Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
United States Your Rights Online

Congress Expands FBI Powers 954

Posted by simoniker
from the expansion-of-patriotism dept.
Dave writes "Well, since the Patriot Act II never got off the ground, looks like Congress has done the Justice Department a favor, according to Wired News, and added in some of the most controversial provisions into a non-descript intelligence spending bill. Now the FBI can subpoena information about you from practically any business or organization - without approval or permission from a judge, and with a gag order on the targeted organization. These spending bills are generally considered confidential and usually are not subject to public debate, so despite the far-reaching implications of these new powers, it's not being publicized like the Patriot Act was. Time to get out my patriotic hat and pin before it's too late."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Congress Expands FBI Powers

Comments Filter:
  • who can stop this? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by hawkbug (94280) <psx@fimblCOFFEEe.com minus caffeine> on Monday November 24, 2003 @03:47PM (#7550510) Homepage
    When is somebody going to stand up and say enough is enough? A better question is, who CAN stand up to this? I don't know enough about how laws like this get passed without consent from the citizens of this country, so I would simply like to know who I can write and bitch to so this doesn't happen.
  • by ScooterBill (599835) * on Monday November 24, 2003 @03:50PM (#7550557)
    I guess the administration couldn't get their way by "taking it to the people" so they just said "fuck the people" and did it anyway.

    I am saddened and ashamed of our government. While I don't expect to like everything the government does, I do expect to have a government that operates in the open. Otherwise we're no better than the corrupt regimes that we criticise.

    M
  • by deque_alpha (257777) <qhartman.gmail@com> on Monday November 24, 2003 @03:52PM (#7550598) Journal
    We (meaning people who are afraid of what the gov't is doing and are at least a little politically minded, not just /. readers) need to figure out how to get more people to care about their civil liberties and realize that the current government is taking them away. Until enough people are upset about this, it will not stop untill it is too late. Unfortunately, I don't believe Joe Sixpack will care about this until it starts affecting his fast food and TV viewing habits, and even then I think he'll be pretty accepting of it. I saw a bumper sticker recently, though obviously meant to be sarcastic, seemed to sum up the feelings that most people have on this topic: "That's OK, I wasn't using my civil liberties anyway."

    How can we help put the implications of things like this in face of more people and move them to action? It seems like an impossible task...
  • by pr0t0plasm (183810) <pr0t0plasmNO@SPAMluckymud.org> on Monday November 24, 2003 @03:57PM (#7550653) Homepage
    If you assume that there was ever any substance to the 'smaller government' rhetoric, then this administration has been a great betrayal of Republican ideals.

    If, however, you view the singular goal of the Republican party as the expropriation of taxpayer wealth for the enrichment of the entrenched industrial elite, and all of the cultural conservatism and libertarian rhetoric as tactics to achieve this goal, then this has been the most successful Republican administration ever.

  • by GillBates0 (664202) on Monday November 24, 2003 @03:57PM (#7550655) Homepage Journal
    Man, every time I see a story like this (and about the RIAA, DMCA, the Patriot Act, the misdoings of the Dept. of Homeland Security), I go one notch up in believing John Titor [johntitor.com].

    The link to that site has been posted quite a few times in /.'s discussions. He claimed that he was a Time Traveller from 2036. Among the "predictions" he made back in 2000, was the Black hole research at CERN, the Chinese Man mission, the Iraq war, the Columbia disaster, and most importantly the VAST increase in powers that the US Government gave itself to suppress citizens.

    The last one supposedly leads to a US Civil war in 2004. I might have laughed at his posts in 2000, but with these more and more frightening developments, I can't help but wonder.

    An interesting read nevertheless.

  • by surprise_audit (575743) on Monday November 24, 2003 @03:59PM (#7550677)
    A better question is, who CAN stand up to this?

    They can only acquire information that exists... As more people and organisations become aware that this is happening, more information will become "disconnected" - for example, ISPs will only record that Mr.Sixpack paid $X for Internet service, but there will be no record of the websites he visited, or the people he exchanges email with. Corporate policies will require that logs of all kinds only be kept as aggregate numbers, if at all.

    Alternatively, people will realize that you can fight fire with fire, and every possible item of data will be recorded, on paper, so that if the Powers-That-Be subpoena information, they'd get a response that would make SCO's million lines of printout look trivial.

  • Prosecution (Score:2, Interesting)

    by shystershep (643874) * <bdshepherdNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Monday November 24, 2003 @04:00PM (#7550688) Homepage Journal
    Well, I was going to write that at least they couldn't prosecute you for anything they found without a court-approved warrant, but unfortunately that's not true. It may be information about you, but if it's not in your possession it is not a "search" that triggers your 4th Amendment protections. At least under existing law, I don't think that subpoena-ing your ISP would be considered a "search" -- just like if you had friend hold your plans for world domination (along with the crack you were going to sell to finance said plans) and they got searched by the FBI, you'd be out of luck as far as griping about the search.

    But, hey, if you don't have anything to hide, what are you worried about?

  • Re:More? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Frymaster (171343) on Monday November 24, 2003 @04:00PM (#7550698) Homepage Journal
    it's not like the fbi wasn't running amok yesterday though... yesterday they were justifying spying on anti-war prosters by claiming that lawful dissent was potentially terrorism. their big argument to support this assertion? anti-war demonstrators have attended "training camps"... and terrorists often attend "training camps". ergo: protesters == terrorists.

    don't trust me. trust the sf chroncial

    fbi scrutinizing anti-war protestors [sfgate.com]

    choice quote:

    Particularly chilling, he said, was the use of the phrase "training camps'' to describe instruction on nonviolence given to demonstrators. That phrase is often used to describe terrorist training sites.

    i predict with these new powers the fbi will be surveilling all suspiscious "training camp" attendees such as major league baseball players.

  • by proj_2501 (78149) <mkb@ele.uri.edu> on Monday November 24, 2003 @04:01PM (#7550703) Journal
    threaten to donate to his competition's campaign.
    threaten to vote against him
    start donating to his campaign when he does something right
  • by attonitus (533238) on Monday November 24, 2003 @04:09PM (#7550800)
    If one assumes that the aim of legislation like this is not just to create a technocratic totalitarian state, and that it has some value to investigating authorities, then there are limits that should be put on it.

    For example, time-limited disclosure. If the FBI think that I'm channeling funds to a terrorist organisation and want to get hold of my paypal records to check on that then fair enough. And if they don't want me to know that they've tried to do it, then fair enough too. Until they establish that I'm not a terrorist. At which point, I want to know what's been happening. So have time-limited secrecy. By default, any use of these powers could be disclosed 3 months (say) after it occurred, unless the investigators have appealled to a higher authority to keep it secret.

    Frivolous abuse of power is then discouraged (because every investigation that fails to find anything interesting is published) and systematic abuse of power is at least partly discouraged (because if you want to cover up what's happening, you're going to have to get a judge to agree to it after 3 months).

  • Very nice. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by pmz (462998) on Monday November 24, 2003 @04:09PM (#7550802) Homepage

    1) FBI can subpoena information about you from practically any business or organization

    2) without approval or permission from a judge

    3) a gag order on the targeted organization

    4) spending bills are generally considered confidential and usually are not subject to public debate

    5) not being publicized

    Goddammit, why is it that so much of the science fiction I read is coming true? Just recently, I decided to read Starship Troopers, where the whole damn book is about how the 20th century democracies failed leading to a system that voluntary military service had to be completed before a person became a citizen.

    I won't even mention 1984 (oops) or Farenheight 451 (oops again!).

    This shit has been predicted for over 50 years, now! The visionaries spoke and were ignored.

  • Free and democratic? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by quacking duck (607555) on Monday November 24, 2003 @04:10PM (#7550823)
    Not intending this to be a troll, but something about Bush's speeches always grated on me. I finally figured out why: his prolific use of words like "freedom" and "democracy". Not so much that he said them but the sheer frequency of its usage.

    What bugged me was that he feels he needs to keep saying it. Ever notice that China is officially the "People's Republic of China" despite very little representation for or by the people? Then there's the "Democratic Republic of Congo", which isn't democratic. And let's not forget the "Democratic People's Republic of [North] Korea"--a 2-for-1 deal there.

    My 2 cents: the more someone feels the need to use rhetoric to hammer a point, the less that point happens to be true.
  • who's more paranoid? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 24, 2003 @04:15PM (#7550889)
    going thru these posts, you guys are more paranoid about the government than any soccer mom is that she'll be the next target of bin laden.

    yes, the government is playing 'big brother,' seeing what books you read in the library. that's why they said in septermber they've NEVER [cbsnews.com] used this power of the patriot act.

    i'll admit the possibilities are scary, but you've gotta have some faith in your government. especially with a matter that is temporary (remember, pat act has an expiration date).

  • by bill_mcgonigle (4333) * on Monday November 24, 2003 @04:18PM (#7550928) Homepage Journal
    It appears as though armed rebellion is a right enshrined in the constituition.

    Only in New Hampshire:
    [Art.] 10. [Right of Revolution.]
    Government being instituted for the common benefit, protection, and security, of the whole community, and not for the private interest or emolument of any one man, family, or class of men; therefore, whenever the ends of government are perverted, and public liberty manifestly endangered, and all other means of redress are ineffectual, the people may, and of right ought to reform the old, or establish a new government. The doctrine of nonresistance ag ainst arbitrary power, and oppression, is absurd, slavish, and destructive of the good and happiness of mankind.
    June 2, 1784
    C'mon up, the snow's just about to start.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 24, 2003 @04:21PM (#7550958)
    The "hype" that you so casually brush to the side is the fact that the government is simply making itself less and less accountable for its actions. Do you have the slightest clue as to why the Constitution was drafted the way it was? The limiting power it (supposedly) has? It's to keep government from growing out of control. Unfortunately things like the 4th Amendment are considered relics these days, where fear and the wreckless pursuit of "security" are at the forefront.

    Regardless if anyone has been "harrassed" or not (and they have already, and don't get me started on civil asset forfeiture laws) the government will continue down this path, and I don't see the voting population of this country seeing too much of a problem with it. By the time they will it will be too late.
  • Stop Bush Protests (Score:0, Interesting)

    by CGP314 (672613) <CGPNO@SPAMColinGregoryPalmer.net> on Monday November 24, 2003 @04:22PM (#7550970) Homepage
    I was in the London protests against Bush last week, and it's stuff like this that makes me glad I picked the 'Shamed by your stance on civil liberties' poster.

    Here is an article I wrote [colingregorypalmer.net] about the experience for those interested.
  • VOTE THIRD PARTY (Score:2, Interesting)

    by fallen1 (230220) on Monday November 24, 2003 @04:37PM (#7551205) Homepage
    Yes, Virginia, you do have a choice! No, voting third party is NOT wasting a vote and if you can educate your friends on this point then you and I and the other people who think outside the FBI directed box can make a difference. With enough third party candidates in office, the scales can tip. Look into libertarian, green, and other party systems. Vote independant. Write in. Unless the state you live in has some inane requirements for putting a third party on the ballot to be voted on (in which case lobby - yeah, I hate to use that word in a way - to get the law changed to make it easier for third party candidates to be put on the ballots) then you DO have a choice. Exercise. Send a message to the "good-old-boy two part system" by putting someone else in office. Hell, that is just what the current American government system needs is a nice wake-up call that the current two party system is fscked and new blood is needed.

    Whew, sorry about the mini-rant there.
  • by saha (615847) on Monday November 24, 2003 @04:40PM (#7551258)
    I would like to encourage you to watch this great lecture streamed through the internet. Prof. David D. Cole of Georgetown University Law Center explores the parallels between the first Red Scare, the era of McCarthyism and todays equivalent... terrorism. If you have a good internet connection with Real player and an hour of your time, I would recommend catching this enlightening lecture. To learn how denying the civil liberties of others may later trample on your very on liberties and rights in the future. Parts of the original Patroit Act are in this lecture as well.

    "Freedom and Terror: September 11th and the 21st Century Challenge Freedom"
    by Professor David D. Cole, Georgetown University Law Center
    Real Player stream [umich.edu]

    The lecture is available by webstream on demand:
    http://www.umich.edu/~sacua/webstream.htm

    For more information on the Academic Freedom Lecture
    Series please see:
    http://www.umich.edu/~sacua/AFL/afllecture.html
    ----

    "THEY CAME FIRST for the Communists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist.
    THEN THEY CAME for the Jews, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew.
    THEN THEY CAME for the trade unionists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't trade unionists.
    THEN THEY CAME for the Catholics, and I didn't speak up because I was a Protestant.
    THEN THEY CAME for me, and by that time no one was left to speak up."

    Martin Niemoeller, Lutheran Pastor.
  • by Groovus (537954) on Monday November 24, 2003 @04:41PM (#7551275)
    The problem is, this bill has already been passed. We never saw it comming. Certainly writing now will let your congresspeople know your concerns, but it's too late for this one. That's the real stench of this, it got snuck in and the public didn't even know it was being voted on.

    I know we have a wonderful history of attaching riders and pork barrel legislation in congress, but isn't it about time we took steps to abolish such things? I have a hard time seeing any benefit to such practices anymore. Bills should address a single problem, should be clearly named/described, and should always be made available for public analysis - The U.S. government has much more capacity to ruin the lives of U.S. citizens than any band of "terrorists" ever will, there is no justification for refusal of public disclosure of laws or proposed laws affecting U.S. citizens, period. There is no valid reason for a spending bill to have this kind of legislation attached, period.

    In relation to this bill, I fail to see how having this additionaly capacity will help prevent "terrorism" moreso than what the FBI already has. Lack of information was not the problem in 9/11 - lack of correctly addressing the known information was. In any proposed expansion of powers such as this one should have to affirmatively answer the question "would the powers in question, if granted, have prevented an event like 9/11". The answer in this case is no, thus indicating ulterior motives for this legislation, and subsequently the undesireability of the proposed legislation.

    Then again appealing to common sense seems to have become a waste of time in regard to the U.S. government.
  • by extrarice (212683) on Monday November 24, 2003 @04:43PM (#7551305) Homepage Journal
    Quote from the Wired article:
    [quote]Justice Department officials tried earlier this year to write a bill to expand the Patriot Act. A draft -- dubbed Patriot II -- was leaked and caused such an uproar that Justice officials backed down. The new provision inserts one of the most controversial aspects of Patriot II into the spending bill.[/quote]

    Why is this process allowed? Why can an article that is completely unrelated to the bill be tacked on, and passed as a whole? "A spoon-ful of sugar helps the medicine go down", I suppose.

    Methinks tactics like this should be outlawed, as it can create a conflict of interest: "I don't really like section Z of this bill, but if I don't pass the rest of this bill my constituents will be livid and throw me out of office..."
  • by nullard (541520) <nullprogram&voicesinmyhead,cc> on Monday November 24, 2003 @04:43PM (#7551323) Journal
    Remember, Liberalism is when A gets together with B to decide how much money C should give to D. YOU'RE C !

    The Republicans do it this way:
    A gets together with B to decide how much money C should give to A and B. NOBODY'S C ! That's how we build a deficit!

    Oh, and look up liberal [reference.com]. You might want to say Democrat instead.
  • by certron (57841) on Monday November 24, 2003 @04:44PM (#7551335)
    Should I be replying to this? I've read most of the site before, and decided, for my mental well-being, to just accept it as a parable, a bizarre, well-crafted Libertarian dream-come-true. I have to say, my mental well-being is slowly declining...

    Want more disturbing news? Bush just signed a $401.3 billion defense bill. (Defense? Attack? whatever...) Included in the bill: "Lifts a decade-old ban on research into low-yield nuclear weapons and authorizes $15 million for continued research into a powerful nuclear weapon capable of destroying deep underground bunkers."

    from http://www.cnn.com/2003/ALLPOLITICS/11/24/bush.ap/ index.html
  • Re:More? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Alekzander (716609) on Monday November 24, 2003 @04:47PM (#7551389)
    Try Canada. Sure, they tax the hell out of us, but other than that, we're pretty much left alone. That being said, it scares the crap out of me to watch the US continue to pass laws that kill off the notions of freedom as laid out in your Constitution. I'm just waiting for the day that Manifest Destiny creeps back into mainstream consciousness.
  • by Hoplite3 (671379) on Monday November 24, 2003 @04:51PM (#7551434)

    So when news gets out that the government let knowledge of the 9/11 attacks sit around untouched, the public is outraged and demands a change. THEN the government changes things to allow the FBI to act quicker when presented with evidence of terrorist plans.

    Did you see how close the FBI was to finding the hijackers using the means availible to them at the time? They only failed because their REQUESTS for permission to investigate (permission from their higher-ups, not the courts) were turned down. The subjects were Saudis and therefore untouchable. No, none of the changes made by the PATRIOT act or dept of homeland security address what the failing was.

  • by Quixadhal (45024) on Monday November 24, 2003 @05:12PM (#7551721) Homepage Journal
    The big problem is that the constitution doesn't recognize money as a form of power.

    If you look at all the various checks and balances in the constitution (and the Bill of Rights), it does a wonderful job of restricting Powers and ensuring that each branch of the government has some way to control the others... except that Money can be used to override all of them.

    Sure, you have to have a majority vote by representatives to do thing X, but since those with the most money are leaning on the reps, guess which way the votes go?

    Yeah, the judicial system doesn't accept bribes... but the dockets are done via percieved urgency, and again money makes a thing seem more important, or can make lots of other things jump ahead of a thing.

    The executive branch might be ok, but in each place that government money is controlled, private funding and personal wealth of the members can be used, and thus again ensure that money wins.

    Until some way to control the amount of money spent on a given bit of legislation (or to bury it) is found... that will be how things work. The only hope of the common man is that ENOUGH of us all stop spending LONG enough to have a noticeable impact on the wallets of these people. Not an easy thing to do in this day and age.
  • by I8TheWorm (645702) on Monday November 24, 2003 @05:20PM (#7551808) Journal
    I don't have a very strong opinion about how the last day at the Waco compound should have been handled. However, being a Texan, I have tons of opinions about how it should have been handled leading up to the disaster on the final day.

    I didn't post any links regarding Clarke's involvement, because I thought it would be common knowledge by anyone who's read up on him. He was the commandant at Ft. Hood at the time, and authorized use of military vehicles and personnel for use by the ATF, which is a violation of federal law. You can find information here [indymedia.org], here [209.157.64.200], or if you prefer threads, here [209.157.64.200], or if you would rather trust conglomerate media, you're on your own, as I don't hit any of those sites. You could probably google [google.com] if you like though.

    About how Waco was handled in the first place though...

    The ATF went to Waco to serve an arrest warrant, although no ATF agent has ever been able to provide who actually had the warrant in hand at trial or to any congressional committee. Were the 5 family dogs shot before or after attempting to show someone this warrant? How would helicoptors aid in facilitating the peaceful service of a search warrant? And why would you need 76 agents if you're peacefully serving a warrant? Usually (here in Texas) Constables or Marshalls serve warrants, why the ATF? If they weren't planning on peacefully serving the warrant, where's the evidence that Koresh had arms inside (he did, but no evidence was ever provided during inquiries or trials by the ATF, which would have been required to secure the warrant)? Why did they open fire as soon as Koresh opened the door while waving his empty hands and saying "Wait, let's talk, there are women and children in here"?

    Yes, Koresh was a loony, but there was an agenda in place for dealing with him already, and it included tanks, APCs, and personnel from Ft. Hood. If you're in charge of a military base, nothing leaves it without your consent. And in my mind, that makes Wesley Clarke a bad person.
  • Come to Australia! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Xaria (630117) on Monday November 24, 2003 @05:24PM (#7551856)
    Bring the tech companies over here instead! I could use the work :)

    Seriously, though, I can't believe what you guys call "freedom". We don't technically have "freedom of speech" over here, so it's not legal to insult people all over the place, but I haven't had a problem with that yet. And you can always call your politicians a bunch of bastards over here and everyone will laugh and agree with you. Besides, voting is compulsory. You think that's a bad thing? It's against the law to not be allowed out of work to vote. Everyone gets their say, because they have to. You might not like that, I think it's fantastic.

    Of course, Australia's been grovelling to the US a lot lately. Bunch of Tall Poppies, the lot of you! :P

    Don't mod me down, making fun of people is the Australian way! It's fun! :)
  • by poot_rootbeer (188613) on Monday November 24, 2003 @05:30PM (#7551924)
    Does anyone care to guess how many violations or abuses that have been uncovered where a private citizens rights have been violated?

    Did anyone guess Zero? Because thats exactly how many violations there have been.


    I don't think very highly of the ill-informed knee-jerk reactionaries and scaremongers that tend to populate every YRO story here, but I don't find this rebuttal to their rhetoric any more convincing.

    We can't know whether the Patriot Act powers have ever been abused or not. All we can know is that zero abuses of the Patriot Act HAVE BEEN UNCOVERED.

    No matter how many eyes it has on it, Open source software can still contain bugs. Open government is no different.

    I still think they're both generally better than the alternatives.
  • by Sylver Dragon (445237) on Monday November 24, 2003 @06:57PM (#7552717) Journal
    second, missles turn guns into blobs of steel, so what use is a gun if your facing the turret of a tank coming up your front lawn?

    So, you do the same thing the VC did. Hide, wait for the tank crew to get out of the tank, and then kill them. Quite simple, and effective. Really, if there was a popular revolt in the US (and I mean more than some whack job malitia), it would be a meat grinder for both sides. Remeber, how do you tell a good loyal american from one who is pretending to be loyal, until he shoots you? You can't. If there is an armed revolt in America, it will be fought in a very similar manner as the Vietnam conflict. You will have a populous that doesn't really like the military that is trying to control it, who can hide in plain sight, and the more damage the military does to the enemy, and to infrasructure, the more people it turns against itself, and the more damage it does to its own infrastructure.
    This is why the government having files on everyone is so dangerous. If open, armed, revolt ever becomes necessary, and the government has files that give it a pretty good clue about who the dissidents are going to be, the people lose the advantage of being able to hide in a crowd. The war would be over before it ever got started. Also, it will be advantagous for the revolutionaries, if there are plenty of weapons just lying about, and they don't have to storm a government base for them.
    Sure, if it comes down to it, a revolt is going to kill lots of people; but let's not give up their greatest advantage before the war even starts.

  • by Midnight Thunder (17205) on Monday November 24, 2003 @07:15PM (#7552857) Homepage Journal
    A big problem is that a large part of the American population has a black and white view. It is either white or black, it is either good or evil. In reality things happend in large number of grays. The catch is this is too subtle for people who are used to a binary approach. We need to encourage people to look amongst the grays and feel comfortable choosing from them. This is where many countries in Europe differ from the USA, since they have a large number of parties and people vote across the board, unless there is one thorny issue that really gets people's back against the wall.

    There almost needs to a website put together that people can access that lists the stand points of the various political parties. That way people can have an unbiast view as to what each party is striving for. The site should also include the policatical history of laws that were brought in and what the voting position of each party was.
  • hah (Score:3, Interesting)

    by cybercuzco (100904) on Monday November 24, 2003 @07:40PM (#7553045) Homepage Journal
    Just remember, if you stop spending money like sheep, the terrorists win, but if you give up your freedoms in exchange for "security" they dont.
  • by gcaseye6677 (694805) on Monday November 24, 2003 @08:39PM (#7553509)
    If you are in a public place, you can be videotaped by anyone, as you have no reasonable expectation of privacy. If someone wants to videotape police actions but are worried about a tape being confiscated, they should have the VCR seperate from the camera, connected wirelessly. Then they would still have the tape, showing the camera being smashed. News reporters would eat that up.
  • My Letter (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 25, 2003 @01:03AM (#7555473)
    This was sent to my various representatives.... Write physical letters and let them know this is not acceptable. I'm about as fed up with this crap as I can be.

    Hon. Jim Talent:
    I was outraged today to read reports stating that several of the most controversial provisions of the Patriot II bill had been passed despite the negative public debate surrounding the original bill. These provisions include: Expanding the definition of financial institutions to include a wide range of commercial and retail transactions. Another item is the elimination of Congressional reporting on intelligence and antidrug effectiveness. A third measure being the elimination of Congressional reporting of how often National Security Letters (NSLs) are used. By quietly passing these provisions within a spending bill for the Justice Department, It seems to have been moved through Congress in a manor that attempts to minimize public exposure and debate.

    I cannot express the level of disappointment that I feel in this matter. The cunning manor these provisions were passed in chills my faith in this governments ability to reflect the will of its sovereign, the people. I am tired of reading the news and finding yet another public figure claiming that more of my rights must be set aside to fight terrorism. What returns have we seen from all that has been "given" so far? Yet we are asked, nay told, to give up more. We are given only empty assurances that these provisions will only be used on those who are evil; the innocent have nothing to fear from warrantless searches. So little have we to fear in fact that congress will not even require them to report on how often they use these powers.

    There seems to be a fundamental shift in the way our government operates today -- the notion that the government "grants" us rights that can be suspended when it so desires seems to be prevalent. This is However, a careful study of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution reveals the intent of our founders that rights are granted by virtue of being human and can only be denied under very limited circumstances. I believe that with erosions such as these Patriot provisions those circumstances are no longer limited, and the line that divided us from the nations that we feared and ridiculed for their lack of human rights only decades ago is vanishing.

    The current administration and much of my party (Republicans) seem to be unable to represent my interests any longer. In this case they can't even seem to bow to the collective will of this country. The message being sent to the public is clear: If the public dissent grows too loud, then table controversial legislation and pass it's provisions later in secret. This behavior does not inspire confidence in the political process. This President and his administration have lost my vote, and It can not be brought back. I cannot support an administration that treats our rights as an impediment to be overcome. Additionally, any of my representatives who supported this method of passing these provisions have lost my vote as well. I will be working to educate all that I know that this was done and who was responsible.

    I hope this nation's leadership can turn this ship around. When I look at this country today and consider all the freedoms that have vanished since I was young; it does not make me proud. In fact, it saddens and angers me greatly. I would hope it does you as well.

The speed of anything depends on the flow of everything.

Working...