Patriot Coalition

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Sen. Larry Craig (R-Id), Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill), the ACLU, the American Conservative Union, and others have joined up to push legislation to roll back parts of the Patriot Act that threaten civil liberties.

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  1. From the Times article: “Mr. Feingold said during a press briefing that 90 percent of the Patriot Act was sound, but that there was a strong bipartisan effort to change the remaining 10 percent.”

  2. The really amazing thing about that article is the absence of unattributed political labels used as adjectives. As a journalist myself, I’m impressed.

  3. SF:

    …(a) federal government will always take the worst, most intrusive course of action; and (b) that neither courts, nor Congress, nor the States, nor the people, will mount an effective political and practical resistance to federal overreaching.

    Your faith in the honor of government is almost entertaining. You miss the point. Who cares whether the federal government will or won’t elect the worst course of action. The PATRIOT act allows that it CAN elect the worst course of action.

    And to Rick Barton’s point, item (b) in your statement characterizes what the ACU, ACLU, plus Rep. and Dem. senators are already doing. So, what exactly are you contesting?

    Touting breathtaking disaster in the last paragraph of your post is precisely the kind of parroting of views for which you have only disdain.

  4. Never thought I’d say this, but bravo to the ACLU!

  5. Lets leverage this. Contact your congress person
    and senatores. If he or she is a Republican, mention the ACU support for ending parts of the Patriot Act. If Democrat, mention the ACLU support. Our liberty may depend on our taking action now!

  6. Actually, the Act, along with another Act (Protecting the Rights of Individuals Act) aimed at expunging the PATRIOT Act, does a lot more than the Wash Times article claims. It essentially enacts the ACLU?s wishlist from the mid-70?s, when that group was outraged that the Church Committee didn?t do enough to hamstring federal law enforcement and intelligence. The ?wall of separation? between intelligence and law enforcement will be rebuilt and strengthened, and just as prosecutors were trying to expand the PATRIOT Act anti-terrorism provisions into criminal investigations, this un-PATRIOT Act will allow criminal defendants to curtail the efforts of criminal prosecutors.

    Murray Rothbard would be thrilled.

    Of course, I?m not sure that I would want the likes of Murray Rothbard in charge of national security.

    On the positive side of the coin, it should give us an opportunity to field test Judge Bork?s theory, that another 9/11 ? scale attack will inspire an overreaction that makes PATRIOT look like an anti-jaywalking statute.

    Removing the tongue from my cheek, I wish to hell that people would read the laws that Congress is trying to pass in this area, rather than endlessly parroting other people?s talking points back and forth. PATRIOT is neither as bad as asserted by the ACLU, nor as innocent as claimed by its proponents. The vast majority of its provisions either codify acceptable but previously unregulated federal law enforcement activities, or enact much needed reforms. Only a handful of provisions can colorably be deemed a threat to civil liberties, and then only if one assumes (a) federal government will always take the worst, most intrusive course of action; and (b) that neither courts, nor Congress, nor the States, nor the people, will mount an effective political and practical resistance to federal overreaching. If the same standard was applied to the rest of the laws ? well then, we should have no laws, because all laws are subject to abuse. This reveals an essential poverty of thought on the part of PATRIOT’s critics; as Edmund Burke pointed out repeatedly, the habits and customs of a free people are generally more essential to preserving their ordered liberty than a body of law preserving their rights.

    The absolute inability of both sides to address the good and bad points of PATRIOT honestly and in depth is ultimately going to result in a disastrous hamstringing of national security investigative authority, with correspondingly disastrous results. And yes, full disclosure: I happen to agree with Judge Bork, that the backlash to the next large scale attack will be much, much worse than the minor sins of the PATRIOT Act.

  7. Stephen Fetchet says, “Removing the tongue from my cheek, I wish to hell that people would read the laws that Congress is trying to pass in this area…”

    Sticking my tongue firmly in my cheek, I wish that at least Congress would read the laws that Congress passes in this area, before voting on them. Not so PATRIOT, unfortunately (according to co-author of the anti-PATRIOT act — aka, “The Benjamin Franklin True Patriot Act” — Rep. Ron Paul).

  8. The Patriot act is a threat to our liberty even without the federal government ALWAYS taking the WORST and MOST intrusive course of action.
    Both Nixon and Clinton clearly violated the constitutional rights of others using the IRS and FBI. For both, it was not a constant pattern, but the violation was real, all the same. Also, forcing the FBI to show a suspected terrorist or spy is being targeted is just a good common sense
    precaution for making sure the Patriot Act is used
    for it’s stated purpose and not to punish dissent.

    As for the the reassurance, that we only have to worry if: “neither courts, nor Congress, nor the States, nor the people, will mount an effective political and practical resistance to federal overreaching”

    I agree, and thats what this push is all about.

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