Is Bill Bennett the Civil Libertarian?


Speaking of balance, somehow I suspect there will not be much of it at this event:

Protecting Civil Liberties and Fighting Terrorism:
The USA Patriot Act

Speakers: William J. Bennett
Co-Director, Empower America and Senior Advisor, Americans for Victory Over Terrorism

The Hon. James Comey
Deputy Attorney General, U.S. Department of Justice

The Hon. Asa Hutchinson
Undersecretary for Border Security and Transportation, U.S. Department of Homeland Security

William J. Fox
Director, Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, U.S. Department of the Treasury

Host: Edwin Meese III
Ronald Reagan Distinguished Fellow in Public Policy and Chairman, Center for Legal and Judicial Studies, The Heritage Foundation

Date: Tuesday, May 4, 2004
Time: 9:30 a.m.
Location: The Heritage Foundation's Allison Auditorium

The USA Patriot Act is an integral part of American efforts to combat terrorism. Yet, since its passage in October 2001, it has been the subject of substantial controversy. Join us as leading policy experts and members of the Bush Administration discuss the Patriot Act and assess its implementation.

NEXT: Pill Bill Killed

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  1. The only person missing is the Drug Czar.

  2. Speaking of Czars, I think we need to follow the great lead of the EU and appoint a terrorist czar.

    I wouldn’t be suprised if that actually is mentioned at this event.

  3. Asa Hutchinson is a former Drug Czar. Maybe that’s good enough for this event.

  4. Ed Meese and Bill Bennett… The dynamic duo of enforcing morality in this, their “Christian” nation.

    I thought the Patriot Act was bad, if only because Ashcroft defended it. Now all doubt has been removed.

  5. And why would you suspect that?

    Anyway, those who think we’re all a bunch of thugs should read this paper, out last week, on the SAFE act and the Patriot Act.

  6. Incidentally, I realize I made an ad hominem fallacy by claiming to reject the Patriot Act on the basis of support from Meese, Bennett and Ashcroft. I actually reject the Act based on the text of the law and the field results, but I couldn?t resist lamb-basting our moralists in power while I?m at it.

    I?m just clarifying, lest I get attacked for not following the rules of proper debate.

  7. Will Bennett allow gambling at this event? 🙂

  8. Don’t bet on it.

  9. Why wasn’t I invited to speak about the deadly gay menace facing us?

  10. Hmm, the Senator brings up a good point. If given a little gentle prodding (double entendre intended!), a lot of Heritage Foundation folks might be able to link terrorism with gay marriage.

  11. Senator, you won’t have any time to attend their seminar. You’ll be busy introducing the anti-porn legislation that I paid you to draft. I need this porn ban to pass so I can start profiting from black-market porn!

    Then again, if you’d rather not do what I paid you to do, my boys Luigi and Shorty could always pay you a visit. Capisce?

  12. OK, kmw, what exactly, then, about the law itself and its field results?

    I’m sorry, but I still get the impression that most who reject the Patriot Act are mostly unfamiliar with it.

  13. Having members of the Bush Administration debate the usefulness of the Patriot Act is like having Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson debate whether or not Christianity is a good religion.

  14. This is in response to Mr. Grossman’s contention that most people who object to it aren’t “familiar” with the “USA PATRIOT” act. First, given the language in which the act was written, it goes without saying that the vast majority of the population (including many of our esteemed representatives, no doubt) needs an interpreter of beaurocratic legalese. Second, once this translation has been made, many people are then able to object to specifics or broad powers granted to the police state by the act. For example, the granting of the power to scour one’s records without having to prove probable cause, and being able to prevent anyone, including the target, from finding out about said investigations. That’s MY interpretation, filtered through the aforementioned translators of beaurocratic legalese.

    Now, let’s put that into a more definitive statement, courtesy of

    Without a warrant and without probable cause, the FBI now has the power to access your most private medical records, your library records, and your student records… and can prevent anyone from telling you it was done:
    -Section 215 vastly expands the FBI’s power to spy on ordinary people living in the United States, including United States citizens and permanent residents.
    -The FBI need not show probable cause, nor even reasonable grounds to believe, that the person whose records it seeks is engaged in criminal activity.
    -The FBI need not have any suspicion that the subject of the investigation is a foreign power or agent of a foreign power.
    -The FBI can investigate United States persons based in part on their exercise of First Amendment rights, and it can investigate non-United States persons based solely on their exercise of First Amendment rights.
    -For example, the FBI could spy on a person because they don’t like the books she reads, or because they don’t like the web sites she visits. They could spy on her because she wrote a letter to the editor that criticized government policy.
    -Those served with Section 215 orders are prohibited from disclosing the fact to anyone else. Those who are the subjects of the surveillance are never notified that their privacy has been compromised.
    -If the government had been keeping track of what books a person had been reading, or what web sites she had been visiting, the person would never know.

    Now, maybe my pathetic, feeble brain can’t fully process the 132 pages of beauro-speak, but that surely doesn’t mean that I (or the majority of others who oppose the USA PATRIOT act) am “not familiar” with the act. Of course, as with any issue, you get a few blowhards who are just hopping on the bandwagon, and if pressed, couldn’t really form a complete sentence on the issue, much less a coherent argument. But extrapolating that minority into “most who reject the Patriot Act are mostly unfamiliar with it” is just logically wrong.

    Subsequently, anyone who wants to read the actual text of the act, and/or would like to read some summaries and translations of the act, can find it here.

  15. It`s just another Neocon circle jerk.Maybe Ashcroft will be the pivot asshole,

  16. I am with E-Will, and the rest of our true patriots who oppose this draconian act. However, I am committed to keeping America safe, so as president, I will seek to strengthen the Patriot Act and use it to fight terrorism.

  17. I was gonna say they put William J. Fox in charge of the henhouse, until I read the idiotic statements in this forum. Evan William’s quotation of the ridiculously tendentious summation at does him no honor. And it’s pretty funny hearing Hydroman calling this another neocon circle jerk when I don’t see a single neocon scheduled at the event. Perhaps the sneerers on this forum should drop in and learn a few things.

  18. Well, Rich, it’s quite interesting that you haphazardly fire off labels such as “tendentious” (why not just say “partisan”?), yet you fail to rebut or argue a single point.

    Quite frankly, I don’t understand how the ACLU’s assessments can be called partisan. If you can offer any insight into this conclusion, it would be greatly appreciated. And if they are partisan biased, which side are they biased towards?

    It seems as though, these days, whenever someone disagrees with, or rather, doesn’t want to bother arguing against, a position, they fire off accusations of partisan bias, or tendentiousness…without any real explanation, and without any succinct rebuttal or arguments against said position. A sample goes like this:

    “Man, I disagree with the war on Iraq because the US government does not have a mandate to spread democracy around the world at the point of a gun, using our money and blood”

    “Yeah, well, you’re just saying that cuz you hate Bush!”

    And so on…

    if you’re going to levy accusations, you might think about backing them up…or actually ADDRESSING THE ISSUE!

  19. Is this what Wilson’s talking about when he calls it a “Tsarist-Occupied Government”?


    Doesn’t William Bennett count? Oops, I forgot–neocon is a codeword for “the [stage whisper] J.E.W.S.”

  20. The FBI can get my medical records without my permission, but my mom can’t.

  21. Here are the Provisions of the Patriot act that Expire on December 31, 2005 unless congress gets in the way:

    Interesting and compelling analysis from “The Electronic Frontier Foundation”:

    Info. from the ACLU, which conservatives Bob Barr and Dick Armey joined because they were so concerned with the threats to liberty contained in the Patriot Act:

    Tell your congressperson and senators not to renew the provisions of the Patriot Act set to expire. These provisions were considered such a threat to civil liberties that conservative Republicans led the fight to put sunset time limits on them!

    It is likely that if not abolished these parts of the Patriot Act will be used to punish dissent. Remember Nixon, Clinton?

    Our future liberty and that of our children may well depend on our taking action. Please Contact your representatives now:

    If you think the Bill of Rights is just so much scrap paper, and the separation of powers doctrine has outlived its usefulness, then the USA PATRIOT Act, passed overwhelmingly on Oct. 25, is the right recipe to deal with terrorists.
    On the other hand, if you are concerned about
    Fifth Amendment protection of due process, and Fourth Amendment safeguards against unreasonable searches and seizures, then you should be deeply troubled by the looming sacrifice of civil liberties at the altar of national security.

    From Robert A. Levy, Senior Fellow in Constitutional Studies, Cato Institute


    seriously, is this a fucking joke or what?

  23. god bless HIPPA

    the gov’t may find terrorist antibodies in your blood tests, so you never know how handy your charts can come in…

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