The Patriot Act, abused

by Jay Stevens 

I’ve already posted this in “Links,” but it’s worth highlighting. Recently a couple on a Southwest Airlines flight from Los Angeles was…well…“snuggling and kissing inappropriately” during their flight:

“Persing was observed nuzzling or kissing Sewell on the neck, and … with his face pressed against Sewell’s vaginal area. During these actions, Sewell was observed smiling,” reads the indictment filed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.On a second warning from the flight attendant, Persing snapped back threatening the flight attendant with “serious consequences” if he did not leave them alone.

The couple could face 20 years imprisonment under the Patriot Act.

I seriously doubt that this was what the well-intentioned thought the Patriot Act was supposed to protect us against. Sure, there was a veiled threat made. But do we want flight attendants deciding who’s a terrorist? Especially if you could lose all of your Constitutional rights to trial and representation? Especially if the man in question was sick, not over-sexed?

This stuff matters. Take the administration’s recently unveiled claim that it can hold immigrants indefinitely, if accused of terrorism. And who does the accusing? Who decides? You remember the torture bill: it’s the President. But the problem is, there’s no oversight.

What if an administrator makes a mistake? What if a paranoid flight attendant sees something she really doesn’t? What if a federal agent takes a dislike to someone passing through security?

Supporters of the administration will tell you that the only people affected by these regulations will be evildoers bent on the destruction of the planet. But is that necessarily the case? With rendition, for example, the CIA tends to kidnap and torture those that it has the least amount of evidence against. People: this isn’t a television cop show! There’s a reason we need evidence to convict somebody; that’s because there’s always a possibility that the person is innocent.

So scrapping oversight and checks on executive power is a bad idea, especially if you consider everyday and all-too ordinary government bureaucrats will most often be deciding your fate.

I’m all for giving police officials extra tools to combat terror. But let’s not throw away the foundations of our legal system to do so.

  1. Headwaters

    Which one isn’t like the others?

    MONTANA: Resolution against Patriot Act passes with 4/5 of the legislature.

    MAX BAUCUS: Voted for the Patriot Act.

    JON TESTER: Co-Sponsored resolution against Patriot Act.

    BRIAN SCHWEITZER: Bashed Conrad Burns for voting to renew Patriot Act.

  2. Big Swede

    Hey, pick me teacher, pick me, it’s Max morphing into a conservative just in time to get reelected!

  3. PATRIOT Act passed – October, 2001, one and a half months after the terror attacks. Only one Senator voted against it. One has to wonder what the Montana people would have thought about the PATRIOT Act in that month, in that year.

    Montana Resolution against the PATRIOT Act passed in 2005, after the Democrats gained equal/majority status in the Montana Congress.

    4 years may not seem like a lot of time, but it looks to me to be far more significant than Swede’s assumptive carterwahling about Max morphing into anything.

  4. Dayumn. Is mo’fos right there, still I would not sukc my girl on a airplane.
    20 years?????????????????????

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