In The News: USA PATRIOT

The PATRIOT Act be makin' headlines. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales appeared on on CNN's "Late Edition" and said "We cannot allow libraries and use of libraries to become safe havens for terrorists." He also also credited the USA Patriot Act with preventing a follow-up in the United States to the September 11 terrorist attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people.
The editorial pages are lit up with PATRIOT parrots, both for and against. Jim Dunn, in The Oregonian says it's very important to our country and law enforcement officials that we renew them. While the Seattle Post Intelligencer says "Freedom and fear are at war," the president declared on Sept. 11, 2001. That remains the case. And the House vote was a victory for fear.
A couple of other barely interesting articles floating around out there, KCBS Reports on California Congress Folks Representatives Barbara Lee (D-Oakland) and Tom Lantos (D-San Mateo) who gave it a thumbs down, calling it "worse than the first Patriot Bill," Michael points us to This Chicago Tribune and one on poposed changes in the Patriot Act that would set up safeguards for the nation's library patrons and let librarians seek legal help if federal investigators demand patrons' records, the head of Chicago's library system and U.S. Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) said Sunday.
And finally, just one more, quotable editorila from The Times Tribune, "Openness as the ‘default’ position"

"The default position of our government must be openness. If records can be open they should be open. If good reason exists to keep secrets, it is the government that should bear the burden — not the other way around."

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Weirdest connection I've seen...

Is the alleged argument that Atty Gen. Gonzales made that the bombings in Egypt made it more obvious that USAPA has to be reauthorized. I say "alleged argument" because Mr. Gonzales was said to have made the connection on Sunday's CNN Late Edition. A scan of that show's transcript, did not convince me that he made that argument. If someone disagrees, let's see a quote.If he DID make that argument, it's the most intellectually dishonest one I've heard in months (and I've heard plenty!). The US backed regime in Egypt is one of most authoritarian in the entire region and their intelligence services have a complete free hand to surveil, question and even torture whomever they want. If anything, Egypt should be exhibit A as to why freedom-draining laws like USAPA WON'T make us any safer.

A real solution

If we agree to embark down an intellectually honest path, then why not agree to ethnic profiling? In fact, I'd be willing to reconsider the PA if our politicians could muster the courage to admit the obvious that our current war or terrorism in not with the elderly or Christians, but with Islamic, middle-eastern men.

Re:A real solution

If we agree to embark down an intellectually honest path, then why not agree to ethnic profiling? In fact, I'd be willing to reconsider the PA if our politicians could muster the courage to admit the obvious that our current war or terrorism in not with the elderly or Christians, but with Islamic, middle-eastern men.

By all means exempt the elderly and toddlers from strip searches at the airports, but I'm not sure that your solution is a real solution.

why not agree to ethnic profiling?

Richard Reid, Jose Padilla & John Walker Lindh, for starters. While most Arabs are Muslim, they only make up a minority of Muslims, whom come from dozens of countries and embrace many ethnic backgrounds. Muslim by itself is not an ethnic group.Additionally, while I agree that our biggest terrorist threat is al-Qaeda, and that the overwhelming majority of al-Qaeda members are Muslim, only a vanishingly small percentage of Muslims are terrorists. Since Muslims number approximately 1,300,000,000 people, even a million Muslim terrorists would amount to 0.077% of the Muslim population (about 1 in 1300).I submit that treating every single Muslim like he or she might be that one person in 1300 will serve to create many more terrorists than we will ever catch. And even that math is based on the assumption of a million active Muslim terrorists, something I very much doubt.Keeping track of known advocates of violence and keeping tabs on people who visit them might be a better strategy. At least it involves some probable cause.

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