>The worst is the third. Thought it was a good idea at the time, but the
>polls change your outlook. Although I would give them a point or two if they
>could give me a couple real reasons for the change (things that actually
>happened that they hadn't foreseen for instance).
The problem is that the bill submitted as the Patriot Act which was ramrodded
through Congress on the theory that if you didn't vote for it you were
therefore Un-Patriotic...is that it wasn't a complete document.
It was hundreds of pages of material that largely referenced *other* documents
not included in the package. So you had entry after entry along the lines of,
"amends sub-section A of regulation B to read "may have" instead of "must
have," and unless you go out and get Regulation B and read it you don't know
what it is you just voted on. There were a lot of senators who wanted more
time to read the thing through, but the Administration wouldn't brook any
delays, and anyone asking for one was marginalized as being against patriotism
The so-called Patriot Act has led to some of the most egregious acts of the
last fifty years, and then some, commited by our government against its own
Jose Padilla, a low-life but still an American citizen, has been held without
access to an attorney, his family or a judge since May 2002 under provisions
declaring him an "enemy combatant," a term that has no legal standing but is
buttressed by the Patriot Act (which, by the way, in phase 2 which is pending
before congress stipulates that any American citizen can have his citizenship
*revoked* if he is found to be giving money to any agency which may have
unsavory connections, even if he didn't know about those connections, where
previously only a citizen could chose to give up his citizenship).
Hundreds of people -- mostly foreign nationals and some citizens -- are still
being held as Padilla is being held, without charge, indefinitely.
No abuses of civil rights?
Tell that to the National Library Association, which reports that nearly 20% of
its members have been forced to comply with government requests that they turn
over information on reading requests.
Tell that to Maher Arar, a Canadian citizen who came to that country as a boy,
went to college, got two degrees, married, went to work for a tech company, had
a wife and kids and was considered a stand-up member of his community, highly
respected...who was arrested without charge whlie passing through the US on his
way back to Montreal and held for *six months* during which time he was sent to
a Jordanian interrogation facility and subjected to inhumane conditions before
being finally released without charge.
No civil rights abuses under the Patriot Act?
Tell that to Donna Huanca, a docent with the Art Car museum, who was handling a
showing of anti-war art (most commissioned pre-911) and who found herself being
questioned by Terrence Donahue of the FBi and Steven Smith of the Secret
Service, who also wanted the names and addresses of the artists in question, on
the grounds that the art was Un-American.
Tell that to A. J. Brown, a freshman at Durham Tech in North Carolina who had
agents from the Raleigh branch of the Secret Service show up because they heard
she had anti-Bush posters in her dorm room. (They had already done background
checks on her, including finding out that her mother is in the military.) She
received further calls from them, including some asking if she were working
with the Taliban...this based on having expressed anti-Bush sentiments.
Tell that to the American Booksellers Foundation, which recently sent a letter
to its member stores saying, in part, that due to the Patriot act "the federal
government expanded authority to search your business records, including the
titles of the books purchased by your customers. . . . There is no opportunity
for you or your lawyer to object in court. You cannot object publicly, either.
The new law includes a gag order that prevents you from disclosing 'to any
person' the fact that you have received an order to produce documents."
The Patriot Act gives the government unprecedented abilities to pry into every
aspect of your private life. They say this is just for tracking terrorists,
but about a week ago the FBI announced that it had successfully used the new
freedoms gained under the PA to pursue a regular criminal investigation, and
the office of Homeland Security was invoked to try and find out where the
democratic congressmen in Texas had fled to in an attempt to stop the massive
redistricting under way there.
I could literally go on for another five pages with just the initial breaches
of privacy and civil rights that have already been committed by this
administration, let alone what's happened more recently, and what is in Patriot
Act II that is even more egregious.
There are a growing number of reps in the Senate and the House -- mostly
Democrats but also a growing number of Republicans -- who feel that they were
taken advantage of in the days following 9/11 and co-opted into passing
something they would never have passed in the open, under other conditions,
trusting that all the sub-references and changes being requested were in
everyone's best interests.
They were not.
(all message content (c) 2003 by synthetic worlds, ltd.,
permission to reprint specifically denied to SFX Magazine
and don't send me story ideas)