Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Patriot Act Renewal Clears Final Hurdle

So, while everyone is all upset over the ports deal, this manages to go by without much notice. Of course, it was a big fight before, now everyone has just decided to give in to the administration. Because it's ok to back down from your principles if no one is paying attention, I guess. This is how our government works now. Something ridiculous comes along, reasonable people point out how ridiculous it is, there's a big fight over it, then it goes away for a while. When it comes back up, people aren't nearly as worked up over it (mostly because something even more ridiculous has come along to distract them), and the exact same thing that everyone was upset about in the first place passes by with barely a notice, and hardly an objection. Well, it works for the administration to distract us from scandals by simply having a new one, it shouldn't be surprising that they distract Congress from debating one issue by distracting them with another one. Of course, I fully expect in the next couple of weeks, this ports deal will go away for a while, then in a few months it will come back up without all the fanfare and hoopla, and it will be quietly approved. One thing in the article that stood out to me was this quote by Senator Jim Bunning of Kentucky, where I'm now ashamed to say I was born:

Civil liberties do not mean much when you are dead

I'm just shocked that someone can say this without being openly mocked and ridiculed. Perhaps, if we hurry, we can notify all the text book publishers who are busy putting warning labels or removing evolution related material from our kids' science books to also go to work on history books to replace Patrick Henry's famous quote with Bunning's.


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Robert Bayn said...

Port Deal is a big issue, but so it the Patriot Act, unforuntly our elected officials only have enough brain power to deal with one issue at a time.

Chris Howard said...

You're right on about this. After the 45 day review, I'm sure the port deal will be quietly approved. Good line about the stickers. I guess Bunning would have advised the slaves not to run as it was safer to stay on the plantation.

John Howard said...

Yeah, what good is freedom if you're dead. Why can't people just trust the government to know what's best for them?

Fixer said...

...replace Patrick Henry's famous quote with Bunning's...

God how we've fallen in 2 1/3 centuries.

yank in london said...

I'd love nothing more than to hate Bunning. However I was raised a Phillies fan and Father's Day, 1964 was one of the very, very few high points in my first 20 years....

beakerkin said...

John your attitude towards Civil Liberties might match Bunnings if you were blown up twice. Most of America is not too worried about Civil Rights for terrorists.

You might want to live in a fantasy an wonder about McCarthyism but Vennona and the KGB files proved that those who were accused were clearly guilty and the American Communist Party was funded by Moscow and had a lengthy history of subversion.

The latest response from Prof Shrecker is Communists had a different kind of patriotism. This
will give way to blowing up buildings is just another form of Civil disobedience.

John Howard said...

beakerkin, you're the one who lives in a fantasy world. You think we can somehow take civil rights away from terrorist, and leave them alone for everyone else. It doesn't work that way.

No one said anything about McCarthy, but as usual, you stray so far from the point that I have no idea what the fuck you're talking about.

I don't know or care who Professor Shrecker is, but if he's in favor of blowing up building as civil disobedience, then I'll go on record as being against that.

Miranda said...

I know this is off topic, but what are your thoughts on this?

John Howard said...

miranda, I'm not too well versed in Sikh orthodoxy, but that seems like a bad idea.

beakerkin said...


Where is this right to privacy ? Do I have a right to use drugs in my home ? Do I have a right to a drug lab in my bedroom ? Do I have a right to build bombs in my bedroom ?

None of these rights exsist because the right to privacy itself
never existed in the Constitution.
There is a protection against unreasonable searches. This does not protect criminal activity. Nor does it exempt people from probable cause.

Probable cause is established one person X has made contact with known terrorist Y. In fact international calls were never protected at all.

John Howard said...

The Supreme Court has determined that the Constitution does guarantee a right to privacy, so if you have a proble with that, you should probably take it up with them.

Either way, the Patriot Act is looking beyond that and is trying to circumvent things that are clearly in there. How can you seriously mention probable cause in an argument for the Patriot Act, that's one of the protections it is trying to get around.

Finally, now it sounds like you're not talking about the Patriot Act at all, but the President's spying on Americans program. On that, you're completely wrong, and I think you might be losing your mind. No one has to establish any probable cause in that program, WHICH IS EXACTLY WHY I HAVE A PROBLEM WITH IT, but you're too thick headed to get that. For some reason you trust the government, and I don't. Even if there was some determination of probable cause, they never have to demonstrate it to anyone. Maybe they really are only listening to terrorists, I don't know, but neither do you, and that's the whole point. Finally, you're wrong that international calls were never protected, if one side of the call is in the US, then it very clearly is protected under the Fourth Amendment, under FISA, and under the right to privacy that you deny.

Also, even if you think there isn't a right to privacy, don't you think there should be one? Do you honestly want the government to be able to control what you do in your own home? Of course you don't have the right to have a drug lab in your bedroom, but without the right to privacy, the police could stop by and check your bedroom whenever they felt like, just in case you might have one, even if you didn't. I honesly can't believe that you're not smart enough to get that.

Storm said...

JRH may I ask you to channel your outrage about the port deal to answer 3 questions that are burning in my mind;

1) which President signed off to let the ports leave the control of US companies?

2)What exactly was Bill Clinton's role in lobbying for and profiting from this deal--I thought it was illegal for former government employees to lobby so soon after leaving office?

3) Show we ban all Muslims from owning any property in the US and should we also seize all assets of Muslims? After all those assests might be used to commit terrorist actions.

Storm said...

As for the Patriot Act...

I am truly saddened that the media has failed to educate you about any actual provision of the bill so you could debate it more fully. Perhaps you could do some research on it?

For the rest of us, in general terms the Patriot Act has allowed law enforcement agencies to actually investigate terrorists before they attack. Many of the idiotic "reforms" of Democracts were overturned giving law enforcement a chance. Many of tools relate to financial investigations taking the tools used against organized crime and modifying those tools for terrorists. Some of the other provisions attempt to update laws and evidence gathering to reflect this century's technology.

I know you all think I am brain washed so I will give you a little excercise to prove this for yourself.

Step one turn off CNN
Step two visit your local courthouse and laws for your state
Step three conclude for yourself that Courts and Laws have no idea what a computer is and place no value on evidence gathered therein
Step Fourth still do not believe Storm so visit your local police department and discover they have 1 or maybe 2 computer forensics detectives for every 500,000 people in a given city if you are lucky in smaller jurisdictions no forensics examiners
Step 5 still do not believe Storm because CNN is the Holy Grail so try to find standardized procedures for gathering computer evidence such as exist for fingerprints and Codis.

Finally conclude maybe Storm could be right just once after all a blind squirrel finds a nut once in awhile