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The Obama administration said Tuesday it wants a three-year extension of Patriot Act surveillance authorities, far longer than the timeline proposed by House Republicans.
The House on Monday passed another extension of the almost decade-old USA Patriot Act — six days after an initial attempt to pass the anti-terrorism law failed in the Republican-controlled chamber to the surprise of GOP leaders. The bill, which needed a simple majority, easily passed 275-144. The measure was supported by 210 Republicans and 65 Democrats. Twenty-seven Republicans joined 117 Democrats and voted against it. The overall tally was similar in the 277-148 vote count taken Thursday, when the new Republican majority tried to fast-track it through the House. But the prior attempt - which needed a two-thirds majority - came up seven votes shy of the support required to pass it.
“…it is impossible to maintain this form of government except by violence.”
One thing that, interestingly enough, changed very little in February of 1917 is the presence—or, more specifically, lack of presence—of actual revolutionary leaders. It was not the revolutionaries who were driving (or even riding out) the events. The concept of “the opposition”, therefore, was not a list of names or groups. So-called “Bloody Sunday”, the “massacre” at the Winter Palace, was the trigger to what Michael Lynch calls “a nationwide outbreak of disorder”. Peasant discontent was heightened by fear of what they believed was the government’s reclamation of property where mortgages had not yet been paid back. The assertion of national minorities amidst the turbulence found perhaps highest form in Georgia’s declaration of independence. The “Union of Unions”, an organization of liberal groups, was formed in May with the intent of forming some sort of alliance to include peasants and factory workers (“you must hasten the removal of the gang of robbers that is now in power,” the declaration went, “and put in its place a constituent assembly”).
It got worse. Summer brought mutinies from both the navy and army. The humiliating outcome of the war with Japan did little to soothe the spirits of a country already increasingly suspicious of their leaders’ competency—and frightened those leaders with the thought of returning soldiers joining what was now seemingly turning into the “revolution”. Autumn saw the transformation of industrial discontent give way to an all-out strike. It was then that the soviets began to form—councils to demand improvements for the workers—but their political potential hardly went unrecognised (Lev Trotsky both organized the general strike in and chaired St Petersburg soviet). Railroad strikes finally brought the nation to a halt. By October, Nicholas II found himself facing “the most united opposition in Romanov history” (Lynch).
Yet the opposition was not concentrated either geographically or chronologically. Different groups did not organize their protests with one another—peasant, worker, liberal, all these let their discontent be known, but not unitedly. Moreover, it was not precisely the political regime being attacked in and of itself, but rather its role in what were primarily economic issues (such as the peasants and their fear of losing their land). This, however, did change the longer trouble went on and the government held out (such as the soviet in St Petersburg becoming the center of strike headquarters). If the government wanted to retain its increasingly precarious perch, it would have to act.