? I'd hate for a terrorist to get me because my information was private.

      Don't worry - they're almost certainly still doing it. They just won't be bothering with any FISA rubber stamps or procedural filings.

      I mean, come on. They obviously weren't concerned even with the Constitution up to this point in time; why would they start worrying about more ephemeral congressional votes now?

    • Well, if you have anything really juicy in there -- a bit of porn, some records of your cocaine transactions, maybe some private account numbers and your social security number, you can always send them to me. I'll make sure there are no terrorists hiding under your bed.

      And of course, I'm completely trustworthy.

      My address:

      John Doe
      Secret Agent for U.N.C.L.E.
      Hiding Under Your Bed (but I'm a nice guy, not a terrorist, and there isn't any more room under here)

      In fact, don't bother sending them. I've already got them. And BTW, you snore...

  • Well.. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    This would have a lot more meaning if the NSA had anything to fear if they break the law.

  • You really think they will stop just because the legal justification they claimed is gone? They will just invent a new legal theory to justify what they have always done, what they always do, and what they have always been planning to do.
  • The Patriot Act was in the end largely an expansion of existing government powers. This did not create the CIA, FBI, or NSA. They will still exist even if the Patriot Act is not extended at all, and they will still have a lot of power to spy on Americans. In the end, this is a great move of political posturing, but it doesn't really help us as much as a certain presidential candidate wants us to believe.
  • by Snotnose ( 212196 ) on Sunday May 31, 2015 @09:44PM (#49811971)
    Dunno what else he stands for, but he just made a huge "hell ya" in my book. I'm sure I'll find out in the next few days he's a misogynist endangered species farker.

    Seriously, dunno what else he stands for but his efforts to let this abomination die wins him major points in my book.
  • by rgbatduke ( 1231380 ) <rgb@ph y . d u k e.edu> on Sunday May 31, 2015 @10:19PM (#49812097) Homepage

    ... in a few weeks the powers that be will let (if necessary, "encourage") an act of extreme terrorism on US soil succeed. Then they will go back to the well, and congress will enthusiastically vote us all into chains at the same time they increase the budget and personal power of all of the shadow spooks keeping us safe.

    Well, probably not a few weeks -- that would be too suspicious. But look for it within the year, especially if they can find a poster-child terrorist they can point at and say -- look, if only we were tapping everybody's phone (including yours) we could have found him in time to prevent this tragedy...

    rgb

  • by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) on Sunday May 31, 2015 @10:34PM (#49812161) Journal

    I'm a little bit afraid of what our Intelligence Apparatus will do if backed into a corner.

    I'd feel a lot better if Senator Paul was fighting for increased oversight over the NSA's off-the-books budget. I mean, we already know that they don''t give fuck-all about the law.

  • by MitchDev ( 2526834 ) on Monday June 01, 2015 @07:41AM (#49813567)

    this won't stop the NSA and FBI, CIA, etc from continuing their unconstitutional surveillance state...

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