Archive for April 20th, 2006

Picture of the protester at the White House welcoming ceremony for Chinese president, Hu Jintao.

While I do understand that diplomatic events must have shelter from public protests, I'm glad somebody rattled the cage a little. I'm a little nervous about our nation's cozy relations with China, a Communist authoritarian state that holds our econonmic well-being in its fist.

Plus the analysis of the protest was pretty amusing.

From the AP report:

"It's hugely embarrassing," said Derek Mitchell, a former Asia adviser at the Pentagon and now an analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

China "must know that this Bush administration is good at controlling crowds for themselves, and the fact that they couldn't control this is going to play to their worst fears and suspicions about the United States, into mistrust about American intentions toward China."

Well gold-darn it! If there aren't still elements of democratic expression in the US, despite the Bush administration's efforts!

Much has already been made in the Montana blogosphere over the John Adams story in the Missoula Independent over unaswered questions in Morrison's handling of his office's investigation of a husband of a former mistress for security violations.

The basic gist of the article is this: Morrison's office was extraordinarily lenient on David Tacke considering his violations and later convictions by federal authorities. Also, Morrison was more involved in the case than his recent statements on the matter would lead us to believe.

The question is, did Morrison's personal entanglements in the case affect his investigation? Adams seems to think so.

Before I rush to judgement I'd like to know if this investigation differed from the others in its prosecutorial zeal (or lack thereof). I'd also want Morrison and his staff directly address the question raised by the article.

But the bottom line is this — and I'm essentially agreeing with Alex Rosenleaf — Morrison needs to come clean NOW, or he needs to drop out of the race. This Senate race is too important. If Conrad Burns retains his seat that means effectively an end to the Democrats' chance to win the Senate, which means continued corruption, brainless support of the Bush administration, and general worsening of America's security, health, sanity, economy, and civil liberties.

We can't afford a Morrison win in the primaries, and then a Morrison loss in the general election because the issues surrounding his professional ethics bloom suddenly in mid-October.

Today’s creep is a fellow resident of Missoula, a certain Martin E. Weinstein who apparently doesn’t understand his basic civil liberties. In fact, Mr. Weinstein’s logic was so ridiculously hypocritical and convoluted, I almost forgave him the title of “creep,” which I like to reserve for people who are aware of their meanness of spirit. Weinstein seems merely confused. Maybe someone in need of a little Zoloft as well. (I think I may have seen this guy talking to himself down by the train tracks this weekend.)

Anyway, Weinstein’s letter to the Missoulian:

Professor is indoctrinating students

Gov. Brian Schweitzer and the Missoulian may want to reconsider their enthusiastic support for the petition for pardon for Ben Kahn, convicted in 1918 of violating Montana's now-defunct Sedition Act for opposing our involvement in World War I (“Righting a Wrong,” Missoulian, April 9).

This petition was initiated not by the descendants of Ben Kahn, but by University of Montana journalism professor Clemens P. Work, who “inspired”14 of his students to research the lives of people convicted under the Sedition Act. Professor Work believes that the Patriot Act shows a “stark resemblance” to the Sedition Act, and that both violate the First Amendment's guarantee of free speech.

First, let’s look at Montana’s “Sedition Act.” From the Sedition Project:

"Whenever the United States shall be engaged in war, any person or persons who shall utter, print, write or publish any disloyal, profane, violent, scurrilous, contemptuous, slurring or abusive language about the form of government of the United States, or the constitution of the United States, or the soldiers or sailors of the United States, or the flag of the United States, or the uniform of the army or navy of the United States…or shall utter, print, write or publish any language calculated to incite or inflame resistance to any duly constituted Federal or State authority in connection with the prosecution of the War…shall be guilty of sedition."

The Patriot Act, of course, does not use such strong and clear language to discourage dissent. Instead, it defines “terrorist” in such vague terms – then denies basic civil liberties for those accused of terrorism – that just about anybody who participates in a protest against the government could fall under that definition. (See an earlier post for the language of the Patriot act in defining “terrorist.”)

(While the Patriot Act so far hasn’t been used to prosecute anti-war activists, such “radical groups” as the Quakers have come under federal scrutiny through the Patriot Act’s provisions.)

While Work’s opinion may set him against the Bush administration’s policies and rhetoric, his comparison of Montana’s Sedition Act to the Patriot Act is not without basis. He’s not some out-there crank making sh*t up.

Weinstein:

While Work is certainly free to publish his views, it is a dangerous, destructive abuse of academic freedom to use his classroom to indoctrinate students. Political indoctrination destroys free inquiry and standards. Students are graded not by quality, but by their political correctness – just as they were in Nazi Germany or the Communist Soviet Union. This petition is not an expression of free speech. It is a classroom assignment.

Of course, no one is forced to take the class, and I assume that there are other projects available to the students. Also, Weinstein’s claim that students are graded by “political correctness” completely lacks any basis in reality as unsupported as it is by any evidence and informed only by his own prejudice. Furthermore, to compare a professor who advocates that citizens should enjoy more freedom from government than they currently have to Nazi or Stalinist propagandists is completely unsound, unreasonable, and absurd. Nazis and Stalinists wanted less dissent against the government; Work wants more.

Professor Work and his ilk are misusing the First Amendment to destroy our Constitution and the United States, trying to lead us to a neo-Marxist utopia that would be a totalitarian state. They are sowing the seeds of defeat in Iraq in the name of freedom. They are in practice the unholy allies of Islamic terrorists.

The funniest thing I’ve read all week!

Misusing the First Amendment…to promote freedom of speech???

Apparently Weinstein thinks the only appropriate use for the free speech is to freely support the Bush administration, Our Great Leader, in his Quest to Democratize the World through Military Might.

How the exercising of our civil liberties will necessarily lead us to a “neo-Marxist utopia that would be a totalitarian state,” I’ll leave you to figure out. (To me it sounds like this guy needs to leave his tinfoil-wrapped motel room.)

“Unholy allies of Islamic terrorists”? Uh oh, using the “t-word” against Work. Hm, maybe speaking out against civil liberties is working for terrorists? Hm, maybe pursuing pre-emptive strikes against Mid East nations only encourages terrorists? Whatever. Don’t use the “t-word” in an argument. It’s inane. It’s an attempt to shut down discussion through the use of fear.

The Missoulian article concludes by telling us: “Schweitzer, whose German speaking ancestors immigrated to eastern Montana and were denied the right to speak their native language, said he won't stand to see those constitutional freedoms denied again.” Please, give us a break. The Schweitzers seem to have done pretty well here under our supposedly oppressive system.

What would a paranoid rant against academia, civil liberties, and freedom of thought be without a gratuitous swipe at the state’s Democrat governor?

Links…

Wulfgar’s! second take on the Democratic Bozeman debate.

Matt Singer has a dead on take of the “new American right.”

Speedkill’s political platform is available for viewing! Now all we need is a primary and a logo. How about…a banana slug? a moose? tortoise?

Meanwhile, while Burns’ office complains about the “Hollywood” money going to Montana Democrats, the good Senator has a fundraiser planned in Napa Valley.

Georgia10 doesn’t see much of a “shake-up” in the recent White House staff changes.

Many on the right don’t believe in global warming, because…well…it doesn’t fit in with their politics. But big insurance companies are buying into the theory because they’d be fools not to. BTW, hurricane season is a month away and there’s still no one heading FEMA.

Rep. Jo Ann Emerson’s office calls a constituent an “asshole” in a letter. Hilarity ensues.

Yahoo continues to help China nab dissidents. So much for the “free market” encouraging democracy. Once again it looks like we’ll have to do it ourselves.

Press Think has an awesome summation of Scott McClellan’s role in the White House: “McClellan was a cog in a machine for making the executive power more opaque, and the presidency itself less dialogic.” (Also, as quoted in the post, “He’s Piggy in Lord of the Flies: a living victim, whose reason for being is, apparently, to shoulder public ridicule and pain…”) I’m glad he’s gone; he was an annoying man. Don’t expect any better from this administration, though.

More on daddy-daughter “purity ceremonies”: World O’ Crap found an “abstinence jewelry web site,” which sells little lockable lockets with a key that daddy gets to keep until his daughter’s marriage day. (“And by ‘locket,’ I mean “vagina.”)

The Cunning Realist on today’s economic conditions, which mirror Germany in the 1920s before the stock market crash. Ugh.




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