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GOP TERRORIZING CONSTITUTION
Dec. 16, 2005
The Republican-controlled House of Representatives has just
passed a bill which renews the USA Patriot Act. According to a
News With Views press release, "Despite massive opposition from
individuals and groups on all sides of the political spectrum, the
GOP-controlled House of Representatives on Wednesday gave in
to pressure from the Administration and approved the conference
report H.R. 3199 (introduced by Judiciary chairman James
Sensenbrenner, R-Wis.) which would make permanent 14 of the 16
provisions of the controversial Patriot Act-but failed to put much-
needed checks and balances against abuse into the law.
"The House vote was 251-174, with 44 Democrats joining 207
Republicans. Only 17 Republicans took a stand against the bill.
These included Ron Paul, Texas; Dana Rohrbacker, Calif.; and
Bruce Otter, Idaho. There were nine 'not voting'-six Republicans
and three Democrats."
Under the rubric of "fighting terrorism," President Bush and his
fellow Republicans are actually terrorizing the U.S. Constitution!
Instead of making America more secure, the Patriot Act puts
America at greater risk of being terrorized-by our own
Furthermore, those people who still labor under the delusion that
free men and women have nothing to fear from our federal
government need to familiarize themselves with history-including
U.S. history-and with the actual details of the Act. What they
would discover should certainly frighten them.
For example, Section 213 of the Act authorizes "sneak and peek"
searches for virtually any reason, even if those reasons are
completely unrelated to terrorism. Already, the vast majority of
cases where "sneak and peek" searches have been used have had
nothing to do with suspected terrorist activity, claims to the
Beyond that, "sneak and peek" searches are conducted in absolute
secrecy. Victims of "sneak and peek" may not be informed of their
home or business being searched and items seized for weeks,
months, or even longer. Such people come home to ransacked
rooms and think it was done by burglars, when, in fact, it was
Furthermore, Section 215 of the Act greatly loosens the standard
under which the federal government can obtain secret court orders
to gather evidence from third parties on any citizen. This includes
library records, firearms records, medical records, or any other
type of "tangible evidence" without showing the court any
suspicion that the person has violated the law or is an agent of a
foreign power. Basically, the law requires the secret court to
authorize the seizures because the federal agent asks for it! No
evidence is required. Absolutely none! Section 505 of the Act is
even more problematic!
Under the provisions of the USA Patriot Act in Section 505,
federal agents are able to draft what are called National Security
Letters (NSLs), which never even go before a federal judge, in
order to gain access to a wide category of personal information in
the hands of banks and other entities. These NSLs require no link
between the person or persons on whom the private information is
being sought and any criminal conduct nor any suspicion they have
done anything wrong. And there is absolutely no checks or
oversight over the government's power to access a citizen's
Then there is Section 802 which defines "domestic terrorism" to
include any act that "appears intended to influence" government
policy. But does not virtually every action taken by, say, pro-lifers,
Second Amendment proponents, or any other lobbying
organization or individual activist attempt to "influence"
government? Of course they do. Well, under Section 802 of the
Patriot Act, those people can be identified as "domestic terrorists"
and may be subjected to all the investigative probes of the federal
Yet, there is more. Under the USA Patriot Act, the government can
obtain "roving wiretaps" without specifying either the identity of
the target or the phone to be tapped. Is this freedom as you
The sad reality is, the Draconian features of the USA Patriot Act
do not make America one bit more secure! What they do is strip
law-abiding American citizens of their constitutionally protected
liberties! The implementation of the Patriot Act as passed will only
serve to help create the kind of terrorist state that the government
claims it is attempting to protect us from! Is this the kind of
America we want to bequeath to our posterity?
Our only hope for passing a rational bill that does not inflict
serious injury to the rights and liberties of the American people is
to support those Democrats and Republicans in the U.S. Senate
that appear ready to filibuster the bill as it now exists. Every lover
of liberty should contact their senators and encourage them to
reject the Patriot Act until it includes appropriate safeguards that
would protect us from over-reaching, over-zealous federal police
Why do you think the Founding Fathers put the Bill of Rights in
the Constitution to begin with? It was because they knew it was the
tendency of the federal government to trample the freedoms and
rights of individuals. If the U.S. Senate approves the Patriot Act as
it is currently written, the concerns of the founders will be proven
justified, as our federal government will have put in place the
statutes with which the rights and liberties of the American people
will be expunged!
© Chuck Baldwin
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