Tag Archive: Patriot Act

Our Patriot Governor, Defender of Freedom and the Homeland

You have to admire the names our legislators concoct for their bills. The Patriot Act, now The USA Freedom Act, sailed through the House with 338 votes (from NJ only Bonnie Watson Coleman, Frank Pallone and Scott Garrett opposed it). To make the bill, filled with positives and negatives, more palatable it ends the dragnet surveillance of the bulk telephone program. It was filibustered in the Senate (a filibuster opposed by Robert Menendez and Cory Booker.) This result left the White House in a panic because the wellspring of broad NSA and FBI domestic spying powers will expire on Sunday unless congress acts by then.

Now our Patriot Governor, supporter of freedom, has wade into the matter. Christie said this week, “We can protect our civil liberties and protect our homeland.” He added that his likely rivals have not pointed to a single violation against innocent citizens under the controversial program. Perhaps he and his rivals should talk to librarians who have been accosted by FBI agents with no warrant demanding to see records of what books a specific individual has borrowed. And how many billions of data have been collected on innocent American telephone calls?

Yes, Christie probably knows more about the measure’s effectiveness than his rivals because he used it as New Jersey’s U.S. Attorney. However, he over-simplifies the issue with over-the-top, misleading statements like “You can’t enjoy your civil liberties if you’re in a coffin.” Setting up a straw man and using scare tactics does not a good president make. I can think of some very nice countries to move to were he to become our president.

Extending the PATRIOT Act: Why I Said No

Update: Patriot Act extension fails in the House.

– promoted by Rosi

The powers of intelligence and enforcement are the most important powers of government – but also the most fearsome. These powers must be wielded very, very carefully.

For decades, our government has routinely collected information on potential foreign threats through various forms of surveillance.  These intelligence collection activities enjoy broad, bipartisan support in our country because of their value in helping to protect America’s citizens and interests.  However, in the 1960s and 1970s, these collection capabilities were turned on the American people, and executive branch agencies engaged in spying on the American public – sometimes even for political purposes.  

How Blue Jersey Uses the Internet

No – not our Blue Jersey, but rather New Jersey’s men and women in blue who work in our police agencies across the state.

Agencies from the State Police to local Police Departments are using the Internet as a tool to facilitate communications with the citizens they serve.  But, as with most advances in the exploitation of new technologies, there are both upsides and downsides in how these new tools are used.

According to Captain Frank Locantore of the Evesham Police Department, the Internet is a valuable tool for reaching out to the community whose only other contact with the police has traditionally been motor vehicle stops or investigations of burglaries.  Other than that, he pointed out, most people are unaware of the workload or types of incidents handled by their police agency.

Continue reading below.

Lautenberg on Patriot Act: “I find it hard to justify its existence”

I didn’t see this covered in any of the news stories about the debate Saturday night between Dick Zimmer and Frank Lautenberg, but Lautenberg was asked directly by Bob Ingle if he would support repealing the Patriot Act.

Lautenberg responded, “As I see it now, I find it hard to justify its existence.”  It is at 38 minutes, 45 seconds of the video here.



As if progressives needed another reason to be dismayed about politics today (see Rodriguez loss), the Patriot Act was renewed in the House last night.

The vote was 280-138, just two more than needed under special rules that required a two-thirds majority.

In the New Jersey delegation, all Republicans voted with the majority. They were joined by Democrats Robert E. Andrews, William J. Pascrell Jr. and Steven R. Rothman. Voting no were Rush Holt and Frank Pallone Jr. Donald Payne did not vote.

You see that? Rothman, whom we thought was turning over a new leaf, voted yes. Andrews and Pascrell Jr. also voted yeah.

Democrats, by voting with Republicans, the already grey line you draw for voters becomes even hazier and more difficult to distinguish.  It is this lack of contrast between both parties that generates losses on election day. How hard would it be to explain to your constituents that this act is a craptacular intrusion on OUR right to privacy?

Please don’t forget to call your Republicrats and thank them for making your next visit to the local library closer to Orwellian experience we all should be looking forward to:

Robert Andrews:

Steve Rothman:

Bill Pascrell (be sure to mention the Sopranos):

And don’t forget your Senator’s who also voted Yeay.

Frank Lautenberg:

Bob Menendez:

Lautenberg and Menendez vote for Patriot Act

The Senate is passing the Patriot Act with GOP authored (weak) civil liberties protections.  So far only Byrd, Akaka, Harkin, Jeffords, and Levin have voted against.  I guess Feingold will/did too.


U.S. Senate Roll Call Votes 109th Congress – 2nd Session

Vote Summary

Question: On the Conference Report (H.R. 3199 Conference Report )
Vote Number:  29
Vote Date:  March 2, 2006, 03:01 PM
Required For Majority:  1/2
Vote Result:  Conference Report Agreed to
Measure Number: H.R. 3199 (USA PATRIOT Improvement and Reauthorization Act of 2005 )
Measure Title:  A bill to extend and modify authorities needed to combat terrorism, and for other purposes.
Vote Counts: YEAs 89  NAYs  10  Not Voting 1

NAYs —10
Akaka (D-HI)
Bingaman (D-NM)
Byrd (D-WV)
Feingold (D-WI)
Harkin (D-IA)
Jeffords (I-VT)
Leahy (D-VT)
Levin (D-MI)
Murray (D-WA)
Wyden (D-OR)

Not Voting – 1
Inouye (D-HI)

Menendez & Andrews voted for House Patriot Act Reauthorization in July

In watching the Republicans strip civil liberties out of the Patriot Act Reauthorization, it has come to my attention that Menendez and Andrews joined 43 other Dems in voting for the pre-conference report House version that didn’t protect civil liberties.  I’m wondering why I didn’t notice this before.  This would certainly count, to my mind, as not representing the issues of progressives, and I will bear this in mind when for the Dem primary in June.

We’re going to have to rely on the Senate to filibuster, or maybe to get a 3 month reauthorization and go back to the drawing board.  Please call Corzine and Lautenberg and ask them to filibuster, TODAY.  800-614-2803