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Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics

English Finals: Persuasive Speech, Against (?) The Patriot Act

Hi Mooses.

I have to give a persuasive speech arguing for (or against) something topical. The USA Patriot Action looks like fertile ground to argue and I am trying to decide whether I should argue for or against it, and why.

If Meese would be interested in helping me with this I would be very grateful. My speech will be given between June 1st or 2nd.

My dad has been arguing passionately for (and against, you know him) keeping (and getting rid of) the Patriot Act.

This Sunday, May 29, the Patriot Act will either expire or be extended for three years.

What do you think? Should it be kept, should it be killed, and why?

Thanks,

Damien


32 comments

  1. Shaun Appleby

    It formalises Federal invasion of privacy which violates a number of citizen rights that many Americans have fought hard to establish and maintain in the past, sometimes at considerable cost.  See this overview for a start.

  2. Shaun Appleby

    The Military Commissions Act of 2006:


    In January 2007, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales told the Senate Judiciary Committee that in his opinion: “There is no express grant of habeas in the Constitution. There’s a prohibition against taking it away.” He was challenged by Sen. Arlen Specter who asked him to explain how it is possible to prohibit something from being taken away, without first being granted.  Robert Parry wrotes in the Baltimore Chronicle & Sentinel:

    Applying Gonzales’s reasoning, one could argue that the First Amendment doesn’t explicitly say Americans have the right to worship as they choose, speak as they wish or assemble peacefully. Ironically, Gonzales may be wrong in another way about the lack of specificity in the Constitution’s granting of habeas corpus rights. Many of the legal features attributed to habeas corpus are delineated in a positive way in the Sixth Amendment…

    The Department of Justice has taken the position in litigation that the Military Commissions Act of 2006 does not amount to a suspension of the writ of habeas corpus. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit agreed in a 2-1 decision, on February 20, 2007, which the U.S. Supreme Court initially declined to review. The U.S. Supreme Court then reversed its decision to deny review and took up the case in June 2007. In June 2008, the court ruled 5-4 that that the act did suspend habeas and found it unconstitutional.

    Habeas corpus in the United States: Suspension in the 21st Century Wikipedia

    Slippery slope stuff, if you ask me.  And even the Obama administration reserves the right to terminate US citizens, from time to time, with “extreme prejudice.”  Guess you’re hoping that’s not based on evidence acquired under National Security Letters you didn’t know, and others were forbidden to reveal, had been used to acquire “evidence” against you.

  3. Shaun Appleby

    The whole issue creates a tragic contect of law-enforcement stupidity:


    On May 5 at around 9:30 a.m., several teams of Pima County, Ariz., police officers from at least four different police agencies armed with SWAT gear and an armored personnel carrier raided at least four homes as part of what at the time was described as an investigation into alleged marijuana trafficking. One of those homes belonged to 26-year-old Jose Guerena and his wife, Vanessa Guerena. The couple’s 4-year-old son was also in the house at the time. Their 6-year-old son was at school.

    As the SWAT team forced its way into his home, Guerena, a former Marine who served two tours of duty in Iraq, armed himself with his AR-15 rifle and told his wife and son to hide in a closet. As the officers entered, Guerena confronted them from the far end of a long, dark hallway. The police opened fire, releasing more than 70 rounds in about 7 seconds, at least 60 of which struck Guerena. He was pronounced dead a little over an hour later.

    The Pima County Sheriff’s Department initially claimed Guerena fired his weapon at the SWAT team. They now acknowledge that not only did he not fire, the safety on his gun was still activated when he was killed. Guerena had no prior criminal record, and the police found nothing illegal in his home. After ushering out his wife and son, the police refused to allow paramedics to access Guerena for more than hour, leaving the young father to bleed to death, alone, in his own home.

    Radley Balko – Jose Guerena Killed: Arizona Cops Shoot Former Marine In Botched Pot Raid Huffington Post 24 May 11

    What’s wrong with knocking?  And why did it take a week for this story to come out?  Honestly, as indefensible as it is, some part of me wishes he took some of those arrogant idiots with him.

  4. As Obama said in London yesterday, the great legacy of our two nations is the rule of law and the bill of rights. To be truly Patriotic, Americans have to defend those values of individual freedom.

    Those value are what appalled Bin Laden. Al Qaeda  rightly knew – as the uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya have proven – that free societies are very attractive. Part of Bin Laden’s mission was to show that these civic ideas of tolerance, a multi faith secular society, and democracy, were just illusions.

    The US almost gave Bin Laden what he wanted by abrogating some of your deepest principles during the War on Terror.

    So I would say, like so many above, that the Patriot Act should be repealed, because it is UnAmerican and Unpatriotic.  

  5. spacemanspiff


    My dad has been arguing passionately for (and against, you know him) keeping (and getting rid of) the Patriot Act.

    lol! :~)

  6. fogiv

    Generally speaking, I oppose the Patriot Act for the same reasons Shaun and your Dad have articulated above. That said, it’s a very complicated bit of legislation that has many far reaching (and nefarious) tendrils.

    This link has a roundup of some of the key sections, and may be useful to you: http://www.npr.org/news/specia

  7. spacemanspiff

    It is a law that runs counter to long-established Anglo-American traditions of privacy and due process. Ben Franklin (I love the guys face in my pocket) said those who would sell their liberty for security deserve neither. The Stolen Freedoms Act has outlived whatever usefulness it might have had. It was a shameful “land grab” by the government, enabling them to intrude into our daily lives by leveraging fear of terrorism. It only strengthens government against the rule of citizens.  It is a tool to destroy dissent. It does nothing but enlarge government invasion of citizens’ private lives and extends police powers to every aspect of our economic and political life. Frankly, if Bush had spent less time monitoring who was borrowing Mao’s Little Red Book from a library, he might have found Osama Bin Laden. It’s my understanding that we could have caught a large percentage of the hijackers before 9/11 if our intelligence agencies had just talked to each other (what a weird concept, eh?). Not asking much is it? To talk.

    We didn’t need the Patriot Act to catch the terrorists. The existing laws we had were enough. All the Patriot Act does is decrease our civil liberties. It NEEDS to go AWAY. Brave men and women have given their life for our freedoms for generations.  The law is an act of cowardice.  It betrays the sacrifice of all of those who came before us. While there are surely some useful aspects in the act, these could be re-instated separately, or replaced with better provisions for streamlining law enforcement and counter-espionage after the bad law is removed root and branch from the US code. That would be the truly patriotic thing to do.

    (I go more with my heart than my brain when I rant, hope this helps)

    Here is a little extra spiff bonus from my favorite Damien.

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