Thursday, March 02, 2006

More Bad News for Bush: Patriot Act Passes

After much huffing and puffing about how terrible the Patriot Act is, the Senate has reauthorized it with minor revisions by a vote of 89-10.

Of course, as far as the NY Times is concerned, this is more bad news for Bush. As they frame the issue:

But reaction to today's vote signaled that the Patriot Act will continue to be debated in the United States long after Congress has approved it. The senators opposing the bill, all Democrats except for the independent James Jeffords of Vermont, argued that the civil rights protections written into the measure were too modest.

Oh no! A debate! Nine Democrats plus Jim Jeffords will continue to talk about how bad the Patriot Act is. The horror! Bush is finished!

All this consternation kept the Times from reporting in this article what changes were made to the original Patriot Act with this reauthorization. For that, one must look to other sources. The politics, even in a massively decisive vote like this, matter more than the substance to our Newspaper of Record. On the Christian Science Monitor we find that the new bill contains such massive changes as (we cut and paste from the article):

  • Recipients of court-approved subpoenas for information in terrorist investigations will have the right to challenge the requirement that they not tell anyone about the subpoena.
  • In addition, recipients of such subpoenas will no longer be forced to provide the FBI with the name of their lawyer.
  • Finally, the civil liberties package clarifies that most general-purpose libraries are not subject to demands made in so-called National Security Letters for information about suspected terrorists.

Whew! We don't know about you, but we now believe that our fragile rights are safe again. Anyone want to make a celebratory trip to the library to check out some books on high explosives?

1 comment:

JB in CA said...

I'll go with you. But my unnamed lawyer said he's too busy trying to tell people about my court-approved subpoena.