Bring It On!

July Fourth

July 4th, 2005 | by Tom Harper |

While we’re celebrating the Fourth of July this year, we all need to remember the official name of the holiday — Independence Day.  (Yes, I know you know that already.)  If there was a truth-in-labeling act for holidays, we’d have to call it Bow Down And Worship Our Perfect Government Day.  This would reflect the attitude of too many Americans.

Remember the original meaning of the word “Patriot”?  The original Patriots overthrew  their colonizers.  They were rebels.  This word has mutated beyond any possible recognition since the founding of our country.  Today’s “Patriots” (at least that’s what they call themselves) insist on unquestioning blind allegiance to the government.  What happened?!?

“There should be a revolution every twenty years.”  Can you name the left-wing rabble-rouser who said that?  Would you believe Thomas Jefferson.  When Jefferson got elected president, he repealed the Alien and Sedition Act — passed by Congress two years earlier — which called for imprisonment of anyone publishing “false, scandalous or malicious writing.”  The law had been passed in order to stifle dissent from the minority party — Republicans.

The popular American archetype has always been the cowboy riding off into the sunset.  Americans have always been proud of their independence, self-reliance, rugged individualism.  “Don’t tell me what to do.”  “Don’t fence me in.”

At some point that changed to “hey, don’t question our leaders.”  “Oh, OK, I’ll happily bend over and let you do what you want to me.  No Sir, I’m not questioning your leadership Sir.”  “Sure, you can go ahead and spy on me and monitor every move I make.  I don’t have anything to hide.”  What the F#% happened?

The War on Drugs has probably been the most disgraceful and most long-standing assault on our Constitution.  This is how everyone slowly got used to having Big Brother towering over us.  After several decades of draconian prison sentences for victimless crimes, Americans have gotten numbed to the feeling of an Omnipresent Orwellian government regulating everyone’s every move.  This got the government’s foot in the door and laid the groundwork for the Patriot Act.

The manufactured hysteria over ***DRUGS!!*** is so prevalent that we’ve all just sat on our hands while millions of people have been incarcerated for crimes that affected nobody else.  Millions of otherwise-sane people support this War on American Citizens just because, well, we just can’t allow this sort of thing, this, this permissiveness.  Drugs are bad, M’Kay?

This isn’t a partisan issue.  Some of the most gung ho drug warriors have been Democrats, and some conservatives have actually remembered their own slogans about individualism and limited government.

Debra Saunders, a conservative columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle (yes they do exist in San Francisco), periodically writes about specific individuals who have been caught in the middle of the War on Drugs.  She gives the person’s name and a brief biography, and a description of the crime and sentence:  thirty years in prison, maybe even life without parole, for a woman whose boyfriend is a drug dealer, or someone who was a passenger in a car where a drug deal was being made.  Putting a human face on these tragedies really brings home the total insanity and perversion of the War on Drugs.

And just to show how sick and twisted some people are, Debra Saunders gets a certain amount of hate mail after each one of these columns.  People tell her the War on Drugs doesn’t go far enough, these wicked drug abusers are being coddled and should get even longer sentences, etc. 

Believe it or not, there’s actually an Amendment to the Constitution which guarantees equal protection under the law.  And yet our prisons are filled with non-violent drug users who are serving far longer sentences than most armed robbers and rapists.  Whose definition of “equal protection under the law” is this?

Now there’s a bill working its way through the House of Representatives which would provide up to ten years in prison for anyone who knows about illegal drug use and doesn’t report it to the police.  This bill, introduced by Essen Scheisse Sensenbrenner, R-Wisconsin, has been publicized by many bloggers but there hasn’t been a peep out of the mainstream media.  Is this the America we want?  “Independence Day”?  Independent from what?

After four or five decades of the War on Drugs, we were numbed and sedated and stupefied enough that we were ready to bend over and spread ’em for:  the Patriot Act.

If you liked the illegal searches brought on by the War on Drugs, you’ll love the Patriot Act.  Now you can have your library records searched.  Your home or place of business can be searched without a warrant, and they don’t even have to inform you.

If your response to the above paragraph is “so what, what are you hiding?” or “they can search me; I don’t have anything to hide” — you don’t deserve to live in a democracy.  You need a one-way ticket to the police state of your choice.

Certain provisions of the Patriot Act have been deleted in the House, but they’ll probably be reinstated by the Senate.  Bush has threatened to veto the bill without those provisions, and his bitches jump when he says jump.

The generalization is that liberals are against the Patriot Act and conservatives are in favor of it.  But there are a lot of exceptions, and there’s a growing bipartisan concern about an out-of-control federal government.  Two rightwing former Congressmen, Bob Barr and Dick Armey, have strong Libertarian beliefs and have worked extensively with the ACLU.  Senator Larry Craig, R-Idaho, has been one of the biggest critics of the Patriot Act.

Americans of all political viewpoints need to be aware of the dangers of giving the federal government too much power.  Remember, they work for us; it’s not the other way around.  Hahahahahaha.  Seriously.  That’s how it was originally supposed to be.  Our Founding Fathers would be spinning in their graves if they saw this lazy corrupt trust-funded group of self-serving country-clubbers trampling over the rest of us.  And to top it all off, these underworked, overpaid, overfed blobs just voted themselves another pay raise.  Tea party, anyone?

We need to remember Benjamin Franklin’s famous quote:  “They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”  We need to maintain a balance of liberty and security, and in the past few years we’ve tilted waaaay overboard on the side of security. 

This year when we’re celebrating Independence Day, let’s all remember that cowboy riding off into the sunset; Clint Eastwood saying “feel lucky punk?”  Think of the Patriots dumping tea into Boston Harbor.  And for God’s sake break out of that hypnotized, stupefied mindset of “Great Leader has spoken.  We must listen and obey.”  It’s way too unbecoming, too perverted, for a country that was founded by rebels.

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  1. 38 Responses to “July Fourth”

  2. By sally on Jul 3, 2005 | Reply

    Tom, it sure seems people accept what Bush says too easily… Nice 4th of July post!

  3. By Jet on Jul 3, 2005 | Reply

    Independance of thought is a scare commodity these days. It’s far easier to pigeonhole, slander, and jeer that it is to find middle ground. It’s past time Americans got back in the saddle of original thinking.

    Great post, Tom.

  4. By steve on Jul 3, 2005 | Reply

    “Today’s “Patriots” (at least that’s what they call themselves) insist on unquestioning blind allegiance to the government. What happened?!?”

    I stopped reading here because I figured the rest was full of liberal BS.

    Nothing happened. But here’s what did happen. The people of the United States VOTED our leaders into office. They chose to go to war in Iraq. They had some seriously tough choices after 9/11. Granted it hasn’t all been a smooth ride. Where you guys (liberals in general) sound unpatriotic is in your unwillingness to cooperate. Possible filibusters domestically. Letting our military think we’re weak and unsupportive because you can’t stand what’s going on. A patriot puts on a uniform and fights for freedom. A patriot goes to work and pays their taxes. A patriot follows the laws set up by this nation. A patriot votes. A patriot sucks it up, when times are bad. A patriot proudly flies a flag on their lawn instead burning one. A patriot supports their nation. But being a patriot does not mean you can’t disagree. 2006 and 2008 will be your next chances for change. This is where being a patriot counts most. If the GOP keeps winning in 2006 and in 2008, then you guys seriously need to look at your leadership instead making fun of a President who has trouble saying nuclear. What’s does it mean, when you make fun of a person who graduated from Yale, to a middle class kid that was only smart enough for a state school?

    Go out tomorrow. Have your barbeque. Play with your children. Show them why our country is so great. I think you’ll better that you did.

  5. By Tom Harper on Jul 3, 2005 | Reply

    Sally, Jet: Thanks.

    Steve, Steve, Steve, where to begin:

    Since you stopped reading after the first quarter of the post, I don’t know why I’m even bothering to debate with you. If you had pushed yourself to keep on straining past the 5th paragraph, you would have seen that I was dealing with two issues which have drawn a lot of bipartisan concern: the War on Drugs and the Patriot Act. I named three prominent ultraconservative politicians who have been very critical in recent years of the Patriot Act in particular and the Big Brother quality of our federal government in general. I’m not gonna spoonfeed the names to you; you’ll have to read the post yourself.

    The point of my post (which you would have figured out if you’d read it) was that too many people have an unquestioning faith in their government, and how ironic this is for a country that was founded by rebels. That was the theme; you know, for the 4th of July, etc. The post was nonpartisan. I chose the War on Drugs and the Patriot Act because they are both examples of too much government power and have both been criticized by people of all political views. Get it now? If you’re still having trouble with this I’ll be happy to dumb it down for you even further.

    I didn’t even mention the Iraqi war anywhere in the post, so I don’t know what the fuck you were responding to. I’m not gonna go off topic by arguing about Iraq here; that wasn’t the subject of the post.

    However, your sentence “a patriot puts on a uniform and fights for freedom” — hmmm, now I’ve seen a lot of your comments here (not all of them I guess), and I wasn’t aware you were in the military. What branch did you serve in? Since chickenhawks and keyboard warriors are a common theme at this site, I would’ve figured you’d really play up your military experience just so nobody would mistake you for a member of the Chairborne Division.

    The final sentence in your comment doesn’t make any sense. Maybe you omitted a few words. Proofread next time.

  6. By Jake on Jul 3, 2005 | Reply

    You are a true patriot, there was nothing liberal or conservative about what you said just patriotism. I am a patriot, I follow the constitution and believe the government should also. I am often called names like communist or nazi for saying the governemnt is violating the constitution and not answering questions about 9/11 but attacks don’t stop me. Great post.

  7. By Tom Harper on Jul 4, 2005 | Reply

    Thanks Jake. I appreciate that. I know your site is Libertarian, which I agree with often, but not as often as I wish I could. For my own beliefs, I want certain social programs and yet I want as little government as possible. I know it’s a contradiction, which I’m trying to work out and deal with.

    Thanks again for your comment.

  8. By Kevin on Jul 4, 2005 | Reply

    Excellent posting on patriotism, War on Drugs, and the Patriot Act.

    Oh you know what war I heard Rush Limbaugh, the big fat idiot, go off on earlier this week? War on Poverty

    He likened it to the War on Terrorism and was going nuts. Any thoughts on the War on Poverty?

  9. By ken grandlund on Jul 4, 2005 | Reply

    Great post Tom. A few thoughts on what a TRUE patriot really is: (please bear with me)

    The signers of the Declaration represented the new States as follows:

    New Hampshire:
    Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Matthew Thornton

    Massachusetts:
    John Hancock, Samual Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry

    Rhode Island:
    Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery

    Connecticut:
    Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott

    New York:
    William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris

    New Jersey:
    Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, Abraham Clark

    Pennsylvania:
    Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, George Clymer,
    James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, George Ross

    Delaware:
    Caesar Rodney, George Read, Thomas McKean

    Maryland:
    Samuel Chase, William Paca, Thomas Stone, Charles Carroll of Carrollton

    Virginia:
    George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas
    Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton

    North Carolina:
    William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn

    South Carolina:
    Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Thomas Lynch, Jr., Arthur Middleton

    Georgia:
    Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton

    Have you ever wondered what happened to the fifty six men who signed the
    Declaration of Independence? Five signers were captured by the British as
    traitors, and tortured before they died. Twelve had their homes ransacked and
    burned. Two lost their sons serving in the Revolutionary Army; another had two
    sons captured. Nine of the fixty six fought and died from wounds or hardships of
    the Revolutionary War. They signed and they pledged their lives, their fortunes,
    and their sacred honor.

    What kind of men were they?

    Twenty four were lawyers and jurists. Eleven were merchants, nine were farmers and large plantation owners; men of means, well educated. But they signed the Declaration of Independence knowing full well death would be the cost if captured. Carter Braxton of Virginia, a wealthy planter and trader, saw his ships swept from the seas by the British Navy. He sold his home and properties to pay his debts, and died in rags.

    Thomas McKean was so hounded by the British that he was forced to move his family almost constantly. He served in the Congress without pay, and his family was kept in hiding. His possessions were taken from him, and poverty was his reward.

    Vandals or soldiers looted the properties of Dillery, Hall, Clymer, Walton,
    Gwinnett, Heyward, Ruttledge, and Middleton.

    At the battle of Yorktown, Thomas Nelson Jr, noted that the British General
    Cornwallis had taken over the Nelson home for his headquarters. He quietly urged General George Washington to open fire. The home was destroyed, and Nelson died bankrupt.

    Francis Lewis had his home and properties destroyed. The enemy jailed his wife, and she died within a few months.

    John Hart was driven from his wife’s bedside as she was dying. Their thirteen
    children fled for their lives. His fields and his gristmill were laid to waste.
    For more than a year he lived in forests and caves, returning home to find his
    wife dead and his children vanished. A few weeks later he died from exhaustion and a broken heart.

    Norris and Livingston suffered similar fates.

    Such were the stories and sacrifices of the American Revolution. These were not wild-eyed, rabble-rousing ruffians. They were soft-spoken men of means and education.

    They had security, but they valued liberty more. Standing tall, straight, and
    unwavering, they pledged: “For the support of this declaration, with firm
    reliance on the protection of divine providence, “we mutually pledge to each
    other, our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.”

    They gave you and me a free and independent America. The history books never told you a lot about what happened in the Revolutionary War. We didn’t fight just the British. We were British subjects at that time and we fought our own government!

    So, take a few minutes this year while enjoying your 4th of July holiday or any other freedom that comes to mind and silently thank God and these patriots.

    As for the inane drug war, my thought in an essay are here:

    http://4commonsensenow.blogspot.com/2005/02/ending-war-on-drugs.html

    Keep up the good work, and sorry for the long comment!

  10. By TheChosenOne on Jul 4, 2005 | Reply

    Tom referring to Steve’s quote to your posting:

    “Since you stopped reading after the first quarter of the post, I don’t know why I’m even bothering to debate with you.”

    Kind of funny how I’m even responding to YOU, Tom Harper. Enough of you all on this BLLLOOOGGG had enough to say BEFORE, President Bush’s speach the other night AND enough of ‘yall had enough to say about how you TURNED OFF President Bush’s speach at the begining. I didn’t see YOU, TOM HARPER, saying the same thing the other day as you are now to STEVE. OR do you not follow and read this blog enough to critize YOUR OWN FOLLOWERS AND PARTY?

    I, Emmet O’Byrne, United States Citizen, Republican, United States Navy Veteran, Father, can admit that MY party is FUCKED UP. JUST AS FUCKED UP AS YOUR’S.

    P.S. I hope both of our parties Republican and Democrat as as FUCKED UP as they were for the first 229 years of our history get us through the next 229 years being just as FUCKED UP.

    P.S. No other country has done it as FUCKED UP as us. They, other countries, just wish THEY had what we HAVE. That is why THEY want to come here to the UNITED States of America.

    P.S.S. God Bless our American fighting men and women and there families.

    P.S.S. Tom, how about tilting a story about how BOTH parties are FUCKED UP next 4th of JULY.

    P.S.S.S. God Bless those who hate us also.

    P.S.S.S.S. Everyone have a Happy and Safe July 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, 13th, 14th, 15th, 16th, 17th, 18th, 19th, 20th, 21st, 22nd, 23rd, 24th, 25th, 26th, 27th, 28th, 29th, 30th, 31st, 32nd, (LOL), and every month and year there after…………………………………………!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  11. By TheChosenOne on Jul 4, 2005 | Reply

    Ken, great post, and thank you for making me think! I will read what you posted to my daughter Megan (8yrs old) and Tristin (6 yrs. old)) every 4th of July.

  12. By ken grandlund on Jul 4, 2005 | Reply

    Chosen One- I can’t claim credit for the actual historical reminder (but can for the Drug War Essay link), only for passing it along. I does us all good to remember who we were when we started this experiment in freedom, and remind ourselves of the true meaning of honor, sacrifice, service, and dedication, on the 4th of July, and every day throughout the year.

    Glad I could share this with you.

  13. By TheChosenOne on Jul 4, 2005 | Reply

    Can someone here actually go back pre-9/11 and give me your thoughts on terroism? Pretend 9/11 never happened. Pretend the USS Cole never happened. Pretend Gulf War (Desert Storm) never happened. Pretend the bombings of our Embasy’s never happend. Pretend the bombing of the World Trade Center’s never happened in 1993. Pretend the Irianian Hostage’s never happened in 1979 Pretend the United Nations ever happened. Pretend nothing in-between what I’ve written never happened.

    Can anyone here ACTUALLY write what they would have done if none of the above had happened?

    Now, can anyone here actually write what THEY would have done if it all had happened under THERE WATCH? You can’t! It happened under Five, I repeat, Five, President’s Watch’s!!!! and ‘yall want to blame ONE, (1), (Uno) President for his decision’s.

    If it had been President Gore? Who cares….. THEY, want war? War is what they got! Let the games begin!!!!!!!!!

  14. By TheChosenOne on Jul 4, 2005 | Reply

    P.S.S.S.S.S. I’m sorry if offend anyone here or anywhere. I don’t mean it. I’m just PISSED off that it’s a fucked of world we live in currently. I do appreciate everything ‘yall write on this blog. THINK about IT?

    Hopefully the other side makes you think also!

  15. By TheChosenOne on Jul 4, 2005 | Reply

    Well, I’m tired and have to go to bed. I’m going to dream about Moxie, Sally, Bastard, Tom H., Ken, Jet, Pia, Mrs. Bastard, Brother Kenya, Joseph (o.k), The Cranky Liberal, President Bush and anyone else that turns me on. (uh, Monica L.)

    lol…lol….nite, nite.

  16. By steve on Jul 4, 2005 | Reply

    Excuse me for living and breathing Tom, but I actually “did” read after that sentence. It sounded like “whiny liberal psycho babble”. You are the one that called out every person who considers his or herself a “Patriot”. What were you afraid I was talking about you or are you afraid of me?

    Seriously to address one point you did make, the opposition of liberals to the Patriot Act. Let’s look at what Ms. Feinstein has to say in a response to the ACLU regarding the Patriot Act on here own website http://feinstein.senate.gov/05releases/r-patriot0609.htm , shall we:

    “As part of my effort to oversee the implementation of the USA-Patriot Act, I asked the ACLU, in a letter dated March 25, 2005, to provide an update of their October 2003 statement that they did not know of any abuses of the USA-Patriot Act.

    On April 4, 2005, the ACLU published a reply to my letter, in which they listed what they described as ‘abuses and misuses’ of the Act. I carefully reviewed each of the examples provided in the letter. I also reviewed information provided to me by the Department of Justice about each of the examples. And while I understand the concerns raised by the ACLU, it does not appear that these charges rose to the level of ‘abuse’ of the Patriot Act.

    That said, I believe that we can, and should, make some changes to the Patriot Act to ensure it is less likely to be abused in the future.

    While I support reauthorization of the 16 provisions of the Patriot Act scheduled to expire at the end of the year, I want to make clear that I do not support the Intelligence Committee’s revised Patriot Act because of two provisions that could be open to serious abuse - the overly broad administrative subpoena and a change to FISA rules that would allow the FBI to conduct investigations using intelligence authorities solely to prosecute criminals.

    I offered an amendment on both of these: to limit the use of administrative subpoenas to emergency cases with the approval of a Department of Justice official and to preserve the current FISA language that requires that investigations have as a “significant purpose” the collection of intelligence.

    In my view, these are not minor but major amendments that address critical problems in the legislation. I intend to continue this effort in the Judiciary Committee and on the Senate Floor if necessary.”

    Hmm… A liberal against the Patriot Act? Wow, did she say on June 9th, 2005 that there were “no abuses” but had to suggest some changes so it was “less likely to be abused”?

    Can you say “wishy washy?”

    I wouldn’t sound so confident Tom…

    PS: The missing word was “feel” and no, I was not in the military at all, does that make me less of a Patriot?

  17. By Jake on Jul 4, 2005 | Reply

    There is nothing patriotic about violating the constitution, if they want a search warrant they can get one we are America not Soviet Russia.

    Tom, The libertarian party will not eliminate all welfare and social problems at once. There are reform changes within the party trying to make sure welfare is slowly eliminated and replaced with private charity. I would not want all social programs eliminated at once that would only hurt people and the economy.

  18. By The Bastard on Jul 4, 2005 | Reply

    Steve is blind!!! I just figured it out, really he is blind. Yeah we vote and yeah that is a patriotic thing to do. But once in office half of what all politicians do is un-patriotic. What is it you ask? They sell and trade their votes. Their votes which are supposed to represent me. But I see these people vote against something that they had originally promised they wouldn’t do. Why? Because they are instructed by the higher ups of their party on what they will and will not support.

    Tom DeLay is the biggest and best orchestrator of these un-patriotic acts in recent history.

    You might call this wheeling and dealing and I will say up front it happens on both sides of the aisle but I call it un-patriotic. But I have to ask, what happened to representing me, what happened to representing my district, my county, my state?

    What happened to the empowerment of the State? This is what the South feared during the Civil War. It wasn’t about slaves, it was about state rights and a small federal government.

    Why should my vote be sold so that someone in Montana can get what they want even though it doesn’t do me any good and vise versa? It’s fucking retarded.

    Great post Tom, and Ken thanks for pointing out what our founding fathers went through to deliver us freedom. It makes our current politicians (all of them) look like pussies!!!!

    Maybe they should read up on what the cost of freedom is and dig in with our boys for the good fight!!! Nah won’t happen, slaughter somebody elses son for freedom just not mine!

  19. By pia on Jul 4, 2005 | Reply

    Tom
    Great post and I’m going to ignore Steve, because I can! Chosen One I’m sure that you had great dreams.

    I will let anybody search me at airports, and some other public places because there is justification for that.

    However, the patriot act is totally wrong, and I will fight that to my last breath. Our constitution and it’s amendments–remember the Fourth Amendment–does guarantee rights against people coming into our home and by extension our business–just because they can or for some reason want to.

    People seem to be rewriting the Joe McCarthy era. Being from New York and having had “progressive” parents I’ve known people who had their lives turned around because they were unjustly thought—not even really accused–of having “Communist” leanings–not even being Communists themselves.

    That’s sick, and if every so called “red diaper baby” stood up and told the stories that they were reared on, people might understand the long term ramifications of living in a climate of fear.

    The best thing that ever happened to the white middle class drug user in New York was the enactment of the Rockefeller drug laws. These laws (with a little modification this year) guarantees long sentences for drug users.

    Even the police think that they are sick laws, and enforce them very selectively. They should be done away with, but in this political climate?

    I said “enforce…selectively.” that means that members of minority groups are more likely to be busted for truly victimless crimes.

    I have seen how the Rockefeller laws are enforced, and it makes me sick.

    To even think that there’s something right about the Patiot Act is to show lack of knowledge of modern American history.

    I was thinking of paying cash for all my books, but I do like those skymiles so…

    The Patriot Act embodies everything that is wrong with America, so Tom thanks for giving us things to think about today!

  20. By The Bastard on Jul 4, 2005 | Reply

    Boy I remember the days of being ticketed in Washington Square park (NYC) for having a joint. The ticket was $5.00 and on your way you went. Now you’re looking at a short stay in jail for a fucking joint!!!!!

  21. By Tom Harper on Jul 4, 2005 | Reply

    Kevin: I haven’t heard the term War on Poverty since the 1960s. It was one of Lyndon Johnson’s programs to raise living standards (mostly in rural areas I think). I don’t know if that’s what Mush Bimbo was talking about or not.

    Ken: Thanks for your comment. I’ve seen that before; I forget where. It seems to be making the rounds on the Internet. It should. We need to know who fought their own government (and made such incredible sacrifices) so we all could have the life we have today.

    Emmett: I wholeheartedly agree with you that both parties are fucked up. My post was non-partisan. I wrote about the War on Drugs and the Patriot Act because there’s bipartisan fear and loathing toward both of them. I was praising our country, our history, our form of government, and at the same time what a bunch of assholes most politicians are. I didn’t talk about Iraq or Bush (I mentioned Bush by name once when I was talking about the Senate battle over the Patriot Act) or any other hot-button issues. This is the 4th of July; we should be celebrating our country today. We have all the rest of the year to argue.

  22. By pia on Jul 4, 2005 | Reply

    hate to say this Bastard–but that was selective enforcement. the Rockefeller laws have been on the books since the ’70’s.

    While most people are given a desk ticket for possession; some people are said to be selling. Can’t give any concrete examples; the terms of my sentence prohibit….no, I learned all about this in May when I was doing my civic duty which is why I feel funny even googling the Rockefeller laws and talking about them.

    However back in the old days–a long time ago–in the 80’s I smoked with cops that I was friendly with.

    Can safely say that not too many New York cops would want to enforce the Patriot Act–because it’s not patriotic.

  23. By Tom Harper on Jul 4, 2005 | Reply

    Steve: “Excuse me for living and breathing.” Awww, that’s so sad.

    What kind of response do you think you’re gonna get when your comment argues with something that wasn’t even mentioned in the post?! Wake the fuck up.

    Since you said “a patriot is someone who puts on a uniform and fights for his country” I thought you meant you were (or had been) in the military. No, it doesn’t make anyone less of a patriot if they haven’t been in the military. But, as you’re aware, the Army and Marines are way below their recruiting goals, and they need all the help they can get. You’re not too old to enlist. Yes, you have a job and a family; so do lots of the soldiers fighting in Iraq. Does it bother you at all that so many people are sacrificing their lives for a cause you believe in but won’t sacrifice for? Just asking.

    You’re probably wondering why you’re always getting walked on at this site. It’s not your political views. We have lots of intelligent discussions here, and lots of people further to the right than you, can express their views without pissing everyone off. I don’t know if it’s arrogance, or always having to be right, or always having to get the last word in — I can’t put my finger on it, but there’s something about your comments that just causes everyone else to jump all over you. You might want to think about this, unless you enjoy getting dissed all the time.

  24. By Tom Harper on Jul 4, 2005 | Reply

    Jake: Thanks for the information.

    TB: Thanks. That’s about the size of it — we have a great form of government, but it’s too bad there’re so many corrupt assholes running it. We’re paying taxes but we aren’t being represented. That’s what the Boston Tea Party was all about.

    And yeah, the pot laws were slack for awhile, and now they’re bringing back 1950s Texas style penalties with a vengeance. I think we’re going the wrong way.

    Pia: Thanks. Yeah, just ignore him.

    The Patriot Act is sick all right. Totally un-American; goes against everything this country stands for. I remember when the Rockefeller drug law was passed. Mid or late ‘60s; I was in Connecticut then. I used to hear all these ads on the car radio warning about the huge jail sentences you’d get for drugs. And the ads were punctuated by the sound of steel doors slamming shut.

    And our drug laws definitely target the poor and minorities.

  25. By steve on Jul 4, 2005 | Reply

    Tom:

    Getting dissed is not a problem. In fact, since I disagree with most of what is posted here, then one like me should expect it. Secondly I think it is quite funny that a small group of bloggers is deciding which people commenting on their blog are valid and who are not. You guys don’t even read what I say, answer most of my questions, or out right express an opinion of what I actually say without:

    A. Ignoring me.
    B. Calling me stupid, or an equivolent of.
    C. Calling me “blind”

    You guys are only part of the American opinion and not the full story. Admit it.

    I wonder if any of you actually knew how much email I have gotten because I have commented here these three weeks?
    Would it suprise you that I have gotten a few apologies or a few way to go’s? Would it suprise you that I haven’t got hate mail? Would it suprise you that I have gotten some decent traffic to my blog with repeat visitors?

    I don’t wonder why I get “walked on” on this site. I don’t even feel I am. In fact I don’t really care. I find it intriguing how pia wrote about me on her site. Let’s see if she is still ignoring me. I guess I am not allowed to be upset over 9/11 since I was not in New York or DC or in that field in Pennsylvania and that I live in California. I do and always will support her right to free speech.

    Tom, I sorry if I didn’t directly respond to any of your points with my disagreements but you basically called me “unpatriotic” with your original post. I know, you didn’t directly single me out but how should I get passed that sentence without disagreeing with you?

    Tom, what do you think of Feinstein and her comments regarding what the ACLU brought up and her almost dismissal of their claims? How in and what way are you directly affected by the Patriot Act as a law abiding citizen?

    Yes, I do agree with something. Our drug laws target the poor and minorities, yet is it bad to say it’s mostly poor and minorities are involved with drugs? If you say poor, you are not necessarily saying minority. There is not a tremendously huge population of middle and upper class people, (majority and minority, equally) with raging drug problems. I don’t know the answer but aren’t their more people busted for trafficking and distribution then for just simple posession of a bag of weed?

  26. By Tom Harper on Jul 4, 2005 | Reply

    Steve: About Feinstein, that’s fine if she’s not against the Patriot Act, or dismisses the claims of the ACLU. I don’t agree with her, but that just reinforces my earlier claim that the Patriot Act is a bipartisan issue. Not all liberals are against it and not all conservatives are in favor of it.

    I don’t think it’s true that illegal drugs are used mostly by the poor and minorities. Cocaine, for one example, is a rich person’s drug just because of the prices. (It’s also less trendy than it used to be.) I don’t have any specific facts right here in front of me, but from everything I remember reading, illegal drug use cuts across all racial and socio-economic lines.

    Penalties are stiffer for sale or distribution, but they can still be severe just for possession. And a lot of people get caught in the middle: being in the same car or house where a drug deal is taking place, etc.

  27. By JJ on Jul 4, 2005 | Reply

    Hello, my name is JJ. I was looking through some blogs and I think you might like a blog I am starting up. It’s called The Human Quilt. The Human Quilt has a goal of sharing the lives, expressions, emotions, memories, secrets, and desires of people across the globe. Share your story in a square. Each square tells the story of a life. I would greatly appreciate it if you take a look and give me some input. Thanks a lot. http://humanquilt.blogspot.com/

  28. By Tom Harper on Jul 4, 2005 | Reply

    Oh, I forgot: How has the Patriot Act affected me? It hasn’t. But you know that German saying about “when they came for the Jews I didn’t say anything because I wasn’t Jewish yada yada yada.” I’m sure you’re familiar with the quote. There just seems to be too much potential for abuse — suspicious-seeming people who aren’t guilty but being convicted anyway, or being locked up for long periods without charges.

    It hasn’t happened to me or anyone I know, but we need to bend over backwards to prevent this from happening.

  29. By The Bastard on Jul 4, 2005 | Reply

    Steve all I have to say to you is this

  30. By Tom Harper on Jul 4, 2005 | Reply

    TB: I like that song. My favorite kind — funny and maddening at the same time.

  31. By The Bastard on Jul 4, 2005 | Reply

    Yeah, thought it kinda fit the post!!! Never mentioned Bush once in the whole song………..

  32. By AndrewL on Jul 4, 2005 | Reply

    This a very great article and an excellent online magazine (at least, Freedom’s Gate is now an online magaine rather than a blog.) Kudos to Blog Explosion for bringing me to it.

    Herr Sensenbrenner is a nightmare. I’ve got an overview of his shenanigans at http://freedomsgate.blogspot.com/2005/06/more-sensenbrenner-shenanigans.html, but for a brief overview, not only is he the sponsor of HR 1528, which is the bill that would require citizens to spy on thier neighbors (in the name of protecting children from drugs), but he was also the author of HR 418, which will be bringing us national IDs in just a few years. “Your Papers, Please!) He was also one of the author’s of the (anti-)PATRIOT act, and you know what? A few weeks ago, he gavelled closed a hearing of the Judiciary committee during hearings (not even following proper parliamentary procedure) rather than allowing testimony of documentes abuses (see http://freedomsgate.blogspot.com/2005/06/just-remember-there-are-no-documented.html) of the (anti-)PATRIOT act be entered into the open record.

  33. By Joseph (OKDemocrat) on Jul 4, 2005 | Reply

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY AMERICA!

    It’s an interesting point you make Tom. Patriotism isn’t mindless fealty. Loyalty is standing up to policies that are harmful to America, such as abuse of abortion right and/or the outlawing of abortion rights. Whether the policy is imposed by foreign or domestic powers that be, patriotism is standing up to them. Anyhow, HAPPY BIRTHDAY AMERICA!!!!!

  34. By steve on Jul 5, 2005 | Reply

    Tom,

    Hey Eastwood never said “feel lucky punk” in a western. He did it twice in “Dirty Harry”. Funny, in Dirty Harry he was a brutal cop that did justice his way and was above the law. I find it interesting you used that quote in a post that technically is slamming the leadership and paralleled it to the Boston Tea Party. Aren’t you sort of against the brutal enforcement thing? Eastwood is a Republican you know. Remember what he said about Michael Moore?

    “A man’s got to know his limitations”

  35. By mrs bastard on Jul 5, 2005 | Reply

    blah, blah blah. Over here in the UK they fondly
    call July 4th ‘The peasant revolt’…Are the ‘peasants’ ready for another revolt?

  36. By mrs bastard on Jul 5, 2005 | Reply

    PS: Don’t forget there was another crazy George III in charge when the first ‘peasant revolt’happened…hmmm…

  37. By mrs bastard on Jul 5, 2005 | Reply

    PS: Don’t forget there was another crazy George, the III in charge when the first ‘peasant revolt’happened…hmmm…

  38. By mrs bastard on Jul 5, 2005 | Reply

    PS: Don’t forget there was another crazy George, the III in charge when the first ‘peasant revolt’happened…hmmm…

  39. By Tom Harper on Jul 5, 2005 | Reply

    Andrew L: Thanks for the links. That’s a great site you’ve got.

    OK Democrat: Happy Birthday indeed. And that’s a good definition of patriotism. It has nothing to do with mindless fealty.

    Steve: I answered your question at my own site where you posted it.

    Mrs. B: I think the peasants could start revolting any time now. That might be what it takes.

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