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You Have No Rights, by Matthew Rothschild

By an everyday book reader
August 1, 2007

Matthew Rothschild, editor of The Progressive and author of You Have No Rights, explains how our president became a "medieval king," and why your civil liberties are in greater danger than ever.

What Fourth Amendment rights to privacy do we have if the NSA, the National Security Agency, can spy on us without a warrant when the law says they need to have a warrant to spy on us? What First Amendment rights do we have to protest if we can't protest in front of the president or the vice president, but if we have to go to some free-speech zone a half-mile or a mile or a mile and a half away where they can't even see us?- Matthew Rothschild

You Have No Rights: Stories of America in an Age of Repression
by Matthew RothschildBook Picture

Softcover: 240 pages
ISBN: 9781595581648, 1595581642
New Press
July 2007

This book includes chilling true stories of ordinary Americans whose everyday liberties have been violated since September 11.

"I'm very liberal and sometimes my friends say I'm giving them some kind of paranoid, nutty stuff, and I agree, but then the FBI show up." - Marc Schultz, reported to the FBI for reading an article called "Weapons of Mass Stupidity: Fox News hits a new lowest common denominator" while he stood in line at a coffee shop

In West Virginia, Renee Jensen put up a yard sign saying "Mr. Bush: You're Fired." She's questioned by the Secret Service.

In Alabama, Lynne Gobbell put a Kerry/Edwards bumper sticker on her car. She's fired from her job.

In Vermont, Tom Treece had his high school students write essays and make posters either defending or criticizing the Iraq War. After midnight, the police entered his classroom and took photos of the student artwork.

I wish more people in this country would really revere the First Amendment, the Fourth Amendment, the Fifth Amendment, the Sixth Amendment and the Eighth Amendment. But Cheney and Bush themselves are intolerant of the freedoms that are enshrined in our Bill of Rights. In my book, You Have No Rights, I tell the story of a guy named Steve Howards who was walking through Beaver Creek, Colo., an open-air mall there and, of all people, Dick Cheney is there, shaking hands. And Steve Howards goes up to the vice president, about three feet away, and says, "Mr. Vice President, I think your policy in Iraq is reprehensible." ... And then he walked away. But the Secret Service approached him 10 minutes later and said, "Did you assault the vice president of the United States?" And Steve Howards said, "No, I was just expressing my First Amendment rights." And they responded, "No, you assaulted the vice president of the United States. You're under arrest." - Matthew Rothschild

The heated debates about the Patriot Act, about extensive registration and arrest programs for immigrants, and about domestic spying by the FBI, Pentagon, and National Security Agency have all been front-page news. But less understood are the effects of ramped-up national security policies on ordinary people across the country.

In this hard-to-put-down book, Matthew Rothschild, editor of The Progressive magazine, shows that post-9/11 America has entered a repressive age. Through dozens of engrossing and disturbing individual stories, You Have No Rights makes clear that America is now a country that is both less safe and less free.

From You Have No Rights: Near Albany, New York, Stephen Downs went to a mall with his son Roger, and the two of them bought shirts in a T-shirt shop. Downs put his shirt on, went to eat in the food court - and was arrested. The T-shirt's message? "Peace on Earth."

They're going to have to step up to the plate sometime, or we can kiss our Constitution goodbye, because Bush is trampling all over it. Cheney's trampling all over it. What needs to happen, in my mind, is impeachment proceedings of the House Judiciary Committee against Bush and against Cheney, to make them know that they are going to be held accountable or at least there's going to be a process to try to hold them accountable, that they can't get away scot-free with all this stuff, and to tell the next president or the one after that that they can't get away with this stuff. - Matthew Rothschild

Matthew Rothschild has been editor of The Progressive since 1993. Previously the editor of Multinational Monitor, a magazine founded by Ralph Nader, he is the host of Progressive Radio. He lives in Madison, Wisconsin.

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