With bi-partisan opposition to key provisions of the Patriot Act, you would think that now would be the time to move to take back American civil liberties once and for all.
You would be wrong.
With a week until the provisions expire, Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) and Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) made a deal to reauthorize the Act for four more years. Doing so avoids a messy and extended debate over the extension and a potentially humiliating defeat for both the White House and members of Congress who have continued to give the measure support through two administrations.
The move takes back a promise made by Sen. Reid for a full week of debate and consideration before an extension and, by its backroom nature, shows that even a transparent debate on the matter is no longer a possibility in Washington.
If the Tea Party Republicans are serious about shrinking the size of the federal government and really are libertarians then we should find out soon. Since its enactment the Patriot Act has resulted in the widespread abuse of the use of National Security Letters by the FBI to secretly spy on innocent Americans and has produced no discernible national security benefit.
Not everyone is sitting quiet on the sidelines. You can join with the ACLU and tell Congress to stop the abuse of power and either reform or repeal the Patriot Act.
photo courtesy of uhuru1701 via Flickr
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