Freep Hero: Nancy Talanian and the Bill of Rights Defense Committee

Just before Christmas, Oakland, CA became the 20th municipality in the U.S. to pass a resolution prohibiting its employees from cooperating with federal officials who are utilizing the so-called Patriot Act to spy on city residents. Talanian runs the Bill of Rights Defense Committee. The organization website includes a “How To” manual for communities to pass anti-Patriot Act resolutions. Some other cities adopting the resolution are Denver, Santa Fe and Santa Cruz. Talanian’s heroic defense of the U.S. Constitution makes her a Freep hero, but also calls us to action. We need to make Columbus, Ohio a Bills of Rights “Safety Zone.” Let’s rein in Big Brother in the New Year.

The Free Press Salutes:

Christian Peacemaker Teams

Kirkegaard asserted that the most difficult thing to do in a culturally Christian country is to act like Christ. Instead of swaggering around high-priced fashion malls in sweats with trendy “What Would Jesus Do?” bracelets, Christian Peacemakers set off for the world’s hot spots to put into practice Jesus’ words of the Sermon on the Mount. In Iraq, Palestine, Afghanistan and other war zones, the Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) actively intervene against violence and live their faith. CPT members Art Gish of Athens, Ohio is currently serving in Hebron while his wife Peggy is in Iraq trying to stop the bombs from falling. Columbus native? Mary Yoder sends friends in Central Ohio a diary of her experiences in occupied Palestine. Blessed are the Peacemakers.

Sean Penn

Finally, Sean Penn is getting along with the press. Penn emerged as an articulate and thoughtful spokesperson for diplomacy in Iraq. Instead of buying into “let’s kill Saddam,” he traveled to Iraq to actually meet and talk with the Iraqi people, the ones who will die from a U.S. attack. He is to be saluted.

Enemies of the People: The Immigration and Naturalization Service

In the infamous tradition of Japanese internments and the 1920s Red Scare, the INS decided to try on the Fourth Reich’s new jackboots by handcuffing and jailing Iranian and Middle Eastern nationalists who voluntarily came forward to comply with the draconian registration laws. Their families and friends protested outside with signs carrying the correct message: “What next, concentration camps?” and “What happened to liberty and justice?” The INS refused to make public the numbers picked up in the mass arrests, but Reuter’s estimated the figure as high as one thousand. Sabiha Khan of Southern California’s Council on American Islamic Relations commented that, “Terrorists most likely wouldn’t come to the INS to register. It is really a bad way to go about it. They are being treated as criminals and that really goes against American ideals of fairness, and justice and democracy.” To the INS: Heil, Bush!