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The Forum > Article Comments > The sun rises on the US Patriot Act: four more years of American exceptionalism > Comments

The sun rises on the US Patriot Act: four more years of American exceptionalism : Comments

By Jo Coghlan, published 3/6/2011

Barrack Obama signed a four-year extension to the US Patriot Act this week. The Act born from the ashes of September 11 continues to divide American and international opinions.

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wow...waited all day and not one comment on this that involves almost everyone in the first world...

maybe I should elaborate the information not provided but implied and hopefully start this debate...

what separates democracy from other types is that the 'people', all of us, group to select among us the government, courts(judiciary) and parliament...but fundamental right in it is our individual right to be 'us(individual)' within our private life and this gives us huge rights including whom to associate(choose religion,friends), dress, choose our work compare this with 'working' communism(state monitors and controls everything...)...and other forms of governing involves varying control of private lives...

Now to shift this right in a working democracy is an court of any democratic land would allow such laws, even if passed by parliament, to be empowered...

so world trade center destruction, and 'war on terror' catchcry of politicians, and terror laws passed in almost every developed country(most the politicians had to vote within 24hrs of being given the draft law, sometimes the documents were thousands in pages) and they all did, obviously...on the 'image' that the 'terror' threat was actually a 'war' situation...killing your fellow man/women of the otherside in a war is good, in peace its murder...see...AND so these laws completely bypassed the court...

what they effectively do is allow government to monitor our private lives and which is already happening...which then becomes no different to any other form of misrule...yep, communism, dictatorship, and all other 'ism...

whats important is to predict where all this is heading...if the laws are repealed then all ok...if not then some organized group is grabbing a lot of unbalanced and unaccountable power...never lasts and lot of people have to suffer french/english/russian the question to ask is if the situation that existed to create the 'war on terror' warrant such draconian removal of fundamental rights(meaning was there a better way of achieving security than removing private rights) or exaggerated enough to allow those laws to be passed...huge diffence, one being rationally following democratic process to situation, and the other orchestrated to achieve...

Posted by Sam said, Friday, 3 June 2011 6:17:31 PM
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Sam,I have to agree.I read Jo's article this morning and expected at least 25 comments by now.I cannot believe that Aussies are so complacent.

In Aust Howard re-inacted the Sedition Laws which do much the same as Bush's Patriot Act.Obama also brought in'Preventative Detention'.Now even those suspected of terrorism can be gaoled indefinitely without legal representation.You can be gaoled on the mere suspicion of being a terrorist with no legal rights.

It is very alarming that we are so subserviant and compliant to the facism evolving in our very midst.
Posted by Arjay, Friday, 3 June 2011 6:42:26 PM
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Wait no longer, Sam

Hard to pass up a statement like Arjay's.

I think it is a fair statement to say that this is one area, that is the on-purpose erosion of US democracy, that people in Australia do not understand. We do not have a Bill of Rights so if we lose a normally accepted privilege we do not even notice it. It’s happening of course, little by little but it pales when compared to the US.

Since the second World War we have seen the continual celluloid exposure to the wonders of America and by default their control of world thinking, ad nauseum, extolling as it did American values, all based, or so we are led to believe on The Constitution, a document written by God himself. Something that motivated all and sundry to stand with tears in their eyes and thump their chests in a passionate display of loyalty and love which for all those years, knew no bounds.

Even Gillard, as part of her many orchestrated performances in the US, dropped a tear on cue in the Congress, stating that “America can do anything”. See, all that Hollywood stuff worked on a simple mind like hers able to be dragged out on special occasions for an airing.
The fact that few Americans at the time of her visit were motivated to even tune in to listen and see the Prime Minister of a little Pacific population like Australia doing her “thing”, is an indication that their world does not extend beyond the Eastern and Western shores of the USA. It’s day to day stuff that occupies their minds. Just living, fed by the pap from Fox News.

So it has been a slow but continuous erosion of American values over time. The ability to really influence a representative in that country as a grass roots voter, were lost years ago. The media, the likes of Fox and ample ‘foreign-sourced’ election funding has cut a voter down to size, making him/her almost unnecessary, as ridiculous as that may sound.

That’s the real US today.
Posted by rexw, Saturday, 4 June 2011 1:25:24 PM
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When the Patriot Act was implemented by the mentally lightweight US puppet President Bush, it was then that it became clear that the elected representatives in that once respected country had sold out their country, this time to the extremists right wing neocon influence supporting US world military hegemony and its evil Svengali, Israel. The military industrial complex was on its way, green lights all the way with no restrictions; armaments, civilian security forces, Halliburton the child of Cheney and the like, security, weapons, communications, and lastly, the Congress, by this time totally under the control of the Zionist fifth column, AIPAC. Anyone who feels the need to question that statement should just flip back a week to the final sales pitch by Netanyahu in the theatre of the absurd that was Congress as he dangled dollars, election success, graft, corruption and influence in front of a fawning, subservient audience of traitors (to the old US Constitution) in their own country. He also told the President of the US to go jump, to which Obama replied, ‘how high?’

So summarising on a subject that could occupy the allocated comment space of many interested writers, who have not seen it as worth the effort to take pen to paper on this one, surprisingly, if it is not a subject that in 2011 disturbs the great majority of middle America, therefore it is hardly likely to be stimulating for Australians. Why? Because the US people have accepted the new thinking and when the likes of Palin, McCain, Gingrich, Huckabee, Obama and Clinton can rise to the top of the pile and be serious contenders for what is supposed the most important position in the world, in the ‘greatest’ country in the world....... then they think, ‘why bother’.

Two terms of Bush, the dalliances of Clinton, the murderous world of Kennedy, Johnson in recent memory has shown America that they need wars, like Israel, to justify all their spending on the CIA/Mossad consortiums, international military dalliances and to always have a climate of fear in progress.
You can do anything in those circumstances
Posted by rexw, Saturday, 4 June 2011 1:29:10 PM
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Why bother?. That’s where the US is right now and until the apathy of the majority gets a shake up over something like a war with Iran, promoted heavily by those same neocons under every rock in Washington, or an honest investigation into 9/11, or another example of perfidy like the USS Liberty in 1967, we will see no change. The US is now almost a pathetic, apologetic, cringing creature, a captive of its own making, financially and morally bankrupt. However we still get smothered with the public image of America, full of bluster, lies, slogans and Obama cheesecake rhetoric

When those clauses in The Constitution were over ridden from that great document, that was when the ability to ever return to what they once were, vanished. Did Obama show any concern about expanding this criminal act? No. No fuss,, business back to normal in double quick time. This is the new America. Washington, Jefferson, well, that was yesterday. We know better now.
Keep ‘em frightened. The way to go.

Someone once said that wise people will learn as much of the real truth as they can learn, understand and absorb, so as to avoid all of those awful times of troubles and tragedy that are likely to come upon us, because, as common sense (and history) tells us clearly, ignoring them will not make them go away. Remember Hurricane Katrina, the Haitian earthquake, the Tsunami in Asia and the floods in Pakistan and in our own little world, floods, bushfires, cyclones (and feckless politicians by the truckload). Now these are the times when we should be uniting to overcome such disasters together but when you erode the civil rights of a people who have enjoyed such privileges all their lives until 2001, the motivation has gone. So, why worry?

The most common phrase I hear from that part of the world?
‘Nothing more I can do, my friend’. Apathy, once again.

So in Australia, compromise becomes the norm so why bother? Let’s go to the footy.
Posted by rexw, Saturday, 4 June 2011 1:31:58 PM
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America and Australia may have bought in these laws but they are not exactly using them and carting people off in droves to be secretly imprisoned.

Say they do suspect a terrorist attack, and they go and arrest some men to interrogate, their families:- mother and father, siblings or wives would go straight to the media to complain and the media
would shine a huge spotlight on the arrests until the authorities have made a decision of innocence or guilt. This is what happened in a couple of high profile cases. Freedom of the press will guarantee their proper treatment.

There has always been a problem with the law on the issue of can’t arrest someone until they actually commit the crime. This has been demonstrated in the deaths of many women and children who were terrified of their violent partners & who they knew were capable of carrying out their threats, but the law could not touch them until after they have actually murdered their wives and or children.

Everyone who knew Martin Bryant knew he was not normal and yet because of his civil liberties in Tasmania he could not be prevented from buying any kind of automatic gun or weapon. If they had been able to act on common knowledge about his mental state they may have prevented the massacre at Port Arthur.

This is the issue with the law being addressed here, to prevent the deaths of hundreds of people before the event and not after it.

If the people arrested are investigated and found innocent the media scrutiny will ensure that if no evidence is found they will have to be released in a reasonable time frame. They may be offended and suffer some ruffled feathers but that is better than a big bomb explosion that kills hundreds of people surely.
There really is no other option until the risk of internal attack ends.
A few ruffled feathers and upset innocents(or maybe guilty),or murder on a mass scale.
Posted by CHERFUL, Saturday, 4 June 2011 5:03:28 PM
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