Thursday, July 21, 2005

See! And you guys thought there was no market for my political rantings....

http://www.cnn.com/2005/LAW/07/21/unabomber.writings.ap/index.html

If good ol' Ted's work has managed to find an audience, then surely there must be hope for Steanso!

And here's something more genuinely scary:

http://www.cnn.com/2005/POLITICS/07/21/congress.patriotact.ap/index.html

We don't need the Patriot Act, people! (and more importantly, the infringements on civil liberties created by this bill are going to be with us long after our terrorism paranoia has passed unless we do something put a stop to this bill now). And now we're going to grant the FBI the power to subpoena records without the approval of a judge or gand jury? Brilliant. Because let me tell you, working in criminal defense for 7 years has taught me that cops are never overzealous and they never lose their objectivity when pursuing a suspect that they believe to be guilty.
Let me clarify once again. The Patriot Act allows the government to go into your homes or tap your phones without you knowing (or without even requiring any sort of a claim that the suspect is a terrorist). It allows the government to look at your medical records and the books that you check out of the library without any requirement that you be warned of the intrusion. Under this fabulous bit of legislation, the government has the power to look at essentially any kind of record that you possess (school transcripts, library records, internet records or records of online activity, credit and bank records, and almost any other kind of business or personal records that you possess) without even asserting that you are the agent of a foreign organization or without even asserting that you are involved in any kind of criminal activity (and although agents are required to submit an application for such searches to a judge, judges have no power to deny or refuse such applications). Organizations who are forced to hand over such records are legally bound from disclosing the fact that there has been a government search to any third parties. The Patriot Act is unconstitutional in that it violates the 4th Amendment requirement of a showing of probable cause (approved by a magistrate) before search and seizures can take place. The Patriot Act is also unconstitutional in that it allows "sneak and peek" searches into suspect's homes without having to give notice that a search is occurred. Such searches are patently unconstitutional, violating the due process requirement of notice (which in itself is important in that it allows a suspect to make sure that law enforcement officers are complying with legal procedures when entering a suspect's home). Incidentally, "sneak and peek" searches are not limited to terrorism cases, and can be used in any kind of government investigation.
Anyway, I just don't think that America is fragile enough to justify these kinds of intrusions. Or that these kinds of intrusions really do anything to protect us from the real dangers of terrorism. From my understanding, if INS had been properly tracking the individuals involved with 911 in the first place, the whole thing never would have happened (weren't a number of them just loitering around our country on expired visas?), and yet Bush seems resolutely determined to avoid making any real changes to our immigration and naturalization policies (mostly because any real change in that area would most likely be expensive). It's hard to believe that any kind of real "Homeland Security" can exist when hundreds, if not thousands of illegal immigrants have the potential of crossing our borders, unchecked, on a daily basis. Don't get me wrong. My grandfather was an illegal immigrant, and I think that 99.9% of these people want nothing but a better life for themselves and their families, but if we're going to be serious about stopping terrorism, we have to realize that terrorists can easily enter and reside in this country in an undocumented capacity, and our current system will be able to do little or nothing to detect them, let alone stop them.
Anyway, write to your reps or email them to bitch about the Patriot Act. We don't need a renewal. While you're at it, read Crackbass's comment from yesterday's blog and send your rep. an email opposing John Roberts confirmation as well.

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