Wyden steps up on the Patriot Act

Carla Axtman

One of the more egregiously awful pieces of legislation passed under the Bush Administration (with the help of plenty of Democrats) is the USA Patriot Act. From roving wiretaps to secret searches to sneak & peek warrants, this wretched piece of refuse law was inflicted on us at a time when our nation was scared, angry and stinging from the attacks of September 11, 2001. Since then, it's been a pox on our house.

And while we're at it, the nastier a piece of legislation seems to be, the more the soaring, fife and drum corps name is attached to it. By all rights, this should be called the "Turning the US Constitution Into Toilet Paper Act". But I digress.

Recently, several provisions of the Patriot Act were extended (you should click through here if for no other reason than to view the awesome image that illustrates the story) by the US House of Representatives. It's moving over to the other chamber, where Senator Ron Wyden intends to give it some tweaks.

According to a press release from his office, Wyden plans to address two issues with the Act. The first is the "secret law" issue, or instances in which government agencies rely on secret interpretations of what the law means without telling the public what those interpretations are. Obviously there's an enormous problem when there's a massive chasm between a public that thinks they know what the law does and what the government secretly thinks the law says.

The second area Wyden plans to modify is the “business records” provision. Currently, this provision permits government agents to collect a wide variety of information or objects, such as blood or DNA samples, by asserting that they are “relevant to an investigation”. Wyden’s changes would replace the “relevance” standard with a “nexus to terrorism” standard. If if passes, intelligence agencies would have to demonstrate that the records were in some way connected to terrorism or clandestine intelligence activities.

Really, the whole piece of legislation should be scrapped. Wyden is simply gussying up a pig with a little rouge and lipstick. But sometimes the only way to get rid of something like this is to chip away until there's nothing left. Here's hoping that's Wyden's grand master plan on this one.

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    There may be disagreements on other matters, but the Tea Party folks will join the majority of Oregonians in opposing trampling on our fourth amendment rights, captured in this piece of legislation. Opportunity knocks?

    Free Tibet. Boycott Chinese goods.

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    "Really, the whole piece of legislation should be scrapped."

    You have that right, Carla. The PATRIOT Act is atrocity against civil liberties and due process.

    "If Tyranny and Oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy" - James Madison

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    I caught this last week, and it made my stomach turn. Headline: 'Democrats increasingly support Patriot Act.' Seriously, Democrats, WTF?


    And speaking of WTF, the Rand Paul "Right to Work" ad on this site made me throw up in my mouth a little...

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