The vote on cloture for debate on the Patriot Act just failed -- by a vote of 47 nays to 53 yays -- in the Senate. Debate will be continuing on whether or not the Patriot Act ought to be renewed as it stands from the House/Senate conferees.
There have been a number of articles on some of the issues with this bill:
-- ABC News
-- Talk Left
-- NYTimes here, here, here and here.
Given the stakes with the recent revelations of the NSA being given authorization to spy domestically, this debate is critical for protecting civil liberties as balanced against a need for security in an increasingly divided nation and world. We'll update on this as news occurs as well.
That sound you hear just might be some of our Founding Fathers spinning in their graves at some of the issues being debated today.
James Madison:Words spoken so long ago still ring so true today.
Of all the enemies to public liberty war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded, because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes; and armies, and debts, and taxes are the known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few. In war, too, the discretionary power of the Executive is extended; its influence in dealing out offices, honors, and emoluments is multiplied; and all the means of seducing the minds, are added to those of subduing the force, of the people. . . . [There is also an] inequality of fortunes, and the opportunities of fraud, growing out of a state of war, and . . . degeneracy of manners and of morals. . . . No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare. . . .