Thursday, September 24, 2009

Patriot Act Abuses: Then and now (and tomorrow, and. . .)

More indication that, if a law can be abused, it will - the Assistant Attorney General reports that, out of the 763 unwarranted investigations undergone under the new governmental powers awarded by the Patriot Act, only three involved terrorism cases.

The vast majority were drug cases. What were the rest? Does it really matter? The freedoms granted by the Bill of Rights are still granted by suspected criminals, who are after all guilty until proven innocent. Given the abuses this "terrorism"-spurred act was immediately turned toward, do we really want the government following our ATM transactions, library book checkouts and travel paths, looking for patterns?

The practices of the Bush Administration consistently amounted to a bait-and-switch; get us nervous about one thing, and then do quite another. Under the manufactured urgency of the war on terror, Bush expanded the powers of government, invaded two nations (one of which had nothing to do with any terrorist attacks on U.S. soil), opened secret prisons, enlisted private corporations to spy on U.S. citizens and aided and abetted political criminals up to the highest levels of government.

Obama has proven less than satisfactory on ending these abuses, so the fact that he's proven far less self-righteous than Bush and hasn't yet caused the deaths of hundreds of thousands seems almost immaterial. Where is the attitude of respect for the American people that our representatives ought to have? The Republicans protest Obama's actions, but only for the support of the corrupt and avaricious in business. Unless our representatives turn off their desire to do anything - anything to look good and feel productive, enacting laws that threaten the liberty of American citizens in the name of some elusive physical protection, I can't imagine that anything is going to change.

NOTE: This is explicit analysis, based on what I feel to be the core of our nation's principles and unmotivated by any political leanings unless subconscious. The type of vague, unexplained "fear" and unapplied responsibility-free values people like Glenn Beck attempt to force on us don't lead to any concerted action or improvement, just people lashing out. If you can't quantify your statements, they aren't real opinions, and they're purely selfish, which is worse than merely being misguided.

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