Hanging Up on the Patriot Act

Senator and presidential hopeful Rand Paul scored a Libertarian victory the other day by filibustering the Patriot Act, by which the National Security Agency (NSA) was given authority to request records from telephone companies after the 9/11 attacks.

Sen. Paul felt the Patriot Act could be a weapon in the hands of domestic enemies.  The Senate duly scuttled the Patriot Act; the government can no longer spy on Americans.  That’s a good thing, because it’s unconstitutional.  But it’s also a bad thing because our Constitutional rights are useless to us if we’re dead.

Americans treasure their individual privacy, although they’re not so conscientious about respecting the privacy of others.  Americans are inherent gossips.  They love everything salacious about their public figures, be they political or theatrical.  The Bergen Record of northern New Jersey saw fit to publish the most recent picture of Caitlyn “Bruce” Jenner not only on its front page, but further back again in the first section of the paper.

How many times do we need to see a scantily clad Bruce Jenner?  None, actually.  The sight of Bruce “Caitlin” in a bikini made me so disgusted I immediately tore both pictures out of the paper and tossed them in the garbage.  Isn’t it bad enough that we have scantily-clad men and women pushed in our faces on the Internet and television, and in newspapers and magazines.

Must we also be exposed to transsexuals and all sorts of other deviant, mentally imbalanced people?  He took the teeny-bopper name of “Caitlin”?  Couldn’t he have at least selected a more dignified, age-appropriate name, like “Dolores” or “Barbara” or “Janet”?

Anyway, we no longer need to worry about something that, in the short term at least, we never really needed to worry about – the government spying on our telephone calls.  They probably can still read our e-mails, and Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube postings.  They have access to our credit card, bank accounts, and tax returns, courtesy of the IRS (with whom I’m on hold right now because they couldn’t identify me once I stopped working).

Telephone calls are so old-fashioned.  Who even talks on the phone anymore, other than teenagers and husbands at the supermarket, getting further instructions from wifey on which brand of cereal to buy?  Is the NSA really interest in the mother talking on the cell phone to her kids, yelling uselessly at them to clean their rooms when they get home while she’s on the road to work?

But seriously – future threats from our own increasingly-Marxist, intrusive government notwithstanding, we needed to keep the Patriot Act.  Our government loves “collecting” information for the collective good, it’s true.  But I’d rather some bored NSA agent listen in on a conversation between me and my mother about whether my nephew is ever again going to acknowledge his father’s existence than hang up on a conversation between some future Osama bin Laden and some future Mohammed Atta.

We’ve come to that convenient, amnesiatic point where we’ve forgotten all about 9/11.  Where looking back on the events was once salutary, it’s now quite painful.  The tendency is to look away because we’ve moved on with our lives.

That’s the moment the terrorists have been waiting for.  In his book, “Inside the Revolution” (Tyndale Press, 2009), Joel Rosenberg quotes his sources as saying that Iran will be ready for nuclear warfare “by the middle of the next decade.”  That’s now.  It’s 2015.  Hassan Rouhani has succeeded “The Little Street Sweeper,” Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who was a devout Twelver (a believer in the return of the 12th Imam or Mahdi – the Islamic Messiah).

Iran, which sits on millions of barrels of oil, hardly needs nuclear power for energy.  They’re interested in weapons – nuclear weapons.  They want to create a worldwide caliphate and precipitate the return of the Mahdi by attacking Israel and the United States and “reclaiming” Jerusalem (al Quds) for Islam.

Rosenberg tells us that Iran despises the Sunnis of Iraq.  The Shias, who are Persian, consider the Sunni Arabs inferior.  Ahmadinejad was said to be ecstatic when Obama was elected president.  Obama declared that he would immediately withdraw U.S. troops for Iraq, destabilizing that country and leaving it vulnerable to mass slaughter of Christians and Jews, as well as Sunni Muslims and an eventual takeover by Iran.

The Mahdi was born Muhammad Ibn Hasan Ibn Ali in 868 A.D. in Samarra, Iraq.  When he was about four years old, he vanished.  Some believe he fell into a well in Samarra; others believe his mother hid him in the well to prevent his enemies from capturing and killing him.  The Muslims believe that he became “supernaturally invisible, hence the term the “Hidden Imam.”  Rosenberg tells us that “Shias believe that Ali is not dead but has simply been hidden from the sight of mankind – Shias refer to this as ‘occultation’ – until the end of days, when Allah will reveal him once again.”

That’s what this religious war is all about – the end of days.  Serious journalists pooh-pooh this notion.  But you should never underestimate the devotion of a religious fanatic.  The Shias believe it (and probably the Sunnis do, too) and that’s enough to make them extremely dangerous.  Dangerous enough that the NSA should be listening in, privacy be darned.

The NSA may not be able to listen in on our phone calls.  But I hope they’re reading books like “Inside the Revolution” and blogs like this one.

America’s safety is on hold and we can’t afford to hang up on terrorist messages.

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Published in: on June 2, 2015 at 11:06 am  Leave a Comment  

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