Monday, June 13, 2005

Absolute Power Corrupts

In response to this:
I sent this:

Mr. Congressman Sensenbrenner,
I saw what you did today in Judiciary Committee hearing on June 10 2005. I don’t normally write to Congress people outside of my district. But your comments today have me gravely concerned about the Constitution and the health of our democracy.

I saw you shut down the hearing investigating possible revisions of the Patriotic Act. Your conduct was disgraceful and disgusting. It was a display of corrupted power, and it stood in direct opposition to every tenet that this nation was founded upon.

You may think the American people are not watching this destruction of OUR democracy. But, you are wrong.

Your disgusting behavior has not gone unnoticed. I will tell everyone I know, post this on every email list I belong to, and post this on every blog I possibly can across the web & across the nation. I will provide a link so they all can see the type of man that you truly are - a personification of the corrupt power.

I really hope and pray you don’t get reelected.

I’ve really had enough of your ilk trampling all over the Constitution.

Why are you doing this? Don’t you have a conscience? Don’t you see how you and your party are hurting the people you supposedly represent?

I am so disgusted, I don’t even know what to say anymore. I’m going to throw up now.


At 6/14/2005 7:52 AM , Blogger Gun-Toting Liberal said...

RealID, the USA Patriot Act... it's getting really CREEPY around here these days, under THIS Government. I've never seen such a massive assault upon our civil liberties as I'm seeing right this minute, and to refuse to debate is inexcusable. Great post!

At 6/14/2005 2:47 PM , Blogger Right On! said...

And I assume that if he is indeed corrupt, that letter will be filed in his cylindrical filing cabinet.

At 6/15/2005 11:19 AM , Blogger halcyon67 said...

Right On! Republican Senators don't even read the letters. My two Senators: Santorum and Specter never reply to my letters. Santorum is probably too busy conning people and Specter is in chemo. At least Specter has an excuse.

Right on Amy! I hope the bastard reads it too. And they say that Democrats and liberals hate freedoms. Those assholes, want to destroy freedoms.

Things have been creepy.

At 6/21/2005 1:11 PM , Blogger Brandon said...


by Brandon Alexander Geraghty
Brian J. Sinclaire

Imagine that you just learned that your two sons are drug addicts. Now imagine that one of them is a chronic alcoholic, the other is a heroine addict. Clearly you know that both of your children need the same kind or at least a similar kind of help, and you, being a good parent, would undoubtedly want to get them into the best possible treatment programs that you could possibly afford. Unfortunately, that may not be possible in the future, because of Draconian legislation from Representative Jim Sensenbrenner (Republican, 5th District Wisconsin). That's right, dear readers: thanks to yet another imbecilic move from the far right, you might only be able to obtain treatment for one of your sons, the one who is using society’s legal drug of choice. The other could be sent to prison--and you with him.

As a part of the Orwellian named “SAFE ACCESS TO DRUG TREATMENT AND CHILD PROTECTION ACT,” family members who learn that their loved ones have drug problems may well be required to turn their loved ones into the police within 24 hours of learning that the problem exists. Moreover, the act, if passed might well require you to take an active part in obtaining information on your loved one, perhaps even going so far as to wear a wire tap as you entrap your family member. At the very least you would be required to testify against your loved one in a court of law. Failure to report the alleged abuse could result in a two year, minimum, mandatory sentence: not for the addict in question, but for you as a parent or for other family members for not snitching on your family!

And it gets better. Imagine that you actually DO get your son into a treatment program and that you haven’t been arrested. If, while going through withdrawal, your heroin-addicted son should actually ask you, or a friend, or a family member to get him some drugs, your son could be arrested, and if found guilty sent to prison for a mandatory minimum of five years—simply because he had asked someone to get him some damned drugs. Indeed, the bill goes so far as to impose the same penalty on anyone who has gone through drug counseling in the past and who asks someone to get them drugs. Supposedly intended to go after dealers and upper level criminals, this foolish measure goes so far as to create new categories of crimes and creates new mandatory sentences for a wide range of federal offenses, including those which are non drug related, the 24 hour snitch provision being only the worst in a long list of Draconian measures.

Of course, no one wants to see young people or anyone else involved with drugs, but the SAFE ACCESS TO DRUG TREATMENT AND CHILD PROTECTION ACT (which should have been called the JIM SENSENBRENNER NO CHILD GETS TREATED ACT) goes so far as to draft every American into the War on Drugs.

Before I say anything else, I need to remind our readers that my mother was a chronic alcoholic and drug addict, so I am in no way advocating the recreational use of drugs and alcohol. I’ve seen, first hand, how this stuff can devastate families and individuals alike, and I can tell you right now that this act will only have a harmful effect on the very people that it has been created to help. I attend Al Anon meetings. Basically this is a 12 step program for the friends and family of alcoholics, By the same token, I have a half brother, Brian, a recovering alcoholic/drug addict who has been clean for several months and who attends Alcoholics Anonymous on a regular basis. This may come as a shock to Mister Sensenbrenner, but during the course of those meetings individuals frequently talk about drug abuse. Sometimes the drug abuse that they are talking about is their own. In other cases they talk about the abuse of others. And with an act like Mister Sensenbrenner’s in force, AA and Al Anon members could quite literally be transformed into criminals for merely seeking professional help. Which raises another question: Would psychologists and psychiatrists be required to turn in drug-addicted patients? It’s hard to say. The act is written so broadly and so vaguely that this could be a very real possibility.

The upshot to all of this is obvious. The SENSENBRENNER NO CHILD GETS TREATED ACT will only create more misery than it will cure. By effectively requiring health care professionals to snitch on their patients, by requiring members of 12 step programs to snitch on their fellow members; and, by requiring friends and family to snitch on their loved ones, Mister Sensenbrenner is creating a situation in which addicts will be less inclined to seek help; the overall effect being a smaller number of people who are willing to seek treatment. Somehow, I don’t think this is the result situation Mister Sensenbrenner wants to create.

Moreover, we have been fighting this drug war for the better part of thirty years, and while we’ve been chipping away at our Fourth and Fifth Amendment Rights to fight this war, the demand for drugs continues to go up while the price for drugs appears to be at an all time low. And yet, the drug epidemic continues. No matter how much we bastardize our constitution, we still have widespread abuse and all the far right can offer is yet another bastardization of our constitutional rights which will inevitably lead to more addiction, death, crime, and misery. Why, if you didn’t know better, you’d say that the war on drugs was just an excuse to wage war on the Bill of Rights and on personal liberties in general; an excuse for the Powers That Be in Washington and the various State capitols to harass and persecute those individuals who aren’t quite as white as the ruling class. Of course, it should be stated that America approaches drug addiction as if it were a criminal issue, while in Great Britain and Western Europe the approach is quite different; there drug addiction is viewed as a public health issue. Great Britain actually went so far as to set up treatment clinics where addicts were given maintenance shots. The end result is that approximately 60 percent of these people went back to work. Here in America we lock them up and offer little in the way of treatment.

Again, you need to ask "why?"

Why would we embrace a model which is clearly not working? The answer is simple. Politicians love to run on “get tough,” “first strike your out,” platforms, and perhaps, more to the point, the model has proven useful for those with a hidden, anti-constitutional agenda. The war on drugs has proven, useful in the extreme to radical right wingers who think that Americans have too many rights, and the JIM SENSENBRENNER NO CHILD GETS TREATED ACT is just another assault on the liberties of the American people. Think about it. Does this not sound a little like Nazi Germany, or Soviet Russia, where children were actively encouraged to spy on their parents for having the wrong kinds of political thoughts? Does this not suggest that individuals like Mister Sensenbrenner spent so much time fighting and obsessing over the evil, Soviet Empire that they embraced the tactics and policies of the enemy they hated the most?

If the SENSENBRENNER NO CHILD GETS TREATED ACT makes little sense from a civil rights perspective, it makes even less sense from a law enforcement perspective. Never mind the fact that it makes a mockery out of probable cause. Under the wrong circumstances this could become the modern day equivalent of the Salem Witch Hunts. People will invariably seek their own form of vengeance. You could easily see situations where the Simpsons are upset because the Martins aren’t keeping their lawn free of dandelions and Creeping Charlie, prompting the Simpsons to make a nuisance call to the local authorities: “Their lawn is full of weeds, oh and by the way, we heard that Mister Martin gave his wife a few joints.” In other words, you could end up with a witch hunt mentality in which neighbors accuse other neighbors of drug abuse, merely as a means to settle old grudges. Your local police department could find itself flooded by all sorts of crank calls and false accusations. To make the situation even worse, we quite literally have police departments which are afraid to go after drug dealers because they, the police, are afraid of retaliation against themselves or their family members; and now Mister Sensenbrenner is asking the average, untrained, American citizen to put his or her life on the line when law enforcement has been reluctant to do the same.

As I suggested above, the Orwellian-named SAFE ACCESS TO DRUG TREATMENT AND CHILD PROTECTION ACT offers little in the way of treatment, but a lot in the way of punishment and it does little to help parents whose children might have a drug problem. Leave it to the Radical Right Wing Republicans to create yet another bill which does the opposite of what its name suggests.

At 6/21/2005 1:12 PM , Blogger Brandon said...

Sorry about the long comment, but Sensenbrenner is one of our Representatives from here in Wisconsin. This was a huge disappointment because he had a few doubts about the Patriot Act but now seems to be doing the George W. Bush Goosestep.


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