Sunday, April 20, 2014

In Response to a Question About the P.A.T.R.I.O.T. Act

Written on March 25th, 2011

Snowflake Digitalis asked:

   "Ok Joe; We're going to start with a softball campaign question. What is Your stance on the patriot act? Would You have voted for it or against it?¿ Would you vote to renew it¿?"

I replied:

   "Like former Republican Georgia congressman and former Libertarian Party presidential candidate Bob Barr, I cannot be certain that I would have voted against the original bill, because there was a stipulation that only those House members who voted in favor of the bill would be permitted to participate in the amendment of it.

   "Being that the bill was virtually guaranteed to pass, these facts - and also the fact that members of the House were only given fifteen minutes to read the bill - mean the congress was put in a very awkward position. I would like to think that I would have had enough principle, courage, and confidence in my own patriotism to criticize the original bill on its unconstitutionality as well as on the basis of a lack of transparency.
   "I would always vote against renewing the PATRIOT Act. All searches and instances of wire-tapping should be illegal unless there is probable cause and a judge has signed a warrant issuing authorization for such actions. I do not believe that the need for law enforcement agencies to gather information quickly and efficiently should ever supersede the Fifth Amendment.

   "The PATRIOT Act has created a slippery slope in which federal agents are able to write their own search warrants, just as British police could write their own warrants during American colonization. These warrants can now be issued for such frivolous things as invading people's homes on suspicion of drug possession, and suspicion of involvement with terrorist organizations, which can be construed to be the case even when a citizen is merely sympathetic with innocuous, non-violent Arab organizations which oppose Israel and / or the United States' belligerent foreign policy."

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