Once again, the PATRIOT Act is up for renewal. Back in 2001 when it was proposed and signed into law, it was pretty shocking all of the things it would do, and all of the liberties it would strip. But Congress assured us that it was a temporary measure, and it would need to be renewed annually in order to remain in force.

Not surprisingly, Congress has renewed it every year. In fact, in 2010 it was renewed as part of a bill called the Medicare Physician Payment Reform Act. As if that’s not underhanded, right? Now it’s up again, and despite Obama’s repeated campaign promises to stop this sort of thing, close down the Guantanamo Bay prison, and make the government more transparent, I don’t think anyone is shocked that he allowed the renewal last year and won’t do anything to stop it this year. (Remember the President has veto power, if only he’d use it.)

What keeps most Americans from being shocked by the shredding of the Bill of Rights is that they have yet to feel the consequences, either personally or through someone close to them. It would appear, however, that they only have to wait.

— William Blum

The waiting continues. Things ain’t getting better over in the marble halls.