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By The Skanner News
Published: 08 February 2006

No one is above the law

The administration says its domestic spying program is narrow and even claims it's limited to people with ties to al-Qaeda. But the program is not about tracking terrorists, it's about a potential breach of the Constitution.

The president already has the authority to track terrorists. Further, the New York Times reports the facts differently than the president does, saying the data used by his spying program often led to innocent Americans.

Republicans and Democrats alike believe the president may have broken the law. The White Houseisclaimingthat Democrats are the only ones objectingtotheprogram. However, Republicans like Sens. LindseyGraham,Sam Brownback, John McCain and Arlen Specter have offered some of the harshest criticism of the program.
Congress did not give the president authority to conduct the secret program. The White House has claimed the authority to conduct secret wiretaps because of a Congressional resolution passed after Sept. 11. The nonpartisan Congressional Research Service found that the resolution didn't authorize the program and found it "unlikely" that any court would agree with the White House's justifications.

Bette Moksnes-Koski
Northeast Portland

Keep action alive, Jesse

An open letter to the Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr.:
Aspresidentofthe Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, may I urge you to look again at your own words ("Hope Will Come From Outside of Washington," The Skanner, Jan. 4, 2006).
I believe you are merely repeating what most of us have read and already know about President George Bush and his administration. You also, at the end of your diatribe, relate that "new hope will come from outside the Washington beltway."

But, sir, unlike the Alisha Thomas Morgans (she is a Georgia state Democratic representative) of this country, you pretend to represent Black people the way the Rev. Martin Luther King did — a person you followed, but certainly do not emulate. I knew the Rev. King, and you are not he.
I would sincerely invite you, the Rev. Jackson, rather than just merely lay criticism at the feet of Pharaoh, to take up your staff, as Alisha Thomas Morgan has already done. Proclaim that you will join her to undo a bad law. Take real action. Lead.

Specifically, stop the Republicans outside of Washington from robbing the poor by charging them $35 to buy a state-issued ID card. Help people by getting them to join other positive people and communities and build organizations that form a union of all U.S. citizens. Help them push industry to pay a living wage and benefits. Tell your friends in Congress to restore the money for the college student loan program and create a national health program.
Be the true president of the organizations you say you represent. We the people, will follow a true leader. Do not reach for hope — fashion it yourself.

Berry Scheib
Northeast Portland

End warrantless spying

The administration is trying to sell us on the idea that warrantless wiretapping of American citizens is necessary because it saves them having to do a little paperwork. Come on. I'm sure having unchecked power would be handy, but we have checks and balances for a reason. This action is morally wrong and unconstitutional.

Our congress must act to pull us back from the brink of becoming a police state. I am glad to see Republicansenatorslike Graham, Brownback and Specter joining with Democratic congressmen to critique the program and ensure our laws are followed.

Bryce Harrington

Military's influence damaging

I am writing to voice my ever-growing concern about the military in public schools. I think the military's presence in schools sends a very bad message to youth.

It shows that it is OK to not further your education, because the military will take you as long as you are ready to sign your rights over. Without an education, you can't know any better — and most children don't.

I also do not like being harassed on the phone by military recruiters. The schools give out personal information to the military so they can try one more time to convince you to join. I have had to hang up on more then one because they won't take "no" for an answer.

What the recruiters tell the students is misleading and, for the most part, false. Bribing students by saying they will pay for college is wrong, and I think it should stop.

Heather Wild
Corvallis, Ore.

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