February 9, 2011

"The Patriot Act represents the undermining of civil liberties," says Dennis Kucinich, who got 26 Republicans on his side.

What happened in the House yesterday?!
House Republicans suffered an embarrassing setback Tuesday when they fell seven votes short of extending provisions of the Patriot Act, a vote that served as the first small uprising of the party's tea-party bloc.

The bill to reauthorize key parts of the counter-terrorism surveillance law, which expire at the end of the month, required a super-majority to pass under special rules reserved for non-controversial measures....

The vote was the latest signal... that on certain matters House leaders could face a sizable resistance to compromise from within their own ranks, both from the 87 GOP freshmen and from conservative veterans who have been emboldened by the newcomers.
Good! The Republicans don't own the Tea Party movement.

55 comments:

TosaGuy said...

I found it very strange that this was the top story on my google finance page; it was written by Vanity Fair of all places.

What that has to to with the price of GE stock, I will never know.

AllenS said...

Not just good, but very good.

TWM said...

I certainly don't mind the Tea Partiers splitting with the GOP on some things, but this isn't one of them. The Patriot Act actually keeps us safer.

Richard Dolan said...

This is spin masquerading as something else. The vote was 277 to 148, on a procedural issue that required a two-thirds majority. It will pass in a few days on a vote that requires a simple majority.

Whenever you see a 'news analysis' that the House Republican majority is in trouble holding itself together, expect to be reading more Dem spin than anything else. A little dissent is a good thing, even when the home team is in charge.

peter hoh said...

The goals of keeping us safe and keeping us free will inevitably conflict with one another.

edutcher said...

The Demos, except for Looney Tunes like Sleazy the Eighth Dwarf, were for the Patriot Act until they were against it because it was a Dubya initiative.

They were joined by a few Libertarians.

That's show biz.

Ann Althouse said...

"The vote was 277 to 148, on a procedural issue that required a two-thirds majority. It will pass in a few days on a vote that requires a simple majority."

That material is in the linked WaPo article.

PatCA said...

The Dems passed another extension last Christmas Eve, when they controlled the government.

I think this is politics: everyone is voting to bolster their Tea Party cred and the president's 2012 cred.

TWM said...

"The goals of keeping us safe and keeping us free will inevitably conflict with one another."

That is true. However, there is nothing in the Patriot Act that has made us any less free. Scare stories aside, it's been very effective in fighting terrorism and has had remarkably little negative impact on our civil rights.

Fred4Pres said...

The old come along go along is not going to work anymore with these tea partiers. The Patriot Act needs to be revamped and toned down. Civil liberties matter.

So do property and a host of other rights BTW that Mr. Kucinich may not recognize.

Fred4Pres said...

This was a signal by Rand Paul and others to pay attention not to take them for granted.

Original Mike said...

"Good! The Republicans don't own the Tea Party movement."

That's why I have some hope that this time, maybe, they will act fiscally responsible. We don't have much time left.

PETER V. BELLA said...

Can anyone name one citizen who has been Constitutionally harmed or victimized by the Patriot Act?

DADvocate said...

The goals of keeping us safe and keeping us free will inevitably conflict with one another.

Which is why I don't support the Patriot Act. I'd rather see RICO or at least parts of it repealed.

Richard Dolan said...

"That material is in the linked WaPo article."

Yes, and it contradicts the article's theme that "House Republicans suffered an embarrassing setback Tuesday," which struck me as the article's point.

sunsong said...

Civil Liberties matter to me, too, as does the Constitution. I don't support the Patriot Act.

Chip Ahoy said...

[+"patriot act" +harm +citizens]

I could spend the rest of the week reading all the cited incidents, but I'd get depressed all over again.

DADvocate said...

Can anyone name one citizen who has been Constitutionally harmed or victimized by the Patriot Act?

If we can't it still doesn't mean the law is Constitutional.

lyssalovelyredhead said...

Can anyone name one citizen who has been Constitutionally harmed or victimized by the Patriot Act?

If we can't it still doesn't mean the law is Constitutional.


No, it doesn't. But it might put the alleged Constitutional violations in perspective. I've been asking the same question.

(I'm not arguing for or against the Patriot Act. One of these days I'll get around to doing some solid research on the for and against arguments, but I haven't yet, and, as far as I can tell, the only arguments the majority of people, for or against, are making are pure assertion.)

Bryan C said...

If the Patriot Act actually did half the things people said it did, then this might mean something. As it is, the specific provisions formerly enacted in the Patriot Act will probably be quietly re-passed, but not packaged into such a convenient target.

There are lots of recent developments that are far more noxious than the Patriot Act ever was. Most have come the Executive branch agencies.

TMink said...

The Republicans do NOT own the tea party.

But one day we will own them.

Trey

DADvocate said...

Just one cue, instapundit links to charges of the Feds unconstitutionally spying on citizens. Not that the Patriot Act inspires them to do this, but it certainly doesn't help.

J said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bushman of the Kohlrabi said...

House Republicans suffered an embarrassing setback

So let me see if I understand this. Most Democrats oppose an extension that Obama supports but it's the Republicans who should be embarrassed becausethat it didn't get done. Got it.

Why the free ride for Obama and the Democrats? Are we to assume that Obama isn't serious about his desire for an extension? Is the author assuming Obama isn't serious?

Henry said...

Bryan C wrote: There are lots of recent developments that are far more noxious than the Patriot Act ever was. Most have come the Executive branch agencies.

True. And it must be remembered that many of the most noxious legal erosions of civil liberties in the last score of years came before 9/11, driven by the war on drugs.

I'm with Peter Hoh on this. We live in an open society. It's nice to think you can parse out police powers to the state without impositions on the innocent, but I don't believe it. My baseline is skepticism.

tim maguire said...

I don't see how this is spun as a Republican defeat. 1/3rd of Democrats voted for it, a couple dozen Republicans voted against it.

The Patriot Act was a blunt instrument passed at a time of crisis. We've now had 10 years to come up with something more sensibly tailored to the problem and instead all we've done, Democrats and Republicans alike, is continue with this welfare program for spy agencies.

I'm not encouraged that a mere handful of freshman voted against it, every last one of them should have.

MadisonMan said...

Why the free ride for Obama and the Democrats?

Because the Republicans are in charge in the House?

If Health Care Reform (lousy name) hadn't passed in the Senate, who would have been blamed? Harry Reid. Leaders shouldn't schedule a vote if they're not going to win.

MadisonMan said...

That being said, I can't say I'm sad this procedural vote against the Patriot act failed.

Any Act that is an acronym should be voted against.

Bushman of the Kohlrabi said...

Madman, why is it up to the Republicans to ensure that Obama's wishes are fulfilled? Isn't it up to Obama to motivate Democrats to support his agenda?

Coketown said...

The PATRIOT Act joined unpitted olives on the list of Things Threatening America. Meanwhile, he's suspiciously silent on Napolitano's conduct.

w/v: teethed. Hilarious, considering the olive.

Bushman of the Kohlrabi said...

Or are you just willing to give Obama a pass because you're glad it failed?

Paul Ciotti said...

Peter Hoh: The goals of keeping us safe and keeping us free will inevitably conflict with one another.

Exactly right, and those who opt for security over freedom deserve neither.

I keep hearing from supporters of the two big overseas war parties, which is to say the Democrats and the Republicans, that we are in a war with radical Islam. If that's true we got to expect to take some casualties here at home from time to time. That's what happens in a war. One can't suspend civil liberties, curtail travel and confiscate everyone's library card just because your side takes a few hits too. People who can't cope with casualties should never declare war in the first place.

BJM said...

Good! The Republicans don't own the Tea Party movement.

D'oh! (Althouse is messing with us again.)

The Patriot Act _may_ have been necessary post 9/11 as the govt had too many agency firewalls, bureaucratic redundancies and failures of imagination in our intelligence network pre-9/11.

The govt/Admin had/has broad surveillance powers and authority to detect terrorists/threats/crime and I prefer the courts remain in the loop.

I do not trust that any administration or Congressional majority can resist justifying use of the Act to monitor citizens for reasons that are ideologically or politically driven. Accessing car computers, cell phone roaming records or requiring an ISP to track/record all online activity is data mining, not security surveillance.

The Govt. claims that it must cast a wide surveillance net to illegal activity, that the monitoring of legal, private activity is in our national security interests, but it will also be used to levy taxes and prohibitive or controlling regulation.

"Trust No One" in govt is still operative or as John Adams said:

There is danger from all men. The only maxim of a free government ought to be to trust no man living with power to endanger the public liberty.

Phil 3:14 said...

The place where liberals and libertarians meet.

jr565 said...

Peter Hoh wrote:
The goals of keeping us safe and keeping us free will inevitably conflict with one another.


So? Should the goal be to not keep us safe? Since when has this country ever operated under such complete freedom?
You even make the tradeoffs in your own personal life every day with things like locks on your doors, burglar alarms, and pin numbers that noone else can see. You want to give up all that to gain some additional measure of freedom? If so, give me your address and leave the door open.

Calypso Facto said...

Here are 2,200 people who might feel harmed that their phones were illegally tapped under the auspices of expanded Patriot Act power, Peter (source GAO). It's unclear whether the other 50% of exigent requests, while currently legal, were necessary or even did any good.

jr565 said...

Paul Ciotti wrote:
Exactly right, and those who opt for security over freedom deserve neither.


Those who opt for freedom over security also get neither.

lyssalovelyredhead said...

Calypso, I was a little bit confused by the article that you linked. It dicussed the Patriot Act a little, but it said that the behavior discussed there was illegal. I read this to mean that it wasn't allowed by the Patriot Act.

I guess that you could argue that it was inspired by the Patriot Act, or something like that, but that still doesn't show that the Patriot Act itself oversteps bounds, just that government is inheritly untrustworthy (which I already knew).

Am I missing something?

- Lyssa

jr565 said...

That should say:
Those who opt for freedom over security MAY also get neither.

You being free doesn't prevent you from being molested if someone is so inclined.So if you're not careful (ie implement security measures) someone might steal your stuff, hurt your child or harm you directly.

Cedarford said...

sunsong said...
Civil Liberties matter to me, too, as does the Constitution. I don't support the Patriot Act.
=========================
Your problem is that you are part of a small minority that actually think Muslim terrorist civil liberties ovveride American citizens lives. You could not get elected Statewide if you publicly expressed that, you could not get elected in 95% of our Congressional Districts. And the Constitution encompasses more that Islamoid enemy's civil liberties. Read the Preamble sometime.

=========
Althouse is right, BTW, in a few days the act gets renewed by majority vote. Just as it was when Dems were in firm control.
As another poster mentioned, it was a "message" by the libertarians not to take them for granted. (But keep in mind those libertarians are not the sort that want to go to GITMO to get down on their knees and beg KSM to forgive America for being so mean to him)

J said...

12:46.

Yes. And lets not forget most leading DINOs agreed with the GOP on PatAct. Then, only a DINO would mistake a DiDi Feinstein as like representing the principles of, say, JFK.

Then, J-Edgar had no problem working as Snitch -in-charge for GOP or Dems

Calypso Facto said...

You've got it right, Lyssa. These 2,200 admitted breaches were, in retrospect, illegal even under the Patriot Act. But they only occurred because the Patriot Act opened the door to this type of breach. And the validity of the 2,200 supposedly acceptable taps would I'm sure make for excellent debate if we were allowed to see the reasoning behind them. The potential for secret abuse (political, ala Instapundit, or otherwise) is scary to me.

roesch-voltaire said...

I am glad to see that some in the Tea Party are aligned with Russ Feingold's objections to this bill and are about preserving some of our individual rights.

Terrye said...

I thought there was not supposed to be any compromise with the Democrats, and here there are libertarians voting along with the liberal Democrats.

The truth is this will pass easily, just not with a two thirds majority. They were 7 points shy of that.

I think it should pass. After all, if we are supposed to support some autocratic thug like Mubarak because of the threat of the Muslim Brotherhood, then obviously we have a jihadi problem.

Revenant said...

Can anyone name one citizen who has been Constitutionally harmed or victimized by the Patriot Act?

As easily as I can name one protected by it.

Scott M said...

As easily as I can name one protected by it.

How long can you hold your breath at that depth? (lol)

jr565 said...

Paul Ciotti wrote:
That's what happens in a war. One can't suspend civil liberties, curtail travel and confiscate everyone's library card just because your side takes a few hits too. People who can't cope with casualties should never declare war in the first place.

You think that in London England, during WWII when they were being bombed that there was no curtailing of travel, or suspension of civil liberties?
If you never implemented security protocols wouldn't you expect even more casualties (and thus denying freedoms towards all the people who were killed because of an attack that got through?) since your enemy who's trying to kill you spots a weakness that you refuse to address?

holdfast said...

Does Obama, as head of the Executive Branch, feel that those provisions should be renewed? If so, he should go to Congress and make his case to both parties that those provisions are important to his administration's efforts to fight terrorism. Then he should strongly encourage the members of his own party to vote for them.

At that point, after considering all the relevant facts, the Republicans may also vote in favor, for the good of the country. Why should the Republicans in the House have to carry water for a President too lame to do his own damned job?

jr565 said...

Paul Ciotti wrote:
Exactly right, and those who opt for security over freedom deserve neither.

I hear this a lot from libertarians and it's one of the dumbest things they say. And in this regard they come off as silly as liberals.
I will certainly acknowledge that surrending all freedom for absolute security is not a good idea, but to not even acknowledge that there is a tradeoff to be weighed between the needs of mataninig freedom but also protecting life (and by extension freedoms) and that you don't have to give up absolute freedom and yet still can increase security.
Is there such a thing as absolute freedom unfettered by any sense of security? And is any security measure whatsoever a trampling of that freedom? And is the loss of that freedom more valid than allowing a threat to go through and cause the loss of even greater freedoms?

Surely you have to weight costs and benefits.

mariner said...

peter hoh,

The goals of keeping us safe and keeping us free will inevitably conflict with one another.

Who exactly wants to keep us free? Certainly not our political class, of either party.

And as for safe, not really. They only want to be the ones to f*ck us.

Revenant said...

How long can you hold your breath at that depth? (lol)

I don't get it.

Scott M said...

I don't get it.

It was a snarky way of saying what you wrote was deep.

Hoosier Daddy said...

One can't suspend civil liberties, curtail travel and confiscate everyone's library card just because your side takes a few hits too.

I'd suggest that Lincoln, Wilson and FDR would take some issue with that but what did they know?

Salamandyr said...

Paul Ciotti wrote:
Exactly right, and those who opt for security over freedom deserve neither.

If one is going to argue from authority, one should at least get the quote right.

That aside, no one here has even bothered posting which parts of the PATRIOT act they find objectionable. Considering all of the FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt), not to mention the actual outright misperceptions about what is actually in the PATRIOT Act, that should be the first priority.

Me, I object to the name. Back a few years ago when I studied the issue, there were a couple of points I would have done differently, but nothing that screamed "OMG End of the Republic!". Most of the supposedly objectionable parts were powers the government already had, just process changes about how to go about it...ones that seemed quite reasonable to me.

Revenant said...

I'd suggest that Lincoln, Wilson and FDR would take some issue with that but what did they know?

How to fight a war?

The reality is that we aren't fighting the war on terrorism anymore. We're just doing nation-building in Afghanistan and dicking around a little in Iraq. If FDR decided, after liberating France and Sicily, to just sit there and spend the next seven years helping safeguard elections... I'm guessing you wouldn't be including his name on a list of "past Presidents who knew how to wage war".

Our plan for the past five years has been "go on defense and try not to get hit". This is a bullshit plan, particularly since we'll have to do it FOREVER. Radical Islam isn't going to automagically evaporate while we're busy getting groped by the TSA.