Over the last decade, the Patriot Act has allowed a wide net of surveillance, search and seizure to be cast over the United States, purposefully targeting innocent people not even suspected of criminal activity. The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution prohibits that, but the government has proceeded regardless. Documents show that the powers of the Patriot Act are often abused. Although our national politicians justify the Patriot Act with vague claims about terrorists out to get us, Patriot Act powers are almost always are deployed for reasons unconnected to terrorism. Your information, your possessions, your communications are all subject to search, even if you haven’t done anything wrong. The Patriot Act takes your privacy away.
A full 74 Senators voted yesterday to let the blanket reauthorization of the Patriot Act proceed to its final stage in Senate, pushing the Patriot Act forward even though the bill they voted on makes absolutely no reforms to the law. Thanks to these 74, it’s likely that Patriot Act powers will be renewed for another four years.
I’m particularly interested in 9 of those 74 freedom-eroding Senators for something else they did. Four months before they voted to promote the passage of Patriot Act reauthorization, 9 Senators signed their names to officially support another bill, S.Res. 35. The official signed supporters of S. Res. 35 are:
Rep. Barbara Boxer (Democrat-CA)
Rep. Dianne Feinstein (Democrat-CA)
Rep. Kay Hutchison (Republican-TX)
Rep. John Kerry (Democrat-MA)
Rep. Patrick Leahy (Democrat-VT)
Rep. Mark Pryor (Democrat-AR)
Rep. John Rockefeller (Democrat-WV)
Rep. Olympia Snowe (Republican-ME)
Rep. Roger Wicker (Republican-MS)
S. Res. 35 went on to pass the entire Senate in a unanimous, unrecorded voice vote. It establishes January 28, 2011 as an honorary National Data Privacy Day, and on that day…
“encourages individuals across the Nation to be aware of data privacy concerns and to take steps to protect their personal information.”
Well, isn’t that sweet? While these Senators have voted to take away your data privacy, they’ve given you a day for you to think about that. What do we call that? A door prize or a white elephant?