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07/24/2003 Archived Entry: "Congress beginning to repudiate the Patriot Act?"

CONGRESS VOTES AGAINST SUPER-SPYING. TWICE. Last night the U.S. House of Representatives voted to limit "sneak and peek" warrants -- those warrants that let law enforcers enter your house, monitor your computer, and take some of your possessions without notifying you. Last week the Senate voted unanimously to un-fund the Pentagon's Total (Terrorism) Information Awareness data-mining program. Each of these small blessings must still get through the other house and be signed by George W. Bush before becoming law.

It's good to see Congress showing some sense. But this is also typical of the "ten steps forward, one step back" procession toward the superstate. Dreadful laws are passed, dreadful programs put into action. Some small portion of the worst are defunded, modified, or repealed when the public shouts NO!

We get a welcome break. But there's no change of direction. We're so busy rejoicing over our 10 percent (or five percent, or 1/10 of one percent) victory that we learn to put up with the greater cumulative loss of freedom that was contained elsewhere in the 400-page bill or implemented elsewhere in the regulatory morass. Throw the little citizen-doggies a bone and they won't bark while you steal the gold, silver, and the rest of the Bill of Rights.

Geez, I hate being such a cynic. If somebody'll please show me a reason for real optimism, or a reason to trust the intentions and abilities of Congress, I'll jump at it.

Posted by Claire @ 09:22 PM CST

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