The 1st Patriot Act

College of Political Knowledge

Subject:  American History

The Patriot Act….now there is a term that will send most normal Americans into a frenzy…….to some it is a violation of the trust that we gave to our government and to others it is a useful tool in fighting global terrorism…….which are you?  (no need to answer…it was rhetorical).

But for those that know the term but little else let me refresh the memories of my readers…….The Patriot Act……

The USA PATRIOT Act (officially the Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate
Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act) was quickly developed as anti-terrorism legislation in response to the September 11 2001 attacks. The large and complex law received little Congressional oversight and debate and was signed into law by President Bush Oct. 26 2001.

PATRIOT gives sweeping search and surveillance to domestic law enforcement and foreign intelligence agencies and eliminates checks and balances that previously gave courts the opportunity to ensure that those powers were not abused. PATRIOT and follow-up legislation now in development threaten the basic rights of millions of Americans.

Do I have your attention now?

But before that act came COINTELPRO………now there is a blast from the past……I know what the Hell is that?

COINTELPRO (an acronym for Counter Intelligence Program) was a series of covert and illegal projects conducted by the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation aimed at investigating and disrupting dissident political organizations within the United States. The FBI used covert operations from its inception; however the formal COINTELPRO operations took place between 1956 and 1971.   The FBI motivation at the time was “protecting national security, preventing violence, and maintaining the existing social and political order.” Targets included groups suspected of being subversive, such as communist and socialist organizations; people suspected of building a “coalition of militant black nationalist groups” ranging from the Black Panther Party and Republic of New Africa, to “those in the non-violent civil rights movement,” such as Martin Luther King, Jr. and others associated with the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the Congress on Racial Equality (CORE), and other civil rights groups; “White Hate Groups” including the Ku Klux Klan and National States Rights Party; a broad range of organizations lumped together under the title “New Left” groups, including Students for a Democratic Society, the National Lawyers Guild, the Weathermen, almost all groups protesting the Vietnam War, and even individual student demonstrators with no group affiliation; and a special project seeking to undermine nationalist groups such as those “Seeking Independence for Puerto Rico.”   The directives governing COINTELPRO were issued by FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, who ordered FBI agents to “expose, disrupt, misdirect, discredit, or otherwise neutralize” the activities of these movements and their leaders.

Smirk if you will…those were NOT the first attempts by the government on control of the population…….ever hear of the Alien and Sedition Acts?

No protesting the government? No immigrants allowed in? No freedom of the press. Lawmakers jailed? Is this the story of the Soviet Union during the Cold War?

No. It describes the United States in 1798 after the passage of the Alien and Sedition Acts.

The strong steps that Adams took in response to the French foreign threat also included severe repression of domestic protest. A series of laws known collectively as the Alien and Sedition Acts were passed by the Federalist Congress in 1798 and signed into law by President Adams. These laws included new powers to deport foreigners as well as making it harder for new immigrants to vote. Previously a new immigrant would have to reside in the United States for five years before becoming eligible to vote, but a new law raised this to 14 years.

Clearly, the Federalists saw foreigners as a deep threat to American security. As one Federalist in Congress declared, there was no need to “invite hordes of Wild Irishmen, nor the turbulent and disorderly of all the world, to come here with a basic view to distract our tranquillity.” Not coincidentally, non-English ethnic groups had been among the core supporters of the Democratic-Republicans in 1796.

The most controversial of the new laws permitting strong government control over individual actions was the Sedition Act. In essence, this Act prohibited public opposition to the government. Fines and imprisonment could be used against those who “write, print, utter, or publish . . . any false, scandalous and malicious writing” against the government.

Under the terms of this law over 20 Republican newspaper editors were arrested and some were imprisoned. The most dramatic victim of the law was Representative Matthew Lyon of Vermont. His letter that criticized President Adams’ “unbounded thirst for ridiculous pomp, foolish adulation, and self avarice” caused him to be imprisoned. While Federalists sent Lyon to prison for his opinions, his constituents reelected him to Congress even from his jail cell.

The Sedition Act clearly violated individual protections under the first amendment of the Constitution; however, the practice of “judicial review,” whereby the Supreme Court considers the constitutionality of laws was not yet well developed. Furthermore, the justices were all strong Federalists. As a result, Madison and Jefferson directed their opposition to the new laws to state legislatures. The Virginia and Kentucky legislatures passed resolutions declaring the federal laws invalid within their states. The bold challenge to the federal government offered by this strong states’ rights position seemed to point toward imminent armed conflict within the United States.

Enormous changes had occurred in the explosive decade of the 1790s. Federalists in government now viewed the persistence of their party as the equivalent of the survival of the republic. This led them to enact and enforce harsh laws. Madison, who had been the chief architect of a strong central government in the Constitution, now was wary of national authority. He actually helped the Kentucky legislature to reject federal law. By placing states rights above those of the federal government, Kentucky and Virginia had established a precedent that would be used to justify the secession of southern states in the Civil War.

(thanx to ushistory.org for the breakdown above)

There you have it….our very first Patriot Act……..

The violation of anyone’s civil rights is NEVER in the interest of the nation….no matter how they try to spin it….it is just the government taking over control of our lives…..some have been warning of this for a long time…..just few were listening.

12 thoughts on “The 1st Patriot Act

  1. “Under the terms of this law over 20 Republican newspaper editors were arrested …”

    Is this a misprint? There was no Republican political group that I am aware of in18th century America.

      1. yes but wouldn’t it have been more appropriate to refer to them as editors of the new republic? Just seems so out of place to think it was an accident. Not that I am going to lose any sleep over it.

  2. Now you’ve done it…. you stimulated my angst…

    In one of my rants a few months ago, maybe more, I mentioned that the shadowy corporate snakeheads, otherwise known as bankers, preachers, and other self-named rulers of society, began to immediately try to take over the government, within moments of the signing of the Declaration, and Constitution… Someone asked me what I meant by that, so I explained it, but without realizing that Adams was a part of it… though I should have guessed, as he was one of the more hidebound of the Founding Fathers, and based a lot of his prejudices on his religious obsessions, of which he displayed many…

    As a draft conscientious objector, who was denied, though going the whole nine yards with my appeals, and a student at UC Berkeley in the late 60’s to early 70’s, (as well as a member of certain of those organizations mentioned above), I am quite certain that there is a file somewhere in the basement of the FBI building in DC with my name on it…. If they’re still watching me, they know I’m mostly harmless, if vocal; however, they may now be collecting my words on this venue to use against me, should they ever decide they have the need, as their actions become more objectionable to more of the public, which they can see (It’s unfortunate, but, mostly, these assholes aren’t completely stupid…. immoral, unethical, and ultimately, wrong…. but, not stupid… too bad, so sad for the rest of us….)

    I regard the Patriot Act, and its successor, the National Defense Authorization Act, signed on New Year’s Day in 2012, in stealth mode, by Barry the Most Puissant Obama, to be the most egregiously blatant attempt(s) to circumvent, and nullify, the Bill of Rights, perpetrated upon the public since the 50’s, when Eisenhower made the unilateral decision to send our troops to Vietnam, thus beginning that long, dark period of our history…. The assumption of the Executive Office privilege of Presidential powers, that he used to justify sending those troops without a declaration of war, was the final step in securing the powers of manipulation they needed to completely control the public’s perception, making it legal for them to do stuff WITHOUT OVERSIGHT BY THE OTHER BRANCHES OF GOVERNMENT.

    That process is now almost complete, as each of our branches, designed to keep the others in check, are now fully independent of each other, and have no reason to ever change the way it now exists, as they are all being well rewarded by their corporate masters, with lifetime benefits, and the keys to the public coffers… Have you seen how many Supreme Court decisions that favor businesses have been passed down, just this YEAR? (Also, see my blog tomorrow, for a few words on judicial corruption in the Federal courts….A new report is out….)

    And, we all know that Congress was bought and paid for over a century and a half ago, when corporations first were given the perks of “personhood”, and given free rein to give money to law makers, pretty much with only the restrictions forced upon them by public opinion….which no longer matters at all, as the Federal Court system approved the new law that removes the limits to how much money can be spent to influence both elections, and legislation in Congress, allowing Super-Mega-Infinite Political Action Committees to throw millions, hell, billions of dollars behind their candidates, and their preferred laws….

    But, who’s mad about it? Not me, no sir….

    Well, maybe a little… In fact, anybody know where I can pick up a nice .12 gauge over & under, for “home protection”?….

    Enough, my back hurts, and the American public is mostly to stupid to either listen, to understand, or to care they’re being fucked over every day….

    see ya, chuq… thanks for letting me rant on this, I apparently needed to get that stuff out of my head…

    Whew!

    1. Sorry, but I hate typos… near the end, it should read “the American public is TOO stupid”, not “to stupid”…. naturally, a stupid mistake, marking me as human….

      1. My problem is that I spell better than Spell Check, and tend to forget to use it altogether most of the time… For that reason, I try to proofread at least once, before I post anything, but, in this instance, I was too worked up to do that…. SIGH…. Computers just don’t ‘get’ our emotional idiosyncrasies well enough to keep up…

        Since my nose is large, red, and makes a strange noise when squeezed (squozen?…), it’s something I live with all the time, so, no big….

        🙂 See ya… I’m going to take a nap, I’ve been at this too long now…. I always push it when I feel good, & then pay for it… oh, well, naps are good….

    2. Anytime…your “rants” are always welcome……Americans will not listen and when they get bit in the ass….they whine.

      What most do not realize that in the beginning it was NEVER about the people…the Constitution was an economic document and the Bill of Rights was an afterthought.

      Hope you feel better….chuq

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