Letters to the Editor

Fast Focus: Not endangered, dead

You are too kind. The right to privacy is dead, killed by a fearful Congress within a quick six weeks after 9/11, without careful deliberation or hearings and debate, all in the name of "protecting" us from terrorism.

Who is going to protect you and your right to privacy from being trampled by U. S. administration officials (Bush yesterday; Obama today) empowered by the Patriot Act to "spy on anyone," including you and me, "exposing our business records, including medical, educational, and library records ... provisions threaten privacy; freedoms of speech, association and religion; due process; and equality."

I quote from Taking Liberties by Susan H. Herman, president of the American Civil Liberties Union, 276 pages of documentation where Herman cites case after case "showing how innocent Americans have been prosecuted, incarcerated, blacklisted, watchlisted, conscripted as antiterrorism agents, spied on, and gagged . ... These laws deprive those charged of due process, minimize the role of juries ..." Herman documents incidents of ordinary Americans, "whose lives are ravaged by government interference."

Ten years later this pernicious collection of unconstitutional law has not been repealed by Obama and Congress, nor tested in the courts.

The executive branch "willingly dispensed with the Constitution's checks and balances."

The Obama administration is no better. Ten years later the Patriot Act has not been repealed, taking away our Constitutional rights . ...

Actually, names do not matter -- Bush, Obama, Romney, Donald Duck, Maxine? (How I'd love to vote for Maxine!) We are a nation of laws, not men (or women.), but when you are not allowed to sue theU.S. government, not allowed to have an attorney or call witnesses, not allowed to have a jury trial if there is a trial, the government can take over your bank account, or you can be fired from your job because someone denounced you and then the government investigated you, where is your freedom of speech and thought, your right to be religious or not?

We have much to fear from unconstitutional acts committed by a government that cannot be called to account by the courts because the Patriot Act ties the hands of the judiciary.

No president is going to willingly give up power. It is up to us to be aware, to pay attention and vote for someone who will take some action to dismantle this set-up for a dictator.

If you hate Big Government, quit dithering about abortion, contraception, religion, marriage, firearms, family relationships. It is up to us to read the U.S. Constitution and The Bill of Rights. Herman's Taking Liberties is not a fun read, but necessary for freedom lovers.

-- LAUREL PIIPPO, Richland