Patriots Act: Voices of Dissent and the Risk of Speaking Out

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Globe Pequot, 2006 - Political Science - 322 pages
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What is the relationship between patriotism and dissent? Why is political protest often maligned as disloyal and un-American? And what are the risks for speaking out and taking a principled stand? These questions form the backbone of PATRIOTS ACT: VOICES OF DISSENT AND THE RISK OF SPEAKING OUT. Here are interviews with federal whistle-blowers, peace activists, military veterans, members of the media, practioners of nonviolent civil disobedience, and former high-ranking government officials. They represent the many types of protest found in this country. These individuals have exercised their rights, resisting censorship and the restriction of free expression-often with surprising results. Some were publicly vilified as a result of their defiance and outspokenness. Others jeopardized their careers. Several went to jail. They have diverse backgrounds and political views-liberal and conservative, young and old, secular and religious-but they all share a common commitment to speaking the truth, regardless of the Among the voices heard in PATRIOTS ACT. Each interview in PATRIOTS ACT traces its own narrative arc. The cumulative effect of these oral histories embodies what is best about our national character. It also shows why it's important to stand vigilant against those who wrap themselves so tightly in our nation's flag that they can neither see nor hear what others are actually saying. Dissent is our birthright. It should not be silenced.
Here are some of the patriots who speak out in the book:
"You can't chalk this all up to failure to imagine, when in mid-August an agent in my office was on the phone and saying to FBIheadquarters, This is a guy who could fly into the World Trade Center!"
-Coleen Rowley, FBI 9/11 whistle-blower and "Time person of the year
"When I write a column that really bothers people, even something about Bush's personal character or, oddly, something that says that the economy isn't doing too great, I can get up to 1,500 hostile e-mails."
-Paul Krugman, New York Times op-ed columnist
"The Republicans will take someone and tear them to shreds. They will question their patriotism. They call me Osama bin Randi. Randi Hussein. Tokyo Rhodes."
-Randi Rhodes, Air America Radio talk-show host
"We have a White House now that is extremely dangerous. They don't believe in democracy. Now is the time for people to show courage. I would like to see a lot more whistle-blowing."
-Daniel Ellsberg, leaker of Pentagon Papers and peace activist
"I have known both military and political battles. I have been traumatically wounded by both. Winston Churchill said that politics is a lot like war, except in war, you get killed once. In politics you get killed many times."
-Max Cleland, former U.S. Senator and war veteran who lost three limbs in Vietnam
"Large numbers of the crowd began chanting against us. 'America the Beautiful' was playing on the loudspeakers while we were being walked out in handcuffs by the cops."
-Jeff and Nicole Rank, arrested for wearing anti-Bush T-shirts during the president's Independence Day speech
"Nonviolent civil disobedience has really been maligned. Oftentimes the violence done to people of nonviolent means is then turned around and projected backonto them, so it looks like they deserve what they got. Then it's easier forprotests to be dismissed or marginalized by the media."
-John Sellers, the Ruckus Society

Other interviews in PATRIOTS ACT include: former FAA Red Team Leader Bogdan Dzakovic who criticizes aviation security and tells why it's still unsafe to fly; Rand Beers, special assistant to the president for combating terrorism, explains why he quit the White House five days before the start of the Iraq War; Nadin Hamoui, a young Syrian-American woman, relives her arrest and detention during the post-9/11 roundup of foreign nationals; war correspondent Kevin Sites recounts the cost of reporting from the battlefield; Marine reservist Paul Hackett discusses coming back from Iraq and running for Congress as a fighting
Democrat; civil liberties advocate and expert John Dempsey looks at domestic spying; Max Mecklenburg talks about being arrested at the 2004 Republican National Convention---a 30-hour ordeal; and political satirist Mort Sahl riffs about the importance of humor to keep the opposition alive.


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Patriots Act: Voices of Dissent and the Risk of Speaking Out

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Oral historian Katovsky (Embedded) sets out to "defend the defenders of our freedoms and civil liberties" with 20 oral histories of outspoken contemporary American dissenters. Some of his subjects ... Read full review

Review: Patriots Act: Voices of Dissent and the Risk of Speaking Out

User Review  - Richard Thompson - Goodreads

A collection of oral history accounts of people who have taken risks and resisted government and social sanctions to carry out (or to refuse to carry out) actions that were counter to their moral or ... Read full review


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About the author (2006)

The author, Bill Katovsky, is the co-author of Embedded: The Media at War in Iraq, which won Harvard University's Goldsmith Book Prize.

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