An ugly threat to freedom appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee Tuesday. It appeared twice: With Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and again with FBI Director Robert Mueller as both demanded Congress not only reauthorize the rights-robbing USA Patriot Act but expand the ability of the federal government’s goose-stepping storm troopers to invade the privacy of Americans and ignore the protections of the Constitution. “Now is not the time for us to be engaging in unilateral disarmament” on the legal weapons now available for fighting terrorism, Gonzales said, adding that the most controversial provisions of the Patriot Act have “proven invaluable in fighting terrorism and aiding other investigations.” The key phrase here is “other investigations.” Although the Patriot Act was rushed into law to fight terrorism, the Justice Department under former Attorney General John Ashcroft and now Gonzales sees nothing wrong with using the act to go after anybody for any perceived crime. Ashcroft, a religious zealot, deployed the powers of the Act in several unsuccessful attempts to prosecute American citizens for selling dirty books and videos.
Members of Congress from both parties have raised sharp questions about the exclusion of political opponents from two taxpayer-funded appearances by President Bush.
The votes of at least 1 in 4 U.S. soldiers and overseas voters in last fall’s election never were counted.
President Bush said on Tuesday that younger workers were counting on a fictional trust fund for their future retirement benefits, as he pressed his case for changes to Social Security in the face of continuing doubts among fellow Republicans.
For soldiers inside the U.S. Army’s newest troop transport vehicle, the armored combat Stryker rides like a cross-town bus as it sways softly atop its rubber tires, its brakes hissing quietly – before the back shoots open and troops leap onto the streets of one of Iraq’s most dangerous cities.
Drug manufacturers, under fire from consumer advocacy groups for opposing legislation to reduce prescription costs, announced Tuesday they would spend about $30 million through June to develop and promote a program that would help poor Americans gain access to the medicines they need.
Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist said Tuesday that federal judges’ rejection of efforts by Congress to keep Terri Schiavo alive will not affect the escalating dispute between Democrats and Republicans over President Bush’s judicial nominees.