Thursday, September 27, 2007

A Victory For America

Today marks a victory for America. Brandon Mayfield, a lawyer from Oregon had been falsely accused by the federal government of being a conspirator to the Madrid train bombings of 2004, despite no actual evidence--actually, there was significant evidence against it.

Mr. Mayfield was wrongfully imprisoned for 19 days, secretly held at a location unknown to his family, as a material witness under the "Patriot" (police-state) Act after FBI agents filed false affidavits and even listed the fact that he was a Muslim as a reason for obtaining broad search warrants, performing "sneak-and-peak" searches and subjecting the Mayfield family to electronic eavesdropping and other surveillance.

If you would like, you can read the entire copy of Mr. Mayfield's Civil Rights complaint here: http://i.a.cnn.net/cnn/2007/images/09/26/mayfield.patriotact.complaint.pdf

I would recommend you read at least the introduction and the Factual Allegations section. I'm pretty sure it will leave you furious. This is exactly what is wrong with the "Patriot" Act. Our Founding Fathers, in their wisdom, worked very hard to limit the powers of government to keep just this kind of thing from happening. And we allow one tragedy to decide that it was time to remove one of our most important protections from the government: The Fourth Amendment, which guarantees an individual the right to their personal safety from the government and prevents the government from performing illegal searches or seizures of a person's property. For instance, it should be against our Constitution to seize someone from one's home, interrogate them at a secret location and hold them indefinitely.

What would Justice Brennan, formerly of the Supreme Court, say about something like this? "It is monstrous that courts should aid or abet the lawbreaking police officer. It is abiding truth that '[n]othing can destroy a government more quickly than its own failure to observe its own laws or worse, its disregard of the charter of its own existence.'" Justice Brennan quoting Mapp v. Ohio, 367 US 643, 659 (1961) in Harris v. New York, 401 US 222, 232. (1971)

If you believe that the government is all about looking out for the little guy, you are either horribly naive, or possibly a democrat. The government, my friend, is a machine. A machine that was once sleek, nimble and high-speed--but now has had extra arms bolted on, extra passengers have hopped in for a free ride, and someone has spray painted its windshield black. In its thrashing about, its as likely to trample you as help you out.

Our Constitution is a very carefully written document, that was intended, if followed, to limit the power of government. Why would we want to do that? Let's ask Patrick Henry what he thinks:

“The Constitution is not an instrument for the government to restrain the people, it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government - lest it come to dominate our lives and interests.” Apparently, the people who were running around at the start of our country knew something about oppressive governments.


And that is why I am pleased to tell you that a Federal Judge, at least for now, has found certain portions of the "Patriot" Act to be unconstitutional. (see link)
MustangBobby at Bark Bark Woof Woof has some more info about it, though I don't agree with most of his politics, I do on this subject.

We cannot afford to become less American--less free--as we fight this war against terror and the wacko's that want to end our way of life. Is it more risky? Of course. But I would rather have the inconveniences of too much liberty than the inconveniences of too little. (props to my man T.J.)

Be sure to write you Senator and Representative to tell them about how the "Patriot" Act is putting at risk critical liberties of Americans.

"The main body of our citizens... remain true to their republican principles; the whole landed interest is republican, and so is a great mass of talents. Against us are... all timid men who prefer the calm of despotism to the boisterous sea of liberty... We are likely to preserve the liberty we have obtained only by unremitting labors and perils. But we shall preserve it, and our mass of weight and wealth on the good side is so great as to leave no danger that force will ever be attempted against us." --Thomas Jefferson

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