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Bloggers expose the Patriot Act

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July 28, 2005

This week bloggers are battling misconceptions, spreading the truth, and learning about the Patriot Act up close and personal!

Blogging pioneer Dave Winer was hassled while opening a new bank account:

The excuse offered was, surprisingly, the USA PATRIOT Act. This is the first time, that I know of, that my life has been impacted by this, but I strongly suspect it won’t be the last. Who knows what this government might consider threatening to security… Am I more scared of the terrorists or of the US government? On some days it’s not even close.

Thom Haslam posting at Shakespeare’s Sister was dismayed to find that people thought this week’s House vote was the end of the effort to the reform the Patriot Act. “During the past few days, I found that many people ‘from progressives and liberals to republicans and libertarians’were misinformed about the Patriot Act reauthorization.” Read his post to see him deftly slay three big misconceptions. For more, visit the ACLU’s Myths & Realities page.

As Shirley Smith wrote on BuzzFlash: “I really, really don’t believe that the regular ‘joe on the street’ American understands what this act is all about. Congress voted this in the first time without even reading it. Have they read it yet? One can only wonder.” She is among the many bloggers who expressed disapointment in the 43 Democrats who voted for the House reauthorization bill.

John Nichols blogging The Online Beat for The Nation points out how crucial those 43 votes were:

Had the 43 Democrats who voted with the White House and the Republican leadership instead sided with House Democrats and Republicans who were worried about the threat to civil liberties posed by the Patriot Act, the opposition total would have risen to 214 while support for the measure would have fallen to 214.

On a tie vote, the legislation would not have advanced.

One woman in Tennessee will respond by sending a sarcastic “thank you” card to her legislator. “My own democratic Rep. Jim Cooper is one of the 43 Dems who needs to be thanked for helping the ultra-right Republican Party in their scheme to take over all three branches of the federal government. I could email him, but a card says so much more.”

How did your member of Congress vote, and how will you thank him or her?

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