The Center for Public Integrity reports that John Ashcroft's staff "is preparing a bold, comprehensive sequel to the USA Patriot Act." The Center has obtained a draft of the bill and is making it available.

It's bad. Very bad. David Cole, a law prof at Georgetown, tells the Center that it would "radically expand law enforcement and intelligence gathering authorities, reduce or eliminate judicial oversight over surveillance, authorize secret arrests, create a DNA database based on unchecked executive 'suspicion,' create new death penalties, and even seek to take American citizenship away from persons who belong to or support disfavored political groups." Don't believe him? Judge for yourself.

This is, of course, merely a draft. Jim Henley of Unqualified Offerings hypothesizes that "the Justice Department leaked the maximalist version on purpose. That way, after all the outrage and compromise, they'll get a 'moderate' version that will still be plenty bad." If that sounds too cynical to you, consider the alternative: that the administration wants to pass the entire bill. Which is worse?

NEXT: Internment

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  1. Does anyone else think John Ashcroft is the most dangerous man in Washington these days? I agree with his position on the second amendment, and that’s about where it ends. Otherwise I think this guy is the biggest threat to liberty I’ve seen in my life time. Hopefully there’s not enough hard right-wing republicans in congress to pass everything he’s asking for.

  2. Sebastian, yes, while I am moderately supportive of Bush’s policies, I do believe Ashcroft is a sheer menace. And I’m pretty parsimonious with characterizations such as that.

  3. In a word: Jesus.

    I’m dreaming, right? Someone tell me I’m dreaming. That it can actually be THIS bad is…it’s cognitive overload. It does not compute. “E”. Critical Exception Error.

    This system has caused an illegal exception error and must be shutdown.

    If only there could be some big horrid uproar leading to mass firing of those actually, truly involved…

  4. Me too Sebastian. I voted for Dubya and am generally supportive of him, but Ashcroft creeps me out.

    I don’t think any sort of Patriot Act II would pass now. The first one happened right after 9/11 when Congress was desperate to “do something” – always a dangerous situation. Now I think all sorts of people would come together to fight this. The griping about Ashcroft has not come exclusively from the left and I think a lot of libertarian-leaning conservative types would not support this. I think. . . hope. . .

    Jeez, how long does the typical Attorney General stay on the job? I keep hoping he might retire or something. The idea of an Attorney General that doesn’t seem to have the slightest concern for the Constitution is terrifying.

  5. Sorry to everyone else who finds Lefty as shrill and irritating as I do, but I have to agree with him on this point. George W. Bush has never had any kind of genuine libertarian tendencies, even if some of his economic policies are consistent with libertarian viewpoints. His administration has been much more in line with the Christian Right, which is precisely why he appointed a nutjob like Ass-KKKroft.

  6. Every once in a while I have to do a little test to see if I’ve gotten too cynical. Here’s today’s test: Is it not possible that the leaking of this proposal has some connection to today’s elevation of the terror-warning status to deer-hunter orange?

    Ok. Just the right level of cynical.

  7. Anyone who went through Straight Inc. would understand this is just the next logical step toward making the country nothing more than a very large ‘group'(as we called ourselves).

    We had no rights, and the people in control liked it that way, and the same people are intimately involved in the highest levels of this administration today.

    Cynical? No. Just a clear memory of the torture we suffered, and a clear idea of what is to come for the rest of you too.

  8. That just pisses me off.

    Ok, all at once, think fingers on a chalk board.

    Now, that’s better.

  9. Ah, the good old days. Remember when everybody thought a blow job was the worst thing that could happen?

    Here’s a link to Larry King’s interview with Clinton.

  10. Does Al Gore post to this page? Gee, big guy…GET OVER IT. YOU LOST FAIR AND SQUARE.

    OK. That rant completed, Ashcroft gets a little scarier every time he speaks. W. needs to fire his ass.

  11. If this happens, I personally think that it’ll be time for a revolution. Politicians have gotten too powerful, gov’t has gotten too big, and the people have been marginalized. I’ve heard the fringes talking about revolution for years (don’t they always), but something like this might just start to push people over the edge. But of course by that time, nobody will be allowed to buy a gun, and if you do, they’ll already be monitoring you for “possible terrorist activities”.

  12. Here’s another comforting thought. Bush designated U.S. Attorney-General John Ashcroft to stay away from his State of the Union speech, making Ashcroft the successor to head the government should catastrophe strike at the Capitol.

  13. It’s times like this that legislative immunity really pisses me off. All we should need is two witnesses standing in Congress watching the vote…

  14. OK everybody…time to get up now. Who do you think installed this monster? Couldn’t have been the same faux-president who installed himself!

  15. Does it make sense to organize a pressure campaign to get Ashcroft impeached by Congress or fired?

  16. The sheeple make their voices heard yet again, via the post of anonymous “Posted by” above!

    I’m sure when the the “Enabling Act” gave Hitler dictatorial powers after the Reichstag fire, there were plenty of good Germans who “had no problem with it.” After all, “we’re under attack, we’ve got to do SOMETHING, everything has changed, if you’ve got nothing to hide you don’t have to worry,” etc., etc., BAAAA BAAAA BAAA!!!

    It’s thanks to those of us who HAVE “had a problem” with the filthy fucking jackboots over the last two hundred years that our anonymous friend has any liberties at all. I guess this is another case of what welfare economists call the “free rider problem.”

  17. More death penalties, losing citizenship, etc. This is like one long continuing nightmare. Could it be that the terrorist attacks will destroy America, by causing us to destroy ourselves?
    I am seriously considering moving to Australia.

  18. As long as he doesn’t kill the citizens with CBW, I have no problem with it.

  19. I don’t entirely trust Dubya, but Ashcroft just plain CREEPS me out!!! Better pray that nothing “happens” to Bush, because if it does and we end up with Ashcroft as acting “president” in any form we are FUCKED!!!

  20. Beam me up Scotty. Scotty? Scotty? Beam me the Fuck up Please!

  21. EMAIL:
    DATE: 01/27/2004 01:17:44
    Underestimation is a two-way street.

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