The Patriot Act and the Bipartisan War on Civil Liberties

An attempt to fast-track the renewal of the most controversial portions of the Patriot Act failed in the House yesterday.  The measure failed to get the procedurally necessary two-third majority.  The same measure would easily pass on a simple majority vote.  In the People's House, there is a sizable bipartisan majority of Democrats and Republicans who are united in opposition to core constitutional principles such as the protection against unreasonable search and seizure, and the civil rights of American citizens.  Glenn Greenwald writes:
The establishments of both political parties -- whether because of actual conviction or political calculation -- are equally devoted to the National Security State, the Surveillance State, and the endless erosions of core liberties they entail.  Partisan devotees of each party generally pretend to care about such liberties only when the other party is in power -- because screaming about abuses of power confers political advantage and enables demonization of the President -- but they quickly ignore or even justify the destruction of those liberties when their own party wields power.  Hence, Democratic loyalists spent years screeching that Bush was "shredding the Constitution" for supporting policies which Barack Obama now enthusiastically supports, while right-wing stalwarts -- who spent years cheering on every Bush-led assault on basic Constitutional limits in the name of Terrorism -- flamboyantly read from the Constitution during the Obama era as though they venerate that document as sacred.  The war on civil liberties in the U.S. is a fully bipartisan endeavor, and no effective opposition is possible through fealty to either of the two parties.
At The Think 3 Institute, Sam Wilson argues that the vote provides us with "a new picture of the House":
Majority and minority alike are bipartisan in composition. Leaders can blame unreliable people in either party for what happened last night, and the vote may well have been taken in order to expose those people to various forms of pressure from both parties. Ordinary Americans who distrust the Patriot Act and the expanded national-security apparatus it sustains should learn from this episode that they shouldn't look to any one of the major parties for protection from potentially abusive surveillance. The only way that last night's victorious minority can become a majority is by drawing from both parties. More to the point, opponents of the Patriot Act need to find more congressmen for whom party dictates count less than civil liberty.  [Emphasis added.]

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