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December 17, 2005 9:41 AM   Subscribe

[TotalitarianismFilter] Don't be asking your college librarian for a copy of that Little Red Book to do a class assignment, or your parents might get a visit from the good folks at the Department of Homeland Security. More evidence that the Bush administration cannot restrain itself when granted enhanced surveillance powers.
posted by digaman (97 comments total)

 
Yeah, the communists are our biggest threat right now.

"Are you now, or have you ever been . . ."
posted by caddis at 9:52 AM on December 17, 2005


So what would the agents have done if he'd actually been a communist? Summary execution?
posted by Optimus Chyme at 9:53 AM on December 17, 2005


Couldn't this have gone in the existing PATRIOT Act thread?
posted by Gator at 9:57 AM on December 17, 2005


Gator, I appreciate the desire to keep threads tight, but since this was not an action by the FBI empowered by the Patriot Act, but an independent action by agents of the Department of Homeland Security, I created a separate post. Onward.
posted by digaman at 10:02 AM on December 17, 2005


The student, who was completing a research paper on Communism for Professor Pontbriand's class on fascism and totalitarianism, filled out a form for the request, leaving his name, address, phone number and Social Security number. He was later visited at his parents' home in New Bedford by two agents of the Department of Homeland Security, the professors said.

Sounds like he's learning about fascism first hand...
posted by Slothrup at 10:02 AM on December 17, 2005


The student, who was completing a research paper... for Professor Pontbriand's class on fascism and totalitarianism...

On the plus side, for the time being he can probably find out all he needs to know on those subjects from official government documents.
posted by rkent at 10:03 AM on December 17, 2005


My library's still open. I'm going down there today to request the same thing on interlibrary loan.
posted by Captaintripps at 10:03 AM on December 17, 2005


I get the impression that agents of the DHS really don't have much to keep themselves occupied.

Correlating patterns of suspicious activities must be hard if there are very few input activities.

The must have made their week. "hey we got a live one! Finally a chance to get out of the office and go interrogate some punk".
posted by MonkeySaltedNuts at 10:03 AM on December 17, 2005


On (failure to) preview: zing, Slothrup!
posted by rkent at 10:03 AM on December 17, 2005


This Little Red Book, it vibrates?
posted by CynicalKnight at 10:06 AM on December 17, 2005


ISBN: 083512388X
posted by Captaintripps at 10:09 AM on December 17, 2005


That's insane and offensive.
posted by ParisParamus at 10:09 AM on December 17, 2005


From the article:

...his background, which included significant time abroad, triggered them to investigate the student further

Oh no... a college student taking trips abroad? Can't have that -- after all, he might have been visiting FRANCE or some other country known to be a sworn enemy of the United States.

One does has to ask oneself why the DHS spent taxpayers' money drilling down into the international travel patterns of a college student who happened to request a book for a class assignment. Couldn't they, like, look up the syllabus on the Web or something?
posted by digaman at 10:12 AM on December 17, 2005


I just put it on my Amazon wish list. With any luck I'll get a visit from DHS by new years.
posted by jmgorman at 10:15 AM on December 17, 2005


They know if you've been bad or good....
posted by digaman at 10:17 AM on December 17, 2005


Heh. I'd love to see so many people decide to buy or borrow it just to fuck with DHS that suddenly the Little Red Book shoots to the top of the bestsellers list.
posted by scody at 10:19 AM on December 17, 2005


It's enough to make those of us that travel, lived, worked abroad and borrow books, buy books or are just damn curious about things kinda paranoid that we're being spied on or 'looked into'.
posted by alteredcarbon at 10:22 AM on December 17, 2005


jmgorman: I just put it on my Amazon wish list. With any luck I'll get a visit from DHS by new years.

New amazon how-to guide: "So you'd like to... get in trouble with the Department of Homeland Security." Toss Fortunate Son on the list for good measure.
posted by rkent at 10:28 AM on December 17, 2005


If the CIA and DHS were to magically disappear, Americans would be no less safe--arguably, they'd be safer.
posted by bardic at 10:38 AM on December 17, 2005


alteredcarbon: I've done all of those things and I'm not paranoid. Then again, I don't have anything to hide.
posted by Captaintripps at 10:43 AM on December 17, 2005


Geheime Staatspolizei
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 10:45 AM on December 17, 2005


More gift ideas for the potential terrorist.
posted by digaman at 10:46 AM on December 17, 2005


You left out a classic.
posted by Captaintripps at 10:51 AM on December 17, 2005


when granted enhanced surveillance powers.

These days he takes powers without being granted them.
posted by Artifice_Eternity at 10:53 AM on December 17, 2005


Those who give up a portion of their liberty in return for safety deserve neither, as a famous relative of mine once said. I was taught in the 60's that one of the reasons we were fighting the Communists was because they spied on their citizens. Now our government is doing the same thing. Where's the outrage? What right does the government of a free country have to know, or even care, what anyone is reading?

Attention, DHS agents: I'm currently reading One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, which is a highly subversive book. You'd better come over and check me out.
posted by wadefranklin at 10:56 AM on December 17, 2005


Maybe this red book is ok? (waits for Canadians to chime in)
posted by shepd at 10:58 AM on December 17, 2005


Where's the outrage?

You're soaking in it, sir.
posted by digaman at 10:59 AM on December 17, 2005


The U.S. government does not secretly eavesdrop on citizens. Let's just get that straight.
posted by Smedleyman at 11:01 AM on December 17, 2005


Captaintripps, you're assuming those in charge of investigating aren't prone to making mistakes.
posted by alteredcarbon at 11:06 AM on December 17, 2005


You're assuming I wasn't being facetious.
posted by Captaintripps at 11:07 AM on December 17, 2005


"This is a highly classified program that is crucial to our national security. Its purpose is to detect and prevent terrorist attacks against the United States, our friends and allies. Yesterday the existence of this secret program was revealed in media reports, after being improperly provided to news organizations. As a result, our enemies have learned information they should not have, and the unauthorized disclosure of this effort damages our national security and puts our citizens at risk. Revealing classified information is illegal, alerts our enemies, and endangers our country."

I agree.
posted by hoborg at 11:09 AM on December 17, 2005


This is not my beautiful country.
posted by EarBucket at 11:12 AM on December 17, 2005


I agree with PP. Wait, what did I just say?
posted by 2sheets at 11:19 AM on December 17, 2005


And you may tell yourself
This is not my beautiful house!
And you may tell yourself
This is not my beautiful wife!
...
Same as it ever was...same as it ever was...same as it ever was...
posted by Roger Dodger at 11:19 AM on December 17, 2005


I didn't RTFA, but does it say how the investigation was tripped? I am assuming that it was not from asking his librarian. The librarians I know would not give out this information--but interlibrary loans (the acronym is ILL) typically are entered online and go through database searches.

Of course, I agree that it is ridiculous for DHS to spend any time at all investigating anyone who wnats to read TLRB or the Communist Manifesto, or even (gasp) the Koran.

I just didn't like librarians getting the raspberry in the FPP. They are your friends.
posted by beelzbubba at 11:20 AM on December 17, 2005


I don't think he was giving librarians a hard time, beelzbubba. It could be more accurate, but "Don't be asking your college librarian for an interlibrary loan" just doesn't ring, y'know?
posted by Captaintripps at 11:29 AM on December 17, 2005


The "raspberry" is purely a product of your projection. I think librarians are heroes.
posted by digaman at 11:29 AM on December 17, 2005


My point was that "asking your college librarian" for a book is one of the most wonderful acts I can think of, which has been twisted under the Bush/Fox regime into an act worthy of investigation.
posted by digaman at 11:33 AM on December 17, 2005


"If that's true, he doesn't need the Patriot Act because he can just make it up as he goes along. I tell you, he's President George Bush, not King George Bush. This is not the system of government we have and that we fought for," Feingold told The Associated Press in a telephone interview.

How hard does Russ Feingold (continually) ROCK.


"..the President's crazy, did you hear what he said?!"



posted by Skygazer at 11:36 AM on December 17, 2005


Dr. Williams said he had been planning to offer a course on terrorism next semester, but is reconsidering, because it might put his students at risk.

Right... because there's nothing worse in the War On Terruh than knowing your enemy.
posted by Foosnark at 11:37 AM on December 17, 2005


It's freely available online. For that matter, so is "On Guerilla Warfare."
posted by halcyon_daze at 11:54 AM on December 17, 2005


Worse than Nixon.
posted by clevershark at 11:55 AM on December 17, 2005


Where's the outrage? It's right here.

I voted for Bush the first time around. I voted for the Libertarian candidate the second time around (yeah, I know, I was one of three people in the state of Illinois) and I am pissed. This is not what America is supposed to be. This is not what I pay taxes for and this is not what I vote for. Note to all those in the federal government who might be reading this: You've been warned. Your base is starting to get pissed and we WILL stand on principle and vote against those of you elected and lobby to replace those of you who were appointed. I fear for the security of our country, the one I love, but this is not the way... sacrificing our liberties in the name of saving them is laughable. Treating citizens as suspects until proven innocent strips us of something fundamental to the dream that is America.
posted by incongruity at 11:56 AM on December 17, 2005


I think I was guilty of gross exaggeration when I said now our government is doing the same thing in comparison to Communist governments spying on their citizens. On reflection, that's an outrageous comparison, and I apologize for it.
posted by wadefranklin at 12:16 PM on December 17, 2005


That's insane and offensive.
Can this be the new meme?

On the plus side, for the time being he can probably find out all he needs to know on those subjects from official government documents.

On the plus side, he was just given an object lesson in the control tactics of a police state. Too bad he wasn't arrested; he could have gotten a master's thesis out of it.

It would be especially fun to show up at the local FBI office to ask questions.
posted by dhartung at 12:17 PM on December 17, 2005


Re: how this probably got tipped off, I couldn't find an FPP re: CALEA, but there are some old comments worth checking out. Even though CALEA is a telecom heavy issue, I'm betting they just tap into whatever ILL database these schools use.

There are some great battles going on in higher ed re: CALEA right now, and I hope this incident makes it into the discussion.
posted by bhance at 12:42 PM on December 17, 2005


Urine sane and offensive
posted by isopraxis at 12:47 PM on December 17, 2005


I'm not suppressed they're eaves dropping, but I am surprised they seem to have no shame about it. This guy and the Muslim who got interrogated because someone sent a text message "Blitzkrieg is on july 4th" (blitzkrieg was a band).

Oh well.
posted by delmoi at 12:48 PM on December 17, 2005


rude haiku:
L'etat c'est moi, 'kay?
Once you accept that, you fucks,
We'll all get along.
posted by matteo at 1:07 PM on December 17, 2005


This is fucking infuriating. Can we list the 25 most subversive books available in English so I can go check them all out at once?
posted by killdevil at 1:11 PM on December 17, 2005


I agree with PP. Wait, what did I just say?
posted by 2sheets


You mean you know what he was talking about?
posted by Kirth Gerson at 1:11 PM on December 17, 2005


My bet is that PP was actually replying to Monkey's comment about the FBI agents.
posted by dhartung at 1:14 PM on December 17, 2005


wadefranklin: I think I was guilty of gross exaggeration when I said now our government is doing the same thing in comparison to Communist governments spying on their citizens. On reflection, that's an outrageous comparison, and I apologize for it.

You're right, the difference is that the commie gestapo would simply arrest you without notice (or charges for that matter) and then let you rot in some prison for years on end.

For the time being, the US of A limits those kinds of activities to foreigners.
posted by sour cream at 1:16 PM on December 17, 2005


Treating citizens consumers as suspects until proven innocent strips us of something fundamental to the dream that is America.

Hey Incongruity I hear what you're saying brother, but didn't you get the memo?? All that idealistic America stuff is no longer applicable. Until further notice, "the war on Terror" has interrupted your regularly scheduled program forever. The only inalienable right left is that of "consumerism". Nice "protected", docile, fattened, entitled, stoopid, unquestioning, impotent, cancerous, heart diseased born-again consumers. No go out and BUY something goddammit!!
posted by Skygazer at 1:26 PM on December 17, 2005


This will divert valuable resources away from the War on Porn.
posted by Saucy Intruder at 1:43 PM on December 17, 2005


I don't want to derail the thread, but were the two talking heads quotes earlier inspiration striking two different people and not previewing, or was Dodger ... clarifying the reference for us? I'm not trying to be critical, I was just sort of surprised. I was reading along, ran into the first one, thought "I like that song," and then did a double-take when I saw the second reference. I sort of expected someone to make fun of Dodger for it, but maybe this thread is so serious that meta-ites are too concerned with the sorry state of the country to make fun of each other. Perhaps the terrorists have already won.
posted by heresiarch at 1:46 PM on December 17, 2005


They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.—Benjamin Franklin

Hey at least we arn't like China, the Old USSR or East Germany.


But then again?
posted by Mr Bluesky at 1:52 PM on December 17, 2005


Perhaps the terrorists have already won. Which is ironically the truist statement on this subject. We have a nutless Prez who puts fear above liberty.

(As someone qouted on another thread..have we all reached "outrage fatigue" yet? Who new that the GOP's plan was to outrage us into apathy")
posted by Mr Bluesky at 1:59 PM on December 17, 2005


You need to enter your social security number just to do an ILL? That's nuts.
posted by jessamyn at 2:09 PM on December 17, 2005


Where's the outrage? It's right here baby. Bush's base is starting to get pissed?

But Bush may be a stupid, annoying, self-righteous, obnoxious, ingratiating man, but who is the greater fool, the fool, or the fool who votes for him?

Fortunately, the long term danger to Bush and his kind is that he's created exactly the kind of leadership fiasco that, like so few things in this wretched entrenched political scheme, can actually crack people's smug, taunting ideological shells and get them to fucking exchange their broken little worldviews for something, while admittedly still broken, is at least a little less fractured.

If it weren't for people like Bush, I'd think that no one in the United States would ever get reincarnated as anything higher than a toad.
posted by JHarris at 2:12 PM on December 17, 2005


Jessamyn, his SS# may be his student ID number, which is probably his library account number as well.

I am a college librarian, and I am just outraged and sick at this.
posted by Biblio at 2:38 PM on December 17, 2005


A derail, but I like this quote from the article: "Mao Tse-Tung is completely harmless."

Huh.

posted by soiled cowboy at 2:50 PM on December 17, 2005


soiled cowboy: I was just thinking about that exact same bit of the article. The context was wonderful:

"My instinct is that there is a lot more monitoring than we think," ... "I shudder to think of all the students I've had monitoring al-Qaeda Web sites, what the government must think of that. Mao Tse-Tung is completely harmless."

I just keep on thinking "oh, who's being naive now, Kay?"
posted by atbash at 2:57 PM on December 17, 2005


Aside from the facism, there is another very disturbing aspect to this story. The pure stupidity of this.

I am outraged that we are being spyed upon. But I'm also completely terrified that they think monitoring Maoists (real or imaged) is going to keep us safe.
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 2:57 PM on December 17, 2005


I agree that there must be more monitoring going on than meets the eye. ILL for Mao just can't be their first priority.

I suspect the student was already being monitored for his "extensive time abroad". *shudders* I've been abroad for 12 years, living in three different countries.
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 3:02 PM on December 17, 2005


That's insane and offensive.

And yet, PP, you helped make it all possible!
posted by deanc at 3:24 PM on December 17, 2005


So it is for this that Thomas Jefferson pledged his "life, fortune and sacred honor"?

Jefferson, of course, was the radical anti-Christian free thinker who wrote treasonous trash mocking his King George:
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.

For depriving us, in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

For taking away our Charters ["it's just a God damned piece of paper!"], abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty and perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
I hope they investigate anybody who checks out any books or papers containing that sort of terrorist-aiding nonsense!
posted by orthogonality at 3:31 PM on December 17, 2005


The outrage should not only be that HomeSec is prying into private lives, but that they're wasting their time (and your money) on useless errands like this. Visiting the kid's house? Talking to his folks? Tracking his travel patterns? Because he checked out a book at school?

I heard there was a war on.
posted by digaman at 3:35 PM on December 17, 2005


Given how many perfectly healthy monarchies there are in the world, I object to people calling GWB a "King". He's not behaving like a King. He's behaving like a dictator. There is a difference.
posted by Hildegarde at 3:37 PM on December 17, 2005


I'm more struck by this quote:
" Dr. Williams said he had been planning to offer a course on terrorism next semester, but is reconsidering, because it might put his students at risk."

Maybe I'm just being paranoid, but perhaps that's EXACTLY the point of this little exercise in totalitarianism.

Me, I'd hold the class, but make all of the students sign a big, plainly-worded disclaimer notifying them that the course will involve reading things the government may not approve of and that the University will not be held responsible if you're arrested for sedition.

The publicity ALONE would send your application rates soaring.
posted by InnocentBystander at 3:44 PM on December 17, 2005


I just keep on thinking "oh, who's being naive now, Kay?"
posted by atbash at 5:57 PM EST on December 17 [!]


Chairman Mao is still dead, unless he was that guy in the drab suit I saw munching on Big Macs with Elvis last week in KZoo.
posted by caddis at 3:55 PM on December 17, 2005


"Mao Tse-Tung is completely harmless."

I just keep on thinking "oh, who's being naive now, Kay?"


YHBT. HAND.
posted by dhartung at 4:01 PM on December 17, 2005


I am nauseous after reading this. No exaggeration or just saying it because the internet is anonymous. This is churning my stomach up.

I'm a Canadian (who is married to an American) and I've been watching over the past 6 years getting more and more disgusted and worried. I -love- the principles that the U.S. was founded on and I sit her at my computer daily watching it disintegrate. I'd probably be a lot healithier and more sane if I didn't know this stuff was happening.

Now I, as a Canadian, can do squat about this. How many of the Americans here in this thread are finishing posting here so they can write letters and offer help to save their country?
posted by Kickstart70 at 5:33 PM on December 17, 2005


You need to enter your social security number just to do an ILL? That's nuts.

What Biblio said. Most schools I've been to seem to take the easy way out, and just use your social security number as your unique student I.D., rather than make up one for you. At the latest school I attended, when I registered, the paperwork stated that the SSN was optional. As such, I purposefully didn't fill it out.

When I returned to the school to register for classes, I was asked to enter my SSN into a keypad. I told them that wouldn't help, since they didn't have it. They insisted I enter it anyway, so I did. Whaddya know, the computer didn't know me! An hour later, after they found my paperwork, and looked extremely unhappy that it wasn't "complete," I appeased them and filled in the number so I could at least register for classes during that day.

Later, I had an exchange with the Records department and got them to wipe my SSN from the account and replace it with another unique number of their creation. Who knows if they kept the original on-file somewhere.
posted by odinsdream at 6:36 PM on December 17, 2005


I do ILL for a living and this makes me very sad. We shred our patron records after six months, in large part because of privacy concerns. And we don't require your social security number - but then again, I work in a public library (I'd never heard of such a thing in any library before however).

/this in Canada BTW

Oh, and my dad taught me that you should never give anyone your social security number unless required to by law.
posted by stinkycheese at 8:23 PM on December 17, 2005


"I've been watching over the past 6 years getting more and more disgusted and worried. I -love- the principles that the U.S. was founded on and I sit her at my computer daily watching it disintegrate."

.

American married to a Canadian of same sex

I give my social security number when asked. I just make sure i make a mistake.
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 9:00 PM on December 17, 2005


Bush's base can get pissed all they want. We still use electronic voting machines with no paper trail in (and only in, for some reason) closely contested areas of the country.

How much you want to bet the Repubs will win again by a whisker in 2006?
posted by fungible at 10:13 PM on December 17, 2005


I can't wait to take a leak on the floor somewhere in the Bush II Presidential Library.
posted by Balisong at 10:30 PM on December 17, 2005


Let's see now...

Two agents federal agents harass a student for requesting an old Mao Tse-Tung book

or

Student was late with her report and made this crap up as an excuse to her prof?

You decide.
posted by Meridian at 10:35 PM on December 17, 2005


This seems exceptionally fishy, for one, why isn't the chinese version of the book in chinese, 2, aren't al-queda sites in arabic? how are the students monitoring them? 3, there are no direct sources for this story at all, and while I am concerned about an over-reaching government, these professors don't really seem unbiased. I don't know, it bears watching, but I'm not jumping to any conclusions yet.
posted by rhyax at 10:47 PM on December 17, 2005


If anyone can't get them from the library they can borrow one of my copies. English or Chinese. I got them in China when I was receiving my latest orders a tourist.
posted by Joeforking at 1:05 AM on December 18, 2005


Meridian: You decide.
I'm continually amazed at the lengths some people will go to in order to avoid seeing something uncomfortable. Or maybe it's me -- maybe I'm paranoid. Surely, it's absolutely outrageous that DHS could do something stupid. It's not as though federal law enforcement agencies have a long history of setting stupid investigative priorities or spying on American citizens.

(I lose track -- are we currently assuming that people can understand sarcasm on MeFi?)
posted by lodurr at 5:58 AM on December 18, 2005


That's OK, did you see the Newsmax headline for the story?

"Student Gets Surprise From Mao's Book"

Clearly, he had it coming.

*snicker*
posted by InnocentBystander at 8:30 AM on December 18, 2005


Balisong. That is a brillant idea, but is an incompetent with who pisses on the constitution and the Bill of Rights, allowed to have a presidential library?
posted by Skygazer at 11:03 AM on December 18, 2005


lodurr, yeah, i understand that feeling, and i'm sure DHS does some bad stuff, this just seems fishy to me for some reason. Mostly because it seems so stupid. What did they say to him, "Hey son, we just wanted to stop by to make sure you weren't turning pinko!" I mean, if they were really concerned why not tap his phone, like Bush did with the 500 other americans. (I think that is illegal and wrong mind you)
posted by rhyax at 1:05 PM on December 18, 2005


after being made to feel stupid about 3 years ago for not know what irony is, i have to ask, isn't this irony?
posted by Tryptophan-5ht at 1:06 PM on December 18, 2005


this just seems fishy to me for some reason. Mostly because it seems so stupid. What did they say to him, "Hey son, we just wanted to stop by to make sure you weren't turning pinko!" I mean, if they were really concerned why not tap his phone, like Bush did with the 500 other americans.

My parents were very active in the peace movement during the Vietnam era. Our neighbors were visited by the FBI, who questioned them about my parents' coming and going, which cost my parents at least one friendship because a neighbor got so freaked out. Thus this doesn't seem "fishy" to me at all, though I'd certainly like to know more about the situation.
posted by digaman at 1:18 PM on December 18, 2005


Hildegarde: Given how many perfectly healthy monarchies there are in the world, I object to people calling GWB a "King". He's not behaving like a King. He's behaving like a dictator. There is a difference.

I think most monarchs have been neutered and are far away from the old God-appointed rulers of the Dark Ages and Renaissance. See e.g. the Netherlands and Belgium. Their royalty has not much power beyond having a budget and being allowed to resign when asked to sign a law they do not agree with.

Other countries, e.g. Germany, have gone one step further; their president is more of a political figurehead rather than someone with actual power, like the President of the USA, or of France.
posted by LanTao at 1:48 PM on December 18, 2005


It's very strange. It's almost like the DHS agents involved wanted to look like morons. Hmmm. Maybe they're working off old G-Man lists from the cold war. Which is just absurd.

Or let's try this on for size: Here in NYC there's ticketing "quotas". It's all very hush hush and the NYPD always denies their existence, but basically what it means is that cops are required to have a certain amount of tickets issued by the end of certain periods, in order to do well on performance reviews. I could see it being something like that, a couple of over eager, ambitious semi-literate agents who are bored and or wanting to rise up the ranks. It's the trickle down theory of incompetence.
posted by Skygazer at 2:40 PM on December 18, 2005


Given how many perfectly healthy monarchies there are in the world, I object to people calling GWB a "King". He's not behaving like a King. He's behaving like a dictator. There is a difference.

Speaking to Hildegarde and LanTao both, the reference is actually very specific. The Yoo-written constitutional interpretations are philosophically derived from a period in British history when the King was asserting power over Parliament. Although they specifically take wordings and make explicit references to the Federalist Papers, it's clear that Yoo reached farther back in constitutional law than the history of the US alone.

Specifically, Bush is behaving like Charles I, who got himself beheaded for his absolutism. With the subsequent Restoration,, the era of constitutional monarchy began.

Disregarding that, in American political discourse, we supposedly sought independence from the dictates of a King, but we have never ourselves suffered under a dictatorship. It makes much more rhetorical sense to invoke the American Revolution than some other country's.
posted by dhartung at 6:58 PM on December 18, 2005


Hoax (possibly)!
posted by Gator at 1:28 PM on December 19, 2005


This is the email I just sent Xeni over at BoingBoing

Hi Xeni,

I maintain the website librarian.net. I'm also an elected memeber of the Council of the American Library Association. We've been going back and forth on this issue for most of the day. Here is what we know.

1. I emailed with the reporter. He claims the story about the UCSC library is copied from his, that his is the original and cites the two professors as sources. He says that he has been trying to get the student to come forward to tell his story.

http://lp-web.ala.org:8000/guest/archives/ALACOUN/log0512/msg00243.html

2. the book does not come from UMass Dartmouth, that is why it needed to be ILL'ed. The library belongs to a consortium and the copy of the book [that the agents brought to the student's house... I know, sounds fishy to me too] was from a library in nearby Providence, not part of Dartmouth's virtual catalog

http://lp-web.ala.org:8000/guest/archives/ALACOUN/log0512/msg00245.html

In any case, I think the jury is still out, Lots of parts of the newspaper story don't add up BUT the reporter is contactable and so is at least one of the two professors who has been cited in the article [my emails to the second professor have not yet been returned] which is not the case withe the bizarre reprinting of the story with a West Coast school implanted in it. Council has been sort of paying attention to this issue, so more may turn up on the listserv as the day goes on.

http://lp-web.ala.org:8000/guest/archives/ALACOUN/log0512/

Thanks, keep up the good work.

Jessamyn West
librarian.net
ALA Councilor
posted by jessamyn at 1:59 PM on December 19, 2005


[wow, those people are FAST]
posted by jessamyn at 2:05 PM on December 19, 2005


Nice work there, jessamyn.

I think the reporter sounds like a bit of a tool. "But my story, published in The Standard-Times on Saturday, Dec. 17, is real and is factual to the extent I reported." Dude, you reported a whole bunch of hearsay. It says right in the article, "[The student] has not spoken to The Standard-Times."
posted by Gator at 2:22 PM on December 19, 2005


HOAX!

What a little shit. Now, according to the Boy Who Cried Wolf Theory, when real incidents of the government overstepping its bounds on private citizens come up, the Pooh-Pooh-It's-Nothing Squad will have this to fuel their arguments.

Not only has he made himself look like a douche, he made his professors look like idiots for standing behind him, he made his university look bad, he made libraries look bad, and of course he made the DHS look bad, not that it needed any help, but...

Of course, I still think the original reporter was a tool for running the story without doing some basic fact-checking first.

I can't believe they're still protecting this little shit by withholding his name.
posted by Gator at 9:36 AM on December 24, 2005


I was just coming here to post that, Gator. I hope he gets expelled; what a goddamned idiot.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 1:36 PM on December 24, 2005


+10 skeptic points to Meridian
posted by Optimus Chyme at 1:38 PM on December 24, 2005


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