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Fight Against Patriot Act Renewal and FBI Police-State Tactics Heats Up; Florida Criminalizes Poverty and Cuts Unemployment Benefits

Shahid Buttar, the rhymin’ executive director of Bill of Rights Defense Committee returns to talk about FBI abuses, this month’s vote in Congress on extending the Patriot Act, and the appointment of a new FBI director this year;  Keith McHenry, co-founder of Food Not Bombs, reports on the efforts in Florida to block distribution of free food to poor and homeless people.  Buttar of BORDC compares the current rollback of civil liberties and expansion of police powers to J. Edgar Hoover’s COINTELPRO operation of the 1960’s.  He sued the FBI to force release of a letter from Director Mueller to Senator Durbin (D-IL) to clarify remarks that Mueller made at the Judiciary Committee last July.  On May 27, parts of the Patriot Act, including section 215, the provision that lets FBI agents demand your library records while preventing the library from informing you, are up for renewal again;  Buttar urges calls to Sen. Feinstein, Sen. Wyden and Sen. Durbin, and urges support for the alternate Justice Act.   We talk about the neocon’s claims–notably from John Yoo–that torture led to the killing of bin Laden.  And we talk about the scheduled appointment of a new FBI Director later this year. At 59:07, we go to Florida to talk to homeless activist Keith McHenry, the former San Franciscan who co-founded Food Not Bombs and is now trying to feed the hungry in the Sunshine State.  We open with the news that Florida’s new Republican governor has signed legislation that cuts unemployment benefits even as the “official” unemployment rate tops 11%, and McHenry describes various local laws and police harrassment-enforcement that limit food distribution to those with Florida ID’s, restrict food giveaways to 24 people at a time, and dictate that a given park in Orlando may only be used twice a year as a distribution point.  The Orlando law was approved 10-1 by the 11th Circuit appeals court!   It’s obscene and outrageous, and if you are able to support their work, please donate at their website or send a check to:  Food Not Bombs, Box 424,  Arroyo Seco, NM  87514.  The link to donate is at the bottom of their home page.