Mr. Hatch: Stop it!

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 12:47 AM

I'm about to go into a very political, controversial rant. You have been warned. [RANT MODE]Well, I've never been all that fond of Sen. Hatch. I feel like I disagree with him almost as much as Sen. McCain, only Sen. McCain is more likable. Before 9/11, when the big concern of the day was stem cell research, Sen. Hatch was for the embryonic testing, while I — if you didn't guess — was strongly opposed to the destruction of embryos for testing (thus siding with the smart thinkers, err, I mean conservatives). Now Sen. Hatch is back at it again with his absolutely idiotic push concerning modifying the USA PATRIOT ACT of 2001.

Hatch, in response to the threat that the Dems might add some stuff to a current anti-terrorism bill, is considering adding an amendment to that anti-terrorism legislation that would eliminate the sunset clause in the USA PATRIOT ACT (according to the New York Times). This will be disastrous if approved. It is a rare moment when you'll find one of my positions that more of the left agrees with than the right, but when that's the case, it shows how serious I really am.

The PATRIOT Act, is, in my opinion, one of the worst pieces of legislation ever passed. It has the potential to make McCarthy look like the nicest guy in the world. The PATRIOT Act's modifications to FISA, privacy laws, and so forth, are at best, a violation of the constitution. Worse, the changes allow the DOJ to do as it pleases without anyone to report to. The department has no responsibility to let Congress or others know what it is doing with its enhanced powers — thus there is no check to avoid corruption. Remember: Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Now, you are probably saying, but good 'ol John is running the DOJ right now, no worries! Well, I like Attorney General Ashcroft too, but he isn't going to be in there forever. Consider this: would any supporters of the PATRIOT Act support it if Janet Reno was going to be the one given the power? I doubt it. Scary image, isn't it? But, beyond that, even Ashcroft could abuse the power — no one, not even someone from the party I support, should be given such unilateral and secretive power.

As a conservative, it appalls me that my side of the aisle is supporting legislation that will increase the reach and power of the federal government. I support what my president said during the 2000 election, “I trust people, not government.” I want smaller Federal government, and smaller government in general.

Quite frankly, the problem with stopping terrorism is not the laws the PATRIOT Act seeks to push out of the way, it is the utter and unacceptable incompetence of the FBI. I'll talk more about that in a few weeks, and I'm not saying the FBI isn't being worked on, I'm just saying we aren't going the right direction in trying to improve our intelligence.

PLEASE, if you support the freedoms and due process guaranteed by the constitution; if you support the ability to checkout books at the library without it going on a secret government record; if you support privacy in e-mail and other electronic communications, contact your representative and senator and let them know that no matter what side of the aisle you are on the PATRIOT ACT is something that really should sunset.[/RANT MODE]


Tags: Politics

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