Ashcroft’s Traveling Patriot Show Not Winning Many Converts


According to a report in The Washington Post, support for the Patriot Act is waning in the country, including Idaho, where Ashcroft’s summer revival tour traveled this week. Idaho’s Rep. C.L. “Butch” Otter (R), is leading an effort in Congress to curtail the centerpiece of Ashcroft’s anti-terrorism strategy, the USA Patriot Act. Otter sponsored an amendment approved 309 to 118 by the House in July, which would cut off funding for “sneak-and-peek” warrants. Ashcroft calls this a “mistake,” and says that those who voted for the amendment “did not know what they were voting for.” Also voting yea was Sen. Larry E. Craig (R-Idaho), a former singing mate of Ashcroft’s in the senate quartet, who now is singing dissident chords about the law.

State representatives and city counsels in Idaho are making discordant noises, no doubt a reflection of a state in which people value their privacy and liked the Constitution the way it was before Ashcroft started playing it in another key.

New Harris Poll numbers indicate that less than 50 percent of those polled like the show’s star, and 40 percent disapprove of his performance. And as long as Ashcroft continues to hum the tune that those who would curtail the Patriot Act and not grant Ashcroft new powers are traitors, his popularity is likely to drop.

This is a country that, save for the Rove’s, Falwell’s, Robertson’s, and Ashcroft’s in it, believe in the right to dissent and debate. Ashcroft’s words that he “values debate” and does not want to silence it, is belied by his deputizing his US Attorneys to speak personally with dissident Congressional members and report back to him. Report what? They they disagree? To what end? That they can be prosecuted as national security risks?

“It’s pretty reckless to say that 309 members of Congress want to tip off terrorists,” said Otter, who noted that more than a third of the votes cast for his amendment came from Republicans. “Instead of hitting the campaign trail, the attorney general should be listening to the concerns that many Americans have about some portions of the act.”

ACLU Executive Director Anthony D. Romero, whose group has helped organize many of the anti-Patriot Act resolutions approved in recent months by more than 150 municipalities and states, said Ashcroft is now “clearly on the defensive. He and the Justice Department have finally understood that there are large portions of the public raising questions about their policies on terrorism and the Patriot Act. The opposition is springing up all across the country.”

Some suggest that Bush’s handlers sent Ashcroft on the road to test the country’s tone about him and curtailment of civil liberties. If it flops in New Haven (or Idaho), Bush’s producers and directors can tweak the show and maybe even replace its star before it opens at the Republican convention next summer.

Ashcroft fancies himself a martyr and does not mind the criticism or low poll numbers. Rather, they are proof positive that “for every crucifixion, a resurrection is waiting to follow,” in the words he used to assuage himself after his loss to a dead man in the Missouri 2000 senate race. Father Bush, though, is not into self-sacrifice. He may sacrifice Brother John to the cross of political convenience in order to save his presidency from the tomb.

ELAINE CASSEL practices law in Virginia and the District of Columbia, teachers law and psychology, and follows the Bush regime’s dismantling of the Constitution at Civil Liberties Watch. She can be reached at: ecassel1@cox.net

November 24, 2015
Dave Lindorff
An Invisible US Hand Leading to War? Turkey’s Downing of a Russian Jet was an Act of Madness
Mike Whitney
Turkey Downs Russian Fighter to Draw NATO and US Deeper into Syrian Quagmire
Walter Clemens
Who Created This Monster?
Patrick Graham
Bombing ISIS Will Not Work
Lida Maxwell
Who Gets to Demand Safety?
Eric Draitser
Refugees as Weapons in a Propaganda War
David Rosen
Trump’s Enemies List: a Trial Balloon for More Repression?
Eric Mann
Playing Politics While the Planet Sizzles
Chris Gilbert
“Why Socialism?” Revisited: Reflections Inspired by Einstein’s Article
Charles Davis
NSA Spies on Venezuela’s Oil Company
Michael Barker
Democracy vs. Political Policing
Barry Lando
Shocked by Trump? Churchill Wanted to “Collar Them All”
Cal Winslow
When Workers Fight: the National Union of Healthcare Workers Wins Battle with Kaiser
Norman Pollack
Where Does It End?: Left Political Correctness
David Macaray
Companies Continue to Profit by Playing Dumb
Binoy Kampmark
Animals in Conflict: Diesel, Dobrynya and Sentimental Security
Dave Welsh
Defiant Haiti: “We Won’t Let You Steal These Elections!”
November 23, 2015
Vijay Prashad
The Doctrine of 9/11 Anti-Immigration
John Wight
After Paris: Hypocrisy and Mendacity Writ Large
Joseph G. Ramsey
No Excuses, No Exceptions: the Moral Imperative to Offer Refuge
Patrick Cockburn
ISIS Thrives on the Disunity of Its Enemies
Andrew Moss
The Message of Montgomery: 60 Years Later
Jim Green
James Hansen’s Nuclear Fantasies
Robert Koehler
The Absence of History in the Aftermath of Paris
Dave Lindorff
The US Media and Propaganda
Dave Randle
France and Martial Law
Gilbert Mercier
If We Are at War, Let’s Bring Back the Draft!
Alexey Malashenko
Putin’s Syrian Gambit
Binoy Kampmark
Closing the Door: US Politics and the Refugee Debate
Julian Vigo
A Brief Genealogy of Disappearance and Murder
John R. Hall
Stuck in the Middle With You
Barbara Nimri Aziz
McDonalds at 96th Street
David Rovics
At the Center of Rebellion: the Life and Music of Armand
Weekend Edition
November 20-22, 2015
Jason Hirthler
Paris and the Soldiers of the Caliphate: More War, More Blowback
Sam Husseini
The Left and Right Must Stop the Establishment’s Perpetual War Machine
Mike Whitney
Hillary’s War Whoop
Pepe Escobar
In the Fight Against ISIS, Russia Ain’t Taking No Prisoners
Ajamu Baraka
The Paris Attacks and the White Lives Matter Movement
Andrew Levine
The Clintons are Coming, the Clintons are Coming!
Linda Pentz Gunter
Let’s Call Them What They Are: Climate Liars
Paul Street
Verging on Plutocracy? Getting Real About the Unelected Dictatorship
Nur Arafeh
Strangling the Palestinian Economy
Patrick Howlett-Martin
The Paris Attacks: a Chronicle Foretold
Vijay Prashad
Rebuilding Syria With BRICS and Mortar
Brian Cloughley
Why US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter is the Biggest Threat to World Peace