You Say To-MAY-to, I Say To-MAH-to, You Say Emergency Laws, I Say PATRIOT Act.

Posted on by Benjamin Chabot-Hanowell (Brash Equilibrium)
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Riddle me this, This or That readers. Barack Obama's administration has in the past " talked tough" about Egypt's emergency laws, and by extension other emergency laws in the Middle East. Emergency laws "allow police to arrest people without charge, detain prisoners indefinitely, limit freedom of expression and assembly, and maintain a special security court," according to the New York Times. They were put in place in several Middle Eastern countries in response to, you guessed it, terrorism (along with civil unrest).

Protest against Egyptian Emergency Law, 2008.

Hrm. Emergency laws sound familiar. From Wikipedia:

"The Act dramatically reduced restrictions on law enforcement agencies' ability to search telephone, e-mail communications, medical, financial, and other records; eased restrictions on foreign intelligence gathering....expanded...authority to regulate financial transactions, particularly those involving foreign individuals and entities; and broadened the discretion of law enforcement and immigration authorities in detaining and deporting immigrants suspected of terrorism-related acts. The act also expanded the definition of terrorism to include domestic terrorism, thus enlarging the number of activities to which the...Act's expanded law enforcement powers can be applied."

"Opponents of the law have criticized its authorization of indefinite detentions of immigrants; searches through which law enforcement officers search a home or business without the owner's or the occupant's permission or knowledge; the expanded use of National Security Letters, which [of] telephone, e-mail, and financial records without a court order; and the expanded access of law enforcement agencies to business records, including library and financial records. Since its passage, several legal challenges have been brought against the act, and Federal courts have ruled that a number of provisions are unconstitutional."
You know what this Wikipedia entry describes?

The PATRIOT Act, extending three provisions of which Mr. Obama supports. The three provisions make it easier for the U.S. government to spy within the U.S. They do this:

  1. Allow the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA Court) to grant wiretaps to the government even if it hasn't identified a target, which means even if the target is anybody the government wants to monitor.
  2. The FISA Court can grant warrants for banking, library and medical records.
  3. The FISA Court can warrant the electronic monitoring of an individual even if that person is not an agent of a foreign power or suspected terrorist (um...I thought the PATRIOT Act was about protecting us from terrorists).
So how could any president bag on any country's emergency laws if that president seeks to renew any provisions of the PATRIOT Act, which is a disgrace to our Constitution and its Bill of Rights (which Mr. Obama's law degree make him expert in)?

Because we live in a brave new world, that's why. A brave, new, frightening-as-$%#* world.

What is your opinion of the PATRIOT Act?

2852 views & 14 votes

Debate It! 2

Great article....but Brash, you forgot section 802 of the law. This section defines what a "domestic terrorist" is... the term means "involve acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any State". For those that may not understand.... it basically says that if you jaywalk (misdemeanor is criminal law) you are a domestic terrorist.

Posted By Mr.Truther,

Well done, Mr. Truther.

Posted By Brash Equilibrium,

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