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What is your reaction to the Senate rejecting the extension of the USA Patriot Act?

Asked at Massachusetts Street on December 17, 2005

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Photo of Marlin Secord

“I’m pleased about it. I thought it was unnecessary because the NSA already had most of those abilities. It’s good for them to share information, but they shouldn’t grant those powers to other agencies.”

Photo of Ann Cole

“As long as it leads to the end of the Patriot Act, then it’s the best decision they could have made.”

Photo of Marla Lopez

“I don’t think it’s good at all. They shouldn’t be the ones to make that decision. They should put it to a popular vote and let the people decide if it’s needed or not.”

Photo of Dan Warren

“If that’s the act that takes away my rights and imposes on my freedom because they are paranoid about terrorists, then I say let it die.”

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killjoy 12 years, 4 months ago

I have nothing to hide personally.

I heard they wanted to redirect the money toward subsidizing roundabouts.

average 12 years, 4 months ago

Since the administration, particularly but not exculsively the current administration, has shown no regard to any law (privacy, torture, habeus corpus), what the hell does it matter what laws are passed? I don't much care any longer.

mr_daniels 12 years, 4 months ago

Jamie Gorelick's Wall is back in place! Terrorists' rights rule! Sad commentary and of course extremely stupid and dangerous for law abiding Americans. The Framers for this country can be seen rolling in disbelief in their graves!

jayhawks71 12 years, 4 months ago

The Senators should not be the one's making the decisions? Poor Marla doesn't really understand the concept of a representative democracy. I'm not sure I want people who don't even know basic government to make decisions about topics they are uninformed about (purposely, such as terrorism) to decide whether the government should trample freedom in the name of security. When you eliminate freedoms, what exactly are you securing?

Having "nothing to hide" is so irrelevant in this issue, to be absurd.

bankboy119 12 years, 4 months ago

Hm...for you that say it takes away your freedoms you should really take a look at the Patriot Act again. Not one group has found something unconstitutional about it and not one person has had their privacy invaded.

blessed3x 12 years, 4 months ago

Up with Terrorists rights!!!!

Down with the protection of the American citizenry.

(Until another attack actually happens in which case the people that sunk the Patriot Act and limited our security agencies to the "Pretty Please" method of prisoner interrogation retain the right to complain about how the government did not adequately protect us.)

Seriously, can anyone on this forum give me one example of how their rights were infringed upon?


...I'm waiting.

...That's what I thought.

Richard Heckler 12 years, 4 months ago

The Patriots Act opened a pandoras box for government infiltration into our private lives that is not necessary. Bush has been spying on peace/anti war groups while leaving USA borders basically unchanged since 9/11. It hard as hell to get on an airplane these days time wise but the borders are wide open.

Airplane luggage gets by security rather easy however searching thousands of customers in public view gives the appearance that we are on to something. It's probaly hell on business.

There were plenty of laws on the books however the republicans screwed up so bad by not paying attention that a small band of terrorists were able to hijack airplanes on the same day a " stand down" order was in effect. Did those hijackers get lucky or what? The neocons went into action to try covering their behinds which is how the Patriots Act and a very very expensive Homeland Security Dept got created. Frankly the USA did not need either. We've got plenty of laws for Big Brother operate under.

Either this administration was in on 9/11 or else they screwed up big time by not paying attention. While neither scenario is acceptable we must hope it was the latter.

jonas 12 years, 4 months ago

Can anyone give an example of the Patriot Act protecting us in any way?

Is there anyone on this board so abysmally naive as to think that there is something that we can do to be totally safe and secure 100% of the time?

And why don't we just shut the @#$# up with the idea of "up with terrorists rights!" It's about people's rights, in general, and keeping people free from supervision and suspicion unless there is some proof that they've done something wrong. Whether you agree with that or not, trying to inflame the issue with the punditry crap like "terrorists rights" or "America haters" is, to my mind, not only rediculously childish, and shows that there is little in your argument to take seriously, but it removes any real chance of progression.

Jay_Z 12 years, 4 months ago

Not extending the Patriot Act is a stupid decision.

I too would like to see examples where someone's rights were violated b/c of the Patriot Act.

"Having nothing to hide" is not irrelevant when discussing the Patriot Act. If the Patriot Act helps our ability to catch terrorists/criminals, I'm all for it!! Most Dems are pathetically weak/shortsighted when it comes to defending the good ol' USA, so it is no surprise they have thrown a fit over the Patriot Act.

Jay_Z 12 years, 4 months ago

Of course we can't be totally safe 100% of the time. But we should do what we can to make this country as safe as possible--which I think includes utilizing the Patriot Act and sealing up the borders (I am for the LEGAL immigration process, not the illegal immigrants).

Do you really believe a terrorist should have the full rights of a U.S. citizen? You'd be against wire-tapping a known group of al-qaeda operating here in the U.S.?

jonas 12 years, 4 months ago

JayZ: To be honest, I would lean towards saying that the people who think we have to sacrifice our privacy, for no real visible gain, would be the ones who are, how'd you put it, pathetically short-sighted.

And I notice you now include criminals in with terrorists as the object of the Patriot Acts powers. You'd be right, of course, as the Patriot Act has, so far, only been able to effectively prosecute criminals, having not found, to the best of my knowledge, any real terrorists.

But I understand if you want to forget about the bill of rights so we could put a couple meth-heads in jail as terrorists. I may not agree with you, but I can understand why you'd make the mistake.

jonas 12 years, 4 months ago

If the terrorist IS a U.S. Citizen, or accepted by us with a working visa as a documented alien, then yes, I think they should have the full rights of a U.S. citizen until they are tried and convicted in a civilian court of law. And, yes, it SHOULD be a civilian, and not a military, court. After all, it is civilians, not military, who are harmed by domestic terrorism, when it occurs.

My point was that the Patriot Act was not a protection against terrorism in the first place, because we had things set up before-hand that were effective for protecting us already. A few tweaks were all that was needed, such as the good idea, expressed in the Patriot Act, of allowing our various enforcement agencies to communicate with each other. That part I supported. What the Patriot Act was you can describe in two ways, in my opinion: it was either A: The govt. covering their own rears and careers by pretending to do something significant, or B: The govt. parents turning on the light in our closet so were could see that there weren't any monsters in there after all.

As for your very last question, I must point out that you're re-framing the issue. The point, as I see it, is that, to the best of my knowledge, you don't HAVE TO BE a known Al-Quaeda operative in order to get a non-pre-authorized wiretap. I've never had a problem with due process of the law, but it seems the Patriot Act was designed to short circuit due process, not help it.

Jay_Z 12 years, 4 months ago

What is the law-abiding US citizen sacrificing as a result of the Patriot Act? The government uses the Patriot Act to go after suspect terrorists....I don't think they have the time or give a rat's a$$ what book Jonas checked out from the public library or what conversation Jonas had with his mom the other day....unless Jonas is a suspected terrorist!

Here is a story that shows how the Patriot Act has helped capture terrorists. It has helped break up terrorist cells in NY, Florida, and other states.

Terrorists are criminals...don't twist my words to imply the Government is using the Patriot Act to bring down meth heads.

Please give some examples of how the Patriot Act has helped put non-terrorists in jail.

Jay_Z 12 years, 4 months ago

Looks like I could waste the whole day here debating this wonderful issue with the liberal citizens of Lawrence, but I've got better things to four-wheeling in the snow and watching football. Have a great day!

enochville 12 years, 4 months ago

This morning, I posted a response on this thread at 5:30am, yet it never made it onto this page. And earlier last week, at times this page would load really slowly. I hope that they get these bugs fixed soon. But, I am very grateful that the LJWorld provides these forums. I think it is healthy for our community to exchange ideas. I hope LJWorld gets recognized by the community for this.

Back to the topic. I am not entirely sure how I feel about the Patriot Act, but I am very happy about sunset clauses in general. I don't think every bill should have sunset clauses; if they did, we spend most of congress's time revisiting old laws to evaluate whether to continue them. But, I do believe some acts should have sunset clauses, such as the Patriot Act which approved some infringements on privacy due to immediate, severe threats. I hope we continue to give some bills sunset clauses so that the onus will be on the supporters of the bills to show that those bills are still needed. I'd love to see some pork barrel bills sunsetted out of existence.

DuQuesne 12 years, 4 months ago

Most laws regulating any kind of behavior social or commercial are promulgated and implemented by people who do not comprehend their consequences, and are not subject to their enforcement. Energy policy is set by those who will never have to worry about a full gas tank, vaccine manufacturing standards are set by those who will not have to worry about whether they will get a shot this year, access to your personal information is managed by those who expect to do the looking and expect never to be looked at.

I say again Every damn time someone proposed some new standard or regulation and followed up by saying, 'honest men have nothing to hide,' it's a been clear signal that honest men should have already been looking for a good hiding place.

Further, I propose that we have those rights which we claim, and choose to exercise; we may find we have relinquished any claim on rights which we allow to wither from neglect.

-Schuyler DuQuesne

Richard Heckler 12 years, 4 months ago

Jay Z,

The story itself provided no hard eveidence that as a result of the Patriots Act these activities were foiled. Bush said it did so the story could have originated through the Bush white house news service.

memoirs_of_a_sleepwalker 12 years, 4 months ago

Arminius? How is this Clinton's fault? Do enlighten, oh wise one. {snicker, snicker.}

jonas 12 years, 4 months ago

JayZ: No intention of twisting your words. The Patriot Act HAS been used to arrest meth-heads, and given them sentences far longer than traditionally employed. I imagine that you'll argue that to be to the good, but suffice it to say that I disagree with subverting our original laws on these matters. At any rate, since you appear to have left, I won't bore you with details. Have fun in the snow. Me, I just arrived in San Diego last night, so I'm hoping the overcast will go away and I can enjoy the 60's.

lunacydetector 12 years, 4 months ago

this clearly shows how the democrats have totally lost touch with reality. i too would like to see how someone's rights were violated by the patriot act. someone, anyone, please give me one example.

it is bad enough that the democrats think it smart to cut and run from iraq, when things have gotten so much better.

what a bunch of losers. but i can say that, because i USED to be a democrat and left because they are a party of hypocrites and the truly uneducated. no wonder democrats are against education reform. they wouldn't have anyone to snow if the majority of the population gained some intelligence. but, i must keep reminding myself that their lovely abortion stance will eventually attrit them to a party of no members.

so, when the next terrorist attack happens within the confines of the united states border, it will be the democrats who are to blame.

bush was smart to go to war with iraq. no, it wasn't based on lies, because he's an honest politician. it was based on faulty intelligence. but going over there was smart regardless, because bush took the war on terror into the lion's den and not in OUR den. notice how we are fighting foreign fighters? iraq is the magnet, and WE (the united states of america) are winning this justified war.

Janet Lowther 12 years, 4 months ago

The honest name of the so-called "USA Patriot Act" would be the "USA Police State Enabling Act."

It is unfortunate that only the few provisions with sunset clauses are to expire. Complete repeal would be much preferable.

The most dangerous terrorist organization in the world is not Al Qaeda, but the Executive branch of the US government. Over the years, the Executive branch has repeatedly acted as though it is above the law: From Lincoln exiling anti-war activists (including a congressman!) to Bush's extra-legal authorization of NSA spying on domestic communications.

Congress can investigate as much as they like, but the executive has long since expanded past the point where it is possible for 535 legislators to have any idea as to what vast sections of the executive is doing.

gbulldog 12 years, 4 months ago

The basic question is what what do you call the acts of a terroist. Is it criminal act of or is it an attempt by an organization to use force or threats to demorilize, intimidate to get what they want.

Given the time it takes to prosecute and punish a criminal (example David Wittig), something better than the current criminal justice system or Patriot Act is needed to stop terroist acts.


sunflower_sue 12 years, 4 months ago

Personally, I've never felt that my civil liberties were threatened by the Patriot Act. "Oh my! I can't take my tweezers onto the plane...guess my eyebrows will just have to look shaggy when I get there." "Oh no! Searching my purse at the ballgame? They might see what brand of tampon I use." The shame! The shame!

I have nothing to hide and I would rather like getting "felt up" at the airport if they hired attractive people to do it. Oh no! Descrimination!!!!! Bad s_s, bad girl!

ms_canada 12 years, 4 months ago

Human beings are bizzare beyond compare. We are so paranoid. Some of us, that is. Why? you should ask yourself. When I fly within Canada, secuity is a simple thing, just step through the portal. Not for US security, take off all outer garments and shoes. ???????? Once several years back, I was travelling from Istanbul to Athens and was given the body search to end them all. Taken into a little booth, all the lady did was pat me on the boobs and gently touch my crotch. I nearly fell over laughing. Ten days after 9/11, I was returning from Newfoundland to Edmonton. Security took away my tweezers. Fine, no big deal. We were served a lovely meal on the flight and what to my wondering eyes should appear on the tray, but a steel fork and serratred knife. We humans don't make a lot of sense sometimes, do we? Patriot Act, does anyone think that it accomplished anything? Just heightened paranoia, in my opinion.

Richard Heckler 12 years, 4 months ago

NEW YORK - President Bush has personally authorized a secretive eavesdropping program in the United States more than three dozen times since October 2001, a senior intelligence official said Friday night.

The disclosure follows angry demands by lawmakers earlier in the day for a congressional inquiry into whether the monitoring by the highly secretive National Security Agency violated civil liberties.

ââ ÅThere is no doubt that this is inappropriate,ââ  declared Republican Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. He promised hearings early next year.

The official said that since October 2001, the program has been renewed more than three dozen times. Each time, the White House counsel and the attorney general certified the lawfulness of the program, the official said. Bush then signed the authorization. Â

ââ ÅI want to know precisely what they did,ââ  said Specter. ââ ÅHow NSA utilized their technical equipment, whose conversations they overheard, how many conversations they overheard, what they did with the material, what purported justification there was.ââ Â

Times: Cheney told of program Vice President Dick Cheney and Bush chief of staff Andrew Card went to the Capitol Friday to meet with congressional leaders and the top members of the intelligence committees, who are often briefed on spy agenciesââ /¢ most classified programs. The Times said they had been previously told of the program. Members and their aides would not discuss the subject of the closed sessions Friday.

The intelligence official would not provide details on the operations or examples of success stories. He said senior national security officials are trying to fix problems raised by the Sept. 11 commission, which found that two of the suicide hijackers were communicating from San Diego with al-Qaida operatives overseas.

In a case unrelated to NSA eavesdropping in this country, the administration has argued that the president has vast authority to order intelligence surveillance without warrants ââ Åof foreign powers or their agents.ââ Â

Other intelligence veterans found difficulty with the program in light of the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, passed after the intelligence community came under fire for spying on Americans. That law gives government ââ " with approval from a secretive U.S. court ââ " the authority to conduct covert wiretaps and surveillance of suspected terrorists and spies.

Elizabeth Rindskopf Parker, former NSA general counsel, said it was troubling that such a change would have been made by executive order, even if it turns out to be within the law.

Parker, who has no direct knowledge of the program, said the effect could be corrosive. ââ ÅThere are programs that do push the edge, and would be appropriate, but will be thrown out,ââ  she said.

bearded_gnome 12 years, 4 months ago

Yo, Marla, we do need the senate to be part of the legislative process, but we need an idiot-screening-test to weed out the flaming idiots inthe senate, RE: Sen. Hairy Reed; Dick Turban; Chucky Schumer (who often contradicts himself for political expedience); Barbara Boxer (who'd be my senator if I were still in the land of fruits and nuts!), and John Maccain. yes, not all are Demorats.

not one american citizen's rights have been compromised by the Patriot act (it has no "S" Merrill). and I deeply resent these losers making me less safe against terrorism in order for them to apease their michael moore/deaniac wackonut base!
want an example: the brooklyn bridge bombing plot was foiled because of roving wiretap and patriot act provisions! if another attack occurs on our soil because the patriot act provisions were not their to permit antiterrorism and law enforcement personnel to communicate, oddly these self same demorats/whineywheenies will find a way to blame the attack on GWB!

bearded_gnome 12 years, 4 months ago

in previous post did not include Ted Kennedy, because he's much worse than an idiot, and should have done jail time for DUI/vehicular homicide.

note to staff: could you guys start including in the weather banner: temp in centigrade; wind speed/direction in mph/km?
ljw is read outside the u.s. be handy.

end of staff note to.

ah, snow. gnomedog loves this snow! be careful if you drive.

Ember 12 years, 4 months ago

I know quite well my civil liberites. I read the Patriot Act from cover to cover twice, and still found nothing that raised my 'hackles', so to speak. Some of the wording was vague, until I read further and the vagueness was covered by a redefinition of the concept that was being discussed in a previous subheading.

Frankly, the people that are complaining about the abuses they have suffered were more than likely caught attempting to break, or at least circumvent, the laws of this nation.

Wiretaps are routinely questioned in a court of law when they are used as evidence of crime. Until the evidence of a wiretap is produced, 99 in 100 people being subjected to such surveillence are never aware of it's existence.

Were nothing ever said of such wiretaps, would anyone even notice they existed? Most likely not.

rhd99 12 years, 4 months ago

About Damn time we got rid of this STUPID PATRIOT ACT! Patriotic, INDEED! Makes me want to hurl. This act is so UNPATRIOTIC, we might as well think of ourselves as Hitler's victims. Are our rights protected under this act? Give me one example how our rights & freedoms are protected while we hunt for the Al Queada JERKS!

rhd99 12 years, 4 months ago

Let me rephrase: Give me one example how this ACT protects our civil liberties & freedoms.

jonas 12 years, 4 months ago

I'm curious to know how some of you are so sure that not one innocent person's rights have been infringed upon. Surely you're not going to tell me that the govt. has told us so. Me, I admit to the possibility of being cynical to a fault, but history says that power exists, for all practical purposes, to be exploited. In other words: if they can, then they will.

Staci Dark Simpson 12 years, 4 months ago

Hey if they wanna check my bag an extra time fine by me. If they want to tap my phone lines, fine. We have to do what we have to do to be safe. Nothing is 100% but it doesn't hurt to take precautions. As American citizens you should be glad to know the government will do what it can to protect us. After 9/11 everything changed, we have to watch our backs now. Besides its not like W is peeping through our windows to see what color underwear we are wearing.

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