drop in the bucket

There's a tiny bit of good news on the so-called Patriot Act. The House voted to block a provision that makes it easier for the FBI to snoop into library and bookstore records. Luckily both conservatives and liberals saw the danger in this Big Brother clause, and voted 238 to 187 against.
"Congress has begun to hear that civil liberties and privacy issues are important to Americans," said Representative Bernard Sanders, the independent from Vermont who led the effort to block the provision through a $57.5 billion spending measure. It covers the Justice, State and Commerce departments as well as federal science programs.

The White House has threatened to veto the measure if it impedes the Patriot Act, and Mr. Bush as recently as Tuesday personally urged lawmakers to renew the law.

"The Patriot Act is an important piece of legislation," Mr. Bush told Republican lawmakers at a fund-raising dinner. "It gives those folks who are on the front line of fighting terror the same tools - many of the same tools that are used to track down drug kingpins or tax cheats."
What about deserters? Liars? Anything in that bill to catch treasonous lying scum like you?

There may even be enough votes in Congress to over-ride the veto. This doesn't go nearly far enough, of course. But it's good to see a few members of Congress are awake.


Anonymous said...

I'm not holding my breath for the bit favorable to libraries and bookstores to survive. Too much mounting pressure from the fundies in the general public to survive that one.

Right now I wonder what happens regarding credit history. We already know that Air Miles info can (and has supposedly in the past) be passed on to marketers ... what about the government? Do they/will they have access to credit histories, such as Visa accounts, to analyze consumer purchases?

My own personal conspiracy theory has them looking at the records to see who the big bookstore visitors are, then seizing upon records of those people and investigating further. That may be a guess wildly out of left field (I never said the things running through my head weren't nonsensical) but it is nonetheless one that strikes me as possible.

A while back G posted something on his site about fingerprint ID used to login to computers at an Illinois library. The possibilities of where that could take us alone are enough to send a shiver down my spine (and not the good kind, either!), especially if that info gets linked into what the users do (easy to do with tracking cookies, hell some websites do it already).

The way it's going, they may as well just hook up security cams facing every library computer and every bookstore cash register with direct feeds to the White House. With the money they've already shown they're willing to waste (er, spend) on this whole paranoia-driven terror initiative, why not?

Anonymous said...

I agree with JB on this one. Frightening where it all could go.

And I am doubtful the current bit in favor of libraries will pass. Won't happen ... the heat ALA has already drawn is bad enough. Next thing you know they will veto this bit, and add in its place a ruling making filtering mandatory.

Probably that will be expanded to allow in the filtering only pro-US-government sites. And to think of how much China is railed against by the US ... but wouldn't it be fitting, somehow, to see them adopt the same practices they rail against in another country?

Given the hypocrisies seen already, I say this would be no surprise were it to happen.

barefoot hiker said...

What's always amazed me about the talk coming out of the current US administration is the naked doublespeak. The use of the word "terror" in particular. Is it only terror when it happens to Americans or people they like? Is it not terror when a bomb dropped by the USAF goes off in an Iraqi neighbourhood and flattens homes, or soldiers kick in the doors and haul people off incommunicado, your city is destroyed, you suffer hunger and disease, when half a generation ago you lived in what were essentially First World conditions (albeit under a dictatorship)? What is all this, if not terror on a massive scale?

I hope to God there's a Purgatory. No way should George Bush et al. be ushered tout suite through the Pearly Gates just because they paid lip service to God. No, they need to be sat down for a good long time, and made to watch and feel the horror and damage they inflicted upon other human beings before they earn their cloud ticket.

Anonymous said...

I've said it before and I'll say it again:

In Iraq, every day is 9/11.

barefoot hiker said...

Wow, G, well-put!

Anonymous said...

Good Morning from ALPF


Scary thought...

laura k said...

That may be a guess wildly out of left field

It's not in the slightest. It's not even a radical suggestion. It makes all too much sense.

It's like we're all falling over each other to see who can be most cynical. Hey guys, I didn't say this was a cure, or that it would last, or that it would even make a difference. It's just a bit of good news, because someone in Congress didn't just rubber-stamp whatever the WH wants, and actually voted to rein in the govt snoops.

but wouldn't it be fitting, somehow, to see them adopt the same practices they rail against in another country?

Totally fitting. It's what they do.

Is it only terror when it happens to Americans or people they like?

Yup. Terms and conditions always subject to change. We have always been at war with Eastasia.

barefoot hiker said...

We have always been at war with Eastasia.

But I thought I remembered that before the Berlin Wall fell, we were at war with Eurasia... :)

laura k said...

Terrorism is the new communism.