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POLICE STATE / MILITARY -
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Patriot Act Passes, Few Americans Notice

Posted in the database on Friday, March 03rd, 2006 @ 12:38:51 MST (1174 views)
by Kurt Nimmo    Another Day in the Empire  

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Now that the Patriot Act, otherwise known as the Police State Act, has passed hands down, with nary a bleat of protestation on the part of our cowed and bought-off Congress critter-whores, we can expect the Straussian neocons to be emboldened to further carve up the Bill of Rights, slathering barbeque sauce on large sections, and roasting the document wholesale. In fact, thanks to the NSA’s vacuum cleaner approach to snooping at the very portals of the electronic communication grid—with enthusiastic telecom participation—the Bill of Rights is more or less a dead letter, little more than a “g.d. piece of paper,” as our court appointed ruler declared a few weeks ago with little corporate media commentary.

No longer do the people enjoy the right to “peaceably assemble”—unless you consider being corralled in a “free speech zone” encircled in concertina wire a right—and the “right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures” is effectively down the tubes, as the above mentioned vacuum cleaner approach makes painfully obvious, a subversive plot completely destroying the concept of “probable cause” (our rulers and their minions believe this has mysteriously vanished from the Fourth Amendment, as Gen. Michael Hayden actually attempted to argue at the National Press Club in Washington in January, a fact ignored by the corporate media, not that it particularly matters—sadly most Americans know more about the Simpsons than the First Amendment).

Considering the widespread violations of the Bill of Rights literally spanning over many decades and numerous presidents, the renewal of the Patriot Act is no big deal and may even be considered anti-climatic. Forget the Sedition Act, the Palmer Raids, the Smith Act, COINTELPRO, Operation Chaos, Cable Splicer, Operation Garden Plot, Rex-84, ad nauseam—the Bill of Rights was tenuous from the beginning. Thomas Jefferson, away in France in December 1787, wrote James Madison that he was concerned about “the omission of a bill of rights…. providing clearly…. for freedom of religion, freedom of the press, protection against standing armies, and restriction against monopolies.” Jefferson was worried “that a succession of artful and ambitious rulers” would eventually subvert the Bill of Rights because all governments seek an “augmentation of power at the expense of liberty.” Fact of the matter is our rulers harbor a deep hatred and mistrust of natural rights, social contracts, and universal rights, disagreeing with John Locke that these rights are integral to the very idea of what it means to be human.

It didn’t take long for “artful and ambitious rulers” to begin chipping away at the Bill of Rights. In 1798, Congress passed the Sedition Act, abridging the freedom of speech and the press and devising prison sentences for people criticizing the government. The U.S. Constitution, Art. I, Sec. 9, states the “privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it,” but during the “Civil War” (or the invasion of the South by the North) Lincoln suspended the writ of habeas corpus without consulting Congress, allowing the military to arrest and imprison thousands of civilians, including Clement L. Vallandigham, a Jacksonian Democrat and later a Peace Democrat, an outspoken advocate of states’ rights and a vociferous critic of Lincoln’s war against the South.

In 1917, Congress passed the Espionage and Sedition acts that provided heavy sentences for Americans criticizing the war. “The great liberal Oliver Wendell Holmes himself wrote the opinions affirming the constitutionality of the Espionage Act, sending a man named Schenck to jail for distributing a leaflet criticizing the war and the draft. Two thousand people were prosecuted for speaking or writing against the war, including Eugene Debs,” writes Howard Zinn (the Zinn Reader, Seven Stories Press). It didn’t take long for A. Mitchell Palmer, attorney general under Woodrow Wilson, to use the Espionage and Sedition acts to arrest over 10,000 people, many held for long periods without trial—think José Padilla—and in early 1920 round up an additional 6,000 people and also hold them without due process. Many of these radicals were shipped off to Russia as potential traitors and Stalin had them shot.

In 1940, Congress passed the Smith Act, a law making it illegal to advocate or belong to a group that advocated the violent overthrow of the government, never mind that Thomas Jefferson said the “tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants,” and called for a revolution every ten or so years to purge the “artful and ambitious rulers” who inevitably squash liberty.

There is little time or space to go into later attacks against the Bill of Rights, as enumerated partially above. Suffice it to say the Bill of Rights has weathered attacks since the very inception of the nation. Bush’s Patriot Act is simply the latest outrage against liberty, albeit a potentially fatal one, the final coup de grâce, although no mercy is intended for the Constitution, as tyrants, plutocrats, and autocrats sincerely hate and fear the idea of liberty for common men and women, occasionally rising up and throwing off dictators.

Unfortunately, we now have a sincerely ignorant public, more than likely incapable of Jeffersonian revolution because most people, frightened by manufactured boogiemen and cartoonish Muslim villains, have no idea their birthright is suffering the throes of death. Homer, Marge, Maggie, Santa’s Little Helper, Bart, Snowball, and Lisa Simpson have more relevance.



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