Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Patriot Act, Fox News, the TSA and Feeling Less Free

The Patriot Act, in my opinion, has been one of the most egregious, liberty violating acts that has ever been passed by congress. It was a knee jerk reaction to the 9/11 attacks. It is so huge and was passed so quickly after that event that any thinking person must realize it had to be written well before the attacks took place, was waiting for just such an attack so it could be introduced, and could not have possibly been read and its implications understood by anyone who voted for it. I doubt very much that any congress critter has yet to read it in its entirety. Here it is almost ten years later and it still sullies the political landscape of this once great republic.

It seems that most common folk don't fully understand what the Patriot Act truly is. If the polls are to be believed (I personally don't trust most polls) then they seem to think that the Patriot Act has somehow made our nation more secure. They seem to believe the propaganda that is spewed forth from corporate establishment media giants that the Patriot Act has done its job and protected us. Yet it wasn't the Patriot Act that stopped the shoe bomber or the underwear bomber, it was the passengers themselves. And every time a plot is reported foiled, it is later determined that the plot only occurred because some federal security agency or another helped it along. So one might wonder, if the Patriot Act has been doing its job, will they finally get rid of it if it fails and another terrorist event occurs? I doubt that very much. That's too much like hoping that once Osama Bin Laden is finally and officially killed in some special forces raid that the wars of occupation will end and our troops will come home.

Recently, three of the most soviet like, Big Brother type provisions of the Patriot Act were set to expire. Congress didn't want to deal with them earlier in the year, likely because they were worried about backlash. The Senate did what they so often do, put off the vote until the last minute and then rushed the legislation through without proper debate because they don't want the legislation scrutinized. They passed a four year extension on this monstrosity complete with its most controversial provisions because, in my humble opinion, they don't want to give up power and they'd love to be able to arrest their political adversaries should push come to shove.

Rand Paul, the freshman senator from Kentucky, was the only one who stood up to this abuse of power. He was the only one who questioned the power of the party leadership, on both sides of the aisle. He merely asked for a debate on introducing amendments meant to protect freedoms we as Americans are supposed to enjoy. For all his efforts he was excoriated by the establishment for not following like a sheep instead of applauded for his stand and his most American individualist ideals.

Now, I'm not one to watch corporate television news programs, but I came across a Fox program with a bunch of talking heads discussing this issue. I was appalled to hear them more or less condoning a police state in our nation. They are taking a thousand years of struggle against authoritarianism and throwing it away, defending a doctrine that allows government agents to spy on people going about their daily business without just cause. They are defending a doctrine that claims everyone is guilty until they can prove themselves innocent. It was this kind of tyranny that the founding fathers fought against. This kind of tyranny led to the writing of the Declaration of Independence. This kind of tyranny was the reason they included the Bill of Rights in the constitution. The Patriot Act is as un-American, fascist, soviet-esque and unpatriotic as it gets. It violates the natural rights of individuals in almost every way they can be violated and yet these men continue to support it without so much as batting an eye, and then they call Rand Paul extreme. To them, the senator from Kentucky is extreme because he values the principles America was founded upon. One can only assume they consider all individualists, constitutionalists, libertarians and anyone who wants a smaller, more accountable federal government as extreme. To them, an extremist is one who challenges the supremacy of their corporate masters.

One of the most remarkable statements came from Charles Krauthammer. He claimed that all those warnings about America becoming a police state didn't pan out. Has he been living under a rock for the last ten years? He asked something along the line of is their anyone who thinks their freedoms have been curtailed? He suggested that he hadn't heard of anyone who felt that way. Well, I for one feel that way, Mr. Krauthammer, so now you have heard of someone.

How about all those people who are subjected to naked body scanners at the airports and TSA gropings? Do you think they might feel a little less free? I know that I'd like to feel like I could fly places, but I don't want to subject myself to their intrusions. I seem to recall that others have even protested against such measures. How could you call that anything but a police state provision? It is the Patriot Act that has given us the TSA, and now they're coming out of the airports and are soon to be seen on a street, in a mall, or at a prom dance near you. They needed to do more than just debate amendments to the Patriot Act, they need to repeal the entire bill.

How about the checkpoints that are popping up, especially in border states? Do you think that the people who have to pass through them feel less free? Do you think that they might start to have an inkling that something has gone wrong and this is no longer the free nation it has been claimed to be? How about all those people who want to drink raw milk? Do you think they feel less free when the Feds tell them they can't decide for themselves what to put in their own bodies? How about the peaceful Amish, do you think they might feel less free when their farms are raided by SWAT teams for selling the milk others ask for? How about the dancers at the Jefferson Memorial? Do you think they might feel a little less free as they were handcuffed for prancing around a little or gently swaying in place? These are things that have all been normalized because of the Patriot Act and similar legislation. It is the federal government that has become extreme. It is they who are cracking down on peaceful individuals and restricting normal human activity they should have no business even caring about.

Do you like the fact that FBI agents can now write their own warrants without having to so much as show a judge probable cause, just like the king's men were able to do in the 1700s? Do you like the fact that they can break into anyone's home they want when no one's home and steal whatever they wish without a warrant, simply on a suspicion, and not have to be accountable to anyone? Do you think it's ok that they can proclaim someone an enemy combatant at anytime they wish and hold them indefinitely without a trial? Do you believe that I'm a little extreme for mentioning such provisions and that your government would never do such things? The Patriot Act grants government agents the legal authority to take such actions, and when someone has such power it is only a matter of time before that power is abused and some innocent individuals suffer because of that abuse. Besides, just because you may not have heard about such things happening doesn't mean such events haven't already occurred. You certainly can't count on the corporate media to inform you of such abuses when they do happen.

There are plenty of people that feel their freedoms have been curtailed. There are plenty of people who feel less safe because of government intrusion, not more secure. Everyday more and more people become victims of state agents. Everyday new police brutality videos come out. Everyday stories of the police state grow more and more egregious. Everyday the politicians show us they don't give a damn about individual rights and care only about their own power. Everyday the corporate media shows its true colors by defending collectivist doctrine and the agenda of the power elite. I believe, however, that one day enough people will finally be fed up enough that we will take our freedom back. On that day, it will be remembered who supported natural individual rights and who fought for the authoritarian collectivist agenda.

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Anonymous said...


"I was only following orders" didn't work in 1946 and it won't work this time when we come for the despots and their agents.

Anonymous said...

Excellent post and I couldn't agree with you more. The national act for homeland security in the 21st century that was written by Newt Gingrich , Gary Hart, Warren Rudman and others was available on Jeff Rense's Site many months before 911 occurred. Our group had read it before the attacks happened and as the days after 911 evolved, we stared in horror at the TV as section after section of this document became reality and law.
As a Blackfoot Indian I have NEVER felt LESS FREE than I do now. Especially when our president who ran on opposing the Patriot Act has now signed on with his automated pen.
Thank you for your blog, and thank you for speaking truth to power!

sblestman said...

Just so you know, I am also part Blackfoot Indian on my mother's side, and part Potawatomi. I am mostly of European ancestry, but I hold a great respect for the indigenous peoples of America, for their spirituality and the principles they lived by.