President Obama signed a one-year extension of three provisions of the USA Patriot Act Saturday February 27. House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers (D-Mich.) explained two days earlier that the law will “extend three provisions of our foreign intelligence surveillance laws for 1 year. The provisions are section 206 of the PATRIOT Act, governing roving wiretaps; section 215, which addresses the collection of business records; and the so-called ‘lone wolf surveillance’ law. Without extension, these provisions will expire on Sunday coming.”
One frequent news angle in stories regarding The John Birch Society's sponsorship of this week's ongoing CPAC conference has been the question of whether so-called “fringe groups” like The John Birch Society should be admitted to the conference. Neo-conservatives like David Horowitz, whose website called CPAC's acceptance of The John Birch Society a “monumentally stupid decision,” has repeatedly fretted the sponsorship. Horowitz's view is to “Keep the Fringe on the Fringe.”
“Are we going to be free men or are we going to be slaves to the federal government of the United States?” retired state trooper and current State Delegate Charles W. Carrico, Sr. asked of the 1,000-strong rally gathered on the steps of the Virginia state capitol in January. While the like-minded crowd reacted with enthusiasm, such a rhetorical question might strike the average American as overdramatic. Are U.S. citizens really becoming “slaves to the federal government”?