Democrat From Kentucky

Democrat from Kentucky
We promote fair and honest political discussion from all sides of the ideological spectrum While my own opinions and my contributors tend toward a more progressive view, that's not always the case. I ask people to comment freely and openly to promote fair discourse.
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Patriot Act: The Government Against Its People Saturday, December 10, 2005

The USA Patriot Act remains perhaps the most significant threat to the freedom of our citizens since McCarthy back in the 50s. Right now, while it doesn't look promising, there is hope to get this act started. The act was passed in response to 9//11 to make it easier for the government to investigate "terrorist activity.

The law severely restricts our rights as U.S. citizens. I plan on sending information to your Congressmen and Senators but unfortunately, it won't do much good. Fortunately, other Senators have said they will fillibuster the law. If they can hold this for just a little longer, the Patriot Act will go down. It's something that needs to be done for the protection of our country.

Here's a brief explanation from the Washington Post of some of what's involved:

The compromise bill would slightly change the provisions that allow FBI to obtain people's business records, including library records. Investigators would have to provide a judge with a "statement of facts" showing "reasonable grounds" to believe the records are relevant to an anti-terrorism investigation.

Another provision governs "national security letters," which are used by the FBI to demand customer records from businesses such as telephone companies, Internet providers and libraries. Recipients of such letters are required to keep the requests secret.

The new legislation would explicitly give businesses that receive such letters the right to challenge them in court, but critics say the process is set up in such a way that the government will nearly always prevail. There is also no provision for notifying the individual whose records are being targeted.

As part of the compromise, lawmakers dropped a provision that would have made it a crime punishable by a year in prison to disclose receipt of a national security letter. But the deal retains a five-year prison term if the disclosure is aimed at obstructing an investigation.

Leahy and others strongly oppose provisions instructing judges to presume that federal agents should obtain records unless the targeted person can show that the government acted in bad faith. Kennedy called the targeted person's opportunity to challenge a search "arguably worse than nothing."

As Lindsay Beyerstein points out over at MajikThise, there's still a chance to stop this but you need to do what you can now.

posted by Stithmeister @ 12:43 PM

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Location: Harrodsburg, Kentucky, United States

I'm currently working in the telecomm industry but one of my passions is still politics.

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