Saturday, February 11, 2006

Be Careful at the Library

Our first politics-specific post...

Sens. Bow to White House and Agree to Patriot Act

Four Republican Senators who had previously vowed to vote down the four-year renewal of the Patriot Act--Chuck Hagel (NE), John Sununu (NH), Larry Craig (ID) and Lisa Murkowski (AK)--yesterday capitulated to the White House. They said that a compromise was reached, but have a look at the three "changes" they reported, per Sherly Gay Stolberg at the NYT: link

The deal focused on three particular areas. The new measure would give recipients of subpoenas the right to challenge an accompanying judicial order not to discuss the case publicly, though they would have to wait one year. In the meantime, they would have to comply with the subpoena. That would prevent the F.B.I. from demanding the names of lawyers consulted by people who receive secret government requests for information and prevent most libraries from being subject to those requests.

In the same article, Russ Feingold, resident OSWARS (only Senator with a real set), blew up the Republicans' collective spot. "A few insignificant changes just doesn't cut it."
We couldn't agree with Russ more. These changes were only cosmetic, and the Republican Sens (along with two D's: Feinstein (CA) and Durbin (IL)) were clearly only in this for the good press that comes along with "fighting" the White House. They clearly weren't serious about protecting civil liberties, because they could not even secure what they called one of their "chief concerns":

The compromise does not, however, address one of their chief complaints, that the revised bill would allow the government to obtain private records of Americans with just loose connections to a terrorism investigation. Mr. Sununu and the others had originally insisted that the government prove a direct connection.

Pathetic. When are these pols gonna actually follow through with their promises?


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