Patriot Act Now Ten Years Old

The Patriot Act was signed into law 10 years ago today by then President George W. Bush. We've written 570 posts on the Patriot Act. The bottom line is it didn't make us safer, only less free.

Check out the ACLU's illustration of the law over the past decade.
And its report on the sections that most need revision.

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    Yet apparently no one is responsible for (none / 0) (#1)
    by oculus on Wed Oct 26, 2011 at 01:19:38 PM EST
    detecting and/or confiscating a loaded handgun from checked luggage:  LAT

    Two quotes about the Patriot Act: (none / 0) (#2)
    by lentinel on Wed Oct 26, 2011 at 01:24:12 PM EST
    Jeralyn, above:

    The bottom line is it didn't make us safer, only less free.

    Attorney General Holder, last May:

    Now more than ever, we need access to the crucial authorities in the Patriot Act..."  

    Jeralyn is saying what I believe to be true.

    In a perfect world (none / 0) (#3)
    by jbindc on Wed Oct 26, 2011 at 01:26:56 PM EST
    Instead of the Patriot Act - does anyone have any ideas that you think the US government could do to keep us safe?  Not agreeing with the Patriot Act, but for some things - is it so unreasonable to do things like show ID to open a checking account?

    I can't believe (5.00 / 1) (#20)
    by lentinel on Wed Oct 26, 2011 at 05:43:06 PM EST
    that you think that the patriot act is about showing an ID to open a checking account.

    It is about that in part. (none / 0) (#37)
    by jpe on Thu Oct 27, 2011 at 05:44:13 PM EST
    The commenter is saying that there are some provisions that aren't unreasonable.  Example: codification of know your customer rules.

    Just curious... (5.00 / 2) (#38)
    by lentinel on Thu Oct 27, 2011 at 06:55:10 PM EST
    The last time I opened a bank account - it was in New York well before 9/11.

    I can assure you that they took all kinds of personal information - social security number for one. I don't remember showing them a drivers license, but I may have.

    But I do remember that they asked me to prove my identity.
    They just didn't open an account for me because of my charisma.

    In short - we didn't need a National Patriot Act for this.

    To me it is a sham and a scam.

    As Jeralyn said, it doesn't make us safer, just less free.
    And to me, it is a giant step toward Big Brother and fascism.

    Almost every move toward total control of our lives is justified as protecting us. It is one of the oldest rackets in the world.


    No more unreasonable (none / 0) (#4)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Wed Oct 26, 2011 at 02:13:54 PM EST

    No more unreasonable than showing ID to be the person you claim to be when voting.



    I actually agree with you (none / 0) (#5)
    by jbindc on Wed Oct 26, 2011 at 02:35:21 PM EST
    There are plenty of ways to get free IDs for those who can't afford it.

    I will never get... (5.00 / 2) (#9)
    by kdog on Wed Oct 26, 2011 at 03:51:11 PM EST
    this "papers...I need to see your papers!" obsession.

    There should be no additional burdens in order to cast your vote, we disenfranchise too much as it is.

    Checking account?  Don't know why anybody would want one of those leecherous instruments:)


    I don't think (none / 0) (#12)
    by jbindc on Wed Oct 26, 2011 at 04:11:51 PM EST
    Just random people should be able to stroll up to any voting place (or multiple voting places) and cast a vote.

    S'ok - I don't understand your obsession with not wanting to hold anyone accountable for anything. All good, my friend. :)


    I don't think (none / 0) (#13)
    by sj on Wed Oct 26, 2011 at 04:42:44 PM EST
    we're talking random people here. I am a registered voter of a specific precinct.  Self identification should be sufficient.  Agree with kdog.  I shouldn't have to produce my "papers".

    If two of us then try to vote using my registration then we have a problem.  How often does that happen really.

    Same with deceased voters.  How often does that really happen?

    On balance I'd rather err on the side of a little extra "participation" than with the "papers, please" mentality.


    Well (none / 0) (#14)
    by jbindc on Wed Oct 26, 2011 at 04:58:21 PM EST
    I can say, for example, one time I went to vote I saw my sister's name on the list as a registered voter.  Problem was, she had been married for 6 years, changed her name, and registered to vote in another precinct (andhad already voted that day in her precinct).  Had she just shown up and said "I'm Jane Smith", she would have been allowed to vote in multiple precincts. I can't imagine this is a rare example.

    I can't imagine just taking someone's word that they are who they say they just because they say so.


    Depends upon where you vote (5.00 / 1) (#19)
    by Zorba on Wed Oct 26, 2011 at 05:40:38 PM EST
    I have never been asked for any kind of ID.  But then, I vote in an area that is very small, population-wise, and I know all the people who work at my voting location, and they know me.  Well enough to tell me, "Oh, hi!  Your husband came in just a couple of hours ago!  Your car still having problems?  How's your arthritis doing?"  I do realize that this is a rare situation, however.  ;-)

    Not that rare (5.00 / 0) (#21)
    by sj on Wed Oct 26, 2011 at 05:45:02 PM EST
    It was that way in my precinct in Denver as well.  Well, maybe not quite that familiar, but we weren't strangers to each other.  I could be wrong, but I think that's the whole idea behind precinct level organization.  To keep it personal.

    Depends on where you live only by way of state law (none / 0) (#39)
    by DFLer on Thu Oct 27, 2011 at 11:31:01 PM EST
    as to whether or not id is required or can be asked for by the roster judge, not whether it's a familiar small town setting.

    When I was an assistant chief election (5.00 / 1) (#24)
    by Anne on Wed Oct 26, 2011 at 09:49:48 PM EST
    judge in my precinct, this is how it worked:

    Voter approaches election worker at poll desk, provides name, month and day of birth.  Election worker verifies that voter is in the poll book in that precinct, prints out a voting slip, which the voter signs, and the election worker countersigns, election worker hands voter a plastic voting card and sends voter to voting machine area.

    The only time a voter was asked to provide identification is if it was the first time he or she was voting.

    In an alleged democracy where less than half of those eligible even register to vote, and about half or less of registered voters acutally exercise their right to vote, it makes no sense to me why we would have laws that only discourage people from voting.

    If we were all required to have a national ID card, do you really think there would be no fraud?

    I don't want to live in a police state.  I don't want to live in an environment where "the authorities" have the power to be in my business at will.  Where I have to prove who I am and why I am where I am just because someone in a uniform has the power to demand that I do so.

    It doesn't make me feel safe - it makes me feel violated and exposed.

    And decidedly not free.


    Amen, sister (5.00 / 1) (#25)
    by Zorba on Wed Oct 26, 2011 at 10:30:14 PM EST
    But I fear that a national ID card and "Show me your papers, please," whenever and wherever, is only a matter of time.

    Why not? (none / 0) (#15)
    by sj on Wed Oct 26, 2011 at 05:05:15 PM EST
    I voted that way for years.

    So? (none / 0) (#16)
    by jbindc on Wed Oct 26, 2011 at 05:15:44 PM EST
    Just because we've "done something for years" doesn't mean it's good now.

    Doesn't mean it's bad, either (5.00 / 0) (#17)
    by sj on Wed Oct 26, 2011 at 05:21:52 PM EST
    I still had to be on the rolls.  I had to properly identify my address.  Voter ID laws are a 21st century creation designed to suppress voter turnout.

    Just because something is bright and shiny and says it's secure doesn't mean it's good either.  

    Like I said before.  On balance I'd rather err on the side of a little extra "participation" than with the "papers, please" mentality.


    The best argument ever... (none / 0) (#26)
    by Mr Natural on Wed Oct 26, 2011 at 10:41:36 PM EST
    ... for throwing away the Constitution.

    By the way (none / 0) (#18)
    by sj on Wed Oct 26, 2011 at 05:22:46 PM EST
    Did anybody vote as your sister?

    Had she shown up and said I'm Jane Smith etc., and (none / 0) (#40)
    by DFLer on Fri Oct 28, 2011 at 12:03:18 AM EST
    voted under her previous name and/or address, she would have been guilty of a felony, in MN anyway. Said felony is punishable by no more than 5 years imprisonment or a fine of no more than $10,000.00, or both., as outlined in the oath at the top of the roster page in the column where the voter signs and attests that they, among other things, reside at the listed address. Judges are trained to point out that oath when instructing voters to sign the roster.

    Additionally, voters are not allowed to look through the roster. I imagine you saw her name when you signed in, because it was listed nearby alphabetically.

    Her name should have been removed from the old place when she re-registered. MN forms ask for previous registration address and name to aid in that, but sometimes people don't fill that out. In MN, a voter's name is automatically removed from a precinct roster after not voting there for at least four years.


    not just about money (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by CST on Wed Oct 26, 2011 at 03:57:43 PM EST
    also about the requirements to get an ID.

    I mean, I would be okay with a few pieces of mail and an eye witness.  But I have a feeling other people would want every piece of paper they can get their hands on, which for the elderly especially could be a real challenge.


    were the founding fathers (and mothers) (none / 0) (#6)
    by cpinva on Wed Oct 26, 2011 at 02:51:51 PM EST
    alive today, i believe they would be appalled at the existence of the "Patriot Act", and orwellian name if ever there was one.

    And welfare, and droopy pants, and (5.00 / 1) (#35)
    by Wile ECoyote on Thu Oct 27, 2011 at 03:09:05 PM EST
    all the fat people, and the lack of horses.

    And people (none / 0) (#36)
    by sj on Thu Oct 27, 2011 at 05:27:10 PM EST
    who haven't learned logic and critical thinking.

    I dunno (none / 0) (#7)
    by jbindc on Wed Oct 26, 2011 at 03:33:50 PM EST
    The Founding Fathers were actually afraid of the people and really didn't want the unwashed masses to fully participate in government. They really wanted a government for white male landowners.

    True, but they would not want the landowners (5.00 / 2) (#8)
    by ruffian on Wed Oct 26, 2011 at 03:46:39 PM EST
    to be spied upon by their government.

    they didn't want them (5.00 / 2) (#10)
    by CST on Wed Oct 26, 2011 at 03:55:26 PM EST
    participating in government.  But that is a very different thing from wanting to spy on all of them.  I don't think they really cared what they were doing so long as they weren't in control of things.

    With all respect- (none / 0) (#22)
    by Gerald USN Ret on Wed Oct 26, 2011 at 06:50:28 PM EST
    "The bottom line is it didn't make us safer, only less free."

    With all respect, I must disagree with that statement.

    Yes you can pick at the actions of officials who are just ordinary human beings and prone to mistakes and overreach just like the rest of us, but all in all we are safer, though some freedoms have also been affected.

    Is it worth it?
    Well on just one subject, boarding and checking people onto airplanes, I am all for using the most intensive scanning equipment (that is safe) on everyone, and if they don't wish it done, point them over to the rental car lot.

    How do you know the scanning equipment (none / 0) (#23)
    by shoephone on Wed Oct 26, 2011 at 07:57:11 PM EST
    is safe? It was reported in the past year that the radiation levels of the scanner machines were considerably higher and more dangerous than first estimated by Homeland Security and the companies selling the scanners. Oh, wait, Michael Chertoff -- the original Mr. Homeland Security -- does all the PR for Rapiscan machines. No wonder they were lying.

    And this is why my cousins, both doctors, will not allow their teenage kids to go through those machines, and will not go through them either. BECAUSE THEY ARE NOT SAFE.


    Afraid of the effects of scanning? (2.00 / 1) (#28)
    by Gerald USN Ret on Thu Oct 27, 2011 at 01:43:22 PM EST
    Afraid of the effects of scanning?

    Well then don't be scanned.  Opt for the full body searches or don't fly.

    Flying itself is a risk, and not just from crashes.


    Afraid of the effects of thnking? (5.00 / 1) (#31)
    by shoephone on Thu Oct 27, 2011 at 02:12:31 PM EST
    Well, then, by all means, don't think. Don't use your brain at all.

    The irony is that it ain't the scanned who get the (none / 0) (#27)
    by Mr Natural on Wed Oct 26, 2011 at 10:44:12 PM EST
    cancer.  That affliction accrues to the TSA uniforms (close call; I almost wrote Bozos) who devote their working lives to standing next to those machines.

    SITE VIOLATOR (none / 0) (#32)
    by shoephone on Thu Oct 27, 2011 at 02:13:04 PM EST

    SITE VIOLATOR (none / 0) (#33)
    by shoephone on Thu Oct 27, 2011 at 02:13:29 PM EST

    Site violator!!! (none / 0) (#34)
    by sj on Thu Oct 27, 2011 at 02:15:10 PM EST
    But this one at least made me laugh.