Notes: George W. Bush said in his speech and news conference on April 13, 2004: "I also have this belief, strong belief, that freedom is not this country's gift to the world; freedom is the Almighty's gift to every man and woman in this world. And as the greatest power on the face of the Earth, we have an obligation to help the spread of freedom."

Having said this grand-sounding passage about spreading freedom -- a sort of "Manifest Destiny" and "little brown brother" redux -- Dubya went on this past week to call for passage of a permanent version of the Patriot Act. (Philosophical self-contradiction never seems to bother this guy.) The Patriot Act, of course, was passed in October, 2001, during the emotional fervor following 9/11. But, what Bush calls "key provisions" of the Act are set to expire on December 31, 2005.

Both conservatives and liberals criticize the Patriot Act as giving too much power to the federal government. The fact that John Ashcroft -- a man who is tone-deaf on civil liberties -- likes the Act is practically an endorsement for its extinction. Dubya should begin his crusade for freedom at home right here in the United States by letting the Patriot Act expire.