Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Democracy Now: Patriot Act, Killing a-ok?, free speech under attack; Naomi Klein; A Winding Road; Cindy Ellen Hill (CounterPunch); Daily Howler

Democracy Now! "always worth watching" (Marica) has some amazing segments including strong reporting on the Patriot Act.

Headlines for April 6, 2005
- Iraqi Parliament Elects Kurdish President
- Bush Taps Khalilzad As Ambassador to Iraq
- Red Cross Demands Investigation Into Iraqi Prison Riot
- U.S. Troops Shoot & Wound CBS Cameraman
- Questions Raised Over Tom Delay's Trip to Russia
- Bush Administration Proposes Building New Nuclear Warheads
- Maryland Lawmakers Target Wal-Mart
- Nobel Prize Winning Writer Saul Bellow, 89, Dies

Gonzales Defends Patriot Act at Judiciary Hearing as Congress Mulls Renewal
At a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales defended the Patriot Act and urged Congress to renew controversial parts of the legislation that are due to expire this year. We go to an excerpt of the hearing.

Florida Lawmakers Expand Law to Kill in Self Defense
The Florida legislature Tuesday passed a bill allowing people to use deadly force in a public place if they have a reasonable belief that they are in danger of death or great bodily harm. We host a debate between a lobbyist for the National Rifle Association and the executive director of the Florida Coalition to Stop Gun Violence. [includes rush transcript]

Conservative "Academic Gill of Rights' Limits "Controversial Matter" in Classroom
Members of the Florida State legislature heard testimony Tuesday about the so-called "academic freedom" bill that would develop a statewide "bill of rights" for faculty to follow in the interest of delivering what they call a "fair and balanced" curriculum. We host a debate between the Florida legislator who introduced the bill and the President of the Faculty Union of University of South Florida.

Columbia U. Prof. Rashid Khalidi: "Freedom of Speech and Acaemic Freedom Are Necessary for Unpopular and Difficult Ideas"
After months of closed-door hearings a, faculty committee at Columbia University released a report that largely cleared professors of Middle Eastern studies of charges that they were intimidating students and stated that there was no evidence of anti-Semitism. We hear professor Rashid Khalidi speaking at a teach-in on academic freedom. [includes rush transcript]

Over at No Logo, Naomi Klein has posted a statement on the main page which we will post in full below because there's apparently a book out with her name on it and she wants to be very clear that she has not been involved with that book. (It's available in England, so UK members work the magic that you do and get the word out.) Here's the statement:

A for-profit publisher in England has just released an anthology titled No War. At first glance, it looks like an original new book by me. It is not. The book contains one previously published magazine article by me that has been available free-of-charge on my website for eight months. I encourage readers interested in this article, titled "Baghdad Year Zero," to download it below. I am very concerned that readers will mistakenly believe that they are purchasing original writing, despite my best efforts to convince the publisher to clearly label the book what it is: an anthology of previously published articles by multiple authors. No War is not my book; I had no role in choosing the title, and will accept no revenue from its sales. I am currently writing an original non-fiction book that will be published in 2006. Please direct any inquiries to
Naomi Klein

Carl e-mails a heads up to Folding Star's post at A Winding Road dealing with many important topics but Carl highlighted the section on the Patriot Act:

Today they heard from Attorney General Gonzales and Robert Mueller, the director of the FBI, both of whom urged them to renew the act.All is far from lost, however. There is bipartisan legislation afoot to curb parts of the act- some expiring, some not- from one of the more liberal Democratic members of the Senate, Senator Durbin of Illinois, and one of the more conservative Republicans, Senator Craig of Idaho.
The very existence of this effort and the fact that it partly comes from an Idaho Republican demonstrates that the people have been heard, both through emails, letters, and phone calls and, even more loudly, through the five states and the nearly four hundred towns and cities all over the country that have passed resolutions against the Patriot Act in the last few years.But that doesn't mean our job is finished.
Many members of the Senate and the House, from both sides of the aisle, have been made aware of how opposed Americans of all ideologies are to the Patriot Act. It's our job now to make sure that they continue to be made aware of this.

Over at CounterPunch, check out Cindy Ellen Hill's "What's the Patriot Act Doing in Belfast?"
This is one of those times when I don't know what to excerpt. If you visit the links, read the article. If you don't, there are too many main points for an excerpt to do justice, but here goes:

In the late 1990's, the United States, fulfilling its role as global watchdog of human rights while at the same time recognizing the important position of Irish American citizens in the United States culture, government, and electorate, brokered the Good Friday agreement. Applying Middle East terminology, Good Friday is the Blueprint for creation of a system of governance in Northern Ireland that will secure civil rights, human rights, and democracy to all Northern Ireland residents. It is ironic that the U.S. refers to this as a formula for 'lasting peace" when they have never acknowledged that acts of violent protest over England's continued occupation of Northern Ireland constitutes a war. In other words, even at the pinnacle of America's good faith positioning as a guarantor of progress in Northern Ireland, they did not recognize the "belligerent status' of Irish Republicans, though they used terms that implied that they were sympathetic to the cause.
[. . .]
When Britain blamed the December 2004 Belfast Northern Bank robbery not only on the IRA, but on Sinn Fein and more specifically Gerry Adams, Bush didn't merely keep silent, he leapt to join in the bashing. Ten years after the St. Patrick's day celebration at the White House when Bill Clinton shook Gerry Adams hand and pledged to bring peace to Northern Ireland, Bush disinvited Adams, shunned Sinn Fein, and made it clear that no Belfast hoodlums --whether they call themselves freedom fighters or not -- should consider themselves worthy of U.S. friendship. If you stand up for freedom, Bush had said in his recent State of the Union, the U.S. stands with you. He didn't clarify that he meant only if you were in, say, Iraq, Iran, or Syria; in Tyrone, forget it. With each Bush admonition against Sinn Fein and IRA "criminality', it becomes increasingly likely that the IRA will find itself added to the TEL.

We'll close by noting that over at The Daily Howler, Bob Somerby continues to address the issue of why some liberals/"liberals" love to play the "quiet game:"
But good boys and girls in the Washington press always cover up for their cohort, just as they know to feign surprise when the "serious" press corps gives a pass to the latest kooky-con book. Let's put Gabler and Hall to the side: As a general matter, the mainstream press will never tell you what they did during Campaign 2000, and good, obedient, self-dealing pundits will always recite the Established Press Line: Al Gore Blew A Sure Election By Running A Really Bad Race. All good hustlers know they must say it--Michelle Cottle, for one prime example, sweetly reciting on Hardball:
COTTLE (12/5/02): I mean [Gore] had this great situation handed to him. The economy was great, the Clinton years, except for a few unfortunate personal scandals, were fine and Gore blew it. I mean, he was a terrible candidate and he really ticked off the kind of New Democrats with that whole people versus the powerful populist rhetoric.
You can't recite it better than that! Clinton's impeachment? It gets transformed into "a few unfortunate scandals"--and the press corps' subsequent two-year War Against Gore must be disappeared altogether. But then, toadies like Cottle will always recite the established lines of their Millionaire Pundit Class. In the case of Campaign 2000, they will never discuss what their cohort really did. Instead, they will always recite the Approved Press Corps Line: Gore was handed a great situation. But he inexplicably blew it.
Yep--even then, Cottle, the corps' hot-tub toady, was willing to render this silly, fake line. And once Gore bowed out of the 04 race, discussion of the press corps' conduct in Campaign 2000 pretty much came to an end. In 2002, a small but growing number of pundits had cited the “fairly brutal” way the mainstream press treated Candidate Gore. But this discussion ended there; by the year 2005, “liberal spokesmen” had stopped mentioning it. Indeed, that produced the absurd situation we saw when Dan Rather bungled about AWOL Bush. Kooky-con screamers all ran on TV, proclaiming the press corps’ undying “liberal bias.” And few “liberal spokesmen” were willing to say how completely absurd that familiar claim really is. To her vast credit, Flavia Colgan managed to mention the wilding of Gore—but we saw no other pundit who did. Amazing, isn’t it? Even after the wilding of Clinton, then Gore, kooky-con scribes are still allowed to scream, Liberal bias! And Dahlia Lithwick’s “serious journalists” all know they must stare into air.
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