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“We had eight years of Bush and Cheney and we finally at long last purged ourselves of that toxic mess. Now those we voted in to change it out are all for keeping some of the worst of it.
Obama has been in office for fewer than 70 days. By now we should still be getting rid of the horrific influences and cleaning up the old mistakes, such as invading Iraq, torturing people, cutting Old Growth forests, polluting, making the rich folks richer at the expense of everything else, and stealing our civil liberties….”
Author: Tom H. Hastings is with the Conflict Resolution Department at Portland State University in Portland, Oregon
Published in: Harlan Daily Enterprise in Harlan, Kentucky, and Oregon PeaceWorks – home page: http://www.oregonpeaceworks.org/
Date: April 3, 2009, and May issue of PeaceWorks
For the full article:
by Tom H. Hastings
We had eight years of Bush and Cheney and we finally at long last purged ourselves of that toxic mess. Now those we voted in to change it out are all for keeping some of the worst of it.
Obama has been in office for fewer than 70 days. By now we should still be getting rid of the horrific influences and cleaning up the old mistakes, such as invading Iraq, torturing people, cutting Old Growth forests, polluting, making the rich folks richer at the expense of everything else, and stealing our civil liberties.
Why, then, would one of Obamaâ€™s appointees advocate a Dick Cheney approach to your rights? Why would Obamaâ€™s new (recycled) FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III start advocating for a renewal of the USA PATRIOT Act, the most egregious violation of your civil liberties of the entire Bush and Cheney era? And why would Mueller do so even when all the historic groups organized solely to protect your rights disagree with him?
â€œIf we were a dog food, they would take us off the shelf.â€
â€”Rep. Tom Davis, R-VA, of the Republican â€˜brandâ€™
If we imagine looking at the shelf labeled â€œAmerican Instruments to Defend Freedom,â€ some would regard the Bill of Rights as top shelf, alongside the Constitution. In the mid-range, we hope, are Congress and the Justice Department. In the bargain bin are the warrantless wiretaps, waterboarding, and the snoopsters at the FBI, with their misnamed PATRIOT Act, which should indeed be recalled and shredded.
Mueller says some of the measures in the PATRIOT Act save â€œan awful lot of paperwork.â€
Right. Why not eliminate all of it and just allow the federal government to read all your emails, follow all your financial transactions, monitor which books you buy or check out of the library, and peruse your telephone records? Oh, thatâ€™s rightâ€”the PATRIOT Act already does that. Just one whiff of dissent from Big Brother and you are fair game. Do you doubt that? Do you remember when it was revealed that three of the most spied-on groups were Greenpeace, CodePink and the Catholic Workers? All three of these â€œorganizationsâ€ are nonviolent and transparent. We were fair game by the PATRIOT Act. No one knows how many reams have been â€œsavedâ€ on us (I live in a Catholic Worker peace community). Maybe if the FBI would stop spying on nonviolent peaceful people they could really save some paperwork.
My friend Kary is a lawyer. He told me not to write a single thing in any email that I wouldnâ€™t want the FBI to read. OK, FBI, here is what I say: Get honest work. Quit spying on US citizens. There are not, in fact, terrorists under every bed (except in the Cheney household), nor are you making any friends amongst regular folks who voted to get their country back.
You may not have it. Cheney and Bush stole, we got it back fair and square, so let it go or face an America determined to be free. We should be able to do that because of you, not despite you. The Founders are on our side, not yours. Back off.
Tom H. Hastings (firstname.lastname@example.org) teaches in the MA/MS Conflict Resolution program at Portland State University.