The Panhandle Rancher speaks…..THE PATRIOT ACT

On February 27, 1933 and six days before the upcoming parliamentary election, fire broke out in the Reichstag chambers. Hitler blamed this fire on the Communist Party and called for special legislation to combat the invidious threat to German freedom represented by those Marxists.

 

Reichstag Fire Decree:

“ORDER OF THE REICH PRESIDENT FOR THE PROTECTION OF PEOPLE AND STATE:

Articles 114, 115, 117, 118, 123, 124, and 153 of the Constitution of the German Reich are suspended until further notice. It is therefore permissible to restrict the rights of personal freedom [habeas corpus], freedom of (opinion) expression, including the freedom of the press, the freedom to organize and assemble, and the privacy of postal, telegraphic, and telephonic communications. Warrants for House searches, orders for confiscations as well as restrictions on property, are also permissible beyond the legal limits otherwise prescribed.”

Three weeks later, the ENABLING ACT was passed by the Reichstag. This act permitted enactment of laws by Hitler’s cabinet without being passed by the Reichstag [too similar to Executive Order used by Presidents to avoid Legislative review]. The FIRE DECREE was used to detain members of the Reichstag in order to ensure the ACT would pass by 2/3 present and voting.

Hitler became the uncontested dictator of Post WWI Germany. The Fire Decree and Enabling Act remained in effect until the conclusion of WWII in Europe and were the legal tools used by Hitler to enact martial law and to establish a one party political system of National Socialists, the NAZI Party.

(See: http://www.ushmm.org/learn/timeline-of-events/1933-1938/reichstag-fire-decree).

 

Patriot Act

The US Patriot Act (a backronym, Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001). President Bush following the 9/11 attacks on the United States signed this Act of Congress into law. It had a stated life of four years. On May 26, 2011, President Obama signed into law three provisions of the original Patriot Act. Those provisions permitted roving wiretaps (supposedly necessary in this age of cellular telephone), searches of business records, and surveillance of ‘lone wolves,’ individuals suspected of terrorist related activities not linked to terrorist groups.

The Patriot Act provided for the indefinite incarceration of non-citizens, search of a home or business without the owner’s or occupant’s knowledge, expanded use of National Security Letters which permit the Federal Bureau of Investigation to search telephone, email, and financial records without court order, and allowed law enforcement expanded access to business records.

The definition of money laundering was also expanded. Making a financial transaction in the US in order to commit a violent crime; the bribery of public officials and fraudulent dealing with public funds; the smuggling or illegal import of controlled munitions and the importation or bringing in of any firearm or ammunition not authorized by the US Attorney General and the smuggling of any item controlled under the Export Administration Regulations was now illegal.

Original Provisions of the Patriot Act:

Section title

201

Authority to intercept wire, oral, and electronic communications relating to terrorism

202

Authority to intercept wire, oral, and electronic communications relating to computer fraud and abuse offenses

203(b)

Authority to share electronic, wire and oral interception information

204

Clarification of intelligence exceptions from limitations on interception and disclosure of wire, oral, and electronic communications

206

Roving surveillance authority under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978.

207

Duration of FISA surveillance of non-United States persons who are agents of a foreign power

209

Seizure of voice-mail messages pursuant to warrants

212

Emergency disclosure of electronic communications to protect life and limb

214

Pen register and trap and trace authority under FISA

215

Access to records and other items under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

217

Interception of computer trespasser communications

218

Foreign intelligence information

220

Nationwide service of search warrants for electronic evidence

223

Civil liability for certain unauthorized disclosures

225

Immunity for compliance with FISA wiretap

I have managed to live long enough these days to be both an observer and student of history. The antecedents to and parallels between the Reichstag Fire Decree and associated Enabling Act to our Patriot Act are so chilling one must wonder if the former were actually used as a template.

Like the wild gander, it seems I am destined to awake in a new world every day. Of late, I hardly recognize the government that controls and regulates my actions and the society in which I live. My father’s WWII generation would have never tolerated the pandering this country does in attempt to placate the needs and desires of other countries. Being better educated in the things that matter, they would also likely accept the conclusion of a grand jury duly constituted of reasonable citizens. Being better educated as a result of personally acting on the world’s stage, they would quickly recognize the parallels between the Fire Decree and Patriot Act and such would have never seen the light of day. Indeed, a Patriot Act would never be needed because retribution post September 11 by peoples of that generation would have been swift and terrible both to the individuals involved and to their governments. That generation didn’t worry much about collateral damage. They fought to win.

Benjamin Franklin said it best, “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety (Franklin, for the Pennsylvania Assembly in reply to the Governor November 11, 1755).

Happy New Year,

Panhandle Rancher


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13 Comments

  1. Great article P. R.

    I have been trying to raise this alarm but have problems getting anyone to listen.

    What was once right is now wrong.
    What was once wrong is now right.

    I do not even know our country any longer.

    I fear the worst is yet to come!

    Keep up the good work getting the word out.

    The Coach

  2. The images of Europe are startling. On the news this morning I saw video of armed troops patrolling Europe’s large cities. Has it come to this? Has it really come to the new normal where armed troops are going to give the public their warm-fuzzy feelings and everyone will accept it as a sign of the modern times.

    How about the irony wherein those governments have outlawed guns in the hands of the populace? I am not sure about the liberal coasts of the USA, but I would be willing to wager a Shiner Bock that folks from Texhoma to Tulia would rather keep their liberty to protect themselves in lieu of the appearance of armed protectors walking the streets.

    Isn’t it amazing people would kick and scream if they have to ask permission, obtain a permit, and pay to use their First Amendment rights?

  3. Japheaux,

    I read the French were trembling in their houses in response to recent terroristic attacks. Trembling? My father was in Paris when the Germans arrived (no, he wasn’t French, he was discharging his patriotic duty to the US). I think he might have used the same word in connection with the French – and certainly others more pithy. Trembling is the resort of disarmed and disillusioned people who are afraid to beat their plowshares back into swords; trembling people deserve the protection of their government.

    News reports indicate some French Jewry are considering immigration. Like the Mexicans, I don’t much care for anyone who won’t fight for liberty and freedom. Where will the oppressed Jews go? To Israel? Forbid, for there they would have to serve in the IDF and, gasp, actually bear arms – and fight. No, Brooklyn would probably be the preferred destination. More immigrants who will not fight. Just what this country needs.

    PR

  4. Thanks PR. Totally agree. I like you can’t believe what I see in our country. Praying that we will wake up, the LORD will intervene and Liberty will prevail. Prepared just it case this doesn’t happen. Thanks Rourke for this forum! Keep Looking UP

  5. I have a similar anecdote about the Nazi Gun Control Law of 1938, and the GCA of 1968 here. One of the writers of the GCA was purported to have been an attorney at the Nuremberg Trials, and thus had access to the text of the Nazi law. Sad in both cases

  6. Panhandle rancher,

    Glad to see you draw the similarity between Hitler and Obama agenda. I went to DC a year and half ago to a conference. My friends wanted to visit the holocaust museum. We started on the 3rd floor–here you enter a room and begin to watch a film about Hitlers rise and his propaganda–I grabbed a piece of paper and began documenting similarities through out the tour–3.5 hours I spent writing. Common Core–Hitler removed all books and put his propaganda in, Obama Care–Hitler took over medical care—I have to run but you get the picture! I have it all written if you want a copy.

    Sad day to be an American–love, love your Dads generation–no finer men!!
    Nurse

  7. PR, it is a bitter-sweet time in our history that we live in. We are at a point where we can still understand from where we have come, the rarety of our historical fortune. We can still taste and smell the rare air of freedom that we breathe and we can still appreciate it, its costs not yet to far removed by time. Yet “we” does not mean all, many have forgotten or have never been taught, I think purposely so. Know we watch with bewilderment as small bit by small bit of our nations hard fought for and earned promise be bargained away for a facade of Welfare and security. The very fact that so few comprehend what is happening suggests we may be past the point of no return. Some of us are lucky in that should we choose to, we can turn off the noise of the outside world and go about our daily lives and hardly notice that “The Grand Experiment” may well be settling into its twilight….. still… spring is coming and IT holds shows promise.

  8. Thank you everyone for your most kind comments. It has been said that those who do not study history are bound to repeat it.

    Everyone commenting should read A HOUSE DIVIDED: The Second Civil War by Yoshida.

    Best wishes,
    PR

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