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The Sun News | 05/19/2005 | Grenade was threat to Bush, FBI says

by codewarrior.wins In reply to CodeWarriorz Thoughts

<div xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml">
<a href="http://www.myrtlebeachonline.com/mld/myrtlebeachonline/news/nation/11682989.htm">The Sun News | 05/19/2005 | Grenade was threat to Bush, FBI says</a>Grenade was threat to Bush, FBI says
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<br />Device found at Georgia event
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<br />By Ken Herman
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<br />Cox News Service
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<br />WASHINGTON - The FBI said Wednesday that the hand grenade found within 100 feet of where President Bush spoke on May 10 in the former Soviet republic of Georgia was a live weapon that was a "threat to the health and welfare" of the president and others in the crowd packed into Tbilisi's Freedom Square.
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<br />The report contradicted previous claims by Georgian officials that the grenade, which Bush never saw, was a dud posing no threat and left at the scene only as a scare tactic.
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<br />The White House declined to say whether the new information would lead to changes in Bush events held overseas. Today, first lady Laura Bush heads to the Middle East for a five-day trip that includes stops in Jordan, Israel and Egypt.
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<br />Bryan Paarmann, an FBI legal attache in Georgia, a country Bush cites as a successfully emerging democracy, said Wednesday that the grenade "appears to be a live device that simply failed to function due to a light strike on the blasting cap induced by slow deployment of the spoon activation device."
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<br />"We consider this act to be a threat against the health and welfare of both the president of the United States and the president of Georgia as well as the multitude of Georgian people that had turned out at this event," Paarmann said.
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<br />At the White House, spokesman Scott McClellan said Bush was told about the grenade's live nature Tuesday night. Nobody in the presidential party was aware of the incident until notified by Georgia officials as Bush returned to the United States after the recent European trip.
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<br />"I think we need to let the investigation proceed, and let them look at all these facts and gather those facts. And then we'll be able to talk more about it at that point," McClellan said when asked if the report could spark changes in Bush travel plans and appearances.
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</div><p><div class="blogdisclaim"><a href="http://codewarriorz.blogspot.com/2005/05/sun-news-05192005-grenade-was-threat.html">This post originally appeared on an external website</a></div>

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Can you say RIGHT WING NUT JOB? I thought that you could--Janice Rogers Brown

by codewarrior.wins In reply to CodeWarriorz Thoughts

Janice Rogers Brown has some bizarre, and yes, I believe, dangerous views on the world. That's fine if she was just a greeter at Wal*Mart, but it is NOT fine if she were to become Appeals Court Judge. Her kind of bizarre thinking has NO legitimate place on the judiciary at ANY level.<br /><br />Think she is just a nice black lady who deserves any judicial position Bushy wants to slide her into?<br /><br />If you think that, examine her positions...<br /><br /><a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/05/19/AR2005051900956_2.html">http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/05/19/AR2005051900956_2.html</a><br /><br />In many ways, Brown's court rulings and speeches mirror the thinking of Bush and conservatives coast to coast.<br /><br />An outspoken Christian conservative from the segregated South, she supports limits on abortion rights and corporate liability, routinely upholds the death penalty and opposes affirmative action.<br /><br />"A lot of judges get to the point they think they were anointed and not appointed," Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., said Tuesday during floor debate. "I don't think anyone can contend she has performed other than admirably on the bench. She has written beautifully and thoughtfully."<br /><br />Brown's views are also why Democrats have used a filibuster since 2003 to block her confirmation for a seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. The Senate's 55 Republicans have a clear majority to confirm but not the 60 votes need to break the filibuster.<br /><br />"She has criticized the New Deal, which gave us Social Security, the minimum wage, and fair labor laws. She's questioned whether age discrimination laws benefit the public interest," said Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass. "No one with these views should be confirmed to a federal court and certainly not to the federal court most responsible for cases affecting government action."<br /><br />and farther down...<br />"She defended her faith-based approach to the law again last month, telling a gathering of Roman Catholic legal professionals in Darien, Conn., that "these are perilous times for people of faith, not in the sense that we are going to lose our lives, but in the sense that it will cost you something if you are a person of faith who stands up for what you believe in and say those things out loud."<br /><br />Janice Rogers Brown apparently is one of the right wing nut jobs who is part of the "Constitution in Exile".<br /><br /><a href="http://www.acsblog.org/economic-regulation-employment-1217-jeffrey-rosen-on-athe-constitution-in-exilea.html">http://www.acsblog.org/economic-regulation-employment-1217-jeffrey-rosen-on-athe-constitution-in-exilea.html</a><br /><br />" Other potential Bush Supreme Court nominees Rosen discusses as potential adherents of the Constitution in Exile include Janice Rogers Brown (who called 1937, the year in which the Supreme Court stopped striking down New Deal legislation on constitutional grounds ?the triumph of our socialist revolution.?), J. Michael Luttig and John Roberts."<br /><br />More on teh "Constitution in Exile" insane ideas <a href="http://www.acsblog.org/judicial-nominations-700-the-return-of-constitution-in-exile.html">here</a><br /><br /><a href="http://www.acsblog.org/judicial-nominations-700-the-return-of-constitution-in-exile.html">http://www.acsblog.org/judicial-nominations-700-the-return-of-constitution-in-exile.html</a><br /><br />But, Janice Rogers Brown has her little fingers all gooey from ALL KINDS of nut job pies! She's a big one for the "FEDERALIST SOCIETY".<br /><br />http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2005/5/1/225323/5346<br />"The Big Lie: Right Wing Plays the Race Card on Judicial Nominations<br />by Armando <br />Sun May 1st, 2005 at 19:53:23 PDT<br /><br />You knew it was coming because the Right Wing is shameless. And here it is - the shameless playing of the race card by the GOP, right from the bottom of the deck:<br /><br />Why are Senate Democrats so afraid of conservative judicial nominees who are African Americans, Hispanics, Catholics, and women? Because these Clarence Thomas nominees threaten to split the Democratic base by aligning conservative Republicans with conservative voices in the minority community and appealing to suburban women. The Democrats need Bush to nominate conservatives to the Supreme Court whom they can caricature and vilify, and it is much harder for them to do that if Bush nominates the judicial equivalent of a Condi Rice rather than a John Ashcroft.<br />What shameless liars. Indeed, the opposite is true. The GOP chooses African-Americans and women to be the most extreme, out of the mainstream nominees imaginable. And yes Clarence Thomas is Exhibit A of that theory. Why do they do this? To try and cow legitmate opposition to the unbelievably extreme positions they want their nominees to hold, and they believe the only way to get these extreme views confirmed by the Senate is to cynically play the race card - to wit, nominate African-Americans and women who hold these extreme, out of the mainstream views.<br /><br />The truth is no bar to the GOP's offensive use of the race card. Take this description:<br /><br /><br />Take Janice Rogers Brown, who won reelection to her state supreme court seat with a stunning 76 percent of the vote in one of the bluest of the blue states, California.<br />First of all, Rogers Brown was not reelected, rather she was facing the voters for the FIRST time in 1998 on a vote of retention after being named to the California Supreme Court in 1996. Brown would not be up for re-election for another 12 years, in 2008. More importantly, a 76% vote for a California Supreme Court Justice is NOT stunning, particularly one with only 2 years on the Court. For example, from California Appellate Counselor:<br /><br /><br />Four current members of the California Supreme Court were up for retention in the November 1998 election -- Chief Justice Ronald George, Justice Stanley Mosk, Justice Ming Chin and Justice Janice Rogers Brown. Most of the attention centered on Chief Justice George and Justice Chin, who had incurred the wrath of certain abortion foes by voting to strike down a statute that required unmarried teenagers to obtain the consent of a parent or judge for an abortion. Justices Mosk and Brown dissented from that decision[,] ... American Academy of Pediatrics v. Lungren, 16 Cal. 4th 307 (1997).<br />As it turned out, the elections were no contest. All four were retained by substantial margins. Here are the final results, as reported in the Los Angeles Times:<br /><br />Chief Justice Ronald M. George<br /> Confirm 4,131,213 (75 percent)<br /> Reject 1,354,994 (25 percent)<br /><br />Associate Justice Stanley Mosk<br /> Confirm 3,695,777 (70 percent)<br /> Reject 1,557,390 (30 percent)<br /><br />Associate Justice Ming W. Chin<br /> Confirm 3,723,584 (69 percent)<br /> Reject 1,669,841 (25 percent)<br /><br />Associate Justice Janice R. Brown<br /> Confirm 3,884,203 (76 percent)<br /> Reject 1,255,502 (24 percent)<br /><br />As you can see, distorting the facts is no impediment for the Right Wing. In an election where the Religious Right targetted liberal Justices, Rogers Brown, an afterthought in this election, "stunned" with the same result as the targetted Chief Justice.<br /><br />More importantly, the Right Wing simply lies about the basis of Democratic opposition to Rogers Brown:<br /><br /><br />Justice Brown's disdain for government runs so deep that she urges "conservative" judges to invalidate legislation that expands the role of government, saying that it "inevitably transform... a democracy ... into a kleptocracy." Following her own "pro-activist" advice, Justice Brown - always in dissent - uses constitutional provisions or defies the legislature's intent to restrict or invalidate laws she doesn't like, such as California's anti-discrimination statute (which she condemns as protecting only "narrow" personal interests), hotel development fees intended to preserve San Francisco's affordable housing supply, rent control ordinances, statutory fees for manufacturers that put lead-based products into the stream of commerce, and a false advertising law applied to companies making false claims about their workplace practices to boost sales. Justice Brown's colleagues on the court have repeatedly remarked on her disrespect for such legislative policy judgments, criticizing her, in different cases, for "imposing ... [a] personal theory of political economy on the people of a democratic state"; asserting "such an activist role for the courts"; "quarrel[ing]... not with our holding in this case, but with this court's previous decision ... and, even more fundamentally, with the Legislature itself"; and "permit[ting] a court ... to reweigh the policy choices that underlay a legislative or quasi-legislative classification or to reevaluate the efficacy of the legislative measure."<br />Need more? Here's a review of the substance of the Roger Brown record, matters the Right Wing liars and cynical players of the race card will NOT discuss:<br /><br /><br />The report, "Loose Cannon," notes that when Brown was nominated to the state supreme court in 1996, she was found unqualified by the state bar evaluation committee, based not only on her relative inexperience but also because she was "prone to inserting conservative political views into her appellate opinions" and based on complaints that she was "insensitive to established precedent."<br />The report carefully examines Brown's record since she joined the court, especially her numerous dissenting opinions concerning civil and constitutional rights. Brown's many disturbing dissents, often not joined by a single other justice, make it clear that she would use the power of an appeals court seat to try to erect significant barriers for victims of discrimination to seek justice in the courts, and to push an agenda that would undermine privacy, equal protection under the law, environmental protection, and much more.<br /><br />In speeches, Brown has embraced the extreme states' rights and anti-federal-government positions of the Federalist Society, the organization of lawyers and judges working to push the law far to the right. She has said that what she has called the "Revolution of 1937," when the Supreme Court began to consistently sustain New Deal legislation against legal attack, was a "disaster" that marked "the triumph of our socialist revolution."<br /><br />More in extended. <br /><br />Republicans :: :: Trackback :: <br /><br />More of the Rogers Brown judicial record.<br /><br /><br />Civil Rights, Equal Opportunity, and Discrimination<br />According to the report, "Justice Brown's opinions on civil rights law are perhaps the most troubling area of a very troubling body of work. These opinions reveal significant skepticism about the existence and impact of discrimination and demonstrate repeated efforts to limit the avenues available to victims of discrimination to obtain justice. Brown's opinions in this area reveal a troubling disregard for precedent and stare decisis - even in the context of case law that has been settled by the U.S. Supreme Court."<br /><br />The report examines Brown opinions in cases involving racial discrimination, discrimination against people with disabilities and older Americans, and affirmative action. California's Chief Justice criticized one of her opinions as arguing that "numerous decisions of the United States Supreme Court and this court" were "wrongly decided" and as representing a "serious distortion of history."<br /><br /> Free Speech and Association<br /><br />Brown's free speech opinions illustrate her tendency to rule in favor of corporations and seek to provide broad protections for corporate speech, while sometimes giving short shrift to the First Amendment rights of average citizens. <br /><br />In one dissent she listed as one of her ten most significant decisions, Brown sought to expand the contexts in which corporations could make false or misleading statements without any effective legal mechanism for holding them accountable. In another case discussed in the report, Brown argued that a corporation should be granted an injunction against a former employee sending emails critical of the company's employment practices to some of his former colleagues. ...<br /><br />Privacy, Family Rights, and Reproductive Freedom<br /><br />As a state supreme court justice, Brown has issued only one opinion dealing with abortion, but it raises serious concerns about her judicial philosophy concerning women's constitutional right to privacy and reproductive freedom. In her dissent, Brown argued that the federal Constitution somehow restricts the privacy protections that may be provided by the state constitution, a position far outside the mainstream of judicial thought. She argued that the court majority's decision ruling unconstitutional a restrictive parental consent law for minors seeking abortions would allow courts to "topple every cultural icon, to dismiss all societal values, and to become final arbiters of traditional morality." ...<br /><br />Worker Rights, Consumer Protection and Private Property Rights<br /><br />Several cases raise serious questions about Brown's willingness to enforce provisions intended to protect the average person against the power of the government or large corporations. Brown has signaled her approval of broad drug-testing provisions even in situations in which a majority of the California Supreme Court found the tests to be clearly unconstitutional, and even where it would have required explicitly rejecting U.S. Supreme Court precedent.<br /><br />...In several speeches and one of her opinions, Brown has attacked the long-established principle that governmental action infringing on fundamental rights is subject to strict judicial scrutiny while general social and economic legislation is upheld if it has a rational basis. According to Brown, that fundamental principle is "highly suspect, incoherent, and constitutionally invalid."<br /><br />The one thing you will not see discussed by the Right Wing racial hucksters is Rogers Brown's judicial record. Just watch. "<br /><br />Here's an example of L'il Ole Janice Rogers Brown "speechifying" and using here "cogimitation bone"...<br /><a href="http://www.constitution.org/col/jrb/00420_jrb_fedsoc.htm">http://www.constitution.org/col/jrb/00420_jrb_fedsoc.htm</a><br />""A Whiter Shade of Pale": Sense and Nonsense ? <br />The Pursuit of Perfection in Law and Politics<br /><br />Speech of Janice Rogers Brown,<br />Associate Justice, California Supreme Court<br /><br />The Federalist Society <br />University of Chicago Law School <br />April 20, 2000, Thursday <br />12:15 p.m.<br /><br />Thank you. I want to thank Mr. Schlangen (fondly known as Charlie to my secretary) for extending the invitation and the Federalist Society both for giving me my first opportunity to visit the City of Chicago and for being, as Mr. Schlangen assured me in his letter of invitation, "a rare bastion (nay beacon) of conservative and libertarian thought." That latter notion made your invitation well-nigh irresistible. There are so few true conservatives left in America that we probably should be included on the endangered species list. That would serve two purposes: Demonstrating the great compassion of our government and relegating us to some remote wetlands habitat where ? out of sight and out of mind ? we will cease being a dissonance in collectivist concerto of the liberal body politic.<br /><br />In truth, they need not banish us to the gulag. We are not much of a threat, lacking even a coherent language in which to state our premise. "A Whiter Shade of Pale" is an old (circa 1967) Procol Harum song, full of nonsensical lyrics, but powerfully evocative nonetheless. Here's a sample:<br /><br />"We skipped the light fandango <br />turned cartwheels cross the floor <br />I was feeling kinda seasick <br />but the crowd called out for more.<br /><br />The room was humming harder <br />as the ceiling flew away. <br />When we called out for another drink <br />the waiter brought a tray."<br /><br />There is something about this that forcibly reminds me of our current political circus. The last verse is even better.<br /><br />"If music be the food of love <br />then laughter is its queen <br />and likewise if behind is in front <br />then dirt in truth is clean...."<br /><br />Sound familiar? Of course Procol Harum had an excuse. These were the 60's after all, and the lyrics were probably drug induced. What's our excuse?<br /><br />One response might be that we are living in a world where words have lost their meaning. This is certainly not a new phenomenon. It seems to be an inevitable artifact of cultural disintegration. Thucydides lamented the great changes in language and life that succeeded the Pelopennesian War; Clarendon and Burke expressed similar concerns about the political transformations of their own time. It is always a disorienting experience for a member of the old guard when the entire understanding of the old world is uprooted. As James Boyd White expresses it: "n this world no one would see what he sees, respond as he responds, speak as he speaks,"1 and living in that world means surrender to the near certainty of central and fundamental changes within the self. "One cannot maintain forever one's language and judgment against the pressures of a world that works in different ways," for we are shaped by the world in which we live.2<br /><br />This is a fascinating subject which we do not have time to explore more thoroughly. Suffice it to say that this phenomenon accounts for much of the near hysterical tone of current political discourse. Our problems, however, seem to go even deeper. It is not simply that the same words don't have the same meanings; in our lifetime, words are ceasing to have any meaning. The culture of the word is being extinguished by the culture of the camera. Politicians no longer have positions they have photo-ops. To be or not to be is no longer the question. The question is: how do you feel.<br /><br />Writing 50 years ago, F.A. Hayek warned us that a centrally planned economy is "The Road to Serfdom."3 He was right, of course; but the intervening years have shown us that there are many other roads to serfdom. In fact, it now appears that human nature is so constituted that, as in the days of empire all roads led to Rome; in the heyday of liberal democracy, all roads lead to slavery. And we no longer find slavery abhorrent. We embrace it. We demand more. Big government is not just the opiate of the masses. It is the opiate. The drug of choice for multinational corporations and single moms; for regulated industries and rugged Midwestern farmers and militant senior citizens.<br /><br />It is my thesis today that the sheer tenacity of the collectivist impulse ? whether you call it socialism or communism or altruism ? has changed not only the meaning of our words, but the meaning of the Constitution, and the character of our people.<br /><br />Government is the only enterprise in the world which expands in size when its failures increase. Aaron Wildavsky gives a credible account of this dynamic. Wildavsky notes that the Madisonian world has gone "topsy turvy" as factions, defined as groups "activated by some common interest adverse to the rights of other citizens or to the permanent and aggregate interests of the community,"4 have been transformed into sectors of public policy. "Indeed," says Wildavsky, "government now pays citizens to organize, lawyers to sue, and politicians to run for office. Soon enough, if current trends continue, government will become self-contained, generating (apparently spontaneously) the forces to which it responds."5 That explains how, but not why. And certainly not why we are so comfortable with that result.<br /><br />America's Constitution provided an 18th Century answer to the question of what to do about the status of the individual and the mode of government. Though the founders set out to establish good government "from reflection and choice,"6 they also acknowledged the "limits of reason as applied to constitutional design,"7 and wisely did not seek to invent the world anew on the basis of abstract principle; instead, they chose to rely on habits, customs, and principles derived from human experience and authenticated by tradition.<br /><br />"The Framers understood that the self-interest which in the private sphere contributes to welfare of society ? both in the sense of material well-being and in the social unity engendered by commerce ? makes man a knave in the public sphere, the sphere of politics and group action. It is self-interest that leads individuals to form factions to try to expropriate the wealth of others through government and that constantly threatens social harmony."8<br /><br />Collectivism sought to answer a different question: how to achieve cosmic justice ? sometimes referred to as social justice ? a world of social and economic equality. Such an ambitious proposal sees no limit to man's capacity to reason. It presupposes a community can consciously design not only improved political, economic, and social systems but new and improved human beings as well.<br /><br />The great innovation of this millennium was equality before the law. The greatest fiasco ? the attempt to guarantee equal outcomes for all people. Tom Bethell notes that the security of property ? a security our Constitution sought to ensure ? had to be devalued in order for collectivism to come of age. The founders viewed private property as "the guardian of every other right."9 But, "by 1890 we find Alfred Marshall, the teacher of John Maynard Keynes making the astounding claim that the need for private property reaches no deeper than the qualities of human nature."10 A hundred years later came Milton Friedman's laconic reply: " 'I would say that goes pretty deep.'"11 In between, came the reign of socialism. "Starting with the formation of the Fabian Society and ending with the fall of the Berlin Wall, its ambitious project was the reformation of human nature. Intellectuals visualized a planned life without private property, mediated by the New Man."12 He never arrived. As John McGinnis persuasively argues: "There is simply a mismatch between collectivism on any large and enduring scale and our evolved nature. As Edward O. Wilson, the world's foremost expert on ants, remarked about Marxism, 'Wonderful theory. Wrong species.'"13<br /><br />Ayn Rand similarly attributes the collectivist impulse to what she calls the "tribal view of man."14 She notes, "[t]he American philosophy of the Rights of Man was never fully grasped by European intellectuals. Europe's predominant idea of emancipation consisted of changing the concept of man as a slave to the absolute state embodied by the king, to the concept of man as the slave of the absolute state as embodied by 'the people' ? i.e., switching from slavery to a tribal chieftain into slavery to the tribe."15<br /><br />Democracy and capitalism seem to have triumphed. But, appearances can be deceiving. Instead of celebrating capitalism's virtues, we offer it grudging acceptance, contemptuous tolerance but only for its capacity to feed the insatiable maw of socialism. We do not conclude that socialism suffers from a fundamental and profound flaw. We conclude instead that its ends are worthy of any sacrifice ? including our freedom. Revel notes that Marxism has been "shamed and ridiculed everywhere except American universities" but only after totalitarian systems "reached the limits of their wickedness."16<br /><br />"Socialism concentrated all the wealth in the hands of an oligarchy in the name of social justice, reduced peoples to misery in the name of shar[ed] resources, to ignorance in the name of science. It created the modern world's most inegalitarian societies in the name of equality, the most vast network of concentration camps ever built [for] the defense of liberty."17<br /><br />Revel warns: "The totalitarian mind can reappear in some new and unexpected and seemingly innocuous and indeed virtuous form. [?]... t ... will [probably] put itself forward under the cover of a generous doctrine, humanitarian, inspired by a concern for giving the disadvantaged their fair share, against corruption, and pollution, and 'exclusion.'"18<br /><br />Of course, given the vision of the American Revolution just outlined, you might think none of that can happen here. I have news for you. It already has. The revolution is over. What started in the 1920's; became manifest in 1937; was consolidated in the 1960's; is now either building to a crescendo or getting ready to end with a whimper.<br /><br />At this moment, it seems likely leviathan will continue to lumber along, picking up ballast and momentum, crushing everything in its path. Some things are apparent. Where government moves in, community retreats, civil society disintegrates, and our ability to control our own destiny atrophies. The result is: families under siege; war in the streets; unapologetic expropriation of property; the precipitous decline of the rule of law; the rapid rise of corruption; the loss of civility and the triumph of deceit. The result is a debased, debauched culture which finds moral depravity entertaining and virtue contemptible.<br /><br />But what if anything does this have to do with law? Quite a lot, I think. In America, the national conversation will probably always include rhetoric about the rule of law. I have argued that collectivism was (and is) fundamentally incompatible with the vision that undergirded this country's founding. The New Deal, however, inoculated the federal Constitution with a kind of underground collectivist mentality. The Constitution itself was transmuted into a significantly different document. In his famous, all too famous, dissent in Lochner, Justice Holmes wrote that the "constitution is not intended to embody a particular economic theory, whether of paternalism and the organic relation of the citizen to the State or of laissez faire."19 Yes, one of the greatest (certainly one of the most quotable) jurists this nation has ever produced; but in this case, he was simply wrong. That Lochner dissent has troubled me ? has annoyed me ? for a long time and finally I understand why. It's because the framers did draft the Constitution with a surrounding sense of a particular polity in mind, one based on a definite conception of humanity. In fact as Professor Richard Epstein has said, Holmes's contention is "not true of our [ ] [Constitution], which was organized upon very explicit principles of political theory."20 It could be characterized as a plan for humanity "after the fall."<br /><br />There is nothing new, of course, in the idea that the framers did not buy into the notion of human perfectibility. And the document they drafted and the nation adopted in 1789 is shot through with provisions that can only be understood against the supposition that humanity's capacity for evil and tyranny is quite as real and quite as great as its capacity for reason and altruism. Indeed, as noted earlier, in politics, the framers may have envisioned the former tendency as the stronger, especially in the wake of the country's experience under the Articles of Confederation. The fear of "factions," of an "encroaching tyranny"; the need for ambition to counter ambition"; all of these concerns identified in the Federalist Papers have stratagems designed to defend against them in the Constitution itself. We needed them, the framers were convinced, because "angels do not govern"; men do.<br /><br />It was a quite opposite notion of humanity, of its fundamental nature and capacities, that animated the great concurrent event in the West in 1789 ? the revolution in France. Out of that revolutionary holocaust ? intellectually an improbable melding of Rousseau with Descartes ? the powerful notion of abstract human rights was born. At the risk of being skewered by historians of ideas, I want to suggest that the belief in and the impulse toward human perfection, at least in the political life of a nation, is an idea whose arc can be traced from the Enlightenment, through the Terror, to Marx and Engels, to the Revolutions of 1**7 and 1937. The latter date marks the triumph of our own socialist revolution. All of these events were manifestations of a particularly skewed view of human nature and the nature of human reason. To the extent the Enlightenment sought to substitute the paradigm of reason for faith, custom or tradition, it failed to provide rational explanation of the significance of human life. It thus led, in a sort of ultimate irony, to the repudiation of reason and to a full-fledged flight from truth ? what Revel describes as "an almost pathological indifference to the truth."21<br /><br />There were obviously urgent economic and social reasons driving not only the political culture but the constitutional culture in the mid-1930's ? though it was actually the mistakes of governments (closed borders, high tariffs, and other protectionist measures) that transformed a "momentary breakdown into an international cataclysm."22 The climate of opinion favoring collectivist social and political solutions had a worldwide dimension.<br /><br />Politically, the belief in human perfectibility is another way of asserting that differences between the few and the many can, over time, be erased. That creed is a critical philosophical proposition underlying the New Deal. What is extraordinary is the way that thesis infiltrated and effected American constitutionalism over the next three-quarters of a century. Its effect was not simply to repudiate, both philosophically and in legal doctrine, the framers' conception of humanity, but to cut away the very ground on which the Constitution rests. Because the only way to come to terms with an enduring Constitution is to believe that the human condition is itself enduring.<br /><br />For complex reasons, attempts to impose a collectivist political solution in the United States failed. But, the political failure was of little practical concern, in a way that is oddly unappreciated, that same impulse succeeded within the judiciary, especially in the federal high court. The idea of abstract rights, government entitlements as the most significant form of property, is well suited to conditions of economic distress and the emergence of a propertyless class. But the economic convulsions of the late 1920's and early 1930's passed away; the doctrinal underpinnings of West Coast Hotel and the "switch in time" did not. Indeed, over the next half century it consumed much of the classical conception of the Constitution.<br /><br />So secure were the intellectual underpinnings of the constitutional revolution, so self-evident the ambient cultural values of the policy elite who administered it, that the object of the high court's jurisprudence was largely devoted to the construction of a system for ranking the constitutional weight to be given contending social interests.<br /><br />In the New Deal/Great Society era, a rule that was the polar opposite of the classical era of American law reigned. A judicial subjectivity whose very purpose was to do away with objective gauges of constitutionality, with universal principles, the better to give the judicial priesthood a free hand to remake the Constitution. After a handful of gross divisions reflecting the hierarchy of the elite's political values had been drawn (personal vs. economic rights, for example), the task was to construct a theoretical system, not of social or cultural norms, but of abstract constitutional weight a given interest merits ? strict or rational basis scrutiny. The rest, the identification of underlying, extraconstitutional values, consisted of judicial tropes and a fortified rhetoric.<br /><br />Protection of property was a major casualty of the Revolution of 1937. The paradigmatic case, written by that premiere constitutional operative, William O. Douglas, is Williamson v. Lee Optical.23 The court drew a line between personal rights and property rights or economic interests, and applied two different constitutional tests. Rights were reordered and property acquired a second class status.24 If the right asserted was economic, the court held the Legislature could do anything it pleased. Judicial review for alleged constitutional infirmities under the due process clause was virtually nonexistent. On the other hand, if the right was personal and "fundamental," review was intolerably strict. "From the Progressive era to the New Deal, [ ] property was by degrees ostracized from the company of rights.25 Something new, called economic rights, began to supplant the old property rights. This change, which occurred with remarkably little fanfare, was staggeringly significant. With the advent of "economic rights," the original meaning of rights was effectively destroyed. These new "rights" imposed obligations, not limits, on the state.<br /><br />It thus became government's job not to protect property but, rather, to regulate and redistribute it. And, the epic proportions of the disaster which has befallen millions of people during the ensuing decades has not altered our fervent commitment to statism. The words of Judge Alex Kozinski, written in 19**, are not very encouraging." 'What we have learned from the experience of Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union ... is that you need capitalism to make socialism work.' In other words, capitalism must produce what socialism is to distribute."26 Are the signs and portents any better at the beginning of a new century?<br /><br />Has the constitutional Zeitgeist that has reigned in the United States since the beginning of the Progressive Era come to its conclusion? And if it has, what will replace it? I wish I knew the answer to these questions. It is true ? in the words of another old song: "There's something happening here. What it is ain't exactly clear."27<br /><br />The oracles point in all directions at once. Political polls suggest voters no longer desire tax cuts. But, taxpayers who pay the largest proportion of taxes are now a minority of all voters. On the other hand, until last term the Supreme Court held out the promising possibility of a revival of what might be called Lochnerism-lite in a trio of cases ? Nollan, Dolan, and Lucas, Those cases offered a principled but pragmatic means-end standard of scrutiny under the takings clause.<br /><br />But there are even deeper movements afoot. Tectonic plates are shifting and the resulting cataclysm may make 1937 look tame.<br /><br />Lionel Tiger, in a provocative new book called The Decline of Males, posits a brilliant and disturbing new paradigm. He notes we used to think of a family as a man, a woman, and a child. Now, a remarkable new family pattern has emerged which he labels "bureaugamy." A new trinity: a woman, a child, and a bureaucrat."28 Professor Tiger contends that most, if not all, of the gender gap that elected Bill Clinton to a second term in 1996 is explained by this phenomenon. According to Tiger, women moved in overwhelming numbers to the Democratic party as the party most likely to implement policies and programs which will support these new reproductive strategies.<br /><br />Professor Tiger is not critical of these strategies. He views this trend as the triumph of reproduction over production; the triumph of Darwinism over Marxism; and he advocates broad political changes to accommodate it.<br /><br />Others do not see these changes as quite so benign or culturally neutral. Jacques Barzan finds the Central Western notion of emancipation has been devalued. It has now come to mean that "nothing stands in the way of every wish."29 The result is a decadent age ? an era in which "there are no clear lines of advance"; "when people accept futility and the absurd as normal[,] the culture is decadent."30<br /><br />Stanley Rosen defines "our present crisis as a fatigue induced by ... accumulated decisions of so many revolutions."31 He finds us, in the spirit of Pascal, knowing "too much to be ignorant and too little to be wise."32 <br /><br />I will close with a story I like a lot. It's a true story. It happened on June 10, 1990. A British Airways jet bound for Malaga, Spain, took off from Birmingham, England. It was expected to be a routine flight. As the jet climbed through the 23,000-foot level, there was a loud bang; the cockpit windshield directly in front of the captain blew out. The sudden decompression sucked Captain Lancaster out of his seatbelt and into the hole left by the windscreen. A steward who happened to be in the cockpit managed to snag the captain's feet as he hurtled past. Another steward rushed onto the flight deck, strapped himself into the captain's chair and, helped by other members of the crew, clung with all his strength to the captain. The slipstream was so fierce, they were unable to drag the pilot back into the plane. His clothing was ripped from his body. With Lancaster plastered against the nose of the jet, the co-pilot donned an oxygen mask and flew the plane to Southampton ?approximately 15 minutes away ? and landed safely. The captain had a fractured elbow, wrist and thumb; a mild case of frostbite, but was otherwise unharmed.<br /><br />We find ourselves, like the captain, in a situation that is hopeless but not yet desperate. The arcs of history, culture, philosophy, and science all seem to be converging on this temporal instant. Familiar arrangements are coming apart; valuable things are torn from our hands, snatched away by the decompression of our fragile ark of culture. But, it is too soon to despair. The collapse of the old system may be the crucible of a new vision. We must get a grip on what we can and hold on. Hold on with all the energy and imagination and ferocity we possess. Hold on even while we accept the darkness. We know not what miracles may happen; what heroic possibilities exist. We may be only moments away from a new dawn.<br /><br /><br />--------------------------------------------------------------------------------<br /><br />1 James Boyd White, When Words Lose Their Meaning (Univ. of Chicago Press 1984) p. 4. <br /><br />2 Ibid.<br /><br />3 F. A, Hayek, The Road to Serfdom (Univ. of Chicago Press 1994).<br /><br />4 Golembiewski & Wildavsky, The Cost of Federalism (1984) Bare Bones: Putting Flesh on the Skeleton of American Federalism 67, 73.<br /><br />5 Ibid.<br /><br />6 Hamilton, The Federalist Papers No. 1 (Rossiter ed. 1961) p. 33.<br /><br />7 Michael W. Spicer, Public Administration and the Constitution: A Conflict in World Views (March 1, 1994) 24 American R. of Public Admin. 85 [1994 WL 2806423 at *10].<br /><br />8 John O. McGinnis, The Original Constitution and Our Origins (1996) 19 Harv. J.L.& Pub. Policy 251, 253.<br /><br />9 Tom Bethell, Property Rights, Prosperity and 1,000 Years of Lessons, The Wall Street J. (Dec. 27, 1999) p. A19.<br /><br />10 Ibid.<br /><br />11 Ibid.<br /><br />12 Ibid.<br /><br />13 John O. McGinnis, The Original Constitution and Our Origins, supra, 19 Harv. J. L.& Pub. Policy at p. 258.<br /><br />14 Ayn Rand, Capitalism the Unknown Ideal (New American Lib. 1966) pp. 4-5.<br /><br />15 Ibid<br /><br />16 Jean Francois Revel, Democracy Against Itself (The Free Press 1993) pp. 250-251.<br /><br />17 Id. at p. 251.<br /><br />18 Id. at pp. 250-251.<br /><br />19 (198 U.S. at p. 75.)<br /><br />20 Clint Bolick, Unfinished Business (1990) p. 25, quoting Crisis in the Courts (1982) The Manhattan Report on Economic Policy, Vol. V, No. 2, p. 4.<br /><br />21 Jean Francois Revel, The Flight From Truth (Random House N.Y. 19**) p. xvi.<br /><br />22 Id. at p. xxxvii.<br /><br />23 348 U.S. 483.<br /><br />24 Tom Bethell, The Noblest Triumph (St. Martin's Griffin, N.Y. 199 p. 175.<br /><br />25 Id. at p. 176.<br /><br />26 Alex Kozinski, The Dark Lesson of Utopia (19**) 58 U.Chi. L.R. 575, 576. <br /><br />27 Buffalo Springfield, For What It's Worth (1966).<br /><br />28 Lionel Tiger, The Decline of Males (Golden Books, N.Y. 1999) pp. 21, 27.<br /><br />29 Edward Rothstein, N.Y. Times (April 15, 2000) p. A l7.<br /><br />30 Ibid.<br /><br />31 Stanley Rosen, Rethinking the Enlightenment (1997) 7 Common Knowledge, p. 104.<br /><br />32 Ibid."<br />===============SNIP==============<br />She's a FUCKIN' NUT!<br /><br />But, don't just take MY words...<br /><br />Check out this page<br />http://www.pfaw.org/pfaw/general/default.aspx?oid=12751<br /><br /><a href="/a><br">http://www.pfaw.org/pfaw/general/default.aspx?oid=12751"></a><br />"Janice Rogers Brown On American Government <br />Some things are apparent. Where government moves in, community retreats, civil society disintegrates and our ability to control our own destiny atrophies. The result is: families under siege; war in the streets; unapologetic expropriation of property; the precipitous decline of the rule of law; the rapid rise of corruption; the loss of civility and the triumph of deceit. The result is a debased, debauched culture which finds moral depravity entertaining and virtue contemptible. [?A Whiter Shade of Pale,? Speech to Federalist Society (April 20. 2000)(?Federalist speech? at <br /><br />Where government advances ? and it advances relentlessly ? freedom is imperiled; community impoverished; religion marginalized and civilization itself jeopardized....When did government cease to be a necessary evil and become a goody bag to solve our private problems? [?Hyphenasia: the Mercy Killing of the American Dream,? Speech at Claremont-McKenna College (Sept. 16, 1999) at 3,4]<br /><br />In the last 100 years ? and particularly in the last 30 ? ...[g]overnment has been transformed from a necessary evil to a nanny ? benign, compassionate, and wise. Sometimes transformation is a good thing. Sometimes, though, it heralds not higher ground but rather, to put a different gloss on Pat Moynihan?s memorable phrase, defining democracy down. [?Fifty Ways to Lose Your Freedom,? Speech to Institute of Justice (Aug. 12, 2000)(?IFJ speech?) at 2]<br /><br />[W]e no longer find slavery abhorrent. We embrace it. We demand more. Big government is not just the opiate of the masses. It is the opiate. The drug of choice for multinational corporations and single moms; for regulated industries and rugged Midwestern farmers and militant senior citizens. [IFJ speech at 3-4]<br /><br />Government acts as a giant siphon, extracting wealth, creating privilege and power, and redistributing it. [Speech at McGeorge School of Law (Nov. 21, 1997) at 18][See also Landgate, Inc. v. California Coastal Commission, 953 P.2d 1188, 1212 (Cal. 199(Brown, J., dissenting)(referring to government as ?relentless siphon.?)] <br />Back to Top<br /><br /> <br /><br />Janice Rogers Brown on senior citizens and age discrimination <br />My grandparents? generation thought being on the government dole was disgraceful, a blight on the family?s honor. Today?s senior citizens blithely cannibalize their grandchildren because they have a right to get as much ?free? stuff as the political system will permit them to extract...Big government is...[t]he drug of choice for multinational corporations and single moms, for regulated industries and rugged Midwestern farmers, and militant senior citizens. [IFJ speech at 2,3]<br /><br />I would deny [the senior citizen] plaintiff relief because she has failed to establish the public policy against age discrimination ?inures to the benefit of the public? or is ?fundamental and substantial?...Discrimination based on age...does not mark its victim with a ?stigma of inferiority and second class citizenship?....; it is the unavoidable consequence of that universal leveler: time [Dissenting opinion in Stevenson v. Superior Court, 941 P.2d 1157,1177, 1187 (Cal. 1997)]<br /> <br />Back to Top<br /><br /> <br /><br />Janice Rogers Brown on the New Deal, the Great Society, and the ?transmutation? of the Constitution <br />I have argued that collectivism was (and is) fundamentally incompatible with the vision that undergirded this country?s founding. The New Deal, however, inoculated the federal Constitution with a kind of underground collectivist mentality. The Constitution itself was transmuted into a significantly different document...1937...marks the triumph of our own socialist revolution...Politically, the belief in human perfectibility is another way of asserting that differences between the few and the many can, over time, be erased. That creed is a critical philosophical proposition underlying the New Deal. What is extraordinary is the way that thesis infiltrated and effected American constitutionalism over the next three-quarters of a century. Its effect was not simply to repudiate, both philosophically and in legal doctrine, the framers? conception of humanity, but to cut away the very ground on which the Constitution rests... In the New Deal/Great Society era, a rule that was the polar opposite of the classical era of American law reigned [Federalist speech at 8, 10, 11, 12]<br /><br />In the last 100 years ? and particularly the last 30 ? the Constitution, once the fixed chart of our aspirations, has been demoted to the status of a bad chain novel. [IFJ speech at2] <br />Back to Top<br /><br /> <br /><br />Janice Rogers Brown on the proper ?protection? of property <br />In the New Deal/Great Society era, a rule that was the polar opposite of the classical era of American law reigned...Protection of property was a major casualty of the Revolution of 1937?Rights were reordered and property acquired a second class status...It thus became government?s job not to protect property but, rather, to regulate and redistribute it. And, the epic proportions of the disaster which has befallen millions of people during the ensuing decades has not altered our fervent commitment to statism. [Federalist speech at 12, 13]<br /><br />At its founding and throughout its early history, this regime revered private property. The American philosophy of the Rights of Man relied heavily on the indissoluble connection between rationality, property, freedom and justice. The Founders viewed the right of property as ?the guardian of every other right??.[IFJ speech at 5]<br /><br />[P]rivate property, already an endangered species in California, is now entirely extinct in San Francisco?I would find the HCO [San Francisco Residential Hotel Unit Conversion and Demolition Ordinance] preempted by the Ellis Act and facially unconstitutional. ?Theft is theft even when the government approves of the thievery. Turning a democracy into a kleptocracy does not enhance the stature of the thieves; it only diminishes the legitimacy of the government. ?The right to express one?s individuality and essential human dignity through the free use of property is just as important as the right to do so through speech, the press, or the free exercise of religion. [Dissenting opinion in San Remo Hotel L.P. v. City and County of San Francisco, 41 P.3d 87, 120, 128-9 (Cal. 2002)(upholding San Francisco ordinance calling on hotel owners seeking permission to eliminate residential units and convert to tourist hotels help replace lost rental units for low income, elderly, and disabled persons)][See also IFJ speech at 4 (warning that without effective limits on government, ?a democracy is inevitably transformed into a Kleptocracy.?)] <br />Back to Top<br /><br /> <br /><br />Janice Rogers Brown on the courts, law and the judiciary <br />We are heirs to a mind-numbing bureaucracy; subject to a level of legalization that cannot avoid being arbitrary, capricious, and discriminatory. What other outcome is possible in a society in which no adult can wake up, go about their business, and return to their homes without breaking several laws? There are of course many reasons for our present difficulties, but some of our troubles can be laid at the feet of that most innocuous branch ? the judiciary?From the 1960?s onward, we have witnessed the rise of the judge militant. [Speech to California Lincoln Club Libertarian Law Council (Dec. 11, 1997)(?Libertarian speech?) at 5-6, 9]<br /><br />But, alas, the decisions of such [supreme] courts, including my own, seem ever more ad hoc and expedient, perilously adrift on the roiling seas of feckless photo-op compassion and political correctness. [IFJ speech at 15]<br /><br />Thus, lawyers have secured the right of topless dancers to perform, but have banished prayer from public life. They have won the right for indigents to take over public spaces, even our children?s libraries, and for the mentally ill to live on streets and shout obscenities at passersby. Legal advocates have guaranteed the right of students to be ignorant by opposing competency tests, and ignored their brazen possession and use of weapons in school. [?Politics: A Vision for Change,? Docket (Dec. 1993) at 15]<br /><br />Politicians in their eagerness to please and to provide something of value to their constituencies that does not have a price tag are handing out new rights like lollipops in the dentist?s office. [Speech to Sacramento County bar ***?n (May 1, 1996) at 6-7] <br />Back to Top<br /><br /> <br /><br />Janice Rogers Brown on strict judicial scrutiny for violations of fundamental constitutional rights and the incorporation doctrine <br />[Beginning in 1937, t]he court drew a line between personal rights and property rights or economic interests, and applied two different constitutional tests?f the right was personal and ?fundamental,? review was intolerably strict. [Federalist speech at 12]<br /><br />The dichotomy between the United States Supreme Court?s laissez-faire treatment of social and economic rights and its hypervigilance with respect to an expanding array of judicially proclaimed fundamental rights is highly suspect, incoherent, and constitutionally invalid. [Concurring opinion in Kasler v. Lockyer, 2 P.3d 581, 601 (Cal. 2000), cert. denied, 69 U.S.L.W. 3549 (2001)] <br /><br />[T]he courts overcame these alleged limitations on their powers with ridiculous ease. How? By constitutionalizing everything possible, finding constitutional rights which are nowhere mentioned in the Constitution. By taking a few words which are in the Constitution like ?due process? and ?equal protection? and imbuing them with elaborate and highly implausible etymologies; and by enunciating standards of constitutional review which are not standards at all but rather policy vetoes, i.e., strict scrutiny and the compelling state interest standard. [Libertarian speech at 7-<br /><br />The United States Supreme Court, however, began in the 1940s to incorporate the Bill of Rights into the 14th Amendment?The historical evidence supporting what the Supreme Court did here is pretty sketchy?The argument on the other side is pretty overwhelming that it?s probably not incorporated. [?Beyond the Abyss: Restoring Religion on the Public Square,? Speech to Pepperdine Bible Lectureship in 1999] <br />Back to Top<br /><br /> <br /><br />Janice Rogers Brown on democracy, capitalism, socialism, and ?liberalism?: <br />Democracy and capitalism seem to have triumphed. But, appearances can be deceiving. Instead of celebrating capitalism?s virtues, we offer it grudging acceptance, contemptuous tolerance, but only for its capacity to feed the insatiable maw of socialism. We do not conclude that socialism suffers from a fundamental flaw. We conclude instead that its ends are worthy of any sacrifice ? including our freedom?.1937?marks the triumph of our own socialist revolution. [Federalist speech at 6-7, 10]<br /><br />In truth, liberalism?s vaunted tolerance and openness is a lie. In America, at least, liberalism is tolerant only of those concerns to which it is indifferent. To those trivialized forms of religious observance which amount to no more than a consumer preference, the culture maintains a posture of tolerance. [Speech to St. Thomas More Society (Oct. 15, 199 at <br /> <br />Back to Top<br /><br /> <br /><br />Janice Rogers Brown on the Supreme Court?s discredited decision in Lochner v. New York <br />In his famous, all too famous, dissent in Lochner, Justice Holmes wrote that the ?constitution is not intended to embody a particular economic theory, whether of paternalism and the organic relation of the citizen to the State or of laissez faire.? Yes, one of the greatest (certainly one of the most quotable) jurists this nation has ever produced; but in this case, he was simply wrong. [Federalist speech at <br />Back to Top<br /><br /> <br /><br />Janice Rogers Brown on the right of privacy vs. the ?right to keep and bear arms? <br />Curiously, in the current dialectic, the right to keep and bear arms ? a right expressly guaranteed by the Bill of Rights ? is deemed less fundamental than implicit protections the court purports to find in the penumbras of other express provisions. (citations omitted) But surely, the right to preserve one?s life is at least as fundamental as the right to preserve one?s privacy. [Concurring opinion in Kasler, 2 P.3d at 602] <br />Back to Top<br /><br /> <br /><br />Janice Rogers Brown on government employers requiring employees to forfeit constitutional rights <br />In this case and others like it involving the interests of government solely as an employer and the surrender of a constitutional right as a condition of obtaining a mere benefit or ?privilege? , I would argue for a return to an earlier view, pungently expressed by Justice Holmes while a member of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts: ?The petitioner may have a constitutional right to talk politics, but he has no constitutional right to be a policeman.? (citations omitted) I realize, of course, that for many years Holmes?s view has been out of fashion. ?However, to the extent the doctrine of unconstitutional conditions purports to hold that government may not grant a benefit on the condition that the beneficiary surrender a constitutional right, even if the government may withhold the benefit altogether, it seems more a figment of academic imagination than reality. [Concurring and dissenting opinion in Loder v. City of Glendale, 927 P.2d 1200, 1257, 1258 (1997)(striking down city across-the-board testing program for promoted employees while approving requirement for new employees)]. <br />Back to Top<br /><br /><br />Janice Rogers Brown on natural law <br />We continue to chip away at the foundations of our success. We dismissed natural law and morality because its unverifiable judgments were deemed inferior to reason. But, then, we drove reason itself from the camp because the most significant of life?s questions defy empiricism. ?Only natural law offers an alternative to might makes right and accounts for man?s ?unrelenting quest to rise above the ?letter of the law? to the realm of the spirit.? [IFJ speech at 15, 17] "<br /><br />Many black civil rights groups and worker's unions such as the AFL/CIO strongly oppose this asshole!<br /><a href="http://www.aflcio.org/issuespolitics/rogers_brown.cfm">http://www.aflcio.org/issuespolitics/rogers_brown.cfm</a><br />"Oppose the Nomination of Janice Rogers Brown to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit<br /><br /> Print this <br /> E-mail this <br /> <br /> <br />Janice Rogers Brown is an associate justice on the California Supreme Court, a position she has held since 1996. On July 25, 2003, President Bush nominated Justice Brown to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.<br /><br /> <br /><br />Brown?s nomination should be defeated. She is an extreme conservative who is incapable of keeping her personal and political ideology out of her decision making. Brown?s views are extreme, and if adopted, would seriously undermine civil rights, women?s rights, worker and consumer protections and the environment.<br /><br /> <br /><br />Brown?s speeches and opinions show that she takes an extremely narrow view of the role of government in improving people?s lives and an extremely protective view of private property rights. In one speech, Brown described the Supreme Court?s decisions upholding New Deal legislation such as minimum wage laws as ?the triumph of our own socialist revolution.? She compares ?big government? to ?slavery? and an ?opiate.? She goes so far as to say that ?[t]oday?s senior citizens blithely cannibalize their grandchildren because they have a right to get as much ?free? stuff as the political system will permit them to extract.?[1]<br /><br /> <br /><br />In another speech, she states her view of government as follows:<br /><br /> <br /><br />Where government moves in, community retreats, civil society disintegrates and our ability to control our own destiny atrophies. The result is: families under siege; war in the streets; unapologetic expropriation of property; the precipitous decline of the rule of law; the rapid rise of corruption; the loss of civility and the triumph of deceit.[2] <br /><br /> <br /><br />The American Bar Association has given Justice Brown its lowest possible passing grade?a ?qualified/not qualified? rating. When Brown was nominated to the California Supreme Court, three-fourths of the California State Bar?s Commission on Judicial Nominees rated her ?unqualified? for the position because of her lack of experience and her tendency to inject her own personal views into her judicial opinions.[3] In her seven years on the California Supreme Court, Brown has demonstrated that her critics were right. <br /><br /> <br /><br />Examples of how Janice Rogers Brown?s troubling and extreme views have made their way into her decisions on the California Supreme Court include: <br /><br />Banning Affirmative Action. Brown authored an opinion that effectively ended meaningful affirmative action in California. Hi-Voltage Wire Works, Inc. v. City of Jan Jose, 12 P.3d 1068 (2000). Brown?s opinion was severely criticized, both on and off the court, for its harsh rhetoric and its suggestion that affirmative action resembled racist and segregationist laws that predated landmark civil rights laws.<br />Denying Effective Remedies to Victims of Unlawful Discrimination. Brown would have barred administrative agencies from awarding compensatory damages for emotional distress in race discrimination cases. Konig v. Fair Employment and Housing Comm?n, 50 P.3d 718 (2002). While couching her decision in separations of powers language, Brown disparaged administrative agencies and implicitly questioned their ability to fairly assess damages, saying that ?administrative agencies [are] not immune to political influences, [and] they are subject to capture by a specialized constituency.? 50 P.3d at 732. Brown was the only justice to take this position. And in Aguilar v. Avis Rent-a-Car, 980 P.2d 846 (1999), Brown authored a dissenting opinion that would have struck down, on First Amendment grounds, an injunction that instructed a supervisor not to use racial epithets against Latino employees. The injunction was issued by a trial court judge after the employer was found liable by a jury for maintaining a discriminatory hostile work environment for Latino employees. <br />Barring Civil Rights Claims. Brown dissented in a civil rights case and said the plaintiff?s race and age bias claims should have been thrown out as preempted by federal banking law. Peatros v. Bank of America, 990 P.2d 539 (2000).<br />Allowing Mandatory Arbitration Agreements Even If Employees Must Pay for the Cost of Arbitration. Brown authored an opinion saying that she would allow employers to require employees to agree to compulsory arbitration of employment claims (such as discrimination claims or unpaid overtime claims) even if those agreements allowed arbitrators to impose some or all of the cost of the arbitration on the employee. Armendariz v. Foundation Health Psychcare Servs., 6 P.3d 669 (2000). The majority of the court ruled that a mandatory arbitration agreement containing such a provision would be invalid, because it would discourage employees from exercising their right to bring claims against their employers. <br />Protecting Private Property Rights at the Expense of Affordable Housing Measures. Brown dissented from a decision that upheld the City of San Francisco?s determination that the owner of a residence hotel needed to retain affordable housing or contribute to an affordable housing fund as a condition of converting its property to a tourist hotel. Brown wrote a sarcastic and blistering dissent, calling the city?s decision ?theft,? ?extortion? and an unconstitutional ?taking? of the hotel owner?s private property. San Remo Hotel v. City and County of San Francisco, 41 P.3d 87 (2002). Brown?s opinion shows that she is skeptical of government action when it impacts private property rights?a view which, if adopted, would put at risk many consumer, environmental and worker protection measures. <br />Protecting Private Property Owners from Expressive Activity on their Property. Brown authored an opinion that took a narrow view of the California Constitution?s free speech protections, imposing a ?state action? requirement as a condition of those protections, even though such a requirement does not appear in the language of the California Constitution. As a result, tenants in a huge residential apartment complex were barred from distributing a tenant newsletter to their neighbors. Golden Gateway Center v. Golden Gateway Tenants ***?n, 29 P.3d 797 (2001). Employers are now using the decision to try to keep union organizers away from their workplaces. <br />Chilling E-mail Communication with Employees. Brown dissented from a ruling that a company could not sue an ex-employee under the tort of trespass after the ex-employee sent e-mails critical of the company to his former co-workers. The court majority said the company could not sue because there had been no actual damage or disruption to the company?s e-mail system. Brown would have allowed the lawsuit even in the absence of such damage. Intel Corp. v. Hamidi, 71 P.3d 296 (2003). Had Brown?s view been adopted, companies throughout California could have used trespass laws to shut down group e-mail contact from outside individuals or organizations. <br />Denying Schoolteachers Timely Information About Their Employment Status. In Kavanaugh v. West Sonoma County Union High School, 62 P.3d 54 (2003), Brown authored a dissent that would have allowed school districts to notify teachers of their status well after they began work, meaning that new hires could be subjected to ?bait-and-switch? tactics by school employers. The court majority ruled that applicable statutes require school districts to notify teachers of their status (e.g., temporary, probationary, etc.) on their first day of work. Knowledge of this status is important because different categories of teachers have different levels of job security. <br />Undermining Health and Safety Protections. Prior to joining the California Supreme Court, Brown served on the California Court of Appeal. There, she authored an opinion that would have invalidated a state law that required paint companies to help pay for screening and treatment of children exposed to lead paint. Brown?s opinion was later overturned by the California Supreme Court. Sinclair Paint Co. v. Board of Equalization, 49 Cal. App. 4th 127 (1996), rev?d, 937 P.2d 1350 (1997).<br />The D.C. Circuit Needs Balance, Not Extremist Judges Like Janice Rogers Brown<br /><br />The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit is widely regarded as the second most important court in America, second only to the U.S. Supreme Court. The court is a stepping-stone to the U.S. Supreme Court?the D.C. Circuit has produced more justices to the U.S. Supreme Court than any other circuit court.<br /><br />The D.C. Circuit is the administrative law court. It is the court that most closely oversees the actions of federal agencies that are responsible for worker protections, environmental protections, consumer safeguards, civil rights protections and much more. And because the Supreme Court grants review of so few lower court decisions, the D.C. Circuit is often the final word on the legality of federal agency actions.<br /><br />In 1999, Senate Republicans prevented Democratic appointees from gaining a majority on the D.C. Circuit when they blocked two highly-qualified nominees, including a nominee who is now the Dean of Harvard Law School, on grounds that the D.C. Circuit?s workload did not justify any additional judges. Since that time, the D.C. Circuit?s caseload has dropped by 28 percent. <br /> <br /><br />When the Bush administration took office, there were four Republican appointees, four Democratic appointees and four vacancies on the D.C. Circuit. Rather th

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MAKES YOU PROUD TO BE AN AMERICAN....OR DOES IT?

by codewarrior.wins In reply to CodeWarriorz Thoughts

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/20/international/asia/20abuse.html?hp&ex=1116561600&en=8701738ac057aebe&ei=5094&partner=homepage <br /><br />In U.S. Report, Brutal Details of 2 Afghan Inmates' Deaths<br /><br />By TIM GOLDEN <br />Published: May 20, 2005<br />Even as the young Afghan man was dying before them, his American jailers continued to torment him.<br /><br />The prisoner, a slight, 22-year-old taxi driver known only as Dilawar, was hauled from his cell at the detention center in Bagram, Afghanistan, at around 2 a.m. to answer questions about a rocket attack on an American base. When he arrived in the interrogation room, an interpreter who was present said, his legs were bouncing uncontrollably in the plastic chair and his hands were numb. He had been chained by the wrists to the top of his cell for much of the previous four days. <br /><br />Mr. Dilawar asked for a drink of water, and one of the two interrogators, Specialist Joshua R. Claus, 21, picked up a large plastic bottle. But first he punched a hole in the bottom, the interpreter said, so as the prisoner fumbled weakly with the cap, the water poured out over his orange prison scrubs. The soldier then grabbed the bottle back and began squirting the water forcefully into Mr. Dilawar's face. <br /><br />"Come on, drink!" the interpreter said Specialist Claus had shouted, as the prisoner gagged on the spray. "Drink!"<br /><br />At the interrogators' behest, a guard tried to force the young man to his knees. But his legs, which had been pummeled by guards for several days, could no longer bend. An interrogator told Mr. Dilawar that he could see a doctor after they finished with him. When he was finally sent back to his cell, though, the guards were instructed only to chain the prisoner back to the ceiling. <br /><br />"Leave him up," one of the guards quoted Specialist Claus as saying.<br /><br />Several hours passed before an emergency room doctor finally saw Mr. Dilawar. By then he was dead, his body beginning to stiffen. It would be many months before Army investigators learned a final horrific detail: Most of the interrogators had believed Mr. Dilawar was an innocent man who simply drove his taxi past the American base at the wrong time. <br /><br />The story of Mr. Dilawar's brutal death at the Bagram Collection Point - and that of another detainee, Habibullah, who died there six days earlier in December 2002 - emerge from a nearly 2,000-page confidential file of the Army's criminal investigation into the case, a copy of which was obtained by The New York Times. <br /><br />Like a narrative counterpart to the digital images from Abu Ghraib, the Bagram file depicts young, poorly trained soldiers in repeated incidents of abuse. The harsh treatment, which has resulted in criminal charges against seven soldiers, went well beyond the two deaths. <br /><br />In some instances, testimony shows, it was directed or carried out by interrogators to extract information. In others, it was punishment meted out by military police guards. Sometimes, the torment seems to have been driven by little more than boredom or cruelty, or both. <br /><br />In sworn statements to Army investigators, soldiers describe one female interrogator with a taste for humiliation stepping on the neck of one prostrate detainee and kicking another in the genitals. They tell of a shackled prisoner being forced to roll back and forth on the floor of a cell, kissing the boots of his two interrogators as he went. Yet another prisoner is made to pick plastic bottle caps out of a drum mixed with excrement and water as part of a strategy to soften him up for questioning. <br /><br />The Times obtained a copy of the file from a person involved in the investigation who was critical of the methods used at Bagram and the military's response to the deaths.<br /><br />Although incidents of prisoner abuse at Bagram in 2002, including some details of the two men's deaths, have been previously reported, American officials have characterized them as isolated problems that were thoroughly investigated. And many of the officers and soldiers interviewed in the Dilawar investigation said the large majority of detainees at Bagram were compliant and reasonably well treated. <br /><br />"What we have learned through the course of all these investigations is that there were people who clearly violated anyone's standard for humane treatment," said the Pentagon's chief spokesman, Larry Di Rita. "We're finding some cases that were not close calls." <br /><br />(Page 2 of <br /><br /><br /><br />Yet the Bagram file includes ample testimony that harsh treatment by some interrogators was routine and that guards could strike shackled detainees with virtual impunity. Prisoners considered important or troublesome were also handcuffed and chained to the ceilings and doors of their cells, sometimes for long periods, an action Army prosecutors recently classified as criminal assault. <br /><br /> <br /><br />Some of the mistreatment was quite obvious, the file suggests. Senior officers frequently toured the detention center, and several of them acknowledged seeing prisoners chained up for punishment or to deprive them of sleep. Shortly before the two deaths, observers from the International Committee of the Red Cross specifically complained to the military authorities at Bagram about the shackling of prisoners in "fixed positions," documents show. <br /><br />Even though military investigators learned soon after Mr. Dilawar's death that he had been abused by at least two interrogators, the Army's criminal inquiry moved slowly. Meanwhile, many of the Bagram interrogators, led by the same operations officer, Capt. Carolyn A. Wood, were redeployed to Iraq and in July 2003 took charge of interrogations at the Abu Ghraib prison. According to a high-level Army inquiry last year, Captain Wood applied techniques there that were "remarkably similar" to those used at Bagram. <br /><br />Last October, the Army's Criminal Investigation Command concluded that there was probable cause to charge 27 officers and enlisted personnel with criminal offenses in the Dilawar case ranging from dereliction of duty to maiming and involuntary manslaughter. Fifteen of the same soldiers were also cited for probable criminal responsibility in the Habibullah case. <br /><br />So far, only the seven soldiers have been charged, including four last week. No one has been convicted in either death. Two Army interrogators were also reprimanded, a military spokesman said. Most of those who could still face legal action have denied wrongdoing, either in statements to investigators or in comments to a reporter. <br /><br />"The whole situation is unfair," Sgt. Selena M. Salcedo, a former Bagram interrogator who was charged with assaulting Mr. Dilawar, dereliction of duty and lying to investigators, said in a telephone interview. "It's all going to come out when everything is said and done." <br /><br />With most of the legal action pending, the story of abuses at Bagram remains incomplete. But documents and interviews reveal a striking disparity between the findings of Army investigators and what military officials said in the aftermath of the deaths. <br /><br />Military spokesmen maintained that both men had died of natural causes, even after military coroners had ruled the deaths homicides. Two months after those autopsies, the American commander in Afghanistan, then-Lt. Gen. Daniel K. McNeill, said he had no indication that abuse by soldiers had contributed to the two deaths. The methods used at Bagram, he said, were "in accordance with what is generally accepted as interrogation techniques." <br /><br />The Interrogators<br /><br />In the summer of 2002, the military detention center at Bagram, about 40 miles north of Kabul, stood as a hulking reminder of the Americans' improvised hold over Afghanistan.<br /><br />Built by the Soviets as an aircraft machine shop for the operations base they established after their intervention in the country in 1979, the building had survived the ensuing wars as a battered relic - a long, squat, concrete block with rusted metal sheets where the windows had once been. <br /><br />Retrofitted with five large wire pens and a half dozen plywood isolation cells, the building became the Bagram Collection Point, a clearinghouse for prisoners captured in Afghanistan and elsewhere. The B.C.P., as soldiers called it, typically held between 40 and 80 detainees while they were interrogated and screened for possible shipment to the Pentagon's longer-term detention center at Guant?namo Bay, Cuba. <br /><br />The new interrogation unit that arrived in July 2002 had been improvised as well. Captain Wood, then a 32-year-old lieutenant, came with 13 soldiers from the 525th Military Intelligence Brigade at Fort Bragg, N.C.; six Arabic-speaking reservists were added from the Utah National Guard. <br /><br />(Page 3 of <br /><br /><br /><br />Part of the new group, which was consolidated under Company A of the 519th Military Intelligence Battalion, was made up of counterintelligence specialists with no background in interrogation. Only two of the soldiers had ever questioned actual prisoners. <br /><br />What specialized training the unit received came on the job, in sessions with two interrogators who had worked in the prison for a few months. "There was nothing that prepared us for running an interrogation operation" like the one at Bagram, the noncommissioned officer in charge of the interrogators, Staff Sgt. Steven W. Loring, later told investigators. <br /><br />Nor were the rules of engagement very clear. The platoon had the standard interrogations guide, Army Field Manual 34-52, and an order from the secretary of defense, Donald H. Rumsfeld, to treat prisoners "humanely," and when possible, in accordance with the Geneva Conventions. But with President Bush's final determination in February 2002 that the Conventions did not apply to the conflict with Al Qaeda and that Taliban fighters would not be accorded the rights of prisoners of war, the interrogators believed they "could deviate slightly from the rules," said one of the Utah reservists, Sgt. James A. Leahy. <br /><br />"There was the Geneva Conventions for enemy prisoners of war, but nothing for terrorists," Sergeant Leahy told Army investigators. And the detainees, senior intelligence officers said, were to be considered terrorists until proved otherwise. <br /><br />The deviations included the use of "safety positions" or "stress positions" that would make the detainees uncomfortable but not necessarily hurt them - kneeling on the ground, for instance, or sitting in a "chair" position against the wall. The new platoon was also trained in sleep deprivation, which the previous unit had generally limited to 24 hours or less, insisting that the interrogator remain awake with the prisoner to avoid pushing the limits of humane treatment. <br /><br />But as the 519th interrogators settled into their jobs, they set their own procedures for sleep deprivation. They decided on 32 to 36 hours as the optimal time to keep prisoners awake and eliminated the practice of staying up themselves, one former interrogator, Eric LaHammer, said in an interview. <br /><br />The interrogators worked from a menu of basic tactics to gain a prisoner's cooperation, from the "friendly" approach, to good cop-bad cop routines, to the threat of long-term imprisonment. But some less-experienced interrogators came to rely on the method known in the military as "Fear Up Harsh," or what one soldier referred to as "the screaming technique." <br /><br />Sergeant Loring, then 27, tried with limited success to wean those interrogators off that approach, which typically involved yelling and throwing chairs. Mr. Leahy said the sergeant "put the brakes on when certain approaches got out of hand." But he could also be dismissive of tactics he considered too soft, several soldiers told investigators, and gave some of the most aggressive interrogators wide latitude. (Efforts to locate Mr. Loring, who has left the military, were unsuccessful.) <br /><br />"We sometimes developed a rapport with detainees, and Sergeant Loring would sit us down and remind us that these were evil people and talk about 9/11 and they weren't our friends and could not be trusted," Mr. Leahy said. <br /><br />Specialist Damien M. Corsetti, a tall, bearded interrogator sometimes called "Monster" -he had the nickname tattooed in Italian across his stomach, other soldiers said - was often chosen to intimidate new detainees. Specialist Corsetti, they said, would glower and yell at the arrivals as they stood chained to an overhead pole or lay face down on the floor of a holding room. (A military police K-9 unit often brought growling dogs to walk among the new prisoners for similar effect, documents show.) <br /><br />"The other interrogators would use his reputation," said one interrogator, Specialist Eric H. Barclais. "They would tell the detainee, 'If you don't cooperate, we'll have to get Monster, and he won't be as nice.' " Another soldier told investigators that Sergeant Loring lightheartedly referred to Specialist Corsetti, then 23, as "the King of Torture." <br /><br />(Page 4 of <br /><br /><br /><br />A Saudi detainee who was interviewed by Army investigators last June at Guant?namo said Specialist Corsetti had pulled out his ***** during an interrogation at Bagram, held it against the prisoner's face and threatened to rape him, excerpts from the man's statement show. <br /><br />Last fall, the investigators cited probable cause to charge Specialist Corsetti with assault, maltreatment of a prisoner and indecent acts in the incident; he has not been charged. At Abu Ghraib, he was also one of three members of the 519th who were fined and demoted for forcing an Iraqi woman to strip during questioning, another interrogator said. A spokesman at Fort Bragg said Specialist Corsetti would not comment. <br /><br />In late August of 2002, the Bagram interrogators were joined by a new military police unit that was assigned to guard the detainees. The soldiers, mostly reservists from the 377th Military Police Company based in Cincinnati and Bloomington, Ind., were similarly unprepared for their mission, members of the unit said. <br /><br />The company received basic lessons in handling prisoners at Fort Dix, N.J., and some police and corrections officers in its ranks provided further training. That instruction included an overview of "pressure-point control tactics" and notably the "common peroneal strike" - a potentially disabling **** to the side of the leg, just above the knee. <br /><br />The M.P.'s said they were never told that peroneal strikes were not part of Army doctrine. Nor did most of them hear one of the former police officers tell a fellow soldier during the training that he would never use such strikes because they would "tear up" a prisoner's legs. <br /><br />But once in Afghanistan, members of the 377th found that the usual rules did not seem to apply. The peroneal strike quickly became a basic weapon of the M.P. arsenal. "That was kind of like an accepted thing; you could knee somebody in the leg," former Sgt. Thomas V. Curtis told the investigators. <br /><br />A few weeks into the company's tour, Specialist Jeremy M. Callaway overheard another guard boasting about having beaten a detainee who had spit on him. Specialist Callaway also told investigators that other soldiers had congratulated the guard "for not taking any" from a detainee. <br /><br />One captain nicknamed members of the Third Platoon "the Testosterone Gang." Several were devout bodybuilders. Upon arriving in Afghanistan, a group of the soldiers decorated their tent with a Confederate flag, one soldier said. <br /><br />Some of the same M.P.'s took a particular interest in an emotionally disturbed Afghan detainee who was known to eat his feces and mutilate himself with concertina wire. The soldiers kneed the man repeatedly in the legs and, at one point, chained him with his arms straight up in the air, Specialist Callaway told investigators. They also nicknamed him "Timmy," after a disabled child in the animated television series "South Park." One of the guards who beat the prisoner also taught him to screech like the cartoon character, Specialist Callaway said. <br /><br />Eventually, the man was sent home. <br /><br />The Defiant Detainee<br /><br />The detainee known as Person Under Control No. 412 was a portly, well-groomed Afghan named Habibullah. Some American officials identified him as "Mullah" Habibullah, a brother of a former Taliban commander from the southern Afghan province of Oruzgan. <br /><br />He stood out from the scraggly guerrillas and villagers whom the Bagram interrogators typically saw. "He had a piercing gaze and was very confident," the provost marshal in charge of the M.P.'s, Maj. Bobby R. Atwell, recalled. <br /><br />Documents from the investigation suggest that Mr. Habibullah was captured by an Afghan warlord on Nov. 28, 2002, and delivered to Bagram by C.I.A. operatives two days later. His well-being at that point is a matter of dispute. The doctor who examined him on arrival at Bagram reported him in good health. But the intelligence operations chief, Lt. Col. John W. Loffert Jr., later told Army investigators, "He was already in bad condition when he arrived." <br /><br />What is clear is that Mr. Habibullah was identified at Bagram as an important prisoner and an unusually sharp-tongued and insubordinate one.<br /><br />Page 5 of <br /><br /><br />One of the 377th's Third Platoon sergeants, Alan J. Driver Jr., told investigators that Mr. Habibullah rose up after a ****** examination and kneed him in the groin. The guard said he grabbed the prisoner by the head and yelled in his face. Mr. Habibullah then "became combative," Sergeant Driver said, and had to be subdued by three guards and led away in an armlock. <br /><br />He was then confined in one of the 9-foot by 7-foot isolation cells, which the M.P. commander, Capt. Christopher M. Beiring, later described as a standard procedure. "There was a policy that detainees were hooded, shackled and isolated for at least the first 24 hours, sometimes 72 hours of captivity," he told investigators. <br /><br />While the guards kept some prisoners awake by yelling or poking at them or banging on their cell doors, Mr. Habibullah was shackled by the wrists to the wire ceiling over his cell, soldiers said.<br /><br />On his second day, Dec. 1, the prisoner was "uncooperative" again, this time with Specialist Willie V. Brand. The guard, who has since been charged with assault and other crimes, told investigators he had delivered three peroneal strikes in response. The next day, Specialist Brand said, he had to knee the prisoner again. Other blows followed. <br /><br />A lawyer for Specialist Brand, John P. Galligan, said there was no criminal intent by his client to hurt any detainee. "At the time, my client was acting consistently with the standard operating procedure that was in place at the Bagram facility." <br /><br />The communication between Mr. Habibullah and his jailers appears to have been almost exclusively physical. Despite repeated requests, the M.P.'s were assigned no interpreters of their own. Instead, they borrowed from the interrogators when they could and relied on prisoners who spoke even a little English to translate for them. <br /><br />When the detainees were beaten or kicked for "noncompliance," one of the interpreters, Ali M. Baryalai said, it was often "because they have no idea what the M.P. is saying."<br /><br />By the morning of Dec. 2, witnesses told the investigators, Mr. Habibullah was coughing and complaining of chest pains. He limped into the interrogation room in shackles, his right leg stiff and his right foot swollen. The lead interrogator, Sergeant Leahy, let him sit on the floor because he could not bend his knees and sit in a chair. <br /><br />The interpreter who was on hand, Ebrahim Baerde, said the interrogators had kept their distance that day "because he was spitting up a lot of phlegm."<br /><br />"They were laughing and making fun of him, saying it was 'gross' or 'nasty,' " Mr. Baerde said.<br /><br />Though battered, Mr. Habibullah was unbowed.<br /><br />"Once they asked him if he wanted to spend the rest of his life in handcuffs," Mr. Baerde said. "His response was, 'Yes, don't they look good on me?' "<br /><br />By Dec. 3, Mr. Habibullah's reputation for defiance seemed to make him an open target. One M.P. said he had given him five peroneal strikes for being "noncompliant and combative." Another gave him three or four more for being "combative and noncompliant." Some guards later asserted that he had been hurt trying to escape. <br /><br />When Sgt. James P. Boland saw Mr. Habibullah on Dec. 3, he was in one of the isolation cells, tethered to the ceiling by two sets of handcuffs and a chain around his waist. His body was slumped forward, held up by the chains. <br /><br />Sergeant Boland told the investigators he had entered the cell with two other guards, Specialists Anthony M. Morden and Brian E. Cammack. (All three have been charged with assault and other crimes.) One of them pulled off the prisoner's black hood. His head was slumped to one side, his tongue sticking out. Specialist Cammack said he had put some bread on Mr. Habibullah's tongue. Another soldier put an apple in the prisoner's hand; it fell to the floor. <br /><br />When Specialist Cammack turned back toward the prisoner, he said in one statement, Mr. Habibullah's spit hit his chest. Later, Specialist Cammack acknowledged, "I'm not sure if he spit at me." But at the time, he exploded, yelling, "Don't ever spit on me again!" and kneeing the prisoner sharply in the thigh, "maybe a couple" of times. Mr. Habibullah's limp body swayed back and forth in the chains. <br /><br />When Sergeant Boland returned to the cell some 20 minutes later, he said, Mr. Habibullah was not moving and had no pulse. Finally, the prisoner was unchained and laid out on the floor of his cell.<br /><br />The guard who Specialist Cammack said had counseled him back in New Jersey about the dangers of peroneal strikes found him in the room where Mr. Habibullah lay, his body already cold.<br /><br />"Specialist Cammack appeared very distraught," Specialist William Bohl told an investigator. The soldier "was running about the room hysterically."<br /><br />An M.P. was sent to wake one of the medics.<br /><br />"What are you getting me for?" the medic, Specialist Robert S. Melone, responded, telling him to call an ambulance instead. <br /><br />When another medic finally arrived, he found Mr. Habibullah on the floor, his arms outstretched, his eyes and mouth open.<br /><br />"It looked like he had been dead for a while, and it looked like nobody cared," the medic, Staff Sgt. Rodney D. Glass, recalled.<br /><br />Not all of the guards were indifferent, their statements show. But if Mr. Habibullah's death shocked some of them, it did not lead to major changes in the detention center's operation.<br /><br />(Page 6 of <br /><br /><br /><br />Military police guards were assigned to be present during interrogations to help prevent mistreatment. The provost marshal, Major Atwell, told investigators he had already instructed the commander of the M.P. company, Captain Beiring, to stop chaining prisoners to the ceiling. Others said they never received such an order. <br /><br />Senior officers later told investigators that they had been unaware of any serious abuses at the B.C.P. But the first sergeant of the 377th, Betty J. Jones, told investigators that the use of standing restraints, sleep deprivation and peroneal strikes was readily apparent. <br /><br />"Everyone that is anyone went through the facility at one time or another," she said.<br /><br />Major Atwell said the death "did not cause an enormous amount of concern 'cause it appeared natural." <br /><br />In fact, Mr. Habibullah's autopsy, completed on Dec. 8, showed bruises or abrasions on his chest, arms and head. There were deep contusions on his calves, knees and thighs. His left calf was marked by what appeared to have been the sole of a boot. <br /><br />His death was attributed to a blood clot, probably caused by the severe injuries to his legs, which traveled to his heart and blocked the blood flow to his lungs.<br /><br />The Shy Detainee<br /><br />On Dec. 5, one day after Mr. Habibullah died, Mr. Dilawar arrived at Bagram. <br /><br />Four days before, on the eve of the Muslim holiday of Id al-Fitr, Mr. Dilawar set out from his tiny village of Yakubi in a prized new possession, a used Toyota sedan that his family bought for him a few weeks earlier to drive as a taxi. <br /><br />Mr. Dilawar was not an adventurous man. He rarely went far from the stone farmhouse he shared with his wife, young daughter and extended family. He never attended school, relatives said, and had only one friend, Bacha Khel, with whom he would sit in the wheat fields surrounding the village and talk. <br /><br />"He was a shy man, a very simple man," his eldest brother, Shahpoor, said in an interview. <br /><br />On the day he disappeared, Mr. Dilawar's mother had asked him to gather his three sisters from their nearby villages and bring them home for the holiday. But he needed gas money and decided instead to drive to the provincial capital, Khost, about 45 minutes away, to look for fares. <br /><br />At a taxi stand there, he found three men headed back toward Yakubi. On the way, they passed a base used by American troops, Camp Salerno, which had been the target of a rocket attack that morning.<br /><br />Militiamen loyal to the guerrilla commander guarding the base, Jan Baz Khan, stopped the Toyota at a checkpoint. They confiscated a broken walkie-talkie from one of Mr. Dilawar's passengers. In the trunk, they found an electric stabilizer used to regulate current from a generator. (Mr. Dilawar's family said the stabilizer was not theirs; at the time, they said, they had no electricity at all.) <br /><br />The four men were detained and turned over to American soldiers at the base as suspects in the attack. Mr. Dilawar and his passengers spent their first night there handcuffed to a fence, so they would be unable to sleep. When a doctor examined them the next morning, he said later, he found Mr. Dilawar tired and suffering from headaches but otherwise fine. <br /><br />Mr. Dilawar's three passengers were eventually flown to Guant?namo and held for more than a year before being sent home without charge. In interviews after their release, the men described their treatment at Bagram as far worse than at Guant?namo. While all of them said they had been beaten, they complained most bitterly of being stripped naked in front of female soldiers for showers and medical examinations, which they said included the first of several painful and humiliating ****** exams. <br /><br />"They did lots and lots of bad things to me," said Abdur Rahim, a 26-year-old baker from Khost. "I was shouting and crying, and no one was listening. When I was shouting, the soldiers were slamming my head against the desk." <br /><br />For Mr. Dilawar, his fellow prisoners said, the most difficult thing seemed to be the black cloth hood that was pulled over his head. "He could not breathe," said a man called Parkhudin, who had been one of Mr. Dilawar's passengers. <br /><br />Mr. Dilawar was a frail man, standing only 5 feet 9 inches and weighing 122 pounds. But at Bagram, he was quickly labeled one of the "noncompliant" ones.<br /><br />(Page 7 of <br /><br /><br /><br />When one of the First Platoon M.P.'s, Specialist Corey E. Jones, was sent to Mr. Dilawar's cell to give him some water, he said the prisoner spit in his face and started kicking him. Specialist Jones responded, he said, with a couple of knee strikes to the leg of the shackled man. <br /><br />"He screamed out, 'Allah! Allah! Allah!' and my first reaction was that he was crying out to his god," Specialist Jones said to investigators. "Everybody heard him cry out and thought it was funny." <br /><br />Other Third Platoon M.P.'s later came by the detention center and stopped at the isolation cells to see for themselves, Specialist Jones said.<br /><br />It became a kind of running joke, and people kept showing up to give this detainee a common peroneal strike just to hear him scream out 'Allah,' " he said. "It went on over a 24-hour period, and I would think that it was over 100 strikes." <br /><br />In a subsequent statement, Specialist Jones was vague about which M.P.'s had delivered the blows. His estimate was never confirmed, but other guards eventually admitted striking Mr. Dilawar repeatedly. <br /><br />Many M.P.'s would eventually deny that they had any idea of Mr. Dilawar's injuries, explaining that they never saw his legs beneath his jumpsuit. But Specialist Jones recalled that the drawstring pants of Mr. Dilawar's orange prison suit fell down again and again while he was shackled. <br /><br />"I saw the bruise because his pants kept falling down while he was in standing restraints," the soldier told investigators. "Over a certain time period, I noticed it was the size of a fist."<br /><br />As Mr. Dilawar grew desperate, he began crying out more loudly to be released. But even the interpreters had trouble understanding his Pashto dialect; the annoyed guards heard only noise.<br /><br />"He had constantly been screaming, 'Release me; I don't want to be here,' and things like that," said the one linguist who could decipher his distress, Abdul Ahad Wardak. <br /><br />The Interrogation<br /><br />On Dec. 8, Mr. Dilawar was taken for his fourth interrogation. It quickly turned hostile.<br /><br />The 21-year-old lead interrogator, Specialist Glendale C. Walls II, later contended that Mr. Dilawar was evasive. "Some holes came up, and we wanted him to answer us truthfully," he said. The other interrogator, Sergeant Salcedo, complained that the prisoner was smiling, not answering questions, and refusing to stay kneeling on the ground or sitting against the wall. <br /><br />The interpreter who was present, Ahmad Ahmadzai, recalled the encounter differently to investigators.<br /><br />The interrogators, Mr. Ahmadzai said, accused Mr. Dilawar of launching the rockets that had hit the American base. He denied that. While kneeling on the ground, he was unable to hold his cuffed hands above his head as instructed, prompting Sergeant Salcedo to slap them back up whenever they began to drop. <br /><br />"Selena berated him for being weak and questioned him about being a man, which was very insulting because of his heritage," Mr. Ahmadzai said. <br /><br />When Mr. Dilawar was unable to sit in the chair position against the wall because of his battered legs, the two interrogators grabbed him by the shirt and repeatedly shoved him back against the wall.<br /><br />"This went on for 10 or 15 minutes," the interpreter said. "He was so tired he couldn't get up."<br /><br />"They stood him up, and at one point Selena stepped on his bare foot with her boot and grabbed him by his beard and pulled him towards her," he went on. "Once Selena kicked Dilawar in the groin, private areas, with her right foot. She was standing some distance from him, and she stepped back and kicked him. <br /><br />"About the first 10 minutes, I think, they were actually questioning him, after that it was pushing, shoving, kicking and shouting at him," Mr. Ahmadzai said. "There was no interrogation going on." <br /><br />The session ended, he said, with Sergeant Salcedo instructing the M.P.'s to keep Mr. Dilawar chained to the ceiling until the next shift came on.<br /><br />The next morning, Mr. Dilawar began yelling again. At around noon, the M.P.'s called over another of the interpreters, Mr. Baerde, to try to quiet Mr. Dilawar down. <br /><br />"I told him, 'Look, please, if you want to be able to sit down and be released from shackles, you just need to be quiet for one more hour."<br /><br />"He told me that if he was in shackles another hour, he would die," Mr. Baerde said.<br /><br />Half an hour later, Mr. Baerde returned to the cell. Mr. Dilawar's hands hung limply from the cuffs, and his head, covered by the black hood, slumped forward.<br /><br />"He wanted me to get a doctor, and said that he needed 'a shot,' " Mr. Baerde recalled. "He said that he didn't feel good. He said that his legs were hurting."<br /><br />Mr. Baerde translated Mr. Dilawar's plea to one of the guards. The soldier took the prisoner's hand and pressed down on his fingernails to check his circulation. <br /><br />"He's O.K.," Mr. Baerde quoted the M.P. as saying. "He's just trying to get out of his restraints."<br /><br />Page 8 of <br /><br /><br />By the time Mr. Dilawar was brought in for his final interrogation in the first hours of the next day, Dec. 10, he appeared exhausted and was babbling that his wife had died. He also told the interrogators that he had been beaten by the guards. <br /><br />"But we didn't pursue that," said Mr. Baryalai, the interpreter.<br /><br />Specialist Walls was again the lead interrogator. But his more aggressive partner, Specialist Claus, quickly took over, Mr. Baryalai said.<br /><br />"Josh had a rule that the detainee had to look at him, not me," the interpreter told investigators. "He gave him three chances, and then he grabbed him by the shirt and pulled him towards him, across the table, slamming his chest into the table front." <br /><br />When Mr. Dilawar was unable to kneel, the interpreter said, the interrogators pulled him to his feet and pushed him against the wall. Told to assume a stress position, the prisoner leaned his head against the wall and began to fall asleep. <br /><br />"It looked to me like Dilawar was trying to cooperate, but he couldn't physically perform the tasks," Mr. Baryalai said.<br /><br />Finally, Specialist Walls grabbed the prisoner and "shook him harshly," the interpreter said, telling him that if he failed to cooperate, he would be shipped to a prison in the United States, where he would be "treated like a woman, by the other men" and face the wrath of criminals who "would be very angry with anyone involved in the 9/11 attacks." (Specialist Walls was charged last week with assault, maltreatment and failure to obey a lawful order; Specialist Claus was charged with assault, maltreatment and lying to investigators. Each man declined to comment.) <br /><br />A third military intelligence specialist who spoke some Pashto, Staff Sgt. W. Christopher Yonushonis, had questioned Mr. Dilawar earlier and had arranged with Specialist Claus to take over when he was done. Instead, the sergeant arrived at the interrogation room to find a large puddle of water on the floor, a wet spot on Mr. Dilawar's shirt and Specialist Claus standing behind the detainee, twisting up the back of the hood that covered the prisoner's head. <br /><br />"I had the impression that Josh was actually holding the detainee upright by pulling on the hood," he said. "I was furious at this point because I had seen Josh tighten the hood of another detainee the week before. This behavior seemed completely gratuitous and unrelated to intelligence collection." <br /><br />"What the **** happened with that water?" Sergeant Yonushonis said he had demanded.<br /><br />"We had to make sure he stayed hydrated," he said Specialist Claus had responded.<br /><br />The next morning, Sergeant Yonushonis went to the noncommissioned officer in charge of the interrogators, Sergeant Loring, to report the incident. Mr. Dilawar, however, was already dead.<br /><br />The Post-Mortem<br /><br />The findings of Mr. Dilawar's autopsy were succinct. He had had some coronary artery disease, the medical examiner reported, but what caused his heart to fail was "blunt force injuries to the lower extremities." Similar injuries contributed to Mr. Habibullah's death. <br /><br />One of the coroners later translated the assessment at a pre-trial hearing for Specialist Brand, saying the tissue in the young man's legs "had basically been pulpified." <br /><br />"I've seen similar injuries in an individual run over by a bus," added Lt. Col. Elizabeth Rouse, the coroner, and a major at that time. <br /><br />After the second death, several of the 519th Battalion's interrogators were temporarily removed from their posts. A medic was assigned to the detention center to work night shifts. On orders from the Bagram intelligence chief, interrogators were prohibited from any physical contact with the detainees. Chaining prisoners to any fixed object was also banned, and the use of stress positions was curtailed. <br /><br />In February, an American military official disclosed that the Afghan guerrilla commander whose men had arrested Mr. Dilawar and his passengers had himself been detained. The commander, Jan Baz Khan, was suspected of attacking Camp Salerno himself and then turning over innocent "suspects" to the Americans in a ploy to win their trust, the military official said. <br /><br />The three passengers in Mr. Dilawar's taxi were sent home from Guant?namo in March 2004, 15 months after their capture, with letters saying they posed "no threat" to American forces.<br /><br />They were later visited by Mr. Dilawar's parents, who begged them to explain what had happened to their son. But the men said they could not bring themselves to recount the details.<br /><br />"I told them he had a bed," said Mr. Parkhudin. "I said the Americans were very nice because he had a heart problem."<br /><br />In late August of last year, shortly before the Army completed its inquiry into the deaths, Sergeant Yonushonis, who was stationed in Germany, went at his own initiative to see an agent of the Criminal Investigation Command. Until then, he had never been interviewed. <br /><br />"I expected to be contacted at some point by investigators in this case," he said. "I was living a few doors down from the interrogation room, and I had been one of the last to see this detainee alive." <br /><br />Sergeant Yonushonis described what he had witnessed of the detainee's last interrogation. "I remember being so mad that I had trouble speaking," he said.<br /><br />He also added a detail that had been overlooked in the investigative file. By the time Mr. Dilawar was taken into his final interrogations, he said, "most of us were convinced that the detainee was innocent." <br /><br />###<p><div class="blogdisclaim"><a href="http://codewarriorz.blogspot.com/2005/05/makes-you-proud-to-be-americanor-does.html">This post originally appeared on an external website</a></div>

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KRT Wire | 05/20/2005 | Bush says he'll veto stem cell measure

by codewarrior.wins In reply to CodeWarriorz Thoughts

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<a href="http://www.kansascity.com/mld/kansascity/news/politics/11699303.htm">KRT Wire | 05/20/2005 | Bush says he'll veto stem cell measure</a>Bush says he'll veto stem cell measure
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<br />BY WILLIAM DOUGLAS
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<br />Knight Ridder Newspapers
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<br />WASHINGTON - (KRT) - President Bush vowed Friday to veto bipartisan legislation that would ease restrictions on embryonic stem cell research and expressed deep concern about human cloning research in South Korea.
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<br />The veto threat sets up a potential showdown between the president and the House of Representatives, which could vote as early as next week on a stem cell bill. The bill would permit federal funding for research on stem cells taken from days-old embryos stored in freezers at fertility clinics.
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<br />The issue pits those like Bush, who believe stem cell research verges on scientists immorally taking embryonic life, against people who say such stem cells come from abandoned embryos and can, through research, save lives by advancing medical science.
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<br />Human embryonic stem cells can develop into many different cell types in the body, according to the National Institutes of Health. They are isolated from human embryos that are a few days old and can be used to create stem cell lines - cell cultures that can be grown indefinitely in a laboratory. Scientists can use the stem cell lines in transplantation or for treatment of diseases.
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<br />Bush, after lengthy deliberation, placed limits in 2001 on federal funding for research on lines of embryonic stem cells that already had been collected.
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<br />"I made it very clear to the Congress that the use of federal money, taxpayers' money, to promote science which destroys life in order to save life - I'm against that," Bush said Friday during a White House photo session with Danish Prime Minister Fogh Rasmussen. "And therefore, if that bill does that, I will veto it."
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<br />In his fifth year in office, Bush has yet to veto any bill. This one, authored by Reps. Michael N. Castle, R-Del., and Diana DeGette, D-Colo., has nearly 200 House members as co-sponsors. Supporters have launched ads using the words of former first lady Nancy Reagan, who favors expanded research.
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<br />Stem cell research proponents believe that it holds the potential to help find cures for diseases such as Alzheimer's, which killed President Reagan; paralysis, which led to actor Christopher Reeve's death; and juvenile diabetes.
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<br />Even some abortion foes, such as Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, have spoken strongly in favor of the House bill and are pressing for a similar measure in the Senate.
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<br />"I think we can get it to the floor one way or another," Hatch said.
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<br />The House measure faces opposition from some conservatives, such as House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas, and religious groups, who say the research is immoral because the embryo is destroyed in the process.
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<br />"This is a big deal," said Dr. Dennis Steindler, executive director of the Evelyn F. and William L. McKnight Brain Institute at the University of Florida. "If this gets vetoed and no additional (embryonic stem cell) lines are easily and readily available, that could impact discoveries made in the United States. If the federal government can't produce the additional funding, that could impact progress in the field."
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<br />Bush and others worry that such potential advances would come at the expense of morality. The president fretted Friday over news that South Korean scientists have developed a way of producing human embryos through cloning.
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<br />"I'm very worried about cloning," he said. "I worry about a world in which cloning becomes acceptable."
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<br />Bush used the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast in Washington to reaffirm his positions on these questions. Praising the late Pope John Paul II, Bush said: "The best way to honor this champion of human freedom is to continue to build a culture of life where the strong protect the weak."
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</div><p><div class="blogdisclaim"><a href="http://codewarriorz.blogspot.com/2005/05/krt-wire-05202005-bush-says-****-veto.html">This post originally appeared on an external website</a></div>

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Yahoo causing RIAA to downsize? - The Peer-to-Peer Weblog - p2p.weblogsinc.com _

by codewarrior.wins In reply to CodeWarriorz Thoughts

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<a href="http://p2p.weblogsinc.com/entry/1234000593044070">Yahoo causing RIAA to downsize? - The Peer-to-Peer Weblog - p2p.weblogsinc.com _</a>Yahoo causing RIAA to downsize?
<br />Posted May 20, 2005, 11:28 AM ET by Alberto Escarlate
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<br />Our favorite billionaire (that happens to blog with us here at Weblogs Inc) wrote an interesting piece about how Yahoo (and other digital music services) should force the RIAA cutback their staff?and stop suing file-sharers.
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<br />Why? Because with a service like Yahoo?s Music Unlimited Service the new market value for all-you-can-eat music download has been set at $5/month. How can the RIAA claim legally that downloaders cost them thousands of dollars? In Cuban?s own words: ?In essence, Yahoo just turned possession of a controlled music substance into a misdemeanor. Payable by a $5 per month fine.?
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</div><p><div class="blogdisclaim"><a href="http://codewarriorz.blogspot.com/2005/05/yahoo-causing-riaa-to-downsize-peer-to.html">This post originally appeared on an external website</a></div>

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AlterNet: MediaCulture: Moyers Addresses PBS Coup

by codewarrior.wins In reply to CodeWarriorz Thoughts

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<a href="http://www.alternet.org/mediaculture/22021/">AlterNet: MediaCulture: Moyers Addresses PBS Coup</a>: "Moyers Addresses PBS Coup
<br />By Bill Moyers, AlterNet. Posted May 17, 2005.
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<br />Moyers Addresses PBS Coup
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<br />By Bill Moyers, AlterNet. Posted May 17, 2005.
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<br />In this highly anticipated speech the veteran public broadcaster takes on the PBS coup and its right-wing engineers who are 'squealing like a stuck pig.'
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<br />I can't imagine better company on this beautiful Sunday morning in St. Louis. You're church for me today, and there's no congregation in the country where I would be more likely to find more kindred souls than are gathered here.
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<br />There are so many different vocations and callings in this room -- so many different interests and aspirations of people who want to reform the media -- that only a presiding bishop like Bob McChesney with his great ecumenical heart could bring us together for a weekend like this.
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<br />What joins us all under Bob's embracing welcome is our commitment to public media. Pat Aufderheide got it right, I think, in the recent issue of In These Times when she wrote: "This is a moment when public media outlets can make a powerful case for themselves. Public radio, public TV, cable access, public DBS channels, media arts centers, youth media projects, nonprofit Internet news services ... low-power radio and webcasting are all part of a nearly invisible feature of today's media map: the public media sector. They exist not to make a profit, not to push an ideology, not to serve customers, but to create a public -- a group of people who can talk productively with those who don't share their views, and defend the interests of the people who have to live with the consequences of corporate and governmental power."
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<br />She gives examples of the possibilities. "Look at what happened," she said, "when thousands of people who watched Stanley Nelson's The Murder of Emmett Till on their public television channels joined a postcard campaign that re-opened the murder case after more than half a century. Look at NPR's courageous coverage of the Iraq war, an expensive endeavor that wins no points from this administration. Look at Chicago Access Network's Community Forum, where nonprofits throughout the region can showcase their issues and find volunteers."
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<br />The public media, she argues, for all our flaws, are a very important resource in a noisy and polluted information environment.
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<br />You can also take wings reading Jason Miller's May 4 article on Z Net about the mainstream media. While it is true that much of the mainstream media is corrupted by the influence of government and corporate interests, Miller writes, there are still men and women in the mainstream who practice a high degree of journalistic integrity and who do challenge us with their stories and analysis.
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<br />But the real hope "lies within the internet with its 2 billion or more Web sites providing a wealth of information drawn from almost unlimited resources that span the globe. ... If knowledge is power, one's capacity to increase that power increases exponentially through navigation of the Internet for news and information."
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<br />Surely this is one issue that unites us as we leave here today. The fight to preserve the web from corporate gatekeepers joins media, reformers, producers and educators -- and it's a fight that has only just begun.
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<br />I want to tell you about another fight we're in today. The story I've come to share with you goes to the core of our belief that the quality of democracy and the quality of journalism are deeply entwined. I can tell this story because I've been living it. It's been in the news this week, including reports of more attacks on a single journalist -- yours truly -- by the right-wing media and their allies at the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
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<br />As some of you know, CPB was established almost 40 years ago to set broad policy for public broadcasting and to be a firewall between political influence and program content. What some on this board are now doing today -- led by its chairman, Kenneth Tomlinson -- is too important, too disturbing and yes, even too dangerous for a gathering like this not to address.
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<br />We're seeing unfold a contemporary example of the age-old ambition of power and ideology to squelch and punish journalists who tell the stories that make princes and priests uncomfortable.
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<br />Let me assure you that I take in stride attacks by the radical right-wingers who have not given up demonizing me although I retired over six months ago. They've been after me for years now, and I suspect they will be stomping on my grave to make sure I don't come back from the dead.
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<br />I should remind them, however, that one of our boys pulled it off some 2,000 years ago -- after the Pharisees, Sadducees and Caesar's surrogates thought they had shut him up for good. Of course I won't be expecting that kind of miracle, but I should put my detractors on notice: They might just compel me out of the rocking chair and back into the anchor chair.
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<br />Who are they? I mean the people obsessed with control, using the government to threaten and intimidate. I mean the people who are hollowing out middle-class security even as they enlist the sons and daughters of the working class in a war to make sure Ahmed Chalabi winds up controlling Iraq's oil. I mean the people who turn faith-based initiatives into a slush fund and who encourage the pious to look heavenward and pray so as not to see the long arm of privilege and power picking their pockets. I mean the people who squelch free speech in an effort to obliterate dissent and consolidate their orthodoxy into the official view of reality from which any deviation becomes unpatriotic heresy.
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<br />That's who I mean. And if that's editorializing, so be it. A free press is one where it's OK to state the conclusion you're led to by the evidence.
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<br />One reason I'm in hot water is because my colleagues and I at NOW didn't play by the conventional rules of Beltway journalism. Those rules divide the world into Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conservatives, and allow journalists to pretend they have done their job if, instead of reporting the truth behind the news, they merely give each side an opportunity to spin the news.
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<br />Jonathan Mermin writes about this in a recent essay in World Policy Journal. (You'll also want to read his book Debating War and Peace, Media Coverage of U.S. Intervention in the Post-Vietnam Era.)
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<br />Mermin quotes David Ignatius of The Washington Post on why the deep interests of the American public are so poorly served by Beltway journalism. The "rules of our game," says Ignatius, "make it hard for us to tee up an issue ... without a news peg." He offers a case in point: the debacle of America's occupation of Iraq. "If senator so and so hasn't criticized postwar planning for Iraq," says Ignatius, "then it's hard for a reporter to write a story about that."
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<br />Mermin also quotes public television's Jim Lehrer acknowledging that unless an official says something is so, it isn't news. Why were journalists not discussing the occupation of Iraq? Because, says Lehrer, "the word occupation ... was never mentioned in the run-up to the war." Washington talked about the invasion as "a war of liberation, not a war of occupation, so as a consequence, "those of us in journalism never even looked at the issue of occupation."
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<br />"In other words," says Jonathan Mermin, "if the government isn't talking about it, we don't report it." He concludes: "[Lehrer's] somewhat jarring declaration, one of many recent admissions by journalists that their reporting failed to prepare the public for the calamitous occupation that has followed the 'liberation' of Iraq, reveals just how far the actual practice of American journalism has deviated from the First Amendment ideal of a press that is independent of the government."
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<br />Take the example (also cited by Mermin) of Charles J. Hanley. Hanley is a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter for the Associated Press, whose fall 2003 story on the torture of Iraqis in American prisons -- before a U.S. Army report and photographs documenting the abuse surfaced -- was ignored by major American newspapers. Hanley attributes this lack of interest to the fact that "it was not an officially sanctioned story that begins with a handout from an official source."
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<br />Furthermore, Iraqis recounting their own personal experience of Abu Ghraib simply did not have the credibility with Beltway journalists of American officials denying that such things happened. Judith Miller of The New York Times, among others, relied on the credibility of official but unnamed sources when she served essentially as the government stenographer for claims that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction.
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<br />These "rules of the game" permit Washington officials to set the agenda for journalism, leaving the press all too often simply to recount what officials say instead of subjecting their words and deeds to critical scrutiny. Instead of acting as filters for readers and viewers, sifting the truth from the propaganda, reporters and anchors attentively transcribe both sides of the spin invariably failing to provide context, background or any sense of which claims hold up and which are misleading.
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<br />I decided long ago that this wasn't healthy for democracy. I came to see that "news is what people want to keep hidden and everything else is publicity." In my documentaries -- whether on the Watergate scandals 30 years ago or the Iran-Contra conspiracy 20 years ago or Bill Clinton's fundraising scandals 10 years ago or, five years ago, the chemical industry's long and despicable cover-up of its cynical and unspeakable withholding of critical data about its toxic products from its workers, I realized that investigative journalism could not be a collaboration between the journalist and the subject. Objectivity is not satisfied by two opposing people offering competing opinions, leaving the viewer to split the difference.
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<br />I came to believe that objective journalism means describing the object being reported on, including the little fibs and fantasies as well as the Big Lie of the people in power. In no way does this permit journalists to make accusations and allegations. It means, instead, making sure that your reporting and your conclusions can be nailed to the post with confirming evidence.
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<br />This is always hard to do, but it has never been harder than today. Without a trace of irony, the powers-that-be have appropriated the newspeak vernacular of George Orwell's 1984. They give us a program vowing "No Child Left Behind," while cutting funds for educating disadvantaged kids. They give us legislation cheerily calling for "Clear Skies" and "Healthy Forests" that give us neither. And that's just for starters.
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<br />In Orwell's 1984, the character Syme, one of the writers of that totalitarian society's dictionary, explains to the protagonist Winston, "Don't you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought? Has it ever occurred to you, Winston, that by the year 2050, at the very latest, not a single human being will be alive who could understand such a conversation as we are having now? The whole climate of thought will be different. In fact there will be no thought, as we understand it now. Orthodoxy means not thinking -- not needing to think. Orthodoxy is unconsciousness."
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<br />An unconscious people, an indoctrinated people, a people fed only on partisan information and opinion that confirm their own bias, a people made morbidly obese in mind and spirit by the junk food of propaganda, is less inclined to put up a fight, to ask questions and be skeptical. That kind of orthodoxy can kill a democracy -- or worse.
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<br />I learned about this the hard way. I grew up in the South, where the truth about slavery, race, and segregation had been driven from the pulpits, driven from the classrooms and driven from the newsrooms. It took a bloody Civil War to bring the truth home, and then it took another hundred years for the truth to make us free.
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<br />Then I served in the Johnson administration. Imbued with Cold War orthodoxy and confident that "might makes right," we circled the wagons, listened only to each other, and pursued policies the evidence couldn't carry. The results were devastating for Vietnamese and Americans.
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<br />I brought all of this to the task when PBS asked me after 9/11 to start a new weekly broadcast. They wanted us to make it different from anything else on the air -- commercial or public broadcasting. They asked us to tell stories no one else was reporting and to offer a venue to people who might not otherwise be heard.
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<br />That wasn't a hard sell. I had been deeply impressed by studies published in leading peer-reviewed scholarly journals by a team of researchers led by Vassar College sociologist William Hoynes. Extensive research on the content of public television over a decade found that political discussions on our public affairs programs generally included a limited set of voices that offer a narrow range of perspectives on current issues and events.
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<br />Instead of far-ranging discussions and debates, the kind that might engage viewers as citizens, not simply as audiences, this research found that public affairs programs on PBS stations were populated by the standard set of elite news sources. Whether government officials and Washington journalists (talking about political strategy) or corporate sources (talking about stock prices or the economy from the investor's viewpoint), public television, unfortunately, all too often was offering the same kind of discussions, and a similar brand of insider discourse, that is featured regularly on commercial television.
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<br />Who didn't appear was also revealing. Hoynes and his team found that in contrast to the conservative mantra that public television routinely featured the voices of anti-establishment critics, "alternative perspectives were rare on public television and were effectively drowned out by the stream of government and corporate views that represented the vast majority of sources on our broadcasts."
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<br />The so-called experts who got most of the face time came primarily from mainstream news organizations and Washington think tanks rather than diverse interests. Economic news, for example, was almost entirely refracted through the views of business people, investors and business journalists. Voices outside the corporate/Wall Street universe -- nonprofessional workers, labor representatives, consumer advocates and the general public were rarely heard. In sum, these two studies concluded, the economic coverage was so narrow that the views and the activities of most citizens became irrelevant.
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<br />All this went against the Public Broadcasting Act of 1967 that created the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. I know. I was there. As a young policy assistant to President Johnson, I attended my first meeting to discuss the future of public broadcasting in 1964 in the office of the Commissioner of Education. I know firsthand that the Public Broadcasting Act was meant to provide an alternative to commercial television and to reflect the diversity of the American people.
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<br />This, too, was on my mind when we assembled the team for NOW. It was just after the terrorist attacks of 9/11. We agreed on two priorities. First, we wanted to do our part to keep the conversation of democracy going. That meant talking to a wide range of people across the spectrum -- left, right and center.
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<br />It meant poets, philosophers, politicians, scientists, sages and scribblers. It meant Isabel Allende, the novelist, and Amity Shlaes, the columnist for the Financial Times. It meant the former nun and best-selling author Karen Armstrong, and it meant the right-wing evangelical columnist Cal Thomas. It meant Arundhati Roy from India, Doris Lessing from London, David Suzuki from Canada, and Bernard Henry-Levi from Paris. It also meant two successive editors of the Wall Street Journal, Robert Bartley and Paul Gigot, the editor of The Economist, Bill Emmott, The Nation's Katrina vanden Heuvel and the L.A. Weekly's John Powers.
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<br />It means liberals like Frank Wu, Ossie Davis and Gregory Nava, and conservatives like Frank Gaffney, Grover Norquist, and Richard Viguerie. It meant Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Bishop Wilton Gregory of the Catholic Bishops conference in this country. It meant the conservative Christian activist and lobbyist, Ralph Reed, and the dissident Catholic Sister Joan Chittister. We threw the conversation of democracy open to all comers.
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<br />Most of those who came responded the same way that Ron Paul, the Republican and Libertarian congressman from Texas, did when he wrote me after his appearance, "I have received hundreds of positive e-mails from your viewers. I appreciate the format of your program, which allows time for a full discussion of ideas. ... I'm tired of political shows featuring two guests shouting over each other and offering the same arguments. ... NOW was truly refreshing."
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<br />Hold your applause because that's not the point of the story. We had a second priority. We intended to do strong, honest and accurate reporting, telling stories we knew people in high places wouldn't like.
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<br />I told our producers and correspondents that in our field reporting our job was to get as close as possible to the verifiable truth. This was all the more imperative in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks. America could be entering a long war against an elusive and stateless enemy with no definable measure of victory and no limit to its duration, cost or foreboding fear. The rise of a homeland security state meant government could justify extraordinary measures in exchange for protecting citizens against unnamed, even unproven, threats.
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<br />Furthermore, increased spending during a national emergency can produce a spectacle of corruption behind a smokescreen of secrecy. I reminded our team of the words of the news photographer in Tom Stoppard's play who said, "People do terrible things to each other, but it's worse when everyone is kept in the dark."
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<br />I also reminded them of how the correspondent and historian Richard Reeves answered a student who asked him to define real news. "Real news," Reeves responded, "is the news you and I need to keep our freedoms."
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<br />For these reasons and in that spirit, we went about reporting on Washington as no one else in broadcasting -- except occasionally 60 Minutes -- was doing. We reported on the expansion of the Justice Department's power of surveillance. We reported on the escalating Pentagon budget and expensive weapons that didn't work. We reported on how campaign contributions influenced legislation and policy to skew resources to the comfortable and well-connected while our troops were fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq with inadequate training and armor. We reported on how the Bush administration was shredding the Freedom of Information Act. We went around the country to report on how closed-door, backroom deals in Washington were costing ordinary workers and tax payers their livelihood and security. We reported on offshore tax havens that enable wealthy and powerful Americans to avoid their fair share of national security and the social contract.
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<br />And always -- because what people know depends on who owns the press -- we kept coming back to the media business itself, to how mega media corporations were pushing journalism further and further down the hierarchy of values, how giant radio cartels were silencing critics while shutting communities off from essential information, and how the mega media companies were lobbying the FCC for the right to grow ever more powerful.
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<br />The broadcast caught on. Our ratings grew every year. There was even a spell when we were the only public affairs broadcast on PBS whose audience was going up instead of down.
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<br />Our journalistic peers took notice. The Los Angeles Times said, "NOW's team of reporters has regularly put the rest of the media to shame, pursuing stories few others bother to touch."
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<br />The Philadelphia Inquirer said our segments on the sciences, the arts, politics and the economy were "provocative public television at its best."
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<br />The Austin American-Statesman called NOW, "the perfect antidote to today's high pitched decibel level, a smart, calm, timely news program."
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<br />Frazier Moore of the Associated Press said we were hard-edged when appropriate but never "Hardball." "Don't expect combat. Civility reigns."
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<br />And the Baton Rouge Advocate said, "NOW invites viewers to consider the deeper implication of the daily headlines," drawing on "a wide range of viewpoints which transcend the typical labels of the political left or right."
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<br />Let me repeat that: NOW draws on "a wide range of viewpoints which transcend the typical labels of the political left or right."
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<br />The Public Broadcasting Act of 1967 had been prophetic. Open public television to the American people -- offer diverse interests, ideas and voices ... be fearless in your belief in democracy -- and they will come.
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<br />Hold your applause -- that's not the point of the story.
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<br />The point of the story is something only a handful of our team, including my wife and partner Judith Davidson Moyers, and I knew at the time -- that the success of NOW's journalism was creating a backlash in Washington.
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<br />The more compelling our journalism, the angrier the radical right of the Republican Party became. That's because the one thing they loathe more than liberals is the truth. And the quickest way to be damned by them as liberal is to tell the truth.
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<br />This is the point of my story: Ideologues don't want you to go beyond the typical labels of left and right. They embrace a world view that can't be proven wrong because they will admit no evidence to the contrary. They want your reporting to validate their belief system and when it doesn't, God forbid.
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<br />Never mind that their own stars were getting a fair shake on NOW: Gigot, Viguerie, David Keene of the American Conservative Union, Stephen Moore, then with the Club for Growth, and others. No, our reporting was giving the radical right fits because it wasn't the party line. It wasn't that we were getting it wrong. Only three times in three years did we err factually, and in each case we corrected those errors as soon as we confirmed their inaccuracy. The problem was that we were telling stories that partisans in power didn't want told ... we were getting it right, not right-wing.
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<br />I've always thought the American eagle needed a left wing and a right wing. The right wing would see to it that economic interests had their legitimate concerns addressed. The left wing would see to it that ordinary people were included in the bargain. Both would keep the great bird on course. But with two right wings or two left wings, it's no longer an eagle and it's going to crash.
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<br />My occasional commentaries got to them as well. Although apparently he never watched the broadcast (I guess he couldn't take the diversity), Sen. Trent Lott came out squealing like a stuck pig when after the midterm elections in 2002 I described what was likely to happen now that all three branches of government were about to be controlled by one party dominated by the religious, corporate and political right.
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<br />Instead of congratulating the winners for their election victory as some network broadcasters had done -- or celebrating their victory as Fox, the Washington Times, The Weekly Standard, talk radio and other partisan Republican journalists had done -- I provided a little independent analysis of what the victory meant. And I did it the old-fashioned way: I looked at the record, took the winners at their word, and drew the logical conclusion that they would use power as they always said they would. And I set forth this conclusion in my usual modest Texas way.
<br />
<br />Events since then have confirmed the accuracy of what I said, but, to repeat, being right is exactly what the right doesn't want journalists to be.
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<br />Strange things began to happen. Friends in Washington called to say that they had heard of muttered threats that the PBS reauthorization would be held off "unless Moyers is dealt with." The chairman of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Kenneth Tomlinson, was said to be quite agitated. Apparently there was apoplexy in the right-wing aerie when I closed the broadcast one Friday night by putting an American flag in my lapel and said - well, here's exactly what I said:
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<br />"I wore my flag tonight. First time. Until now I haven't thought it necessary to display a little metallic icon of patriotism for everyone to see. It was enough to vote, pay my taxes, perform my civic duties, speak my mind, and do my best to raise our kids to be good Americans.
<br />
<br />"Sometimes I would offer a small prayer of gratitude that I had been born in a country whose institutions sustained me, whose armed forces protected me, and whose ideals inspired me; I offered my heart's affections in return. It no more occurred to me to flaunt the flag on my chest than it did to pin my mother's picture on my lapel to prove her son's love. Mother knew where I stood; so does my country. I even tuck a valentine in my tax returns on April 15.
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<br />"So what's this doing here? Well, I put it on to take it back. The flag's been hijacked and turned into a logo -- the trademark of a monopoly on patriotism. On those Sunday morning talk shows, official chests appear adorned with the flag as if it is the good housekeeping seal of approval. During the State of the Union, did you notice Bush and Cheney wearing the flag? How come? No administration's patriotism is ever in doubt, only its policies. And the flag bestows no immunity from error. When I see flags sprouting on official lapels, I think of the time in China when I saw Mao's little red book on every official's desk, omnipresent and unread.
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<br />"But more galling than anything are all those moralistic ideologues in Washington sporting the flag in their lapels while writing books and running Web sites and publishing magazines attacking dissenters as un-American. They are people whose ardor for war grows disproportionately to their distance from the fighting. They're in the same league as those swarms of corporate lobbyists wearing flags and prowling Capitol Hill for tax breaks even as they call for more spending on war.
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<br />"So I put this on as a modest riposte to men with flags in their lapels who shoot missiles from the safety of Washington think tanks, or argue that sacrifice is good as long as they don't have to make it, or approve of bribing governments to join the coalition of the willing (after they first stash the cash). I put it on to remind myself that not every patriot thinks we should do to the people of Baghdad what Bin Laden did to us. The flag belongs to the country, not to the government. And it reminds me that it's not un-American to think that war -- except in self-defense -- is a failure of moral imagination, political nerve, and diplomacy. Come to think of it, standing up to your government can mean standing up for your country."
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<br />That did it. That -- and our continuing reporting on overpricing at Haliburton, chicanery on K Street, and the heavy, if divinely guided hand, of Tom DeLay.
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<br />When Sen. Lott protested that the Corporation for Public Broadcasting "has not seemed willing to deal with Bill Moyers," a new member of the board, a Republican fundraiser named Cheryl Halperin, who had been appointed by President Bush, agreed that CPB needed more power to do just that sort of thing. She left no doubt about the kind of penalty she would like to see imposed on malefactors like Moyers.
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<br />As rumors circulated about all this, I asked to meet with the CPB board to hear for myself what was being said. I thought it would be helpful for someone like me, who had been present at the creation and part of the system for almost 40 years, to talk about how CPB had been intended to be a heat shield to protect public broadcasters from exactly this kind of intimidation.
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<br />After all, I'd been there at the time of Richard Nixon's attempted coup. In those days, public television had been really feisty and independent, and often targeted for attacks. A Woody Allen special that poked fun at Henry Kissinger in the Nixon administration had actually been cancelled. The White House had been so outraged over a documentary called the "Banks and the Poor" that PBS was driven to adopt new guidelines. That didn't satisfy Nixon, and when public television hired two NBC reporters -- Robert McNeil and Sander Vanoucur to co-anchor some new broadcasts, it was, for Nixon, the last straw. According to White House memos at the time, he was determined to "get the left-wing commentators who are cutting us up off public television at once -- indeed, yesterday if possible."
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<br />Sound familiar?
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<br />Nixon vetoed the authorization for CPB with a message written in part by his sidekick Pat Buchanan, who in a private memo had castigated Vanocur, MacNeil, Washington Week in Review, Black Journal and Bill Moyers as "unbalanced against the administration."
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<br />It does sound familiar.
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<br />I always knew Nixon would be back. I just didn't know this time he would be the chairman of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
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<br />Buchanan and Nixon succeeded in cutting CPB funding for all public affairs programming except for Black Journal. They knocked out multiyear funding for the National Public Affairs Center for Television, otherwise known as NPACT. And they voted to take away from the PBS staff the ultimate responsibility for the production of programming.
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<br />But in those days -- and this is what I wanted to share with Kenneth Tomlinson and his colleagues on the CPB board -- there were still Republicans in America who did not march in ideological lockstep and who stood on principle against politicizing public television. The chairman of the public station in Dallas was an industrialist named Ralph Rogers, a Republican but no party hack, who saw the White House intimidation as an assault on freedom of the press and led a nationwide effort to stop it.
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<br />The chairman of CPB was former Republican Congressman Thomas Curtis, who was also a principled man. He resigned, claiming White House interference. Within a few months, the crisis was over. CPB maintained its independence, PBS grew in strength, and Richard Nixon would soon face impeachment and resign for violating the public trust, not just public broadcasting.
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<br />Paradoxically, the very National Public Affairs Center for Television that Nixon had tried to kill -- NPACT -- put PBS on the map by rebroadcasting in primetime each day's Watergate hearings, drawing huge ratings night after night and establishing PBS as an ally of democracy. We should still be doing that sort of thing.
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<br />That was 33 years ago. I thought the current CPB board would like to hear and talk about the importance of standing up to political interference. I was wrong. They wouldn't meet with me. I tried three times. And it was all downhill after that.
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<br />I was na've, I guess. I simply never imagined that any CPB chairman, Democrat or Republican, would cross the line from resisting White House pressure to carrying it out for the White House. But that's what Kenneth Tomlinson has done.
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<br />On Fox News this week he denied that he's carrying out a White House mandate or that he's ever had any conversations with any Bush administration official about PBS. But the New York Times reported that he enlisted Karl Rove to help kill a proposal that would have put on the CPB board people with experience in local radio and television. The Times also reported that "on the recommendation of administration officials" Tomlinson hired a White House flack (I know the genre) named Mary Catherine Andrews as a senior CPB staff member. While she was still reporting to Karl Rove at the White House, Andrews set up CPB's new ombudsman's office and had a hand in hiring the two people who will fill it, one of whom once worked for ... you guessed it ... Kenneth Tomlinson.
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<br />I would like to give Mr. Tomlinson the benefit of the doubt, but I can't. According to a book written about the Reader's Digest when he was its editor-in-chief, he surrounded himself with other right-wingers -- a pattern he's now following at the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
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<br />There is Ms. Andrews from the White House. For acting president, he hired Ken Ferree from the FCC, who was Michael Powell's enforcer when Powell was deciding how to go about allowing the big media companies to get even bigger. According to a forthcoming book, one of Ferree's jobs was to engage in tactics designed to dismiss any serious objection to media monopolies. And, according to Eric Alterman, Ferree was even more contemptuous than Michael Powell of public participation in the process of determining media ownership. Alterman identifies Ferree as the FCC staffer who decided to issue a "protective order" designed to keep secret the market research on which the Republican majority on the commission based their vote to permit greater media consolidation.
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<br />It's not likely that with guys like this running the CPB some public television producer is going to say, "Hey, let's do something on how big media is affecting democracy."
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<br />Call it preventive capitulation.
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<br />As everyone knows, Mr. Tomlinson also put up a considerable sum of money, reportedly over $5 million, for a new weekly broadcast featuring Paul Gigot and the editorial board of the Wall Street Journal. Gigot is a smart journalist, a sharp editor, and a fine fellow. I had him on NOW several times and even proposed that he become a regular contributor. The conversation of democracy -- remember? All stripes.
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<br />But I confess to some puzzlement that the Wall Street Journal, which in the past editorialized to cut PBS off the public tap, is now being subsidized by American taxpayers although its parent company, Dow Jones, had revenues in just the first quarter of this year of $400 million. I thought public television was supposed to be an alternative to commercial media, not a funder of it.
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<br />But in this weird deal, you get a glimpse of the kind of programming Mr. Tomlinson apparently seems to prefer. Alone of the big major newspapers, the Wall Street Journal has no op-ed page where different opinions can compete with its right-wing editorials. The Journal's PBS broadcast is just as homogenous -- right-wingers talking to each other. Why not $5 million to put the editors of The Nation on PBS? Or Amy Goodman's Democracy Now! You balance right-wing talk with left-wing talk.
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<br />There's more. Only two weeks ago did we learn that Mr. Tomlinson had spent $10,000 last year to hire a contractor who would watch my show and report on political bias. That's right. Kenneth Y. Tomlinson spent $10,000 of your money to hire a guy to watch NOW to find out who my guests were and what my stories were. Ten thousand dollars.
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<br />Gee, Ken, for $2.50 a week, you could pick up a copy of TV Guide on the newsstand. A subscription is even cheaper, and I would have sent you a coupon that can save you up to 62 percent.
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<br />For that matter, Ken, all you had to do was watch the show yourself. You could have made it easier with a double Jim Beam, your favorite. Or you could have gone online where the listings are posted. ****, you could have called me -- collect -- and I would have told you.
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<br />Ten thousand dollars. That would have bought five tables at Thursday night's "Conservative Salute for Tom DeLay." Better yet, that ten grand would pay for the books in an elementary school classroom or an upgrade of its computer lab.
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<br />But having sent that cash, what did he find? Only Mr. Tomlinson knows. He's apparently decided not to share the results with his staff, or his board or leak it to Robert Novak. The public paid for it -- but Ken Tomlinson acts as if he owns it.
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<br />In a May 10 op-ed piece, in Rev. Moon's conservative Washington Times, Tomlinson maintained he had not released the findings because public broadcasting is such a delicate institution that he did not want to "damage public broadcasting's image with controversy." Where I come from in Texas, we shovel that kind of stuff every day.
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<br />As we learned only this week, that's not the only news Mr. Tomlinson tried to keep to himself. As reported by Jeff Chester's Center for Digital Democracy (of which I am a supporter), there were two public opinion surveys commissioned by CPB but not released to the media -- not even to PBS and NPR. According to a source who talked to Salon.com, "The first results were too good and [Tomlinson] didn't believe them. After the Iraq War, the board commissioned another round of polling, and they thought they'd get worse results."
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<br />But they didn't. The data revealed that, in reality, public broadcasting has an 80 percent favorable rating and that "the majority of the U.S. adult population does not believe that the news and information programming on public broadcasting is biased." In fact, more than half believed PBS provided more in-depth and trustworthy news and information than the networks and 55 percent said PBS was "fair and balanced."
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<br />Tomlinson is the man, by the way, who was running Voice of America back in 1984 when a partisan named Charlie Wick was politicizing the United States Information Agency of which Voice of America was a part. It turned out there was a blacklist of people who had been removed from the list of prominent Americans sent abroad to lecture on behalf of America and the USIA. What's more, it was discovered that evidence as to how those people were chosen to be on the blacklist, more than 700 documents had been shredded. Among those on the blacklists of journalists, writers, scholars and politicians were dangerous left-wing subversives like Walter Cronkite, James Baldwin, Gary Hart, Ralph Nader, Ben Bradlee, Coretta Scott King and David Brinkley.
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<br />The person who took the fall for the blacklist was another right-winger. He resigned. Shortly thereafter, so did Kenneth Tomlinson, who had been one of the people in the agency with the authority to see the lists of potential speakers and allowed to strike people's names. Let me be clear about this: There is no record, apparently, of what Ken Tomlinson did. We don't know whether he supported or protested the blacklisting of so many American liberals. Or what he thinks of it now.
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<br />But I had hoped Bill O'Reilly would have asked him about it when he appeared on The O'Reilly Factor this week. He didn't. Instead, Tomlinson went on attacking me with O'Reilly egging him on, and he went on denying he was carrying out a partisan mandate despite published reports to the contrary. The only time you could be sure he was telling the truth was at the end of the broadcast when he said to O'Reilly, "We love your show."
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<br />We love your show.
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<br />I wrote Kenneth Tomlinson on Friday and asked him to sit down with me for one hour on PBS and talk about all this. I suggested that he choose the moderator and the guidelines.
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<br />There is one other thing in particular I would like to ask him about. In his op-ed essay this week in Washington Times, Ken Tomlinson tells of a phone call from an old friend complaining about my bias. Wrote Mr. Tomlinson: "The friend explained that the foundation he heads made a six-figure contribution to his local television station for digital conversion. But he declared there would be no more contributions until something was done about the network's bias."
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<br />Apparently that's Kenneth Tomlinson's method of governance. Money talks and buys the influence it wants.
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<br />I would like to ask him to listen to a different voice.
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<br />This letter came to me last year from a woman in New York, five pages of handwriting. She said, among other things, that "after the worst sneak attack in our history, there's not been a moment to reflect, a moment to let the horror resonate, a moment to feel the pain and regroup as humans. No, since I lost my husband on 9/11, not only our family's world, but the whole world seems to have gotten even worse than that tragic day."
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<br />She wanted me to know that on 9/11 her husband was not on duty. "He was home with me having coffee. My daughter and grandson, living only five blocks from the Towers, had to be evacuated with masks -- terror all around. ... My other daughter, near the Brooklyn Bridge ... my son in high school. But my Charlie took off like a lightning bolt to be with his men from the Special Operations Command. 'Bring my gear to the plaza,' he told his aide immediately after the first plane struck the North Tower. ... He took action based on the responsibility he felt for his job and his men and for those Towers that he loved."
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<br />In the FDNY, she said, chain-of- command rules extend to every captain of every fire house in the city. If anything happens in the firehouse -- at any time -- even if the captain isn't on duty or on vacation -- that captain is responsible for everything that goes on there 24/7."
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<br />So she asked: "Why is this administration responsible for nothing? All that they do is pass the blame. This is not leadership. ... Watch everyone pass the blame again in this recent torture case [Abu Ghraib] of Iraqi prisons ..."
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<br />And then she wrote: "We need more programs like yours to wake America up. ... Such programs must continue amidst the sea of false images and name-calling that divide America now. ... Such programs give us hope that search will continue to get this imperfect human condition on to a higher plane. So thank you and all of those who work with you. Without public broadcasting, all we would call news would be merely carefully controlled propaganda."
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<br />Enclosed with the letter was a check made out to "Channel 13 -- NOW" for $500. I keep a copy of that check above my desk to remind me of what journalism is about. Kenneth Tomlinson has his demanding donors. I'll take the widow's mite any day.
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<br />Someone has said recently that the great raucous mob that is democracy is rarely heard and that it's not just the fault of the current residents of the White House and the capital. There's too great a chasm between those of us in this business and those who depend on TV and radio as their window to the world. We treat them too much as an audience and not enough as citizens. They're invited to look through the window but too infrequently to come through the door and to participate, to make public broadcasting truly public."
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<br />To that end, five public interest groups including Common Cause and Consumers Union will be holding informational sessions around the country to "take public broadcasting back" -- to take it back from threats, from interference, from those who would tell us we can only think what they command us to think.
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<br />It's a worthy goal.
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<br />We're big kids; we can handle controversy and diversity, whether it's political or religious points of view or two loving lesbian moms and their kids, visited by a cartoon rabbit. We are not too fragile or insecure to see America and the world entire for all their magnificent and sometimes violent confusion. There used to be a thing or a commodity we put great store by," John Steinbeck wrote. "It was called the people."
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</div><p><div class="blogdisclaim"><a href="http://codewarriorz.blogspot.com/2005/05/alternet-mediaculture-moye_111668514770665412.html">This post originally appeared on an external website</a></div>

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Lemme Get this Straight- Scientists say the South Korean stem cell research will help folks and Bush condemns it?

by codewarrior.wins In reply to CodeWarriorz Thoughts

<img src="br">http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v210/codewarrior/whocares.jpg"><br /><br />OK..JUST WANTED TO BE CLEAR ON THAT...SCIENCE IS "BAD...BAD"...ACCORDING TO THAT *** CLOWN BUSHY....AND IF IT HELPS PEOPLE...HE MUST CONDEMN IT. OK...I JUST WANTED TO GET ALL THIS STRAIGHT FOR THE RECORD.<p><div class="blogdisclaim"><a href="http://codewarriorz.blogspot.com/2005/05/lemme-get-this-straight-scientists-say.html">This post originally appeared on an external website</a></div>

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Bush Condemns S. Korea Stem Cell Research Advances,

by codewarrior.wins In reply to CodeWarriorz Thoughts

<div xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml">Bush Condemns S. Korea Stem Cell Research Advances, Says He Would Veto Loosening of U.S. Limits<br />
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<a href="http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/wireStory?id=778442">http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/wireStory?id=778442</a>
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<br />WASHINGTON May 21, 2005 ? President Bush has condemned stem cell research advances in South Korea and said he worried about living in a world in which human cloning was condoned. He said he would veto any legislation aimed at loosening limits on federal support in the United States. <br />
<br />"I'm very concerned about cloning," Bush told reporters in the Oval Office on Friday. "I worry about a world in which cloning becomes acceptable." <br />
<br />"I made it very clear to the Congress that the use of federal money, taxpayers' money to promote science which destroys life in order to save life is I'm against that. And therefore, if the bill does that, I will veto it."<br />
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<br />Republicans in Congress are sharply divided over the stem cell issue, which could lead to the first veto of Bush's presidency. The president's comments were aimed at putting the brakes on a bill gaining momentum on Capitol Hill. <br />
<br />That bill would lift Bush's ban on using federal dollars to do research on embryonic stem cell lines developed after August 2001. The president's veto threat drew immediate reaction from sponsors of the bipartisan bill, Reps. Mike Castle, R-Del., and Diana DeGette, D-Colo. <br />
<br />Castle said the legislation would not allow the cloning of embryos or embryo destruction. Instead, it would let government-funded researchers work with stem cells culled from embryos left over from fertility treatments. <br />
<br />"The bottom line is when a couple has decided to discard their excess embryos, they are either going to be discarded as medical waste or they can be donated for research," Castle said. <br />
<br />DeGette protested too. "It's disappointing that the president would threaten to use his first veto on a bill that holds promise for cures to diseases that affect millions of Americans," DeGette said. "Support for expanding federal stem cell research in an ethical manner remains strong in Congress." <br />
<br />Stem cells are building blocks that give rise to every tissue in the body. Supporters of embryo stem cell research, including former first lady Nancy Reagan, say it could lead to cures for Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and other degenerative brain and nerve diseases.</div><p><div class="blogdisclaim"><a href="http://codewarriorz.blogspot.com/2005/05/bush-condemns-s-korea-stem-cell.html">This post originally appeared on an external website</a></div>

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CBC Arts: Recording industry loses file-swapping appeal

by codewarrior.wins In reply to CodeWarriorz Thoughts

<a href="http://www.cbc.ca/story/arts/national/2005/05/19/Arts/fileshare050519.html">CBC Arts: Recording industry loses file-swapping appeal</a>
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<br />Recording industry loses file-swapping appeal
<br />Last Updated Thu, 19 May 2005 21:12:02 EDT
<br />CBC Arts
<br /> TORONTO - The recording industry has failed again in its attempt to force internet service providers to reveal the names of file-sharers but it may be able to try again.
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<br />In a unanimous decision Thursday, the Federal Court of Appeal dismissed the Canadian Recording Industry Association's appeal of a March 2004 ruling that said ISPs like Shaw, Rogers and Bell did not have to reveal the names of 29 users accused of sharing thousands of music files.
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<br /> In his 2004 ruling, Justice Konrad von Finckenstein had said that sharing music files does not breach Canada's copyright laws.
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<br />He turned down the industry's request to force ISPs to reveal contact information of the users in question, saying that the group had failed to come up with sufficient evidence matching the online pseudonyms of file-sharers to the specific IP addresses of the various service providers' customers.
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<br />The recording industry association is seeking the users' real identities in order to follow its U.S. counterpart in suing file-swappers for sharing copyrighted songs online.
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<br />IN DEPTH: Downloading music
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<br />RELATED STORY: Online music swapping legal: court
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<br />In Thursday's decision, the three judge-panel turned down the appeal request but wrote that the earlier ruling should not have made conclusions about whether downloading or uploading music should be illegal.
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<br />"Conclusions ... should not have been made in the very preliminary stage of this action," Justice Edgar Sexton wrote in Thursday's written decision. "They would require a consideration of the evidence as well as the law applicable to such evidence after it has been properly adduced."
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<br />The court also suggested that the recording industry group could return with stronger and more current evidence against file-swappers.
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<br />"The appeal will be dismissed without prejudice to the plaintiffs' right to commence a further application for disclosure of the identity of the 'users' taking into account these reasons," Sexton wrote.
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<br />RELATED STORY: Ottawa moves to quash file swapping
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<br />At the end of March, the Canadian government announced several proposed changes to the Copyright Act aimed at ending the unauthorized sharing of music, movies and TV files online.
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<br /> Audio & Video
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<br /> Ron Charles reports for CBC-TV (Runs 1:46)
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<br />
<br />Requires RealPlayer
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<br />More Arts on CBC.ca
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<br />Film: Homage to a Canadian indie film pioneer
<br />Film: Star Wars Makes Me Sleepy
<br />Books: Novelist Jonathan Coe explores Blair's England
<br />Music: Trent Reznor and pop music's love of misery
<br />Books: The new world of teen fiction
<br />Force-friendly quiz: Star Wars
<br />Film: Monster-in-Law review
<br />Film: Todd Solondz's Palindromes
<br />Film: Interview with documentary legend Albert Maysles
<br />TV: Everybody Loves Raymond bows out
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<br />Feedback
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<br />Report a typo or inaccuracy
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<br /><p><div class="blogdisclaim"><a href="http://codewarriorz.blogspot.com/2005/05/cbc-arts-recording-industry-loses-file.html">This post originally appeared on an external website</a></div>

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CNN.com - Karzai demands?'justice' over?abuse charge - May 22, 2005

by codewarrior.wins In reply to CodeWarriorz Thoughts

<div xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml">
<a href="http://www.cnn.com/2005/WORLD/asiapcf/05/22/afghanistan.us/">CNN.com - Karzai demands?'justice' over?abuse charge - May 22, 2005</a>
<br />Karzai demands 'justice' over abuse charge.
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<br />WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The president of Afghanistan has demanded justice from the United States over the alleged abuse of two Afghan detainees who reportedly died in U.S. custody.
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<br />But Hamid Karzai told CNN's "Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer" on Sunday that the incident "must not reflect on the United States."
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<br />Karzai, who arrived in Washington on Sunday, is scheduled to meet with President George W. Bush on Monday in the White House.
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<br />His comments came on the same day that the United Nations condemned the alleged abuse as "utterly unacceptable." It also called on the U.S. military to allow a probe by Afghan investigators. (Full story)
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<br />Karzai spoke with Blitzer about the abuse reported Friday in the New York Times, citing a 2,000-page confidential file on the Army's criminal investigation into the deaths, which took place at Bagram Air Base north of Kabul in December 2002.
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<br />"This is simply not acceptable," Karzai said. "We are angry about this. We want justice. We want the people responsible for this sort of brutal behavior punished and tried and made public.
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<br />"At the same time, I must say that while we condemn this, we show Afghans, we show the rest of the world that the behavior of two soldiers or interrogators must not reflect on the United States or on the U.S. people," he said.
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<br />"There are bad people everywhere."
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<br />Karzai, a former U.S. oil company executive seen by many in his own country as a U.S. puppet, came to the United States 10 days after at least 15 people were killed in anti-U.S. protests in his country. (Full story)
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<br />Those protests were sparked when a Newsweek report fueled simmering angry at the United States by quoting a U.S. official who said a U.S. investigation had found that interrogators at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, had defiled the Quran.
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<br />Newsweek retracted the story when its source later said he wasn't sure his information was correct. (Full story)
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<br />The Afghan president said the allegations of defilement of the Quran were "a serious matter about people's beliefs and feelings," but added that the violent protests were "directed at the peace process" and the "elections in Afghanistan."
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<br />Karzai also angrily defended his presidency against a charge published in Sunday's New York Times that a poppy eradication program in Afghanistan is failing because "has been unwilling to assert strong leadership."
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<br />The charge came from a memo sent from the U.S. Embassy in Kabul to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, the Times said, and was leaked to the paper by "an American official alarmed at the slow pace of poppy eradication."
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<br />"We have done our job," Karzai told CNN.
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<br />"The Afghan people have done their job. Now the international community must come and provide alternative revenue to the Afghan people which they have not done so far. Let us stop this blame game. Instead of blaming Afghanistan, the international community must come and fulfill its own objective to the Afghan people."
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<br />Meanwhile, Karzai told CNN that fugitive terror leader Osama bin Laden is not in Afghanistan.
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<br />"If he were, we would catch him," he said.
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</div><p><div class="blogdisclaim"><a href="http://codewarriorz.blogspot.com/2005/05/cnncom-karzai-demandsjustice-overabuse.html">This post originally appeared on an external website</a></div>

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