Jim Puskas's Reviews > While America Sleeps: A Wake-up Call for the Post-9/11 Era

While America Sleeps by Russ Feingold
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's review
May 14, 2012

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bookshelves: politics, current-affairs
Read in May, 2012

An engaging and pithy read for anyone who cares about the recent and ongoing political climate in the Western World.
Sen. Feingold is best known as the man who cast the lone "no" vote when the US Senate passed the infamous "USA Patriot Act" which demonstrably violates the Constitution, allowing unprecedented degrees of government snooping into the private lives of Americans -- even to the extent of recording what books people borrow from libraries and enabling the FBI to engage in wiretaps without warrant. Not surprisingly, both right-leaning civil libertarians and left-leaning Democrats have since begun to decry the loss of liberty and privacy; yet there has been no serious move to repeal the Act and the security establishment that was brought into existence with the Act is now well entrenched. Since Feingold's departure, no legislator has had the courage to face the Tea Party accusations of being terrorist-friendly that would ensue if he or she challenged the Act. Bin Ladin must be laughing wherever his soul resides.
Of course, there's a lot more to Feingold's book than that. Although he indulges in a bit more Capitol Hill minutiae than is really needed, he does make a number of other cogent points, e.g. the desperate need on the part of Americans to be a lot more knowledgeable than they have been about how the rest of the world thinks and works. The Republicans of today (who bear no resemblance to the GOP of Eisenhower) conveniently forget that the fiscal mess left from bailing out the big banks was instituted not by Obama but by the Bush administration; they will also forget that Feingold voted against that too. And they will of course dismiss this book out of hand amid what passes for political discourse in America. Feingold seems to be preaching to an empty church.
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