Anyone who has paid attention to history knows that political change requires some sort of catalyst to happen. So one could logically expect that the Covid-19 Pandemic would be the perfect excuse for politicians to take action. However, it takes time for the chemical reaction to start working its magic and only now are we starting to see some major actions being taken by Congress for our “benefit”.
Patriot Act 2: the Revenge of Unconstitutionality
Interestingly enough, the Patriot Act is on its way to being reauthorized and naturally expanded while the nation is conveniently on lockdown. Very often the American Right will scream to the YouTube hills that the Constitution is being ripped in half by every move the other side makes. This over exaggeration has a “boy who cried wolf” effect making it seem cliché every time journalists/pundits rage over something being “unconstitutional”. But this time dear friends, Congress is actually defecating on constitutional principles and Right Wing pundits are not over inflating this issue.
The new updated Patriot Act (as it stands today) will allow the government to collect Americans’ web-browsing data without a warrant. The expression “we have sunk to a new low” seems like the appropriate response to such cowardly madness.
So if this Patriot Act update pack goes through, then the 4th Amendment has essentially faded off into the sunset probably never to be seen again. If the government can dive into your personal data without a warrant then what is the point of having warrants at all or privacy? This is more proof that the principles of the Enlightenment are being (or have been) forgotten as only an intellectual minority understands how just how fundamental maintaining a system of warrant issuance is as the only means the government should have to “spy” on an individual. It seems obvious to say, but shouldn’t one be put under the government’s scrutiny for taking actions that rouse enough suspicion for a neutral judge to “okay” a warrant? This seems like a great policy, but then again I was born in the Cold War when American principles were still discussed, kind of understood and seemed to matter.
Like any ideology or religion if we all universally forget the ideas of the Constitution then they will no longer become valid. The 4th Amendment is starting to look like Thor – something cool that people used to believe in long ago that has become a cartoon empty version of itself in Hollywood movies.
It also needs to be stated just how weak the logic of expanding the Patriot Act is under pandemic conditions. The original project was put in place to in theory prevent another 9/11 type event from happening. Essentially, mass surveillance was offered as a solution to preventing terrorism on U.S. soil. Since the Coronavirus (as of now) is officially a natural phenomenon, then how could surveillance possibly help? When Patriot Act 1.0 came into being the “ticking time bomb” argument was made that the government needs to be able to act quickly and have no barriers in their fight against terrorism or else we are doomed to another set of planes hitting buildings. This logic is weak but it makes some sense, but how can mass surveillance stop a natural phenomenon? If there was total spying or zero spying on the American people would it really affect the appearance of a new plague?
Unless there is an alternative theory to the origin of Covid-19 in Congress that they are keeping from us, then no amount government overreach can prevent this type of pandemic from happening again. How can knowledge of our browser history prevent Corona 2.0? It can’t, it won’t, but that means nothing, we have a crisis and that is all that is needed for action.
When in doubt, debt your way out
The Coronavirus Plague has damaged economies all over the world. It has been a major punch in the face to American financial stability and the stimulus money sent to Americans is a logical response. Many people have lost their jobs or face abnormal hardships. Everyone pays taxes so in times of trouble we should expect to get our money’s worth from the state. Now drafting a 347,000 word $3 trillion Congressional spending spree is not something we should expect as a solution to the Corona Crisis especially when one-third of it is going to go state and local governments to compensate for their inefficiency, not the American masses. Obviously this is all designed to bail out those lovely Democrat initiatives that cost lots of taxpayer money yet yield little for society, because if they were so important they would remain “essential” and funded even when the coffers look bare.
It is unclear whether this titanic bill that approaches the annual spending of the United States (which gets the nation further and further into debt as is) will actually go through, but it is the perfect example of the exploitation of a crisis for one’s own gain.
Pelosi and crew are surely going to try to use the current catalyst to save all their programs and keep America on the track that they have routed it on. If the idea really were to help the American people then why not just take the $3 trillion and give every American roughly $9,000. That would help everyone, both MAGA hat wearing factory workers and interpretive dance LGBT activists alike. If the mission really were to provide a solution it could be done in a page or two of text so everyone could understand it, make sense of it and get the help they need. But this is not the objective. This proposal is gargantuan in size so that way everyone can get their piece of the corruption pie in the fine print and keep the pet projects of the Democrats afloat by saving bankrupt but loyal state and local governments.
Stay tuned, the late night horror show will continue.
There is certainly going to be more and more disgusting exploitation of this crisis in the next few weeks/months. The Covid-19 iron is still glowing and everyone is going to strike while they can. New corrupt plans are probably being discussed over brandy as you read this because the economy has and will continue to suffer from this unprecedented event that we are all living through.
Sadly, our last line of defense is the strange real estate billionaire who happens to head the executive branch at the moment. Vetoes can be overridden, but Trump needs to send a signal that his answers to the crisis are the ones that are going to happen. He can manipulate the Mainstream Media to get what he wants, and his light being shone onto a topic can be game changing. Sadly, thus far Trump has been focused more on #Obamagate than either of the two issues presented in this piece, meaning that his ego issues could allow the 4th Amendment to die right in front of our faces. In contrast however, at some point he will probably fight the $3 trillion spending bill because Pelosi is involved in it and she is a bad lady so maybe there is some hope.