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article imageOp-Ed: Patriot Act to be surreptitiously extended with no debate

article:307080:16::0
By Bill Lindner     May 23, 2011 in Politics
After conducting closed bipartisan backroom meetings with no public input or discussion to push approval for a four-year extension of unconstitutional legislation, U.S. House and Senate leaders reached an agreement to take away our freedom.
The much-needed debate over the draconian "PATRIOT Act" (PA) -- which deals with domestic surveillance, not foreign -- and its massive destruction of liberties and rights which shred the U.S. Constitution, will not be occurring any time soon. Top lawmakers in the U.S. House and Senate have reportedly reached a deal that will surreptitiously extend key provisions of the PA that were set to expire May 27, for four years, with no discussion to be quickly signed by President Obama with little ceremony.
Expiring provisions of the PA include the law allowing the federal government to compel businesses to release records, issue roving wiretaps and monitor alleged "lone wolf" terror suspects. The deal reached by Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) has to be voted on before they expire to remain in effect. The intent of Congressional leadership is to pass an extension with as little debate and discussion as possible to avoid public input and the truth about the government's extended power grab. Reid filed cloture on the bill in the Senate which will vote on it tonight.
The PA is a devastating and poorly conceived piece of "legislation" that was ramrodded through Congress after the attacks of 9/11, despite the fact that most of Congress never read it. President Obama criticized it when he was a candidate, but has revealed himself to be just as bad if not worse as his predecessor. Earlier this year, Philip Giraldi wrote a piece highlighting what the PA actually does for you. In fact, the PA was written long before 9/11 – which conveniently fulfilled the "New Pearl Harbor" envisioned by the Project for a New American Century, a fraudulent "think tank" that designed all the egregious preplanned policies of the Bush administration -- came about.
Since its forced inception, extension of the Bush-era surveillance law has been a slam dunk, but earlier this year when the PA was renewed for 90 days, Republicans couldn't gain enough support to ram it through. Some lawmakers were actually listening to their constituents and objecting to the bill and Republicans actually needed Democrats to pass the extension.
Public Discussion of the PATRIOT Act is Long Overdue
House Republicans were reportedly readying to push through their own, more draconian bill, taking up Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner's (R-Wisconsin) bill which would extend the business records and roving wiretap provisions for six years, and extend the "lone wolf" extension permanently. Several of the Republican majority's own oppose extending anything permanently. If the closured bill is amended by either the House or the Senate, those amendments have to be adopted by both chambers. Since the β€œlaw” expires this Friday and the House is only scheduled to be in session through this Thursday, time is of the essence.
The political theater and House Republican arm twisting over passage of the PA extension began last week. During a closed briefing with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, House Republicans heard stern warnings. Attorney General Eric Holder also got into the act, telling the Senate Judiciary Committee "Now more than ever, we need access to the critical authorities in the Patriot Act." However, support for the extension agreement reached between House and Senate leaders remains unclear.
Some PA opponents are saying that the "death" of Osama bin Laden should prompt Congress to reconsider the law, but supporters of the PA warn that al-Qaida or one of its many subsidiaries may try to retaliate. Many civil liberties groups aren't happy about Congress surreptitiously passing illegal legislation that was written by lobbyists and fraudulent "think tanks."
Serious discussion about the inception of the PA and where it came from is needed to fully understand just how draconian it truly is. The PA makes it easy for Washington to construe just about anything into terrorism -- except its own actions, which really are terrorism. The PA empowers the government to read your private communications, illegally wiretap and surveil you, look at your finances and medical history, and even search your house and seize your property on a whim, whether you've committed a crime or not. As noted by Philip Giraldi, "the PA opens the door to fishing expeditions by the government that violate the rights of every American citizen. It is a law that is worthy only of a police state and everyone who cares about the constitution should unite to demand its repeal." The time for public discussion is long overdue.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
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