US anti-terrorism bill: Liberty vs security

The Real News posting Inside Story Americas – US anti-terrorism bill: Liberty vs security provided access to the video below. (Do not forget The Real News fund drive.)

Note the typical argument in favor of giving up our civil liberties. The defender of these extraordinary powers goes on and on in a breathless tirade about the severe dangers we face from the present set of terrorists. People who argue in this way don’t want any body else to get a word in edgewise, because someone might ask, “These terrorists may be as big a threat as you suggest, but is it possible that there is even a bigger threat than what these terrorists pose? What about the threat of giving up our civil rights to the great powers within our own country who might choose to end our democracy in favor of a dictatorship?”

You even hear the answer to this implied question in this video. The people who dismiss the need for our constitutional protections cannot see any immediate danger if we eliminate the constitutional protections. Of course, to even say they do not see the threat in the present circumstances is an implicit admission that such a threat is conceivable in distant future under different circumstances. In those circumstances it would be too late to claw back the protections we are giving up today.

Our citizens who demanded the addition of the Bill Of Rights to the Constitution written by our founding politicians, saw the possibilities. They wanted written protection because they knew that they could not depend indefinitely on an unwritten social contract.

As any good lawyer will advise, “If you want behavior from a contractor, you had better put it in writing. Do not depend on oral contracts.”

Now is the time to sign the petition presented in my previous post, Bill Of Rights RIP.

I suggest people look ahead for people who might use these new powers badly, because I know that many people’s memories don’t reach back to the far distant past of three years ago. Imagine if Dick Cheney had clear legal authority to do some of the awful things that his administration did. Without even the tiniest worry about the legal consequences of his actions, there is no telling what he might have done. It shouldn’t be that hard to imagine it, though.

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