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Friday, July 14, 2006

Rep. Nass is clearly not one to give up easily

Just yesterday I wrote that
Meanwhile, the Wisconsin State Assembly refused to act on Rep Nass's resolution which in my humble opinion is all for the better.

The resolution in question called for firing of the University of Wisconsin-Madison instructor Kevin Barrett for challenging the official version of the events of 9/11 and believing that some elements of the US government were the guilty party. In the opinion of State Representative Stephen Nass a person holding such views can not be allowed to teach and influence the students as such views are so bizarre that they would violate the University's academic integrity.

Well, just yesterday I thought that was the end of this story. It looked like Rep. Nass failed to get Barrett fired but marvelously succeeded at giving him - and, by extention, the whole 9/11 truth movement - extra publicity and convincing people to look at the 9/11-related issues. But, as it has often happened, reality has thwarted my perception as I was to learn that Rep. Nass is a man who fights on even in unfavorable conditions. As reported in Wisconsin State Journal (Nass still seeking Barrett's removal, July 14, 2006):
Saying the university needs to "see the light" or face retaliatory budget cuts, state Rep. Steve Nass on Wednesday introduced a resolution demanding UW-Madison fire a part- time lecturer who says the 2001 terrorist attacks were orchestrated by the U.S. government.

By mid-afternoon, the resolution had 27 co-sponsors - more than a quarter of the Assembly - and Nass said he expected to have signatures from a majority of the Republican- controlled Assembly and Senate by the time he sends it to the governor and the university next week.

Nass, R-Whitewater, said if the university doesn't release Kevin Barrett from his $8,247 limited-term job, he would push to cut funding for administrative positions in the next two-year budget if he's re-elected.


Barrett, who was cleared by the university earlier this week to teach an introductory course on Islam following an internal review, called the resolution "ridiculous" and noted dozens of full-time professors at other universities hold similar views "and in many cases are doing intensive 9/11 truth research."

"There have been no moves to fire any of these people," Barrett said. "I am teaching one class on an $8,000 salary, and a tiny percentage of the class even touches on 9/11."

Earlier Wednesday, Barrett challenged Nass to a debate on the subject, which Nass immediately rejected.

Nass opted not to try to bring the resolution to a vote during Wednesday's limited floor session, noting Democrats could have easily blocked it under Assembly rules.

Assembly Majority Leader Mike Huebsch, R-West Salem, said Republicans also feared a tit-for-tat exchange of resolutions by Democrats on a day in which the Legislature was honoring fallen soldiers and adopting state labor contracts.

"We were going to inject politics into a situation where it just didn't seem appropriate," Huebsch said.

Instead, Nass said he will circulate the resolution for additional signatures and send copies to Barrett, Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle, and the university next week.

Nass' resolution is the latest salvo in an ongoing row between lawmakers and the university, including outrage over the decision to allow controversial Colorado professor Ward Churchill to speak at UW-Whitewater last year, and allowing a vice chancellor to continue earning his $191,000 salary after being demoted and going on leave for seven months.

Nass denied the Barrett case was about academic freedom but "quality and competence in the classroom." He faulted the review by UW-Madison Provost Patrick Farrell and other university officials, who looked over Barrett's reading list and consulted student evaluations that praised his teaching.

Asked where he would draw the line on instructors' controversial views, Nass said they shouldn't be "way out of bounds" and should be able to be substantiated.

"I think as we find out about those individual teachers and they are so far out and are off the mark . . . then we need to step in," Nass said.


Barrett offered to withdraw his arguments and apologize to Vice President Dick Cheney, who he asserts was an accomplice in the attacks, if Nass could refute his arguments in a debate. But Nass wasn't biting.

"That's the same as me saying 'The world is flat. Now you prove me wrong,'" Nass said. "I'm not going to spend the time on it. He is so far off the wall."

Barrett claims his views have been substantiated in books and Web sites by 9/11 detractors who argue, for instance, that the World Trade Center towers appear to have been brought down by controlled explosives, not suicidal terrorists flying airplanes.

"Anybody who at this point in history defends the (federal 9/11 Commission) report is the equivalent of a flat Earther," he said. "There's overwhelming evidence showing that report is a farce."

So Rep. Nass appears to believe himself to be an authority that can decide what is and what isn't "off the mark". I suppose he can do that; and I do not think he has to try and reconcile his views with science - something his staffers have already indicated they do not intend to do. However, what is wrong with comparing him to "Flat Earthers" - people who view their beliefs are primary and unassailable and all evidence to the contrary and inconsequential and unworthy of attention?

So the fight goes on. Whether Rep. Nass succeeds of fails to get Kevin Barrett fired - and I certainly hope he fails - we ought to thank him for doing more for the 9/11 truth movement than he probably could have ever accomplished if he were on our side.

And lastly allow me to offer you the brilliant comment on the matter by 911 Blogger (Rep. Nass Can't Get Over His Obsession with Kevin Barrett, July 14, 2006):
Rep. Nass continues to show his true colors in his insatiable obsession with Kevin Barrett. The very idea that someone might have a differing opinion than his on the issues surrounding 9/11, or even worse claim to have research to back it up, is way beyond his comfort level. Well guess what Rep. Nass? Half of New Yorkers believe U.S. leaders had foreknowledge of 9/11 and "consciously failed" to act, and 42% of the entire country think the government is covering up 9/11.

Barrett's willingness to express his personal opinion upsets Rep. Nass so much that he just can't get over it. The fact that the University of Wisconsin cleared Barrett to teach, or that 9/11 isn't even the focus of the class, isn't enough for Rep. Nass's obsession with Barrett - no no. Perhaps Rep. Nass's next step should be calling for the removal of degrees of all of the members of Scholar's for 9/11 Truth, or maybe the removal of any medals given to members of Veterans for 9/11 truth, or maybe he should start directing his personal insults to family members like Bob McIlvaine, or maybe he could just skip all of this and create a resolution to establish a new state task force to hunt down everyone whose ever read a book by Dr. Griffin?

I had hoped that a few sincere emails to Rep. Nass would help him realize that Barrett is anything but alone in his opinion, but it is becoming apparent this goes beyond anything rational for him - either that or he doesn't check his email. It is up to those that support Barrett's right to voice his opinion to contact Rep. Nass's office (608-266-5715) and inform them as to the true scope of those that question the official story of 9/11.

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