Land of the Watched, Home of the Oppressed: the Usa Patriot Act

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  • Topic: United States Constitution, Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, First Amendment to the United States Constitution
  • Pages : 10 (3689 words )
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  • Published : February 9, 2006
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"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."- Benjamin Franklin

On October 26th, 2001, just 45 days after September 11th a panicked Congress passed, with little debate, the USA Patriot Act. The 342 page patriot act violates our 1st, 4th, 5th, 6th, 8th and 14th amendments, thus making it unconstitutional. I don't know why Congress passed this act, or how it got through the Supreme Court, but most people in Congress didn't even read the Patriot Act. I am sure that our founding fathers would not have wanted the Patriot Act. Just look at what Ben Franklin said, "They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." There was only one person in the senate that day that stood up for our Civil liberties, Russ Feingold (D-WI). He's a true "Patriot"

I'll start with a short summary of the Patriot Act.

Straight out of deranged John Ashcroft's mind came the Patriot Act. Contrary to popular belief, this doesn't make anyone in America the least bit safer. The overnight revision of the US surveillance laws expanded the government's ability to spy on US citizens and reduced checks and balances, judicial oversight, public accountability, and the ability to challenge government searches in court. It takes away many of our basic freedoms, even immigrants rights. With the Patriot Act America is no longer the "Land of the Free and the home of the Brave" It's more like "Land of the Concurred, Home Full of Hidden Cameras and Microphones". In the "new" America, where the Patriot Act is law, we loose our right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness

Time to take a look at some of the Amendments violated by the Patriot Act; my explanation will come after the text of the amendment.

Amendment I - BASIC FREEDOMS

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

I have found a few occurrences where the first amendment right was violated by the Patriot Act. The FBI ordered a few journalists that had written about computer hacker Adrian Lamo to turn over their notes and other information because of the Patriot Act. This is obviously violating the freedom of the press. The ACLU was prevented from releasing the text of its countersuit challenging aspects of the PATRIOT Act because the government claimed it would violate secrecy provisions of the act. Another voilation of freedom of press. Under the Patriot Act, any person or group that is exercising their first ammenedment right, like if they are protesting, can be labeled a "domestic terrorist" by the Attnory Genreal. The Patriot Act violates our First Ammendment and should be repealed, but I don't know if our "moral" government will give Americans the rights we deserve.

Ammendment IV - SEARCH AND ARREST

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Obviously, this is the amendment violated most by the Patriot Act. It doesn't just violate it, it completely destroys it. It increases the governments surveillance power by expanding the governments ability to look at records about an individual held by a third party. It also expands the government's ability to search private property without notice to the owner. That's like some one going into your house and putting cameras up with out you even knowing, and who knows if they didn't do that already. Would you like someone going through all your records? The government has so much...
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