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Patriot Act Vote Today: They're Trying Again, Call Congress!

By Ralph Lopez - Posted on 14 February 2011

After all but 67 Democrats voted against the Orwellian "Patriot Act" last Tuesday along with 26 Republicans breaking with the GOP, the principle of no search without a warrant from a judge, citing what you are looking for and probable cause, took a step toward being re-established when extension of the Patriot Act failed. Today the House leadership will be having a do-over, under different rules which will require a simple majority vote. But if the votes cast by anti-Patriot Act Democrats hold and the 67 "Wall of Shame" Democrats are lobbied to switch theirs, the measure passed right after 911 without most members even reading it could go down in a historic defeat.

The libertarian-oriented Campaign for Liberty website which lobbies hard against renewal of the Patriot Act is reporting that it's website is down after a possible denial-of-service attack today.

The dangers of allowing Feds to interpret our Constitutional rights rather than judges has been vividly illustrated in the recent raids on peace activists across the country. Although the raids in the Twin Cities and Chicago last year were authorized by a judge who doesn't seem to understand the First Amendment any better than some agents do, even this hurdle is removed by the Unpatriotic Act.

 Of the FBI's self-written "national security letters" which replace a judge's warrant, a 2008 Washington Post article revealed that:

60 percent of the nearly 50,000 security letters issued that year by the FBI targeted Americans...national security letters are approved only by FBI officials and are not subject to judicial approval; they routinely demand certain types of personal data, such as telephone, e-mail and financial records, while barring the recipient from disclosing that the information was requested or supplied...
According to the findings by Justice Department Inspector General Glenn A. Fine, the FBI tried to work around the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which oversees clandestine spying in the United States, after it twice rejected an FBI request in 2006 to obtain certain records. The court had concluded "the 'facts' were too thin" and the "request implicated the target's First Amendment rights," the report said...

But the FBI went ahead and got the records anyway by using a national security letter. The FBI's general counsel, Valerie E. Caproni, told investigators it was appropriate to issue the letters in such cases because she disagreed with the court's conclusions.

Most people can agree on one thing: There are great cops, and there are bad cops. It's the bad cops which were not given sufficient consideration when Congress passed the Unpatriotic Act without reading it. We are much the wiser. Everything which was predicted about potential abuses of the law has come true, and they didn't waste any time.

The FBI started using the no-warrant provisions of the UnPatriot Act to bring charges in run-of-the-mill money laundering and political corruption cases not related to terrorism as early as 2003. In one such investigation the newly empowered cop, Justice Department spokesman Mark Corrallo told a reporter:

"The Patriot Act was not meant to be just for terrorism. A lot of the uninformed criticism was obviously misplaced."

Translation: what makes you think this has anything to do with the War on Terror? That's just something they told you, over and over.

Which perhaps wouldn't be a problem if all the cops were good cops, like some I have had the privilege to know. Unfortunately, as Minneapolis and Chicago show, some FBI agents think that if you sympathize with Palestinians or want troops out of the Middle East, you are committing a crime. The activists in the video below are currently under subpoena to explain their political views, which they are refusing and thus looking at serious jail time. If what the FBI has been doing pisses you off, now is your time. Yanking this power is payback for hippie-punching.

If 26 Republicans can break with the GOP, why can't these 67 Democrats break with the GOP? Pick up the damn phone, and call your representative. Please. Walk like an Egyptian today.

The 67 Democrats who voted FOR the Patriot Act (which didn't pass Tuesday) is yours one of them? PLEASE TELL THEM TO SWITCH THEIR VOTE TO "NO".

Capitol Switchboard connecting all offices: 202-224-3121

Tuesday's complete roll-call

Gary Ackerman (D-NY)
Jason Altmire (D-PA)
Joe Baca (D-CA)
John Barrow (D-GA)
Shelley Berkley (D-NV)

Sanford Bishop (D-GA)
Timothy Bishop (D-NY)
David Boren (D-OK)
Leonard Boswell (D-IA)
Dennis Cardoza (D-CA)

Russ Carnahan (D-MO)
John Carney (D-DE)
Kathy Castor (D-FL)
Ben Chandler (D-KY)
Gerald Connolly (D-VA)

Jim Cooper (D-TN)
Jim Costa (D-CA)
Joe Courtney (D-CT)
Mark Critz (D-PA)
Henry Cuellar (D-TX)

Susan Davis (D-CA)
Norman Dicks (D-WA)
Joe Donnelly (D-IN)
Jane Harman (D-CA)
Alcee Hastings (D-FL)

Martin Heinrich (D-NM)
Brian Higgins (D-NY)
Ruben Hinojosa (D-TX)
Tim Holden (D-PA)
Sten Hoyer (D-MD)

Jay Inslee (D-WA)
Steve Israel (D-NY)
William Keating (D-MA)
Ron Kind (D-WI)
Larry Kissell (D-NC)

James Langevin (D-RI)
Rick Larsen (D-WA)
Sander Levin (D-MI)
Daniel Lipinski (D-IL)
Nita Lowey (D-NY)

Stephen Lynch (D-MA)
Jim Matheson (D-UT)
Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY)
Mike McIntyre (D-NC)
Jerry McNerney (D-CA)

Brad Miller (D-NC)
Christopher Murphy (D-CT)
Bill Pascrell (D-NJ)
Ed Perlmutter (D-CO)
Gary Peters (D-MI)

Collin Peterson (D-MN)
Mike Quigley (D-IL)
Nick Rahall (D-WV)
Silvestre Reyes (D-TX)
Mike Ross (D-AR)

Steven Rothman (D-NJ)
Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MD)
Adam Schiff (D-CA)
Allyson Schwartz (D-PA)
David Scott (D-GA)

Terri Sewell (D-AL)
Heath Shuler (D-NC)
Albio Sires (D-NJ)
Adam Smith (D-WA)
Niki Tsongas (D-MA)

Chris Van Hollen (D-MD)
John Yarmuth (D-KY)

 Not voting:

G. K. Butterfield (D-NC)
Rick Crawford (R-AR)
Scott Garrett (R-NJ)
Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ)
Luiz Gutierrez (D-IL)
Richard Hanna (R-NY)
Doug Lamborn (D-CO)
Bill Posey (R-FL)
Jackie Speier (D-CA)



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