November 17, 2005

Filibuster Against PATRIOTism?

Hatched by Dafydd

That's the implication from a bipartisan group of six senators who are so upset that we keep paying more attention to protecting the American people against terrorism than we do to protecting the sacred civil liberties of terrorists that they now threaten to "block" legislation making parts of the USA PATRIOT Act permanent and extending the rest for seven years. I don't know what else they could mean by blocking legislation, unless they plan to undertake the poor-man's filibuster: making amendment after frivolous amendment to try to delay the debate.

Either way, it makes those advocating surrender in the war on terrorism (see below) look particularly oafish: they're saying we should drop the military attacks on terrorism and focus on law enforcement at precisely the same time other Democrats (and even some moderate Republicans) are demanding that we drop many of the provisions that allow law enforcement officers to successfully prosecute terrorism in the first place!

(We discussed the reauthorization legislation here: Still PATRIOTic After All These Years and Maybe Not So PATRIOTic After All.)

The six senators are Larry Craig (R-ID), John Sununu (R-NH), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Russ Feingold (D-WI), and Ken Salazar (D-CO). Sununu, Murkowsi, and Salazar were not yet in the Senate when the original PATRIOT Act was enacted in October 2001. Of those senators who were, Craig and Durbin voted in favor of it, while Feingold voted against it. Evidently, Craig and Durbin now believe the war is over, we've won (or perhaps lost), thus there is little reason allowing the act to continue. At least, that is what I deduce from today's threat.

I think I should lie down: my brain is starting to reel from all the political epicycles on this one. It seems pretty straightforward to me: there are still bad guys desperately trying to infiltrate America so they can set off bombs in a Galleria, or perhaps in a middle school; and the major subpoena and wiretap powers granted to terrorism investigations by the Patriot Act, the part lefties whine about, were already allowed when investigating drug gangs, the Mafia, and foreign spies.

This should be a no-brainer: nobody has shown any violation of civil liberties from use of this act; the Patriot Act should simply be made permanent, all of it. Yet evidently, simplicity is not a virtue to these complex and nuanced senators. And shame on the three Republicans for aping the Left's habit of attacking the president instead of arguing their case before the Ameican people.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, November 17, 2005, at the time of 9:03 PM

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