My Review, Thoughts & Reactions to Extreme Prejudice by Susan Lindauer. Read by Rebecca Roberts
Susan Lindauer's book, Extreme Prejudice: The Terrifying Story of the Patriot Act and the Cover Ups of 9/11 and Iraq, narrated by Rebecca Roberts has occupied my mind regularly in the last week, whether or not I've been actively listening to it. At 21 hours, its a bit longer than the nibbles I've taken lately on shorter books, but it is well worth the listen & should be required reading/listening if you ask me. This is ostensibly my review of her book & Ms. Roberts performance of it, but with as much as it has occupied my thoughts in the last week, I felt compelled to write a significantly longer post than my standard reviews (which are never on the short side anyway). Before I listen to a book by a new author to me, I generally will glance at some of the other reviews. With a title like this, I knew first off it would probably be somewhat polarizing. Several reviews cite her "hatred of the Republican party." And, yes that comes through, but given her experiences, I can't blame her. Part of what made me decide to listen to this next was based on another book I recently read that shall remain anonymous at this point that was full of some fairly right wing propaganda & I needed to essentially wash my mouth out a little after reading it. That being said, I did NOT feel like this was a particularly partisan book, nor did I feel like it was filled with any kind of propaganda. If you go into it expecting it to focus solely on the coverups surrounding the pre-9/11 & pre-Iraq war intelligence, you may be disappointed. One reviewer rated it at 1 star with only the comment "Its Not About You."
When one persons constitutional rights are stomped on as hers, without question, were for years, why should her story not be heard in full? Does she come back to the same things repeatedly? Of course. It's restating her thesis again and again & proving it again and again. I realize by writing this review, I may be expressing some unpopular opinions in some circles. I'm ok with that.
Our 2 party system is so messed up and this most certainly highlights the corruption and disgusting lengths that those in power will go to in order to remain in power, and avoid responsibility for their own corruption.
I don't take Ms. Lindauer as the final authority on these things. I felt compelled to look up some of the facts. Here's a website that has some of the facts & media coverage of her story: https://www.wanttoknow.info/911/9-11_whistleblower_susan_lindauer .
You can google her name & like anything else, there is a glut that comes up from multiple views. Whether or not she had evidence of 9/11 before it happened, and whether or not Iraq was ready to give the US everything it wanted & more through diplomatic channels before the war began in 2003 becomes a completely moot point to me when her story is considered. She was completely denied any kind of due process. Our criminal justice system is a joke where the wealthy & powerful remain wealthy & powerful, and the rest of us its a roll of the dice that can be dependent upon a judges mood on a given day (Being sentenced after lunch has been shown statistically to result in lighter sentences than before lunch for example). I sang a song in church this Sunday that was originally arranged for a choir at a "Correctional Facility." The things we call jails and prisons to make them sound better are absurd. The hoops inmates have to jump through to get due process, to get parole, etc.. Discrimination is built directly into the system.
Thank you Ms. Lindauer for sharing your experiences with us in such great detail. My only complaint about her slight "Democrat" bias is the use of campaign speeches of Pres. Obama, while neglecting the fact that within months after his election, while receiving the Nobel Peace Prize, he was authorizing drone strikes in countries we were not at war with on American Citizens.
The Patriot Act is one of the most egregious laws passed by congress ever. The updated 2015 Freedom Act that replaced it is little better. When people like Susan Lindauer are arrested after having done the job they were asked to do so that those in power can remain in power, when the Edward Snowden's and other whistleblowers are forced to flee their homeland for revealing the abuses of power of our elected officials and the behemoth that is the government of the United States of America, we need to wake up.
Some history of my own political leanings - The first presidential election I was old enough to vote in was the 2000 election. I reluctantly voted for George W. Bush. Neither he nor Al Gore would have been my 1st pick. I didn't consider myself a Republican or a Democrat then. A big part of the reason I chose to vote for him was honestly because of the way Al gore behaved in the presidential debates. I did not want a bully for president. That was the main thing 21 year old me got out of viewing the debates. Was I a little under-informed & less educated at the time? Certainly.
And when September 11, 2001 came along, I was grateful for the decision I had made. I didn't want Al Gore to have been in the oval office that day. I remember a couple of months post 9/11 my wife & I were out to eat & I overheard 2 older men, obviously democrats from what I overheard. I distinctly recall one saying "Mark my words, Bush will be a 1 term president." At the time, I thought, "Who are you kidding?" At that point, I was sure God had made sure the right man was in office.
Fast forward a year or so. Late 2002 when it was becoming more and more apparent that we were heading toward a second unprovoked invasion of Iraq, despite they're cooperating with weapons inspectors. I remember George W. Bush saying in answer about going to war with Saddam Hussein, "He tried to kill my dad."
Wait... What? I missed that special report I guess. Didn't your dad invade his country & since that time he's been under a microscope? - Those were my thoughts. My somewhat republican leaning self ceased to lean republican. I became fiercely independent & have remained so.
Sadly, the disclosures about the cover ups that led to the attacks of 9/11 and the Iraq war do not surprise me at all. They appall me, but do not surprise. And when the Democrats took control in 2008, did they reverse the patriot act? No. It keeps and consolidates power to those who already have it.
I used to consider myself a "constitutionalist." Then I read (listened to) both the Federalist & the Anti-federalist papers. If you haven't done so, I recommend them as well. Is the constitution divine & inspired? I don't honestly know. It was devised by some very brilliant men, but in hearing the arguments against its adoption, I find it fascinating that the abuses of power warned of in the Anti-Federalist papers we are seeing play out in real time nearly to the prophetic letter (though many of the things they warned against were taken care of by the addition of The Bill of Rights).
I think if anything, I've become an Idealistic Pragmatist. The glass is at 50% capacity with the possibility of being filled or drained, and I'm hoping for it being filled. The constitution is a brilliant framework that has not been followed very well at all for nearly 250 years, beginning with consolidating and assumption of powers "not enumerated" (and thereby, constitutionally should be reserved for the states) by those in Washington as early as the first part of the 19th century.
Since that first presidential election I voted in 20 years ago, I am proud to say (here's the idealistic part of me), I have never voted for either of the major party candidates since, electing to vote, in part in protest of the rigged system, for whatever 3rd party candidate I feel most drawn to, or have written in whatever name most appealed to me.
I've been accused of "throwing away my vote." I live in Idaho. Our Presidential election process is completely absurd. It does not matter how I vote for President in Idaho. Unless something incredibly drastic occurs, all of Idaho's electoral votes will ALWAYS go to the Republican nominee. US Presidential politics is pageantry, an absurd waste of time, effort, and attention. I was disgusted at the "Binary Choice" given us by the 2 party funnel of 2016, more than I ever had been before. You have apologists on both sides & the abuses of power growing from year to year like an out of control fungus. I was disgusted by the republican precedent set by not bringing Merrick Garland up for a vote, and also disgusted by the elimination of the Filibuster as a tool for the minority. Didn't you people ever watch Mr. Smith goes to Washington?
And now we have a reality show in the oval office announcing policy via kneejerk twitter real time reactions. It will only get more absurd from here people. The slim amount of people who actually bother to vote is appalling, and the amount that we accept what we are spoonfed by the 2 parties is equally appalling. The some 80 percent of us that identify in the staunchly moderate center would really appreciate it if we could change how the power of the 10 percent on both the extreme right & extreme left are given the loudspeaker for all things political.
I saw a political cartoon recently that showed the US & Iran with their leaders on pulpits shouting vitriol at each other, while below, it showed the common citizens opening a little door at the bottom of the pulpit & extending flowers to each other. That is where we need to be, and I think where 80 percent of us would truly identify. We don't want war. We don't want hate. Stop dividing everyone into "Us & Them." Socialist, Capitalist, Black, White, Conservative, Liberal, Atheist, Christian, Muslim, Hindhu, Mormon, Buddhist, Humanist, Anarchist, Fascist, and on and on and on.
How about You and Me. You are a thinking, intelligent human being and so am I. Any 2 people can sit down and have a discussion. Dr. Who's 50th anniversary episode had a brilliant resolution (spoiler if you haven't watched it). Essentially, he locks 4 people in a room & temporarily wipes their memories as to whose side they are on. Can we PLEASE start taking this approach with the issues that need solved today? There are not 2 sides to every story, there are a minimum of 365 angles of looking at any situation, and that's just thinking 2 dimensionally.
So... I've certainly gone on a lot more than my ostensible review. To sum it up, I found her book brilliant & thought provoking. Rebecca Roberts did a superb job with the narration. Susan Lindauer, like any of us, has a few blind spots. But that's part of being human. I would recommend this book to anyone and everyone.
I received a copy of this audiobook from Storyorigin, but the views expressed are, quite obviously, my own & have not been influenced by the author, narrator, or Story Origin.