Sunday, March 18, 2007

Patriot Act, FBI, Idiots

When the cowering BushCo Republican Congress passed the Patriot Act some folks (me included) raised concerns about the that unmitigated piece of junk. Anyone paying the least attention could see that this thing invested the Executive Branch with police state powers, now it appears that the Executive Branch doesn't mind using police state tactics. When you give children matches they will light them and the same holds true of bureaucracies, if they have a conceivable power they will use it, and probably in a childish fashion. Our fine representatives gave the FBI the ability to force release of private information with "exigent circumstances" letters, the idea being that in an emergency they could get their hands on information and later follow up with subpoenas. Oddly enough,once the FBI had the information, they saw no need to do "follow-up" paper work. At some point they also no longer saw the need for the demands to be based in active investigations. Children - Matches.

Is this a fault with the FBI? There is a mindset within any such agency that there are dangerous guilty people out there who must be found, quickly. The more hoops to be jumped through the slower and "less effectively" things move. All very true, and also exactly why the government of the USA is so hamstrung when dealing with its citizenry. Did the authors of this "Patriot Act" bother to stop and think that the Framers of the Constitution and Bill of Rights had some experience with unbridled bureaucracy? There are worms with more backbone than that Congress.

The government of the USA exists to serve the citizens of that State, not any other purpose. It is subordinate to the will and interests of the citizenry. We are not here for their convenience, their use, their abuse; they are here because we tolerate them. Whatever use the FBI has to the citizenry of the State is at the pleasure of the citizenry and subservient to their Rights. If the Idiots in Congress tell them they can do something, they will do it, and in the natural fashion of bureaucracies, they will over-do it. These people were given cover of law to break the law (that is what the Constitution is) and break the spirit of the law. You cannot ignore the spirit of the founding document of a nation and get results that are congruent with the interests of that nation.

The entire reason Checks and Balances were written into the Constitution and that the Bill of Rights was appended was to make sure that the government did not become a power unto itself. That no branch could over-reach. Any government chafes at restriction, it has a conception of purpose that includes taking actions and any restriction on that ability is seen as an obstacle to be overcome. People are exactly what they are, no better or worse, and that is why we create documents to govern their behavior, they are not universally trustworthy, they are simply human beings. An entire group of people got together and fought, wrangled, debated, and struggled to find the exact language that would form a government of, for, and by the people and still function. That was their sole purpose. They accepted that freedom entails risks and considered the alternative as unacceptable.

The Patriot Act is the product of fearful idiots and may ruin the FBI.


KISS said...

Well said Chuck. Do you remember John Minnis, policeman, and state representative proclaiming that "ALL citizens were guilty of a crime"? That mindset is exactly what the police bureaus city, county, state and federal have as their manta with the Patriot Act. The shrub has instilled the fear and hate of citizens as never been done before. Even under McCarthy the fear of citizens wasn't as great as now. In fact, the innuendos were mostly career shattering where today prison terms are the norm.

Chuck Butcher said...

It would be difficult to run a police force on a different mindset than that, so, we have rules.

People like Dashiel Hammet went to prison rather than kow-tow to Joe. It takes nerve, I don't see much evidence of it in DC.