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COMMENTARY: Patriot Act infringes on American values

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Ameena Qobrtay makes an excellent point that former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s Muslim surveillance policies warrant discussion

But the real issue is not Bloomberg’s surveillance program, but the USA PATRIOT Act, the false flag pretext for the passage of the Act and the deliberate passage of legislation since 1978 that led to today’s authoritarian American state of affairs.

The plane and anthrax attacks of and following Sept. 11, 2001 led to the passage of the PATRIOT Act, the seizure of oil and opium through war with Iraq and Afghanistan and the necessary public support to speed the process of upgrading our Vietnam-era military force to a smaller, faster, more powerful, web-enabled power projection platform. 

This rationale is fully explained in the September 2000 report “Rebuilding America’s Defenses.” There is a need for “a new Pearl Harbor” to move us to a war footing, without which, the process of transforming our forces would take an extended period of time, according to the report. 

None of this is conspiracy theory. It is all publicly verifiable fact. Just Google it.

Today, we are left with fake news, secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) courts and stacked public courts, corporate-controlled elections, corporate censorship, air that gives us asthma, water that is full of lead and food that makes us fat and sick. We build walls instead of bridges, separate parents from their children at the border and send federal agents to deport people in the middle of the night.

The worst part: It is all legal.

In our Declaration of Independence, Constitution and Bill of Rights, America enshrined the rights to “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” for all people because we are all born with the natural desires to live and love freely. Indeed, our Founding Fathers codified and derived these rights from the laws of nature and nature’s God, according to paragraph one of our Declaration.

Surveillance and the rest is possible due to our failure to supervise the classified and unaccountable elements within our government: the Federal Reserve System and our intelligence apparatus. 

I am of Irish-Italian descent. I do not know what it is like to be Black or Muslim in America, but I do know what unconstitutional governmental obstruction, interference and entrapment feels like because I have dealt with it since 2012.

Following my time in the United States Marine Corps, the government believed that I had stolen from a secret room information relative to the 9/11 attacks. What began as black surveillance vans lingering outside my house turned into lures for money laundering, tax evasion, statutory rape, child pornography and off-exchange bitcoin sales. They intercepted and blocked my emails and phone calls and denied employment in order to run my finances dry, all of which I document in my book and article series, "Hijacking America."

At no point did the government issue a warrant to investigate my actions or to bring me in for questioning. In authoritarian America, the stuff we see in the movies actually happens to people like you and me. 

Our constitutional rights truly are a lie.

If we are to restore our rights, we must heed Benjamin Franklin’s warning that “whoever would undermine the Liberty of a Nation must first begin by subduing the Freeness of Speech.” In other words, a nation is only as free as our ability to supervise our government. It is not enough to fight for our rights to think, live, love and express ourselves freely because without the ability to know the details of our government, rogue elements will be free to gradually erode our rights for their benefit, as we have seen.

So here is the plan: Restore the century-old Constitutional rule, the Void for Vagueness Doctrine, which requires laws to be easy-to-understand and objective. Open-source and declassify government so that we have the necessary information to supervise our government. Reinstate the century-old precedent that requires a two-thirds Senate majority for appointing court justices. 

Reconfirm or replace all justices who fail to meet the standard on the basis that if they are too extreme to meet a century-old precedent, then they are too extreme to serve. Overturn Citizens United on the basis that it violates the Void for Vagueness Doctrine. Implement a balanced budget Amendment in order to preserve the value of our time and labor, and replace the Federal Reserve Bank with a credit union that is clean, green, citizen-owned and fully transparent so that every American has an equal ownership stake in our economy. 

If we do each of these things and adopt them as Amendments to our Constitution, we will finally get off of oil, out of oil wars and invest into renewables and organics. Moreover, we will free ourselves from surveillance, and at long last, we will be American again.

It is up to us to understand the problem and to rally around solutions that address the cause of these problems, not the symptoms. 

Only then will we protect ourselves from unconstitutional warrantless surveillance, stop and frisk programs and whatever else lurks in the darkness.

Joe McHugh is an independent candidate for the President of the United States. He attended Michigan State University and majored in international relations and political economics, and received an MBA from Babson College.

*Columns, cartoons and letters do not necessarily reflect the views of the Targum Publishing Company or its staff.

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