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Senate Dems abandon reforms, vote to extend Patriot Act

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Unable to find the 60 votes needed to overcome a Republican filibuster, Senate Democrats abandoned proposals to reform the Patriot Act and voted Wednesday night to extend key parts of the controversial security law to 2011.

If the House approves the legislation as well, the Patriot Act — an omnibus security bill passed in the wake of 9/11 that civil libertarians argue amounts to a major roll-back of civil rights — will see three of its most controversial elements extended by a year.

Those are the “roving wiretap” clause, used to monitor mobile communications of individuals using multiple telephone lines; the “lone-wolf” provision, which enables spying on individuals suspected of terrorist activity but with no obvious connection to extremist groups; and the controversial section 215, known as the “library records provision” that allows government agencies to access an individual’s library history.

The Patriot Act provisions are set to expire on Sunday.

Senate Democrats had hoped to insert privacy safeguards into the law before passing the extension, but couldn’t overcome a Republican filibuster.

The Associated Press describes the vote as “a political victory for Republicans.”

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Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said he would have “preferred to add oversight and judicial review improvements to any extension of expiring provisions in the USA PATRIOT Act.”

“A bipartisan majority of the Senate Judiciary Committee advanced compromise legislation to the full Senate for consideration more than four months ago. … The USA PATRIOT Act Sunset Extension Act should be an example of what Democrats and Republicans can accomplish when we work together but I understand some Republican Senators objected to passing the carefully crafted national security, oversight, and judicial review provisions in this legislation.”

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2020 Election

‘Downright irresponsible and shameful’: DNC and NBC ripped for Democratic debate that spent less than 10 minutes on climate emergency

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"Our survival is worth more time than vague, irrelevant, and trivial questions posed 80 minutes into the debate."

After 2020 Democratic presidential candidates spent less than ten minutes on the global climate emergency during the first primary debate in Miami, Florida Wednesday night, environmentalists and progressive critics argued it is now clearer than ever that the DNC must agree to host a debate focused specifically on the crisis that poses an existential threat to human civilization.

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2020 Election

Morning Joe urges Democratic debaters to destroy Trump: ‘They don’t need to play fair!’

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During a panel discussion on Wednesday night's first round of Democratic debaters, "Morning Joe" host Joe Scarborough urged the potential candidates participating in the second round to spend more time going after Donald Trump than each other.

While the panel discussed a possible battle between Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and former Vice President Joe Biden, host Scarborough said the candidates need to focus on the one person who needs to be defeated in 2020.

Defending Biden over accusations that he is too touchy-feely, Scarborough asked rhetorically if that was a wise way to go about picking a candidate, "I do wonder if that's because we are in the age of Trump now and Democratic voters are going, 'Wait a second, we're going to disqualify one of ours?'"

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MSNBC’s Mika shames Lindsey Graham for ruining his reputation to become a Trump flunky: ‘As bad as Rudy’

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MSNBC's Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski mocked President Donald Trump and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) for their reactions to the first Democratic presidential debate.

The president insisted he wouldn't watch Wednesday's debate, but later declared it "BORING!" and criticized MSNBC for a technical issue during the broadcast.

"As usual, the president could not help himself from watching," Brzezinski said. "This is like his 'Morning Joe' thing -- he can't help himself."

The "Morning Joe" co-hosts then turned their attention to Graham, who has turned from a strong Trump critic during the 2016 GOP primaries to joking about Trump serving an unconstitutional third term.

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