Disgust …Sorry is that too strong a word? I can think of some better…stronger…words that sum things up, but I’ll stick with the less offensive “DISGUST”. Listening to politicians and pundits, commentators and party hacks, discuss the renewal of the Patriot Act by replacing it with the. “Freedom Act” and about Rand Paul’s filibuster to slow the process, was disgusting.
Why my agitation? Because virtually all, even while recognizing that Paul raised valid points, took the position that we must give the government the ability to spy on Americans. Time and again, comments were made that we need to protect Americans … That if we don’t give the government broad sweeping power to violate our rights to privacy we will be in desperate danger from terrorist attack.
Karl Rove, Bush family apologist and tool of the Republican establishment, pulled out his trusty whiteboard in one interview and went through his checklist of all the positive things the Patriot Act does to protect us and what we will lose by allowing it to expire. When queried about his concerns that, perhaps, the Act gives too much power to the federal government and does he trust the government with that power, he said, “I don’t necessarily trust the government, but I do trust the NSA.” (National Security Agency).
HUH?? So, the NSA is not part of the government, it’s just some humanitarian agency that is looking out for our best interests. My eyes started spinning in opposite directions. Of course the NSA is part of the government, you twit.
He, and others, enumerate all of the security measures that will be lost by removing the so-called Patriot Act.
- Posse Comitatus enacted in 1867 after the Civil War prevents the military from participating in hostile operations within the borders of the United States. (The National Guard, however, can act within the States, and has in the past. We just need leaders with the resolve to do so, and a President who is not obstructionist when it comes to national security.)
- The wall that constitutionally existed between the CIA and FBI to protect American citizens from being spied on by their own government…you know the way they do things in China…Russia…North Korea…Cuba… that wall is eliminated by the Act. (That wall can be removed in part as it relates to terrorism by separate legislation, not tied to the all-encompassing Patriot Act.)
- Border security would be affected, he says, because we could not hold people at the border suspected of terrorism. (Border security is in jeopardy because the president and his administration, have actively opposed enforcing border security. The Patriot Act had done nothing to change that. New leadership might.)
- Ability to investigate financing, business records, sneak peeks at electronic communications, roving wiretaps, etc. would disappear. (Good! These massive intrusions into the privacy of every American are a clear violation of the Constitution provisions for the Right to Privacy.)
According to Rove, and republicans and democrats who treasure the Patriot Act, or its new disguised version, the Freedom Act, we will be in danger of imminent attack if the Act goes away. Baloney.
The issue here is the massive data mining that the government (read NSA) has engaged in since passage of the Patriot Act. Do you ever use a computer, cell phone, text, take pictures and send them, do a Google search? If so, your data has been collected.
For the record, the Constitution makes ample provision for investigating crime and threats against the public, including terrorism. Gather evidence… Probable cause… obtain a warrant from a judge… Make a legal search or arrest based on this probable cause and under the authority of a warrant.
The founders ensured that these protections were included in the Bill of Rights because those rights were routinely violated during their struggle against a tyrannical monarchy.
They understood that when the government has the power to intrude into the most private parts of your life, the government has the power to control your life. The fact that these intrusions under the Patriot Act are supposedly intended to protect us does not make them legal.
Yes, the Patriot Act – Freedom Act streamlines and simplifies the process for the government, but why would we give up freedom to simplify things for the government? The point of the 4th amendment was to make it more difficult for governments to intrude into your private life.
The Patriot Act was passed because everyone was terrified that another 9/11 was imminent. Understandable right? Like imprisoning Japanese Americans during World War II because…we were scared. It was a simple solution. Lock them up and they can’t hurt us. Disregard the fact that there was not any proof that they were a threat to the nation.
In this case, the federal government wants the “easy way out” at the expense of our liberties. Just like putting Japanese Americans in concentration camps, it’s the simple way…the expedient way. Even if there is no proof that a particular person is a threat, we are able to gather every bit of electronic information we can about them, put into our big database, churn it around and see what pops out. I’ll use a stronger word…Bullshit.
Except for Paul and a few others, not much has been said about a government that usurps power by violating the Fourth Amendment’s protections against unlawful search and seizure. While recognizing that Paul and his supporters have made some valid points, the pundits, and most commentators have generally overridden his concerns with the need to “protect us” (God I am tired of hearing that phrase…”American want to be protected.” I WANT TO BE FREE!…not protected.)
I suspect that if government agents were rummaging around in your mailbox, going through your private papers in a desk drawer, putting wiretaps on your telephones most people would be up in arms. But because we are talking about electronic data gathering, where the spies – those doing the gathering- are out of sight, people are willing to sit back and feel warm and fuzzy that the government is protecting them. The fact that the gathering includes telephone conversations emails, text messages, pictures, Google searches, and virtually anything we do electronically is conveniently overlooked in the desire to be protected.
Don’t get me wrong. Terrorists want to kill us. We should kill them… All of them. We can do this without sacrificing our basic freedoms. This is a great country…we can find a way to protect ourselves without starting down the “slippery slope” towards loss of rights and Liberty.
When did we become so weak and fearful that we would give up freedoms and rights for the sake of a promise from Big Brother to take care of us and protect us?
Check Andrew Napolitano’s discussion of the impending battle over the Patriot Act.
Wake up Americans and grow a pair.