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How Would a Patriot Act?


I am thrilled to announce that Glenn Greenwald has some news:  he’s finishing a book which is scheduled to be published in May 2006.  This could not come at a better time, in terms of the public debate — we’ve all been discussing the separation of powers issues and the question of our nation of laws being sacrificed on the alter of Presidential power by the Bush Administration over the last few months.  Glenn’s book, entitled "How Would a Patriot Act? Defending American Values from a President Run Amok" will hit all of this head on — and I can’t think of a better voice to lead this charge than Glenn’s.

The principal reason I am so excited by this book is because, as I have said from the time this scandal first emerged, what will determine the outcome of this law-breaking scandal specifically, and the crisis of lawlessness which we have in our government generally, is whether the public realizes how radical and dangerous this Administration has become and demands that it be held accountable. I have always emphatically believed and have repeatedly said that if Americans are truly informed about how radical and extreme this President has become with regard to the powers he claims he possesses, most Americans will find it intolerable. At its core, this scandal is not and has never been about the scope of eavesdropping powers which the Government ought to have. It is much more significant than that. We face a genuine and profound crisis as a country because we have a President who has continuously exploited the threat of terrorism and engaged in rank fear-mongering in order to expressly claim the power to act without any checks or limits at all — including, literally, the power to break the law. And he has been exercising that law-breaking power aggressively and enthusiastically in numerous ways, all of which are radically changing our national political character and the system of government that we have had since our founding. It is that belief in his own monarchical power that led the President to eavesdrop on Americans in precisely the way that our country, thirty years ago, made it a criminal offense to engage in. And the President’s illegal warrantless eavesdropping is but one example which arises out of these truly radical and decisively un-American theories of power which this Administration has adopted and put into practice. The Administration’s ideology of lawlessness, in every respect, is contrary to the most basic and fundamental values on which our country was founded and which have defined who we are as a nation for the last 225 years.

Amen. I’ve said this repeatedly through all of our work on this issue: this is a fundamental American question, not one that ought to put politics first but, rather, one wherein the Constitution and our national values and laws ought to be in the fore for everyone. In my mind, you are either an Accountability Patriot or you are just one more rubber stamp for the White House. How would a patriot act? Truly, a brilliant concept for a book, and a brilliant mind behind it in Glenn. I cannot wait to read it.Glenn says that pre-orders will start soon on Amazon (we’ll let you know when that is possible as soon as we know). You build a wall brick by brick. Kudos to Glenn for helping to do some of the heavy lifting.

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Christy Hardin Smith

Christy Hardin Smith

Christy is a "recovering" attorney, who earned her undergraduate degree at Smith College, in American Studies and Government, concentrating in American Foreign Policy. She then went on to graduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania in the field of political science and international relations/security studies, before attending law school at the College of Law at West Virginia University, where she was Associate Editor of the Law Review. Christy was a partner in her own firm for several years, where she practiced in a number of areas including criminal defense, child abuse and neglect representation, domestic law, civil litigation, and she was an attorney for a small municipality, before switching hats to become a state prosecutor. Christy has extensive trial experience, and has worked for years both in and out of the court system to improve the lives of at risk children.

Email: reddhedd AT firedoglake DOT com