Patriotism in Action

Since Congress passed the PATRIOT Act in the “nick of time”, this might be a good opportunity to review this sorry map of botched police raids. (via ED)

Harry Reid’s role in jamming the PATRIOT act through the Senate is an interesting reversal from 2005, when he was bragging about a filibuster of an extension (via):

“We killed the Patriot Act,” boasted Minority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, to cheers from a crowd at a political rally after the vote.

Here’s Reid yesterday:

“The raid that killed Osama bin Laden also yielded an enormous amount of new information that has spurred dozens of investigations yielding new leads every day.

“Without the Patriot Act, investigators would not have the tools they need to follow these new leads and disrupt terrorist plots.”

Obama’s no better on the PATRIOT act — he wanted to amend it as a Senator, now he and his party rammed through an extension without amendment or serious debate.






57 replies
  1. 1
    stuckinred says:

    Oh no’s politicians acting like politicians. I am fucking shocked.

  2. 2
    alwhite says:

    Nice to see the Democrats come around to the fascist position – it makes it easier for the Nader types to claim there is no difference between the two parties thus assuring more Presidents like Boy Blunder and his Super Friends.

  3. 3
    Jazz Superluminar says:

    @alwhite
    ok that was rather incoherent everything-baggerism.
    You’re saying the Dem’s are now functionally equivalent to facists, which I’m guessing you think is bad, but it would alsi be really bad to elect a party to their left, as this might mean some other facists get in, or something?

  4. 4
    Jazz Superluminar says:

    @stuckinred
    I doubt very much that mistermix is particularly shocked, or expecting others here to be. It is still worth pointing out inconsistencies in politician’s statements, and pressuring them on those points, in order to attempt to obtain the results one whishes to see.

  5. 5
    greennotGreen says:

    I looked at the raids in Tennessee and California and of the 14 that took place after the PATRIOT act was passed (out of a total of 46 listed for the two states),most were drug raids. I don’t think this map is much of an argument against the PATRIOT act, but it’s a great argument against the War on (Some People who use) Drugs.

  6. 6
    Commenting at Balloon Juice since 1937 says:

    My throat is really sore from having so much rammed down it.

  7. 7
    joeyess says:

    Between Harry Reid’s rhetoric and Obama’a clear endorsement for the Patriot Act.(fer fucks sake I hate the name of that thing) I have but one recourse;

    The urge to save humanity is almost always only a false face for the urge to rule it. – H.L. Mencken

  8. 8
    PeakVT says:

    “The raid that killed Osama bin Laden also yielded an enormous amount of new information that has spurred dozens of investigations yielding new leads every day. Without the Patriot Act, investigators would not have the tools they need to follow these new leads and disrupt terrorist plots.”

    Oh, bullshit. Unless al-Qaeda has a bunch of sleeper cells in the US it hasn’t bothered to activate – which is unlikely – almost all of the intelligence gathered will concern foreigners living outside the US. The intelligence agencies have always had a very free hand to conduct whatever surveillance they deem necessary as long as it is outside of the US.

    That is an line worthy of 2002-era Bush administration officials.

  9. 9
    srv says:

    “The raid that killed Osama bin Laden also yielded an enormous amount of new information that has spurred dozens of investigations yielding new leads every day.

    Then killing him was a terrible mistake that has endangered every american unless you assume he and his couriers wrote everything down for us.

    “Without the Patriot Act, investigators would not have the tools they need to follow these new leads and disrupt terrorist plots.”

    That means all the hundreds of billions we’ve spent over the last ten years and the Act itself were unable to uncover dozens of domestic terrorists or american citizens engaged in such activities. That makes you look pretty bad if you aren’t lying.

  10. 10
    greennotGreen says:

    BTW, my comment above was in no way intended to defend the PATRIOT Act! But you don’t help your cause much if you use a weak argument.

    I hate the police state mentality we’ve embraced. I flew out of Seattle this week, and some of the TSA agents there just stood by glaring at us as we waited in line to have our belongings x-rayed and our bodies metal-detected (haven’t been through one of the instant porn machines yet.) It was like the one time I flew into Bogota in 1997, except without the Uzis.

  11. 11
    Brandon says:

    Ah, the obligatory occassional Cato Institute token civil liberties issue to maintain the façade of libertarian bonafides. They have a map! Call me when they start promoting this issue on a feature basis, instead of having an intern maintained webpage located somewhere in the depths of their site.

  12. 12
    Brandon says:

    Ah, the obligatory occassional Cato Institute token civil liberties issue to maintain the façade of libertarian bonafides. They have a map! Call me when they start promoting this issue on a feature basis, instead of having an intern maintained webpage located somewhere in the depths of their site.

  13. 13
    WereBear says:

    Aren’t we leading up to 2012? They are probably trying not to be vulnerable on terrorism.

    But I call foul because it’s an old reflex; which recent events have completely upturned.

  14. 14
    Michael D. says:

    Off topic, but I thought Lawrence O’Donnell did a great job in his opening last night calling out the NY Times and other media for running with the Sarah Palin story.

  15. 15
    Mark says:

    @greennotGreen: I flew into and out of Bogota in 2008 and it was a pleasant experience compared to American airports. The staff there is better-trained than their American counterparts and they’re looking for bombs and drugs, not 150 ml of water.

    There was a chart in the Economist in 2002 or so that showed how the US has an even more draconian police state (in terms of what police can do) than Northern Ireland or Israel or a half-dozen other places that have problems with terrorism.

  16. 16
    Cat Lady says:

    Can someone point me to an example when power has ever been conferred to a head of state, and then unilaterally abrogated without coercion? I can’t think of a single example, but I’d actually like to know. The Patriot Act should never have been passed, but that horse left the barn a long time ago and ain’t coming back no matter who is president, ever.

  17. 17
    Jazz Superluminar says:

    Just looking at the numbers behind this “outrage”, from CATOs figures

    These 102 results represent
    The state of: All
    For the year: All
    And the following types of incidents: Death of an innocent, Death or injury of a police officer and Death of a nonviolent offender

    ok, that’s the years 1985-2010. So, just over 4 deaths a year. Not great, of course, but not really a large number of people either. Maybe they can also tell us how many SWAT raids were carried out every year? What’s that? About 40,000? Ok. So about 0.01% of these raids result in fatalities. Shocking.

  18. 18
    Kirbster says:

    Once a piece of legislation (good or bad) gets passed and signed for the first time, it’s hard to get rid of it, whether it’s the PATRIOT Act, the ACA, or tax cuts.

    Does the any branch of government ever give up power once it has been granted?

  19. 19
    Mark S. says:

    Today’s koan comes from Dr Krauthammer:

    Nothing new here, said Obama three days later. “By definition, it means that the parties themselves — Israelis and Palestinians — will negotiate a border that is different” from 1967. It means nothing of the sort. “Mutually” means both parties have to agree. And if one side doesn’t? Then, by definition, you’re back to the 1967 lines.

    Yeah, usually an agreement requires both sides to agree. And if you don’t have an agreement, you’re not back to the pre-1967 lines, you’re back to one-state and one occupied territory, which suits the rightwing in Israel just fine.

  20. 20
    Culture of Truth says:

    Obama’s no better on the PATRIOT act—he wanted to amend it as a Senator, now he and his party rammed through an extension without amendment or serious debate

    But only until 2016

  21. 21
    Chris says:

    @Cat Lady:

    Can someone point me to an example when power has ever been conferred to a head of state, and then unilaterally abrogated without coercion? I can’t think of a single example, but I’d actually like to know. The Patriot Act should never have been passed, but that horse left the barn a long time ago and ain’t coming back no matter who is president, ever.

    Didn’t Jefferson deep-six some of his predecessor’s more authoritarian moves, like the Alien and Sedition Acts? Or was that all just within Congress?

    Regardless, that would seem to be precedent for an excessive state power that was removed later on, without the need for revolution or coercion.

  22. 22
    13th Generation says:

    @Jazz Superluminar:

    Until they come into your house by mistake and shoot your wife and kids.

    Ass.

  23. 23
    bkny says:

    almost all of the intelligence gathered will concern foreigners living outside the US.

    not to mention mr hopey changey’s death squads roaming around taking out whoever they deem an oogabooga threat-to-the-homeland

  24. 24
    Cat Lady says:

    @Chris:

    It was always assumed that the Alien and Sedition Acts were unconstitutional and would have been struck down. It’s the legally and constitutionally granted power that I’m wondering about.

  25. 25
    El Cid says:

    Harry Reid was always a very strong supporter and pusher of the I’M NOT USING THAT RIDICULOUS NAME Act, and getting it through.

    Like many Democrats who strongly supported it from the get-go, the struggle was whether or not there were ‘sufficient’ checks on power and abuses, meaning, ways to pretend that there were such checks.

    So Reid enthusiastically backed it from Day 1, he was a bit annoyed when it was used to go after a Nevada strip joint, but just claimed that he helped control it and prevent Republicans’ abuses of it.

    Nothing about this action surprises me.

    But probably now it’s very good legislation and also it’s not the right political time to change it what with the elections and also the Senate gets in the way of passing good legislation so there’s not much reason to complain about any of this.

  26. 26
    superluminR droid says:

    @21
    Where did I claim it was good this shit happens? I think the tendency to use SWAT tactics for even minor raids is actually pretty stupid, and before seeing these figures I would’ve guessed the resultant casualties as being *much* higher. The fact that they’re not suggests to me that the vast majority of police are doing their jobs professionally and this scenario is nowhere near as bad as it is being painted.

  27. 27
    El Cid says:

    @Mark S.: What a bunch of horse-shit that once again I’m surprised / not surprised makes it into print.

    If they don’t make it upon ‘mutually agreed upon’ pressures on the Palestinians to give up whatever the Israeli leadership wants…

    …Then what magic force will drive the Israelis back to the ‘1967’ (1949 Armistice) lines?

    ‘Oh, darn, we didn’t reach and agreement, now since we have to skip a turn and we only rolled a 5, fudge, I guess we’ll just start trudging back to those borders.

    ‘Otherwise, gosh, people would be unhappy because we don’t have a negotiated agreement with that awesomely powerful force known as the Palestinians.’

  28. 28

    maybe the patriot act is THE zombie apocalypse. or at least the equivalent of the final seal keeping us from a zombie apocalypse, in that, getting rid of it, would trigger the zombie apocalypse.

    there are tons of legislation that can’t get out of committee and this shit just will not die. i almost admire that in a way, but then again, in slasher movies and the horror genre, i always root for the bad guy.

  29. 29
    Paul W. says:

    So it looks like the hit is out to demonize and attack the new DNC chair (Debbie Wasserman Schultz). Glad to see the Hill is on top of the super important “someone in America drives a Japanese car [nevermind that we mandate something like 60% of the car is assembled in the US]”.

    Friggin liberal media knows whats up!

  30. 30
    jrg says:

    @Jazz Superluminar: Ok, so the chances of an innocent person getting killed are only about 1 in 10K?

    Wow. That’s a really compelling reason for increased paramilitary raids on non-violent drug offenders. With a success rate that dandy, we should do it for parking tickets, too.

    Edit: My apologies. I see your response above.

  31. 31
    Citizen_X says:

    On-topic with the raids gone wrong, at least: Here’s a Balko report (sorry, Huffpo link) on a Pima County, AZ raid which killed a 26-year-old Marine vet and father in his home. Supposedly, he was part of a home-invasion/pot-dealing ring (?), but no evidence of this was found in his home. Balko documents how the cops changed their story repeatedly after the raid.

  32. 32
    Corner Stone says:

    I think you guys are not understanding President Obama’s role in this. It’s clear, at least to me, that he doesn’t actually want the govt to have the authority contained in this act. And really, he’s just forcing Congress to do its job as a coequal branch. It’s their job to reduce or remove these powers through amendments/legislation. President Obama has nothing to do with it.

  33. 33
  34. 34
    gex says:

    @greennotGreen: The Patriot Act does relate to the war on drugs. At my pharmacy, there’s a big sign warning you that any funny business buying cold medicine is a violation of the Patriot Act.

    In fact, I bet very little of the Patriot Act is involved in actual anti-terrorism stuff. I remember in the early days reading about DHS running around hassling people who violated intellectual property rights. Leading me to conclude the Patriot Act is whatever they want it to be at any given moment.

  35. 35
    kindness says:

    As a liberal with some libertarian leanings, this is one area that I was in agreement with Senator Rand Paul and totally against my own Senator DiFi. Sadly, the Patriot Act legalizes totalitarianism in my view. The most cherished principles enshrined in our Bill of Rights, our Constitution have been recinded with the Patriot Act.

    I remember reading 1984, Farenheit 451, Aminal Farm and the other peons to liberty and freedom in school. The Patriot Act is the dark side of all those tales writ large on our nation. The fact that liberals didn’t do more to come together with libertarian conservatives to stop fascism here in America makes me hang my head in shame.

    The boogieman of terrorism and that of the terrorist should not compel us to throw away rights and freedoms that previous generations fought and died for. But who am I to say this? Just one lonely liberal in the crowd.

  36. 36
    MikeJ says:

    @Cat Lady:

    The Patriot Act should never have been passed, but that horse left the barn a long time ago and ain’t coming back no matter who is president, ever.

    The only way to get rid of it is through something that will never happen, bipartisanship.

    There will be another terrorist attack on US soil at some point. It’s almost a certainty. You simply can’t prevent every crime. Most congresspeople would be extremely vulnerable if they had voted to get rid of the PATRIOT act. There are probably a few who could get away with it, but not many.

  37. 37
    superluminR droid says:

    @Corner Stone
    Oh come on, you can do better than that
    .
    .
    Of course Obama is against this outrage.
    .
    .

  38. 38
    eemom says:

    @Corner Stone:

    And really, he’s just forcing Congress to do its job as a coequal branch. It’s their job

    hmm. You do know your it’s from your its, I’ll give ya that.

  39. 39
    Jazz Superluminar says:

    @kindness

    The fact that liberals didn’t do more to come together with libertarian conservatives to stop fascism here in America makes me hang my head in shame.

    and whos’e’ fault is’ that? The liberals who wanted to get on with the rest of their agenda whilst making a temporary, one-off alliance with libertarians to defeat authoritarian politics, or the libertarians who basically decided that both sides were exactly the same and therefore such an alliance wasn’t worth it, even if such a thing might have resulted in a repeal of offensive policies such as the Patriot act. If there’s anything that could unite the libertarians, obots and firebaggers, it is’ the ending of legislation that oppresses peoples civil liberties. Only one of those three factions didn’t want to play ball. HINT: its the one all about the tax cuts.

  40. 40
    Moonbatman says:

    How dare you link to E.D. Kain’s swiftboarding of the great Sheriff Dupnik who proved that Palin and her wingnut allies caused the Tucson shootings.
    It just repeats Kochwhore Radley Balko slurs about the Jose Guerena Hoax.

    It is just a load of the Chickenhawk butthurt whining about how the police who were following proper procedure denying treatment to the man they shot until he died, sealing the search warrant and correcting their story multiple times.

    The guy that they killed was part of a home invasion crew. A criminal just like James O’Keefe and Andrew Breitbart.

    Peace Out. The Power is Yours. Free Crystal Mangum

  41. 41
    jrg says:

    @MikeJ:

    There will be another terrorist attack on US soil at some point. It’s almost a certainty. You simply can’t prevent every crime. Most congresspeople would be extremely vulnerable if they had voted to get rid of the PATRIOT act.

    Yep. It’s a ratchet. Despite civil libertarians’ objections, no law maker wants to be seen as ‘soft on terrorism’ in the event of another terrorist attack.

    It’s a lot like entitlements or tax breaks in that regard. No one wants to look at the trade offs. This is how we get people on Medicare whining about taxes: discussions about the costs of entitlements have been avoided (until recently), just as the costs of tax breaks have been avoided (I suspect this will change soon).

    It reminds me a lot of the bullshit we heard at the beginning of the Iraq war, about people being objectively pro-Saddam. Politicians are afraid to discuss the implications of enacting or not enacting something until the problem resulting from their decision gets so big, discussion cannot be avoided. I shudder thinking about what that means in the context of a militarized police force.

  42. 42
    Shelton Lankford says:

    OK, call me a “whatever bagger” but doesn’t it seem somewhat odd to you that an election that turned on the promise of “change” didn’t really change any fundamental policy? And the “left” candidate is an unabashed booster of repressive laws and the “peace” candidate doubles down on the warmongering even as dust collects on his Nobel Peace Prize?

    Is there no limit to the horse shit that we will swallow so we can maintain the fiction that we are a democratic republic?

    Guess not!

  43. 43
    kindness says:

    @Jazz Superluminar: You seem to be implying that one has to agree with everything those you agree with on a particular issue entails, even their worst motives. I do not agree with that assumption. I will take my companions on a case by case basis and be fine with that. I don’t expect them to agree with me on everything. I don’t expect other liberals to agree with me on everything. So why would I choose to chain & restrict myself on this issue? I don’t.

  44. 44
    Jazz Superluminar says:

    And the “left” candidate is an unabashed booster of repressive laws and the “peace” candidate doubles down on the warmongering

    So he’s completely changed from his stance of going after states that are a threat to the international order, right?You may have been readiOng more into your feelings about Obama than were actually there dude…

  45. 45
    Xecky Gilchrist says:

    “Without the Patriot Act, investigators would not have the tools they need…”

    Fuck me, I knew that somebody defending this horror was going to mention “tools.” That word must have focus-grouped well when they were ramming the Act through initially, and it’s been applied to every official apology for spying, torture, and whatever other police state offal comes along.

    Penis words are always bad news – investigative tools, tax cut packages, etc. etc.

  46. 46
    Jazz Superluminar says:

    @kindness (40)
    no, you need to read what I wrote more carefully. I, and a large number of commenters on this site, would love to have an alliance with actual libertarians who care about this issue in order to prevent further abuses of people’s liberties. Unfortunately, many of those libertarians think we on the left are exactly the same as the conservatives, leading to an impasse.

  47. 47
    burnspbesq says:

    @Moonbatman:

    ” Free Crystal Mangum”

    Tired schtick is tired.

  48. 48
    burnspbesq says:

    We lost the War on Terra the day the Patriot Act was signed, and we lose it again every day that the Patriot Act remains on the books.

  49. 49
    MattR says:

    @burnspbesq: Yep. The idea that “you won’t mind us looking through your things if you have nothing to hide” was rejected by the colonists roughly 250 years ago. It is so sad to see that it has finally managed to gain acceptance.

  50. 50
    Xecky Gilchrist says:

    “Without the Patriot Act, investigators would not have the tools they need…”

    Fuck me, I knew that somebody defending this horror was going to mention “tools.” That word must have focus-grouped well when they were ramming the Act through initially, and it’s been applied to every official apology for spying, torture, and whatever other police state offal comes along.

    Peener words are always bad news – investigative tools, tax cut packages, etc. etc.

  51. 51
    Moonbatman says:

    @burnspbesq:
    I don’t understand why progressives are not defending Sheriff Dupnik.
    This blog defended him before from wingnuts.

    Don’t let the wingnuts repeat their Swiftboarding with unfounded smears like they did with John Edwards.

    Like these lies from Kochwhore Radley Balko about Mike Storie, the patriotic attorney that is representing the SWAT team that killed Cpl. Guerena debunking the Jose Guerena Hoax.

    Peace Out. The Power is Yours. Free Crystal Mangum

  52. 52
    sparky says:

    a. MM–thanks for posting this. glad to see that not everyone has rolled over on the national security state.

    b. interesting thread. one mocking of an old excuse for Obama (CS) and two “blame the lefties” posts, and one mention of the person who quickly signed it. whyever could that be?

    c. why not just call it what it is: Public Law 107-56? takes the P.. out of it.

  53. 53
    TG Chicago says:

    If there’s anything that could unite the libertarians, obots and firebaggers, it is’ the ending of legislation that oppresses peoples civil liberties. Only one of those three factions didn’t want to play ball.

    That would be the one led by Obama, who has never shown an interest in ending the Patriot Act (at least, not since taking office). If Obama leads them, the obots will come. If not, not.

  54. 54
    Yutsano says:

    @burnspbesq: Slow work day? That’s when you usually bother with trolls.

  55. 55
    kindness says:

    @Jazz Superluminar: I agree with you there. There are a very few issues I agree with some of my Teabagging friends about and Civil Liberties is one of them. To your credit, my teabagging homies hate to admit they agree with me on any issue. To them it’s a point of pride to disagree and blame liberals for every issue under the sun. So I love to hug them even closer on those one or two things I do agree with them on. They get all queezy and end up justifying it by telling me I’m not really a liberal.

    What ever. I see the same stuff from the left though too. Strange world. Still…the Patriot Act legalizes Gestapo tactics. Who in their right mind could say that is OK? Apparently 72 Senators and 250 Congresspersons. Yuck!

  56. 56
    stinkfoot says:

    It’s okay if Obama does it.

  57. 57
    Cris says:

    Allow me to happily announce that both my Senators voted against the extension — not only Jon Tester, who has been very consistent on this (his insistence that he wanted PATRIOT repealed is what won my campaign contributions), but also Max Freakin Baucus.

Comments are closed.