Increased threat levels against mass transportation, athletic stadia, and popular tourist destinations have lately begun to appear more frequently in reports by the SoCalledUnbiasedMedia (SCUM).
And they must be true. Because, of course, no one would EVER consider threatening terror upon the People, like that, for political gain. Who would be so dishonest as to stir up citizen fears to enact otherwise un-passable legislation?
Yet, strangely, there have been seemingly co-incidental, simultaneous reports in news for weeks that the Obamanauts were seeking to renew three shockingly intrusive, (unConstitutional) provisions of the PATRIOT ACT.
And, surprisingly, there does also seem to have occurred an increase in the official warnings, apprehensions of alleged terrorists, and the revelation of more arcane plots.
Connection? I mean, such shenanigans would be SOOOO "last regime," innit? I mean, we got "change" you could believe in, innit?
Jeralyn, over at "Talk Left, today, picks up the narrative, pretty starkly:
We have vague terror threats guaranteed to strike fear in the heart of every American because they reference football stadiums, hotels, and mass transit. We have President Obama today calling for a renewal of expiring Patriot Provisions.Of course, it's just a coincidence...
The FBI says:"Nothing in the bulletins references the current investigation," a Federal Bureau of Investigation issued spokesman said Tuesday. Investigators still don't have specific evidence indicating an imminent threat to particular targets in the alleged plot, federal officials said.That hasn't stopped Republicans from claiming: [More...]Republicans said now isn't the time to limit the government's powers. The investigation in New York and Colorado is a reminder that "the threat to the homeland is very real," Sen. Kit Bond said in an interview Tuesday. "Tying the hands of our terror-fighters is not what we should be doing now." The current law contains ample privacy and civil liberties protections, the Missouri Republican said.
The three expiring provisions need to go. They pertain to roving wiretaps, library and business records, and the "lone wolf" provision.
Democrats have introduced two bills to restrict abuses. The one that needs to pass is Russ Feingold's "Justice Act."A Senate bill, proposed by Wisconsin Democrat Russ Feingold and others, seeks to place new limits on wiretapping authorities and to cancel the immunity from lawsuits granted to telecommunications providers that aid government surveillance.The second bill, by Sen. Patrick Leahy is not the answer.Another bill proposed by Vermont Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy would renew the expiring Patriot Act provisions for four more years -- with new restrictions -- but seeks to also put an expiration date on a law allowing for so-called National Security Letters.The ACLU has more why we need to support The Justice Act. It testified today at a subcommittee hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee. (Available here.)“The Patriot Act has not only been a minefield for Americans’ rights, it also started a steady expansion of many of America’s surveillance laws,” said Michael German, ACLU National Security Policy Counsel and former FBI Special Agent. “In the wake of 9/11, Congress hastily amended and expanded the government’s authority to conduct domestic surveillance without any suspicion of wrongdoing. Congress must now seize the opportunity to bring these laws in line with the Constitution by passing the JUSTICE Act.”
Since it was rushed through Congress just 45 days after September 11, the Patriot Act has paved the way for the expansion of government-sponsored surveillance including the gutting of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) to allow dragnet collection of Americans’ communications. Over the last eight years, numerous expansions of executive authority have worked in tandem to infringe upon Americans’ rights. Only by understanding the larger picture of the combined effects of Patriot Act, the amendments to FISA and other changes to surveillance law can Congress make an informed, consistent and principled decision about whether and how to amend all of these very powerful surveillance tools.
“The Patriot Act fundamentally altered the relationship Americans share with their government,” said German. “By expanding the government’s authority to secretly search our private records and monitor our communications, often without any evidence of wrongdoing, the Patriot Act eroded our most basic right – the freedom from unwarranted government intrusion into our private lives. Put very simply, under the Patriot Act the government now has the right to know what you’re doing, but you have no right to know what it’s doing. The time for Patriot Act reform is long overdue.”
The full Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on the Patriot Act tomorrow. For more, check out the ACLU site, Reform the Patriot Act.