One of the all too real threats facing American democracy today is the
increasing number of violations of our most basic Constitutional and
human rights.

The Republicans have now managed to persuade 21 states to pass laws
requiring picture IDs to vote — a new form of the outlawed poll tax
effectively barring mainly Democrats who are elderly, poor people who
cannot travel 30 miles by bus to a motor vehicle office open only during
working hours, minorities who may have been born without the benefit
of a birth certificate or wherewithal to acquire a picture ID or even
awareness that they need one next time they go to the polls from which
they have been barred!  The chief election official of Georgia reported
that the state had had not ONE instance of voter fraud during the 2006
election — the ostensive reason to block Democratic voters.  Barring
Democratic voters was a con pioneered some years ago by our recently
deceased Chief Justice Rehnquist in his home state to reduce Democratic
votes there.  It is one of the reasons for the firing of Federal
prosecutors by Gonzalez as well as the election of Bush via the barring
of Democratic voters in Florida in 2000.

As a Columbia trained legal philosopher, I am deeply worried by the
military industrial complex’s takeover of this country about which
Eisenhower warned (he also opposed our involvement in Viet Nam) and the
fascistic practices now increasingly afflicting our nation — an
unjustified war and resultant killings, torture, maiming, abusive covert
arrests and incarcerations — those hundreds of Muslims scattered in
Southern county jails (for $90 per diem as incentive) far from their
families where they were held incommunicado as “material witnesses” and
also in our very own Brooklyn gulag finally mentioned by the NY Times
long after an article on it by Pulitzer prize winning journalist, Paul
Moses, in Newsday.

We are seeing increasing censorship by our media of basic information
and even on the grass roots level the same process seems to be operative
— in our own neighborhood.

I received the following post from our local MHNET list moderator
banning my posting a protest from a tenant in a newly acquired Columbia
building in Manhattanville:


Please refrain in the future from posting in. This is a discussion list.
If Mr. Stollman wishes to post this, he is more than welcome to join the
list and participate in the ensuing discussion and debate.

Kristopher John
Moderator, MHNET

And on the same daily summary list where he refused my posting he stated
the following to which I am responding here:

7b. Re: City Is Pushing Colleges To Expand Into Poorer Areas
Posted by: “Kristopher John” schnerb_2000
Date: Fri Oct 5, 2007 7:12 pm ((PDT))


Why would you say this? I can’t recall a single post of yours that
made a positive statement about Columbia. That may not be hostile, but
it sure isn’t friendly.



Let us see if this response to Kristopher John’s comment is posted — or
also censored?

For the record I am deeply indebted to the faculty of Columbia who
taught me so well the values that I am expressing here.  But I have been
appalled over the years by the misconduct of Columbia’s administrators
(and their agents) who have embarrassed the university with their
foolish economic schemes and violations of individual rights — and even
the law.  Yes, I can give examples, as can most residents of this

Incidentally, I find the personal attacks directed by its spokespersons
at critics of Columbia a further disgrace to the university.  This is
the latest ugly right wing substitute for the truth. This particular
instance of censorship is unhappily all too close to home for us here in
the Heights.  Shame!

Ed Kent

“A war is just if there is no alternative, and the resort to arms is legitimate if they represent your last hope.” (Livy cited by Machiavelli)

Ed Kent 212-665-8535 (voice mail only) [blind copies]

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