Carolyn Faces Fear to Rant Against
Portions of the Patriot Act
the More Reason to Say It Like It Is
am writing this column in spite of the fact that I am a little bit
fearful. I am not the only one who should be apprehensive. Readers
should be a little afraid, too. Because of a small section in the
recent so-called Patriot Act, our government agencies--read that
FBI, police, CIA--can go nosing around in libraries and bookstores
in search of seditious behavior and they don’t have to have
probable cause. So, a woman like me who just sent her grandson off
to Army Boot Camp, possibly to fight in Iraq, might very well be
a target for investigation simply because I am exercising my right
to voice my opinion with this article and a reader might be targeted
because she walks into a bookstore and buys a stack of books about
are, indeed, as affected by the concept of freedom of speech and
the press as are authors, bookstore owners, librarians and publishers.
Each reader benefits from having a full and varied choice of material
to read. That these book were written by authors who do not fear
saying exactly what they want increases the choices we all find
on the shelves of our bookstores dramatically.
Patriot Act, or at least the portion of that act (Section 215) that
allows our government agencies to snoop into what we write and what
books we buy without any other early reason to be suspicious. This
section should have gone down in the cleansing fire of our legislative
system on July 8th when it was voted for on the floor of Congress.
just received a notice that was sent to those associated with ABA,
the American Booksellers Association. It was from Oren Teicher and
members of the Campaign for Reader Privacy. It seems that their
efforts to scuttle the amendment failed in an amazing vote in our
House of Representatives--210 to 210. Sounds like a tie, right?
Especially when the roll call showed that all members of the house
voted! But, by the rules of the House, the effort to keep our private
acts private failed as badly as if the vote had been 419 to 1.
worse part is that the opposition resorted to what some consider
questionable tactics. The vote was kept open 20 minutes longer while
arms were twisted to get several members of Congress to change their
votes. In other words, the majority was listening to the pulse of
our nation who refuses to be intimidated into losing our rights
by the few who would terrorize us. Yet, even with the pale yellow
light of reason shining some three years after that dreadful day
when bills were being passed without the benefit of such a shine,
the very basis of what our nation stands for was “voted down.”
And it was voted down using what some call compromise (at best)
and what some call deceit, bribery and threat (at worst).
this really something that will affect you and me? Well, I didn’t
really think so until I received a letter from an author who once
shared the stage with me at The Inland Empire Book Fest. He says:
met at a San Bernardino book fair where we both did readings.
Needless to say, you were a tough act to follow. I share your
concern that Free Expression has been endangered by the Patriot
Act (see my essay at www.fdungan.com/freedom.htm).
Say or write the wrong thing and risk imprisonment without trial
or worse. The threat is real. My website at www.fdungan.com/
has undergone scrutiny by a government agency. They were extremely
polite and made no threats. Nonetheless, the fact that they didn't
say what they were looking for made me uncomfortable.”
guess is that the reason they didn’t say what they were looking
for is they didn’t know. The had no idea if Fred was even
a likely candidate for investigation. Now, mind you, neither Fred
Dungan nor I have any power beyond what the casual citizen possesses.
I mean, we are not major political figures nor are our authors’
voices powerful like, say, Bob Woodard’s. Not only were they
following a sort of dead-end lead, I wonder what these investigators
thought when they started spending tax payer’s money nosing
around at Fred’s site? Here is a man whose son is true-blue
Westpoint. Mmmmm. It must be because he happens to believe in freedom
of the press. Wasn’t that once considered a patriotic thing
to do? Good grief. Thomas Jefferson and Patrick Henry are roiling
around in their graves! Now there were a couple of patriots! Thinkers.
I really get off on one, I’ll close with a quote from Fred’s
"I have been gagged all
my life, and whether they are appreciated or not, America needs
some honest men who dare to say what they think, not what they
think people want them to think." - General George S. Patton,
needs some outspoken women, too. And it needs a few more members
of Congress who are unwilling to let their principles be eroded
and before, dear readers, we enter into another era of blacklisting.
Come to think of it, aren’t we already detaining our own citizens
without right to trial?
is where you can access a stylebook without running off to
the library or getting a reporter friend to swipe one from
her newspaper’s library? Go to wwww.journals.uchicago.edu/mailman/listinfo.cgi/cmsupdate.
It’s a free alert. Or for $55 you can invest in a guide
of your own.
authors: Go to www.radio-locator.com for leads to radio programs
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for my new book of nitty gritty promotion ideas.
Here is another
site that may interest writers: www.writersbreak.com.
to the SPAN CONNECTION for providing some of these leads.
It’s my favorite in-print newsletter. You can only get
it by joining SPAN and it’s well worth the membership
fee! You can get a trial copy, however, by sending an e-mail
to Deb@Spannet.org. Tell her I sent you.
Tip: Have you discovered Amazon’s “Listmanias?”
Go to http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/cm/member-fil/-/A3JH18T58CY65P/ref=cm_aya_bb_lm/102-0304642-4469763
to check mine out. And get in the “Listmania”
habit! It’s a great way to find out what other avid
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