Acting with minutes to spare, President Obama approved a four-year extension of expiring provisions of the Patriot Act, after Congress overcame mounting opposition from both parties to narrowly avoid a lapse in the terrorist surveillance law.Obama, attending an international summit in France, awoke early Friday to review and approve the bill, directing that it be signed in Washington by automatic pen before the provisions expired at midnight Thursday Eastern time.
The administration had warned Congress that any interruption in the surveillance authority would threaten national security.
Passage came late Thursday after a protracted political struggle that played out over several months, a sign of increased unease with powers granted to the federal government to investigate citizens and foreigners in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
Conservative Republicans, many of them elected with backing from the “tea party” movement, and liberal Democrats resisted attempts to extend the three expiring provisions of the act. …
“We all want security — nobody wants what happened on 9/11 to happen again,” Paul said. “But I think we don’t need to simplify the debate to such an extent that we simply say we have to give up our liberties.” …
One of the provisions authorizes the FBI to continue using roving wiretaps on surveillance targets; the second allows the government to access “any tangible items,” such as library records, in the course of surveillance; and the third is a “lone wolf” provision that allows for the surveillance of targets who are not connected to an identified terrorist group.
… Section 505 of the Patriot Act gave the government the ability to greatly expand who could issue a National Security Letter, so much so that nearly 50,000 National Security Letters were issued by the FBI in the year 2006. They don’t have to use Section 215 of the Patriot Act. They just invoke the National Security Letter authority and reach into people’s financial records, their medical records, their reading material.
Suckers. My fellow stupid fearful Americans, this Act is an unnecessary multi-billion dollar rip off at a time when we need the money the most for jobs, alternative energy research and education.
Not only might this be the biggest Protection Racket in history, but you’ve just given your government, for four more years, the power to legally take any US citizen, lock him or her up indefinitely and to torture that person into confessing to pretty much anything, all based in the first place on secret evidence. In addition, a gag order as another part of this Screw the Constitution Act makes it a crime for anyone who sees a person disappeared by the government to talk about it. So what? Who cares about terrorists?
Well, dummy, how are you going to know if they are just framing a few innocent people every once in a while to keep you scared and justify their payment? And what about this: if anyone had REAL damning evidence of US government complicity in the attacks of 9/11, for example, the massive spying wiretaps on all US phones and internet communication along with gagged subpoenas, would catch this and such a person, along with any evidence, would vanish. Brilliant. Perhaps this scenario is just paranoia, but the problem is, you’ve given away the power to determine the truth.
A protection racket is an extortion scheme whereby a powerful organization, most often a criminal organization or gang, coerces individuals, other criminals or businesses to pay protection money which allegedly serves to purchase the organization’s “protection” services against various external threats.
Those who do not buy into the protection plan are often targeted by criminals existing outside of the organization. These crimes are typically thought to originate from the organization itself.
It is your right and your duty as an American to monitor your government to determine when it becomes destructive with regard to protecting your life, liberty and pursuit of happiness. How are you going to do that? You can’t now. Democracy fail.