promoting the unwanted, redheaded stepchild that is individual liberty

Posts Tagged ‘privacy’

Fort Hood, fear mongering, infringement on civil liberties

In liberty and rights, politics on November 24, 2009 at 3:00 am

The tragedy of Fort Hood, like Sept. 11, 2001, is being turned into another excuse to partake in anti-Muslim rhetoric and to call for the infringement on the civil liberties of Muslim Americans. So too, may the tragedy be used as a catalyst to infringe on the privacy of non-Muslim Americans.

Consider the following statements by conservative darling Sarah Palin in a recent interview with Fox News:

“Profiling in the sense of finding out what his radical beliefs were. Profiling, in the context of doing whatever we can to save innocent American lives, I’m all for it then.”

And this statement by Rep. Peter Hoekstra (R-MI) in a recent interview with CNN:

“I’m not only worried about these types of people potentially being in the military, I’m concerned about these folks being everyday Americans, around America, living among us who may have become or are in the process of becoming radicalized.”

This kind of fear-inducing rhetoric is nothing new in American politics. It was used to rally the America people against American Japanese during World War II and to justify their relocation to internment camps. Similar rhetoric was also used during the “Red Scare.” Americans need to realize that if they do not believe in civil liberties for those they fear, they do not believe in them at all.


PATRIOT Act here to stay

In liberty and rights on October 8, 2009 at 4:22 am

Today, the Judiciary Committee will continue its debate on the renewal of key provision of the PATRIOT Act that are set to expire in December. While some Democrats are unsuccessfully trying to amend the PATRIOT Act to provide increased privacy protection for American citizens, all are in favor of renewing the provisions.

However, FOX News inaccurately described the provisions as being on the “chopping block.” Nothing could be further from the truth.

Even a bill proposed by Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont to amend some of the provisions has been dramatically weakened. The new version, according to The New York Times, is a “significantly weaker substitute that he hammered out with Senator Dianne Feinstein of California.”

The Times continued to opine:

“Most disheartening, that substitute dropped language that would have allowed the government to secretly obtain Americans’ business records or ‘tangible things’ only where there is some connection to terrorism or espionage. Senator Richard Durbin, a Democrat of Illinois, proposed an amendment to require a terrorism connection, but it failed.”

PATIOT Act provisions considered especially dangerous by the ACLU include:

  • National Security Letters (NSLs).
  • Material Support Statute.
  • FISA Amendments Act of 2008.

The abuse of National Security Letters by the federal government has been especially frightening. NSLs are what the government uses when it wants to “compel internet service providers, libraries, banks, and credit reporting companies to turn over sensitive information about their customers and patrons.” According to the ACLU, 50,000 of these secret record demands go out each year.

It’s not surprising that these provisions, originally “sunseted” to protect the American people, are being renewed. Likewise, it is not surprising that President Barack Obama, in George-W.-Bush-fashion, supports renewing them. What is surprising is the lack of outrage from the American people. Perhaps they are too busy listening to the fair, balanced and inaccurate reporting of Fox News.