Excerpt from How Would A Patriot Act? by Glenn Greenwald, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

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How Would A Patriot Act?

Defending American Values from a President Run Amok

by Glenn Greenwald

How Would A Patriot Act?
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  • Paperback:
    May 2006, 146 pages

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Print Excerpt

Chapter 1: American Devolution: 9
One Nation, Indivisible–Listening In–Reining in the Presidents–Pattern of Deceit–Unilateral Actions

Chapter 2: The Power of One: 38
The King and Yoo–Matter of Decree–The Case of the "Dirty Bomber"–Confessions by Waterboarding–Tortured Legislation

Chapter 3: "What Can't He Do?": 61
The Weight of the Law–In Defense of the President–"A Strong, Robust Executive Authority"

Chapter 4: Patriotism Beyond Politics: 72
The Right Hooks–All-American Blogosphere–Revolutionary Wisdom–The Youngstown Decision–"Oppressive and Lawless"

Chapter 5: Fear as a Weapon: 93
Be Very Afraid–Freedom Fighters–Life During Wartime–More Safe, Less Free

Chapter 6: Fate of the Union: 107
The Watergate Lesson–Nothing to Hide?–Muzzling the Media–America's Choice

Epilogue: 125
Acknowledgments:131

 

Preface

I do not think much of a man who is not wiser today than he was yesterday. —Abraham Lincoln

I never voted for George W. Bush—or for any of his political opponents. I believed that voting was not particularly important. Our country, it seemed to me, was essentially on the right track.Whether Democrats or Republicans held the White House or the majorities in Congress made only the most marginal difference. I held views on some matters that could be defined as conservative, views on others that seemed liberal. But I firmly believed that our democratic system of government was sufficiently insulated from any real abuse, by our Constitution and by the checks and balances afforded by having three separate but equal branches of government. My primary political belief was that both parties were plagued by extremists who were equally dangerous and destructive, but that as long as neither extreme acquired real political power, our system would function smoothly and more or less tolerably. For that reason, although I always paid attention to political debates, I was never sufficiently moved to become engaged in the electoral process. I had great faith in the stability and resilience of the constitutional republic that the founders created. All that has changed. Completely. Over the past five years, a creeping extremism has taken hold of our federal government, and it is threatening to radically alter our system of government and who we are as a nation. This extremism is neither conservative nor liberal in nature, but is instead driven by theories of unlimited presidential power that are wholly alien, and antithetical, to the core political values that have governed this country since its founding.

And the fact that this seizure of ever-expanding presidential power is largely justified through endless, rank fear-mongering—fear of terrorists, specifically—means that not only our system of government is radically changing, but so, too, are our national character, our national identity, and what it means to be American.

Our country is at a profound crossroads. We must decide whether we want to adhere to the values and principles that have made our country free, strong, and great for the 217 years since our Constitution was ratified, or whether we will relinquish those values and fundamentally change who we are, all in the name of seeking protection from terrorism. I genuinely believe that we are extremely lucky to be the beneficiaries of a system of government that uniquely protects our individual liberties and allows us a life free of tyranny and oppression. It is incumbent upon all Americans who believe in that system, bequeathed to us by the founders, to defend it when it is under assault and in jeopardy. And today it is.

I did not arrive at these conclusions eagerly or because I was predisposed by any previous partisan viewpoint. Quite the contrary.

Copyright by Glenn Greenwald.  All rights reserved. No part of this book maybe transmitted in any form by any means without permission in writing from the publisher, Working Assets Publishing (www.workingassetspublishing.com).

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