"A side question rides along, as well. How is it that the American public has agreed, whole heartedly, to allow the Patriot Act and other trashing of the Bill of Rights to manifest and, in fact, to continue to exist?"
Easily, basic psychology. They were scared. They were told this will protect them.
Americans welcomes with open arms to be stripped of rights.
And it continues culturally, beyond the legal effects.
Very much so, it relates to the cultural shift we have seen over the last 20-30 years where children are over-protected, sheltered, maybe not even let outside alone as they once were, to play.