Article Overview:  Terrorism's backlash is Big Brotherhood.   John Ashcroft, the U.S. Attorney General, is on a political circus swing to try and bat a homerun for the Patriot Act.  His mission is to build support for anti-Terrorism intelligence.  But he's fighting a losing battle by trying to convince people spying is Vigilance.   He needs a new game plan.   Here is a suggestion.


Tuesday--August 19, 2003—Ground Zero Plus 706
Mr. Ashcroft & Mr. President:  Promote Vigilance Rather Than The Patriot Act To Battle Terrorism
Cliff McKenzie
   Editor, New York City Combat Correspondent News

GROUND ZER0, New York, N.Y.--Aug. 19, 2003--  The good intentions of government are often booby traps to the civil liberties of its citizens.  At least that's the take on the attack against the Patriot Act, passed by Congress as the stench of burning bodies from Ground Zero wafted in the air in 2001.

President Bush signing the Patriot Act October 26, 2001

      Some claim the Patriot Act is onerous, an attempt by the government to snoop on the rights of Americans and violates the tenants of the U.S. Constitution.  To defend the negative press, U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft is making a tour of the United States in defense of the Patriot Act.
      Since major portions of the act are set to expire in 2005, and the rumble and undercurrents against it are a thorn in the Administration's side, Ashcroft's mission is to try and convince lawmakers, the press and general public of the importance spying on Americans is when it comes to fighting Terrorism.
      Not everyone is in agreement that giving up fundamental Constitutional Rights is worth the price.     Congressional representatives are questioning the need for what are called "onerous" provisions, and striking down as many as they can in defense of the fundamental civil liberties of both Americans and those who stand on American soil.
      But the issue isn't really about laws being twisted and turned to meet the pressure of the times.    The real issue, to me, is about who is in charge of anti-Terrorism?

I appears the government has appointed John Ashcroft and the Justice Department in charge of Terror

      If you look at John Ashcroft's mission, it appears the government has appointed the Justice Department to be the lead sheriff in managing the intelligence and prevention of future Terrorist attacks.    Or, you can say that the Justice Department wants as much power as it can get, Constitutional or not, to invade as many sectors of privacy as possible with immunity.
      No matter which way you view the issue, it comes down to the government assuming the duty and responsibility for anti-Terrorism.   Imagine a pyramid and put government at the top, all intelligence regarding Terrorism is captured at the apex and flows down.
      That's the rub.
      Ashcroft's efforts to bring positive spin to the Patriot Act will take him to Pennsylvania, Michigan and Ohio where he will argue for full support of the Act.   Philadelphia and Detroit have passed resolutions opposing the Act.

There is marked retaliation against the Act throughout the country

      Ashcroft and President Bush seem to me to be walking the high wire without a net.   From a practicable side, they are trying to control the Shields and Swords of Vigilance, and the retaliation against the Act is nothing more than the public's cry that government is not the singular source of anti-Terrorism, and, that laws that strip the public of certain fundamental rights may be far worse forms of Terrorism than any physical act such as a bomb or planes flying into buildings.

        Personally, I wish the President of the United States and his Administration would call out for Americans and the world to become Citizens of Vigilance, Parents of Vigilance, Loved Ones of Vigilance.
         Instead of trying to lobby for the increase in snooping laws, Ashcroft should be challenging state and local authorities what they have done to increase the Vigilance within their communities.    Where are the Vigilance Committees?   Where are the Parents of Vigilance Clubs, Groups, Rallies?
         What Vigilance programs are being taught in public and private schools?    Where is the Senior Citizen Vigilance Corps?

What are local and state authorities doing for Community Terrorism?

      What are local and state authorities doing not only about foreign-based Terror threats, but also Community Terrorism, the roots of law enforcement?    How are we using our Community Vigilance Systems to cut down on crime and help suffocate the Terrorism of children growing up to engage in violence, driven by Fear, Intimidation and Complacency instead of Courage, Conviction and Right Actions for future generations.

Representative Otter

     Representative C. L. Otter, a Republican from Idaho, recently sponsored an amendment repealing a surveillance power in the Patriot Act.   He chided Mr. Ashcroft's efforts to try and turn the negative tides by saying Ashcroft's efforts were "to try and regain ground the Justice Department has already lost."    To read the amendment, go to
         But there is fresh new soil to be turned, nurtured, fertilized.
         This is the soil of Vigilance.
         Unfortunately, it doesn't belong to the government.
         Neither Mr. Bush nor Mr. Ashcroft own this soil, and therefore can't hold it in their hand and squeeze it to gain power.

Neither President Bush nor Attorney General Ashcroft own the Soil of Vigilance

          But they can gain power by giving it to its rightful owners.
         Vigilance is a word not heard in government except by accident.
         Security is the cry of the law makers, but there is a hollow tone to their words, for government was unable to stop the Terrorism of Nine Eleven, and unable to control the Blackout of 2003.  What makes anyone think the government alone, without full and unbridled support of the people, can stop Terrorism with increased security laws?
         The greatest law of all is the Law of Vigilance.  This law is about turning Fear into Courage, building Conviction out of Intimidation, and fighting Complacency with Right Actions for the Children's Children's Children.

What makes anyone think the government alone can stop Terrorism with increased laws?

        Mr. Ashcroft would be far more successful in his stumping were he to promote Vigilance for the people, and but the duty and responsibility of Vigilance upon the people, supported by government.
          People--mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, grandparents, uncles, aunts, loved ones--all understand Vigilance begins at home not in Washington.
          If John Ashcroft were to promote the Pledge of Vigilance rather than the Patriot Act as a key to fighting Terrorism, both his and President Bush's ratings would go up as Sentinels of Vigilance.
          But, trying to flog the people into believing the Patriot Act is a major solution to the threat of Terrorism is like urinating in the wind...the only thing you get is a faceful of your rhetoric.

Aug 18--Batting 1.000 Against The Beast Of Terror

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