Saturday, October 8, 2011

Herman Cain Exposed: The Patriot Act

By Dan Beaulieu

Herman Cain said recently in an interview with The Atlantic (link) that he agrees with 90% of The Patriot Act, which is arguably the most detrimental attack on our civil liberties since our emancipation from the British in 1776. When asked what the 10% he disagreed with was, he only gave a vague dismissive response, which indicates that he probably hasn’t read it (as most people haven’t) but wanted to retain for himself an exit strategy if ever criticized on the issue.

Though most Americans arbitrarily support the Patriot Act in respect to how “9/11 changed our way of life”, few are aware that the Patriot Act was authored long before that date. This negates that notion altogether and confirms that 9/11 was craftily used as a convenient device to instate the legislation.

Upon reading the 1,472* page bill, one can see why the authors made sure it was not available to the eyes of our congressmen before it was voted on. The ill-titled “Patriot” Act represents anything but patriotism, and in fact impedes on virtually all of the amendments in the Bill of Rights. Due to the fact that most Americans are oblivious to the contents of the Patriot Act, I will briefly go over a few bullet points; however I will spare you lengthy detail to abstain the scope of this document.

·         Freedom from unreasonable searches: The government may search and seize Americans' papers and effects without probable cause to assist terror investigation. Violates Amendment IV

·         Right to a speedy and public trial: The government may jail Americans indefinitely without a trial. Violates Amendment VI

·         Freedom of association: To assist terror investigation, the government may monitor religious and political institutions without suspecting criminal activity. Violates Amendment I

·         Right to legal representation: The government may monitor conversations between attorneys and clients in federal prisons and deny lawyers to Americans accused of crimes. Violates Amendment VI

  -        Freedom of speech: The government may prosecute librarians or keepers of any other records if they tell anyone the government subpoenaed information related to a terror investigation. Violates Amendment I

·         Right to liberty: Americans may be jailed without being charged or being able to confront witnesses against them. US citizens (labeled "unlawful combatants") have been held incommunicado and refused attorneys. Violates Amendment VI

·         The enemy redefined: The patriot act also broadens the definition of "terrorist" to anyone who opposes a federal government program or policy. This gives them probable cause for 70% of Americans conservatively.

By supporting the Patriot Act, Herman Cain endorses the idea of exchanging security for our basic freedoms, a model Benjamin Franklin strongly advised against. Americans rational idealizes that if you are guilty of no crimes than you’ve got nothing to hide, so it’s worth it. This just isn’t the case, as the great Thomas Paine once said, “He that would make his own liberty secure, must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates this duty, he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself.”

These wise words resonate today in the case of a 10th grader wrongfully arrested and held for 2 months without council, due process or visitation from his mother. (video) He was innocent but the Patriot Act refused him the right of due process. These trespasses on our civil liberties will only get worse and happen more frequently as time goes by, as is the predictable evolutionary process.

People often try to dismiss these criticisms as libertarian alarmist propaganda, though I combat that ideology with simple logic. Once our Constitutional rights have been taken away from even just one single American, no matter how bad they are, then we have undoubtedly lost our way.  As I outlined in an article I wrote entitled “The American Way Abandoned” (link) I expressed the importance of adhering to our founding fathers principles, which concludes that if we do not, we do so at our own peril.

In conclusion:

I find is sad that Herman Cain believes that we need to give up our fundamental liberties in exchange for security. Especially when the odds of being struck by lighting defeat the odds of dying in a terrorist attack (link). As human beings we are exposed to a myriad of risks at every crossroads from operating a piece of machinery to crossing the street. We shouldn't waiver our freedoms in fear as these risks will always exist regardless of any legislation. Only in observing simple precautions can we can reduce the risk of fatality without sacrificing our fundamental liberties. Simple logic persist that when driving, wear a seatbelt, when operating machinery, use safety measures and to combat terrorism stop foreign occupation. It’s a fact that oppression causes revolt, often in the form of terrorism.

*Depending on the source the amount of pages in the patriot act is between 342 and 2,500. Dr. Twight mentioned in an interview that she had read all 1,472 pages. Personally I don't claim to be the expert on every page, however I have read enough to ascertain its completely unconstitutional.


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