After 9/11 our rights were threatened by a piece of legislation called The Patriot Act. In many ways, our world hasn’t been the same since.
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Here’s a transcript of our conversation:
Emma: Hi, Brittany.
Brittany: Hi, Emma.
Emma: So, today I wanna talk about something that affects all of us and affects our lives and our privacy that a lot of people don’t even know is happening. And, it’s called the Patriot Act, which is another one of those sneaky things where Congress names something this long acronym that sounds nice and sounds friendly, but in reality, it actually has horrible implications and has a lot of damage to harm us and take away our liberties. So the Patriot Act was passed after nine 11. It was passed when a lot of people were very scared about terrorism and we’re very worried about, you know, threats to people and worried about our country. And that’s something that we’ve seen a lot where when people are scared, that’s when we tend to say yes to things that may be ordinarily we would have pause about and that we would be concerned about giving up our liberties. And we see the government does this a lot where it promises these temporary measures to keep us safe. And then it turns out they’re not so temporary. That’s even happened with COVID a lot in the last months. But, so I’m gonna just kind of give like a quick technical, cuz the Patriot Act, it’s a law passed by Congress. So it’s, very, it has a lot of different stuff that it goes into. But I’m gonna try to give just a quick summary and then Brittany and I are gonna chat more about it. So, according to the government, the purpose of the, it’s actually the USA Patriot Act, is to deter and punish terrorist acts in the United States and around the world to enhance law enforcement investigatory tools, which means like tools for investigation and other purposes, some of which include to strengthen US measures to prevent, detect and prosecute international money laundering and financing of terrorism to subject to special scrutiny, foreign jurisdictions, financial institutions, and international transactions on types of accounts that are susceptible to criminal abuse and to require all appropriate elements of the financial services industry to report potential money laundering and to strengthen measures to prevent the use of US financial system for personal gain by corrupt foreign officials and facilitate the repatriation of stolen assets to the citizens of countries to whom such assets belong.
Brittany: I have a question for you. Yes. What does any of that mean?
Emma: Yes, we will put it down because that is a whole bunch of weird language that no one uses in real life. So the Patriot Act, the main thing that most people know it for is it basically gives the government the right to spy on people without a warrant. And the purpose that they said they needed to be able to do that for was to quote-unquote prevent terrorism. And this was a part of a larger thing, that Ron Paul called, and a lot of people called the war, actually, I think the government explicitly said the war on terror because of course to get people to sign up to give up their liberties, a lot of times you have to declare war. The war on poverty, the war on terror, you know, there’s, there’s been all kinds of wars in this country that never actually went anywhere. But that second part, that list that I read is really interesting because it’s talking about, like money laundering and foreign interests in money. And I think something that we could actually see a lot of in the future is, we’ve talked about cryptocurrency on here and how people use it to get their money out of government control. And they use it so that their money can’t be manipulated or inflated by the government printing money. I actually could see the Patriot Act being used to spy on people who are suspected to have cryptocurrency because everyone says it’s, oh, it’s money laundering. So I had to include that cause I thought that was kind of interesting. But what I wanna talk about more is, you know, we know why the Patriot Act was passed. People were scared after nine 11. They believed that we were at huge risk to terrorist attacks. And because of that, they were willing to give the government a lot of power to listen in on phone conversations, to read our emails, to spy on us in all sorts of ways that ordinarily people would be really creeped out about. And the thing is, when it was passed, it was supposed to be a 10 year temporary authorization except Congress keeps reauthorizing it. So in 2011 it was up again for reauthorization. And Rand Paul, who was Ron Paul’s son, had an epic filibuster where he went up for how many hours was he up there? Do you know? Brittany?
Brittany: Oh goodness. This was the droning one, right? Yes. This was, it was some, was it like 19? Maybe even more? Cuz I remember being Yeah. So hyped up around that time.
Emma: It was very impressive. I don’t know the exact amount of hours, but it was a long time. And filibuster for anyone who’s not familiar is basically when to make a point, someone in Congress can go up and take as much time as they want to comment, before something’s going to vote or during the process of arguing about a certain bill. And Rand Paul went up into protest. He read all sorts of different stuff and he talked about how the Patriot Act is so bad, and he made a lot of really great points, but then he also just read like random stuff, which is a lot of times what people do during the filibuster. But to stand up straight for 19 hours or however long it was, is very impressive. And there’s good reason because he was worried that people’s liberties were going to be continually taken away. That this quote unquote temporary program wasn’t actually temporary. And, I really respect that he did that, but unfortunately it was still reauthorized and, it’s led to a lot of really horrible abuses of our privacy in America. And Ron Paul warned for a long time that this War on terror was going to be turned in from, you know, oh, we’re watching for terrorists around the world. He said the war on terror is going to be turned inward and all of a sudden people with unpopular viewpoints, with dissident opinions, which basically just means you’re unpopular. Not a lot of people agree with you or you’re critical of the government, people with dissident opinions are going to be the next quote unquote terrorists. And that is something that we are starting to see now. So Brittany, do you wanna maybe talk a bit about sort of this like quote unquote domestic terrorist stuff that’s been happening lately and sort of how the Patriot Act can play into that?
Brittany: Yes. This really scares me. So, the domestic terrorist is, you know, we’ve talked about what a terrorist is somebody who’s a terrorist on our own soil. And that has been used so liberally, meaning that has been used. So broadly, there’s no real definition for what that is. It could be somebody, you know, who’s perpetuating the war on drugs by selling drugs. It could be literally anyone. Now, recently they’ve turned, their attention to two people, and that’s people who don’t believe in vaccines. I kid you not, this has been, people have been considered domestic terrorists if they’re not, you know, supporting mandatory, what is it called? Mandatory, what’s the word I’m looking for? No, I think it’s just mandatory vaccines.
Emma: Mandates. Yeah.
Brittany: Also, people who have, you know, some doubts about masking those who are doubting, you know, all the things we’ve been told about COVID. Yeah. So COVID skeptics, I guess you could call them, are being barked as domestic terrorists, which it’s just outlandish people on the right for a long time now. In fact, there was a report in 2009 called the Mayak Report where Ron Paul supporters were marked as domestic terrorists. They weren’t police officers in Missouri to be cautious of people with Ron Paul bumper stickers and don’t tread on me bumper stickers. So taken a real big turn. Now lately parents have been called domestic terrorists if they are, speaking out against what’s called critical race theory. And we did an episode on that, this belief that they’re now teaching kids that everybody is basically responsible, every, you know, white person with white ancestors is responsible for slavery or terrible things that have happened. Now, obviously nobody thinks slavery is correct. Slavery is horrible. Right. That takes away consent, that takes away just about every freedom you have. But now I don’t think a a five-year-old in kindergarten should be held accountable for something that their great-grand, you know, ancestors did also, you know, there’s that quote, and the children shall lead children, in my opinion, are the most open-minded about these things because they just say like, look, there’s a playmate. They don’t think, oh, look at that person’s skin color. So these parents, for speaking out against this new thing that people love to teach are being called domestic terrorists. In fact, one lady or one parent even asked, is it Garland? Is that the judge?
Emma: Merrick Garland? Yeah, he’s our attorney general.
Brittany: Attorney general. Excuse me. He was a nominee for Yes, the Supreme Court one. So I got confused. So they, somebody asked him like, can we use the Patriot Act to prosecute these parents, to lock these parents up? Now they actually had to respond with like, we don’t really see how we can do this, but we’re looking into it. That’s the part that scares me. So they’re willing to take this very, you know, broad, outdated, you know, this is old, not that it was ever valid. Yeah. You know, Patriot act and see if they can apply it to whoever they decide as a terrorist. And you know, yeah. You might be on the good side, I’m saying that in air quotes a history, you know, but, and somebody else might be considered a domestic terrorist, but that could change. Yeah. So no one is safe from this. This should scare everybody because everybody’s individual liberty is threatened.
Emma: Yeah, exactly. That’s such a good point because it’s easy sometimes when, you know, we have this enemy or we have this fear of being threatened or being harmed to say, well, I’m okay if we take away liberty to go after those people. And I think a lot of people especially, you know, there are a lot of people on the right that see things that way when it comes to our privacy and our civil liberties. The unfortunate thing is even if you know the motive makes enough sense and the strategy makes enough sense, the government cannot be trusted to only use those powers for those things. And if you’re okay with taking away liberty for people who could be dangerous or who could be bad guys, all that it takes for us to be on the other end of that is for them to change the goalpost or change what makes up a bad person. And that’s what’s so dangerous. I like that you brought up the vaccines because you know, people on Facebook who post research that says, you know, natural immunity works better than vaccines, which it can be a very legitimate medical study. It can be something that’s completely rooted in fact, and that’s very relevant to what a lot of people, you know, their decision-making on vaccines. If you post stuff like that, you can be banned from Facebook or you can get your account suspended for a month or two or three months. Even people who posted, recently with Kyle Rittenhouse, his trial that was coming up, which we’ve talked about a lot lately. People who posted Kyle Rittenhouse as innocent got their accounts suspended for up to 90 days. And that’s the scary thing is we have, like these big tech companies and these social media companies basically working for the government to flag people that they find quote-unquote dangerous. And then from there, all it takes is the government just sort of like watching that and seeing who gets flagged to say, oh, well we have the Patriot Act. If this person is a suspected domestic terrorist, then we should definitely be keeping an eye on them. And then the government actually has the power to tap your phone conversation. They, do it. It is a fact, it’s a thing that they actually do. It seems too farfetched, but it’s not that crazy to say that someone who’s listening to this podcast right now may have had their phone lines tapped. And I don’t mean to sound like a crazy person. We’ve got a lot of Ron Pollers, we’ve got a lot of concerned parents who’ve gone to school board meetings and who are critical of the government for good reason. There is a very good chance that some of you guys listening right now, even Britney or I could have had our phones tapped and had our privacy invaded by the government. And the sad part is we gave the government that power and our Congress keeps renewing it. And you know, this is a thing that not a lot of people talk about the Patriot Act. It’s not the most fun, you know, topic, but giving the government that power is very, very dangerous. Because once we give it up, they will almost never give it back to us. And I have my doubts that we will ever see the end of the Patriot Act, especially with the direction things are going right now. Not to be doom and gloom, but this is why we have to be so careful about giving up our freedoms because we almost never get them back. Exactly. And it’ll almost certainly be turned against us. So Brittany, do you have anything you wanna add here before we start to wrap up?
Brittany: I think you pretty much summed it up, but I, think another important thing to remember is this was passed in 2001, maybe 2002. I, don’t remember the exact year, but like it hasn’t gone anywhere. So I think that’s proof that it’s not going to go anywhere. Yeah. So guard your freedoms, vigilantly.
Emma: Yes. The government would love to take them away from you and use them against you. So that is where we’re gonna wrap it up here today, guys. I’m gonna link, an explainer video on sort of what the Patriot Act is and we’ll let you guys check that out. just cuz it is a pretty wonky, pretty nerdy thing and tough to explain as quickly as we did. So, we’ll link that in there if you want more information. And Ron Paul has some really great stuff that he said on this, so feel free to look into that as well. But thanks for listening guys, and we will talk to you again soon.
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