And that's in Nebraska, not Canada
Pro-life activists Shari McKee and Melissa Abbink were jailed on December 28th, 2007, for speaking to Lincoln abortionist Winston Crabb on two occasions in front of his home 10 years ago. Abbink faces five months in jail while McKee has been sentenced to serve eight months behind bars. According to Operation Rescue, in February 1998, both were charged with violating the "focused picketing" ordinance even though neither had signs and both incidents lasted only a minute each. "Just long enough," said OR, "to plead for the lives of pre-born children as he walked from his car to his house."
After exhausting the appeals of the criminal cases, the convictions were upheld by the Nebraska Supreme Court on September 10, 1999. However, for reasons unknown, the mandate did not come down until September 28, 2005, over 6 years later.
The last two years have been spent seeking a commutation. The women's cases were brought before the Board of Pardons, which was very sympathetic, but refused to act because the Board does not review misdemeanor cases. The Board referred the cases to the Mayor of Lincoln, who has refused to act claiming he does not have the authority to grant commutations. According to the women's attorneys, the Mayor clearly does have the authority to commute misdemeanor sentences.
"We are asking pro-lifers to write to Mayor Beutler and ask him to commute the sentences of these two women," said Larry Donlan, Director of Rescue the Heartland. "Be sure to point out that the Pardon Board says he has the authority to do so. Be polite and remember, it is a commutation that we are after, not a pardon. Like the parable of the widow, we are seeking justice for these two brave, God-fearing women. Only Mayor Beutler has that ability to grant that justice. He can do so by merely picking up the phone." E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
John McCain, Multiculturalist. Immigration is just one problem
We all know John McCain is terrible on immigration. For years he held America's sovereignty and security hostage to amnesty and increased immigration, and his newfound support for "enforcement first" is so insubstantial and transparently insincere that it insults our intelligence. He's so bad that Americans for Better Immigration ranks his performance in office as the worst of all the presidential candidates - including Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. (See the GOP grid here and the Democratic one here.) And as Robert Rector of the Heritage Foundation has pointed out, passage of McCain's bill "would represent the largest expansion of the welfare state in 30 years."
But his support for de facto open borders is merely one manifestation of a larger problem - John McCain is a multiculturalist. I don't mean he eats tacos at the Cinco de Mayo parade (nothing wrong with that!) - I mean he's an ideological multiculturalist. Francis Fukuyama has described (PDF) the ideology of multiculturalism this way: "not just as tolerance of cultural diversity in de facto multicultural societies but as the demand for legal recognition of the rights of ethnic, racial, religious, or cultural groups." At almost every turn over his entire public career, John McCain has supported the pluribus over the unum.
Take bilingual education. McCain has been an enthusiastic proponent of this divisive and discredited program for years. He was honorary co-host of the 1995 convention of the National Association for Bilingual Education; The New Republic reported that he wrote to convention participants that "[t]o reject a native language as a tool for teaching as well as enriching our national heritage makes learning all the more difficult and makes us a poorer nation."
In 1998 he said, "I have always supported bilingual education programs to help students learn English. Proposals to restrict the use of languages other than English are always divisive." That was the year that California voters approved Proposition 227, "English for the Children," which (sort of) abolished bilingual education there.
In 1999 McCain was given the "Legislative Friendship Award" from LULAC, the League of Latin American Citizens, at which point, in the words of the Human Events report, he "hailed the bilingual education that Californians banned with the successful `English for the Children' initiative last year. Insulting the motives of California voters, McCain told the LULAC banquet, `We don't need laws that cause any American to believe we scorn their contributions to our culture.'" (The Los Angeles Times report noted wryly that "McCain's remarks were all but indistinguishable from those of the vice president.")
Despite the fact that he mentions the long-discredited "transition" rationale for bilingual education, McCain has embraced foreign-language maintenance as the real goal, buying into the "we didn't cross the border, the border crossed us" justification for Hispanic group rights. This is what he means with his frequent references to the historical primacy of Spanish in Arizona.
McCain's ideological multiculturalism is also apparent from his longstanding opposition to official status for the English language; as he boasted on Hardball in 2000, "I have fought against English-only ballot initiatives." He started at least as far back as 1988, when he opposed Article 28, an official-English initiative approved by Arizona voters but thrown out by the courts.
More recently, he voted for the Salazar amendment to his 2006 amnesty bill, which would have codified Clinton's Executive Order 13166. That order enshrines official, legally mandated multilingualism, requiring all government agencies and all recipients of federal funds to provide any services in any foreign language requested. (See the text here and more details here and here.) With his eye no doubt on the coming presidential race, he flip-flopped and voted against the very same amendment this past summer during the debate over his most recent amnesty bill.
In last June's presidential debate in New Hampshire, when Wolf Blitzer asked if any of the candidates opposed official English, would they speak up - McCain spoke up, starting with a weasely "I think it's fine," then expounding on the language rights of American Indians. Another part of his response was revealing: "Everybody knows that English has to be learned if anyone ever wants to move up the economic ladder. That is obvious." True enough, but that begs the question: The source of the public appeal of official English is that it asserts not merely a practical reason for newcomers to learn English but a moral obligation to do so. Throughout his public life McCain has repeatedly rejected the idea of such an obligation.
Multiculturalism is more than language, of course. McCain has also supported racial preferences and racial-identity politics. As Ward Connerly wrote in NR:
[In 1996], when a number of Republicans and others in Arizona sought to pass a bill in that state's legislature outlawing race preferences, we were told by several Republican legislators that they had received calls from Sen. John McCain urging them not to support such a measure because - again, as always - it might "send the wrong message."Rick Santorum, in his recent interview with Hugh Hewitt, describes how McCain racialized the immigration issue to his fellow Republican senators:
[McCain] lectured us repeatedly about how xenophobic we were, lectured us, us being the Republican conference, about how wrong we were on this, how we were on the wrong side of history, and that you know, this is important for his . . . because having come from Arizona, knowing the strength of the Hispanic community, that we were going to be seen as racists, and he wasn't going be part of that, that he was not a racist, and that if we were for tougher borders, it was a racist thing.He did likewise in opposing Arizona's Proposition 200 in 2006, which would have required proof of citizenship to register to vote, and legal status to access certain state benefits, saying that it would result in "racial profiling."
Even on trivial matters, McCain adopts the racial-grievance worldview of the multiculturalists. When speaking to LULAC in 2000, the AP reports him saying this:
I am ashamed when demeaning stereotypes of Hispanic Americans substitute in our popular entertainment . . . for honest and realistic portrayals," McCain said. "I know that for you to achieve fairer representation in popular media, you will have to achieve a greater representation in the executive suites and boardrooms of corporate media.That's not all. McCain also supported the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act, which would have established a parallel government for people of Hawaiian ethnic origin. And on the Kennewick Man controversy, he sided with the American Indian tribes against the scientists.
It's true that McCain has taken liberal stances on other issues - greenhouse emissions, free speech, judges - and those are all bad. But they don't strike at the coherence of the American nation. We haven't heard as much this time around about how McCain is the second coming of Theodore Roosevelt, but a comparison is striking. As John Fonte has suggested, McCain has kept TR's progressivism, which is so unappealing to modern conservatives, but discarded precisely that which made TR attractive - his unapologetic assimilationism. Before anyone ever compares him to TR again, just try to imagine McCain saying this, from one of TR's letters:
We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language, for we intend to see that the crucible turns our people out as Americans, and American nationality, not as dwellers in a polyglot boarding house.At almost every opportunity, John McCain has rejected the crucible and chosen the polyglot boarding house.
Stoneridge and the Rule of Law
Last week, the Supreme Court rejected the claims of certain defrauded investors when it handed down the decision in Stoneridge Investment Partners LLC v. Scientific-Atlanta, Inc. This week the court refused to hear the appeal of Enron investors, who raised similar claims.
Is this proof that the court is insensitive to victimized investors? Hardly. It is the mark of a court that insists on predictability and the rule of law -- principles that are fundamental to the protection of investors and success of their investments. Although some have called Stoneridge "anti-investor," the Supreme Court's decision actually protects shareholders from creative and unpredictable new ways to extract large settlements, which always include an ample portion for the lawyers.
At issue was whether companies can be held liable in class actions for securities law violations committed by companies with which they do business, the primary violators. Because the law permits private plaintiffs to recover only against primary violators and not secondary violators, the Stoneridge plaintiffs attempted to portray the defendant-companies as primary violators under the theory that they participated in a "scheme" to defraud.
In Stoneridge,the Supreme Court held that investors in one company cannot sue other companies for securities fraud unless those other companies did something that the plaintiffs specifically relied on when making investment decisions. The court warned that if it adopted the plaintiffs' concept of reliance, the "cause of action would reach the whole marketplace in which the issuing company does business." In other words, had Stoneridge gone the other way, plaintiffs would be able to reach into the pockets of customers, vendors and other firms that simply do business with companies that defraud investors.
Regardless, Stoneridge sparked an outcry from those arguing that in the name of "fairness" and "justice" someone should be forced to pay if the primary wrongdoer cannot. This outcry could lead to demands on Congress to rewrite the securities laws to give plaintiffs like those inStoneridge what they could not get in court -- the ability to reach into a deep pocket regardless of culpability. But justice is not merely finding someone who can pay. Exposing one company to class-action lawsuits because another company defrauded its investors is not fair or just to shareholders who shoulder the burden of class-action settlements.
Moreover, as the Supreme Court observed in Stoneridge, broadening the scope of securities laws can damage capital markets. Subjecting new classes of defendants to lawsuits raises the costs of being a public company, deters overseas firms from doing business here, and shifts securities offerings away from domestic capital markets to the detriment of U.S. investors.
But those who knowingly assist others in violating securities laws will not go unpunished. As the Supreme Court observed in Stoneridge, Congress amended the securities laws in 1995 to allow the Securities and Exchange Commission to bring actions against secondary violators that aid and abet securities fraud. Congress wisely declined to extend that right to private parties, out of concern of abusive securities litigation. The SEC is well positioned to hold responsible individuals accountable by imposing injunctions, officer and director bars, disgorgement, and civil penalties. Ill-gotten gains that the SEC recovers -- along with civil penalties -- may be disbursed to aggrieved investors without the usual cut for the plaintiffs' lawyers.
The SEC uses its authority to hold wrongdoers accountable, and has obtained settlements from parties for similar conduct at issue in Stoneridge. For example, the SEC filed suit against vendors that allegedly aided and abetted in the fraud of U.S. Food Service, Inc. Just last month, it filed suit against a partner of a major law firm for allegedly aiding and abetting Refco in defrauding its shareholders. For egregious violations, the SEC may refer matters to the Department of Justice to bring criminal charges. In both the U.S. Food Service and Refco matters, the SEC cooperated with DOJ.Stoneridge is no free pass to parties assisting in fraud.
The SEC has tremendous leverage to obtain settlements and assert novel bases of liability in court. But the SEC must resist efforts -- internal or external -- to broaden securities laws beyond their existing boundaries, even when those efforts are driven by a desire to see harmed shareholders recompensed. By respecting legal boundaries and not "pushing the envelope," the SEC provides predictability to investors, individuals and companies as to unacceptable conduct.
The SEC has an enormous responsibility not only to enforce the securities laws as written, but also to avoid rewriting and expanding them in the process. The integrity of our capital markets and the welfare of investors depend on the adherence to the rule of law by all participants. That is the lesson of Stoneridge.
Propaganda for toddlers in Australia
CHILDREN as young as three are being taught anti-racism lessons as part of the first NSW Government-funded program designed to stamp out bigotry from a young age. The program will be rolled out at a preschool in western NSW and youngsters will be given regular lessons in tolerance and multiculturalism.
The move comes as NSW councils investigate implementing a similar program across all council-funded daycare centres across the state.
The Menindee Children's Centre, in the state's Far West, has just received a $4000 grant to launch the first State Government-funded program of its kind. The focus on racism follows the 2005 Cronulla riots and a recent Government survey which found more than 40 per cent of migrants surveyed had come across "some" or "a lot" of racism in Australia. Claims of racism also blew up recently in the Sydney Test between India and Australia.
NSW preschool's director Hayley D'Ettorre said the centre would use the funding to launch the program, which was to include guest speakers and lessons on international music as well as foods and books. She said the centrepiece of the program would be regular discussions about racism. "It is the biggest part of the program, it will be about teaching tolerance and positive diversity every day," she said.
Premier Morris Iemma said it was necessary to teach our youngest about tolerance. "It is important for our children to learn acceptance of different cultures at an early age," he told The Daily Telegraph. "If we set our children up with the right messages we will ultimately enjoy a more tolerant, accepting and peaceful society."
Local Government Association president Genia McCaffery said they would study the anti-racism program of one western Sydney daycare centre with a view to rolling out a simular curriculum across the state.
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when blogger.com is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.