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Senate Passes Patriot Act Renewal 705

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the not-dead-yet dept.
IAmTheDave writes "The Senate has passed a renewal of the Patriot act, 89-10, after two extensions caused by months of negotiations. The only thing standing in the way of a full renewal is a House vote, expected to pass next week. The renewal comes with some privacy protections attached, however, some worry they are only cosmetic. Some lawmakers who voted for the package acknowledged deep reservations about the power it would grant to any president. "Our support for the Patriot Act does not mean a blank check for the president," said Democratic leader Harry Reid of Nevada, who voted to pass the bill package. Certain lawmakers supported passing the bill even though they were still wary about it - Arlen Specter urged his colleagues to pass it even as he promised to introduce a new measure and hold hearings on how to fix it. Terrorism aside, the bill also includes new legislation that has almost nothing to do with terrorism, like one measure, which would make it harder for illicit labs to obtain ingredients for methamphetamine by requiring pharmacies to sell nonprescription cold medicines only from behind the counter. I know that people like Arlen Specter promise further hearings - but why pass what you know is flawed?"
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Senate Passes Patriot Act Renewal

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  • Easy (Score:5, Funny)

    by dereference (875531) on Friday March 03, 2006 @01:19AM (#14840713)
    I know that people like Arlen Specter promise further hearings - but why pass what you know is flawed?

    Think of it as the beta release.

    • Re:Easy (Score:5, Funny)

      by RickPartin (892479) * on Friday March 03, 2006 @01:32AM (#14840772) Homepage
      Wait a second. I have a sneaking suspicion that Google is some how involved in all this. How long has this Patriot Act been out in what is essentially beta?
    • Think of it as the beta release.

      No wonder the US is filled with bugs.
  • by LibertineR (591918) on Friday March 03, 2006 @01:21AM (#14840720)
    Ha! Gotcha. I meant you, over there burning that DVD torrent you've been downloading for 6 hours. And YOU, you SOB. Stop moving those CD's to your Ipod, thief. Oh, and not to mention YOU, who told you that it was fine to tamper with that TiVo? You say you learned to do it at the Library? NO, NOT THE LIBRARY!!!
  • meth (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 03, 2006 @01:22AM (#14840725)
    All of the crap when purchasing certain cold meds makes me want to start a methlab just out of spite.
  • Funny (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CountZero117 (921222) on Friday March 03, 2006 @01:23AM (#14840727)
    I like how the patriot act gets renewed virtually without any coverage, cause Dick Cheney accidently shooting some guy is a much better story than covering an act that restricts our civil liberties. This isn't a troll, i'm just pissed off.
    • That's not an accident. They want the controversy over the Patriot Act to be seen as "yesterday's news", something that's settled and that no one needs to worry about anymore.
    • Re:Funny (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      I think there really ought to be much more attention paid in the news media to our civil libHOLY SHIT GOOGLE JUST WROTE A WEB PAGE EDITOR IN JAVASCRIPT
    • And oddly enough, the Cheney story was heralded as an example of information not freely flowing to the general public in a timely fashion.
      • Re:Funny (Score:5, Informative)

        by killjoe (766577) on Friday March 03, 2006 @04:42AM (#14841321)
        Actually there was very little coverage of the fact that Cheney was out hunting with a woman who was not his wife.
      • And oddly enough, the Cheney story was heralded as an example of information not freely flowing to the general public in a timely fashion.

        Which is stupid. I'm no Cheney defender, but I don't personally feel a need to know within 10 minutes whenever he takes a piss. The guy had just seriously injured a friend of his, and if his focus is more on that, fine. The media always throws a fit whenever public figures don't bow to their will. Meanwhile, they ignore actual stories, as previously mentioned - such

  • Why Pass It? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by oostevo (736441) on Friday March 03, 2006 @01:24AM (#14840735) Homepage
    "... - but why pass what you know is flawed?"

    I'm no political science student, but I can assume that it's because of the political consequences that would come with not voting for passing the act - could you imagine how easy it would make life for the campaign manager for a candidate running for office against one of the people who voted against it?

    "[Insert Senator Name] hurt American security by not voting for the absolutely vital PATRIOT Act"

    Or some nonsense like that.

    Not that it makes it right.

    • Re:Why Pass It? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by yellowbkpk (890493) on Friday March 03, 2006 @01:29AM (#14840760)
      Yea, but if enough people didn't vote for it, it would quickly move away from being something that was bad to something that was good. The argument "Senator X voted to open this country to terrorists!" would move to "Senator X voted to protect his constituent's rights!"

      Reminds me of those High School popularity contests...
    • Why pass it? BECAUSE if you pay off your credit card bill in FULL, you can be referred to DHS as a potential suspect. http://www.shns.com/shns/printthis.cfm [shns.com] That is why.

      I guess it is a ploy to get more money in interest and make sure you stay indebted forever.

      First they take away your right to file for bankruptcy. Then they take away your right to pay your credit card in full.

      Next what? If you maintain a good driving record (and thereby claim driving bonus) would you be considered a suspect?

      RIAA suing s

    • Re:Why Pass It? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by cascino (454769) on Friday March 03, 2006 @01:48AM (#14840833) Homepage
      That's exactly what the Republicans are aiming for. In recent years, the ruling party has enacted the Clean Skies act, Healthy Forests Initiative, No Child Left Behind, and the PATRIOT act - all of which are (a) ironically named - the skies are not cleaner, forests are less healthy, children are left behind, and eradicating civil liberties is hardly "patriotic" - yet (b) difficult if not impossible to vote against. Even though it's only a front for the deregulation of the logging industry, what politician is going to vote against the "Healthy Forests Initiative"?
    • This is why our government is fundamentally flawed. Votes are cast based on the voter's ability to get re-elected, not whether it will fuck over the country. I'm assuming that my mom isn't the only one who utterly and completely fails to understand this concept, and therfore likes the representative "democracy" that we have. Of course, anyone with a bit of sense knows that the USAPATRIOT (yes, USA is part of the correct title) act has almost nothing to do with actually protecting the safety of the countr
  • Pain in the ass (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Freaky Spook (811861) on Friday March 03, 2006 @01:25AM (#14840741)
    like one measure, which would make it harder for illicit labs to obtain ingredients for methamphetamine by requiring pharmacies to sell nonprescription cold medicines only from behind the counter.

    This is already the case in Australia, although its a good idea a lot of pharmacists love to treat you like a criminal when you go in with a head cold to buy a pack of cold and flue tablets. Last year one of them refused to hand my drivers license back and I had to go to collect it from the police station after a few questions, turns out another guy with a name similar to mine had bought a few packets recently from that same chemist. All I wanted was bloody cold and flue tabs!!!!

    • "Last year one of them refused to hand my drivers license back and I had to go to collect it from the police station after a few questions, turns out another guy with a name similar to mine had bought a few packets recently from that same chemist." ...How can a pharmacist decide to hold onto your drivers license "just in case the cops need it"? Are pharmacists considered law enforcement in Australia?
      • It turned out the name had already been reported, but there was no drivers licence number, it was only local in the area and they were trying to catch the guy who was stocking up on it. I wasn't given much information after that. Both the police and the pharmacist were very apologetic to me, I think I was a worst case scenario.
      • Any shop assistant can do anything they like. What are you gunna do, climb the counter to get back your license? Your only recourse is to call the police and get them to come and collect your license from the shop assistant.. and when you consider that is what the shop assistant wanted in the first place, you clearly have no rights. Personally, I'd be saying "you look with your eyes, not with your hands" when they asked for my drivers license.
        • Why not? It's not like there's some sort of sacred barrier there. If the store tries to claim trespass or some crap, you respond with harassment or theft charges. If you put up with shit without fighting back, you make things harder for everyone who ISN'T being a prick.
    • Re:Pain in the ass (Score:2, Interesting)

      by xero314 (722674)
      They have this same law in certain cities in the state of Arizona, and it hasn't changed a thing. There was even an interesting study done around here that showed that it's not cost effective to make meth out of over the counter drugs. Turns out the to turn a profit it's better to import the drugs or pure chemicals from other countries. Oh know that's illegal and we all know how hard it is to get illegal contraband across the border into the United States.
  • by Eightyford (893696) on Friday March 03, 2006 @01:27AM (#14840750) Homepage
    You know what this means? This is muuch worse than I originally thought. At first I thought the lawmakers were just incompetent last time for not reading the bill, but now I know that the majority of them are downright fucking evil for renewing it.
  • Um, because we live an imperfect world where 99.9% of all legislation is flawed and the result of numerous comrpomises between different factions because we don't live in a one party state?

    It must be nice to live in a Utopia where all the laws passed are fair and just, and that everyone in the nation agrees with them 100%. Let me know when you find such a place. Our flawed Republic is not it--only better than all the other alternatives.

    • Um, because we live an imperfect world where 99.9% of all legislation is flawed and the result of numerous comrpomises between different factions because we don't live in a one party state?

      Not only that but also giving a little is better than giving nothing at all. Sometimes battles are won by taking "baby steps"... I know this is a hard concept for some slashdotters who think that it's either all or nothing. If specter can make more headway later it's great, otherwise it's better than where we were just
    • I'm sorry, "ALL" the alternatives? You've been brainwashed quite well by your government I see.

      Tell me, what's the best part about being in a two party system?

      Elections just passed here a month ago, I had 5 major parties to vote for, now we have a minority government, I can tell you there's a lot more power in the hands of the citizens here than if we only had two parties to pick from.

      Horray for Canada.
      • by vux984 (928602) on Friday March 03, 2006 @03:25AM (#14841152)
        Overall, both the US and Candian systems are very good conceptually -- they just both fail dismally in practice.

        Both suffer from serious shortcomings in proportional representation. A party squeaks into power with barely 50% of parliament / congress / etc, and they can run the country like there is no opposition at all.

        Both also suffer from serious shortcomings in letting the meritous reach the top. Both countries are starting to foster dynasties -- the law says anyone can become president / prime-minister, and while its true that any one can run -- increasingly only members from certain powerful families ever actually manage it.

        And that's increasingly serving those families more and more and the citizens of either country less and less.

        Its not enough for democracy that everyone can vote, and anyone can win by law, it actually has to work. Specific protections are required to ensure that everyone's vote is actually represented in the resulting government, and that being rich and connected are not the biggest factors in who forms that government.

        Just as a free market doesn't work when power is concentrated in the hands of a small number of corporations who can erect barriers to entry, create cartels, and price fix -- a free country stops working when the power is concentrated in the hands of a small number of parties.

        I'm not sure which country is less screwed up. The US is a 2 party system that simply flips power back and forth. Canada has several parties but most of them are irrelevant and many are the fragments of the shattered Progressive Conservative party -- fragments which are coalescing back together. And the BQ is hardly a postive force in Canadian politics -- the constant focus on Quebec is like the annoying pandering to the 'Swing states', only 10x worse.

        Overall I guess Canada seems to be preserving its 'instability' better, the American balance seems very precarious -- if one party ever manages to polarize the issues enough to capture a solid 55% of the vote the US would become little more than a monarchy that is legally required to crown a new king (chosen by the party) every 8 years.

        Hopefully it never comes to that, but while Orwell's 1984 didn't happen... it may just be late... it still seems to be coming.
    • It must be nice to live in a Utopia where all the laws passed are fair and just, and that everyone in the nation agrees with them 100%. Let me know when you find such a place. Our flawed Republic is not it--only better than all the other alternatives.

      "Many forms of Government have been tried, and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except all those others that have been t
    • Our flawed Republic is not it--only better than all the other alternatives.

      Except Canada, England, Japan, most of the European Union...

    • Um, because we live an imperfect world where 99.9% of all legislation is flawed and the result of numerous comrpomises between different factions because we don't live in a one party state?

      No, it is because your lawmakers are lazy. Either that or they are more interested in sneaking in pork and pet project riders to bills than actually reading the entire text (or even a portion) of the bill.
      This should be inexcusable, but apparantly the American public don't care whether their politicians read the actual la
    • So, being reconciled to the fact that the world is imperfect, we don our apathy hats and vote 'aye.' That is a little stupid in terms on an explanations. It is, in short, a pub arguement.

      The Patriot Act is not a pluralistic compromise. Nor would I argue, is your nation a Republic. Last time I checked America was a Constitutional Representative Democracy. In fact, it is exceedingly rare for George Citizen to make ANY direct decision about his civil life in America.

      And better than alternatives? I think
  • by Anonymous Coward
    ...the Senate rules you!
  • by 3arwax (808691) on Friday March 03, 2006 @01:33AM (#14840775)
    I doubt 10% of Americans understand the Constitution in any depth. This is why our elected officials can take away our freedoms and usurp power.
  • by bidule (173941) on Friday March 03, 2006 @01:38AM (#14840791) Homepage
    There are 10 true patriots out there.
  • Harry Reid says one thing to the public while he does the opposite.

    Harry Reid wanted to pass the Patriot Act. Everything that he says should be considered pandering bullshit.

    He's clearly not capable of representing people, if he speaks one way publically and votes the other way.

    Harry supporst the Patriot Act. Dont forget it.
  • Under the concept of the 'Unitary Executive' which supreme court member ailito believes in, the point is moot. Let us all march in lock step with our leaders!
  • by bigtrike (904535) on Friday March 03, 2006 @02:01AM (#14840880)
    TV Watches You!
  • Vote Out Incumbents (Score:3, Informative)

    by Kurt Russell (627436) on Friday March 03, 2006 @02:04AM (#14840890)
    Damn them all. How 'bout this shit! [democracynow.org]
  • How would the votes be different if they changed the name to something less suggestive than the PATRIOT act? Are the people who use this tactic, or the ones too afraid to stand up to it more pathetic?
  • by perrygeo (927096) on Friday March 03, 2006 @02:36AM (#14841007)
    Check out the senate roll call [senate.gov] [www.senate.gov] for the vote breakdown. Here's the only 10 senators with enough guts to stand up for america's civil liberties: Akaka (D-HI) Bingaman (D-NM) Byrd (D-WV) Feingold (D-WI) Harkin (D-IA) Jeffords (I-VT) Leahy (D-VT) Levin (D-MI) Murray (D-WA) Wyden (D-OR) I realize some other senators were trying to compromise and we don't live in a perfect society and blah blah blah. But this was just too important of a vote to play political games. If you're against the Patriot Act, these 10 people are the only incumbents who deserve your vote this November!
    • I for Independent? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Mark_MF-WN (678030) on Friday March 03, 2006 @08:55AM (#14841832)
      Does the I for I-VT Jeffords stand for independent? I didn't think Americans were even capable of breaking out of the two-party trap. Which state was it that had the guts to elect an independent senator?

      Thinking of that, why isn't there a single republican in that list? You would think that a party that is supposedly about small government and staying out of people's affairs would have at least a few members opposed to the PATRIOT act. Doesn't the republican party contain ANY classical consevatives anymore? Is it really all neo-conservatives (AKA Fascists, in the Mussolini sense of the word)?

      • by stinerman (812158)
        Jeffords was elected as a Republican and then changed his party affiliation to Independent, which enabled the Democrats to be in the majority at that time. Before then he was a RINO (Republican In Name Only) and usually voted with the Democrats on most issues.

        Vermont, the state he is from, also has an independent represenative in Bernie Sanders. Sanders is the favorite to win Jeffords's seat when he retires at the end of the year.
  • Democrazy (Score:3, Interesting)

    by hyfe (641811) on Friday March 03, 2006 @02:48AM (#14841053)
    You know, back in the pre-phases of the Iraq-invasion, when the citizens of Europe where out protesting and an overwhelming majority was against the war, the majority of our politician truely preferred licking Bush's balls. This is pretty much the same deal, politicians only pay lipservice to 'the will of people' and will show themselves as the corrupt m*therf*ckers they are whenever something vaguely important comes up.

    Which leads me to wonder; where is the disrepancy between what the people want and what the politicians do, the largest; Autharitan China or Democrazied West? Personally, I think the answer is really, really scary.

  • by fortinbras47 (457756) on Friday March 03, 2006 @03:31AM (#14841169)
    "The ACLU said that most of the voluminous Patriot Act is actually unobjectionable from a civil liberties point of view and added that the law makes important changes that give law enforcement agents the tools they need to protect against terrorist attacks."

    ------ ACLU press release available here [aclu.org]

    I think most people going hysterical actually have not read up on what the Patriot Act does in a SERIOUS and ACADEMIC way. Before passing judgement, I recommend you do.

    This site [patriotdebates.com] has a tremendous amount of quality, specific information. And for those too lazy to read, there's some interesting video at c-span at this link: rtsp://cspanrm.fplive.net/cspan/project/ter/ter071 805_discourse.rm Go about 49 minutes in and listen to Stuart Taylor, a fellow at the Brookings Institute (yes, a left of center policy think tank).

    Once you start reading with an open mind, I think that most people will find that extending the Patriot Act provisions is quite a good idea, and that maybe this is why it passed in the Senate 89-10.

    • Nice out-of-context troll:

      The ACLU said that most of the voluminous Patriot Act is actually unobjectionable from a civil liberties point of view and added that the law makes important changes that give law enforcement agents the tools they need to protect against terrorist attacks. A few provisions, though, unnecessarily trample civil liberties, and must be revised to bring them in line with the Constitution.

      Congress passed the flawed bill, and more than four years later renewed the bill without correcting

  • Why pass it indeed? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by vandan (151516) on Friday March 03, 2006 @03:43AM (#14841200) Homepage
    It was passed by an overwhelming majority because an overwhelming majority in both parties agree wholeheartedly with pushing the US further towards a fascist state ... and they don't have far to go.

    The Democrats are absolutely pathetic. They handed the 2000 election to the Republicans on a silver platter. They rolled over and played dead in the last elections. They made a point of pretending that there was NO opposition to the wars in the middle east. They pushed strong anti-war candidates and slotted in a pro-war candidates. They attacked Bush from the right in arguing that he wasn't doing enough to protect the world from terrorism, win the war in Iraq, etc, etc.

    The problem is that the Democrats are a party that defends big business interests - just like the Republicans, only a litle less competent. This is why less than 50% of Americans vote - they realise that it doesn't matter who you vote for, the same people keep winning ... and those people aren't ordinary workers.

    Americans should take a good look at their 2-party system, and ponder what democracy is supposed to be about, and consider the difference between the two. It's a huge gap, and it's increasing at an alarming rate. Thank God the US hasn't been so successful at exporting their brand of democracy to the rest of the world.
  • It's a Race! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by teamhasnoi (554944) <teamhasnoi&yahoo,com> on Friday March 03, 2006 @03:45AM (#14841206) Homepage Journal
    Will those you allow to hold office destroy your freedom before you can take back your country?

    How many Amendments to the Consitution have not been ignored in the last 6 years?

    Name three things that this Administration has done that didn't do exactly opposite of what they were called!

    For extra credit: Which hurts more - being shot in the face by Cheney, knowing that you've just been sold down the river, McCarthy-style...or that in some windowless cube farm, someone is being paid by your taxes to determine if your Slash-o-dot post is a threat to this country?

    For the win: What is the name of my Investigating Agent?

    Answer quick, they're at the door - I want to surprise them.

  • I, for one, (Score:3, Funny)

    by Yvanhoe (564877) on Friday March 03, 2006 @04:58AM (#14841357) Journal
    welcome our old Overlords
  • by tekrat (242117) on Friday March 03, 2006 @06:07AM (#14841501) Homepage Journal
    Everyone here is moaning and groaning about our elected officials and how corrupt they have all become. Out of 100 senators, only 10 had the balls to stand up to this piece of filth and vote no.

    I have many other friends who say there is no longer any choice. Democrats or Republicans -- it's all the same thing, they are corrupt and represent their own self-interests, or the interests of corporations or those organizations that can afford to put politcians in their pockets.

    But there is another choice. The 2nd amendment allows the American people to throw out their government and replace it with one that works. That's what the right to bear arms is about -- it's about keeping the government from getting so powerful that they take the guns away, because only at the point of a gun can you establish a new government.

    The whole point of maintaining a militia is to keep the government honest. When the government is corrupt, WE THE PEOPLE are allowed to overthrow it.

    Remember that the President is supposed to protect us from threats foreign and domestic -- that includes protection from the corrupt government itself. When the government isn't of the people, by the people and for the people, it is time the government was replaced with one that is.

    If the president has failed in his duties to uphold the Constitution, then he too, must be replaced.

    It is time the American people rose up and took back what is theirs.

    WE THE PEOPLE, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, ensure domestic tranquility.

    It is time WE THE PEOPLE joined together and tell King George that we will not be dictated to any more. Shall we lay supine while essential rights and liberties are forever pilfered? No! Give me liberty or give me death!

    It is time to take back the country from the hands of criminals.

    It is time for the second American Revolution.

Things are not as simple as they seems at first. - Edward Thorp

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