Eroding Freedoms, 01- 02

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Anti-Bush Protest March Halted by Police January 6, 2001 By AndrewKramer Chanting slogans against President Bush, about 500 activists marched through a Portland neighborhood Saturday to protest the president's policies just before his arrival here. "Hey George, we didn't like your dad and we don't like you," the protesters shouted, alluding to hostile receptions that Portland activists would give Bush's father when he was president. The protesters -- many of them opponents of the war in Afghanistan -- had planned to march to a job training center where President George W Bush spoke to unemployed people. But police barricades and a line of riot police prevented the marchers from getting close to the job center. As the protesters milled around the barricades a military helicopter watched them from above. The march started from a park several blocks from the job center. Later, outside Bush's second stop at a high school, mounted police cleared an intersection by spurring their horses into a crowd of jeering protesters, pushing them onto the sidewalk. Chanting slogans against President Bush, about 500 activists marched through a Portland neighborhood Saturday to protest the president's policies just before his arrival here. "Hey George, we didn't like your dad and we don't like you," the protesters shouted, alluding to hostile receptions that Portland activists would give Bush's father when he was president. The protesters -- many of them opponents of the war in Afghanistan -- had planned to march to a job training center where President George W Bush spoke to unemployed people. But police barricades and a line of riot police prevented the marchers from getting close to the job center. As the protesters milled around the barricades a military helicopter watched them from above. The march started from a park several blocks from the job center. Later, outside Bush's second stop at a high school, mounted police cleared an intersection by spurring their horses into a crowd of jeering protesters, pushing them onto the sidewalk. Chanting slogans against President Bush, about 500 activists marched through a Portland neighborhood Saturday to protest the president's policies just before his arrival here. "Hey George, we didn't like your dad and we don't like you," the protesters shouted, alluding to hostile receptions that Portland activists would give Bush's father when he was president. The protesters -- many of them opponents of the war in Afghanistan -- had planned to march to a job training center where President George W Bush spoke to unemployed people. But police barricades and a line of riot police prevented the marchers from getting close to the job center. As the protesters milled around the barricades a military helicopter watched them from above. The march started from a park several blocks from the job center. Later, outside Bush's second stop at a high school, mounted police cleared an intersection by spurring their horses into a crowd of jeering protesters, pushing them onto the sidewalk. kgw.com

Doomed to Irrelevance September 6, 2001 By BOB HERBERT There was no chance that the United Nations World Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance would end up being more than a grandiose gathering of the cynical and the na´ve. The heroically named conference in Durban, on the east coast of South Africa was doomed to irrelevance from its conception. The tragic problems of ethnic, religious and gender intolerance have stained every region of the globe. The United States was as wary as anyone else about addressing the hard issues. Fearing lawsuits from the descendants of slaves, American representatives objected to language describing slavery as "a crime against humanity." If slavery is not, what is? American representatives objected to language describing slavery as "a crime against humanity." If slavery is not, what is? nytimes.com

Enemies Of The State November 13, 2001 by Patrick Healy A conservative academic group founded by Lynne Cheney, the wife of Vice President Dick Cheney, fired a new salvo in the culture wars by blasting 40 college professors as well as the president of Wesleyan University and others for not showing enough patriotism in the aftermath of Sept. 11. ''College and university faculty have been the weak link in America's response to the attack,'' say leaders of the American Council of Trustees and Alumni. The report names names and criticizes professors for making statements ''short on patriotism and long on self-flagellation.'' Several of the scholars singled out in the report said yesterday they felt blacklisted, complaining that their words had been taken out of context to make them look like enemies of the state. ''It's a little too reminiscent of McCarthyism,'' said Hugh Gusterson, an associate professor of anthropology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. ''This kind of document reminds me of the Soviet Union, where officials weren't satisfied until 98 or 99 percent of people voted with them,'' Gusterson said. Lynne Cheney, who was a powerful voice for conservative intellectuals as chief of the National Endowment of the Humanities during the first Bush administration, is not an author of the new report. But it is peppered with quotations stating her views, and it was prepared by two close allies. The report lists 117 comments or incidents as evidence that campuses are hostile to the US government and out of step with most Americans who, according to polls, support the war in Afghanistan. Among the scholars named in the report, however, several said yesterday the council was carrying out its own political agenda: painting higher education as a bastion of political correctness and trying to silence any criticism of the Bush administration. ''These kinds of attacks will only discourage professors from speaking out and opening up dialogues about what's happening overseas, and why,'' said Kevin Lourie, a professor at the Brown University School of Medicine. The council cited Lourie for writing, in a Brown news service opinion article, that the United States may be ''paying an accumulated debt for centuries of dominance and intervention far from home.'' Lourie said he was attempting to explain how other nations and societies may view the United States. Douglas Bennet, the president of Wesleyan, was named for a Sept. 14 letter to the Wesleyan community. The letter condemned the terrorist attacks, but the council singled out one passage in which Bennet voiced his concern that ''disparities and injustices'' in American society and the world can lead to hatred and violence, and that societies should try to see the world ''through the sensitivities of others.'' Bennet complained that the report's authors took his comments out of context. He said that he strongly supports the Bush administration's response to the terrorist attacks and that an American flag has hung on the door of his house since Sept. 11. ''I don't know where this group gets off extracting language from my statement,'' Bennet said. ''They're trying to perpetuate cliches that belong to an earlier era. I don't think it'll wash - we all have important, real work to do as a nation.''   Boston Globe

Republican staff ordered camera crews to leave, including those of C-SPAN... After Ashcroft finished speaking [at a House hearing in which Democrats indicated that some of what Ashcroft was requesting was unconstitutional and excessive (“Past experience has taught us that today’s weapon against terrorism may be tomorrow’s law against law-abiding Americans,” Dem Conyers said.)], committee Democrats called civil liberties and free-speech advocates to testify, including representatives of the American Civil Liberties Union and People for the American Way, which have echoed some of Conyers’ concerns. But while Ashcroft’s testimony was open to television cameras, the committee’s Republican staff ordered camera crews to leave, including those of C-SPAN, the public interest network available on cable television systems nationwide, NBC News’ Mike Viqueira reported. Print reporters and members of the general public were allowed to remain, meaning the speakers’ comments could be reported, but none of them would be available for Americans to see or hear for themselves. House rules state, “Whenever a hearing or meeting conducted by a committee or subcommittee is open to the public, those proceedings shall be open to coverage by audio and visual means,” Viqueira reported. --NBC, 9/24/01 (The original link was http://msnbc.com/news/632335.asp, but the story is no longer there. 9/26/01)

Americans need to "Watch what they say, watch what they Do" October 30, 2001 After Sept. 11, Bush press secretary "got off to a wobbly start when he was instructed to tell reporters that the president had not returned to the White House the day of the attacks in part because of reports that Air Force One was a target. Later, the administration had to backtrack and admit there had never been a credible threat. Just over two weeks later, on Sept. 26, Mr. Fleischer made another false step of his own, responding to a question about a critical comment about the American military made by Bill Maher, the host of ABC's "Politically Incorrect" talk show, with the answer that Americans "need to watch what they say, watch what they do." Mr. Fleischer's words — some of which were left out of the White House transcript, compounding the error — suggested that the White House was seeking to curb criticism during the crisis, and he is still bruised by the incident. When Americans write to the White House about it, Mr. Fleischer sends a two-page letter explaining that his words were also directed at Representative John Cooksey, Republican of Louisiana, who made intemperate remarks about Arabs." --NYT, 10/30/01

Left-of-center talk show host, and program yanked without notice "After broadcasting for a year on a Santa Cruz AM station, left-of-center talk show host, Peter Werbe, had his program suddenly yanked from KOMY-AM without even notification to him or his network. The many listeners who called the KOMY management were told that the show had no sponsors and few listeners. The station never sought ads for the program, but the management said it aired Peter’s program to balance its bevy of right-wing shows. However, even without any promotion, the show had a growing audience as evidenced by the high number of calls Peter’s program received daily from the station’s broadcast area.
Facing growing complaints from the Santa Cruz audience, on Oct. 6, the KOMY station owner took to the airwaves and denounced the show and its host, and “apologized’ to the people of Santa Cruz for having him on “his” airwaves. Then, dogged by what was becoming a community issue in Santa Cruz, KOMY owner's mother, Kay Zwerling, similarly denounced the show and Peter during an on-air editorial, October 16, to explain why the station had dropped the program. She specifically mentioned its left of center content, Peter’s criticism of the Bush administration, and his questions about the attacks on Afghanistan.
On Oct. 18, station owner, Michael Zwerling, called Peter an "asshole" on the air because the station was receiving hundreds of emails from as far away as Korea, Britain, and France as well as from KOMY’s local listening area. Local residents have written the owners that they are considering a license challenge, as well as a complaint for the owner's language." --Peter Werbe, 10/22/01

On November 1, President George W. Bush signed Executive Order 13233, a policy enabling his administration to govern in secrecy. For good reason, this has upset many historians, journalists, and Congresspersons (both Republican and Democratic). The Order ends 27 years of Congressional and judicial efforts to make presidential papers and records publicly available. In issuing it, the president not only has pushed his lawmaking powers beyond their limits, but he may be making the same mistakes as Richard Nixon. tompaine.com

 

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