Monday, April 17, 2006

Patriot Act Follies

You may recall from my last post that I explained that anyone now seeking a government job in Ohio or seeking to do business with the state must, by law, complete a Declaration of Material Assistance/Non-Assistance to a Terrorist Organization (DMA).

Well, it seems the A.C.L.U. has decided to fight this. Not on the grounds that it's an incredibly STUPID law (which it is) but on the grounds that the the General Assembly unfairly applied the requirement to the practice of law. Or, as quoting from the original article in Saturday's Blade:

"The suit was filed before the Ohio Supreme Court on behalf of lawyer Marc Triplett. He objected to the Bellefontaine Municipal Court’s requirement that he sign a form declaring that he has not assisted or supported a terrorism-related organization as a condition of receiving court appointments to represent indigent defendants.

"The court challenge does not go as far as challenging the law itself, but rather what it characterizes as the Ohio General Assembly’s unconstitutional application of it to the practice of law, which is regulated by the Supreme Court."

In other words, it's good that somebody's challenging the, but bad that nobody seems to care that it's an incredibly stupid fucking law!

Y'see, if you lie on the form, and you are caught, it's a fifth-degree felony, punishable by up to one year in prison. I guess the geniuses in the G.A. think the threat of prison for a year will keep potential terrorists from seeking government jobs, contracts, or certain licenses. Or from lying about their status as terrorists, when telling the truth means that they will not get the job and be reported to homeland security.

I can't believe anyone is taking this seriously. And that the people who proposed this in the first place weren't laughed out of the office of whoever has the job of making sure this sort of silly shit never gets out of committee. Has the long-time Republican-controlled Ohio Government finally gone completely off the deep end? With shit like this, it's hard to imagine otherwise.

But the best part is how the law is being defended. To quote from the same article:

"Lying on the form would constitute a fifth-degree felony, punishable by up to a year in jail. 'This is preventative,' said Greg Saul, aid to the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Jeff Jacobson (R., Vandalia). 'If it’s uncovered that they’re involved in a plot but the attack hasn’t been carried out yet, you could charge them with lying on the questionnaire,' he said. 'The whole goal is to prevent them from carrying out an attack.'"

Seriously. So, apparently, if you're a member of, say, Al Qaeda, and you apply for a state job and say that you aren't, then after you've gone into a crowded shopping mall and hosed down the place with an AK-47, they can prosecute you for lying on a government form.

I'm thinking there's probably a few other things that they may want to zing you on first...

Plus, how could they prove your membership in such an organization? After all, I seriously doubt such organizations keep membership least I've never seen any evidence that they do.

Y'know, if I hadn't seen the law with my own eyes, I'd think this was all a really bad April Fool's joke gotten way out of hand. Of course maybe it is...

Seriously. This is like something from The Daily Show. Say, that gives me an idea! I think I'll write to them about this. They would eat this shit up!

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