Bad news, freedom-lovers. the key elements of the PATRIOT Act just got a one-month renewal from Congress.
This came after the Republicans that were pushing to make this Orwellian wet dream permanent agreed to a short renewal instead of an all-or-nothing activitythat resulted in the filibuster last week.
The only good news is that thanks to a bunch of hissy fits - including one from Republican Congressman and notorious power-abuser F "-You" James Sensenbrenner - the reprieve was shortened from six months to just one. That's actually good because if the expiration date was pushed back to the original six-months, then it would have fallen right in the middle of the mid-term election season, giving the Dems and Reps an easy excuse for them to kowtow to the Bush Imperium. As it is, one month gives the freedom-lovers a chance to browbeat Congress into letting the most repressive law since the Communications Decency Act die quietlyas did its predecessor, the Alien and Sedition Acts.
And make no mistake people, this law is a GROSS abuse of government power; giving police the kind of authority we saw in the old Soviet Union! Any law that says that it's okay to violate the Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution simply by SAYING that it's related to terrorism is a BAD LAW. Any law that is so secretive that you can't even KNOW how it is being used, or to even MENTION that it ever WAS used is a BAD LAW. Any law whose only form of checks-and-balance comes from the very administration exercising that law - and that we're supposed to simply take them at THEIR WORD - is a BAD LAW.
Let's not forget that this law was passed SIGHT UNSEEN by members of Congress! Even IF they wanted to read what it said, it wasn't even AVAILABLE to be read by them until AFTER it was voted on! Is that the kind of government you voted for? Is that the kind of IRRESPONSIBLE government that is supposed to exemplify theBEST of the United States of America?
I can buy the idea that Congress was pressured into voting for this law from outright fear and hysteria following 9/11. I can accept the fact that they capitulated to the acts of terrorism and surrendered their free will to a president with a raging WAR FETISH. I can accept the EXCUSE, but it doesn't justify either blindly voting for this law OR to kowtow to this president who STILL has a raging WAR FETISH and blindly voting to renew this law. This is a nation of LAWS, not of men, and certainly not of FEAR. And the supreme law of the land (otherwise known in the White House as that "goddamned piece of paper") cannot and should never be rendered null and void on the whims of someone with a WAR FETISH who thinks he can get what he wants just by saying "9/11".