Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Hooray for the Tea Party

A ringing endorsement for the right of privacy was heard from an unexpected quarter today. Freshman Republican Congressman and emboldened veterans provided a shocking Tea Party tumult during a presumably routine vote to extend portions of the Patriot Act.

Specifically twenty-six Republicans bucked their leadership, eight of them freshman lawmakers, and voted against the extension of the Federal Government's abusive invasions of privacy. Today's vote would have: 1) extended the newly granted authority of the FBI to use roving wiretaps on surveillance targets, 2) allowed the government to continue gaining warrantless access to "any tangible items," such as library records, in the course of surveillance, and 3) allowed the government to continue surveillance of targets who are not connected to an identified terrorist group.

In the Clarion Content's view none of this authority should have ever been bestowed on the government to begin with, it was in clear violation of the Constitution and it was a dangerous breach of the Social Contract.

Unfortunately, this is all so much theater as the provisions will likely be extended next week. The Washington Post reports that Republican leadership will be able to jigger the rules and hold a new vote.
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 final tally was 277 members in favor of extension, and 148 opposed. The Republicans who control the House made plans to bring the measure back for a quick vote later this month under normal rules, requiring only a simple majority for passage.
Not surprisingly the tone-deaf, clueless, Nancy Pelosi had nothing of substance to say about the bill's blatant attack on the rights of Americans or how little has been gained after ten years of stepped up surveillance. Instead, her office focused on mocking the Republicans, "Disarray."

Why think about what she and House Democrats might be able to accomplish with these upstart, rebellious Tea Party Republicans? You didn't think she was actually listening to the State of the Union last week, did you, dear readers?

It was left to the lonely voice in the wilderness, Ohio's Don Quixote, Dennis Kucinich, to remind his fellow members of Congress, "The Patriot Act represents the undermining of civil liberties."

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