Tag Archives: Patriot Act

Slouching Toward Fascism, by Andrew P. Napolitano

The government and its private sector partners can get many of your computerized records without a warrant. From Andrew P. Napolitano at lewrockwell.com:

Fascism is a governmental system in which the means of economic production and delivery of services are privately owned but government-controlled. Throughout history — before even getting to its racism and wars — fascism has led to the glorification of the state and the destruction of personal liberty. It is happening here.

During the past few months, we have learned that the major credit card companies have begun to record transactions at gun shops so as to enable the feds to learn the identity of patrons. These are lawful gun shops selling lawful products to lawful purchasers. The credit card records do not reflect precisely what was purchased — it might have been $2,000 for a gun safe or for gun safety lessons — but they do record the purchase amount and the contact information of the purchaser.

The problem here comes about when the FBI and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives come calling with their so-called National Security Letters in order to find out who is purchasing what. The George W. Bush-championed Patriot Act of 2001 — the most horrific congressional assault on personal liberty since the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798 criminalized dissent — permits federal agents to bypass the search warrant requirement of the Fourth Amendment when they want private records that are in the hands of a custodian.

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Why Is Freedom Always the Problem? by Tom Mullen

Why is the burden of proof always on liberty lovers opposing government actions, and not on their proponents? From Tom Mullen at lewrockwell.com:

One year after Americans were ordered to close down society for “two weeks to flatten the curve,” Bloomberg columnist Andreas Kluth warned, “We Must Start Planning for a Permanent Pandemic.” Because new variants of SARS-COV-2 are impervious to existing vaccines, says Kluth, and pharmaceutical companies will never be able to develop new vaccines fast enough to keep up, we will never be able to get “back to normal.”

“Get back to normal” means recovering the relative liberty we had in our already overregulated, pre-Covid lives. This is just the latest in a long series of crises that always seem to lead our wise rulers to the same conclusion: we just cannot afford freedom anymore.

Covid-19 certainly wasn’t the beginning. Americans were told “the world changed” after 9/11/2001. Basic pillars of the American system, like the Fourth and Fifth Amendments, were too antiquated to deal with the “new threat of terrorism.” Warrantless surveillance of our phone, e-mail, and financial records and physical searches of our persons without probably cause of a crime became the norm. A few principled civil libertarians dissented, but the public largely complied without protest. “Keep us safe,” they told the government, no matter the cost in dollars or liberty.

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Impeachment is more dangerous than Trump, by Michael Tracey

The frenzy over the January 6 protests is designed to usher in a new era in restricting what pathetically remains of our liberty. From Michael Tracey at unherd.com:

The most apt parallel for the second impeachment of Donald Trump may not be any other of the three previous presidential impeachments, including his own just over a year ago. It may instead be the PATRIOT Act, which was passed in the heated emotional aftermath of the September 11 attacks, with negligible debate afforded to the long-term implications of what Congress was enacting. Reason and deliberation had given way to a collective desire for security and revenge, and thus the most sweeping curtailment of civil liberties in the modern historical record was approved. Those who departed from the swiftly assembled consensus could expect to be denounced as sympathisers to terrorists.

Likewise, if you deign to raise concerns about the implications of this sudden impeachment sequel — or any of the other extraordinary actions taken in the past week, such as an ongoing corporate censorship purge of unprecedented proportions — you can expect to be accused of defending or supporting the “domestic terrorists” who carried out the mob attack on the Capitol.

Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker of the House, rationalised rushing through Wednesday’s impeachment resolution at spell-binding speed — by far the fastest impeachment process ever — on the grounds that Trump posed a “clear and present danger” to the country, and needed to be removed immediately. “Imminent threats” of various stripes also have a long history of being cited to justify sweeping emergency action, such as the invasion of Iraq. Often upon further inspection, the purported “threat” turns out to have been not so “imminent”, or in fact to have never existed at all.

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The Media Has Conveniently Forgotten George W. Bush’s Many Atrocities, by James Bovard

When George W. Bush was president, the mainstream media hated him. However, to the mainstream anyone looks like a saint compared to President Trump. From James Bovard at mises.org:

Former president George W. Bush has returned to the spotlight to give moral guidance to America in these troubled times. In a statement released on Tuesday, Bush announced that he was “anguished” by the “brutal suffocation” of George Floyd and declared that “lasting peace in our communities requires truly equal justice. The rule of law ultimately depends on the fairness and legitimacy of the legal system. And achieving justice for all is the duty of all.”

Bush’s declaration was greeted with thunderous applause by the usual suspects who portray him as the virtuous Republican in contrast to Trump. While the media portrays Bush’s pious piffle as a visionary triumph of principle, Americans need to vividly recall the lies and atrocities that permeated his eight years as president.

In an October 2017 speech in a “national forum on liberty” at the George W. Bush Institute in New York City, Bush bemoaned that “Our politics seems more vulnerable to conspiracy theories and outright fabrication.” Coming from Bush, this had as much credibility as former president Bill Clinton bewailing the decline of chastity.

Most media coverage of Bush nowadays either ignores the falsehoods he used to take America to war in Iraq or portrays him as a good man who received incorrect information. But Bush was lying from the get-go on Iraq and was determined to drag the nation into another Middle East war. From January 2003 onwards, Bush constantly portrayed the US as an innocent victim of Saddam Hussein’s imminent aggression and repeatedly claimed that war was being “forced upon us.” That was never the case. As the Center for Public Integrity reported, Bush made “232 false statements about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and another 28 false statements about Iraq’s links to Al Qaeda.” As the lies by which he sold the Iraq War unraveled, Bush resorted to vilifying critics as traitors in a 2006 speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars.

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The Propaganda of Terror and Fear: A Lesson from Recent History, by Dr. Piers Robinson

We’ve been here before. Remember 9/11? Remember the Patriot Act? From Dr. Piers Robinson at off-guardian.org:

The ongoing and unfolding reactions to the Corona Virus look set to have wide-ranging and long-lasting effect on politics, society and economics. The drive to close down all activities is extraordinary as are the measures being promoted to isolate people from each other.

The deep-rooted fear of contagious disease, hardwired into the collective consciousness by historical events such as the ‘Black/Bubonic Plague’ and maintained through popular culture (e.g. the Hollywood movies Outbreak and Contagion), means that people are without question highly susceptible to accepting extreme emergency measures whether or not such measures are rational or justified. The New York Times called for America to be put on a war footing in order to deal with Corona whilst former Army General Stanley McChrystal has been invoking his 9/11 experience in order to prescribe lessons for today’s leaders.

At the same time, political actors are fully aware that these conditions of fear and panic provide a critical opportunity that can be exploited in order to pursue political, economic and societal objectives. It is very likely, however, that the dangers posed by the potential exploitation of Corona for broader political, economic and societal objectives latter far outweigh the immediate threat to life and health from the virus. A lesson from recent history is instructive here.

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Repeal the Patriot Act, by Andrew P. Napolitano

By any reading of the plain words of the Constitution, which is not how contemporary jurists read the Constitution, the Patriot Act is unconstitutional and should be repealed. From Andrew P. Napolitano at lewrockwell.com:

I have been writing for years about the dangers to human freedom that come from government mass surveillance. The United States was born in a defiant reaction to government surveillance. In the decade preceding the signing of the Declaration of Independence, the villains were the Stamp Act and the Writs of Assistance Act. Today, the villain is the Patriot Act.

Here is the backstory.

In 1765, when the British government was looking for creative ways to tax the colonists, Parliament enacted the Stamp Act. That law required all persons in the colonies to purchase stamps from a British government vendor and to affix them to all documents in one’s possession. These were not stamps as we use today, rather they bore the seal of the British government. The vendor would apply ink to the seal and for a fee — a tax — impress an image of the seal onto documents.

All documents in one’s possession — financial, legal, letters, books, newspapers, pamphlets, even posters destined to be nailed to trees — required the government stamps.

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Betraying the Constitution: Who Will Protect Us from an Unpatriotic Patriot Act? by John W. Whitehead

The Patriot Act and its subsequent extensions have shredded a good portion of the Bill of Rights. From John W. Whitehead at rutherford.org

“It is the responsibility of the patriot to protect his country from its government.”—Thomas Paine

While Congress subjects the nation to its impeachment-flavored brand of bread-and-circus politics, our civil liberties continue to die a slow, painful death by a thousand cuts.

Case in point: while Americans have been fixated on the carefully orchestrated impeachment drama that continues to monopolize headlines, Congress passed and President Trump signed into law legislation extending three key provisions of the USA Patriot Act, which had been set to expire on December 15, 2019.

Once again, to no one’s surprise, the bureaucrats on both sides of the aisle—Democrats and Republicans alike—prioritized political grandstanding over principle and their oath of office to protect and defend the Constitution.

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Republicans and Democrats Agree: Give Vast Snooping Powers to The U.S. Government, by Mac Slavo

A renewal of the Patriot Act is slipping through while the nation and the media is preoccupied with the impeachment circus. From Mac Slavo at shtfplan.com:

Even in our polarized and right vs. left political paradigm, there is one thing both republicans and democrats can agree on: The federal government should have vast snooping powers and conduct mass surveillance on everyone. They simply disagree over who should be in charge of abusing those excessive powers.

The impeachment circus did one thing successfully. It took attention from the government’s mass surveillance programs that are constantly expanded. As Reasonproposed: If Democrats really feared Donald Trump’s exercise of the powers of the presidency, why would they propose extending the surveillance powers of the controversial Patriot Act?

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Why I Don’t Speak of the Fake News of “9/11” Anymore, by Edward Curtin

How sophisticated psychological techniques were used to condition Americans into accepting the police state that sprung from 9/11. From Edward Curtin at lewrockwell.com:

This article was posted last year but is still pertinent, so I am re-posting it.

Tuesday, September 11, 2001, was a non-teaching day for me.  I was home when the phone rang at 9 A.M.  It was my daughter, who was on a week’s vacation with her future husband.  “Turn on the TV,” she said.  “Why?” I asked.  “Haven’t you heard?  A plane hit the World Trade Tower.”

I turned the TV on and watched a plane crash into the Tower.  I said, “They just showed a replay.”  She quickly corrected me, “No, that’s another plane.”  And we talked as we watched in horror, learning that it was the South Tower this time.  Sitting next to my daughter was my future son-in-law; he had not had a day off from work in a year.  He had finally taken a week’s vacation so they could go to Cape Cod.  He worked on the 100th floor of the South Tower.  By chance, he had escaped the death that claimed 176 of his co-workers.

That was my introduction to the attacks.  Seventeen years have disappeared behind us, yet it seems like yesterday.  And yet again, it seems like long, long ago.

Over the next few days, as the government and the media accused Osama bin Laden and 19 Arabs of being responsible for the attacks, I told a friend that what I was hearing wasn’t believable; the official story was full of holes. I am a born and bred New Yorker with a long family history rooted in the NYC Fire and Police Departments, one grandfather having been the Deputy Chief of the Fire Department, the highest ranking uniformed firefighter, and the other a NYPD cop; a niece and her husband were NYPD detectives deeply involved in the response to that day’s attacks. Hearing the absurd official explanations and the deaths of so many innocent people, including many hundreds of firefighters, cops, and emergency workers, I felt a suspicious rage. It was a reaction that I couldn’t fully explain, but it set me on a search for the truth.  I proceeded in fits and starts, but by the fall of 2004, with the help of the extraordinary work of David Ray Griffin, Michael Ruppert, and other early skeptics, I could articulate the reasons for my initial intuition.  I set about creating and teaching a college course on what had come to be called 9/11.

But I no longer refer to the events of that day by those numbers.  Let me explain why.

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9/11 Eighteen Years Later, by Donald Jeffries

9/11 remains the pivotal event of the still-young 21st century. From Donald Jeffries at lewrockwell.com:

Eighteen years ago today, nearly 3,000 Americans lost their lives when both the Pentagon and the World Trade Center were attacked by terrorists. The official narrative is that the terrorists were a group of nineteen Arabs armed with box cutters and plastic knives. The prevailing view in the anti- establishment world is that the terrorists were associated with the U.S. government.

While our leaders did absolutely nothing on the day in question, in response to hijacked planes being crashed into buildings, for some hour and a half, after it was over they reacted quite aggressively. The consensus was that 9/11 had “changed the world forever,” and that we were now battling an unclear, unidentifiable enemy, referred to conveniently as the “war on terror.”

According to the ACLU, some 762 “suspects” were arrested in the wake of 9/11, and none of them were found to have any ties to “terrorism.” Anyone named Mohammad became suspect in the public’s eye. An Arabic fellow I worked with at the time was absolutely terrified, and seriously considered changing his name to something that sounded less “terrorist.”

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