The Patriot Act was obviously written some time before 9/11. We all know it was passed in a panic, and although it has been modified somewhat over the years, it is still dangerous to our civil rights.
The Military Commissions Act, passed on 1/3/06, takes away our Constitutional right of habeas corpus (give me the body). Before, the government could not arrest someone and keep them imprisoned indefinitely without legal counsel. Now, if deemed to be an unlawful enemy combatant they can. The initial statement in the Act reads, "To authorize trial by military commission for violations of the law of war, and other purposes." Under Sec. 948 a. Definitions, "(1) unlawful enemy combatant ""(A) The term 'unlawful enemy combatant' means--- ""¦(ii) a person who, before, on, or after the date of the enactment of the Military Commissions Act of 2006, has been determined to be an unlawful enemy combatant by a Combatant Status Review Tribunal or another competent tribunal established under the authority of the President or the Secretary of Defense."
According to this someone can be judged to be an unlawful enemy combatant for something done or said prior to 1/3/06. Therefore this act repudiates habeas corpus as well as the principal of ex post facto (illegal arrest for something done prior to a law being passed.)
On 5/9/07, President Bush issued the National Security and Homeland Security Presidential Directive, which confirms the direction the government will go after a catastrophic emergency. This is defined under (1) (b) "'Catastrophic emergency' means any incident, regardless of location, that results in extraordinary levels of mass casualties, damage, or disruption severely affecting the U.S. population, infrastructure, environment, economy, or government functions." We thought insuring the continuity of our government was the job of the U.S. Constitution. What is this Directive trying to accomplish? Martial law made easy?
The Executive Orders have gotten increasingly onerous. There is "Blocking Property of Certain Persons Who Threaten Stabilization Efforts in Iraq." 7/19/07 This allows the government, without due process from the courts, to seize the property of anyone it deems has in anyway thwarted their efforts in Iraq. And to seize the property of anyone who tries to help them! Define stabilization efforts. Securing our seizure of Iraqi oil? Thwarting efforts by donating to Democrats or peace organizations?
The "Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007" has already passed Congress, and now faces a vote in the Senate. According to a summary of the Act by Bruce Fein in the Washington Times, 12/28/07, "Denuded of euphemisms and code words, the act aims to identify and stigmatize persons and groups who hold thoughts the government decrees correlate with homegrown terrorism, for example, opposition to the Patriot Act or the suspension of the great writ of habeas corpus. The act will inexorably culminate in a government listing of homegrown terrorists or terrorist organizations without due process; a complementary listing of books, videos, or ideas that ostensibly further "violent radicalization;" and a blacklisting of persons who have intersected with either list."
Considering these profound threats to our civil liberties, I want clear and concise answers as to what the candidates will do. Keep them? Or not?