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Monday, December 21, 2009

"John Whitehead's timely Must-Read interview with Nat Hentoff, a principled and courageous defender of liberty"

From an email from friend, Manny Klausner. I love this piece. I've long been a fan of Nat Hentoff and I share Manny's opinion of him. Manny wrote "Hentoff has had an impressive career as a widely-read writer on many significant issues, and he's been an influential jazz critic for over fifty years.

In the interview, Hentoff states, "I am beginning to think that this guy is a phony. Obama seems to have no firm principles that I can discern that he will adhere to. His only principle is his own aggrandizement. This is a very dangerous mindset for a president to have."

Hentoff observes that "If James Madison or Thomas Jefferson were brought back to life and they looked at television and read the papers, they would not recognize the country." But he remains optimistic.

Hentoff concludes, "we have been through very dark periods before. There are enough people who are starting to be actively involved that we can turn things around. And we need to encourage others to become involved."
Amen to that Manny! Friends, please, please become involved.
From the Oldspeak online Journal:

INTERVIEW

America Under Barack Obama
An Interview with Nat Hentoff

By John W. Whitehead
December 11, 2009

"I try to avoid hyperbole, but I think Obama is possibly the most dangerous and destructive president we have ever had."—Nat Hentoff

Nat Hentoff has had a life well spent, one chock full of controversy fueled by his passion for the protection of civil liberties and human rights. Hentoff is known as a civil libertarian, free speech activist, anti-death penalty advocate, pro-lifer and not uncommon critic of the ideological left.

At 84, Nat Hentoff is an American classic who has never shied away from an issue. For example, he defended a woman rejected from law school because she was Caucasian; called into a talk show hosted by Oliver North to agree with him on liberal intolerance for free speech; was a friend to the late Malcolm X; and wrote the liner notes for Bob Dylan's second album.

A self-described uncategorizable libertarian, Hentoff adds he is also a “Jewish atheist, civil libertarian, pro-lifer.” Accordingly, he has angered nearly every political faction and remains one of a few who has stuck to his principles through his many years of work, regardless of the trouble it stirred up. For instance, when he announced his opposition to abortion he alienated numerous colleagues, and his outspoken denunciation of President Bill Clinton only increased his isolation in liberal circles (He said that Clinton had "done more harm to the Constitution than any president in American history," and called him "a serial violator of our liberties.").
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Botched Paramilitary Police Raids: An Epidemic of "Isolated Incidents"

"If a widespread pattern of [knock-and-announce] violations were shown . . . there would be reason for grave concern." —Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, in Hudson v. Michigan, June 15, 2006. An interactive map of botched SWAT and paramilitary police raids, released in conjunction with the Cato policy paper "Overkill: The Rise of Paramilitary Police Raids," by Radley Balko. What does this map mean? How to use this map View Original Map and Database

Key

Death of an innocent. Death or injury of a police officer. Death of a nonviolent offender.
Raid on an innocent suspect. Other examples of paramilitary police excess. Unnecessary raids on doctors and sick people.
The proliferation of SWAT teams, police militarization, and the Drug War have given rise to a dramatic increase in the number of "no-knock" or "quick-knock" raids on suspected drug offenders. Because these raids are often conducted based on tips from notoriously unreliable confidential informants, police sometimes conduct SWAT-style raids on the wrong home, or on the homes of nonviolent, misdemeanor drug users. Such highly-volatile, overly confrontational tactics are bad enough when no one is hurt -- it's difficult to imagine the terror an innocent suspect or family faces when a SWAT team mistakenly breaks down their door in the middle of the night. But even more disturbing are the number of times such "wrong door" raids unnecessarily lead to the injury or death of suspects, bystanders, and police officers. Defenders of SWAT teams and paramilitary tactics say such incidents are isolated and rare. The map above aims to refute that notion.

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