The Patriot Act, Big Brother is Watching You
Generally, I don’t agree with most politicians simply because you can’t trust anything they say, but this week I have to agree with Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky. When we hear the word “patriot”, images of our fore father’s struggle to give birth to a new nation come to mind, these images include the ideas of freedom, independence, and basic human rights. Since 2001, the word “patriot” has been used as an acronym to strip the American people of freedom, independence, and basic human rights.
The USA PATRIOT Act (more commonly known as the “Patriot Act”) is an Act of the U.S. Congress that was signed into law by President George W. Bush on October 26, 2001. The title of the Act is a contrived three letter initialism (USA) preceding a seven letter acronym (PATRIOT), which in combination stand for Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001. The Act dramatically reduced restrictions on law enforcement agencies’ ability to search telephone, e-mail communications, medical, financial, and other records; eased restrictions on foreign intelligence gathering within the United States; expanded the Secretary of the Treasury’s authority to regulate financial transactions, particularly those involving foreign individuals and entities; and broadened the discretion of law enforcement and immigration authorities in detaining and deporting immigrants suspected of terrorism-related acts. The act also expanded the definition of terrorism to include domestic terrorism, thus enlarging the number of activities to which the USA PATRIOT Act’s expanded law enforcement powers can be applied.
Rand Paul wasn’t trying to abolish the Act, he simply wanted it re-written so certain limits would be placed on enforcement agencies abilities to invade the private lives of the average American citizen. Rand Paul lost his battle to have the Act changed and to protect the privacy of the American people.
Just before the midnight deadline on May 26, 2011, President Barack Obama signed a 4-year extension of three key provisions in the USA Patriot Act: roving wiretaps, searches of business records (the “library records provision”), and conducting surveillance of “lone wolves” — individuals suspected of terrorist-related activities not linked to terrorist groups. Obama “autopens” Patriot Act extension into law – CBS News
On the surface, this Act sounds good, it’s being used as a tool to fight terrorism and if we could trust our government not to abuse its power then it would be good. Our government has a long history of not being able to contain its power over its own people. This Act gives power to too many agencies (CIA, FBI, Homeland Security, Treasury Department, State and local law enforcement, and even foreign governments) for it not to be abused somewhere along the line.
Some provisions of this Act require banks to report to the government if you open or change an account so that it may be monitored for suspicious activity. Another provision allows the government to monitor which books your children check out at your local library because they may be a domestic terrorist. This type of information can not only be gathered by our own government, but foreign governments as well.
You don’t have to be a terrorist to be monitored, maybe you have a Muslim name, maybe you made the no-fly list by mistake, or maybe you operate a blog speaking out about problems in American government. All it takes is for someone to suspect you for any reason, the same way that people were indicted by Joseph McCarthy in the 50’s for being suspected of Communism.
This is the same type of government oppressions that caused our fore fathers to take up arms against their government and give birth to a new nation; a nation where people would be free to live private lives without fear of government intervention. The idea of terrorism is not to over through a government directly, terrorism is designed to cause fear and panic in people thus forcing a change in the way they live. Terrorists have succeeded in giving our government an excuse to take away some of our rights; rights that were fought for in the American Revolution and are given to us by the Constitution. Terrorists hate Americans because we are a free people, they don’t want us to be free, they want us living under the same iron fist they use in controlling people in their own countries and they are succeeding. They are giving our government the tools to protect us from our own liberty.
Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.
– Benjamin Franklin
Be very careful of all that you do because George Orwell’s “1984” is becoming a reality, just thirty years late, and Big Brother is watching you.