Civil Liberties

Thank Goodness! Now We're Safe from Terrorism Again!


The reauthorized USA PATRIOT Act has passed the Senate 72-23 and the House 250-153. It heads now to the desk of Barack Obama, who will veto it, in accord with his rhetoric as a senator sign it before the midnight deadline.

So the bastards won, as we always knew they would in the end. But I'm glad Rand Paul was able to throw a monkeywrench into the system for a little while. (If Russ Feingold gets back into the Senate, I look forward to seeing Paul and Feingold fight for the Fourth Amendment together. They might not manage to save the Bill of Rights, but it would make a great buddy movie.)

If you missed this earlier, it's well worth watching:

NEXT: The Tree of Life

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  1. got 4th amendment?

    1. Only a Terrorist would ask that. Off with his head!

    1. In with the Fourth, out with the First…

    2. The one senator who voted against PATRIOT the first time around, yes.

      1. He let it be extended last year by unanimous consent, though. Rand Paul DIDN’T let it pass by unanimous consent this time, or we wouldn’t have had debate on it, at all.

    3. Yes, whatever his other faults, he did vote against it the first time. With him gone from the Senate, Wyden might be my favorite Democratic Senator.

      1. But Wyden told us compellingly there was this secret interpretation we should be really worried about — and I was absolutely all worried about it, and then he got up to present it and basically said ‘oh, nevermind’.

        1. Well, then, nothing to worry about — if Wyden has been bought off with promised pork reassured that his concerns were unfounded, no need to get vexed about this non-issue.

          Anybody found out who voted “no” on this bad puppy? I’m assuming the Hawaii delegation were their usual statists selves.

          1. Akaka voted for cloture, and against the final bill.

            1. Prole’s hasty and simplistic assumption was wrong, whodaguessed?

              1. MNG is stupid about parliamentary procedure, whodadguessed?

                Voting for cloture is the key vote that secures passage. Voting against the final bill is to fool the rubes, like MNG.

                Luckily for the politicians most voters are just as ignorant as MNG, plus votes can be taken out of context in ads on both sides.

              2. Voting for cloture endorsed the “deal” that none of the amendments that might actually passed (like Leahy-Paul) would be offered, and ensured passage. As soon as cloture occurs, the Majority Leader has enormous power to control amendments.

                Voting for cloture and against the final bill is the clear trick that Senators use in order to stick to party loyalty but make a meaningless gesture.

                You would have to be ignorant to fall for that, or MNG.

          2. You asked who voted against it?…

  2. You know about Obama and the teleprompter, now get ready for Obama and the autopen: Obama Won’t Personally Sign Patriot Act Extension.

    1. And here I’ve been writing with manuel ink pens, like a sucker.

      1. What’s wrong with my pens?

        1. Little boys with SMALL PENS

    2. We’ll just deem the Act signed.

  3. Whew! For a minute there i thought the terrorists were going to win. I dont like those terrorists, cause that hate our freedoms and shit.

    1. The Terrorist did win.

      1. But still, no true Scotsman. . .

  4. Come on, it’s called the PATRIOT Act – what could go wrong with a name like that?

    1. No one who speaks German can be an evil man!

  5. Can anyone else remember the last time you watched a politician in the Senate argue such a clear and wise defense of fourth amendment principles?

    Rand Paul earned a lot of respect from people today, obviously a lot here, but across the board politically.

    1. I wish that were true, but 90% of the left would never cede power from the government because “if the right people were in charge…” and most of the right’s vision of freedom is the freedom to fly a flag and listen to country music.

      1. Don’t be so pessimistic. There is a decent-sized group of people who don’t fall into either of those stereotypes.

      2. Actually, I suspect (without actually having seen the vote breakdown) that most of the “no” votes were by Democrats, so that 90% figure seems a bit high.

        1. They were. I think it was 19 Dems and 4 GOP.

    2. I’m afraid he lost most of the left for good when he questioned the Civil Rights Act

      If you don’t agree with these people 100% of the time, you’re a fascist.

      1. I’m with Joe, I’ve seen near universal praise about this from Paul. The establishment sure doesn’t like it but I think the country is getting sick of the TSA and all this fourth amendment raping.

      2. If you don’t agree with these people 100% of the time and are not a Democrat, you’re a fascist.

  6. Diagnosing Congress:

    The prototypical psychopath has deficits or deviance in several areas: interpersonal relationships, emotion, and self-control. Psychopaths gain satisfaction through antisocial behavior, and do not experience shame, guilt, or remorse for their actions. Psychopaths lack a sense of guilt or remorse for any harm they may have caused others, instead rationalizing the behavior, blaming someone else, or denying it outright. Psychopaths also lack empathy towards others in general, resulting in tactlessness, insensitivity, and contemptuousness.

    Psychopaths can have a superficial charm about them, enabled by a willingness to say anything to anyone without concern for accuracy or truth. Shallow affect also describes the psychopath’s tendency for genuine emotion to be short-lived, glib and egocentric, with an overall cold demeanor. Their behavior is impulsive and irresponsible, often failing to keep a job or defaulting on debts.

    Psychopaths also have a markedly distorted sense of the potential consequences of their actions, not only for others, but also for themselves. They do not deeply recognize the risk of being caught, disbelieved or injured as a result of their behavior.

    1. Is there a difference?

      sociopaths and psychopaths:

      ?a disregard for the rights of others
      ?a failure to feel remorse or guilt
      ?a disregard for laws and social mores
      ?a tendency to display violent behavior and emotional outbursts

      …psychology professionals agree on what exactly differentiates sociopaths from psychopaths, among those who believe each are separate disorders there is a list of definite differences. Sociopaths tend to be nervous and easily agitated…. uneducated and live on the fringes of society….Some sociopaths form attachments to an individual or group, though they have no regard for society in general. In the eyes of others, sociopaths appear clearly disturbed. Any crimes committed by a sociopath tend to be disorganized and spontaneous.

      Psychopaths… have charming personalities… manipulative and easily gain people’s trust. They have learned to mimic emotion and so appear “normal” to other people. Psychopaths are often educated and hold steady jobs…. good at manipulation and mimicry that they can have families and other long-term relationships without those around them ever suspecting their true nature…. when committing crimes, carefully plan out every detail and often have contingency plans in place. Because of this marked difference between the method of crimes committed by sociopaths and psychopaths, the distinction between these disorders is perhaps even more important to criminology than it is to psychology.

      … According to David Lykken, a behavioral geneticist known for his studies on twins, psychopathy stems from a physiological defect in the brain that results in the underdevelopment of the part of the brain responsible for impulse control and emotions. Sociopathy is more the product of childhood traumas and abuse. According to this model, some professionals believe that sociopaths are capable of empathy, but only in specific contexts

      Do you think politicians are both? One, or, the other?

      sociopath = trauma


      Psychopath = defective brain

      1. All men are psychos with small dick syndrome.

      2. I think virtually all elected officials are megalomaniacs to one degree or another. Only some of them are psychopaths, while others mean well but are incapable of understanding the consequences of their well-intentioned policies.

        And then there are a handful like Rand Paul.

        1. But a megalomaniacs condition characterized by delusional fantasies of wealth, power, or omnipotence.
          I am not so sure most politicians don’t achieve the goal.

  7. *sniff*

    GOD DAMN this guy has already been worth every penny I donated to his campaign. I’ll increase it tenfold next time.

  8. Incidentally, the Dems in the House did better than their Senate colleagues, 54 Yeas, 122 Nays, 16 NV. GOP was 196-31-12.

    However, if the Dems had the majority, the would have whipped up some more votes. This was a free vote for some of them to posture.

    1. Yeah John they “did better” as in a majority of them opposed the measure while a majority of your party supported it. Or to put it even better, Dems voted 2-1 against it while the GOP voted 6 to 1 for it.

      The party of Luberty!

      1. And let’s point out that four of the 23 that voted against it in the Senate were GOPers, all the rest Dems. What happened to your party there? Four? hell, the Dems got more than that to vote against Ryan’s budget…

        Kudos to Paul though who fought the fight the best imo.

        1. Huh. If only all the Dems had voted against it.

          Fuck your Party. That counts for shit.

          1. …”That counts for shit…”

            Naah. It counts for “cover your ass”.

          2. I wish they all would have too. In the house I got two thirds of that wish.

            What did the Hit and Runpublicans get out their wish? Another punch in the nuts.

            1. MNG|5.26.11 @ 10:15PM|#

              Your 3rd-grade classmates will howl with glee at your cleverness…

            2. MNG, by that argument, the Republicans opposed TARP. Of course, in reality the leadership twisted arms until they got enough votes for it.

              MNG, you got another punch in the nuts. The number of Democrats that voted for it was always guaranteed to be enough sufficient to have it pass, just like it was last year, and just like it was every time.

              Two thirds of that wish? That and a nickel will get you a big cup of jack squat.

              1. Shorter Minge

                My team only pisses on my face, not in my mouth. GO TEAM BLUE GO TEAM BLUE

        2. Hmmm, the Dems in the House, who are all up for reelection, voted 2-1 against it, knowing good and well that it was gonna pass regardless.

          The Dems in the Senate, most of whom are NOT up for reelection, and who are the majority party, and who only needed 41 votes total among Ds and Rs to filibuster this bill, voted something like 2-1 FOR the bill? A total of 23 “no” votes, including Paul and a few other Rs?

          Fuck the Democrats. It took two parties full of statists to pass this.

          1. prolefeed|5.26.11 @ 10:43PM|#
            “Hmmm, the Dems in the House, who are all up for reelection, voted 2-1 against it, knowing good and well that it was gonna pass regardless….”

            That’s the point that MNG is trying to hide with smoke and mirrors. If the word didn’t go out, it didn’t have to; dems could ‘vote their conscience’ (or more accurately, their constituencies) with no risk at all.

          2. You’re hilarious, by your logic the Senate GOPers should have voted largely against it, but whaddaya know, only four did!

      2. MNG|5.26.11 @ 9:53PM|#
        “Yeah John they “did better” as in a majority of them opposed the measure while a majority of your party supported it….”

        And the Dem who has the power to end it will veto it, right, MNG?

        1. Sorry conservatives, your party once again cut your own legs out from under you!

          6 to 1
          2 to 1

          And, in the Senate, 82% vs. 18% of the nays.

          Hurts, don’t it?

          1. Remind me: is Obama a Democrat or a Republican?

            1. Yes, because the GOP alternative (McCain) opposed the bill.

              Wait, what?

              1. If McCain had been elected, more Democrats would have opposed the bill. Do you disagree?

                I think it’s fairly clear that if you wanted to reform those provisions, electing McCain would have apparently worked better.

              2. This alternate universe shit is amusing but unimportant. In the real world where most of us live, Obama is the president and he fucking signed it. He and his butt-monkeys can’t evade responsibility for that no matter how many fanciful “what if” scenarios you cook up.

                1. Sorry that last was for MNG at 8:04 AM.

                  And BTW I’m not a Repub so hitting them doesn’t hurt me in the slightest. If McCain were president, yeah he’d of signed it and I would have damned him for it.

          2. And, in the Senate, 82% vs. 18% of the nays.

            You mean 18 out of 53 Democrats voted “nay”? As in 36% “no” votes?

            And 0% of the presidential vetoes?

            Nice job trying to bury that lede.

            The House vote is on the Republicans. The Senate vote and the pending White House signature is on the Democrats.

            1. “As in 36% “no” votes?”

              And the GOP %? Higher or lower Prole?

              1. The acquiescence of the entire Democratic caucus in not forcing votes to offer amendments that would pass is far more damning. The Democrats are willing to make noise about it precisely to the extent that it doesn’t actually effect anything. They fall in line if there’s any chance of actually changing things.

                President Obama provides the highest profile example of this switch, but everyone in the Democratic Congressional Leadership suddenly finds the necessity for the act.

              2. Just compare what Harry Reid said in the minority back in 2005 or 2006 to what he said this year. Reid, like Obama, is a party loyalist through-and-through. The same is true of most politicians, especially those that achieve party leadership positions.

                1. Shorter Minge:

                  I like them to spit on their dick before they sodomize me. That’s why I’m with TEAM BLUE. GO TEAM BLUE GO TEAM BLUE.

          3. “Sorry conservatives, your party once again cut your own legs out from under you!”

            I see evasion remains your fave. Care to answer the question?
            “And the Dem who has the power to end it will veto it, right, MNG?”

            1. And McCain, how did he vote cutie?

              1. The same as Obama, except that McCain’s election would have gotten more Democrats to oppose the bill, favor amendments, or at least extend it by less than four years.

                By any objective standard, the bill was reformed less because McCain was elected.

                1. I mean because Obama was elected/ McCain was not elected.

              2. It doesn’t matter if Obama’s a piece of shit because at least he’s not McCain.

          4. 1 to 0 in the executive branch is infinity percent, bitch.

          5. I’m not arguing that the GOP as a whole is better on this issue; I’m arguing that the Democrats aren’t better. The Democrats have consistently shown in all their leadership positions that they’ll heavily whip on this issue as necessary to pass it.

            Free votes that don’t matter are irrelevant. It’s no different from counting all the Democrats who voted for the Bush tax cuts on final passage as for the tax cuts, when they voted against the key procedural vote that occurred earlier.

      3. As I said, I have every confidence that the Democratic leadership would have found the votes to pass it if necessary in either the House or the Senate. They did last year when they had the House.

        They successfully rallied the troops against any amendments, and convinced Leahy and Wyden and others to not insist upon offering their amendments that probably would have passed.

        Every bit of evidence points toward the Democratic Party doing the typical thing of whipping on the important votes and then allowing free votes only when it doesn’t matter. Both parties do this– the GOP will “let” members vote against free trade agreements only when it doesn’t matter, but will hold bills open to get that crucial vote and get people to switch.

        It’s always hard to tell if you’re just ignorant or mendacious, the way you refuse to pay attention to procedural matters.

  9. How’s that drug war working out for you?…..-narcotank

    1. You get what you vote for.

  10. Unlike Rand Paul, Feingold let the Patriot Act be extended last year by unanimous consent.

    1. They will argue about that in the buddy movie. You need that sort of stuff for dramatic tension.

  11. At this point, the fish dining on Osama’s corpse are not welcome in San Fran, as they’ve become fans of the ‘Happy Meal’. His ass is ecstatic at the shitstorm he caused within the country that was his enemy #1. He may have eaten lead, and lived in hiding, but he won, big time.

  12. “If Russ Feingold gets back into the Senate, I look forward to seeing Paul and Feingold fight for the Fourth Amendment together. They might not manage to save the Bill of Rights, but it would make a great buddy movie.

    Feingold’s position on the PATRIOT act may be laudable, but he is most well known for spending most of his Senate career trying to cripple,if not kill the 1st Amendment right to free speech. Walker might consider a pols entire record before declaring him a Bill of Rights champion.

    1. They will argue about that in the buddy movie. You need that sort of stuff for dramatic tension

  13. GOP to Tea Party: Sit Down and Shut Up!


    National security conservatives 1
    Tea Party conservatives 0

    1. Yes, because the number of NSC is so close to the number of TPC…

    2. MNG|5.26.11 @ 10:17PM|#
      “GOP to Tea Party: Sit Down and Shut Up!”

      Obama to Dems: Cover your ass!

  14. I’ve got your PATRIOT act hangin’, demopublicans…. Wanna taste?

  15. Harry Reid in 2006.

    Harry Reid in 2011.

    I fucking hate these people.

  16. Fuk ’em all!

  17. Looking at individual numbers of votes is awesome and all but the main point should be the republican controlled house passed it, the democratic controlled senate passed it and the democratic president signed it.

    So fuck both parties neither is “good” on this issue (or any).

  18. One of the annoying things about the parliamentary maneuvering is that Harry Reid specifically let only the two amendments he knew were least likely to pass be voted on. There was no way in hell he was going to allow a vote on the Leahy-Paul amendment, or Paul’s amendment on library records.

    The guns amendment? No problem, because Democrats aren’t going to care about that, and allowing the vote might split the GOP. That’s politics for you.

    A bunch of Democrats who might have actually voted for the comprehensive amendments decided to play along with the team and support the procedural votes to block the amendments that might pass.

  19. The other question is whether, if Harry Reid had been defeated, Dick Durbin would have been the new Majority Leader, and whether he would have also turned like Reid and done his best to squash amendments.

    1. Durbin might have been more sympathetic to the Leahy-Paul amendment, simply because he’s more liberal than Reid on these sort of issues,(atleast during the Bush years). However, we should remember that he’s still the Senior Senator from Illinois (Obama’s home state), and it’s unlikely he would’ve voted against Chicago’s “favorite son”.

      His stance on Libya also doesn’t make me think constitutionalist.…..ert-costa:

      “during a testy floor exchange Wednesday with Sen. Dick Durbin (D., Ill.), the Kentucky freshman argued that his amendment deserves a vote, and fast. “In Afghanistan and Iraq, with all the complaints from many people on these wars that we were involved in, President Bush did come and ask for the authorization of force,” he said. “We’ve had two to three weeks of this issue. They had time to go to the U.N. They had time to go to the Arab League. They had time to go to everyone. I think you should be insulted the way I am insulted they never came to Congress.”

      Durbin fired back that Bush, by coming to Congress, actually “broke precedent.” Paul looked on, bemused.”

  20. You asked who voted no? Here you go:…

  21. I’m not glad that Rand Paul was able to throw a monkeywrench into the works for a while. I’m not interested in displays of effort. Either things get done or they don’t get done.

    However, while I’m in favor of Paul’s position on the Patriot Act, I still disagree (vehemently) with most of the Libertarian peaceniks.

    I’m still all for the U.S. government hunting down Islamofascist individuals and networks that engage in acts of violence or facilitate such acts. Find them, kill them, do it some more.

    I just oppose the opportunism of government control freaks (cops, judges, and politicians) who seek to use the real threat of terrorism as an excuse to expand their own powers beyond constitutional limits. That doesn’t change the fact that I think the world would be a much nicer place if Hezbollah, Hamas, and al Qaida were no longer in it.

  22. “This is not the change you are looking for”-

    (uses jedi mind-fuck to brainwash the partisan loyal masses)

    Obviously obama is a sith-lord.

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