Scary Thing #1

American Council of Trustees and Alumni

Lynn Cheney and her organization, The American Council of Trustees and Alumni, is trying to shut down dissent about the “war” in Afghanistan and the government’s response to the WTC. This organization published a manifesto, entitled “Defending Civilization: How Our Universities are Failing America and What Can Be Done About It,” that collects various quotes from university professors and students in response to the WTC. You can read various write-ups about this report from the following sites:

Conservatives Denounce Dissent at Common Dreams News Center (a reprint from the Boston Globe)

Lynn Cheney’s Campus Crusade at Working for Change (part of Working Assets)

Lynn Cheney’s Free Speech Blacklist at TomPaine.Com(mon sense)

My response to this document, of course, is to make my students in Contemporary Public Address read it!

Scary Thing #2

Media Transparency

Now, Media Transparency is not, in and of itself, scary. But what it DOES is scary. Media Transparency tracks the political economy of public opinion and public policy by showing the labyrinthine connection between the conservative movement, the media, and policy-making. It primarily tracks the exchange of money through grants and sponsorships. The format of the news articles is great — before each article title and by-line it lists grant dollars and granting agencies that funded the people and organizations in the news stories. They have amassed a huge database of information that is very scary. In one story, they demonstrate who the financiers of the Clinton Hunting were and then link to a very early story about right wing media investigating Clinton in Arkansas, for instance.

So surfing around this site to learn more about the American Council of Trustees and Alumni, I learned that the conservative movement is INDEED a MOVEMENT, well-organized, well-funded, etc. Well, no, I always knew that. But seeing the numbers in hypertext was very frightening. For instance, one of the strands of the conservative movement that Media Transparency is tracking is the way that the Federalist Society and similar organizations are trying to reshape the U.S. Constitution. This strand of the movement is heavily responsible for things like Ashcroft’s recent military tribunals and the government’s efforts to trim (no, slice and dice) civil liberties in order to keep us all safe from terrorism. Which, of course, leads to Scary Thing #3.

Scary Thing #3

Ashcroft. Enough said.

“The Department of Justice is waging a deliberate campaign of arrest and detention to protect American lives. We’re removing suspected terrorists who violate the law from our streets to prevent further terrorist attack.”

— From Ashcroft’s 11.27 Press Conference Statement

“On November 13, 2001, President Bush issued a “Military Order” providing for potentially indefinite detention of any non-citizen accused of terrorism, and permitting trial of such defendants in a military commission with no provision for judicial review.”

— From the ACLU’s 11.28 Congressional Statement

Scary Thing #4

USA Patriots Act

The ACLU has several links that analyze this act and the way that it threatens the civil liberties of every citizen. This is scary stuff.

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