Washington's Assault on America

Foreign terrorists are not the only ones assaulting Americans. Try our own congress.

In a furious haste, trying to posture politically and look like they were "doing something" about stopping terrorism, our Washington lawmakers have just rammed a liberty-crushing, privacy-invading, democracy-busting, bureaucracy-fattening mish-mash of new police powers down our throats. They cynically titled it the "USA Patriot Act," but real patriots like Sam Adams, George Washington, Thomas Paine, Old Ben Franklin, Jimmy Madison, and Tom Jefferson would gag and upchuck at the mere sight of this package of anti-democratic nastiness.

You've likely heard that this law gives police sweeping new authority to search our homes and computers, new ways to listen-in on our phone conversations and emails, and new power to arrest us without any charges. But you might not have heard that obscure provisions in this act shifts the FBI's primary mission from solving crimes to domestic surveillance ---- it's now to be an internal spy agency. Worse, the Washington Post reports that the law also empowers the CIA, for the first time, to snoop on citizens in this country, even allowing the agency to use the secret, nearly-unlimited, star-chamber powers of federal grand juries.

What they've created here is a massive spying apparatus of unprecedented scope that essentially is authorized to violate civil liberties wholesale, going far beyond the narrow focus on terrorists who operate here. Forget legal finesse, this thing is a sledgehammer, and it's our Constitution that they're pounding. One of Attorney General John Ashcroft's hit-men for gutting our civil liberties with this law blithely told the Post that our freedoms have to give way to police power: "We are going to have to get used to a new way of thinking," he said.

This is Jim Hightower saying ... No thank you. The freedoms that the founders put in place are not trifles to be tossed whenever autocrats find them inconvenient.


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