the new republican house leadership reportedly "miscalculated" the level of opposition to reauthorization of 3 key portions of the PATRIOT act, in effect letting them expire at the end of the month.
it's only a minor setback for the provisions, to be sure. the government will not stand for any erosion of its powers to spy on US persons, which the pernicious act laughably called PATRIOT gave legal imprimatur. the bill of rights is, in the immoral words of dubya bush, "just a goddamn piece of paper" to these guys, and the law is a whore -- the congressional leadership is its pimp -- that gives them services on call.
for the time being, however, look at this show of ossification of backbone in the democrat ranks: 122 democrats voted against, along with 26 GOPpers of the tea party persuasion. this is the first serious show of defiance to the regime of naked power emanating from DC since the revolution against freedom commenced in 2001.
what makes this whole exercise particularly laughable is the way these extensions have been bandied forth by the legislature. last year they kicked it down the curb to this year, since they were too busy to have a reasonable debate on these provisions at the time; this year, it was another rush job to extend the act, for the same reason -- no time to have a serious debate. you would think that our freedoms would rank a bit higher than, say, giving big banks authority to gouge consumers using debit cards.
i hold out zero hope that this is anything more than a hissy fit on the part of those 26 tea partiers against the leadership; they'll fall in line soon enough, when it becomes clear to them that the path to reelection lies through the generous handouts from the plutocratic interests who are behind the iron hand of the PATRIOT act.
as they great terrorism myth recedes into history, to be replaced by the menace of domestic unrest, we'll see soon enough how these eviscerations of the bill of rights were part of a long-term plan to stifle dissent and squash opposition to the oligarchical interests that run the world.